WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS LINDA FORD?

Yes, I’ve been away and visited a number of places. Can you guess where I was? Here are the first set of clues.

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I want to know specifics. Not just a general area. What state am I in? Where are these buildings? Send me your answers at  linda@lindaford.org<linda@lindaford.org or on my facebook account.

Can’t wait to see how many know or can guess this place.

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LOVING THE THOUGHT OF GARDENING.

An early spring for us. Who can complain? Yes, we will likely get snow again and more than likely about the time of the May long weekend. It’s a tradition in Alberta.

But for now, our snow is gone. Tulips are poking through the ground and I started tomato plants. This is the first time in years I have started my own plants. With a man in a wheelchair who crashes into everything, I didn’t have a place I though was safe but last fall I got new doors and the one at the end of the hallway where he never goes, has a window.

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I’m hoping there is enough light there.

 

 

 

 

 

I discovered a new mini greenhouse, complete with warming blanket to get the soil warmer and the seeds germinated faster.

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A couple of months from now I will wonder why I was so excited about gardening and all the extra work but that’s okay. I intend to enjoy the fictional dream for now.

I live in a fictional dream with my characters too. See how I bring everything back to my writing?

Do you enjoy gardening? Do you enjoy vegetables fresh from the back yard? Umm. Can’t wait for it.

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AN OLD FASHIONED WRITER

I am fascinated with old journals, old writing instruments, and the stories of old writers.

There is something so tactile about the way they worked.

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I expect in reality it’s about as romantic as having an outdoor biffy but that’s okay. It’s nice to think of someone working so diligently on a journal.

 

 

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It took some effort to mix up ink, carry it with you and keep the quill sharpened.

This informative, educational site tells about writing with quill and ink. http://lewisandclarktrail.com/quillandink.htm I quote from it.

Ink

Lewis and Clark started off with their own supply of ink. It was packed in a powder form, and they turned it to liquid by adding water. They only mixed as much as they needed at one time.

Several easy substitutes were used for making ink on the frontier. One simple method is by mixing egg whites, ashes or charcoal and honey with a small amount of water. You can also make ink by soaking walnut hulls in water and straining out the stained liquid. Vinegar was added to help the ink set. Other plant juices, such as indigo, have been used as ink for centuries.

Writing with a Quill

The most important tip to remember when using a quill is to write lightly. It’s tempting to press hard, but the proper way is to barely scratch the paper. Handwriting in the 1800s was very flowing and fancy. Moving the quill so much helped keep the ink flowing and made writing easier. In that way, it’s more like painting than writing with a pen or pencil. Practice making some loops and turns to get the feel of it.

When visiting the local museum I was shown a large bottle of powder that was mixed and sold to customers. Likely they refilled little bottles. School desks for older students had a hole in the top so the ink bottle could sit safely and not be knocked to the floor.

(picture from wikipedia.)

Don’t you think this makes the historic journals even more interesting? Even romantic?

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

No doubt you’ve hear our family name—Ford. I may have married into the name, but I figure it gives me the right to access all of its fame. And the family has many claims to fame.

A man sharing our name invented the affordable family vehicle and a company bearing his name is still making affordable vehicles, though they seem somewhat less than affordable when we have to make the monthly payments. And no, bearing the name does not give us a financial advantage when it comes to buying a vehicle with our name branded on the front.

Our family ruled the United States for a while. It doesn’t matter that the ruler was adopted. Just goes to show what lengths people will go to in order to attach themselves to the family

Then there are the ones who made it big in the movies—both adventures and westerns. I blush to admit that the aversion for snakes revealed by Harrison seems to be synonymous with the name.

But have you heard of one of the most famous Ford of all?

That would be my father-in-law.

The seventh son of a seventh son, he also produced seven sons.

He and his brother left Exeter, Ontario during THE war in search of adventure and a cause that would aid the war effort. Farming seemed the noble thing to do so one brother settled in the grain belt of Saskatchewan and my father-in-law found an abandoned farm in the desert of eastern Alberta. He was able to purchase the land by driving the school bus to pay off the back taxes

Farming may have sounded noble but his heart wasn’t in it. All his life, he remained a frustrated inventor. He was certain there was a better, more efficient, quicker way to do everything and would spend hours adjusting and experimenting while one or more of the seven sons gnashed their teeth and checked the sky, wanting nothing more than to get on with the job before the weather turned bad.

His philosophy was anything could be repaired with a piece of hay wire.

His fix-it bent drove many of his sons to tearing at their hair especially when the new combine sat idle in the yard while their father insisted he could fix the old one. may 31 011

Not only could he make it run, but it would run better than the new one. And maybe he could have…given enough time, but with winter hovering on the horizon the sons only wanted to get the crop off.

Not that his efforts were in vain. He came up with some nifty ideas. Why waste time forking off hay? He rigged up a sling to pull the load off the wagon. Of course, sometimes his quest for a faster, easier way led him into a few predicaments. Like slapping the belt connecting the flywheel of the tractor to the hammer mill to make it catch. He tried it once too often and it caught. It caught the sleeve of his coat and almost tore his arm off.

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We bought the family farm and on trips around the yards I would often find myself staring at some maze of wire and belts. Upon questioning my father-in-law or one of the seven sons, I would be told it was how he pulled the pump, or fixed up an automatic waterer (long before one could go to the nearest farm supply story and buy one), or that’s how he bunched bales or any number of things.

I suppose being a farmer, he never had time to pursue all his ideas. Or to patent some of the better ones. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Ideas—like dreams—need to be pursued if we want to make the most of them.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a story idea that needs my attention.

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Modern Picasso

My three year old granddaughter shows real talent.

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Pretty good. Right?

I believe everyone is born with creative talent. It might be in painting, writing, understanding math or mechanics. But something happens to most of us.

http://www.fastcocreate.com/1680919/the-7-biggest-creativity-killers

This article talks about creativity killers. In summary, the author calls them.1: the Control Crew 2: the Fear Family 3: the Pressure Pack 4: the Insulation Clique 5: the Apathy Clan 6: the Narrow-minded Mob 7: the Pessimism Posse

In short, we ourselves or our society or our teachers tend to kill our creativity.

But creativity is a muscle. The more you use it—in whatever direction it takes—the stronger it gets.

What creativity muscle or muscles are you exercising?

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A COWBOY WITH A BROKEN HEART

I hope you visited LynneRose and met her hero, Walter Sherman from her book, Frannie Buckets. (http://littleloosecannon.blogspot.ca/2015/02/the-character-interview-blog-hop-heroes.html) Check it out. I think you’ll enjoy this amusing hero. The story sounds like a lot of fun.

In case you don’t know me, I am Linda Ford, author of over 40 inspirational romances. I love writing about the healing power of love in my heroes and heroines. Perhaps it gives me an imaginary chance to fix the bad things in both my own life and the lives of those I love.

Blue Lyons is a lonely cowboy who needed healing and he found it in the love of a good woman and her two little girls. Blue is from the Eden Valley Ranch in SW Alberta when people were just beginning to settle the west. But wait, I’ve asked Blue to tell his own story Here he comes now. He swings off his horse, dusts his hat against his pants and meets me on the verandah of the hotel. I waved my fan against the summer heat and wait until the dust on the street settles before I turn to him.

Linda: Blue why don’t you tell us about yourself?

Blue: Howdy. Ain’t much to tell. I do my work. Keep to myself. Kind of like summer best because I can live in one of the isolated line cabins and keep to myself. Harder to keep to myself in the winter. There’s cowboys hanging about the bunkhouse. And all the women who seem to have found their way to the ranch. Way too much talking.

Linda: Why don’t you care for talking? Seems you might enjoy swapping yarns with the others. Or are you hiding something?

Blue: Only thing I want to hide is my past.

Linda: Why is that? You haven’t been a bad man have you?

Blue: You sure are nosy.

Linda: Yeah, well it’s what I do best—ask questions until I get to the heart of the matter.

Blue: Good luck. You’re going to need it.

Linda: So if not a bad guy, then have you hurt someone? Or maybe someone has hurt you? Is that why you prefer to stick to your own company?

Blue: You’re looking for obvious answers. It’s not that simple.

Linda pauses hoping Blue will feel compelled to fill in the silence.

Blue looks into the distance:  Talk triggers memories. Memories I would just as soon forget but I haven’t been able to.

Linda: Sounds to me like you’ve suffered a loss. Is that it?

Blue sighs deeply: I lost my wife and two children in a fire. Saw the fire but couldn’t get back in time to save them. (He gives Linda a hard look full of warning and pain). And if you tell anyone this…

Linda: Your secret and your fear is safe with me.

Blue: I never said anything about fear.

Linda: You didn’t have to. I understand how your experience would make you fear loving again.

Blue: I will never allow myself to love again. (He shrugs) Forget I said anything. Is that all you want to talk about? ‘Cause if so, I’ve got things to do.

Linda: Tell me, is there any person who could change your mind about not loving again?

Blue: Nope.

Linda smiles because she knows of a woman who can and will change his mind: What makes you laugh out loud?

Blue, chuckling: The innocent comments of little children. They see things so literally and sometimes they see straight to the heart of a matter. Yup, children make me smile. (He sobers). Another reason to avoid the ranch. Too many kids. Makes me mourn mine all over again.

Linda: It sounds like a child might be able to get past the barriers of your heart.

Blue shakes his head and walks away: Lady, I ain’t going down that path again.

I hope you’ll read Blue’s story in A DADDY FOR CHRISTMAS to be released Oct. 2015, the first of a Christmas trilogy in the miniseries CHRISTMAS IN EDEN VALLEY. I think you’ll enjoy seeing Blue fall in love.

Be sure and check out Lillian Marek’s hero next week. You can find him here: http://lilmarek.indiemade.com/blog Lillian Marek spent too many years in journalism. She got tired of listening to lies and decided to turn to fiction, where the good guys win and the bad guys get punished. http://lilmarek.indiemade.com/

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TINY HOUSES—GOOD IDEA OR NOT?

We’ve all seen the posts about tiny houses. http://tiny.cc/a9gsux They’re cute. They’re low maintenance (always a bonus). And they’re very small.

I find myself attracted to these. But could I really live in one? There are a number of considerations. 1) Could I reduce my pantry to the size of a fruitcake? I’m not sure I could. I like to have lots of food on hand. You know. Just in case. In case we’re snowed in. In case no one wants to go to town. In case, I get hungry.

2) Could I reduce my bookshelf to half a dozen titles? Maybe. If it was a matter of life or death. After all there is my e-reader and libraries. It’s not like I’d be stuck.

3)What about clothes? Everything I owned would have to fit into a closet only 18” wide. Summer time I could manage but winter clothes take up a lot of room.

4) Where would my office go? I need room for my computer, my printer, my files, my research notes, a desk or two to spread out notes on as I work.

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This is a view of one side of my office and YES all that stuff is essential.

 

 

 

5)I’m convinced people who live in tiny houses must not have family. I mean, where would they sit? It would be fine if you lived with eternal summer but I don’t.

My conclusion: A tiny house would be nice for a summer home if one had lots of outdoor living space. Or it would be an ideal office. Other than that, totally impractical for me.

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PEEK-A-BOO IDEAS (AND CAT)

What do a cat and story ideas have in common?

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My cat, Peanut, hides around corners. He hides under the footstool and pokes out his paws to chase a toy. He searches under cushions for toys.

I am working on a new series trying to plot out 6 connected stories. I feel like Peanut…searching under cushions, reaching out for an idea here and there. Hoping for something good to pop around the corner.

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Much staring out the window or at the computer screen is involved as ideas churn and mutate.

By the end of the day, I might not have much to show for my work but I am exhausted.

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Yes. Peanut and I have a lot in common some days.

By the way, isn’t Peanut a beautiful cat? I’m not a crazy cat lady but I’m saying…

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BRENDA’S BUNS

No, this topic doesn’t hold a shade to a certain movie making the rounds. I will not even put the name on my blog.

My BFF shared this recipe for buns, aka dinner rolls, many years ago and it’s a favorite. Thank you, Brenda.

Speaking of BFFs. There is nothing like an old friend who shares my history, who knows my children from birth to present, who has shared bike rides, speaking engagements and hotel rooms. Who knows my struggles and has encouraged me and prayed for me. I consider myself most fortunate to have this kind of friendship.

Here is the recipe for the dinner rolls.

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BRENDA’S BUN RECIPE

2 Tbl. Year + 1 tsp sugar in 1 cup of warm water.Because I use instant yeast I throw this in the mixer bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

2 cups warm water

1 ½ tsp salt

½ c sugar

4 eggs

½ cup oil

Mix. Add 8-10 cups of flour.

Let rise in bowl. Shape into buns on greased cookie sheets. Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

We don’t eat as much bread products as we once did but when my kids are coming I like to make these. The kids love walking into the house, smelling a pot of savory soup and seeing fresh golden buns on the counter. They eat them with soup and then spread freezer raspberry jam on them for dessert.

Yummy.

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A PLACE OF JOY

I have an old chair in the corner of the room  where I like to sit each morning with a cup of coffee, my Bible, my current journal and a handful of different colored pens. It’s where I ease my way into the day, preparing my mind, my heart and my soul. Where I journal about my days.

heritage park books aug 025Noting the events of a day makes me feel like time isn’t slipping through my hands like sand. It makes me feel like the swiftly passing days have some value. Sometimes I’ve been so busy I only note what’s happened or what I’ve done. Even in these busy times it makes me feel like the day has more value. Like I’ve ‘done’ rather than had the day ‘done to me’. On slower days I can examine my feelings, dwell on dreams and plans, consider a bucket list. Even make goals which are very flexible for the most part.

One thing I do on slower days—when life or the client’s call bell don’t hurry me—is be deliberate about gratefulness. We are so blessed yet take so much for granted. I live in a spacious, warm house—not a cardboard box or even a one-room shanty I share with several family members. I am warm, clothed, and my stomach is full.

Then there are the little things—like gifts of grace from a loving God. The colors of the sunrise, the birds darting in and out of the berry bushes, the pleasant shape of the snowdrifts outside my window, the scurry of the clouds, and in other seasons, the colors and sounds of nature.  There is so much to be grateful for. The purr of the cat, the kiss of a child, the enticement of a good book, the aromas of dinner, the first taste of morning coffee.

Reading journals written by others is also a fun and rewarding activity.

I enjoyed Emily Carr’s  Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr. She writes something that I think expresses my own feelings. ‘Yesterday I went to town and bought this book to enter scaps in, not a diary of statistics and dates and decency of spelling and happenings but to jot me down in, unvarnished me, old me at fifty-eight—old, old, old, in most ways and in others just a baby with so much to learn and not much time left…It seems to me it helps to write things and thoughts down. It makes the unworthy ones look more shame-faced and helps to place the better ones for sure in our minds. It sorts out jumbled up thoughts and helps to clarify them, and I want my thoughts clear and straight for my work.’

Anne Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift from the Sea, puts it this way, ‘I began the pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships.’

Much of the best research material I have come upon is journals kept by pioneers. How I thank these people.

I have many, many journals—simple coil-back scribblers. I haven’t decided what to do with them. Though I once read a ditty that I think I might follow: ‘If I should die before I wake, through these journals in the lake.”

Do you keep a journal? Have you ever? Why or why not?

 

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