As some of you may know, my daughter is a chef and is always coming up with interesting recipes. I asked her to think up a recipe for Cowboy cookies and she did. These yummy cookies are now a family favorite. My daughter wasn’t thrilled when I called them Cow Pies, but the name stuck and it makes the grandkids giggle. Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas.
Cow Pie Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
1 cup of pretzel Bits
¾ cup chopped pecans toasted
1 tbsp sea salt flakes
Place pecans on a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture; beat well. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, pretzels, and pecans.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes on top. Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes or until brown. Move to wire racks to cool.
What is your favorite Holiday treat?
What I hear when I’m with you, is two hearts beating as one.
It has been a hard year for all of us, and this holiday season will be like no other. Restrictions may mean fewer people at your Thanksgiving table, and fewer hugs all around, but this day can still be special. That’s because restrictions can only go so far. No one can restrict our ability to spread love, laughter, and kindness. No restriction can limit how much faith, hope, and gratitude fills our hearts. Nor can any restriction stop our ability to create new traditions and make new memories.
Thanks to the miracle of technology, restrictions also can’t keep us from reaching out to each other and, for that, I’m especially grateful. It allows me to tell you how much we fillies appreciate your staying with us during this difficult time. Your continued support has truly been a blessing. To show our gratitude, I’m giving away three ten-dollar Amazon gift cards today.
To enter the drawing, tell us how your Thanksgiving will be different this year? What new traditions do you have planned? What is your hope for the season?
Christmas stories on sale now for only 99 cents.
It was just his luck to run into a trigger-happy damsel
It seems to me that Halloween has grown darker over the years. Growing up in Michigan, we dressed up as beggars and yelled “Help the poor.” I don’t remember anyone wearing scary costumes. Another place where you probably wouldn’t have seen werewolves or zombies is in the Old West.
During the 1800s it was considered a night of romance. Many of the tricks and treats of those Victorian Halloween parties were designed with romance in mind.
In the Old West, Halloween dances were held in schoolhouses, barns or churches. Guests were required to jump over a broom upon arrival to assure future happiness. Masquerade balls were popular, too, but mostly held in the east.
Apples played an important part in these Halloween rituals but so did tin soldiers. An article in the El Paso Daily paper in 1899 described the ritual of melting tin soldiers. A young woman would then drip the melted tin from a spoon into cold water. The tin would harden in all manner of shapes, thus foretelling a maiden’s future. If, for example, the tin looked like a shoe, she would marry a shoemaker. A ship meant her future husband would be a sailor and a hammer foretold a carpenter in her future.
Bobbing for apples was a must, but with an interesting twist. The apples would each contain the name of a male guest. A woman lucky enough to sink her teeth into a pippin would come up with more than just a wet face; she’d also know the name of her future mate.
Some enterprising hostesses who owned apple trees went one step further. While the apples were still green they glued the initials of single males onto the apples. When the apples ripened, the paper was washed off revealing the green initials on the rosy cheeks. Upon arriving at the party, female guests would draw an apple from the tub to find out the name of her dance partner.
Another popular game involving apples required careful paring so that the peels were cut into one long strip. These were then thrown over the left shoulder. The initial the peel made on the floor was the initial of a future love.
Peelings were also hung from barn doors and female guests were given a number. If for example, you got number two, then the second male through the door was your true love.
Another crowd-pleaser was the cobweb game. Guests were each given two bright colored threads attached to a cardboard heart in some remote corner. The threads ran through the room in an intricate pattern. The idea was to unravel your thread by bobbing under a red thread or slipping through a tangle of green or blue threads until you reached the heart which named your partner for the night.
Halloween games also included the game of Proposal. Each woman was given a stack of cardboard hearts and lemons. The males had to go around the room and propose to each woman. He had thirty seconds to convince her to marry him. When the bell rang, she would either give him a lemon for no or a heart for yes. At the end of the game, the man with the most hearts won.
With all the ghosts and goblins of today, it’s hard to imagine a time when Halloween was just another word for romance
How are you and your family planning to spend this pandemic Halloween?
Last week I wrote about Lonesome Dove. This week we’ll take a look at the inspiration for the book.
In June 1866, former Texas Ranger Charles Goodnight and cattle rancher Oliver Loving went into partnership to drive cattle to western markets. Settlers, soldiers stationed on forts and Navajos recently placed on reservations were all demanding food supplies, and the two men took a chance that their venture would be profitable.
They planned to drive 2000 Longhorn cattle from Texas to Wyoming on a trail that later became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. That meant passing through dangerous Indian territory. But given Loving’s knowledge of cattle and Goodnight’s background as a Texas Ranger and Indian fighter, the two men were confident they could succeed.
Not only was their venture a success, but it also led to an amazing act of friendship that inspired the Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Lonesome Dove.
Things went well for the two men until their third drive in 1867. Heavy rains slowed them down. To save time, Loving went ahead of the herd to secure contracts, taking a scout with him. Despite telling Goodnight that he would travel only at night through Indian country, he rode during the day.
That turned out to be a bad decision as he was trapped by Comanches along the Pecos River. Though he was shot in the arm and side, he managed to escape and reach Fort Sumner.
His injuries were not life-threatening, but he developed gangrene. The doctor at the fort was unwilling to do an amputation and Loving died. He was buried at the fort, but that was not his final resting place. Before Loving died, he turned to his good friend Goodnight and asked that his body be returned to Texas. He did not want to be buried in a “foreign land.”
Goodnight promised Loving that his wish would be carried out, and that was a promise he meant to keep. But honoring his friend’s request couldn’t have been easy.
Credited with inventing the chuckwagon, Goodnight arranged for a special wagon and metal casket to be built. With the help of Loving’s son, Joseph, he had his friend’s body exhumed and carried him 600 miles back to Texas—an act of friendship matched by few.
Loving is buried in Weatherford, Texas.
What is the truest form of friendship that you’ve experienced?
“Yesterday’s gone on down the river and you can’t get it back.” -Lonesome Dove
One of my favorite books is Lonesome Dove, which was made into a TV mini-series. Written by Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove isabout two retired Texas Rangers, “Gus” McCrae and “Woodrow” Call who drive a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning story is loosely based on the true story of Charles Goodnight’s and Oliver Loving’s cattle drive from Texas to Montana. Goodnight and Loving were close friends. Before Loving died, he asked that his body be returned to Texas. He did not want to be buried in a “foreign land.” Charles Goodnight and Loving’s son, Joseph, carried the metal casket 600 miles back to Texas.
In Lonesome Dove, Gus dies and Call (played by Tommy Lee Jones) hauls his friend back to Texas as promised. If this doesn’t make you cry, I don’t know what will.
McMurtry originally wrote the story as a short screenplay named the Streets of Laredo. It was supposed to star John Wayne as Call. But Wayne dropped out and the project was abandoned. 15 years later McMurtry saw an old bus with the phrase “Lonesome Dove Baptist Church” on it. He rushed home to revise the book into a novel and changed the name. (Ah, inspiration.)
The book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. The mini-series also won many awards, including a Golden Globe. It was cheated out of the Emmy for best mini-series by War and Remembrance. Considered the “Gone With the Wind” and “Godfather” of Western movies, Lonesome Dove has sold more DVDs than any other western.
It’s hard to imagine anyone but Robert Duvall as Gus, but he was actually offered the role of Woodrow Call, and turned it down. His wife had read the book and told him, “Whatever you do, don’t let them talk you into playing Woodrow F. Call. Gus is the part you should play.”
James Garner was also considered for the role, but he had to turn it down because of health problems.
McMurtry said that he wrote Lonesome Dove to show the real hardships of living a cattleman’s life vs. the romantic life many think they lived. Some think he failed in this regard. Instead, many readers and critics see Lonesome Dove as a celebration of frontier life.
What is your favorite western book, movie or TV show?
I just finished reading a delightful book by Will Rogers titled The Cowboy Philosopher on Prohibition. Using liberal doses of the Bible, Rogers made a thoughtful and humorous argument against the alcohol ban. The book made me realize how little I really knew about the man and so naturally I had to do some research.
Will Rogers was born in Indian Territory in 1879 to a prominent Cherokee family. Rogers quipped that his ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower. Instead they “met the boat”
He learned cowboying from the ranch hands on his father’s Dog Iron Ranch. Cherokee freedman Dan Walker taught him roping, which later proved to be his road to success.
Quick to learn ranching, he was in his own words a poor student, saying that he “studied the Fourth Reader for ten years.” He was much more interested in cowboys and horses. Much of his later humor involved both.
“You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people.”
He left home to work on a Texas ranch, where he was known for his lassoing abilities. He then tried to make it as a ranch owner in Argentina, but when he ran out of money, he traveled to South Africa. There, he joined Texas Jack’s Wild West Circus.”
He rode broncos, but his real talent was throwing lassoes. He didn’t just throw one rope; he threw three, and his trick of lassoing a horse’s neck, legs, and the rider all at the same time earned rave reviews.
“Best doctor in the world is a veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what’s the matter. He’s just got to know.”
He returned to America in 1904 and joined the vaudeville circuit. During his trip to Madison Square Gardens, a wild steer broke out of the arena and began climbing the viewing stands. Rogers roped the steer to the delight of the crowd. The feat got front-page attention from the newspapers, giving him valuable publicity and an audience eager to see more.
At first, he worked in silence, but when he discovered that audiences responded to his western drawl, he began ad-libbing. Soon people were lining up to hear his words of wisdom.
“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”
His folksy style enabled him to poke fun at politicians, gangsters, prohibition, and other controversial subjects in such a way that no one took offense. People were too busy laughing. Knowing that President Woodrow Wilson was in the audience during one performance, Rogers improvised a “roast” of presidential policies that had Wilson, and the entire audience, in stitches.
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
He went from being a cowboy to a vaudeville performer. Before long, he was known as a humorist, newspaper columnist, social commentator, and humanitarian. As an entertainer, he traveled around the world three times and appeared in an astounding 71 movies. He also wrote six books, and more than 4000 syndicated newspaper columns.
Somehow, he still managed to marry and father four children. Who knows how much more he would have accomplished had he not died at the age of 56 in an airplane crash?
Fortunately, his witticisms live on and are just as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago when he first uttered them. The man who cautioned us to “always drink upstream from the herd,” also had a lot to say about politics, which could just as easily be written today.
This would be a great time in the world for some man to come along that knew something.
We shouldn’t elect a President. We should elect a magician.
Both parties have their good times and bad times at different times. Good when they are out. Bad when they are in.
I can’t see any advantage of having one of your own Party in as President… I would rather be able to criticize a man than to have to apologize for him.
So much money is being spent on the campaigns that I doubt if either man, as good as they are, are worth what it will cost to elect them.
The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.
The Fourth of July was celebrated big time in the Old West. From mining camps to wild cow towns, those early settlers used the day to whoop it up with dances, speeches, parades, foot races, and turkey shoots. Not to be left out, even American Indians celebrated the day with pow-wows and dances.
Some celebrations even took place in remote areas. In 1830, Mountain man William L. Sublette, on his way to Wind River with 81 men and 10 wagons, celebrated the holiday next to a large 130-foot-high rock. Claiming to have “kept the 4th of July in due style,” Sublette named the large boulder Independence Rock.
Located in what is now Wyoming, the rock became a signpost for travelers on the Oregon and Mormon trails. Companies arriving at the rock by July fourth knew they had made good time and would beat the mountain snows. Celebrations included inscribing names on the rock and shooting off guns.
Not every community celebrated with guns and fireworks. In 1864, a mining town in Nevada decided to celebrate its first fourth with a dance. Music, flag, and dance committees were formed. Of the three, the music committee was the most challenging as the only musician was a violinist who had an affinity for whiskey. His drinks had to be carefully regulated before the celebration.
Since the town lacked a flag, the flag committee pieced one together from a quilt. Fortunately, a traveling family camping nearby provided the blue fabric. The family included a mother and four girls, which meant more women for the dance. The problem was the girls had no shoes, which would have made it difficult to dance on the rough wood floors. The miners solved the problem by taking up a collection of brogans, and the dance went off without a hitch.
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody made history in North Platte, Nebraska on July 4, 1882, when he mounted an exhibition of cowboy “sports.” This was the beginning of his Wild West shows and what we now call a rodeo.
Not to be outdone, Dodge City did something different two years later for the Fourth of July to attract attention and business; It hosted the first professional Mexican bullfight on U.S. soil. Though the event was a financial success, it was not without controversy. Many, including Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals, denounced the sport as barbaric.
Compared to the rest of the country, Denver’s first Fourth of July celebration was oddly subdued. Drinking or carousing was not allowed. Instead, the Declaration of Independence was read, followed by prayers, “chaste and appropriate oration” and wholesome band music.
This year, most public celebrations have been canceled. But we Americans will find a way to keep “the 4th of July in due style.” Just like they did in the Old West.
How are you and your family celebrating the Fourth this year?
He may be a Texas Ranger, but he only has eyes for the outlaw’s beautiful daughter.Amazon
So if you missed one or all of the series now is your chance.
At Love’s Commandreleases tomorrow.
This is the first book in my new
Hanger’s Horsemen series.
Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.
I’m thrilled to share that I was named one of the top 25 most essential Christian novelists of 2020! This list of authors was nominated by fans across all genres. Such an honor to make the list! You can see the entire group here.
Look at what they’re saying about The Outlaw’s Daughter
“This is how historical romance should be written”- Amazon reader
“This is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a good historical romance novel. -Amazon reader
“Wow! This was an absolutely fantastic introduction to the author’s long list of previous works that I can’t wait to pick up!”-It’s What She’s Reading
Puppies have been coming and going so quickly here, finding great new homes! Our newest two are Bella and Mia.
Here’s Bella, before she got in the pool and decided to play in the yard.
Before you panic, the green chair she’s in is the dog chair! Lol!
We love both these sweet girls!
Cover reveal time! Looky, Looky! I know it’s early to be talking about a December release, but I just couldn’t resist showing this off 🙂
To learn more about Her Amish Wedding Quilt, click HERE.
In some fun, non-writing related news, my daughter is expecting (my first grandbaby!!) and things opened up around here enough for us to give her a small, family-only baby shower. I haven’t been able to be as involved with her as much as I would have liked to during her pregnancy because of the quarantine so it was doubly fun for me to be able to celebrate with her this way. Below is picture of me and the mother-to-be!
It’s a new release! Dear Mr. Tindle has arrived!
A shy young woman,
An industrious young man,
And neither knew the other existed. What’s a matchmaker to do?
Mrs. Mahulda Brock had been tasked with a very important mission. Matchmaking! Not that she hadn’t done a little before… But this was different. For one, she had to find ways to bring two young people in her home town of Independence together. Finding things to make that happen wasn’t easy. But with the help of her long time friends, Mercy, Martha, and Maude, she’d manage, wouldn’t she? After some trial and error, she wasn’t so sure. Worse, she noticed the young couple in her charge weren’t the only ones bereft of love. There were others. How was she going to manage to bring together so many lonely hearts? Find out in this sweet, clean romantic romp that only Kit Morgan can deliver!
He may be a Texas Ranger, but he only has eyes for the outlaw’s beautiful daughter…
I’m happy to announce that my new book has just been released! This is book three in my Haywire Brides series, but each book stands alone.
I’m giving away a book today to one of you. So be sure to leave a comment!
Texas Ranger Matt Taggert is on the trail of a wanted man. He has good reason to believe that Ellie-May’s late husband was involved in a stagecoach robbery, and he’s here to see justice done. But when he arrives in town, he discovers the thief has become a local hero…and his beautiful young widow isn’t too happy to see some lawman out to tarnish her family’s newly spotless reputation.
Ellie-May’s shaken by her encounter with the Ranger. Having grown up an outlaw’s daughter, she’ll do anything to keep her children safe—and if that means hardening her heart against the handsome lawman’s smiles, then so be it. Because she knows Matt isn’t about to give up his search. He’s out to redeem himself and find proof that Ellie-May’s husband wasn’t the saint everyone claims…even if it means losing the love neither expected to discover along the way.
Ellie-May has lived all her life in the shadow of her outlaw father. Do you think a parent’s reputation has the same impact today as it did in the 1800s?
Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger, Out where the smile dwells a little longer, That’s where the West begins…
Arthur Chapman 1912
Last week was National Cowboy Poetry week and I usually spend it at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival signing books. The festival, was canceled this year, along with everything else. But I sure did miss it.
I especially missed rubbing shoulders with people like Cheryl Rogers Barnet (daughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans), Jon Chandler (chosen Best Living Western Musician by True West Magazine) and cowboy poet, Waddie Mitchell.
It was at this festival that I first learned to appreciate cowboy poetry. I was never particularly fond of poetry, but this was different. This was storytelling like I’d never heard, and it really brought the west alive for me.
Cowboy poetry flourished after the Civil War. War songs were mixed with traditional ballads to create a unique style that painted vivid pictures of loneliness, loss of a horse, camaraderie and annoying coyotes.
Cowboys recited these poems for each other around the campfire. No free form verse for these hard-driven men. Old time cowboy poetry always rhymed and was often put to song.
Much of it was done orally, which helped with memorization. Because the poetry was not written down, much was lost but not all. Fortunately, some of these gems were printed in newspapers and have since been published in books.
Legend has it that the reason poems were recited from memory was because cowboys were illiterate.
Not true, says writer David Stanley. In his book Cowboy Poetry Then and Now,” he argues that cowboys were anything but illiterate. “Many cowboys of both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been well read, sometimes astonishingly so.” He goes on to say that “Cowboy poetry has been primarily the province of literate people since the first publication of poems in western newspapers in the 1870s.”
To prove his point, Stanley tells us that “It wasn’t just original poetry that was enjoyed around the campfires. Cowboys also enjoyed “a mass of popular poetry from Shakespeare to Rudyard Kipling.”
There’s a famous saying that any poem a cowboy likes is a cowboy poem. That may be true of Shakespeare, but for me, personally, nothing beats a poet in a cowboy hat.
What’s your favorite western storytelling medium: movie, TV, books, music or poetry?