A Cowgirl’s New Year’s Resolutions

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Happy New Year! 

It’s the Year of the Horse!

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% will keep them pass January 2nd.  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 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 this year—but dying is where I draw the line. 


A Cowgirl’s Resolutions for 2014

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • And finally: 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. 


A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING TRIP and Giveaway by Charlene


When we headed out for our family trip to Bass Lake, up a little north of Fresno at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, my sister said she wanted to stop at the Indian casino along the way.  She verbalized the name Chuck Chancey Casino and I thought, what a perfect name for a casino. Chancey is catchy and gives one hope of gambling and winning! It wasn’t until we drove by that I noticed it was the name of the Indian tribe…Chukchansi. Well, after I laughed at myself, I became curious about the tribe. Obviously, I had never heard of the Chukchansi Indians before. 

But they have been around over 12,000 years living in the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierras very near the small historic towns of Coarsegold and Oakhurst. They were hunters, farmers and gatherers. In 1849 during the Gold Rush, anthropologists grouped them along with sixty tribes with similar cultures and languages, but with different dialects in what was called the tribes of the Central Valley. They were known as the Yokuts, but there is no one tribe that goes by that name. “Yokut simply means “people”.

Unfortunately, their plight was no different than many other tribes, whose population was decreased by disease and displacement. Our government provided them “Rancherias”, small parcels of land with which to live, but without the benefits of a reservation, thus many tribal members reside in the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi. After a class action suit in 1983 the Chukchansi became a federally recognized tribe. They remained landless until recently and have made great strides in keeping pride and stability to their heritage.

Today, the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino is celebrating their 10th anniversary.

From casinos to glamping, our trip had a bit of everything. Here’s a few pictures of Bass Lake, the patio boat we rented, the views and fun we had!  We used to go to Bass Lake almost every summer when our kids were younger.  It was a tradition to camp in tents and rough it a little. Now, we are reviving the old traditon with our expanded family, only this time in a glorious cabin with flat screen TV’s, dishwashers and full bathrooms.  Twelve of us and two munchkins made the trip, and hopefully we can do it again next year. 


View from the beautiful cabin, on the party boat, beach camp and tall pines! Below, the boys are fishing and the patio decking where we ate dinner every night. Ahh….

What are your plans this summer? Are you a beach or mountain kind of vacationer? Do you have a favorite vacation spot?  Post a comment to win a $10 Amazon Gift card!  And be sure to check out my June release, Sunset Seduction. 



Cheryl St.John: Family Traditions

The story I’m working on right now has a thirteen year old girl named Jane, who grew up in a foundling home and foster homes. In one scene, my main character, Ruby is reading Jane Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. She explains about how she’d read that the author had never been to the Netherlands, but had learned all about customs and traditions of the country from a neighbor.

Jane has no concept of cultural or family traditions, which got me to thinking how many things we take for granted. Families are one thing we accept as part of our everyday normal lives, until we see someone without one–or someone living far from their family. We have a friend who is in America to go to school and work and his entire family is in Africa. Because he’s working toward a better future, he hasn’t seen his children or is wife for a long time.

Most of us have traditions, like decorating the Christmas tree together, movie and pizza on Friday night, a specific birthday cake, fishing on the Fourth of July. Families who have rituals have the strongest ties, because of the sense of continuity and memory building.

In 2000 the University of Wyoming shared 5 reasons to celebrate family life. By understanding these reasons, we can increase our efforts and realize the importance of daily life within our family.

1) Time to relate or communicate with one another. Caring, problem solving, balancing individual and together time are also part of this time to understand one another’s needs, goals and challenges in life. Help in adapting to new stages of development, crisis or the flow of events.

2) Things like learning a new hobby, caring for a family member, planning a weekly schedule together, learning a new skill like meal preparation or grocery shopping, or establishing a signal to ease transitions like a hand sign to say, “You have 5 more minutes.”

3) A time to heal and forgive from a loss or disappointment in life. Using this time to talk about the good times and tell stories. Time to spend together as a sign of cooperation and reconciliation.

4) Time to affirm family values, faith and life experiences. The materials we read to reinforce our faith. The crafts, decorations or special things we do related to holidays or special family events. The time we spend sharing with others outside our family for those in need.

5) A time to celebrate together. The special events in our lives including holidays and special accomplishments by family members.

One tradition that has developed over the past several years is our Thanksgiving photo of the females. Sometimes one or two aren’t there; sometimes it’s the whole gang together, but we always do our group photo. The outtakes can often be more fun than the actual finished portrait. This year was so cold and windy we couldn’t go outside and the indoor lighting was poor, so we traveled all over my daughter’s house looking for a good spot. We never found one, but we laughed a lot.


How have your family traditions evolved over the years?





an ebook release


Charlie McGraw never should have bought the angel book for his precocious daughter. Because then Meredith wouldn’t be convinced that getting a new mommy was as simple as having an “angel” sprinkle him with her “miracle dust.” And she never would have believed the beautiful blond-haired woman who drove a truck called the “Silver Angel” was some treetop angel come to life.

Starla Richards was no angel. But try telling that to a five-year-old who was so starved for a mother’s love that she’d stowed away on Starla’s rig. Or convincing herself that miracles just didn’t happen to ordinary people when Starla found herself snowbound with a handsome, caring widower and his adorable daughter….

Revised for the Heartwarming line from a previous SIM edition, Charlie’s Angels