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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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NOURISHING YOUR SOUL

How many times have you heard someone say they’re burned out and need a holiday? I know I’ve said it a number of times. A break always sounds like a great idea. And I take them as often as I can.

But it doesn’t have to be big like a trip away from home. Little times can be used to refresh and recharge. I’ve made a list for myself. I call them mini vacations. You can take many of them without leaving home. My list includes:

1. Sitting and listening to favorite music while drinking my favorite beverage. No computer, TV or any electronics. Just 10-15 min. and I feel almost brand new.

2. Another is get a color fix. You might drop in to the fabric or yarn store and drink in all the colors. It really does wonders for me. Even thinking about it does so. Or if you can, take a trip to somewhere sunny and warm and enjoy the colors. In the midst of an Alberta winter I find I crave color so I drank in the colors on my holiday to Hawaii and I will share them with you. Enjoy and be refreshed.

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3. Having a coffee date with myself. (If you’re in need of seeing other people make a date with a friend.) I like to take a book and read, a notebook and write (it doesn’t have to be about my writing. It might be a time to organize my life) or I can read the newspaper uninterrupted.

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4. A leisurely walk. Sometimes a change of scenery from your normal walk scene.

5. A real change of scenery. I love writing while away from home.

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6. Doodling. It’s not meant to be good but fun. Sort of like adult coloring only you don’t need as many pens or pencils. Unless, of course, you want to color it later.

doodle

7. Enjoy a sunrise or sunset while walking. Alone is good allowing you to enjoy the peace and quiet.

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8. Visit a museum, a library or a bookstore. Works every time.

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Do you take mini-vacations? What do you do?

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GO FOR COFFEE

What do you do when you go to Hawaii?  hawaii 261 

Well, I went for coffee. I wanted to find something besides the same old chains though I did end up stopping in at several Starbucks simply because there was always one nearby.

One was across from the Trump Tower. Another in the Kalia Tower of the Hawaiian Hilton Village. One in the Hale Koa hotel that we learned to our dismay closed at 1 p.m. (What is with that???)

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But I did manage to find a few unique coffee shops.

1. Island Vintage Coffee at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Very busy. They offered a temptation I couldn’t turn down—Macadamia, Coconut coffee. Although I don’t care for sweetened coffee, this was a delightful drink.

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2. Lappert’s ice cream and coffee. I expect ice cream was the big draw in the afternoon but at sunrise, it was coffee and something from the baked goods. Right across from the lobby of the Hawaiian Hilton I could see myself going there often if there hadn’t been other places to visit.

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3. Gorilla in the Cafe. The name was enough to draw me in. A cute little shop off a busy thoroughfare. Very quiet first thing in the morning.

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4. Coffee Gallery on the North Shore. Very busy by the time we got there. They had a lovely looking outdoor area but after seeing a dead animal, a rat trap and hoards of flies, we gave it a miss. Good coffee with interesting decor.

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5. The Beachwalk was appealing. I wanted coffee there but they only served a coffee sweetened with condensed milk. It did not appeal to me even though the place had a certain amount of ambience.

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Yup. Good memories of good coffee.

drink coffee

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JOYFUL EVENTS

Two events have brightened my days recently. The first is a trip to Waikiki with three of my daughters. Lovely weather, lovely company and lovely surroundings. Here are some pictures of the beautiful setting.

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It seems such a long time ago I got to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun and ocean, walk and watch the sunrise and sunset. That’s the trouble with holidays. They are too soon memories. But great memories.

The second event is one I am looking forward to with both excitement and fear. I am to be on Facebook Live. A first for me. That event will be Tues. I will also be doing a video interview on Fri. I’m not sure when that goes live but will keep you informed. But please come and visit me on Tues. There will be prizes.

Linda Ford Facebook Live

What special events have brightened your January days?

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WHAT I LEARNED (PART 2)

Last week I shared half a dozen things I learned while researching the story series Big Sky Country. The second book—Montana Cowboy Family—is out this month.

Montana Cowboy Family

Today, I want to share another half dozen things I learned.

1. The area is beautiful which I already knew but it bears repeating.

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2. There are old-growth cedars of up to 500 years—the Ross Creek Cedars.

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3. David Thompson mapped the area. What an incredible man he was.

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montana research trip July 1134. Gold brought people to the area. In 1864, 1000 men were each panning $20-$30 from Wild Horse Creek. Fine gold was valued at $18/oz. but it was the wealth of trees that kept them there.

 

montana research trip July 2175. There is a library well stocked with books on local history.

montana research trip July 0466. The lake created by the Libby Dam  is called Lake Koocanusa.

 

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The name is a combination of the names Kootenai, Canada and United States and crossed the Canada-American border. montana research trip July 042

 

The Koocanusa Bridge, Montana’s longest (2,437 feet) and highest (270 feet) bridge crosses the lake.

 

 

I really enjoy researching. It makes me look at places I visit with more interest. Do you dig deep into an area when you visit it? What is your favorite discovery?

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