Happy New Year From The Fillies

new-year clockAccording to Wikipedia, the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more and cut back on alcohol. The Fillies have some other ideas for life in Wildflower Junction. Here they are . . .


Pat Potter
I have two. My resolution is to do an act of kindness every day, and to live each day as if it’s my last.

Elizabeth Lane
My resolution for 2010 is to work on living in the moment–it’s called mindfulness.New Year's Resolution 1 

Cheryl St. John
I don’t make resolutions, but I do set goals in three categories: Personal, career and craft. One of my goals is to use my date book consistently, plotting deadlines and page counts. Another is to build conflict into my characters, so it’s inherent. One of my personal goals is to plan in more time to read for enjoyment.

Karen Kay
I resolve to lose the weight I put on over the holidays. 🙂

I resolve to give as much assistance as I’m able to those who ask. And like Pat to give kindness to others, even in situations where one is tempted to be unkind. It’s said that one only errs in not giving as much kindness as one ought. There are those who would like to make one think that giving kindness is a weakness. I disagree. It takes moral fiber and greatness to be able to give kindness. Native Americans at one time understood this and recorded it.

Only the strong can afford to be kind, and only the weak would punish and harm when one could use other means to resolve differences. To the liars, the betrayers, the murderers and the thieves, I say all this is weakness. And since we live in a universe where one gets what he/she gives to others…guess what?

I resolve to get my everyday schedule working so that I get more work done — and hopefully faster. 🙂

Linda Broday
I want to laugh more and whine less. This will be a year for clinging fast to all the things that add joy to my life. I want to make each day really count for something. It’s a time for looking forward with hope and finding peace.

Margaret Brownley
My resolution is to organize my office and knock off at least a foot or two from the 7 foot vertical paper file.

Mary Connealy
My resolution is NO MORE RESOLUTIONS. I resolve to accept and like myself just like I am.  I  might as well….I’ve never had much luck changing.

Stacey Kayne
I have only one resolution: my continued efforts to find balance in my chaotic single-track-mind life; finding a happy, healthy balance of family, work, friends, and “me time” that’s productive and guilt free.  Sounds so simple  🙂

Tanya Hanson
Get an inspirational proposal off. Exercise more and eat less.

Tracy Garrett
I resolve to better balance work time and play time. 

Victoria Bylin
To eat more and sleep less.  Oops!  That’s not right . . . To sleep more and eat less . . . I don’t like that one, either.  How about this? My New Year’s Resolution for 2010 is to eat right, sleep well, write diligently, pray faithfully, walk daily and read books just for the fun of it. Put more succinctly, my resolution is to live each day to the fullest.

Winnie Griggs
I resolve to work on getting better discipline in my life–most notably to begin chipping away at my tendency to procrastinate.

Shoot, my vow is pretty simple! I’m gonna make the best durn cider you ever tasted and rope me a handsome cowboy who can put some zip in my doo-dah. Ain’t life grand? 


Sharon Gillenwater Comes to the Junction


Miz Sharon Gillenwater will visit us here at the Junction come Saturday.

The dear lady will tell us about ranching in West Texas where she was born and raised. The ranch where she grew up has a very interesting history that ah’m sure you’ll want to find out about.

Miz Sharon won’t be a bit shy when she talks about her new book called JENNA’S COWBOY. Just get a gander of that handsome devil on the cover! Ah’d like to catch him under some mistletoe. Hee-hee!

So shake the wrinkles out of your petticoats and bustle over here this weekend.

Miz Sharon will give away a copy of her book. You don’t want to miss that.

A Filly’s New Year’s Resolutions

champagne-glasses-7margaretbrownley-150x150Margaret Brownley 

According to a recent survey 38% of us will go through the ritual of making New Year’s resolutions this year. Sad to say, only 8% of us will meet with success.  As someone once said, even the best intentions go in one year and out the other. That’s probably because we insist upon making resolutions that involve giving up something (drinking, smoking) or getting rid of something (weight, debt).  

I don’t know what resolutions they made in the Old West, but I’m willing to bet that giving up or getting rid of something was not on anyone’s priority list.  It was more like getting something (land or gold).   Early settlers probably didn’t do any better than us modern folks in keeping their resolutions, but you have to give them credit: some died trying. 

I plan to take my best shot at keeping my New Year’s  resolutions—but dying is where I draw the line. 


In 2010

I resolve to….

  •  Lose the extra five pounds on my hips.  From now on, I’ll pack only one gun instead of two.


  • Make an effort to see the good in everyone.   Even barbed wire has its good points.


  • Stop treatin’ suspicion as abs’lute proof.           


  • Be more generous.  No more keepin’ my opinions to myself.                        


  • Make exercise a priority—for my horse.



  •  Practice my quick draw with my gun—not my VISA card.


  •  Keep from taking sides during a shoot-out, especially shoot-outs involving family members.


  • Avoid stampedes by shopping online.         noise-maker-color


  • Limit time spent on the open range.  That www dot brand sure can waste a lot of time.


  • Clean out closets.  Nothing (or no one) should hang that doesn’t deserve to be hung.


  • Finally: In the year 2010, I’ll do my best to stop  holding up shopping carts and forcing people to buy my book.



I told you my resolutions–now tell me yours. Afraid you won’t keep them?  Not to worry.  I promise not to tell if you don’t die trying. 


Happy New Year!


cover-web   A Lady Like Sarah is available now!  Order from your favorite bookstore. 

Visit Margaret’s Website:www.margaretbrownley.com


Christmas Fruit Pizza

elizabethlane.jpgChristmas Fruit Pizza

one pkg yellow cake mix

 (orange, butter pecan & fudge work too)

two eggs

one-fourth cup water

one-fourth cup butter

one-fourth cup packed brown sugar

one-half to one cup chopped nuts


Mix together, it will be thick. 

Spread in a circle on large cookie sheet and bake 10 -12 minutes at 350, or until golden brown. 



Spread top with whipping cream (Cool Whip works, too). 

Use any kind of fruit to top the whipping cream. 

Melt apricot jam and brush on the fruit.


Ideas for Christmas: 

Kiwi slices cut in half for leaves. 

Strawberries cut in half for poinsettia leaves and pineapple tidbits for center of flowers. 

Green grapes work well, too.


See examples below.




Merry Christmas! 


Sinful Chocolate Cake in a Mug!

Looking for a way to unwind from the stress and bustle of Christmas?

I have just the thing for you. It’s quick and easy and makes you feel like a pampered queen in as little as fifteen minutes.

* * * * *


1 coffee mug

4 Tbsp. cake flour (plain, not self-rising)

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. cocoa

1 egg

3 Tbsp. milk

3 Tbsp. oil

Small splash of vanilla

3 Tbsp. chocolate chips, optional

Add dry ingredients to mug, mix well with a fork. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix well. Add chips if using.

Put mug in microwave, and cook for three minutes on high. Cake will rise over the top of the mug–do not be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little; tip onto plate if desired. Eat!

(This can serve two if you want to feel less guilty.) 🙂


And if you drizzle some ice cream fudge topping over the cake while it’s still warm, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Yummy!

Here’s a tip: Measure out the dry ingredients and store them in an airtight jar. Then when you get ready to indulge your sinful craving, just dump into your mug and add the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.

Grab yourself a throw and sit in front of a cozy fire. It’s the ultimate guilty pleasure!

Happy New Year everyone!

Tanya Hanson’s Merriest Christmas Eve Ever

A Christmas Memory…

For the second time in her life, our daughter Christi wasn’t here with us on a Christmas Eve. Four days ago, she was in Arizona with her new in-laws. However she and her hubby kept the promise to fly back home in time for Christmas dinner. Prime rib, fun stuff, and family.

The first time we spent Christmas Eve apart was Christi’s first on earth. Two weeks old, she spent it in a neonatal intensive care unit hooked to every wire and tube imaginable. I still get shivers at the memory.

Thing is, she’d been born a hearty nine-pounder, healthy and content after a short easy labor. As I held my newborn daughter, I knew my life was complete with a handsome hubby at my side and a precious two-year old son waiting at home.

Family Stockings 2

But four days before Christi’s first Christmas, disaster struck. Her unusual irritability and sudden fever of 106 brought about the fearsome diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, and my perfect world began to unravel. She went into isolation, and I went into full panic.

“She’s in good hands here,” said the pediatrician, also a mom. “Come here whenever you want to, but remember, it’s Christmas, and your little boy needs you, too.”

Good advice. Although our hearts were heavy, we took her brother to see Santa, shopped and cooked and pretended, laid the tiny red velvet dress from her Uncle Mike across her empty bassinette at home. We saw our baby whenever possible, but it was total agony not to touch her, to only see her through the transparent confines of a tiny temperature-controlled isolette. The nurses hung a little white Christmas stocking on it to add some cheer.

Tears rarely stopped although we did our best to hide them, and nights were long and sleepless. We prayed without ceasing.

On the second hospital day, the report was half-comforting: She’s a big, strong baby. The antibiotics are powerful, so she could possibly make it.

Okay. But what if she doesn’t? How could I ever celebrate Christmas again?

Day Three: Your baby girl will live, but…meningitis is a very bad thing and it can bring about many bad things. (We knew this. Blindness, deafness, seizures, crippling, mental retardation.) We don’t know how much residual damage yet…

When will you know? Terror flamed again while everybody else sang Joy to the world.

Day Four: Christmas Eve. Christi will suffer no residual damage. We’ve run tests and consulted. She’s fine, she’s perfect in every way! Have a Merry Christmas!

Talk about a Christmas miracle! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! I still get shivers.

Both as precaution and to complete the antibiotic protocol, Christi stayed in NICU for five more weeks. However, the day did come when we could hold her, when I could nurse her, when her “big” brother could peek in through the inner sanctum NICU windows and be reminded he had a new baby sister. Here they are the next Christmas and skiing in Yosemite a few Christmases later.

Christi one year old and her brother

Christmas Ski Trip in Yosemite







 In February, she wore that tiny red velvet dress at the family party following her baptism. (She wore my little white baptism dress to the ceremony.) And she’s had a ton of cool Christmases since then, including 2009 as a happy newlywed.

Tiny Christmas Dancer

  Christi and Scott Christmas 2009









Well, I learned first-hand on that long-ago Christmas Eve that the Lord lives…and that the Lord loves. Christmas miracles are real. May all your Christmas dreams come true, may all your Christmas prayers be answered, and may God bless you all, everyone, in 2010.


TurkeyCartoonHow many of us, at the end of a holiday dinner, go back in that kitchen and stare at that carcass and just want to throw it straight into the trash.
Yes, there’s still a LOT of food on that thing. But come on, we’re STUFFED. (Insert your own turkey stuffing joke here)

Saving large amounts of food at this point seems like a ridiculous waste of time. A person can convince themselves that it’s the RIGHT thing to do to pitch the whole bird.
Unless you’ve got this recipe. Then you WANT that turkey meat. You’re looking forward to having it on hand.
Maybe not right away, but a week from now you’ll be coming out of your L-Tryptophan induced haze and really be wanting to eat again.
Although, this recipe is so good you might decide not to wait. And you might decide you need to eat it even when you’re not recovering from some major holiday.


Turkey Almond Casserole

6 Cups Cooked Turkey
2 Cups raw Rice
2 Cans Mushroom Soup
1 Cup Mayo
½ Cups sliced Water Chestnuts
1/2 cup slivered Almonds
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 ½ Cup raw Celery
1 small Onion

Mix ingredients together, top with crushed cornflakes and sprinkle with cheddar cheese
Bake in 9 x 13 pan for 1 hour.

Anyone with a great recipe for turkey….here’s your chance. Post it today. And if you’re awake and your head is clear from the feasting….Merry Christmas Everyone! http://maryconnealy.com





Christmas Bells

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!


And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

The Night Before Christmas – Filly Style!


VISIT HIS WEBSITE: http://jeffreykoterba.com/


‘Twas the night before Christmas in this Junction of ours;

The sky over the prairie was ablaze with bright stars;

Our boots were lined up by the fire with care,

In hopes that Old Santa Claus soon would be there;

Felicia’s ornery mule napped snug there in the barn,

Whilst our visiting guest was spinning a yarn;

O’course Winnie in her wool socks and Tanya in her cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out in the corral there arose such a ruckus,

I sprang from bed to see what the heck was…

…outside the window, there on the barn roof,

Victoria banged open the shutters and near busted a tooth!

The moon was so bright it near blinded my eye

And the snow landed like whippin’ cream coverin’ a pie,

When, what to my hornswaggled eyes should appear,

But a covered wagon and eight dusty reindeer!

With a little old driver wearing boots and a hat,

I knew for durned sure he was related to Pat.

He was cheery and bright, a right jolly cowpoke,

And I laughed when I saw him; he was my kind of  folk.

Those reindeers, they ain’t docile. What a hissy they threw!

Nearly toppled the wagon, and Old Santa Claus too.

Quicker’n a youngin’ off to play hookie,

That old geezer came in and asked Linda for a cookie;

She found one and he ate it, so Stacey got milk

Then Karen, she presented him with a scarf made of silk.

But Mary, she hung back, I think she was a’feared

‘Cause all night she trembled and her eyes how they teared

No worry, Margaret told her, the fat guy’s a friend.

To us in the Junction and those ’round the bend,

Sure ’nuff Santa left a package in each Fillies’ boot,

Didn’t matter none to him, they was dusted with soot.

Then somethin’ happened, caught us all by surprise,

Pam and Cheryl showed up with an armload of pies.

We sat down to eat ’em, and they tasted fine,

Though they couldn’t have baked ’em; They hadn’t had time;

Old Santa asked for seconds; Bet that’s why he’s merry.

He tried pumpkin and apple, even pe-can and cherry.

Charlene heaped on whipped cream, and still he ate more.

His belly how it swelled! Would he fit out the door?

“It’s my big night,” he declared.  “Only comes once a year.”

Good thing for that, too, or he’d burst I do fear.

He stifled a burp, and a pipe out it came;

“Smoking’s not good for you,” we did loudly exclaim.

“All that sugar and now this, think of your health.

“Think of all the children that count of your jolly old self!”

He listened real close and even nodded his head,

Took right to his heart everything we had said.

He tossed that old pipe in the fire with a pop,

“The Missus, she’s been tryin’ to get me to stop,”

With a hearty laugh and a promise to come back.

The Fillies watched that old fella leap up the smokestack.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a yee-haw,

And away they all flew, like twister-flung straw.

And we heard him exclaim as that team took flight,

“Merry Christmas, you bloggers, and to all a good-night.”


The winner of a signed copy of

The Husband Tree




Because your mom isn’t well and I’m so sorry about that….I’m giving a second copy to


Email me ladies so I can get your mailing addresses mary @ maryconnealy.com

And thank you all so much for talking Christmas music today on Petticoats & Pistols. What a fun day.

I listened to music suggestions from you all day long. Great mood setting for a