Monday, December 8, 2014

Handel's Messiah

Oh it's Christmas time and once again the beautiful strains of Handel's Messiah can be heard in some of the most unexpected places.  I absolutely love Messiah.  It's some of the most amazing music and of course the Scriptures are very dear to the heart.  In researching about Messiah and Handel, I came across some interesting tidbits and wanted to share them with you.

George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685. His father wanted him to study law, but George Fideric had an aptitude for music. His mother bought him a harpsichord, which they kept up in the attic, secret from his father and by the time he was twelve, Handel had written his first work.  Later, after his father’s death, George Frideric tried to study law, but he had no interest. Music was too important to him. In 1712, Handel moved to England and never returned to Germany. It was here that Handel wrote the masterpiece he would be remembered for – Messiah.
Amazingly, “Messiah” came at a time in his life when the 56-year-old Handel was facing bankruptcy and complete failure. He also had serious health problems.

But 1741 proved to be the turning point. A friend of his, Charles Jennens, gave him a libretto (a text for an opera) for a sacred work. It contained 73 Bible verses, focused on Jesus, Messiah and King of Kings, both from the Hebrew and the Christian Bible. 

Handel began composing on August 22. He grew so absorbed in the work that he rarely left his London home, and barely even stopped to eat. Within six days Part One was complete. In nine days more he had finished Part Two, and in another six, Part Three. The orchestration was completed in another two days. In all, 260 pages of manuscript were filled in the remarkably short time of 24 days.

Near the end of his composition Handel’s manservant entered the room to find the composer had 
tears in his eyes. Handel cried out, “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.”  He had just finished writing the “Hallelujah” Chorus. 
When Messiah was completed Handel wrote the letters "SDG" at the end of the manuscript —Soli Deo Gloria   = To God Alone the Glory

“Messiah” was first performed in Dublin in 1742 as benefit concert for charity.  It was often performed for various charity events that never failed to raise money for the poor, orphanages and hospitals.
The Church of England, however, criticized Handel for using Scripture in his work. They believed Scripture should remain in the Church.   Even after Messiah was becoming well-known, as great a religious figure John Newton, composer of the hymn "Amazing Grace," preached often against the "secular" performances of this biblical oratorio.

However, a year later, King George II was present at the first performance of “Messiah” in London. Some say that the monarch fell asleep and at the opening of the “Hallelujah” Chorus, he got up thinking it was for him. Others say that he was so moved by the grandeur of the orchestration that he rose in awe. Whatever the reason, he stood, and that has been the custom ever since—everyone is to stand during the “Hallelujah” Chorus. About 100 years later, even the weak, aged Queen Victoria, who sat in her wheelchair struggled to her feet as the chorus began and the choir sang, “King of kings and Lord of lords.” She said, “No way will I sit in the presence of the King of kings.”

At that first London performance, Lord Kinnoul congratulated Handel on the “excellent entertainment”. Handel replied, "My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertain them. I wish to make them better."

A few days before Handel died, he expressed his desire to die on Good Friday. He wanted this he said, "in the hopes of meeting his good God, his sweet Lord and Savior, on the day of his Resurrection." He lived until the morning of Good Saturday, April 14, 1759. 

His death came only eight days after his final performance, at which he had conducted his masterpiece, Messiah.  Handel was buried in Westminster Abbey, with over 3,000 in attendance at his funeral.  A statue there shows him holding the manuscript for the solo that opens Part Three of Messiah.  On it, the words of Handel’s heart, "I know that my Redeemer liveth."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Orange-Saffron Stamp Cookies and Me

So, I've never claimed to be a great cook.  However, once in a while something comes to my attention and begs to be given a chance.

Such was the situation when I saw a recipe in Midwest Living Magazine for Orange-Saffron Stamp Cookies.   Here's a picture that they showed.  Now doesn't that just make you want to bake?

Furthermore, they had my attention by starting the entire recipe with a little bit of information on Saffron - clearly one of the most expensive seasonings you can buy - a 1/2 tsp was about $9.00

Saffron comes from the stamen of crocuses as pictured here.

That lovely little red strand is the saffron.  When you have a pile of it - it looks like this.

And when you combine it as in the recipe with 2 Tbsps of Milk - it turns everything an amazing yellow color.  They actually used saffron as a dye.  But I dye-gress. 

So I purchased my ingredients and settled into making these wonderful cookies.  The recipe has you mix up the dough and refrigerate it for ease in handling.  Then you roll the dough into balls and press them down with a cookie stamp.  I only had a couple of brand new craft stamps for ink and just fyi - those don't work with the cookie dough.  So I just pressed my cookies down and away they went into the oven.

They came out all orangey like the above photo and looked amazing. But there was one important thing I learned.  Something that I thought I had already established, but wanted to make sure because these cookies looked so amazing.


Sigh.  What a disappointment.  I'd only ever used saffron before in dinner rolls - it was a Swedish recipe and I was sure I would love it - but I wasn't impressed and didn't care for the taste.  I was sure, however, that cookies would be different.  I really haven't met a cookie I didn't like. I suppose now I have and it was an expensive lesson to learn.

But in keeping with my mother and grandmother's advice of "You can always make something better by adding frosting" I coated those suckers with an powder sugar frosting with orange and it did improve them considerably.  All of this to say - sometimes things just aren't what they appear to be and our expectations can be easily defeated.  Oh well, live and learn.  I saw another recipe for holiday cookies that bears some consideration so maybe I'll give that a shot next week.

However, if you've a hankering to tray this saffron recipe - here's the website:

God Bless You!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Libby Montana

It's been a long time since I posted to this blog and for that I do apologize.  I'm been traveling quite a bit for book signings and speaking events and have met so many wonderful people.

This weekend I was in Libby, Montana to speak at the the Libby Baptist Church.

Libby is in a beautiful area of Montana.  Here are just a few photos.

The ladies of Libby were definitely welcoming. Gigi Scoffield headed up the events at the Libby Baptist Church.  She invited me some months ago and today we had two speaking events at the church.  Gigi made me the most amazing lap quilt and gifted me with it upon my arrival in Libby.  She also gave me a book on the area and I'm looking forward to digging in and reading about this area's history.

The book events were wonderful.  I enjoyed talking to the ladies and hearing their stories as well.  There was wonderful food and fellowship and it was such a blessing.  It was very evident that God was in this place.

So thank you Libby Ladies - you made me feel very special and it was wonderful spending time with you.

Friday, July 4, 2014

HAPPY 4th of JULY!

Happy 4th of July to everyone out there.

I love this holiday and our freedom is something I don't take for granted.

We are super blessed despite all the nonsense that goes on in this country-world, God has given us so much and 4th of July seems like a great time to thank Him for such blessings.

So here's just a few things on my list to thank Him for.




My sister Karen and our mother

Our son Erik and my hubby Jim


Daughter Julie, grandkids and Grant

Daughter Jennifer
                          My beautiful African family - minus the latest addition of little Jim

Of course added to this list - Friends, Montana, writing ministry, pets, chocolate (who can leave that one off?), music, books and so much more.

So what's your top 3?

God Bless!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Still Winter in the West and celebrating book 100

On the road again and heading to teach at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference in beautiful Estes Park, CO.  We had thought to have lovely spring/summerish weather, but alas it is still winter in the West.  Actually - this is the norm for Springtime in the Rockies (hum the song if you know it)


So the weather and roads cooperated until we got about 60 miles north of Cheyenne, WY and then blizzard conditions set in with 35+ mph winds and snow.  The visibility was pretty bad at times.

We saw a lot of accidents - including semi's in the ditches.  We found ourselves praying a lot that the people were safe and that the rescue crews would remain likewise.

We were saddened as we took the drive up Big Thompson Canyon at the devastation left from the September 11, 2013 flood.  Please pray for these folks.  They have full lakes and rivers around here and spring melt hasn't begun in earnest.  There is potential for additional flooding.

And just before we left home for the conference, the UPS guy showed up with a nifty gift for me from Bethany House.  In celebration of my 100th book they sent this nifty gift.

On the back all my BHP family signed their names.  What a precious gift. They also sent a most beautiful pen that I can definitely use.

So now I'm going to curl up with something hot to drink and read a good book.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My new office

I'm in the process of redoing my office.  Because of some of my physical issues, it's been important for us to downsize and declutter.  My dear hubby and I used to share an office - but he's a pack rat and I needed more space so he moved his office to the shop.  I love him for that.

Jim also moved out hundreds and hundreds of books from our built in bookshelves and dusted those and cleaned for me.  After that we decided the floor - an old inexpensive pergo - had to go because of damage.  So we got me a beautiful acacia hardwood floor.

The old set up I had for writing took up a lot of space and clutter so we cleared that all out and I decided to get a new desk.  I love it, although it was a whole lot bigger than I thought it would be when I ordered it online.  Even so, I'm starting to really love it.

It's not done yet - but hopefully next week I'll have a photo of the finished product.  I know I'm gonna be a very productive author in this beautiful new setting.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ohio Speaking Event

Had a great time speaking at the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library in McArthur, Ohio.  Clint Walker the Library Director is pictured here with me.  He was such an awesome host and the group that gathered to hear me speak were also wonderful.

I talked about Inspirational fiction and the changes it's had on the fiction world.  Over the years we've been blessed to see a huge boost of sales and variety in Christian fiction and I'm so happy to be a part of it.

The day was beautiful and we took advantage of that to pay a brief visit to the PRAISES Christian bookstore in Chillicothe, OH.  Here I am with Josh and Josh.

These young men gave me the royal treatment and I in turn signed a few books for them to have on hand for their patrons.  So if you're in Chillicothe, Ohio - be sure and stop by to tell them hello.

God Bless You!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Liz Curtis Higgs New EBOOK

I'm super excited.  Liz Curtis Higgs has a new E-Book only coming out Tuesday March 18th.


Here's the cover and a blurb about the book.  I hope everyone will inundate the internet ordering this for their readers.   I'm a long-time fan of Liz's and I can tell you her writing will not disappoint.



Who Will Set Her Free from the Darkness Inside?


Mary Margaret Delaney hides in the shadows, her arms scarred, her heart wounded by grief and weighed down with regret. Adrift on the streets of Chicago, she is surrounded by strangers and hounded by demons, both real and imagined. Her neighbors in Lincoln Park call her Mad Mary—until a fearless young pastor dares to call Mary his friend.


Inspired by the biblical account of Mary Magdalene, this touching contemporary novella first appeared in Liz's nonfiction book, Mad Mary, later titled Unveiling Mary Magdalene. Now updated and released as an eBook exclusive, Mercy Like Sunlight is a powerful tribute to God’s boundless compassion and unending grace.

“I was deeply moved by the story of Pastor Jake and Mary Margaret Delaney. So well written. So challenging to me. So Christlike. And so Chicago!”

—Neta Jackson, best-selling author of The Yada Yada Prayer Group


So get your copy at:



Saturday, February 22, 2014

Down South on Book Tour

So we're still on the road and having a great time on book tour.

We were stranded for a time in Birmingham due to snow and ice.  Now we're weathering the threat of thunderstorms in Louisiana.

Tonight we had a great time at Steamboat Bills in Lake Charles.  I had Crawfish Etoufee - Yum!  Here I am with Kim.  Note the Alligator overhead. :)




We have had such neat things to see in the south.  My favorite Live Oaks.

As well as some nifty old buildings.  Here we were in an old post office in Albany, GA.  Look at

this awesome plaster ceiling.

One of my favorite things in this post office was this old shoe shine stand.

 I remember as a little girl being in the train station where these were set up.  There was always some nifty old man snapping the shoes and humming or singing.  I always loved to watch them and recognize the artistry of their craft.

The South and I really don't agree, however.  The humidity is straining my lungs and causing my asthma to kick in so it's probably good that I'm just a few days from heading home.

We're having a lot of fun, however and I'm blessed to get to know the Woodhouse family better and to experience RV travel.  Tonight with thunderstorms threatening, I'm really not sure that RVing will be for me. :D

God Bless Ya'll as we say down here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Georgia Hospitality

As you know Kimberley Woodhouse and I are on book tour in the South.  This last week we were on the road in Georgia and had a great time.

Kim and I spoke at the Gillionville Baptist Church. It was awesome to share our testimony with the folks at the church.  Here's a shot of Kim Woodhouse speaking.

This is Albany, GA  and one of the neat buildings there. 

Albany is famous for the Sherwood movies like Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous.  Got a chance to see the famous used car lot from Flywheel. :)

If you haven't seen Flywheel - I highly recommend it.  The Woodhouses borrowed a copy for us to watch in the RV.  Here is an awesome clip.

So keep the prayers coming.  Oh we're having an awesome Bible study with Kay Arthur's 40 minute study on Understanding the Spiritual Gifts.

God Bless You!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Living it up on book tour

So I'm living it up on book tour with Kimberley Woodhouse.  She even let me wear her Alaska bear slippers - but so far I haven't had a chance to drive the RV.

We in the heart of Dixie - where amazingly enough - we have just come under a major winter storm warning.  I'm not entirely sure if I should have left Montana.  Maybe I brought the cold with me.

Still, we've met some really great folks at some booksignings, while other events have been cancelled because of the snow and ice that's due in.

Here we are with Rachel McRae book buyer at Lifeway Bookstores. This particular Lifeway store was in Hendersonville, TN.   Rachel is so much fun.  We did a lot of laughing with her and Christine (the bookstore manager).

Here is the lovely Kayla Woodhouse - an extraordinary author in her own right.  Her little service dog Samson is seated on the couch - ever watchful.

Josh - her brother has been our major go-to guy.  He has loaded and unloaded our books and hooked up the RV at night and has in general just been a super neat guy to hang with. Here he is clowning around.  He's best controlled with bribes of Skittles.

And of course we wouldn't get anywhere without our fearless leader and driver of the Woodhouse RV (named Legolas) - Kimberley Woodhouse.  Note the contented look on her face. That's cause I'm such a joy to travel with....

So now we're sitting in an RV park hunkering down for the winter blast of Snowstorm Pax. We'd definitely appreciate prayers for us - but especially for the folks of Alabama and Georgia.  They aren't used to this kind of weather and have already suffered so much.
God Bless All Ya'll

Sunday, February 2, 2014


We had two winners who never responded to our tries at notifying them about winning the gift baskets, so we threw the names back into the hat and had another drawing for our big Alaska Gift Basket.

Congratulations to the following:

Please email your full names and addresses to me at

Thanks and we hope you enjoy the basket.
Kim and

Monday, January 20, 2014


Congratulations to the Winners of the ALL THINGS HIDDEN basket contest.


Winners are:


Katherine Eaton - facebook
I will notify you each by email, but if you don't hear from me - please email your full name and address at
Again - congratulations!

Friday, January 17, 2014


Don't forget that today is the last day to get your name in the hat for one of the 4 gift baskets Kimberley Woodhouse and I are giving away to celebrate our new book ALL THINGS HIDDEN.

Just respond to this blog and you will be automatically entered - but the deadline is midnight tonight.
Here's a little sample of the basket you might win.

With that I will also let you know that I won't be blogging in February.  Our lovely Stephanie Whitson has agreed to blog for me.  Why won't I be blogging?  I'm going on book tour with Kim Woodhouse.  We'll be heading into the deep south.

I face this with mixed emotions as I see the weather this week has been tornadoes.  Having grown up in Kansas, I know a few things about tornadoes.  In fact, the way they seem to follow me around the country I have jokingly said that I'm their queen. 

But I'd rather not encounter them at all and would appreciate prayers from all of you for protection and safe travel, good health and that we would reach many people for Jesus.

If you live in Texas, Alabama, Georgia or Tennessee here's a list of the places where we will be speaking, signing, selling and praying with readers.

  • Saturday, February 8, 2014  - 10 am
    Union Hill Baptist
    2919 County Highway 39
    Oneonta, AL 35121
    Women's brunch. Tracie and Kim Woodhouse guest speaking.
  • Sunday, February 9, 2014  - 9:30 am and 10:45 am
    Calvary Bible Church
    607 Drake Ave.
    Huntsville, AL
    Tracie & Kim will be speaking during Sunday School and the morning service. Kim will also be singing!
  • Monday, February 10, 2014  -
  • 12:00-2:00 pm
    Linebaugh Library
    105 W. Vine St.
    Murfreesboro, TN 37130

    6:00-8:00 pm
    Hendersonville Lifeway
    1050 Glenbrook Way, Suite 130
    Hendersonville, TN 37075
  • Tuesday, February 11, 2014
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    Providence Christian Bookstore
    One Public Square
    Lawrenceburg, TN 38464

    5:00-7:00 pm
    Huntsville Lifeway
    Westside Centre
    6275 University Drive NW Ste 42A
    Huntsville, AL 35806
  • Wednesday, February 12, 2014  - 1:00-3:00 pm
    Jacob's Well
    455 Bellwood Road SE #74
    Calhoun, GA 30701
  • Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 4:00-6:00 pm
    Buford Lifeway
    3125 Woodward Crossing Boulevard Suite 200
    Buford, GA 30519
  • Friday, February 14, 2014 
  • 11:00am - 1:00pm
    The Carpenter's Shop
    1880 Epps Bridge Road, Suite 108
    Athens, GA 30606

    The Olive Branch
    2036 Veterans Blvd
    Dublin, GA 31021
  • Sunday, February 16, 2014  - 9:00-10:30am
    Gillionville Baptist Church
    4614 Gillionville Rd.
    Albany, GA 31721
    Tracie & Kim will be sharing their testimonies during the Sunday School hour and speaking/singing during the morning service!
    (651) 345-4013
  • Tuesday, February 18, 2014  - 6:00-8:00 pm
    Billionville Baptist Church
    MOPS Group
    Albany, GA
    Kim and Tracie will speak.
  • Sunday, February 23, 2014
    Parkway Church
    Victoria, TX
    Tracie and Kim will be interviewed during the morning service.

I hope those of you in the area will load up your cars, buses, trucks, wagons or whatever and come have fun with us.

Newer Posts Older Posts Home
Meet Tracie
Writing Tips