HE IS RISEN

easter postcard 4

Happy Easter.

He is risen. He is risen indeed.

He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.

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BIRD SONG

The other day fog surrounded me as I walked. It was peaceful and calm\. As I passed a row of trees I was startled at the volume of bird song I heard.

foggy morning 004

My thoughts went back to a little thing I wrote many years ago. I am going to share it with you today.

This is it just as I wrote it.

“I hate you. I can’t wait until I leave home.” My fifteen-year-old daughter glared at me, her black eyes snapping. “You’re not my real mother anyways.” 

Thinking of how much red tape we had waded through to adopt her, I wondered why we’d bothered. No matter what we did, she continued to resist our efforts to parent her. Anger and frustration blazed through me. I had to bite back watched the words rushing to my mouth.

After she left for school, I shuffled out to the patio to have another cup of coffee. The sky was luminous and very blue, while the grass beyond the patio displayed the gentle green of early spring. The soft breeze and warm sun caressed my skin. But my heart was not receptive to the wonders around me. I ached from her words and I seethed as I recalled each rebellious thing she’d done over the last few weeks. She argued at every request. She told us how much she hated us. She said that the day she would leave couldn’t come soon enough to suit her. I felt like she was destroying me and my home.

Within me was turmoil; without, harassment.

Feeling sorry for myself, I sat there and defended my thoughts. Why shouldn’t I feel this way? After all…

As I nursed my ill feelings, I heard a bird sing. Brilliant orange flashed on a nearby bare branch. Beneath, the ground was sloppy brown mud. Patches of grey snow clung to the bushes. Three cats eyed the bird with evil interest. But ignoring the entire scene, the oriole lifted his head and sang.

As I watched and listened, his song strummed the chords of my heart. How cheerful he was in spite of the ugly conditions of the winter-scarred garden. Without concern for his circumstances, he gave his attention solely to singing.

His example challenged me. I, too, could choose to look above my situation to the beauty God had provided—the sun, the sky and the bird—and bask in the warmth of His unfailing love.

I couldn’t choose my circumstances, but I could choose my attitude.

BIRDS 004birds at feeder 004

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my past.

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GUESS THE TITLE

This week my editor and I get to pick the title for the 5th story in the Big Sky Country series. The first two books are already out.

  Montana Cowboy Daddy              Montana Cowboy Family

The third is out in July.

Montana Cowboy's Baby

The fourth is to be released in Oct. 2017—Montana Bride by Christmas. (sorry, no cover yet)

Number 5 will be released Jan. 2018. If you recall, the series is about the Marshall family and the town of Bella Creek. In story 5, Annie Marshall’s best friend, Carly, is given an ultimatum by her father who has been injured. He says he is going to sell the ranch she loves because she isn’t married and he says a man is needed to run the ranch even though she has been mostly running it for several years. In desperation she goes to town to find a husband.

Sawyer has arrived in town to bring his orphaned little sister to her cousins only to discover the cousins have died.

Carly is prepared to marry a complete stranger in order to keep her ranch. Sawyer needs a family for the girl. So the two marry.

What do you think the story should be called? The editor makes the decision but I send suggestions.

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THE JOY OF READING

When was the last time you read a book that gave you joy? I recently read one that did.

Paris Letters is the story of a young woman (Canadian, by the way) who began her journey by writing in a journal as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Her writing led her to discover that she didn’t like her current life so she began to downsize and save in order to take a year off.

Her journey took her to Paris where sitting in a cafe writing in journal allowed her to watch a handsome butcher across the street. They had no language in common but nevertheless struck up a growing friendship. I’ll let you read the book to discover how that worked.

Eventually, the author, Janice Macleod, needed to top up her savings account and began writing her Paris letters. She painted a picture and wrote a letter. She copied these and mailed them to subscribers. I found the paintings and letters fascinating. Perhaps because I’ve been to Paris and it was like revisiting the place but also, because this woman has a wonderful way with words. Her letters are still available on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/JaniceMacLeodStudio/items?ref=pagination&page=2

Run on over and have a look at her work.

The book was a joy to read and reminded me of my delightful few days in Paris.

cafeluxembourg gardens

la sorbonne universitynotre dame 2eiffel tower 2

If I can’t go back to Paris, I can at least enjoy reading about the beautiful city.

 

 

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REVEALING SECRETS

Today I get to reveal the cover of my next book (July 2017). A very sweet cover. i had a sneak peak of this cover a few weeks ago and have been anxious to share it. I wrote this book in April 2016 right after a very restful 3 day break in Banff.

Montana Cowboy's Baby   banff retreat in April 028

I thought I would share a few more guilty secrets.

1. I basically like every kind of food except seafood. Grapes are my guilty pleasure.

2. I have a fear of heights. Actually, it’s a fear of falling from great heights. I used to have nightmares of being in a tall building, looking out the windows and the building would slowly tip. Just enough I couldn’t get footing to stop my slow-motion descent toward the windows that somehow provided no barrier. Shudder.

3. I hate making beds after the sheets have been washed. It’s a totally irrational thing. I’ve timed the job. It takes 5 mins. but I still tackle the job like it’s going to take me all day and rob me of every pleasure.

4. My first job was babysitting for 25c/hour. It took a lot of hours to earn enough to buy anything.

5. My first adult job was working at a summer resort near Banff when I cleaned motel rooms and waited tables at the restaurant. I explored all over Banff and wandered through the woods and along the river near the semi-remote resort. To this day, Banff is my favorite place in the world.

Banff in May 093  Banff in May 042

Looking over this very short list is a reminder that, despite some unsavory things, life is full of pleasures everywhere if we just open our eyes and look.

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CABIN FEVER

We’ve had a looooong week of cold. I’m hoping it’s winters last hurrah. It means being indoors a lot and someone in the house is bored with being shut in.

It’s not me. I’ve been busy getting the fourth book in the Big Sky Country series ready to go. It will be on its way to the editor on Mon.

It isn’t even the guy in the wheelchair. He’s been sick, been in hospital and has been quiet at home.

No, it’s Peanut.

christmas 2015 001

He’s so bored he’s begun making up his own games. He finds a string of beads, carries it across the floor and hides in beside the footstool and then he stalks it and pounces on it.

peanut at play 6peanut at play 5

peanut at playpeanut at play 4

When he tires of that, he stalks the parrot. But he’s cautious around the parrot and his sharp beak.

What he doesn’t understand is that it’s March and spring can’t be far off. Spring. Flowers. Green grass. Going outside without bundling up.

poppies for monitorvisit to college in aug 009

spring 013 Tats dance at university auditorium 037

I can’t wait.

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A SIGN OF THE TIMES.

Every time I see this sign, I pause to wonder what it means.

shearing 006

Is it warning against the dangers of having children. (too late). Is it to alert us that children might be lurking nearby by, ready to attack or annoy? It is said, Children at Play, I’d understand. I’ve even see a sign that says, Slow Children which makes me laugh. No child I’ve ever encountered was slow. They move with lightening speed and never get tired. Here’s a little granddaughter out for a walk following her grandpa. He’s only ahead because he turned around first. lol

out walking

On top of that, they have such a refreshing view of life. I’m sure we could all come up with hundreds of examples but today I saw enough illustrations of children’s creativity to refresh my heart. The local school has put the art work of K-Gr. 4 on display in various locations. These were at the hospital.

 kids art 5kids art 6kids art 7kids art 8kids art 9kids art 10kids art 11kids art 12kids art 13kids art 14kids artkids art2

Don’t you find these pictures amazing? I certainly did. The sign should say Caution: Talented children. Or Creative Children.

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I’M IN THE PINK

I enjoy my sunrise walks. Watching the sun paint the sky various shades of pink sets the tone for my day. Nothing can be too bad if I begin by rejoicing in the beauty of the morning and the love of God who sends it my way.

scenes 003 

But it got me thinking about pink. What is there about the color that soothes me?

So I turned to Mr. Google to see what he had to say about the color and I found he has lots. I gleaned these tidbits.

Bright pinks, like the color red, stimulate energy and can increase the blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, and pulse rate. (I’ve never taken my pulse before I leave and while I’m walking and if it increases I doubt it is due to the color. More likely it’s because of the exercise!)

Pinks also encourage action and confidence. (I’ll have to take Mr. Google’s word on this)

Pink has been used in prison holding cells to effectively reduce erratic behavior. (Someone should have told me this years ago. I might have painted every room in my house pink. J)

Pastries taste better when they come out of pink boxes or served on pink plates (it only works with sweets). Pink makes us crave sugar. (That explains why pastry shops use pink boxes. It seems pink is associated with sweetness as well confidence.)

Then there are saying about pink such as:

Tickled pink: to be happy

In the pink: in good health

The color pink makes everything look pretty.

Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.

That brings me to a recent purchase of the painting The Lady in Pink. I think she portrays all these positive things. Look at her. Despite the umbrella of darkness above her, she is bright and cheerful, surrounded by light and dressed in pink. I am cheered every time I look at her.

lady in pink

I have to agree with these words of wisdom: Pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude! Miley Cyrus

So go and enjoy the pink in your world and in your life.

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SIMPLICITY

This week I got hard-cover, large-print copies of my book The Cowboy’s Ready-Made Family.

the Cowboy's Ready-Made family large print 001

The cover is beautiful in its simplicity. It got me thinking about simplicity in life. Our modern life is so busy, so full of things from electronic diversions to world-encompassing news. I hear about accidents world-wide. (And wonder why I need to know this). We have so much stuff that our houses are full. Is it any wonder I like to write about an earlier era when many things about life were simpler? (Don’t write me and inform me that the good old days weren’t good. I KNOW the challenges of coping with work and travel, etc. were difficult)

But do you remember one of the Little House on the Prairie stories when the girls were thrilled to get a new tin cup for Christmas so now they could each have their own cup. Now that’s simplicity.

So I look at my life and wonder how I could enjoy more simplicity. I have already made strides toward living a life of less consumerism. But could I do more? I don’t know but it’s something I wish to think about.

I see the beauty of it.

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THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

I know I am blessed in so many ways. My family, my friends, where I live, the freedoms I enjoy, my health, my work…the list could go on and on. I don’t know about you but I too often forget how much I have to enjoy. So today, I thought I would purposely think of some of my favorite things.

1. The Rocky Mountains that I can see every day on my walks, in town, driving down the road. I long for a visit to them but in the meantime, I enjoy the distant view of them. Here are a couple of my favorite scenes. I have dozens of them and many, many more memories.

Banff in July 093banff 016

2. Banff. I know it’s in the mountains but it’s a different enjoyment. The year I graduated from high school I worked in the Banff area and have had a deep fondness for the town and area since that time. So many good memories. Such a pretty town.

Banff in July 031

3. Sunrise walks. To watch the pinks, purples and oranges color the sky is uplifting. I’ll miss enjoying it when summer comes because, no, I’m not getting up at 3 a.m. to see the sunrise.

sunrise thurs 2

4. Colors. Indoors or outdoors, colors feed my soul.

more poppies 001canola fields july 009chilibris retreat in Nashville 017

5. Blue and green. In the midst of winter, beaches, the color of water and sky all brighten my day. Too bad I have to go to Hawaii to enjoy these scenes.

hawaii 069hawaii 277

6. Unusual shapes and patterns. Or just patterns. I don’t know what it says about me that I love to see patterns. I can’t be the only one or they wouldn’t be so prevalent in architecture and nature.

hawaii 009hawaii 044

7. Writing retreats. I have always thought real authors write in coffee shops, in quiet, secluded places or at least, away from home places. So I feel real when I write in such places.

hawaii 068 

There you have. Just a smattering of things I love and enjoy and believe me, it’s just a few items on a long list. So next time you hear me grumble about some small inconvenience, remind me of all the good things in my life. Smile Thanks.

 

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