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THE BATTLE OF GREAT BRIDGE

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in Blog, History | Comments Off on THE BATTLE OF GREAT BRIDGE

The Battle of Great Bridge was the first major land battle of the war to take place in Virginia. The patriot rout of the British on December 9, 1775 at this strategic location, twelve miles south of Norfolk, would force the English to retreat and end English rule of the largest colony in America.

Artist's rendering of Great Bridge

Artist’s rendering of The Battle of Great Bridge

Come by Colonial Quills to learn more about the early Revolutionary War battle that caused the British to leave Virginia alone for three years while the war raged on elsewhere.

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

I enjoyed a terrific tour of this battle site by a very knowledgeable docent from the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation. The Visitor’s Center is anticipated to begin construction this year.

http://www.gbbattlefield.org/

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Hopping John ~ Hoppin’ John

Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Uncategorized | 2 comments

For many years we have begun each New Year with Hopping John.  This traditional southern dish, also known as ‘Hoppin’ John in America, originated in North Africa and was probably brought to these shores as a result of the slave trade. The use of black-eyed peas dates back at least 3000 years when it was part of the Greek and Roman diet. There are many theories on how the name Hopping John started, from folks inviting guests into their homes at the new year with “hop in John” to children hopping around the table before sitting to enjoy the meal. Black-eyed peas are generally considered to assure good luck.

There are many recipes for Hopping John, but the primary ingredients in this tasty dish are black-eyed peas, also known as cow peas, rice and pork. Typically the dried peas are first soaked then cooked. Salt pork is added later. I started out doing just that, however, I’ve gone to a far simpler recipe in recent years. Let me share my recipe, and also how I’ve recently updated it at the urging of my husband who prefers it a bit spicier.

 Hopping John

 

Hopping John

2 cups of canned black eyed peas

½ – 1 lb bacon

(reserve 2 Tablesp of bacon drippings)

½ teasp. Black pepper

½ teasp. Salt

1 cup white uncooked white rice

Cook rice according to directions. Fry bacon and set aside. When rice is done, add black eyed peas, cooked bacon with a couple of Tablespoons of drippings, and salt and pepper. Stir together and heat on low heat for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Chill leftovers and reheat when you are ready for more.

 

Spicier Hopping John 

2 cups of canned black eyed peas

½ lb bacon

(reserve 2 Tablesp of bacon drippings)

1 medium chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

1/ teasp of crushed red pepper flakes

½ teasp. Black pepper

½ teasp. Salt

1 cup white uncooked white rice

Cook rice according to directions. Fry bacon and set aside. Sauté chopped onion in reserved bacon drippings until soft and clear. Add garlic and pepper flakes to onion and heat for a couple of minutes. When rice is done, add black eyed peas, cooked bacon, and salt and pepper. Stir together and heat on low heat for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Chill leftovers and reheat when you are ready for more.

There are many variations for this southern dish so feel free to experiment and make it your own.

My sons enjoyed it, and wondered why we only had it once a year. While we never ate it because it would bring good luck, we enjoyed Hopping John every New Years and hope that our new year would be blessed.

 

I hope your New Year will be filled with blessings galore.

 

 

 

 

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THE GREATEST GIFT EVER GIVEN

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE GREATEST GIFT EVER GIVEN

 

IS

 

JESUS

 Great Holy Family

THE MOST IMPORTANT GIFT YOU WILL EVER RECEIVE

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6,7

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CHRISTMAS IN WILLIAMSBURG

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in Blog, History, Media Sharing, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Pineapple, apples, okra, dried flowers and wheat

Pineapple, apples, okra, dried flowers and wheat

Every year Williamsburg comes alive at Christmas. A daytime stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street, the main thoroughfare in the historic district, and you’ll see wreaths, swags, and evergreen roping on many of the homes, shops and taverns. 

 

For more information on Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination which heralds in the Christmas season, and some of the history of the village, and details of the décor, see my post from Colonial Quills http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2011/12/williamsburg-christmas.html

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pine cones, apples, artichokes, pomegranates adorn this wreath

Meanwhile, take a walk down Duke of Gloucester Street with me and see just a few of the beautiful, natural decorations.

 

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Wheat, dried flowers, orange slices, cinnamon sticks

 

 

Pomegranates, pineapple, apples, magnolia leaves.

Pomegranates, pineapple, apples, magnolia leaves

 

IMG_2630

Wreaths with apples and horseshoes

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dried flowers, pine cones, cotton, nuts and nutshells

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apples, pomegranates, okra and pheasant feathers

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dried flowers and wheat

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TIME WELL SPENT IN GOD’S WAITING ROOM

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Blog, Commentary, Devotions, Uncategorized | 6 comments

How many times have you been in the midst of a difficult situation, whether it’s related to a job, financial struggles, damaged relationships, a health crisis, or a profound loss? Perhaps you are in the whirlwind of just such circumstances right now and are wondering how you are going to get through it.  It’s so easy in the midst of difficulties to grow discouraged and focus inward. This is when it can be helpful to remember, everyone has “stuff” they are dealing with. As we age, and experience more of these “detours”, it can grow easier to weather these storms, because we have reached safe shores in the past.
 
Ever notice how solutions rarely come when we want them? For Christians, we reach out to God for answers, all the while reminding ourselves that He’s in control. We know we need to be walking with Him, seeking His guidance, and waiting for His answers. Meanwhile our emotions can range from shock, confusion, denial, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, anticipation, impatience, and finally acceptance. 
 
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1
 
I remember reading a blogpost some time ago that referred to this time as “God’s Waiting Room”, a place where God meets us, and if we allow Him, He guides us through this season. While none of us seek trials, it is often in the midst of such events when we realize our limitations, gain some humility, and are finally willing to let go and let God. Isn’t that really what God wants from us, to be submissive, open to Him, and allow the One who has our best interests at heart to guide us?
 
God’s Waiting Room may be a lonely spot, but it is also a refuge, where life slows, and in its stillness, provides an opportunity for us to draw closer to Him. Here, we quietly acknowledge what is past, honestly evaluate where we are, and think about what is next. So what do we do A woman at prayerwhile we are in this sanctuary? We can read God’s Word, and pray. And we can listen. We find encouragement as we recall all the people and things for which to be thankful. As we enumerate how the Lord has brought us through other challenges, our perceptions change. It will probably not alter our current circumstances, but it can revise our attitude as we navigate our way through them. 
 
It is human nature to try to orchestrate our lives, whether about family, jobs or other pursuits. However, how often have you heard from someone, whose life has been involuntarily disrupted and sent in an unintended direction, that they could never have anticipated the benefits or blessings missed had they remained in their previous situation? 
 
“pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18
 
 
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3
 
So, when we face the changes that come into our lives, do we have to navigate that journey alone? No! It is often in God’s waiting room that He does His finest work.
 
 
“Change is always in your favor when you’re walking with the Lord.”
Words from a wise friend
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AMERICA’S FIRST THANKSGIVING ~ BERKELEY PLANTATION

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Blog, History, Uncategorized | 5 comments

Front of Berkeley Mansion

Front of Berkeley Mansion

A visit to Berkeley Plantation in Virginia will take you on a journey back to one of the earliest English settlements in America and the sight of the first Thanksgiving.

Berkeley Plantation is twenty-nine miles from the first English settlement at Jamestown that was established in 1607. It is one of many plantations situated along the James River in southeastern Virginia. Traveling by land, it is located twenty-three miles southeast of Richmond along historic Rte 5 where one will see farmland, some modest commercial ventures, and exits to many other plantations.

There were a variety of reasons people emigrated from England to the colonies in the 1600’s. Some came for religious freedom, others to escape poverty, over population, and failing industries. There were also immigrants pursuing financial opportunities. Profit was the motive in 1618 when four English gentlemen met in London to establish a company to start the “Berkeley Hundred and Plantation” on the 8,000 acres and three miles of waterfront granted them by King James I.  Their expedition sailed on the “Good Ship Margaret” in August of 1619 from Bristol, England to settle, grow crops, and establish commercial ventures. One of the men, John Smyth of Nibley, was the historian of the Berkeley family and Berkeley castle in England. He also chronicled the “Berkeley expedition” and settlement of Virginia from 1609-1622.

 

View of the James River

View of the James River

 

The First Official Thanksgiving in America

Most of us associate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. Actually, the first official Thanksgiving occurred 590 miles south of Plymouth and almost two years before the Pilgrims and Indians shared a harvest feast. The “Margaret” dropped anchor at the Berkeley site December 4, 1619, and upon going ashore the Captain John Woodlief and the company of men dropped to their knees and prayed:

 

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque -2

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque -2

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque

First Official Thanksgiving Commemoration Plaque 1

 

 

 

“We ordaine that this day of our ships arrival,

at the place assigned for plantacon (plantation) in the land of Virginia,

shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy

as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

  

Where the Massachusetts celebration was primarily a social occasion with the Indians, the Berkeley event was strictly a religious one. The London Company gave specific instructions that this religious ceremony was to be repeated annually, and it was . . . for a time. The Virginia settlers and the Indians initially enjoyed friendly relations; however on March 22, 1622, in a calculated plan, Chief Opechancanough led a massive attack at many of the settlements for 140 miles on either side of the James River and Berkeley was among those that perished. Jamestown prepared for the attack as they were warned of the intended massacre by an Indian named Chanco, so were able to defend themselves. The Massacre of 1622 ended the settlement of Berkeley and the annual celebration of Thanksgiving until 1958 when it was reinstated.

(This is in part a re-print of a blogpost I posted on Colonial Quills.)

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, 394 years after that first Thanksgiving in Virginia, my prayer is that we will all draw closer to God, and be thankful for the many ways He has blessed us individually and as a nation. 

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