Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Things of Beauty: November - December

November and December, were you ever a crazy ride...

Very Favorite Things

Four calves born within four weeks (two of which were within 24 hrs. of each other!!!!), drinking hot tea out of Christmas mugs (sturdy and white, with red painted cabins and evergreens; I seriously feel like a Hallmark movie heroine), my Grandpa + Grandma visiting with two of my cousins to attend our church Christmas concert (the more I spend time with my relations the more I love them), parcels from beloved friends, and another bout of Arwen and my favorite farm job (feeding some 170  free-ranging pigs in one barnyard, it ain't no joke, BUT IS IT EVER FUN!)


Does thinking Deep Things about my stories count??? :)


Two of Elisabeth Grace Foley's, and some others, but those, (as her stories usually are :)), were the definite highlights.

In the Kitchen

Surprise Filled Cookies, many times over; because what is Christmas without cookie making, and these are the most delectable things.


Snow before Christmas? I'm digging it - but not literally, because there wasn't that much.


Fitness Blender's Cardio Kicboxing with Ab Exercises
I have found that the therapeutic effect of throwing punches cannot be overrated.

Life Comes at You Fast...
and maybe you won't have time to work through all the emotions pounding in your heart, but you simply have to dig in and work + laugh at yourself.

And that my friends is the finish to my 2017 Things of Beauty Posts!!!! Perhaps I'll write them for 2018, perhaps I won't, but I'm glad I wrote them in 2017 all the same, and I hope each of you, my wonderful readers, relished them, too. :) 

2018... Here. We. COME!!!!

(2018; you know I like the sound of it already.)

How's it been with you folks lately?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Things of Beauty: September - October

(just look at those lashes!)

Not a great deal really happened in September + October and yet they felt ridiculously full...

Very Favorite Things
Picking apples on a lazy, hazy, September afternoon, purchasing my new western saddle(!!!) (I'm officially broke, but it's a thing of beauty + a joy forever, so it's all good), my new bullet journal set-up (little black book with the dotted pages, how you've changed my life), Heidi and John having their baby girl(!) (I still can't believe the fact that I'm an A.U.N.T), enormous pumpkins (+ watching Arwen try to defend them from being chewed to pieces by the new kitten), THE NEW KITTEN aka Ger Ger (he's cuddly + deep orange + the scrappiest little fighter you've ever seen), dashing out into frosty darkness to give Windfola her evening apple.

Several EPIC novels: The Call of the Canyon, In My Father's House, and Wife for Sale (trust me, the story is not as wacky as its title :)). Also, A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman; that work is seriously a firework in book form, an exhilarating smash of tingling sparkles with a boom that only resounds deeper as you remember the individual bits of beauty that make up the glorious whole.

Western short story work (yes once again, :)) + blogging.

Crisp fall drives through Amish country painted with vivid color + the other scenery which you expect to see there. :)

In the Kitchen
Copious amounts of Crisp Apple Streusel + gallons upon gallons of homemade applesauce (is there anything as delectable as the scent of it bubbling away on the stove?)


I haven't seen/don't approve of some of the films on this list, but I'm familiar with nearly all and, headed by High Noon and featuring Rio Bravo (110% agreement there) and My Darling Clementine (cue all the emotions)I found this list rather fun reading; besides which all the featured best lines are terrific, but hey, what western ever has REALLY bad lines?

Oversized flannel shirt + jeans + cowboy boots
The outfit that feels like I've returned to my heart place + makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

What were your favorite delights of September + October?
What outfit makes you feel like you can DO. IT. ALL?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Breathe the Wild Wind

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The word seen in a thousand inspiring quotes and lettered across an equal amount of all of things Boho; it's right up there with Love and Peace in hippie connotations: close your eyes, feel your breathe rise and sink.

But it's not just for the hippies anymore; hipsters get a bit of the love, too, hustle hard, they say, but take time to breathe.

Swinging myself over the corral fence, a bundle of hay under one arm, Windfola lifts her nose up blowing greedily as she reaches her twitching nose up for the hay; a nicker of pleased surprise, loud calling to the neighbor horses or a whinnie welcome, her breath tells everything.

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Science explains the elements within the molecules that make up this thing which fills our lungs, but the mystery forever remains.


Invisible yet tangible; where else can we feel so closely the presence of our immortal soul?

Close your eyes, breathe deeply, sink into a place of stillness, it's a beautiful sensation, but there's another side as well.

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Those moments when breath comes with pulsing weariness, a piercing uplift of excitement, or a dreamy mixture of both... The grand range of the Teton mountains sweeping upward at my back, cotton candy-pink sky melting behind the cottonwood trees, and a softly scented wind brushing over the sage-flats; a day of hiking in the mountains behind me, I can feel my pulse beating with energy and my lungs filling with the high mountain air.

It is in those moments that you feel most vividly ALIVE;

So take it, friends, take a second to breathe deeply, let it fill every particle of you, and then, filling your lungs with the adventure, step into the wild wind.

Friday, October 13, 2017

My Six Favorite Fall Reads

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Cantering with the crisp scent of rain against my face, cozy striped afghans, bushels of sweet scented apples, and dreaming of all things pumpkin, nothing sets my imagination afire like the spicy loveliness of Autumn. Thus being so, and what not, I've been longing to share a list of my favorite Autumn tales, and it is with great enjoyment I give it to you now...

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Mist on the Mountain 
Jane Flory
Featuring trips to the cider mill, crackling oak leaves + one of the coziest family groups one is likely to find, this story simply brims over with all the vibes of Autumn on an old-time New England hill farm.

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Henner's Lydia
Marguerite De Angeli
A simple children's story placed during Fall in Amish country, and it has all the gentle charm you'd expect to go with it.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle
Blowing winds about lofty mansions set on the edges of eerie moors; this story is one of the most spine-tingling stories I have EVER READ.

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Zane Grey
Technically most of the action of this story takes place in the transition between Winter and Spring, yet strangely enough the mood of this story is dreamily Autumnal, and hence has a place of honor here.

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The Lord of the Rings 
J.R.R Tolkien
When is it not the season for Tolkien? But... THE STORY TAKES PLACE IN AUTUMN, besides which it is perfectly shivering with THE MOST  vivid feels, and isn't that what this most glorious of seasons is about? So, it should basically be required reading. 

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Song of the Voyageur
Beverly Butler

From a limb above her, a scarlet leaf fluttered free to touch her hair, her cheek, her shoulder, and to flame a second against the deep blue of her skirt before she caught it and said softly...

2,000 miles away from the copy I have always read of this story, and one year since my last reading of it, the cadence of the story and words still twine into my dreaming. This was one of the first romances I ever read, and the first rapture I felt in the beauty of the story sparkles on.

What stories sing of Fall to you?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Things of Beauty: July - August

More than 50% of this post could be aptly titled On the road again... but that title is the property of another post, and so we'll just keep with the classic title, because oh how beautiful these months were...

Very Favorite Things
Going to three rodeos in two months (yes, we may just have fallen in love), twenty- six days on the road (it felt REALLY good!), seeing a mama moose + her two calves so close we could have touched them (that was magic right there), the thunder of horses blowing into their feed troughs (horses just make the world feel right), the creak of saddle leather (is there any sound as thrilling?), Windfola's neck within my arms, the sweet scent of her mane filling my lungs after not seeing her for nearly four weeks (I don't think I knew how HARD I'd missed her until that moment), re-connecting with far-off family + friends (one of the best feelings in the world; I love you folks!).

Not an exhaustive list of books, but a list of the loveliest: Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey (the perfect western road-trip book if ever there was one), and... *goes to look at my Goodreads list* The Blue Castle (how can one book be so amazing?), The Elements of Style, and North to the Rails by Louis L'Amour.

I journalled every day of our Western Adventure, and I began a greatly needed re-writing of Midnight Thunder; so though I may not have done a stupendous amount, the results are pretty terrific. :)

The sweet scent of sage mingling with the smoke of campfires, rippling mountain lakes glittering with sunshine, damp earth hidden beneath the bows of soaring cedars,  mountain vistas, and groves of aspen trees, their leaves whispering with every breeze.

In the Kitchen
Detoxinsta's Vegan Mac N' Cheese recipe - Cheesy cashew sauce with perfectly cooked gluten-free pasta and a swirl of sweet green peas; this stuff may very well be THE MOST delectable dish in the history of ever.


The Tetons + extreme southwestern Montana.
 I've always loved those places, but do they ever have my heart now.

Where Cowboys Ride // Sarah Darling
I'm always inclined to view a song that claims to encapsulate a place - especially if that place is my heart-country - with a doubtful eye, but with the wind of those places still on my face so to speak, listening to this song + watching the music video nearly made me cry with happiness; yes, I'd say she did a good job.

Adventure IS out there...
but it's something you carry in your heart, too, and so, with the grace of God, it's something that can color all your paths.

What were your favorite delights of July and August?

Are you excited for Fall?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cover Reveal: Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny

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Today I’m pleased to be part of the cover reveal team of Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny, aka the terrific Hamlette of Hamlette’s Soliloquy.

To say I’m excited would not be an overstatement…

Just look at it. Isn’t the atmosphere STUNNING? The mood is incredibly intense. 

And it gets more exciting - not only is the story a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood, but it’s a western re-telling!

I have the feeling this is going to be a thrilling tale.

(This will be available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon in a few weeks!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Four Years

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I love that word. 

Spell it differently, and it's a word of giving and caring; "it's for you", someone says, and excitement tingles up your spine, or you say it to someone and you feel the anticipation of giving pleasure.

Being a four-year-old... the age when a horse comes into its own.

Also, four is an age in which children are keyed up with passionate energy and wit, which not knowing quite how to handle yet, leaves them, and all those around them, spinning like a top. I've been a babysitter so I know. :)

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Four years ago I pushed publish on my first blog post and what an adventure it has been.

Seriously it has been one of the best.

I've chronicled...

and realized that my tagging system, like my life, could always use simplification.

Oh, and I published my first story.

It's been pretty good, folks.

But you know the very best???

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Seriously, I've met some amazing people through blogging... and I'm grateful for each and every one of you.

Here's to the wonder of the future, and exciting things yet to be known!

Thank you SO MUCH everyone for my first four TERRIFIC years!!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Things of Beauty: May - June

Hot sunshine in the blueberry patch to test taking (I really enjoyed it!), May and June were packed chock full of loveliness...

Very Favorite Things
A close friend's wedding (fireworks, strings of lights, and s'mores; it was one well planned party), a week long getaway to visit cousins (+ uncle and aunt :)) and grandparents (one of the best types of weeks), the lingering scent of toasted marshmallows from the previous night's bonfire while washing dishes in the morning, kayaking on the river with my brother (rapids + a very tight turn equaled having the most dramatic spill of my life), hauling hay with my father + sister on the back of my brother's flatbed Ford (just living the life folks).

SO MUCH GOODNESS! From The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge (I can't think of  a more perfectly titled story), to Wanderlust Creek by Elisabeth Grace Foley (I seriously have an entire post in the works expounding on my love for that girl's stories!) to finishing my re-reading of the LOTR with The Return of the King; May and June were two months of favorites, both old and new.

Let's just say I'm becoming an expert at writing random snippets for multiple stories at once.

Tall, wind brushed prairie grasses under blue, blue skies.

In the Kitchen
Soaked Waffles - Caramelized exteriors with perfectly risen interiors, and topped with berries and real maple syrup and cinnamon; these things are a day dream for the taste buds.


The title says everything; it is seriously the dream show.

The Self-Publishing School Podcast
Filled with vast knowledge and inspiring information, this podcast is an absolute must for the ambitious writer.

That life (nearly) always looks better from the seat of a pick-up truck, the bigger the better.

And I'll just leave you with that truth, folks!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Oh Happy Day!

So there is this girl who is having a birthday, her name? Natalie.

She has really good movie taste...

Like, impeccable.

She loves great stories in general...

and writes some seriously lovely ones herself.

And she believes in honest to goodness, COUNTRY.

But that list, my friends, is definitely not the end of it.

She has terrific humor, is just plain beautiful (both in spirit and person), is one of the most caring people I know, and one of the most faithful friends I've ever been blessed with.

Most of all she has a heart full of Grace, which is ever pursuing Christ, a fact which is apparent Every. Single. Time. you ever interact with her, and that is the most terrific thing of all.

Thanks so much for your friendship Natalie! Here is to many more years of shared thoughts and adventures yet unseen!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Midsummer Magic

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The thicket of gold-blossomed chamomile growing by the old garden gate...

Enjoying our traditional watching of the 1930's A Midsummer Night's Dream...

Great big wild prairie roses tangled in the trees beside the creek...

Turrets upon turrets of billowing white cloud castles in the sky (I think yet they were the fortresses of fairy-land)...

Preparing a bonfire for tonight...

Wine-rich fragrance of elderflowers on the breeze of shadowed evening...

Nights alive with twinkle of fireflies (the sight never fails to snatch my breath away)...

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Watching the above mentioned A Midsummer Night's Dream on Midsummer's Eve has been the sole celebration of the day for the past couple of years.

But this year...

Perhaps it's the dazzling sight of my garden bursting with color and brimming with the scent of flowers. Maybe it's the fact that one of my best friends is getting married tomorrow(!). Or perhaps it's the goodness of our God to whom all times are soon, and yet who makes everything beautiful in its time so that we mortals can joy in the loveliness around us.

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Yet I'd say it's all of it, because all that's good and joyous is in Him.

And so we can see...

there is yet, magic in the world.

Things of Beauty: November - December

November and December, were you ever a crazy ride... Very Favorite Things Four calves born within four weeks ( two of which were...