Friday, November 4, 2016

Sullins Academy Author Day

Yesterday, November 3, 2016, I had the honor of speaking at Sullins Academy in Bristol, Virginia, to students in grades 2-6 about "My Days with Nell." From the moment I entered this beautiful school, I was met with smiling faces and helpful folks that directed me to Mrs. Stamper's lovely media center.  After some much needed computer "hook-up" help from Mr. Roy Vermillion, principal, and the school's computer whiz, my powerpoint presentation was up and ready to go.  I hadn't actually planned to speak with the sixth graders, but,  they happened to have a scheduled media class and I had a  research based Biltmore powerpoint that seemed appropriate for them, so we did it! Those students were awesome!  Thanks for your undivided attention, and for your eagerness in helping set up the room for the classes which were to follow you.

I gave two presentations, to grades 2-3 followed by grades 4-5. The students were so attentive, polite, and respectful.  They listened intently and asked pertinent questions as we discussed the writing process in regards to "My Days with Nell." We talked about the Pre-Writing, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Publishing phases of the process and I was amazed at how these young, emergent writers understood these concepts. We briefly talked about their perception of a story's setting, characters, plot and what it means when a book is classified as historical fiction.  We discussed the idea of asking questions and using their five senses to improve and make revisions to their rough drafts.  I have no doubt they are ready to be authors now!  These smart young people can do it!

After my "Writing Process" presentation, we talked about some of the wonderful Christmas traditions at the Biltmore house. I love sharing how the workers at the Estate maintain the 121 year tradition of bringing in the "big tree" for the holidays. I love telling the students how the Vanderbilts generously cared for those that worked at the estate, as well as how kind they were to family and friends who came and stayed at the house, sometimes for extended periods.

We ended my visit with  question and answer time.  I couldn't believe what thoughtful and creative questions they asked.  I was impressed! I hope I persuaded them, informed them and entertained them yesterday.  That was after all, this author's purpose! ;)

I am grateful for the initial invitation from Mrs. Stamper and to Mr. Vermillion for  allowing me to come and share "My Days with Nell," and my passion for Biltmore. I am grateful to the many Sullins outstanding educators that shared encouraging and positive words with me. It was an extra-special time for me personally, because three of the most precious people in my life attend Sullins Academy, my three grandsons, Brady, Drew and Luke. To be able to come and speak at their school is a blessing I will never forget.  Christmas is right around the corner... But I received a great present yesterday in visiting Sullins Academy.  That Author's Day was a lovely gift to me... and I am thankful.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sullins Academy, November 3, 2016

I am grateful to Sullins Adademy Principal, Mr. Roy Vermillion, who invited me to  speak to the second through fifth grade students, on November 3, 2016, regarding "My Days with Nell." My sweet grandsons attend Sullins, so I am there each week, but this is the first time I will visit to share my love of the Biltmore Estate located in Asheville, NC.  I plan to share some of the research, but will concentrate on the writing process as it pertained to publication.  Also, if there's enough time,  I wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to share some historical information abouth the wonderful Christmas traditons, customs, and stories with these students. I am excited!  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heading to My Favorite Place on Earth

Biltmore is calling my name.  I haven't been lately and although I don't need a reason to go... I'm going. There is a wonderful exhibit that opens on Friday, February 12, 2016.  It's entitled, "Fashionable Romance." Visitors will be able to view wedding gowns from TV and Movies from the past few decades.   I am most excited, however, to see the recreation of Cornelia Vanderbilt's wedding dress.  The orginal gown is unavailable... not sure why. It is rumored to be in the hands of her descendants but is not in good condition and I have also heard, unfortunately, it was destroyed. I pray it is the former and not the latter. Cornelia, the only child of George and Edith Vanderbilt, married John Cecil on April 29, 1924 at All Souls Episcopal Church in Asheville, NC.  It was a grand event with hundreds of guests descending on Biltmore Village to either attend the wedding or catch a glimpse of the bride.

The exhibit will be on display from February 12, 2016 through July 4, 2016.  If you are in the area, I invite you to visit the "Lady on the Hill." You won't regret your visit.  It's a treasure nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and for me, my visit always brings solace and peace to my soul.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends celebrating the greatest gift of all time... Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this Thanksgiving day, I am so grateful for my family and friends. They stand with me and love me unconditionally.  I have been blessed beyond measure and I am thankful to God for His provisions in my life.  Not only does He meet my needs, but He is gracious with the desires of my heart.   I don't deserve His love but am overwhelmed with His generosity. Thank you, my God, for your precious son, Jesus, who redeemed me and makes me righteous before you. May I be found faithful to You and may everything I think, do and say bring glory to you... for you alone, are worthy of all praise.    

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Blog Hits 10,000 views

WOW! My Days with Nell blog just hit 10,000 views! When I began this blog, I had no idea this would ever happen. It was more of a way for me to chronicle the journey of publishing my first children's book, My Days with Nell. Through this blog, I have met some wonderful people and have enjoyed discussing all types of literature. It has truly been a blessing to me. Thanks to all who took the time to read my posts and offer encouragement to me as I continue writing.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Author Day at North Cove Elementary

    Today, I had the honor of speaking to some of the students at North Cove Elementary School. At the invitation of Mrs. Penny Jackson, Media Coordinator, I spoke to the third grade students about The Biltmore Estate and "My Days with Nell."I presented the writing process to two different third grade classes and we discussed the Pre-Writing, Drafting, Revising, Editing and Publishing stages of writing.   I believe their awesome teachers have previously worked with them on this process for they seemed to be familiar with the concept and responded positively to the questions I asked and topics we discussed. These youngsters had recently visited the estate and had some interesting questions from their field trip. It was obvious they had listened intently to their Biltmore guide and had time to digest what  they had learned as they were ready to "dig a little deeper" for more information.   We also had a brief question and answer time that basically revolved around the present restoration work on the North Tower Ridge cap on the Biltmore House roof. It is a huge undertaking and will be gorgeous when it is restored to it's original color and beauty.
     I spoke to the North Cove fourth graders about the Historic Carson House.  I shared a brief presentation on the history of the John Hazzard Carson family and shared the plot and book summary of "Treasures of My Heart." They are very excited about visiting the Historic Carson House next Thursday.  I was only able to skim the surface of all the Carson House has to offer in intriguing stories. They are certainly in for a treat on this field trip.
     I am so proud of the North Cove Elementary teachers for planning field trips to these two historical Western North Carolina places. They are opening up a new world to these students and encouraging and introducing history in an exciting way.  Talking about these houses is informative but to see them in person takes learning to a whole new level. Field trips are not an easy day for educators... I know, I have been on many!  But it enriches the learning experience for the students in a way that a simple lecture on the subject can not possibly accomplish. So, "Yay, Teachers!"
      I loved visiting with these third and fourth graders. Both grade levels were well behaved and asked wonderful, pertinent and thought provoking questions. I appreciate the opportunity to visit North Cove Elementary and am appreciative to Mrs. Jackson for the invitation.  I am always welcomed into their school as a friend and made to feel right at home! They also fed me a delicious lunch!  Good things are happening at North Cove! So proud of  all of our McDowell County Schools!