Bar D Chuckwagon

Back in June, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, my hubby planned a great trip for us to visit Durango, CO. Knowing how much I love the history of the west, we visited several museums, rode a steam train to Silverton, and even stayed one night in an 1800’s hotel.

One of the highlights of the trip for me happened at the very beginning of our trip. We spent an evening at the Bar D Ranch for their Chuckwagon Supper and Old West Cowboy Music Show. It was FANTASTIC!

The Bar D is more than just a ranch. It’s a western village complete with chapel, blacksmith shop, mercantile, chocolate shop, art gallery, and even a train depot. We made sure to get there early to have lots of time to explore.

This adorable little chapel is rented out for weddings. It contains lovely stained glass, and on the night we visited, a couple of cowboys were using for a cowboy poetry reading. The well was right outside the chapel, and since I’m currently working on a westernized Snow White tale, I couldn’t resist a photo by the wishing well.

They also had a large smithy where a local blacksmith was busy plying his trade.

We took advantage of photo ops by the covered wagon and cowboy cut out as well.

I bought a few souvenirs, perused the art gallery, and we even dared spoil our dinner with a sweet appetizer from the chocolate shop. So good!

Then it was time for dinner and a show.

This gorgeous mural was on display as we lined up for our grub. In true cowboy fashion, they served us on tin plates and filled our water/tea/lemonade cups with giant galvanized coffee pots. All the shops close down winner starts, and the staff become our servers. Even the cowboy performers we’d soon see on stage. Everyone wore period western costumes to add to the experience. The costumes were more 1950’s TV western than actual 1800’s western, but I didn’t care. It was too much fun!

The food was delicious! You could choose chicken, roast beef, combo plate, or pay extra for a rib eye steak. Several of the people at our table ordered the rib eye, and it looked amazing. I had chicken and loved it. Wes went for the combo plate. We both ate every bite. Meat, baked potato, biscuits, homemade applesauce, and a slice of spice cake.

As we finished eating, the Bar D Wranglers made their way onto the stage. This was the true highlight of the evening. Fiddle, string bass, and two guitars with four-part cowboy harmony. Everything from Tumbling Tumbleweeds to The Devil Went Down to Georgia. We even had an instrumental version of the 1812 Overture highlighting Gary Cook, one of the Wranglers who is a 2-time National Flat Pick Champion on the guitar. So impressive!

There was comedy too. One of the songs they did was Old MacDonald’s Dysfunctional Farm. It included a lisping snake, an asthmatic cow, and a foul-mouthed chicken just to name a few. We were all in stitches.

A fifth wrangler joined the show for about four or five songs. He was a yodeling cowboy who held us all spellbound. Wow! He flipped between registers with the agility of a a concert pianist. So fast and so clear. I loved it!

What a great way to kick off our vacation! We were grinning the entire night.

If you were going to eat a chuckwagon dinner, what is the one cowboy dish that would be a must to include?

Don’t forget about the P&P Birthday Party on Thursday. It’s going to be so much fun with some great prizes!

 

Dylann Crush and Her Cowboy Playlist

Howdy! I’m Dylann Crush, USA Today Bestselling author of small-town and cowboy romances that will make you laugh, cry, and fall in love. I’m excited to stop in today! I want to chat about how I use music to inspire me while I’m writing.

Some authors associate a certain scent with their characters and some find visuals, such as photos, to represent characters or locations. I tend to rely on music to suck me into the story I’m writing.

Since I write small town contemporary and cowboy romance, I like to listen to music that reminds me of the locations and characters in my books, and thankfully, there’s no shortage of country songs. I’ve found the easiest way for me to connect to the emotion of the story I want to write is to create a playlist to listen to when I’m writing. This works for me on a few different levels.

First, it’s fun for me to spend some time thinking about my storyline and characters as I search for tunes. I’ll imagine the emotions my hero and heroine feel during different points of the story and pick songs that convey those feelings. For example, in my upcoming release, Kiss Me Now, Cowboy, my hero Justin is a professional bull rider. When building my playlist, I made sure to add some tunes that really make me think about the cowboy life like “Boys ‘Round Here” by Blake Shelton and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” by Big & Rich.

My heroine Emmeline is a teacher, but she’s country through and through, so I added songs that make me think of a sassy, southern heroine. A few of my favorites are “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean and “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” by Sammy Kershaw.

Em’s worried about her best friend returning to bull riding too soon and wants to get him away from the pressure he’s facing. She figures out a way to get him to agree to a trip to Paradise Island, a fictional island I created off the southern coast of Texas. I absolutely had to have some

Kenny Chesney on my playlist. His songs “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” and “Because of Your Love” make me think of the sun and sand and the ocean breeze.

Finally, Justin and Em go from best friends to lovers over the course of the story and listening to a few of the songs like “Yeah, Boy” by Kelsea Ballerini and “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted” by the amazing Carrie Underwood helped me capture the range of emotions they experience as they fall in love.

My trick is to set up my playlist, then listen to it over and over again until I don’t even hear it anymore. As a mom of three two-legged kiddos and four four-legged kiddos, I’m always on the go and am constantly being pulled away from my work. So many distractions can make it difficult to hop in and out of the story. One benefit of having my book playlist is being able to listen to it when I’m out and about. I can hit play and my brain subconsciously continues to process the storyline while I drive kids around, cheer my youngest on at his sports events, or try to exercise my hundred-and-forty-pound Great Dane.

If you want to check out my playlist for Kiss Me Now, Cowboy, you can find it here.

Professional bull rider Justin Forza might have to trade his cowboy boots for flip flops to win the woman he loves.

Forzas aren’t quitters. That’s the motto professional bull rider Justin Forza’s dad has drilled into his head since the first time he climbed into the bucking chute. After a serious injury, doctor’s orders are to stay out of the arena. But if Justin can win one more championship, he’ll be able to continue the family legacy, set himself up for life, and finally confess his love to his best friend Emmeline.

Emmeline Porter lives by one rule: never date a bull rider. She’s seen the damage a bad ride can cause. As a last resort to stop Justin from returning to the rodeo circuit, she convinces him to take a trip to Paradise Island, a tropical haven off the coast of Texas. She hopes cutting Justin off from the pressure his dad is laying on him will give her best friend the clarity he needs to walk away for good.

The close quarters and island adventures put their friendship to the test, and it’s not long before real feelings surface and threaten to sweep them both away.

Pre-Order now: https://geni.us/KissMeNowCowboy

Giveaway!

I’d love to gift one reader a signed paperback copy of Kiss Me Now, Cowboy when it releases in August! For a chance to win, just let me know which song you think would be a good addition to my playlist!

(Only US addresses eligible for signed print copy. International addresses eligible for e-book.)

A COWBOY’S SONG ~ Megan Ryder

Hi everybody! Thank you so much for letting me celebrate the release of my book, A Cowboy’s Song, here today!

This book was special to me, as all of my books are, as it combines two special loves for me – cowboys and music. But it also presented a whole bunch of challenges, especially around the music side since I was not that familiar with writing songs and my hero was all about writing a song. So I had a tough road to travel, so to speak.

Country music man playing guitar

Ty Evans, my hero, loved music since he was a boy but he stopped playing and writing music when his family was killed, leaving him an orphan. He ended up in foster care on the ranch in my book, Redemption Ranch, along with two other boys, who became his brothers, but music was not a part of his life. Slowly he reclaimed music, but only to play, not write.

When his oldest brother met the love of his life (Book 1 in my series), Ty decided to try his hand at writing music, and it brought up all the ghosts from his past. A visitor to the ranch, Piper Raines, the daughter of country music royalty, who understands the struggle of music, is there for the wedding, and she helps him breakthrough his block and they sing the song together. When it’s recorded and goes viral, he gets swept up in the hoopla and follows her to Nashville to see if he can have a career, or if it’s too late.

I listened to a lot of country music but listening to music and writing music are two very different things. So, I was lucky to be introduced to a talented songwriter, Sierra Bernal, who wrote a song for the book, which took themes from all three books and made it into the song that is featured in this book. She is recording it now, and I hope to share it in the near future! But learning about Nashville, the country music scene, and how different it is from the other types of music was fascinating.

She taught me about the Nashville numbering system, how they use numbers instead of chords for their music. It was quite complicated and I ended up not using a lot about it in the book but it gave me a foundation for my hero feeling like his time had passed.

I also researched venues for where they might play. I had visited the Grand Ol’ Opry hotel many years ago during the holidays and would have loved to set a book there, or at least a scene. But, that wasn’t realistic. So, I had to find some other place. The Bluebird Café was not at all what I expected (and possibly a little unrealistic) but perfect for my purposes. There are a ton of these little venues for up and coming musicians in Nashville to showcase their talent, and this is a highly sought place.

Here is a playlist I created for this book on Spotify since music was so important to this book, if you’re interested in hearing my inspiration: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4Yj768NXWQHhvPSfWnG8T0?si=g2HivK4WRLK8FzEyGDzEwg

In addition, if you’d like to hear more about the songwriter, check out Sierra Bernal on Spotify at SierraBernal or at her website: Website: http://sierrabernal.com

Ty wrote a song for his brother’s wedding.

What do you think is a romantic gesture for a wedding?

Let’s chat, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of A Cowboy’s Song to one lucky commenter! 

Short Book Blurb:

Can they build a future on a shaky foundation?

Tyler “Ty” lost everything in a car accident when he was twelve, retreating into his shell so tightly that it took months for him to come out again. Music and the ranch saved him, and he will always be grateful to his foster family for saving his life. Now, with the ranch on financial tenterhooks, he wonders if he can use his music to contribute to the solution.

Piper Raines is the daughter of a legendary country music family. While her parents and brother are all famous, her attempt at an independent career went off the rails, and, with exhaustion and stress and bad press dogging her every step, she needs a place to recover. When Piper is invited to vacation at the ranch, Piper and Ty connect through horses and music. After a video duet of Piper and Ty goes viral, they’re invited to sing in Nashville, which also provides added pressure, stressing their new relationship.

 

BUY LINKS:

UNIVERSAL LINK: https://books2read.com/ACowboysSong

Detailed links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/32kRGRr

B&N: http://bit.ly/37Fbos4

KOBO: http://bit.ly/2HG8QiQ

iTunes: https://apple.co/2SWvcle

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

BIO: Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.

 

Visit me at: http://meganryder.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganRyder1

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MeganRyderAuthor/?ref=hl

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cmE1kr

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/megan-ryder

Amazon Author Profile: href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14121151.Megan_Ryder”>

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14121151.Megan_Ryder

The Golden Age of Christmas Music

The 1940s and 50s has been called the golden age of Christmas music, and for good reason.  White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland and Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer are just some of the treasures that came out of this period.

Following World War II people were ready for messages of hope and change, and song writers were only too eager to comply.   

Some of the greatest Christmas hits have fascinating and even funny stories behind them.  Silver Bells, written in 1950, is one of them. 

Inspired by the number of different kinds of bells heard at Christmas, the songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evan decided to write a song about them. 

They called the song Tinkle Bells.  After they finished writing the lyrics, they played it for Evan’s wife and were shocked then she almost fell off the couch laughing. 

She then explained that the song might make people think more of the bathroom than Christmas. The two men didn’t have a clue as to what she was talking about until she explained that mothers used the word “tinkle” to get their youngsters to use the toilet.

The two men wisely changed the song title to Silver Bells.

Jay and Ray weren’t the only songwriters saved from making a mistake. Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane wrote Have yourself a Merry, Little Christmas for Judy Garland to sing on screen.

What they hadn’t counted on was Judy rejecting their song and threatening to walk off the set unless the lyrics were changed. In the original song, they’d written that the two lovers might never see each other again.  Have yourself a Merry Christmas/it may be your last/next year we’ll be living in the past.

Judy knew that wasn’t the message that people wanted to hear in times of war. She sent the song back for a rewrite. Though Martin and Blane were convinced it was a mistake, they gave the song more upbeat lyrics and scored a hit.

Another hit was inspired by a parade. Gene Autry had been invited to be a special guest at the Hollywood Christmas parade.

Fearing that his prewar career success was behind him, he was delighted to be greeted by thousands of screaming youngsters.  It seemed he had not been forgotten.

However, Gene soon learned his mistake. The children weren’t screaming for him. They were screaming for the man behind him.

“Look, Ma,” one boy yelled.  “Here comes Santa Claus.”

Gene Autry had been upstaged, and his worst fears had been realized. The screaming children had no idea who he was.  Later, he recounted the incident to his composer friend, Oakley Halderman.

Halderman laughed.  “Sounds like a song to me.”

The two men worked on the song together. Here Comes Santa Claus became Autry’s first hit in a decade, and helped to relaunch his career.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is The Little Drummer Boy.  What is your favorite?

“This book charms.” -Publishers Weekly

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

 

10 Favorite Western Songs and Ballads

Hi!  Linda Broday and Winnie Griggs here. We’re very happy to kick off this 10 year Anniversary celebration for Petticoats and Pistols! It’s so exciting to reach this milestone.

Cowboys on the American Frontier loved to sing, no two ways about it. They sang to the cows, to the moon, to their fair ladies. Cowboys today still sing–probably more than they ever did. And others love to sing ABOUT cowboys. So, in honor of our tenth anniversary, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorites, both old and new.

So we put our heads together and came up with the list below. And if you have a yearning to listen to any of them, turn up your volume and click on the name.

Here are some old favorites that Winnie selected:

  1. High Noon
  2. The Streets Of Laredo
  3. Big Bad John
  4. Ringo
  5. Big Iron

And here a some newer favorites courtesy of Linda:

The Last Cowboy Song – Ed Bruce

Amarillo By Morning –  George Strait

This Cowboy’s Hat – Chris Ledoux

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys –  By Willie Nelson

Should’ve Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith

 

What songs do you sing to? Did we miss some of your favorites? Let us know.

Linda is giving away a pair of cowboy boot earrings to someone who comments.

And Winnie is giving away choice of any of her books plus a fun  ‘shhh…I’m hunting cowboys’ necklace

 

 

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giant birthday bash giveaway (separate from this daily giveaway). You can find all the details along with the entry form HERE.

Sing Me a Song, Cowboy

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Country music with guitar and cowboy clothesThere are few things that get my heart to pitter-pattering more than a deep-voiced cowboy singing. That’s probably why I married my very own bass-singin’ Texan.

I’ve loved music all my life. From being a band nerd through junior high and high school to joining choir in college after I met the aforementioned bass-singin’ Texan. I love to sing, especially when there are rich harmonies. Probably because the church I grew up in (and the one I attend now) worship with a cappella singing. It’s a tradition I cherish, because my heart always soars when I hear those harmonies. And now that my kids are getting older, I can hear all 4 parts on my very own pew! My hubby sings bass, my 17 year-old daughter sings alto, my 15 year-old son sings tenor, I sing the lead soprano, and my 13 year-old youngest hops from part-to-part. I love it!

A couple years ago, my hubby introduced me to a group of a cappella county singers called Home Free. Does he know my sweet spot, or what? Definitely a keeper. Anyway, back to the group. They are made up of a few Minnesota boys, a fella from Georgia, and  . . . you guessed it . . . a bass from Texas. Yee Haw! They won the 4th season of the NBC show The Sing Off back in 2013 and have gone on to have a well established career.

I thought I’d share a small sampling of their music with you today.

In this first one, they get together with the Oak Ridge Boys for a fun rendition of Elvira.

This is one of my favorites – Ring of Fire in honor of Johnny Cash.

And since Christmas is right around the corner, I thought I’d share a couple with a festive theme. The first is a carol I’ve loved since the first time I heard my three cousins (also singers) perform it at a family Christmas get together when we were all still kids. Do You Hear What I Hear? The second features Home Free with the legendary Kenny Rogers singing Children Go Where I Send Thee.

Enjoy!

What are your favorite Christmas carols?

My Research Travels Take Me to Montana and a Giveaway!

 

Charlene Newsletter Banner2

My very next novel will be pre-set in Marietta, Montana.  That sounds like a real place, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s not located on any map that we know of.  What I mean by pre-set, is that this town already exists in many other author-related books, so in a sense it’s real.  There are café’s and schools, a chocolate shop, and a sheriff’s office all in the small town of Marietta.  Characters live there, either in town, or near Copper Mountain or in Paradise Valley, doing what normal folk ordinarily do, ranching, banking, baking, dining and romancing!

For my new adventure, I’ll be one of four authors writing a romance about when the Rodeo comes to Marietta. My bronc-riding hero (who has no name yet—would love for you to name him) returns to his roots and meets up with his deceased brother’s widow—the very same girl he dumped for the excitement of the rodeo.  Said heroine, wants nothing to do with him, until he reminds her of the unrequited passion they’d once shared.

So my research begins learning about Montana.  I’ve never been, and usually I set my stories in places I’ve traveled, so this will be a bit of a challenge.   Here’s some fun facts about Montana:

 

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The State flag is stunning: Rocky Mountains, cliffs and rivers under the big sky.

Montana’s Motto:  Oro y Plata  (Spanish-Gold and Silver)

Montana is the Spanish word for “mountainous”.

The state nicknames are:  Big Sky Country and Treasure State

Montana became a state in 1889

It’s the 4th biggest state in the US

But 44th most populated with just over 1 million people

map

So now I ask you to help me come up with my hero and heroine’s names?  I’m really at a loss, usually I have a clear vision of their names, but right now I’m coming up blank. Both are Montana born and bred and have worked on ranches.   Give me your suggestions and you’ll be in a random drawing for a really cool 2 in 1 book.  The Cowboy’s Pride by Charlene Sands/The Paternity Proposition by Merline Lovelace

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Also available for PRE-ORDER is my newest Desire  (releases on July 1st)  Isn’t it pretty?

The Billionaire's Daddy Test

 

 

SOMETHING IN THE LYRICS by Charlene Sands

Her Forbidden Cowboy   front coverHer Forbidden Cowboy was one of my very favorite books to write.  Why?  Because I’m a die-hard country western music fan and my hero Zane Williams, is a top-notch superstar and multi-Grammy Award winner.  He’s from Texas, another of my favorite places to write, and he’s healing up from an injury in a mansion on Moonlight Beach on the southern California shores. Need I say, this is right in this California girl’s wheelhouse?   I’m a year round beach girl and enjoy driving along the Pacific coastline whenever I have the opportunity.

I can’t lie, my inspiration for Zane and his heroine, Jessica Holcomb comes from the music I listen to.  At any given time, my radio is tuned exclusively to country music stations.  I love the stories behind the songs.  They spark my imagination, give me ideas and get my creative juices flowing.

Carrie Underwood is my all-time favorite artist.  Her songs resonate with me. Not only is her voice beautiful with a powerfully wide-range, but the lyrics touch me in ways that make me smile, laugh, sing along, and often put a tear or two in my eyes.  Mama’s Song is one such song. (Scroll to read those lyrics) It reminds me so much of my husband, and the way my parents both felt about him.  He is good, so good and they never worried about me.  Truly, those lyrics make me tear up every time.

So before I leave you with these inspirational lyrics from my favorite songs, (imagine the story behind each song) I’m  giving you an opportunity to meet the deadly handsome, and emotionally wounded Zane Williams and my heroine, Jessica Holcomb, his one-time sister-in-law:

 

“Do you know how incredibly perfect you are?”

 Zane’s hands wrapped around Jess’s waist, and

thrilling warmth heated her skin. “I’m not.”

 “You are. You can’t let what those two did to you

change who you are. That guy was the stupidest

man on earth. You have every right to feel hurt,

Jess. But don’t let what he did change the person

that you are.”

 “You think that’s what I’m doing?”

 “Isn’t it? You changed your hair, your eyes. You

dress differently now. Don’t get me wrong, you

look beautiful, sweetheart. But you were beautiful

before.”

 She shrugged. She found it hard to believe. “I needed the change.” Tears misted in her eyes.

 “I get that.” Zane took her into his arms and hugged

her, as a friend now. “But promise me one thing?”

 “What?”

 “Don’t try to find what you need with another man.

It makes me crazy.”

* * *

Her Forbidden Cowboy is book 1 and part of the

Moonlight Beach Bachelors series—

Three men living in paradise…and longing for more.

   

Releases everywhere February 1st. 

Do you find inspiration in music? What’s your favorite genre of music?   Who do you listen to?  Be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you haven’t already. I’m giving away a gorgeous Brighton Heart Necklace in time for Valentine’s Day at www.charlenesands.com  You might be my Instant Newsletter Winner. Be sure to open the newsletter, coming in two weeks, to see if you’ve won!  (Already signed up? Your name is automatically included in the drawing)

 

SOMETHING IN THE WATER by Carrie Underwood (My favorite..Listen to it here)

He said, “I’ve been where you’ve been before.

Down every hallway’s a slamming door.
No way out, no one to come and save me.
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me.

Then somebody said what I’m saying to you,
Opened my eyes and told me the truth.”
They said, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”
So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must’ve been something in the water
Oh, there must’ve been something in the water

Well, I heard what he said and I went on my way
Didn’t think about it for a couple of days
Then it hit me like a lightning late one night
I was all out of hope and all out of fight

Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water

And now I’m singing along to amazing grace
Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God almighty, I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live every day, give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed I am changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water (amazing grace)
Oh, there must be something in the water (how sweet the sound)
Oh, there must be something in the water (that saved a wretch)
Oh, there must be something in the water (like me)
Oh, yeah

I am changed (I once was lost)
Stronger (but now I’m found)
(was blind but now I see)

Mama’s Song by Carrie Underwood  (Puts tears in my eyes)

Mama you taught me to do the right things
So now you have to let your baby fly
You’ve given me everything that I will need
To make it through this crazy thing called life

And I know you watched me grow up
And only want what’s best for me
And I think I found the answer to your prayers

And he is good, so good
He treats your little girl like a real man should
He is good, so good
He makes promises he keeps
No he’s never gonna leave
So don’t you worry about me
Don’t you worry about me

Mama there’s no way you’ll ever lose me
And giving me away is not goodbye
As you watch me walk down to my future
I hope tears of joy are in your eyes

Cause he is good, so good
And he treats your little girl like a real man should
He is good, so good
He makes promises he keeps
No he’s never gonna leave
So don’t you worry about me
Don’t you worry about me

And when I watch my baby grow up
I’ll only want what’s best for her
And I hope she’ll find the answer to my prayers
And that she’ll say

He is good, so good
And he treats your little girl like a real man should
He is good, so good
He makes promises he keeps
No he’s never gonna leave
So don’t you worry about me
Don’t you worry about me
Mama don’t you worry about me
Don’t you worry about me
Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood  (Sadly beautiful)

 

Little boy, six years old

A little too used to being alone

Another new mom and dad, another school
Another house that’ll never be home

When people ask him how he likes this place
He looks up and says with a smile upon his face

This is my temporary home
It’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I’m passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is my temporary home

Mmmmm

A young mom on her own
She needs a little help, got no where to go
She’s looking for a job, looking for a way out
‘Cause a half-way house will never be a home

At night she whispers to her baby girl
Someday we’ll find our place here in this world

This is our temporary home
It’s not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we’re passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is our temporary home

Old man, hospital bed
The room is filled with people he loves
And he whispers, “don’t cry for me,
I’ll see you all someday”

He looks up and says,
“I can see God’s face”

This is my temporary home
It’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I’m passing through
This was just a stop on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know
This was my temporary home

Mmmmm

This is our temporary home

Cowboy Christmas Music

Photo Credit: kirky29 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kirky29 via Compfight cc

‘Tis the season for crazy schedules, harried shopping, and frenzied decorating, baking, and wrapping. Whew! I’m exhausted and it’s only December 10. Today, I’ll be squeezing into the junior high gymnasium bleachers along with hundreds of other proud parents to listen to the Wylie Junior High bands perform their Christmas concert. My youngest son will be on the trumpet playing catchy tunes like the Santa of Seville and African Bell Carol.  All three of my kids are involved in band. No big surprise since my husband and I were both band nerds growing up.

Music is a big part of Christmas. I’ve switched out all the CDs in our van so that we have plenty of Christmas music to listen to as we drive around town. However, before things get too crazy, I thought it might be a good idea to remind ourselves of days when things moved at a slower pace. When a cowboy might sing his lonely Christmas songs to his horse out on the range or gussy himself up and take his best gal to a barn dance.

I found these two videos online and thought they’d be fun to share. Not your typical country music superstar’s renditions, but songs that harken farther back in time. Enjoy!

  • What are your favorite Christmas songs?
  • Any child or grandchild Christmas concerts on your holiday schedule?

The Wild West Lives On!

newsletter_headerjpg - 2Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, TX. I came home with a suitcase full of new books, a brain full of great information, and a camera full of pictures. This was the first time my hubby tagged along for the ride at one of these conferences, so he and I had a lot of fun exploring in the evenings. The River Walk was gorgeous, of course, and the Alamo is a classic not to be missed, but my favorite attraction of the week was the chuck wagon dinner and wild west show we treated ourselves to at Enchanted Springs Ranch.

The Wild West lives on at the ranch with an authentic old west town on this 86-acre working cattle ranch. They have a heard on longhorn cattle as well as many exotic animals. For example:Enchanted Springs Animals

Pet alpacas named Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Wild oryx and zebras we saw on our tractor ride to the fun feathered friend strutting down main street in all his plumed glory.

The ranch boasted numerous buildings. A church with it’s own graveyard. Two saloons. A gunsmith. A dressmaker. A general store. The blacksmith. Even a Texas Ranger office filled with museum worthy exhibits.

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My hubby and his finger gun and the gunsmith shop.
My hubby and his finger gun and the gunsmith shop.

 

 

 

Enchanted Springs Church

 

The buildings were so much fun to explore and proved great fodder for the imagination. However, there were two true highlights of the evening for me.

The first was the singing cowboy who entertained us while we feasted on barbeque chicken, brisket, warm potato salad, and peach & blueberry cobbler.

Dressed in cowboy gear and playing guitar, our host sang the greatest cowboy songs of all time. Everything from The Streets of Laredo to Home on the Range to Happy Trails. His voice was smooth, his guitar melodic, and in between, he gave us a little history lesson regarding the origins of each song. Fabulous!

 

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After the supper dishes had been cleared away, we all gathered around the corral for a rootin’-tootin’ wild west show in the style of Buffalo Bill Cody. The show featured Pistol Packin’ Paula. She was a tiny little thing, but she sure packed a wallop! She is an honest to goodness, two-time world champion pistol twirler. She spun those pistols around her fingers faster than a blink, in and out of the holsters, over her shoulders, around her back. Whew! It was crazy. Then she started in with the trick shooting. She even reproduced Annie Oakley’s famous, over the shoulder rifle shot with a hand mirror. Her horse Jake did tricks as well.

Pisol Packing Paula

 

 

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Overall, it was a fabulous evening. It was hot as blazes with temps in the upper ’90s but no one seemed to care. If you are ever in the San Antonio area, make the short trip to Enchanted Springs Ranch and treat yourself to the chuck wagon dinner. You’ll be glad you did!

  • What is your favorite hidden vacation gem?
  • Any western-themed places you would recommend for a visit?