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Dec 23, 2010
Hometown LegendHometown Legend by Jerry B. Jenkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful story about courage and never giving up. Loved it! Some of the "football talk" was over my head (yeah, I know, but I'm not a fan) and that didn't interfere with the story at all. Highly recommended for an inspirational, feel good, Hallmark moment type of story.

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Dec 9, 2010
Sarah's Christmas MiracleSarah's Christmas Miracle by Ellis, Mary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a feel good Christmas story not unlike those Hallmark holiday commercials that leave you warm and satisfied. Christmas can often be hectic and stressful, a story like this is a good way to bring it back in focus. Family, faith, and the true meaning of Christmas come through loud and clear. The conflict resolution is the only weak spot, I'm awarding it four stars.

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Dec 7, 2010
Behold the DawnBehold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tried reading this book awhile ago and couldn't get hooked. My son read it and told me to try again, it was worth it. He was right (but don't tell him I said so!). It does start very slow, I was well into the seventh chapter before I found myself hooked into the story. It finishes much stronger and contains a good love story in the midst. I liked the feel and cadence to the story in the second half, it was less wordy and more lyrical, which lends itself well to the medieval theme of the story and makes it a joy to read. Docked one star for the slow start, but I do highly recommend it as a good read.

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Dec 1, 2010
The Healer's ApprenticeThe Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was a sweet book with a nice thread of romance through it. I loved the setting of medieval Germany, that was a unique twist on a medieval historical romance. The main character is very believable and the situations she found herself in were engaging. I'm docking it one star only because the ending was so easy to figure out. It's a good ending, but I like a little more twist or surprise at the end. I recommend this to anyone who like historical romance and wants an easy read just for the fun of it.

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Nov 25, 2010
I'm a pretty good cook. No, I'm not bragging, just being honest. I am a pretty good cook. Thanksgiving at our house is typically a satisfying affair. The pies look and taste like Betty Crocker made a house call, the meat both tender and savory, and the sides colorful as well as delicious.

Not this year.

Our homegrown chickens replace the traditional turkey. This year's bird was eight pounds of symmetrical perfection. I stuffed Mr. Chicken and had him properly trussed and nestled in the roasting pan in the oven. I turned my attention to washing and cutting up potatoes. The last chunk of potato hit the pot when the lights flickered for the first time. Then they flickered again. Then they died.

We had no power.

Michael brought out the Trivial Pursuit game and we passed the next hour frustrating ourselves with questions about foreign makes of cars and Polish borders after WWII. I kept looking at the clock and thinking about my uncooked chicken sitting in the cooled oven. I decided to put Mr. Chicken on gas grill to cook. I put him in the middle of the grill and turned the gas on low. I've cooked many chickens on that grill... surely a stuffed bird would do fine.

Or not.

We returned to our game after Mr. Chicken was ensconced on the grill in the garage. After fifteen minutes I checked on the grill only to find our own little towering inferno. Stuffing that tamely resides under the neck skin of a roasting bird in the oven apparently doesn't behave itself on the grill. Flames licked hungrily around the entire bird, blackening the skin as the fat sizzled and popped.

Thanksgiving dinner looked like a burnt offering.

With the flames under control and the bird back in the roasting pan, I returned Mr. Chicken to the grill, roasting pan and all. Thirty minutes later, two and half hours after it left us, the power winked back on. Mr. Chicken came into the house again, looking worse for wear, and dinner preparation continued in the kitchen.

Mr. Chicken was not presented on a family heirloom platter this year, gracing the center of the table. Instead, I peeled off his charcoal wrapping at the counter, out of sight of the table. I cut up the tender and surprisingly tasty meat underneath. Dinner was salvaged and we have a memory to retell for many years to come.

Wishing you all a Blessed
Happy Thanksgiving Day.

I hope this finds you surrounded by family
and friends in a warm place with a full plate.
Nov 19, 2010
Up from SlaveryUp from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Very worth reading. Mr. Washington was an incredible man of insights and truly understood human nature. His devotion to education and his understanding that education without labor is counterproductive to society is a lesson more people should pay attention to in our day and age. Much to admire about this man and his life.

I'm choosing just 4 stars because I feel too much of the book was about the Tuskegee Institute and I would have enjoyed learning more about the lifestyle of the country at that time through Mr. Washington's eyes. It falls short of being a great history book in that regard. Still very worth the time to read it.

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Nov 7, 2010
At a recent writer's conference I was given a list of the 10 most commonly misspelled words in print today. Let's see how you do! You can Google each word for the correct answer.

10) separate - seperate
9) commited - committed
8) receive - recieve
7) collectible - collectable
6) accommodate - accomodate
5) cemetary - cemetery
4) calendar - calender
3) millenium - millennium
2) lightning - lightening (the type in a storm)
1) judgement - judgment
Aug 3, 2010

John Robinson has a new release out Aug 2nd titled Heading Home. If you like apocalyptic thrillers (think Left Behind - but on steroids) you'll want to check this one out! You can read the first chapter on John's blog.
Jul 28, 2010
Lord grant me the hope to unwrap this day as the precious gift that it is.
To embrace it with the wide-eyed wonder of a child.
As if it were my last.

Lord give me the wisdom to give this day to others.
To add a moment of warmth or some twist of loving fate.
And not need to be right, or the object of gratitude.
Or even be there when they smile.

Lord deliver strength to accept what is.
If today should be my time to bear the load,
Help me find a way to see burden as grace.
To make a lesson and therefore a blessing out of pain.

Lord grant me the will to walk with purpose.
And sway with neither storms nor winds of change.
To choose a path with mind wide open,
To make the most of every page.

Lord give me the peace that comes with knowing
That despite my frail anonymity You are here.
That if my heart can surrender and remain open,
Then today will hold no limits,
And no fear.

L. Brooks 1999
Jul 20, 2010

There are some combinations that go together like – well – a hand and glove. Things like popcorn and movies, baseball and peanuts, cowboys and Skoal rings are a part of life in these United States. In northern Michigan, some of our combinations are a little outside the norm.

Traveling home last Sunday, idly gazing out to the truck window, it occurred to me that we might have the world’s only combination taxidermy and ice cream shop. Happenstance, rather than entrepreneurship, likely created this situation. The chance of an incorporated chain of taxidermy/ice cream shops popping up across the country defies imagination. On the other hand, where else can you go to get both your head and your stomach stuffed?

This gives a whole new perspective on Moose Tracks ice cream. What sort of odd combination can you find in your area?
Jul 12, 2010
Clarence had never seen a dog door before and apparently neither had Singer. It had not occurred to him that the dog wouldn’t know how to use it. He knelt by the covered hole, situated under his picture window, and pushed his arm through a few times; Singer sat and watched. He pulled her toward the door, her toenails digging into the carpet in protest, and pushed her head against the cover, moving it away. She wiggled and fought, whimpering in protest. Clarence rocked back on his heels and pondered what to try next. He heard a noise out by the bird feeder. Rather than get up and look through the window, he pushed the dog door open again, leaning down to peek through. Singer’s head met his at the opening, her nose twitching, and body stiff.

“Get ‘em,” he whispered.

Singer shot through the door in a blur of brown and white. Her loud baying signaled when the squirrel was treed. Once again up Erma B.’s maple tree, it chattered at the dog reared against the new fence.

Clarence pushed the dog door open with his foot and called Singer. She trotted to him, tail arched up over her back. She slipped through the dog door like she’d done it all her life. Clarence gave her a biscuit. She licked up every crumb before jumping onto Lydia’s chair and sat with her tail curled around her, nose pointed out the window.

Clarence sat next to her, reaching over and fingering one soft ear. His head settled against the back of his chair and he grinned. He looked forward to the next squirrel.
Jul 11, 2010
“I see your dog is here again.” Earl said, settling on his stool.

“The workers wouldn’t want her underfoot.”

“What workers?” Betty asked, bringing over the coffeepot.

“The guys installing a chain link fence and a dog door.”

“You fencin’ in your backyard?” Charlie asked.

“Got to keep Singer home, you know.”

“Singer, is that her name?”

“Yup. You should have heard her when she ran that squirrel up a tree yesterday. It was sure music to me.”

“She did chase off a squirrel then? Good!” Betty sat the morning’s burnt offering in front of Clarence.

“Right up Erma B.'s tree.”

“You don’t say?” Charlie leaned closer. “Did the ol’ battleaxe call the cops again?”

“Yup. That’s why the guys are puttin’ in the fence today. I promised I’d get it done quick so I didn’t get a ticket.”

He finished his toast and wrapped the other piece in a napkin.

“That dog is going to have another good effect on you, Clarence.” Charlie said.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re going to lose weight!” He pointed to the napkin wrapped toast.

Clarence rubbed his chin and mumbled something about having to get back home before making his red-faced retreat to the truck.
Jul 10, 2010
“Come on.” Clarence climbed out of his truck. The dog jumped down and picked her way across the gravel drive. Clarence reached for the doorknob when the growl started. He glanced at the little dog, standing stiff beside him, focused on the backyard. A large squirrel perched on his ceramic birdbath. Erma B.’s window was empty. A slow smile spread across Clarence’s face. He whispered a hoarse, “Get ‘em.”

The beagle launched herself into the backyard. In an acrobatic leap, the squirrel twisted and landed six feet short of the maple tree in Erma B.’s yard, racing up the tree one stride in front of its attacker. The dog sang out a noise like nothing Clarence had heard before. Not a bark and not a howl, it wavered long and loud, while the squirrel retreated higher up the tree.

Clarence rubbed his ear and grinned. He walked over and picked up the dragging leash, ignoring Erma B. as she burst through her back door in a blur of fuzzy pink bathrobe and curlers. He gave a light tug on the leash and walked into his house, his new dog at his feet. He could almost feel Erma B.’s glower sink between his shoulder blades. He chuckled.

“Come on… Singer.” He smiled at the name. “You just earned yourself one of those fancy dog biscuits we bought.” After giving Singer her treat, Clarence dropped into his chair. He noticed the half empty bird feeder.

“Singer, do you think you can keep those squirrels away from that?” He asked, pointing out the window.

Before he could stop her, Singer jumped up onto Lydia’s chair. He opened his mouth to scold her, but stopped. She sat perfectly still with her nose pointed at the bird feeder. A small house finch came into the feeder and he watched as Singer’s ears rose and her head cocked to one side. Another finch joined the first and her nose tipped up, as if trying to catch their scent. Clarence spent the rest of the morning with Singer, watching the birds.
Jul 9, 2010
“You really got a dog?” Charlie’s jaw swung loose.

Clarence poked a thumb at his old truck outside the diner. Framed in the window was a brown and white face.

“What kind of dog?” Earl asked.


“Did she run off your squirrels?” Betty asked.

“Haven’t turned her loose yet.”

“Why not?”

“I had to bathe her and I couldn’t leave her outside wet. I can’t afford another one if this one gets sick and dies.”

“She slept in your house?” Charlie asked.

“I don’t have a dog house, you know.”

“Why didn’t you leave her in the backyard this morning?” Betty asked. “Those squirrels always come while you’re here having breakfast.” She slid his toast in front of him, black only on the edges this morning.

He took a bite of toast and mumbled, “She needs a decent collar and leash.”

“You’re taking her shopping with you?” Charlie’s eyes threatened to pop.

“How else would I know what size to get?” Clarence stuffed the last bite of toast in his mouth. He wrapped the second piece in a napkin and left.
Jul 8, 2010
“Can I help you?”

Clarence glanced around and mumbled. “I’m here to look at dogs.”

“What?” The girl behind the counter asked.

Clarence sighed and leaned closer, “I want to look at the dogs.”

“Oh! You want a dog.” Clarence winced at her volume.

“Come with me.” She grabbed a set of keys reminiscent of those from a 1950’s jail movie. He followed her swinging ponytail into the next room.

The stench, a noxious combination of dog urine, bleach and unwashed dogs, hit him a beat behind the noise. Barking, whining, and yapping assaulted him from both sides. Hands over his ears, he plunged ahead with grim determination. Something in one of those cages should strike fear in the hearts of the squirrels.

“Sorry for the noise, they’re just happy to see us.” The girl shouted above the din. “We’ll take whichever dogs you like outside.”

Whatever dogs he liked? He didn’t any like dogs. He’d managed to reach the age of seventy-two without owning one.

“Do any of them hunt squirrels?” He yelled.

“We have three beagles. Beagles are hunting dogs.” She grabbed three leashes off a hook and gathered up as many dogs. They stepped outside, cutting off the noise when the metal door shut behind him.

“I’ll let them run.” The girl unsnapped the dogs’ collars and handed him one leash. “Bring back whichever one you like and I’ll take care of the rest.”

He watched her disappear through the same door, hoping she hadn’t locked him out here with the dogs. He looked around the fenced area; half expecting to see it topped with rolled barbed wire and cornered with block surveillance towers.

He didn’t know what to do and thought about making his escape when a cold, wet nose pushed into his hand. He jerked his hand up and looked down. Soft brown eyes stared up at him; one dainty paw rested against his knee. Unsure what to do, Clarence touched its ear. The dog’s tail started clocking back and forth.

“I guess you’re the one, eh?” He clicked the leash on and walked to the door, the little dog trotting at his heels.
Jul 7, 2010
“Did you get ‘em Clarence?” Betty called as she slapped together the makings for a fresh pot of coffee.

“Nope.” He hunched his shoulders and slid onto his customary stool. “They wrecked it.”

“Who wrecked what?” Charlie asked.

“Clarence put out a new trap yesterday.” Betty said.

“Another one?” Charlie’s eyebrows rose along with his rusty voice.

“Yup.” Clarence grumbled.

“I told you,” Charlie took the stool next to Clarence, “you need a good dog.”

“I don’t want a dog.”

“You should listen to Charlie.” Betty nodded and poured their coffee. “Beside, a dog would be good company for you.”

Earl sat down on the other side of Clarence. “You’ve tried everything else.”

“I’m not out of ideas yet.”

“It doesn’t matter how many ideas you have,” Charlie poked Clarence in the ribs, “because none of ‘em work anyhow!”

“The BB gun would have worked,” Clarence said, “if nosy old Erma B. hadn’t called the cops.”

“My favorite was greasing the pole with lard.” Earl wheezed out a laugh. “Every cat in the neighborhood loved that one!”

“Remember the time he chucked the stink bomb out the window at ‘em?” Charlie laughed. “Erma B. had just hung out her sheets. She couldn’t get to the phone fast enough!”

Clarence slouched another inch lower. He hated to admit it but he was starting to think the boys were right. Maybe he did need a dog.
Jul 6, 2010
Clarence slunk along the side of his house, each foot placed carefully. Balancing himself with palms against the wall, he paused and looked over his shoulder. Erma B. Krantz stood at her dining room window, nose inches from the glass. That old busybody probably had one hand on the phone already. He inched closer to the corner of his house, belly pressed against the aluminum siding. Holding his breath, he leaned over and peered into the backyard, hoping to find it strewn with dead bodies.

Nothing. He flung a disgusted look back at Erma B. and ignored her smile of smug satisfaction. Clarence examined his latest fool-proof trap. How had they managed to get around it this time? The bird feeder clung to its post at a drunken angle. He ran a hand across the grass below. Not a hair or a drop of blood. Stomping into the house, he slammed the back door.

The entire morning was a bust. Charlie didn’t show up for breakfast. Earl did, complaining about his bursitis the whole time. And Betty burned his toast again today. He sank into his thread bare chair and scratched the three day stubble on his gray chin. He shouldn’t have told them about this new trap. Dagnabbit. For sure tomorrow they’d ask him about it.

Clarence’s chair sat facing the picture window with a clear view of the mangled bird feeder. Lydia’s empty chair sat next to him. Many hours of enjoyment they had shared, seated here, watching the birds. He still thought of them as Lydia’s birds. Those last months the birds had been her sanctuary, her resting place away from the needles and the chemicals.

The squirrels moved in a month after Lydia died. At first it was just one, occasionally a pair, but soon they began to overrun the place. Clarence suspected Erma B. of enticing them into the neighborhood. It would be just like her, contrary old woman. Clarence tapped his cold pipe against the ashtray and reached for his tobacco pouch. His hands worked preparing his pipe while his mind chewed on the issue of the squirrels and the remnants of his trap swayed in the breeze under the lopsided feeder.
Jun 24, 2010

I know why older women don’t have natural long hair. You cannot buy bobby pins in gray. They come in black or gold. Not gray. As we age, we are held hostage by an industry that dictates the length and/or the color of our tresses.

I smell a conspiracy! I suspect that Miss Clairol has achieved a coup with a hostile takeover of the bobby pin industry.

Kudos to the brave women out there who dare to defy this type of oppression. Long live your gorgeous gray locks!
Jun 5, 2010
For a change of pace and a bit of writing fun, I'm trying my hand at writing a Christian romance novel. I've read many romance novels over the years, Christian and secular. I think I understand the basic mechanics of what makes a romance work. So how hard can it be?

On the one hand, it's like any other type of writing.

Step one - position butt in chair
Step two - place fingers on keyboard
Step three - ignore all the other things left unfinished around the house and farm
Step four - let the story flow

Then comes the ticklish part, how to balance "romance" with Christian values. Everyone knows the steamy romance covers gracing today's bookshelves. The scantily clad, buxom woman falling back over the arm of some impossibly handsome man with no chest hair. The Christian romance of today typically includes an Amish buggy and someone wearing a prayer cap.

My goal in writing this book is to find a balance between those two extremes while incorporating some practical, down-to-earth characters women can relate to. Characters with flaws who make mistakes and grow through them while learning to rely on God. Don't look for Miss Perfect or Mister Incredible in my story. They won't be there. But hopefully you'll find my characters believable, real... human.
May 17, 2010
This year, the first five and half months of it, have proven difficult for me health-wise. Fighting off one virulent germ after another, or so I thought, it appeared I had slain the final dragon... until last Tuesday. Despite my determination to remain healthy, the dreaded germ reared its ugly head once more.

In an unusual move for me, I visited my doctor the next day. Apparently I have been fighting the very same germ over and over without fully conquering it. As a result, it percolated in my lungs and festered into a case of pneumonia.

Ordered to go home and stay there, armed with industrial strength antibiotics and herbal teas, I prepared myself to whip this nuisance in record time. Yeah. I've never had pneumonia before and was woefully uneducated concerning what would follow. I'll spare all the details of expelling noxious bodily fluids and sizzling fevers to mention that the sounds emanating from my chest could only be described as the death throes of an aging bagpipe.

My plans to plant the garden Saturday came and went. Ditto for Sunday. Ditto for today, Monday. But I think I'll be back at work tomorrow and hopefully in my garden by week's end.
May 9, 2010

Jeff, our son, sang "When Momma Prayed" in church this morning for Mother's Day... and for me. It was the best Mother's Day gift ever!

For this mom, it just doesn't get any better than this:
"I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth."
3 John 1:4

May 4, 2010
I discovered this completely by accident just yesterday. Pulling a load of wet laundry from my washer and heaving it over into the dryer, I heard an unidentifiable clatter in the belly of the dryer. Generally speaking, my laundry doesn't make that sound. I decided to investigate. Pawing through wads of wet shirts, a small object fell out and clattered again at my feet. Stuffing the wet mass back into the dryer I retrieved my flash drive that I had not realized was missing up to this point.

I did the obvious thing first, I went and looked at the place where I keep my flash drive to be sure it wasn't there and that this damp, black plastic bit wasn't an imposter. But no, my flash drive parking spot was empty. Crumbs. I gingerly put the little plastic memory device back in its normal resting place and decided to wait 24 hours for it to dry before slipping it back into my computer. Much to my delight and amazement, 24 hours later there were all my precious files, cleaned, pressed and waiting for me to search them out.

I shall sleep better tonight than I did last night, I'm sure, knowing my digital memory is intact and well - even if my neurological memory isn't. And while I have proven that you can, in fact, clean your flash drive in the washing machine, I do not recommend it. The sleepless night is hardly a fair trade for freshly laundered files. Note to self - do not put the flash drive in your pocket again... ever.
Apr 9, 2010

This old quilt is an example of a greater good. It's made from the scraps of other projects, the leftovers, the parts many people throw away. Those parts, all brought together and arranged in an orderly fashion, become something useful and beautiful.

We're all bits and pieces that God created for a purpose. My purpose is not the same as anyone else's. I am unique. Yet by myself, I can only accomplish that one purpose. When brought together within a fellowship of believers, I can accomplish so much more. When I take my place in the arrangement of my local church, when I fill the spot that needs filling, I become part of a larger whole.

When God looks down on His body of believers, is your scrap, your part, where it should be in His quilt? Do you fill both the purpose He made you for and the spot in the arrangement of His church that He left open for you? It's not always easy and it's not always clear just where our spot is. With prayer and with the help of the church, we can all come together into something useful and beautiful for Him.
Apr 2, 2010
In the last ten months I have filled my aging mind with numerous tidbits of knowledge concerning writing. I have pounded out tens of thousands of words on my sturdy laptop. I have combed the Internet for sources and stumped around my home town looking for more. I have, in short, turned myself into a writer. Not an author, I'm not ready for that yet, but a writer... most definitely.

What I lacked and what I needed to progress to the next level, was a work space. A writing space. A place to go create where my references and materials were close at hand. After several months of work, rearranging and reorganizing, I am now happily ensconced in my new writing space.

It's funny how the little things matter so much. I needed a bulletin board to keep all my notes in front of me. Check. I needed a chair comfortable for the long haul. Check. I needed room to move around and room to put out my reference materials. Check. I needed a floor mat so my chair could move freely on the carpet. Check. I needed a wonderful husband who didn't balk at a single change I was making. Check.

Thank you, Lord, for making all things possible.
Mar 27, 2010

Mindy delivered twin ram lambs less than 4 hours after EweNika. It's been a busy afternoon at Twin Willows Farm! Mommas and babies all doing fine.

Just this morning I was lamenting the wait... and this afternoon EweNika delivered a very healthy and feisty pair of ram lambs. Here is twin #2 finishing his arrival.
Waiting is always the hardest part. We're in waiting mode at Twin Willows Farm. The first lambs should arrive this weekend, but as with humans, due dates are fickle things. Our ewes are naturally bred by the ram, no artificial insemination or use of a marking harness to give us a calendar date. Instead, the ram is turned out with his ewes in the fall and we count ahead five months for the first possible lambs. It looks like they will stretch things out this year. Two of our ewes are very close to lambing and a couple may be as much as a month away. Only time will tell. Watch for updates and photos of the newborns when they arrive. Golly... I love this time of year!
Mar 6, 2010
Have you ever read a book that held your attention until the final few pages and then... fizzled? Did the ending leave you looking at the back cover with the desire to call Paul Harvey? Did you feel robbed of the "feel good moment" the end of a story should bring? I know I have.

My story is languishing at the moment for want of a good ending. I thought I knew, at least roughly, how my story would end. But as the characters have unfolded and come to life, I realize that my original ending will not do. Not at all. I am roughly one third of the way through a story which has, at this moment, no ending. I have nothing to write towards. I'm flummoxed.

I sit here this morning listening to a Mourning Dove outside my window. Spring is coming with warmer weather and the hope of a good crop of lambs and produce here on the farm. In the grand scheme of life, my book is at best a smudge on the landscape. But it matters to me. And I want it to matter to others. So I need an ending that will make that happen.

What book have you read that ended with a "feel good moment" so powerful you remember it years later? I'd love to know!
Mar 2, 2010

I've been out of whack lately. Literally. My neck has been messed up making simple things like driving painful and difficult. Not to mention sleeping. It left me moving around with all the speed and grace of Lurch from the Adam's Family.

Today I went to the doctor for an OMT visit. That stands for Origami Mangle Torture. You know it's bad when you're sitting on the table and the doctor crawls up with you, kneels over the top of you and tries to twist your head off your shoulders. Then came the folding, pushing, pulling and crunching. My spine sounded like Rice Crispies on steroids.

After thirty minutes of this, she sent me home to apply moist heat for the rest of the afternoon. That was the best part of my day, spending it in my favorite chair with moist heat on my shoulders and neck. Every torture has it's silver lining.

My neck is still very sore, but I can turn my head further to the left than I've been able to do for a week. Did the treatment work? I don't know yet. My doctor said it could be a few days before we know if I'm... back in whack.
Feb 24, 2010

"Load the .22 and come out here." Hardly the normal greeting I expect when answering the phone. But then, my husband rarely calls me from the barn. Being a dutiful wife, I moved the frying pan off the stove, loaded the .22 and headed out to the barn.

Silhouetted in the barn door, Michael stood keeping our dogs away from a very large possum. The scraggly creature was weaving around in the drive leading to the barn. One look and I knew why he'd called me and kept the dogs away. That possum wasn't healthy. I didn't want to get very close to it myself. I'm a pretty good shot but it was dark except for the light shining out of the barn door and I missed with the first bullet. Chagrined, I moved closer and put the possum down.

Michael disposed of the body while I returned to the house and finished dinner. We sat together, enjoying salmon burgers and salad when it occurred to me that other people might find this rather odd. I asked my husband, "Do you think it's callus that we can put down a possum and fifteen minutes later be sitting here and calmly eating dinner?" His response was, "It's not like we're eating the possum." I married a very wise man.

Feb 10, 2010

It's been a snowing, blowing kind of northern Michigan day. Nothing out of the ordinary, just February being February, you understand. The wind shifted at some point from east-northeast to north-northwest. When that happens, we get a substantial amount of drifting in the barnyard. I suppose the logical progression of events should be removing the drifts before starting chores under these circumstances. But one really can't look into the soulful eyes of a hungry horse and tell him to wait, now can one?

In foul weather we carry the horse hay out into their shelter. Tonight there were two large drifts between the main barn and the gate to our horse paddock. With a scant half bale of alfalfa hay, weighing roughly 25 pounds, balanced securely on my left shoulder, I cleared the first drift easily. I stepped over the second drift that reached well above my knees and my right foot came down on the other side. The other side which consisted of a thin layer of snow covering a firm base of ice.

Watching my right knee twist sideways and my right foot lodge under the wooden fence, I deliberately pitched forward to prevent alfalfa chaff from getting into my eyes as the hay came crashing down on top of me. It took me only a moment to get my foot retrieved and climb gingerly back to my feet. It appeared everything was still in working order, so I gathered up the hay and finished chores.

Back in the house, I stripped out of my chaff-laden clothing and headed for the shower to get rid of the rest of the hay, including that which had taken up residence in my ear. Now here I sit, leg elevated, knee iced and rethinking the whole issue of a hungry horse with soulful eyes. You know... I think he could have waited after all.
Feb 7, 2010
I need some butt glue. What?! Did she really type that? What is she talking about? Do I really want to know? Just to put you at ease, dear reader, it has nothing to do with any natural crack in that region of my anatomy.

I need to glue my butt to my writing chair. You see, writing comes very easy to me. I sit down, start typing and pretty soon pages and pages are full. The problem is... I can't type until I SIT DOWN in my chair.

Some part of me always needs to be in motion. My hands, my mouth, my feet... or all three which is even better! Michael teases me for pacing when I talk on the phone. Not just a little moseying around, I cover the house from stem to stern. Walking, talking and gesturing with my hands... I'm a happy camper. Sitting down and facing my computer isn't something I look forward to even though I enjoy writing.

It's a little like Sunday mornings before church. You know what I mean. You've been there. It's a gorgeous morning, or a rainy one, or it snowed last night and the roads are slick. The reasons not to go are numerous. But once you walk through the doors of the church, you can't imagine not being there.

For me getting started, putting my butt in the chair and keeping it there, is the hardest part of writing. Maybe if I talked Michael into installing a seat belt on my La-z-boy..., "Honey!"
Feb 1, 2010
Thank you to everyone who had such nice, heart warming comments about Sarge's Story. I've pulled the posts telling his story because I am re-working them. My hope is to edit them into a story for publication in a magazine.

I haven't submitted anything for magazine publication in years. And by years - I m mean - YEARS. How many, you ask? Well, let me put it this way, I haven't submitted anything since I had to do it the old fashioned snail-mail route. There was no e-mail back then. Yikes! I'm dating myself!

I have another piece ready that I'm submitting this week. It's a humorous piece about raising sheep. Imagine that. ;)
Jan 6, 2010
It's been nine days of sorrow here that ended in the loss of my beloved old horse, Sarge. I will tell his story here when I can. Losing him was so difficult, but having him in my life was such a blessing. Sarge was a once-in-a-lifetime type of horse. Thank you to all my dear friends who have prayed for me during this time of loss.