Sunday, June 22, 2008

Margaret Sidney: The Five Little Peppers and Their Creator

Remember Phronsie Pepper and the little brown house in Badgerton? Both were the fictional creations of Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop, who wrote about the beloved Pepper family under the pseudonym Margaret Sidney. Born June 22, 1844 in New Haven, Connecticut, Harriett Stone was the daughter of architect Sidney Mason Stone. In 1878 she began sending short stories to Wide Awake, a children's magazine published by Daniel Lothrop. Eventually two stories--"Polly Pepper's Chicken Pie" and "Phronsie Pepper's New Shoes"--caught the special attention of the editor, who wanted more Pepper stories, and of the publisher himself, who married the author in 1881. That was the same year his company published The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, the first of twelve books about the cheerful Pepper clan.

In 1883 Harriett and Daniel Lothrop took up residence in historic Concord, Massachusetts, at a house called the Wayside, which had previously been home to Louisa May Alcott and then to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Attracted to the house especially for its connection to Hawthorne, the Lothrops were actively interested in the historical preservation of their home. Harriett Lothrop was also eventually responsible for the preservation of other homes in Concord, including Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott lived while writing Little Women, and Grapevine Cottage, where the Concord grape was first cultivated. After her husband's death in 1892, Harriett Lothrop ran his publishing company for two years before selling it (it eventually became Lothrop, Lee and Shepard). With more time to devote to writing, Harriett Lothrop penned nine of the Pepper books between 1897 and 1916. Overall, she wrote some thirty other books, including A Little Maid of Concord Town and A Little Maid of Boston, set in Revolutionary times; these are evidence of her desire to impart the ideals of patriotism and liberty to children. Also to that end, in 1895 she founded a national society, Children of the American Revolution. She spent her last years in extended travels overseas, and it became her custom to winter in California, where she died, in San Francisco, on August 2, 1924. She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord. Thanks largely to the efforts of her daughter, Margaret Lothrop, the Wayside, known as the Home of Authors, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963. Harriett's favorite rocking chair is still there.

Article taken from Women in History at

Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.

To read the stories of The Five Little Peppers online, just click the links below.

Etexts by Margaret Sidney:

#2 The Five Little Peppers Midway, 1890
#3 Five Little Peppers Grown Up, 1892
#6 The Adventures of Joel Pepper, 1900
#7 The Five Little Peppers Abroad, 1902
#9 The Five Little Peppers and Their Friends, 1904

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wisdom....Which Kind Do You Have?

Did you know that there are two different kinds of wisdom? There is earthly wisdom and there is heavenly wisdom. Education, life experiences, mentorships, and genetics all can produce earthly wisdom. Earthly wisdom is good to have, but it can bring about many negative characteristics.....pride, self-centeredness, arrogance, and lack of compassion to name a few. Heavenly wisdom comes from God. When coupled with earthly wisdom, it brings about success in all areas of your life. I often teach my children from the book of James in the New Testament. Here is a verse that we just recently discussed at length in our home. I will share with you some of the insights that we discovered as we looked at these verses.

James 3:13 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by GOOD conduct that his works are done in the MEEKNESS of wisdom".........translated.......use your wisdom for good and endure life with patience and without resentment.....whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

James 3:14 "But if you have bitter envy and SELF-SEEKING in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth" slow to speak and remember.....those around you know how wise you don't need to do things to remind them. Don't build yourself up at the expense of others.

James 3:15 "This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic".....pretty much speaks for itself.

James 3:16 "For where envy and SELF-SEEKING EXIST, CONFUSION, and every evil thing ARE THERE".......also pretty much speaks for itself.

James 3:17 "But the wisdom that is from ABOVE is first PURE, then PEACEABLE, GENTLE, WILLING TO YIELD, (that's a big one!!), full of mercy and good fruits without PARTIALITY (everyone gets the same favorite jobs, tasks, or people), and without hypocrisy".........are you getting the picture???

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Ending of an Era

Eighteen years ago this morning, a child was born to us.....a son. He had tried to come 16 weeks early, but through medication, bedrest, and much prayer, we were able to hold him off for another 12 weeks. He was born to us.......a healthy baby boy. I remember my dad holding him in the delivery room and saying, "Boy is he a dandy!!" (He said that with Tim too!) A lot has happened over the past 18 years.....too much to write here. But Ethan has grown to be a fine young man with exceptional integrity, work ethics, morals, values, and a close relationship with God. I am very proud of the young man that he has become. On June 1, 2008, Ethan graduated with honors from West Branch High School. It is the ending of an era. He is the baby (even though he's 6'1" and 220 pounds....the biggest of the litter). Our lives will change now. No more football. No more track. No more school activities. No more late night suppers. We can actually go on vacations in the summer!! It will be different in our house. All of the children are now adults. I am a little sad at the passing of childhood, but I am excited to see where God takes them on their paths in life. I am excited to see God's plans for them fulfilled in their lives. I can't wait to see how this all pans out. God has been good to us. He has blessed us immensely with three wonderful children. My prayer is that they pass on their heritage to their children and their children's children. Steve Green expressed my desire in the following verses:

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Friday, June 6, 2008

Plant a Healing Garden—In Your House!

Aloe vera

Healing property: Treats cuts. Snip into the fleshy leaf of an aloe plant, and you’ll discover a gel that speeds healing of minor cuts, soothes sunburned skin, and might lessen scarring. Before slathering it on your problem spots, test a small patch of skin for allergic reactions or irritation.
Best spot: Near a sunny bathroom window.
Care tip: Cut the small inner leaves off at the base, allowing the large outer ones to grow.


Healing property: Brings the zzz’s. This herb’s fragrance can calm your frazzled nerves and encourage deep, restorative sleep, studies show. Make sachets from its flowers (perfect for slipping beneath a pillow), or bundle a few stalks with raffia for instant aromatherapy. Try the Goodwin Creek Grey variety—it maintains a dense, compact form, perfect for a small pot.
Best spot: On your nightstand or in a sunny bedroom window.
Care tip: Snipping the blooms will encourage more to grow. Lavender likes dry soil, too.

Gerbera daisy

Healing property: Cleans the air. This colorful plant helps purge your air of toxic pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene, which are found in many household items and can aggravate asthma and cause dizziness and headaches (and may lead to certain cancers). While helping you breathe easier, a potted gerbera will brighten any room with splashes of color (they come in vibrant hues like yellow, pink, and orange). Who knew an air filter could be so fetching?
Best spot: In your home-office window.
Care tip: Fertilize monthly for more flowers.

Citrus tree

Healing property: Provides vitamin C. A dwarf citrus tree makes it easy to add fresh vitamin C to your winter diet. Choose a variety well-suited for indoor cultivation, like the Improved Meyer lemon. The fruit is ready to harvest when it comes easily off the branch.
Best spot: In any sunny, south-facing area.
Care tip: Mist the plant with water if your air is very dry, and feed it monthly with a fertilizer designed for citrus.