The Fillies are proud to announce that Miss Sherri Shackleford will arrive in the Junction on Saturday, June 1st.
We all need a swift kick in the backside. Some more than others. Miss Sherri will tell us the whys and wherefores of being a mentor. We all need one. Shoot, I need three or four because this old crotchety woman tends to plop down on her rear every chance she gets!
Miss Sherri has a Love Inspired book out called WINNING THE WIDOW’S HEART. Don’t your heart just melt to see that big strong cowboy on the cover holding that little baby?
So join in the fun come Saturday. Get your chores done early and hightail it over to the Junction.
My BFF Robyn is a MOPS mom and has a blog Coolest Mommy’s Coolest Thoughts with all kinds of tips on child raising and money saving techniques. She shared this timely topic with us today:
It’s summer and this means many of you will be traveling with small children. Through the years, we’ve found a few tips and tricks to help us travel. Please note, we DO have a video player in the van, but we DO NOT use it constantly when driving.
My husband & I believe that children need to learn to entertain themselves some and they need to learn to handle boredom because all of life will not entertain you. So using the “TV is a privilege, not a guarantee” attitude, here’s a few tips.
Do the words “Family Vacation” strike terror into your heart? With the holidays approaching and many people traveling, I wanted to give you some simple ideas to help make traveling with children easier.
For car travel, get some inexpensive toys/games from garage sales or dollar stores that you use only during travel. If you put them away for non-travel times, these toys will become an exciting thing for your children.
Don’t forget the snacks. My kids know that Pringles and Twizzlers are always packed for our car trips. Not healthy, but a family memory and something to pass the time. Besides, how else can they learn about using Twizzlers as a straw in your 7Up? Yum, yum.
The best travel tip I’ve ever received is to stop a little early for lunch at a fast food with a playplace. Let the kids run around and play while you eat. The rule is, “When you want to stop and eat, we leave.” When the kids are done playing, the adults have eaten a quiet meal. One adult takes kids to the bathroom, one orders kid meals to go for them and we load up. The kids eat and play with their new toy for about a half hour. Then they are full and tired and will remain quiet or sleep for a while. We will never again try to force them to eat in the restaurant when they could be burning off all kinds of energy.
No playplace available? Grab food and find a park (or rest stop) and force them to run. Make the kids run races and do exercise competitions (jumping jacks, best high jump) while you eat. Then feed them when you get back on the road.
Some other fun things are window clings for them to put on the windows (carseats, backs of seats, etc.) and silly games like find the alphabet in signs you pass or sing silly songs. Get books on tape/CD from the library to entertain. We often check out the book as well so our reader can read along with the tape.
A few other random travel tips:
One of our former MOPS moms told us to get a jellyroll pan for each child. It looks like a cookie sheet but has the sides all around it. Since it’s metal, magnets stick to it. For boys who love cars or trains, you can attach contact paper that you ‘create’ into roads or tracks. Then they can drive their cars/trains on it and they won’t roll off because of the raised edges.
Take it a step farther and pick up those inexpensive sticker books with scenes that you attach the stickers onto. (Usually found at airports, Cracker Barrel restaurants, etc. for about $1-1.50 per book.) If you attach the stickers to any magnet—might I recommend the freebies you get all over town—and cut out around the sticker, you can have a baggie of each sticker/magnet book. The kids can place the scene on their tray and put the magnetic stickers on the page. Pick up and put away when done.
These trays are also great for coloring (even at home when not traveling). Colors don’t roll off and if you have an enthusiastic scribbler, the color will only be on the tray.
It’s not always possible to do, but if you can plan extra time into your travel, take a little break to stop along the way at those various green sign sightseeing places. While a Pony Express Station might not be the most fascinating thing you’ll ever see, it’s fun to talk about history while you’re standing in the place. Stopping helps break up the driving a little and does create a memory that lasts a lifetime. A thirty-minute stop can make the next several hours of driving go much smoother.
For driving to the same place all the time (such as Grandma’s house), create a special map for your child. For example, when we go to our Grandma’s house, our map (hand-drawn by me) has: our house, windmills, the water tower that looks like a balloon, Exotic Animal Farm, a certain funny city name (because the kids like the name of the town and say it over and over in a sing-song voice), ice cream cone (we stop for a treat), buffalo (we pass some buffalo signs), toll booth (we take the toll road on the way), a windmill we pass, Grandma’s house. If you prefer to go high-tech, you can take photos when you go and create a pictorial map for the next trip.
I encourage you to move away from using only DVD’s to entertain kids in cars. We have a movie player in our van, but our kids are well aware of the rules. We will watch one video and then the machine goes off and screen goes up for a minimum of one hour. My kids have been forced to learn goofy songs, play silly license plate games and they have learned that sometimes you have to be bored and happy at the same time. They have learned to read in a moving car. They have invented all kinds of their own games and ways to entertain themselves.
Turning off all screens, including gaming devices and cell phones, has also taught us to communicate with our children on a deeper level. When you’re trapped for 9+ hours together in a vehicle, you can turn that into some amazing teaching time and sharing time without the kids realizing it. We work Bible stories into the day or share scriptures with the kids. It’s especially meaningful when we pass incredible scenery and teach them about all the beauty in God’s creation. We know where the Llama farm is and where every windmill can be found on our route.
(Please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Paty’s latest release, Spirit of the Sky.)
Putting together historical facts with the fictional people I’ve produced in my head is harder than just whipping out a completely plausible story.
The “Spirit Trilogy” as I call my books – Spirit of the Mountain, Spirit of the Lake, and Spirit of the Sky – came to me as an idea about Native American spirits. They are complete figments of my imagination but I was interested in incorporating this idea into a tribe I grew up hearing about and admired from the history I’d read about them. So I placed my spirits in the Nez Perce (Nimiipuu as they call themselves) band that summered and wintered in the county where I grew up.
They were a peaceful group who had welcomed Lewis and Clark and the Whitemen who straggled in and eventually began to take over the areas the Nez Perce had called home for centuries. Reading all the books I could find that were written from both sides, I tried to envision what life was like for the Nez Perce and to write a story as historically accurate about their life as I could and all the while weaving in the spirit element I’d manufactured.
The first book, Spirit of the Mountain, took a lot of digging into information on Nez Perce websites, books, and contacting members of the tribe to make sure the information I wanted to use in my books was factual and didn’t go against their beliefs. In the first book, I only had to stay true to their way of life.
Spirit of the Lake, again, dealt with their beliefs and how they tried to live with the Whiteman to avoid being put on a reservation. I used information from Nez Perce websites, visited the Spaulding mission, and my contacts with the tribe to ensure I kept true to the facts and let my imagination go wild with the paranormal aspect of this book.
The last book was the hardest. Spirit of the Sky dealt with the nontreaty Nez Perce fleeing to freedom. The band I’d showcased in the two previous books were part of the nontreaty bands who hadn’t signed the treaty that took away all the places they lived throughout the year. They tried to live with the Whitemen who steadily flowed into their valley, but the Whites wanted the Nez Perce gone and the Army came in to make them move.
The nontreaty bands had finally agreed to move to the reservation when some hot-headed young warriors decided to take revenge. This one act was the catalyst that put the nontreaties on the run. They knew that after the killing it was unlikely the Army would keep their promises.
And that began the four month, 1400 mile pursuit by the Army. Spirit of the Sky, begins two weeks into the pursuit and follows the horrors and triumphs of the Lake Nimiipuu band. Using books written by both sides, I made a time line and highlighted the things I found significant at each clash between the groups. I used this as my plot line and interspersed the meetings between a cavalry officer and the Nez Perce Spirit into this plot line using the factual information to springboard their interactions. The hardest part was keeping each side’s POV focused on their situation, thoughts, and feelings.
I was a month late getting the story to my editor due to the time it took to weave the fact with the fiction and make it all feel real.
Blurb for Spirit of the Sky
To save her from oppression, he must save her whole tribe. To give her his heart, he must desert his career…
When the US Army forces the Nimiipuu from their land, Sa-qan, the eagle spirit entrusted with watching over her tribe, steps in to save her mortal niece. Challenging the restrictions of the spirit world, Sa-qan assumes human form and finds an unexpected ally in a handsome cavalry officer.
Certain she is a captive, Lt. Wade Watts, a Civil War veteran, tries to help the blonde woman he finds sheltering a Nez Perce child. While her intelligent eyes reveal she understands his language, she refuses his help. But when Wade is wounded, it is the beautiful Sa-qan who tends him. Wade wishes to stop the killing—Sa-qan will do anything to save her people.
Can their differences save her tribe? Or will their love spell the end of the Nimiipuu?
She smiled and his heart leapt into his throat. He thought her beautiful from the first moment he saw her standing in the river fiercely protecting the child, but watching her tense face relax and smile, he was smitten. A light and pleasing calm washed over him for the first time in a very long time. He could only bask in the moment briefly. They were enemies.
“I am from the sky, and I watch over the Nimiipuu.” She nodded her head and flashed him with yet another smile. “You may call me Angel.”
“Only if you call me Wade.”
She nodded. “Let me check your wounds. You have moved around.”
“Why are you taking such good care of me when your warriors left me for dead?”
Her sunshine gaze peered straight into his eyes. “You saved my niece at the village and the wounded from the Bannock scout. You do not have the thirst to kill like the other soldiers.” She bowed her head and removed the blood encrusted bandage from his shoulder. “The Nimiipuu need you.”
Her touch warmed his body, tingling the areas around his wounds. He glanced at her small, delicate hands hovering over his injuries. He shut his eyes, and then opened them. Her hands shimmered as if in a fog. His pain subsided, in fact, his body felt well rested.
A soft lyrical chant rose from her lips as she continued to hover her hands over his wounds. Her eyes remained closed, her light lashes resting on her sun-kissed cheeks. He’d never seen a woman as beautiful as this. He had to learn her true origins and return her to her family.
Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
She is a member of RWA, EPIC , and COWG. She’s had eleven books and a short story published so far and is venturing into the new world of self-publishing ebooks.
Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance and Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest. Spirit of the Lake was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
In 1893, Grover Cleveland began serving his second term as U.S. president, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murder of her parents, and the World’s Columbian Exposition opened in Chicago.
Several products and inventions made their debut at the Exposition. The first ferris wheel, Juicy Fruit gum, shredded wheat, and cream of wheat were on that list. But it was the introduction of the delectable brownie that stole the show.
It happened when Chicago socialite and philanthropist Bertha Palmer instructed the pastry chefs at her husband’s hotel, the Palmer House, to create a dessert that could fit inside the box lunches for ladies at the fair and that could be eaten without a mess. Thus the humble chocolate brownie was born.
Fondness for the dessert quickly spread. And in 1896, Fannie Farmer included the brownie recipe in her Boston Cooking School Cook Book.
I can’t think of any dessert that’s more versatile. It can be made plain or with icing, nuts, fruit bits, and any number of things, whatever strikes your fancy. The brownie became the trademark dessert of the Palmer House and is still served today.
Here is the original brownie recipe:
Chocolate Fudge Brownies from the Palmer House Hilton
3 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
5 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups chopped walnut pieces
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoons apricot preserves
Preheat oven to 325F. Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl set over simmering water. Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Stir chocolate mixture into flour mixture. Whisk in eggs. Pour into a 12 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle walnuts on top, pressing slightly into batter. Bake 40 minutes, or until the edges become slightly crisp and the brownie has risen about ¼ inch. (Even when the brownie is properly baked, it will test gooey with a toothpick in the center.) Let cool 30 minutes. For glaze, combine water and preserves in a medium saucepan, whisking well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, pat glaze over brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours. Remove and let stand 10 minutes and slice.
What kind of brownies are your favorite? Or maybe you have another favorite dessert. This year at the Texas State Fair in Dallas they’re gonna have Fried Girl Scout Samoa Cookies. Maybe your state fair can top that.
Truth is, Miz Paty is no stranger to Wildflower Junction. She’s mozeying by on Wednesday to tell us about her new book, Spirit of the Sky, ‘fore she heads on home to her real-life ranch. She’ll be drawing one commenter’s name to win a copy, so don’t forgit to stop by.
General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868
The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of
JOHN A. LOGAN,
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.
Today we celebrate Memorial Day, though celebrate may not be the best word. Remember—that’s more appropriate. Originally called Decoration Day, it was meant to be a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Though it has turned into the unofficial first weekend of summer and most of us spend it picnicking and boating and barbequing with friends and family, we shouldn’t lose sight of its meaning—its reason.
I propose today that we take a minute out of our day of boating, eating and celebrating, to do as President Clinton directed in 2000:
“Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.
“In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.
“Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance (Program), to promote a “National Moment of Remembrance” to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day…”
–President William J. Clinton Memorandum on the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance,May 2, 2000
So, at 3pm, whever you are, stop for a moment. Put down the hot dogs, the baseball bats, the sunscreen, and remember all those who sacrificed for us–both those in the past and those doing so right now–so we can enjoy our amazing freedoms and a fun summertime tradition.
Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at Wildflower Junction. To purchase any of these fine books, just click on the book covers. And to learn more about the authors, click on thier names.
With his break-your-heart smile, rodeo star and rebel Ty Diamond has a reputation that should have Clara Ferguson running scared—not straight into his arms!
Ty knows he needs to take it easy with Clara—her past has left her with a bruised heart and she’s determined never to rely on a man again. But Ty isn’t all he seems…and his gentle side shakes Clara’s resolute independence to its breaking point.
For two months, Nora Murphy has cared for the abandoned infant she found on their Boston-bound ship. Settled now in Faith Glen, Nora tells herself she’s happy. She has little Grace, and a good job as housekeeper to Sheriff Cameron Long. She doesn’t need anything more – not the big family she always wanted, or Cam’s love..
A traumatic childhood closedCam off to any dreams of family life. Yet somehow his lovely housekeeper and her child have opened his heart again. When the unthinkable occurs, it will take all their faith to reach a new future together.
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.
Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?.
Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a book turns into a great big UGH! That’s what happens when the research takes on a life of its own and you have a whole lot more work to do than you had planned. Not that it isn’t usually interesting.
AGAINST THE SUN, the sixth book in my AGAINST series, deals with a visit toTexasby a Saudi Arabian sheik and his family. The sheik is there to negotiate a three hundred million dollar oil-well equipment sale with one of Marine Drilling International’s vice presidents, Sage Dumont.
That’s hero, big Jake Cantrell, first appeared in AGAINST THE LAW. At six-foot-five, two-hundred-forty pounds, tough and smart, I knew the minute he walked onto the page that Jake would make a great hero.
He also appeared in AGAINST THE NIGHT when Johnnie Riggs and Amy Brewer’s adventure took them to the jungles ofBelize. In AGAINST THE SUN, Jake is hired to act as Sage’s bodyguard during the Saudis’ visit. Being a Special Forces Marine who’s done corporate protection work in theMiddle East, Jake can also teach her the protocols she will need to know in order to make the deal.
That’s where the research came in. Fortunately, I have a close friend who’s an internationally famous bounty hunter. He’s also done a great deal of work as a bodyguard and even teaches classes on the subject inFlorida, now that he’s retired. When Bob Burton was inSanta Barbaralast year, I was able him to corner him for lunch. That’s when he mentioned the protocols that a businessman had to learn in order to negotiate a deal with the Saudis.
Customs like sitting with your legs crossed and showing someone the bottom of your foot, which is considered a grave insult. Or making a circle with your fingers for the okay sign. To a Saudi Arabian, that is considered giving someone the evil eye.
From that moment on, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The research involved in getting the customs, clothing, and attitudes of the Saudi visitors correct made AGAINST THE SUN one of the most difficult books I’ve ever written. And also one of the most interesting.
On top of the research, there was the problem of dealing with women’s rights inSaudi Arabiawithout offending anyone.
In the end, I think Sage and Jake are two of my strongest, most heroic characters. I hope readers with think their love story is equally strong.
I hope you’ll look for AGAINST THE SUN and the rest of the books in my AGAINST series, and that you enjoy them all.