Good morning Everyone! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Please pull up a chair and join us at the kitchen table. Here you can always count on coffee brewing in the background, laughter, and several goodies to snack on (Just add popcorn and we’re all good ;). 

Today the cold has frosted the windows and the coffee taste extra bold and sweet while it warms us up. We still have placemats out from Christmas dinner, but hey, 2018 is here, y’all, and it’s been busy so far. 

Each New Year gets us thinking about things we are grateful for. There is something about a fresh start that makes you reevaluate all the good things and people in your life.

Starting with our amazing country! 

Yes, it has its problems, and yes, it isn’t perfect, but there’s something incorruptible about the American spirit, something bold and pure, which speaks to all the possibility bottled up in this collection of places and peoples and stories. Made possible by our freedoms, big and small, and our right to pursue our own dreams.


So we came up with a list of things that we are thankful for as an American. Please feel free to add your list! 🙂

  1. Service men and women, of course. None of this would be possible without them, without their sacrifices. We owe them beyond what any words could ever say.
  2. The places. America is expansive and unique… no two parts of it are the same. From the sleepy east coast beach towns and the southern swamps, to the Grand Canyon and Alaskan forests, we are surrounded by beauty at every turn.
  3. The food. Sure, we get a lot of inspiration from other places, but we have a way of making it something all our own. Especially southern food. Yeh, Kathie’s favorite… Cheese grits and gravy biscuits all day. Kathy’s favorite being from the west coast… a big, fresh crispy salad topped with fruit. What are some of your favorite foods? Please share them with us!  
  4. The patriotism. Our friend Webster defines patriotism as: “Love or devotion to one’s country.” We’re proud of who we are as a nation, all the battles we’ve fought and injustices overcome. We’re proud and thankful every day for the military heroes and their families who have given up so much for the people who live under this flag.
  5. The history. Throughout we find the faces of heroes that paved the way and as each page turns through time; their bravery has led to building blocks of this great country and it’s everlasting spirit of community.


Artist Michael G. Reagan, Portraits of Fallen Heroes. This is amazing and healing!



Yes, we believe, we can all look up into the vast stars that shine along the endless horizons and we can dream. Those fifty stars that light our waving flag we salute, and give tribute today, and every day… from our homes, from our kitchen table to yours, Happy New Year! Please share your hopes for the New Year, stories, or and any comments you may have, we want to hear! Chat again with you soon, and God Bless America!

Happy 4th of July Book Debut Anniversary!

unnamedHAPPY 239TH BIRTHDAY AMERICA! The debut of our children’s book, “The 1947 Freedom Train” happened one year ago at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia and fireworks filled the sky that evening in celebration! We could not have imagined a more perfect setting to introduce our book to the world. This year we were invited back to the National Infantry Museum’s 3rd annual “Freedom Fest.” In addition, we were also invited to the Hidden Lantern Bookstore in Rosemary Beach, Florida for a book signing. So- Kathie drove down to Rosemary Beach, and I went to the National Infantry Museum. After a year of meeting people from all over the U.S., it is still mindboggling when we ask the question, “Have you ever heard of the 1947 Freedom Train?” You’d be surprised at how many people have not heard about this historical event, including history majors! This is one of the many reasons we are excited to share our story with everyone we meet.

Each of us had a great time signing our book and meeting wonderful people from many different places. Children of course loved our treasure boxes filled with candy -but also hearing about the treasures of our great nation that were aboard the 1947 Freedom Train. Both parents and children are always captivated as they turn the pages and enjoy the beautiful illustrations.IMG_1521

Our goal is for our children’s book to find its way into every home and school in America so that the values of patriotism, respect for all our military heroes and appreciation of our great freedoms can be taught via this profound historical event. We want everyone to be apart of the Freedom Train family and hope that you will climb aboard and travel with us on new adventures throughout this upcoming year as we celebrate our great country. Please tweet and share about our book and website: with everyone you know! We truly believe our book can inspire a movement in this upcoming generation of children, coupled with their motivation to learn more about the amazing documents aboard the train and the rich values of our country.

Helen Keller Author Festival in Tuscumbia Alabama

20150627_152053_resizedunnamedHaving Google mapped directions to places many times before, it was natural to do so in regards to our first Author Festival. We figured that of course the Google map directions were accurate when they showed that it would take a mere 30 minutes to drive from Phenix City to Tuscumbia, Alabama. This translated to a mere 10 minute trip from Auburn for Kathie.

Four days prior to the Helen Keller Author Festival- which had been on the calendar for three months- we were both having conversations with our husbands in regards to the time frame. Kathie and I insisted that we were right, until they both pulled up the more accurate… real accurate… Google map directions showing a 4 hour and 22 minute estimated time of arrival! Our phone call to each other was filled with laughter and disbelief as to how this could actually have happened! Kathy still cannot forget the much shorter 30 minute red line that had previously appeared on her screen, as she was the one who had Googled the original directions!20150626_080641_resized-1

Since the festival is a two-day event, booking a hotel was the next priority. To make things more difficult, whenever we attend any type of event or meeting with each other, we always have to transpose the time frame into, “my time” and “your time,” even though we live 30 minutes from each other. Phenix City is on EST time and Auburn is on CST, which always provides a scenario for a comical interaction between us as we both repeat the “time” phrases several times prior to ending the phone call.

Well, knowing we would be leaving at 3:30 A.M. from Auburn, I became extra focused on communicating to Kathie what time we would be leaving in “her time.” I inadvertently ended up setting my alarm an hour earlier than necessary and after the first few sips of coffee, I realized what I had done! So consequently, the dishwasher got unloaded, I was able to curl my hair and enjoy a full cup of coffee prior to my departure.20150627_152035_resized20150627_151436_resizedWe had a great time talking and laughing on the trek up as always! Cold Water Books, who hosted this annual event, is simply a beautiful bookstore. Tuscumbia is actually the birthplace of Helen Keller, for which the city is understandably very proud. Meeting the authors whose books sell there as well was a profound blessing. They were all so genuine and kind and we shared a love for each others’ books and passion! We acquired many new fans of our book as we signed their copy. One grandma was leaving for Hawaii the following week to see her grandchildren. So as far as we know, this will be our first book in the Aloha state!

Independent Bookstores, Museums and Gift Shops All Aboard Carrying Our Children’s Book Cargo

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Fireworks were filling the sky on the 4th of July 2014, when we debuted our children’s book, “The 1947 Freedom Train” at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia!  Once we landed from this cloud nine experience, the very first store to carry our book was the “Soldier Store” gift shop at the NATIONAL INFANTRY MUSEUM. What a tremendous honor.

RANGER JOES, an Army and Navy Goods store, also carried the book. Many thanks to the renowned owner of both, Paul Voorhees! Following this came the equal honoring opportunity of the NATIONAL CIVIL WAR NAVAL MUSEUM gift shop. These museums are state of the art places with amazing people at the helm of their missions. In addition, we have just received approval to sell our books on Fort Benning at the FORT BENNING POST EXCHANGE, as a vendor. What a tremendous opportunity to connect with people from everywhere!

Along with these local businesses and organizations, we are delighted that FLOWERS PLUS, a beautiful flower and gift shop, and the cool, downtown bookstore JUDY BUGS BOOKS, are also proud to carry our book.  In Cumming, Georgia, HUMPUS BUMPUS BOOKSTORE is another new home for our book, and we look forward to sitting by their cozy fireplace when we visit!

In our sweet home Alabama, 5 star rated THE BOOK SHELF in Huntsville loves our children’s book!  AS TIME GOES BY, in Marion, definitely has a place in their heart for children and children’s books and are happy to have ours on their shelf as well.  In Tuscumbia, COLD WATER BOOKS has a very warm heart for “The 1947 Freedom Train” that is sure to be a family favorite and teacher treasure!

From the New American Freedom Train Show tour up to Connecticut last fall, our book made it into BREAKWATER BOOKS in Guilford which has a magical children’s area. The spring show tour took us to Arizona where we just got into the CHANGING HANDS bookstore in Tempe and will soon be in the CHANGING HANDS Phoenix location also, which is the favorite bookstore to people living in these areas!

Our first bookstore in Florida, THE HIDDEN LANTERN, is in the beautiful Rosemary Beach area. Not only does this bookstore carry top of the line books, it has an amazing art gallery as well. Kathie Eidson is looking forward to a book signing here on the 4th of July and Kathy Maggart will be book signing at the National Infantry Museum on our nation’s birthday too!

We cannot express enough the depth of our appreciation to the stores listed here for welcoming our book and giving us this great start!  We have only scratched the surface of opportunity and will continue to look for stores to carry our magnificent children’s book that we believe can impact the upcoming generation of elementary age children and beyond. Its message via the historical event of the 1947 Freedom Train is to inspire patriotism, respect for all our military heroes and appreciation of our great freedoms. All Aboard America!


A Real Moving 1947 Freedom Train Model

From the moment I met Verle… my eyes could not stop watering. This wonderful man, a train enthusiast and collector, learned about the New American Freedom Train Show coming to Arizona, through my husband’s mom, Ann. Once he heard about the 1947 Freedom Train, his curiosity became alive and he began an intense search to see if he could possibly find a model. Verle really had no idea why he was so compelled to find this train, especially because he had never met my husband and I before, but continued his search thanks to that still small voice.

Within a few months, he was able to find one remaining model of this train, complete with tracks, and the ability for the train to talk about this historical event as well as produce smoke, using oil! The smoke is unbelievable and looks so cool floating above the train as it moves around the railroad tracks. With passion in his heart, he explained in detail everything we would possibly need to travel around the United States with this model. You can see the diagrams that he drew by hand and pictures he took to help us understand how to use and safely store the train.





Wow… my eyes are watering again just thinking about everything that he did for us along with helping raise the money to pay for this amazing gift!


After watching the New American Freedom Train Show, Verle finally understood exactly why he had to find this train. His heart was deeply touched by the amazing music, band and multimedia that wholeheartedly engaged the audience. From the beginning of the show with a Marine saluting the MIA/POW table to the last note sung of original music that honors our military and encourages faith, family and country- Verle was on board. The 1947 Freedom Train model will now travel the country with the show and bring excitement to people from the moment they walk into the lobby where we sign our children’s book, “The 1947 Freedom Train.”

EPK Nashville Adventure

So, a few weeks ago, we went in to start our EPK (Electronic Press Kit) with the very talented Doug Lowe. We did a few interviews with him, and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. For starters, Doug has six sisters, so he totally understood our need to spend a half an hour on our makeup and hair. Not to mention his humble repression of laughter as we tried not to knock over his lights or trip over all the cords as we made our way to our spots. After getting settled in the studio, we were ready to roll- Or so we thought!

We had spent quite a bit of time preparing what we were going to say in front of the live camera (yes, LIVE) and had gotten together the night before to practice our lines. We thought we were ready for this! Turns out, a lot of our memorization was for naught, and in retrospect, that was a good thing. Doug, the expert, knew exactly what we needed to say and when to say it, and had an amazing way of spicing up whatever we wanted to get across with more panache.

Unfortunately, we’re both a bit challenged when it comes to memorizing on the spot. The lines were there one second, gone the next—and the takes began to build: Take 1, Take 2, Take… wait, what take was it again?! It took us a while to memorize our lines, and Doug had patience that bordered on the supernatural.

In the end, we got it done with only a few major mishaps, and more than a few minor ones! Our favorite part of it was Doug singing with us at the tops of our lungs with the music cranked up, shaking off our nerves to “I Can Do Anything” (enter shameless plug) which is the feature song on our EPK, and on the Happy Racers kid’s album (end shameless plug). All in all, we had a ton of fun, learned a lot, and have finally got our EPK rolling. Lights… Camera… Action… You can see the EPK on our homepage now!

Here is a recap of some of the most-used phrases throughout the day:

“I’m sorry, can we do that again?”
“Is my makeup okay?”
“Is my hair okay?”
“I forgot, what was I suppose to say again?”
“Messed up again, sorry!”
And from Doug:
“Put your toe on the tape.”
“Wait until I give you the thumbs up to start.”
“That’s another great blooper!” (What a nice way of putting it!)
“You’re doing great!”
And our favorite one- “Perfect!” [When we finally managed to get it right ;)]




Over Starbucks Coffee and pumpkin bread, Kathie, Layne Ihde and I shared a great evening together talking about our vision for a children’s album to accompany our book. It was so inspiring- and it was clear that we are simply all on the same sheet of music!

With guitar in hand, Layne worked out the melody as we all brought the lyrics to life. Contemporary, educational and fun is what we are all striving for with our music and I think we are definitely accomplishing that. This will be easy for Layne- he is the cool trumpet player in the awesome “Happy Racers” kid band with Nathan Meckel as the lead singer! You have to hear it to believe it, it is just the most awesome kid music ever produced. We are beyond happy to begin this song-writing journey with the super cool band member of the “Happy Racers,” Layne Ihde.

Layne, Thanks for the great time so far!


Look at our book cover!

Kathie and I had our first day of marketing everyone! We painted Columbus red, white and blue as we shared The 1947 Freedom Train book to local bookstores. As usual, our day was filled with adventure, laughter, and tons of fun! It started at our very first bookstore, and we admit we were so nervous with butterflies of excitement.

Dressed professionally, we sat in the car that was parked right in front of the first bookstore we were going to enter with plans of showing the manager our book.  Of course, I had typed out and printed an outline of what we needed to say in advance upon meeting the manager.  It wasn’t until after sitting in the car for 20 whole minutes of “rehearsing,” and figuring out what each person was going to say and hold- (book, bookmark, business card, cover letter, only one person’s purse and car keys!-), we had noticed the three men sitting in chairs in front of the store, about 20 feet from the curbed parking!

After walking a few steps, we discovered that one of the three men was the manager who had literally just observed us rehearsing our speech inside the car for 20 minutes! In that moment, I realized that my son, Caleb, actually knew the manager and had informed me of their many conversations about books while he was in high school. I quickly diverted the conversation to this topic to ease the awkwardness of the 20-minute car rehearsal!

Our day was filled with delight as we met many local business managers who were genuinely impressed and interested in our book. To celebrate, we enjoyed a visit to Olive Garden where we gobbled our delicious salads. While I love my extra tomatoes, onions, and pepperoncinis- Kathie decided to nix all of that and throw some extra cheese and Ranch onto hers instead. It seems lettuce and no olives are the only similarities in our salad preferences- however we both love those breadsticks! (Although we passed on them today, clearly utilizing our Superhuman willpower!)

Well, the adventures of the day continued on when while walking out to the car, Kathie reached into her purse for the car keys and managed to release a bunch of business cards in the process. They landed into the road right in front of a car which had to stop and watch us pick them up. Talk about embarrassing! Feeling discombobulated, we quickly walked to our car- only to realize that it was the wrong one.

This is just a sampling of the kind of predicaments we find ourselves in when we are together- which always involves joyous laughter, which we love!


Kathy Maggart (left) and Kathie Eidson (right), co-authors of The 1947 Freedom Train

Kathy Maggart (left) and Kathie Eidson (right)

Welcome aboard teachers and parents to our Freedom Train For Kids Blog!  We invite you to join us on our journey as we travel down the tracks to new adventures on the Freedom Train. You will get some glimpses of our experiences as authors and updates about the progress of our book.  Along with this, we hope to hear some stories about your experiences with our book, The 1947 Freedom Train, and all the fun activities on our website.  We both love laughing, keeping it real, especially right now as we attempt to write our first blog as authors.