Armistice Day – Finding William Digby Morgan

Throughout history, we have stories of discovery. I’m not talking about discoveries of the compass, electricity, or new lands, but the moments of epiphany, when men and women had moments of sudden revelation and insight.

I had my own just four weeks ago.

I was at the LSU (Louisiana State University) vs. Georgia game waiting for the game to start, and wanting to stretch my legs a little, I walked outside the Student Union. It’s a shady, cool area, covered with many oak trees. The perfect place to write, study, or enjoy nature.

As I walked around, I started to notice plaques under each oak tree. Plaques with names and dates that ended in 1918.

And it dawned on me. This was a memorial. A memorial to soldiers who had died in World War 1.

 

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First came a feeling of stillness, what this place was and what it stood for, and how proud I was that LSU had it. Then I was ashamed that in all the years I’d gone to football games, I’d never known this memorial was here — Memorial Oak Grove; thirty-one oak trees. Thirty-one plaques. One of them dedicated to an unknown solider missing in action.

 

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So, I walked through the grove again reading the names more carefully, silently thanking each man for paying the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom that I had that day. And that was when I came across the name of William Digby Morgan.

 

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I had the stray thought that maybe we were related, but that was closely followed by the thought that the chances of relation were slim, Morgan being such a common name. But I took a picture anyway and showed my mom, who is our family’s genealogist.

After a few days of searching my mom hit the gem. We were indeed related. William Digby Morgan is my third cousin four times removed.

 

20181013_115340.jpgWilliam Digby Morgan’s Oak Tree

A second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, William was killed in the Battle of Argonne, France, on November 10, 1918, one day before the Armistice was signed on November 11 ending World War I, a day which we will honor tomorrow.

Today one hundred years ago, my cousin died in France, and I want to pay tribute to him. He has no direct descendants, and no one seems to remember him. But I do, and I won’t forget.

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Tomorrow will mark one hundred years since the Armistice was signed, and I want to forever remember all the countless men who decided that that there was some good in this world worth fighting for. And that precious freedom was worth risking all, even for future generations that would never know them. Or may not even care. 

Your sacrifice can never be repaid except for me and those who follow to remember you, honor you, and share your story.

That is what I’m doing tomorrow. 

What I aim to do every day. 

God bless our fighting men and police officers.

God bless America.

 

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Coffee Shop Devos Review +++ GIVEAWAY

Today, I’m happy to have my friend Tessa Emily Hall on my blog to celebrate her latest release, Coffee Shop Devos. Read more about the book and the author below, and hang around until the end of the post for a giveaway!  

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I struggled as a teen to find good devotionals. Either they lacked quality writing, or they were fluffy, lacking any teaching. I yearned for someone to help me through the teen years and not just, “make me feel good.” 

From lessons on God’s never-failing love, seasons of life, trusting in God’s plan, to transforming the trash and living to our greatest potential, Coffee Shop Devos is a pick-me-up that any young lady can glean encouragement from. And you can enjoy it all over a steaming cup of coffee made from one of the recipes featured in the book. 

 

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There’s something special about spending time at a coffee shop with a friend–engaging in a meaningful conversation, then leaving refueled and ready to tackle the rest of the day. What if your quiet times with God energized you the same way?

Coffee Shop Devos offers a warm atmosphere that will inspire you to discover your God-given purpose and live to your greatest potential. Choose your devo flavor in the Menu of Contents based on your current need. Then lean into deeper intimacy with Christ through reflection and prayer. Along the way, you’ll pick up tips and recipes for making your own coffee-shop beverage–regular or decaf–to enjoy while you read. And don’t forget to share your journey with your friends! #CoffeeShopDevos

Each of the 180 challenging and motivational devotions will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated–almost as though you’ve shared a steaming pot of brew at a coffee shop with your Creator.

 

 

 


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Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show teens they’re not alone. Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as an Associate Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa’s first teen devotional, COFFEE SHOP DEVOS, will release with Bethany House in 2018. She’s guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating art journals, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: http://www.tessaemilyhall.com.

 


Click on the link below to enter the giveaway.

 

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Romanov Cover Reveal

IT’S COVER REVEAL TIIIIIME!!!

Today is the day that the cover for Nadine’s book, Romanov, is released to the world, and we are taking it by storm my friend. Because the world needs to see this gorgeous cover and know about Nadine and her awesomeness. 

Romanov is a YA historical fantasy retelling of Anastasia that releases on May 7, 2019. That’s 224 days away for those who want to know. 🙂 I plan on passing the time by re-reading her Out of Time Series which are legit amazing. Honestly, I know little about the story of Anastasia, but I was sold because it’s set in  Russia. **much excitement***  But you’re not here to read my rambling, you’re here to see the cover. Okay, here it is. 

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Are you ready? 

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Really ready? 

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Okay. I’m sorry. Drum roll please. **flings arms out dramatically** 

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ISN’T IT GORGEOUS??? Happiness, glitter, and all the things. 

 

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

 

**flails** all the feels. 

Click here to pre-order: https://nadinebrandes.com/romanovlinks

 


About Nadine

nadine-brandes-HR-5NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and Fawkes (July 2018) Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband plan to live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

Walking With Frodo

Today is Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday, so obviously I need to do a post about them/Middle-earth, right?

I was nine when my mom read the story of Frodo to me, and I was ten when I saw the movies.

Perhaps that was a little young, but I was far from being creeped out. I was enchanted with this New World, this person called Frodo, the wise man Gandalf, and the man Aragorn, a king in disguise. I mean, what could be cooler than that?

When I was thirteen, I read  The Lord of the Rings for myself. As I closed the book on the final sentence, I felt a deep sense of loss. I found Middle-earth, and now I’d left it, and nothing would ever be the same. I could never read it again with that sense of unknown ahead (I didn’t count that reading when I was eight because it was read to me, I didn’t discover it on my own).

I’ve read The Lord of the Rings three times since then, and I’m on my fifth read-through now. And while the story is one where I know the ending, it’s one I keep coming back to, because I can’t help myself, like you can’t but help drink water because you’re thirsty.
Because within those pages I found more than just Gandalf’s words of wisdom and the healing hands of Aragorn.

I found, simply, hope.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary says of hope:

hope
noun
Definition of hope 
1 archaic : TRUST, RELIANCE
2a : desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment came in hopes of seeing you also : expectation of fulfillment or success no hope of a cure when they were young and full of hope
b : someone or something on which hopes are centered our only hope for victory
c : something desired or hoped (see HOPE ENTRY 1) for great hopes for the coming year

 

hope
verb
\ ˈhōp \
hoped; hoping
Definition of hope
intransitive verb
1 : to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true hopes for a promotion hoping for the best I hope so.
2 archaic : TRUST
transitive verb
1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment
2 : to expect with confidence : TRUST
hope against hope
: to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment

Simply put, that’s all that small counsel tucked away in Rivendell had, was hope. Hope that Frodo could make it to Mordor to destroy the One Ring. Hope that “even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

Stories are more than tales that are spun to keep us entertained. Stories have been told over flickering fires and written on cave walls since the dawn of time, because something inside of us needs, craves a story that will bring hope. That will bring meaning and tell us what life is all about.

The Lord of the Rings is a story that’s kept me grounded for years. It’s something that I’ve been able to fall back on when nothing else has been stable. Within its pages I’ve found a Higher Power workingthrough to reach me, show me hope, bring healing, and shine light on the darkness of this world.

 

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Re-reading it is never the same; never can I reclaim that magic, that newness of discovering a new world, of exploring rocky fissures, seeing Lothlórien through Frodo’s eyes, or simply being surprised by the simple beauty of a star. But when I’m thirsty again for story, to find a way to escape, I can crack open The Lord of the Rings, and say
Well, I’m back.

If you’ve never read Tolkien’s masterpiece,  there’s no day like today to get started. I encourage you to read it – and walk with Frodo on his quest through Middle-earth.

 

“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

Rebecca Morgan

Book Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…

Guy Fawkes and his companions
Did the scheme contrive,
To blow the King and Parliament
All up alive.

English Folk Verse (c.1870)

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When I was in my last two years of high school, I read a variety of books on the history of England, starting with the invasion of Julius Caesar. To say I had the time of my life was an understatement. I remember quite a bit of what I read, including one thing:

There was a lack of books on the Gunpowder Plot.

I’ve always been fascinated with the story, and any books I’ve found since that day I devoured. 

The BBC Sherlock episode, The Empty Hearse, that featured, the Gunpowder plot? Loved that episode. 

So, when I heard Nadine’s book was going to be about it, I was thrilled. The fact that it was a historical fantasy? Pish-posh. That mattered not. Nadine is a top-notch writer and a wonderful human being, so I knew anything she wrote would be good.

If you don’t know what went down on that cold night over four hundred years ago, I’ll keep my mouth shut, because that’ll spoil the ending.

Can we first talk about how gorgeous the cover is?? Okay, on to the review. 

 

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From the back cover:

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot–claiming it will put an end to the plague–Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

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  • With only 440 pages, you wouldn’t think you’d have time to form attachments with all the many characters, but you do. Robert Catesby, the group’s charismatic leader, even leaves an impression on your heart. Each of the plotters has a story, a reason for fighting for what they believed in, and whether you’re on their side or not, you’re touched.

  • Many people have said that Thomas was whiny or self-righteous, but I found him to be far from that. Fawkes can be said to be a coming of age story, as Thomas forms his own thoughts and beliefs despite what others would have him to believe. I loved seeing him grow as a character.   

    The bond between Guy Fawkes and his son Thomas was also an emotional ride and just. Gah. Go read the book.

    Okay, enough on Thomas. Emma was cool too. There’s been a lot of posts and books recently about how women need to be meek and quiet and sit at home. Seeing warrior woman Emma was nice and I loved it.

  • I loved the attention to detail that Nadine gave. You felt like you were sneaking out of London with Thomas, roaming the market with him and Emma, or at the Duck and Drake, plotting with the plotters.

  • There’s really a lot to unpack in 1605 England: feuds between Catholics (Keepers) and Protestants (Igniters), religious persecution, race, and freedom. Woven into this is “color power,” which is the ability to control certain things based on the color of your mask. For example, brown mask wearers can control dirt, blue mask wearers can control water. It’s simple to understand, and I liked that.

    Everything is woven together so perfectly I legit found myself wondering why we didn’t have color power anymore. ***this is what happens when you stay up till one in the morning to finish a book. ***

I cried at the end. Because the ending is that powerful. Fawkes is so much more than a story about the Gunpowder Plot.

It is a story of truth.

Of love.

Of sacrifice.

That God is with us.

Always.

You can find Fawkes here.

 


91q9KosGMvL._US230_NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of the award-winning Out of Time Series and Fawkes (July 2018) Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she’s not busy writing novels about bold living, she’s adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. She and her Auror husband plan to live in a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.


 

Have you read Fawkes? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments!

Rebecca Morgan