One Last Time

I couldn’t help but think about my mother this Thanksgiving. I thought about the many meals she planned just for her family to come celebrate with her all the things she was thankful for. She didn’t have the happiest of childhoods, she lived through the depression and life with my dad was difficult because he suffered from a mental illness. Still, she was thankful she made it through all she did.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, she would grab a couple of used envelopes and on the back of one envelope, she would write everyone’s names . On the other, she would write her shopping list. She had rather large handwriting, so, in the end, the whole envelope would be written on.

She would go to the store, bring home the groceries and hide anything she thought we might get into before she cooked, like the colored marshmallows for her cathedral cookies or the large marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole.

A few days before Thanksgiving, Mother began to cook. As she  cooked, the house filled with the savory aroma of a big old Tom Turkey roasting in the roaster,. That roaster sat on the washing machine while it cooked that turkey to perfection.. She had a humongous bowl in which she mixed the dressing. She made two  extra large dishes of it. Her dressing was by far the best thing she made. There was  a time when I realized it would be prudent to get the  recipe if I wanted to carry on the tradition.

“I won’t know how to make it after you are gone and no one will know how to make it,” I told her.

“Well, I just put in a pinch of salt, some sage, bread crumbs, chicken stock, you know.”

“Yeah, but how much of it? I need measurements.”

“Honey, I don’t measure it, I just know how much to put in.”

“Can’t you just measure it and tell me?”

“I wouldn’t know how.”

I never learned that dressing recipe and I have tried to duplicate it as best as I can, but to no avail. Now that my mother is gone, so is the dressing I loved so much. Oh, what I would give to have just one more Thanksgiving with Mother. The cooking, the laughter, the late nights with her during the holidays-now gone, but never forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Compliment

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This past week, I have had shingles. I’m okay and it didn’t get bad, but it has lasted a little longer than I thought it would. As a matter of fact, I thought I’d be well by now. Nevertheless, I went back to the doctor today to make sure I am no longer contagious as we plan to have Thanksgiving dinner with my son’s in laws. My daughter in law is expecting next month and I wanted to make sure I would not expose her to anything.

Well, sir, a routine  doctor’s appointment turned into the best compliment I have ever gotten. Here’s what happened.

I walked out of the office and entered the reception area. I handed my paperwork to the receptionist when she started a conversation with me.

Receptionist : I saw your book at The Well (a coffee shop in town). It looked so cute, I bought it for my kids.

Me: Oh really?? That’s so nice. I hope they are enjoying it.

Receptionist: Oh they love it! They ask me to read it every night . It’s their favorite book; their bedtime story.

Me: Oh, that’s so great! Thank you! You’ve made my day!

As an author, I don’t think there could be any higher compliment than a child loving the book you poured your heart into,  and wanting it to be read at every bedtime. I actually got goose bumps from that interaction with the receptionist.

I hope there are more children who go to bed with Jack Learns to Grill. It’s a book written for each child who reads it.

Thank you to the receptionist who made my day by reaching out to me. I am truly thankful and grateful for all my readers . Happy Thanksgiving!

Jack’s Fight, an Update

Thursday, I took Jack to the vet for the surgery to rid his body of a cancerous skin tumor. The vet, Dr. Brittain, thought it would be approximately a forty-five minute surgery. As it turned out, it was a little more complicated than that. But, he came through the surgery with flying colors . The incision was quite long , due to the size of the tumor and it looks as if he’s had a tummy tuck.

But, the news is good. No cancer in his lymph nodes and she doesn’t suspect any on the inside. The tumor could grow back, but in the event it does, we’ll catch it when it is small and it will be easier to remove.

Two days after his surgery, he is happy as a lark and last night resumed howling with the coyotes promptly at 11:15 p.m. as is his nightly ritual. He is on antibiotics for two weeks and then his stitches will come out.

I am so grateful to my friend and fellow author, Jackie Smith, for setting up a Go Fund Me account for Jack. We could have never gotten the surgery without it. For those of you who donated to the account, thank you so much. Our Jack is on the mend!

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Jack’s Fight

It has been an emotional time here at Baker’s Acres. Our Jack, an American Dingo, who stars in his own book- Jack Learns to Grill , was diagnosed with a fast growing cancer. He has a tumor on his side and it has gotten quite large very quickly. The vet told me surgery was needed, but I didn’t know how that would play out since we  live, like some Americans, paycheck to paycheck. How we were going to pay for his surgery, we didn’t know.

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Enter my friend, and fellow author Jackie Smith. Jackie is such a great friend and would do anything for her friends. Upon hearing my sad tale of Jack’s cancer and having helped me publish Jack Learns to Grill, she offered to create a Go Fund Me campaign. Maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel! Maybe there was some hope for my Jack!

Once I sent the information to her, Jackie then set up the campaign and got it off the ground. She didn’t waste any time. Our goal was met in two days time! Two days!

This whole ordeal has restored my faith in humanity and reinforced the importance of having good friends. I want to thank all who donated, some were friends and relatives of Jackie’s and some of mine. Whoever you are, whatever your reason for helping, please accept my sincere gratitude.

As of now, surgery is set for next Thursday . I will keep you updated on Jack’s progress. He is a lovely boy who deserves a long life. I’d like to think that’s possible now.

Thank you all for your help!

 

 

 

 

 

“And James Arness as Matt Dillon”

As a little girl, Saturday nights at our house was a combination of Westerns and country music. We had a black and white television as did most families back in the sixties. I can’t remember if The Grand Ole Opry came on before Gunsmoke or vice versa and it doesn’t really matter. I could never wait for Gunsmoke to come on because I had a huge crush on Matt Dillon. I was four or five -somewhere around there when the show aired. I would watch Matt mount his horse and run after the bad guy, with Festus, the deputy, by his side. I was more than sure Matt Dillon was going to ride up to my house, put me up on his horse, ride off into the sunset promising to marry me. Even at a young age, I was a romantic.

For those of you who are not familiar with James Arness as Matt Dillon, let me go back just a bit. Matt Dillon was the Marshall of Dodge City. He was tall, rugged, fair but firm, handsome and the ultimate protector. He smiled an easy dimpled smile, made a few jokes, took the law seriously and the idol of many.

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He had that shabby chic, but ruggedly used cowboy hat that sat just so on his head and the suede western vest that hung on him just perfectly.

I was thinking about Matt and the long-ago crush one little girl had on him. I discovered it was not the man I had the crush on, really. Rather, it was what he stood for. All the things a girl might want and/or need in a husband.

A girl looks for a handsome man, sometimes ruggedly so. She looks for a man who is not necessarily tall in stature, but tall in her eyes. She looks for a man who will be a protector and some, dare I say it, look for someone that reminds them of their dad. Nothing wrong with that.

My husband is not at all built like James Arness, doesn’t look like him. He certainly doesn’t wear suede vests, but has been known to wear a hat on occassions. He is not as tall as James Arness, but he is the guy I was looking for in Matt Dillon. What Matt meant to me, what I saw in him way  back then are the things Stephen means to me and what I see in him everyday. Funny how that worked out!

I realize this does not apply to every girl. But, it was true for me. I found it interesting how Matt Dillon was the symbol for the kind of guy I wanted to be with and to look up to.

If you had a childhood crush on a star, I’d love to hear about it. I know I was not the only one!

Indievengeance Day 2016

Last  weekend should have found me at Indivievengeance Day 2016 at Half Price Book Store in Frisco, Texas. Several amazing author friends of mine were there and we were all going to sell autographed books, talk to folks and generally have a great time. Instead, I stayed at home with my old friend, Bronchitis. I would have preferred being at Indievengeance Day.

Authors Susie Clevenger and her husband, Charlie were there. Amber  Jerome Norrgard, of 629 Publications and organizer was there. Jackie Smith, Ben Ditmars and others were all there. I love Indievengeance Day. It is a celebration of  independent authors who choose to bypass traditional publishing for working their own schedules, being in charge of what and when they write and who have great stories to tell. If you have yet to read a book by an independent author, let me encourage you to seek one out.

Even though I was not able to be there, I kept up with their antics on Facebook and it looked as if they had a magnificent time. Look for me next year  when you start seeing Indievengeance Day flyers on Facebook. I’ll be there, right in the thick of things.

To my author friends, so glad you had a great time. See you next year!!!

 

 

 

The Fine Art of Cantankery.

Anna shows an insight to my favorite – the donkey!

Relaxed & Forward: AnnaBlakeBlog

lillith I’ve had a hard time acting my age. That’s not it, exactly. It’s more like I’m straddling the Grand Canyon between my usual teen angst and dealing with the fact I’m supposed to be wearing support hose. It all started with my birthday. Two years ago.

Then recently a donkey came to the rescue that I work with. She was nothing special, really. Her “selling point” was her age, I guess. We joked about needing to carbon date her. We’re guessing upper thirties. At least.

Rule #1: Donkeys hate change.

She came into rescue and landed in a kind geriatric pen with a few other special needs cases. Nobody too active and there was a buffet; piles of hay, lots of fresh water, and feed pans brimming with senior feed. In short, paradise. But she was having none of it. She had more opinion than strength.

There’s an argument that…

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nominee newHi! It has been a while since I’ve written, but I have been so busy with the third book to The Conservative Congregant Series. I have some fun news and that is that The Conservative Congregant has been nominated for the 2016 Summer Indie Book Awards! I am so honored and surprised. Voting begins on September 1 and as time draws near, I will post the link to vote. I would love to win this award in my genre ,which for this award, is contemporary.  I wish you could see my face! It’s excited!

Secondly, as I’ve already stated, I am working on the third Conservative Congregant Book and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the way it is moving. Look for surprises, conflict, resolution and who knows what else in this book.

I have some events coming up in September and October and I’m very excited about that.

My friend and mentor, Jackie Smith has won an award for her book Backstage, a Boy Band book. I’m so proud of her! Well done, Jackie!

That’s all the news I have for now. Ta -Ta!

 

 

 

New Book Out!

I am excited to write that my new book, “And Time Stood Still” is now out on Kindle.
“And Time Stood Still” is the continuing story of Eloise Dowager and what happens to her at The City of Hope, the church for the unhoused she has been attending. She stepped out of her comfort zone to make a meal for the congregation of The City of Hope  and finds herself in the middle of a huge blessing. This blessing shows her that moving out of her comfort zone can yield blessings one can only imagine. The blessing God bestows upon her is beyond her wildest imagination and one that will change her life forever.

I hope if you haven’t read “The Conservative Congregant,” you’ll pick it and “And Time Stood Still here. And be looking for the third and maybe final book coming soon!

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