The Fourth of July marks the day in 1776 when delegates from the thirteen colonies approved the Declaration of Independence. Interestingly, John Adams, who would become the second president of the United States, had written his wife Abigail a letter the day before telling her what an auspicious day July 2nd had been.

Wait a minute. If John Adams was supposed to be such a brilliant statesman, why did he mess up such a key date in American history?

Well, the Second Continental Congress actually made its decree for freedom on July 2, 1776, by signing the Lee Resolution. A couple days of bickering over the fine points of the document ensued, and two days later, on July 4, Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence and the alarm for freedom was sounded at Independence Hall with the Liberty Bell. The document wasn’t actually signed until August 4, 1776.

John Adams wrote a letter to his wife on July 3 after the Lee Resolution was signed, assuming that would be the big historical milestone. The following is an excerpt from that letter.

Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States might rightfully do…

…The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

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John Adams had an incredible vision for our country, didn’t he? He could see the “Rays of ravishing Light and Glory” that would be the United States of America. We have our share of problems, but the US is the best place to live in the world. Freedom still rings!

Here are a couple fun factoids about Independence Day:

  • The population of the United States in 1776 was about 2.5 million. On its 238th birthday, the US population is estimated at 318.4 million. That’s a 12,636 percent increase! I don’t think the signers of the Declaration of Independence could have possibly imagined what they began that sultry day in Philadelphia.
  • Three of the first five US presidents died on July 4! What are the odds of that? John Adams (92) and Thomas Jefferson (83), once political adversaries, both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the country’s birth. Ironically Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” not knowing that Jefferson had died that morning. James Monroe, the fifth president, died five years later in 1831. Wow… not THAT is auspicious.

Enjoy the fireworks, but never forget what our forefathers (and foremothers) sacrificed to make this country great!

Until next time,

Amy

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The bedroom chair from the rented mansion where pop star Michael Jackson tragically died on June 25, 2009, is up for sale on EBAY.

The chair became famous by crime scene photos shown at the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray. The chair was also featured in the premiere episode of CMT’s 2014 reality series, RAIDERS OF ROCK.

The Henredon style bergere chair with button-tufted upholstery was located next to Jackson’s bed in the master bedroom of the rented Holmby Hills mansion where he died. Particularly notable are the makeup stains on the chair, where Jackson is said to have sat each day while getting ready.

“This chair is truly a piece of rock and roll history,” says owner Brian Mayes, a Jackson fan and Nashville-based entertainment publicist. “Tragically, the chair is the lone witness to Jackson’s death. If only we could get the chair to tell the secrets of what really happened in those final hours.”

The chair is for sale on ebay… you know you want it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nope, I’m not kidding. the Kindle version of Facing the Dragon: How a Desperate Act Pulled One Addict out of Methamphetamine Hell is FREE from May 28 – June 3. (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still take advantage of this offer. There is a free Kindle app available for smartphones, tablets, and PCs.)

 

FTD

In Facing the Dragon, you will witness the slow, agonizing metamorphosis of a good-looking high-school athlete into a violent, drug-dealing, psychotic wife-beater whose children were terrified of him. After more than twenty-three years addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs, David Parnell put an SKS assault rifle under his chin and pulled the trigger. The blast took off half his face, yet he somehow survived. Walk alongside as he endures countless surgeries to reconstruct his decimated face.

Parnell has been clean and sober for more than eleven years and is making the most of his second chance by bringing his message about the dangers of meth and other drugs to schools, prisons, churches, and anti-drug organizations around the world as a full-time lecturer. By experiencing the nightmare of his life—and his brief glimpse of hell—you will find hope and healing when facing your own life-threatening dragons.

Read this post for more on David’s story

Here a few insightful reviews:

“Facing the Dragon” is the kind of story that you won’t soon forget – nor should you. If it were up to me, every U.S. legislator and drug-policy maker in the world would have to read this important book about the destructive power of methamphetamine! … Thank you Amy Hammond Hagberg and David Parnell for a wonderful book and for all of your efforts to educate others about the dangers of methamphetamine!

…David takes you on a journey from his personal hell ..and believe me, you are there with him at every turn…until the very end. I could not put this book down, I needed to know what happened and how he felt during the ride. Amy Hammond Hagberg did an excellent job with his story, and his family must be so proud . I would highly recommend “Facing The Dragon” to anyone caught in the throes of addiction, no matter what kind, and in reading David’s story, know that there is a way out…

Get the Book on Amazon

David’s is a story of hope… come along for the ride! If the book touches you, please leave a review on Amazon and tell your friends. 

Until next time,

Amy Hagberg
Author and Writing Coach
www.amyhagberg.com

 

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Every spring I innocently recite a little ditty upon the first sign of winter’s departure:

Spring is sprung, the grass is ris.
I wonders where the birdies is.
They say the birds is on the wing.
Ain’t that absurd?
I always thought the wing was on the bird.*

I say innocently, because it is always wishful thinking. I live in Minnesota, after all, and the third week in March is still winter in the frozen tundra. Author Henry Van Dyke clearly knew what I was talking about when he said, “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”

Although the ground is still covered with snow, I did find a tiny glimmer of hope in the warmer soil next to our house.

Crocus!

Crocus!

Hooray! This is definitely cause for celebration. So, good readers, I am going to pass along my happy mood with a free gift for you!

Here’s the deal. Purchase one of my books via my website (there are seven titles from which to choose), and I’ll include a CD of the most exquisite music, written and performed by an extraordinary pianist, Lannette Calhoun.

Still

Here’s just a taste:

http://www.allmusic.com/album/still-piano-music-by-lannette-calhoun-mw0002130444

STILL is my go-to music for serious literary moments and I know you’ll be inspired, as well.

Look at the fancy collage I made of my books, evidence that an old dog CAN learn new tricks. Yep, I’m a rock star. If you click here, you’ll be taken to my site. You can take me up on my offer through the rest of March or until supplies last!

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My husband is pacing… time for dinner 🙂

Until next time,

~ Amy

Amy Hammond Hagberg
www.amyhagberg.com

* I conducted a fair amount of online research in order to credit the poet, but my findings were inconclusive. Some sources cite Ogden Nash, while others say it was penned by ee Cummings or A.A. Milne.

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After looking at my freshly minted, totally redesigned website you might be thinking: What’s up with this new look? Why did you change everything? 

Well, I’m going to tell you.

A website is a little like a hairstyle; it must evolve over time or risk being out of it, uncool, passe, even dweebish (good luck with that one, spell check). My old site was absolutely gorgeous, thanks to webmaster extraordinaire, Sandy Juettner, but it was a little too…yesterday. It was like having a bi-level haircut when the other girls sported an inverted bob.

The biggest reason for the re-do, however, is that I longed to rebrand myself. I wanted my visitors, friends, potential clients, and publishers, to get a better feel for my fun-loving, whimsical nature, while at the same time showcasing my work. It’s like putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls and some new clothes in the closet.

I write about a variety of subjects: faith, marriage, self-esteem, business and leadership, drug addiction, and even Christmas, but my books  all have one thing in common: they are serious nonfiction.

I, on the other hand, am not always serious, so it was clearly time to switch gears. I still plan to write about important topics such as those mentioned above, but I will be taking on some more lighthearted projects and write a novel or two.

The last couple years of my life have been rough: I lost my father to Alzheimer’s disease, my mother to kidney disease, my 12-year-old Great Pyrenees, Tundra, to lung cancer, and my dear friend and writing partner to kidney cancer. All that grieving knocked me off my game for a while, but I’m back and excited about what’s ahead of me!

I solicited the help of Kaia Calhoun from a Sunshine Moment, who happens to be a whiz at web design, and told her what I wanted to achieve with my new site. Before we could get started, Kaia required me to complete an assignment: create an inspiration board. After I figured out what the heck she was talking about, I had fun on Pinterest developing a board that depicts my favorite things. You can see it here:  Amy’s Inspiration Board.

The plan was to incorporate fun, happy colors that come from nature into a clean, contemporary framework that would be attention-grabbing and easy to navigate. Oh… and I wanted some doodles. Yes, doodles. With that, Kaia was off to the races, and in no time we landed on just what I was looking for (with only a few missteps and some minor head-banging).  I love my new site!

So, now I have some splainin’ to do. Across the top, you’ll see four cute little sketches that stand for a few things I love (we had several more, but it got a little ridiculous):

  • A homemade whole milk vanilla latte
  • Reading and writing books
  • Our log home in the woods
  • Gourmet cooking

I’m obviously a bit more complex than four doodles, but they give you a flavor, anyway. You’ll get to know me better if you follow my blog  up in the top right corner. We cover a little bit of everything and I absolutely love input. So come along for the ride! Let’s do life together. Oh, and have a nice day. 🙂

Until next time,

Amy

Amy Hammond Hagberg
www.amyhagberg.com

 

  

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