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By Rebecca Price Janney, Aug 14 2018 05:26PM

Last week my new author friend, Jeanette Levellie invited me to guest blog for her, and this week I get to return the favor by featuring an excerpt from her book, The Heart of Humor. It’s a letter to her tech-savvy granddaughter about the way things were when Jen was growing up.


She has published four books, dozens of magazine articles and stories, greeting card verses, and calendar poems, and she enjoys speaking to church and civic groups, specializing in hope and humor. Jeanette and her pastor-husband Kevin live in Paris, IL. She describes herself as the mother of two, grandmother of three, and servant to four cats! You can find her “mirthful musings” at www.jeanettelevellie.blogspot.com and if you’d like to buy a copy of The Heart of Humor, here’s the link: https://amzn.to/2LDX5h8


The Way We Were


Dear Granddaughter:


Since you asked about “the olden days,” I thought you’d enjoy a written account of the primitive conditions in which Grandpa and I grew up.


Since Facebook hadn’t been invented, meeting people and making friends was a complicated process. It involved rituals like talking to someone, shaking their hand, and asking them questions about their interests.


We lowered and raised our car windows by cranking a handle attached to the inside door of the car. We opened the car doors with keys, and were forced to lock them by pushing a button down by hand!

Garage doors could only be opened and closed manually, with a handle on the front. We had to get out of the car, walk to the garage, and open or close it ourselves.


TVs in the dark ages had no remote controls. We got up from the couch and walked across the room to change the channel or turn the volume down with a knob attached to the front of the TV set. We had no couch potatoes in those days, either.


When we used telephones, we had to dial the other person by poking our finger into numbers in a round piece of plastic on the front of the phone. We even talked to the person on the other end.

We also sent messages to friends with items called “letters,” written with devices named “pens,” on sheets of paper, and put them in a blue box on a street corner. They were sorted and sent in a truck to our friends’ houses. Sometimes they took days to arrive!


I know this has shocked you, and you’re amazed that we survived. But people in the olden days were tougher. Without Facebook, remotes and texting, we had to be.


With love,


Your Savvy Grandma


Cartoon by Ron Levellie - Used by Permission
Cartoon by Ron Levellie - Used by Permission

By Rebecca Price Janney, Aug 7 2018 03:09PM

When You Do It Right and It Turns Out Wrong



Please meet a new friend and prolific author, Rebecca Price Janney. I'm featuring her latest novel on Hope Splashes today, because the story is full of hope in the midst of troubles. Here's a short synopsis:


What was going on? Erin made key decisions about her future after much prayer and counsel. God even broke through with a rousing forward, march!


Likewise, Peter jumped into a crisis on the brink of retiring from years of public service. He couldn’t see himself resting before his own hearth when his country needed him.


Why, then, is Erin struggling so hard in her new job? And why is Peter being maliciously slandered and slighted, wounded in battle, and a POW?


Erin Miles and Peter Kichline are the two main characters in my latest novel, Easton at the Crossroads. They live over 250 years apart in Easton, Pennsylvania, and their lives bear striking parallels. (Peter is Erin’s, recently-discovered, six times great-grandfather.)


In the first book in my Easton Series, they’ve both just lost their spouses. In the second, they’re trying to discern the right path. In the third novel they’re reaping what they’ve sown, but why are there so many thorns? Weren’t there supposed to be roses?


We can relate. When we do what’s right, isn’t life supposed to reciprocate? Shouldn’t we receive a cosmic pat on the back?


Here’s something we don’t necessarily like to hear—God’s highest purpose for us isn’t to make us happy or our lives perfect. He wants us to be holy, like Himself, to fit into His plans for the fulfillment of His kingdom. If we follow all the rules, we won’t necessarily become wealthy, have a nice home, well-behaved children, doting spouses, and rarely need a doctor.


God doesn’t owe us a smooth ride, even when we do everything we know to be right. Paul followed God’s plan and ended up beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and martyred. Corrie Ten Boom rescued Jews from the Nazis in World War II, and got sent to a concentration camp. Jesus was crucified.


“In this world you will have tribulation.” Even when you do what is right. God’s purposes aren’t always accomplished on paved roads. Sometimes they happen in the midst of teeth-rattling potholes.


As Erin and Peter learn in Easton at theCrossroads, God can be trusted on bumpy rides without satellite coverage. He uses the stuff of earth, weeds, heartache, the annoying and mean-spirited, to achieve His glorious purposes.


Rebecca Price Janney is the author of 21 books including Easton at the Crossroads, the third installment in her Easton Series. She’s also written Harriet Tubman, Great Women in American History, Who Goes There? and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. She speaks at schools, churches, synagogues, libraries, historical societies, civic organizations, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as on radio and TV.


A native of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, she’s a graduate of Lafayette College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and received her doctorate from Biblical Seminary. Rebecca invites you to know her heart-warming characters and a town you’ll want to visit again and again. She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband, teenage son, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


If you're thinking "Rebecca sounds like a fascinating person," I agree! And if you'd like to connect with her, find her here: ww.rebeccapricejanney.com


www.jeanettelevellie.com




By Rebecca Price Janney, Jul 30 2018 03:09PM

What is your fondest association with the beloved song, “God Bless America?” For me, it is forever entwined with my dearly loved Aunt Caroline, and the Philadelphia Flyers.


This year is the 100th birthday of the iconic American tune, which composer Irving Berlin wrote during World War. Born in Russia in 1888, Israel Baline immigrated with his family to the U.S. as a boy to escape anti-Jewish pogroms. At 19 he published his first song, but his name on the sheet music was misspelled—“I. Berlin.” He decided to adopt the name, Irving Berlin. By 1918, he’d become a U.S. citizen and had produced a major hit song, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”


In 1918 he was serving in the Army’s Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York and had planned to perform his newest song, “God Bless America,” for a revue. His secretary, Harry Ruby, however, discouraged him because he believed there were already too many patriotic songs. Why did there need to be another one? The composer put the song in a trunk.


Two decades later, the world teetered on the brink of yet another global conflagration, and Berlin wanted to provide inspiration through music. At 50 years of age, he’d attained major star status. He came up with “Thanks America” and “Let’s Talk About Liberty,” but he wasn’t satisfied. A sudden brainstorm led him to his old trunk. He liked what he saw, with a few changes. He reworked “Stand beside her and guide her to the right with a light from above” into “Through the night with a light from above.”


The song premiered on the radio on November 11, 1938, the 20th anniversary of the WWI Armistice. Kate Smith, who had sung to the troops as an eight year-old during the Great War, had risen to national fame, and “God Bless America” became an instant, and enduring, sensation.


As for my memories of it, I reach back to the 1973-74 Philadelphia Flyers, who had adopted Kate Smith as a good-luck charm a few years earlier when the team sometimes used her recording in place of the “National Anthem.” During the next three seasons, the Flyers’ record was 19-1-1 whenever GBA was played.


She didn’t actually perform the song live until the 1973 home opener, and when the team won its first Stanley Cup a few months later, she was there as well. By the team’s 50th anniversary, Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” would garner an impressive 100-29-5 record. There’s even a statue of her outside the Flyer’s home at the Wells Fargo Center.


Why do I associate the song with my Aunt Caroline? I always thought she looked like Kate Smith.




By Rebecca Price Janney, Jul 27 2018 05:35PM

Here’s a review of Easton at the Crossroads by Scott L. Reda, Managing Director/Executive Producer, Lou Reda Productions:


“A fascinating story about a modern-day Easton historian whose discovery of centuries-old family secrets helps her confront a complicated mix of family, professional and romantic challenges.”



By Rebecca Price Janney, Jul 23 2018 01:59PM



Coffee, Tea and Memories


The Meuser Library presents author Rebecca Price Janney introducing her third historical fiction novel, “Easton at the Crossroads”; it’s our next Coffee Tea and Memories, on Thursday, July 26 at 1:30 pm in the Strausser (Wilson) Community Center, 2201 Liberty Street. Join us for a look at the next chapter in the saga of Erin Miles and Peter Kichline, two Easton residents joined by loss, blood ties and an Easton two centuries apart. The author’s talk will turn the spotlight on the real people from Easton's history who are in included in her Easton books. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of Meuser Library. Admission is free and the program is open to all ages. Pre-registration is appreciated. For additional information, please call the Meuser Library at 610-258-3040 or visit www.meuserlib.org

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