It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing


Blog Book Tour- Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick

Posted by mcm0704 on September 21, 2020 |


A Novel of an Early Suffragist


Jane Kirkpatrick

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

Publisher: Revell

Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Some things are worth doing—even when the cost is great

In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old schoolteacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls her—and prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote.

Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.


“I have long admired Jane Kirkpatrick’s rich historical fiction, and Something Worth Doing is well worth reading! Oregonian Abigail Duniway is a vibrant, fiercely passionate, and determined activist who fought for women’s suffrage. Women of today have cause to respect and admire her—as well as the loving, patient, and supportive husband who encouraged her to continue ‘the silent hunt.'” —Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love

“On the trail to Oregon, young Jenny Scott lost her beloved mother and little brother and learned that no matter what, she must persist until she reaches her goal. Remembering her mother’s words—’a woman’s life is so hard’—the young woman who became Abigail Scott Duniway came to understand through observation and experience that law and custom favored men. The author brings alive Abigail’s struggles as frontier wife and mother turned newspaper publisher, prolific writer, and activist in her lifelong battle to win the vote and other rights for women in Oregon and beyond. Jane Kirkpatrick’s story of this persistent, passionate, and bold Oregon icon is indeed Something Worth Doing!” —Susan G. Butruille, author of Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail, now in a 25th anniversary edition


Amazon ┃ Barnes and Noble ┃ ┃ IndieBound ┃ Revell


An incident in the book that happened to Abigail’s stepmother perfectly highlighted just how much women were under the control of men back in the 1800s, and really centuries before. The stepmother was a widow before she married Abigail’s father, but prior to meeting and marrying him she had a suitor who promised marriage. This man forced his advances on her, but didn’t marry her. She ended up being pregnant, but she didn’t know that before she married Tucker Scott, Abigail’s father. Because un-married daughters could not live in the household of a fallen woman, Abigail and her sisters all had to be married quickly.

Choices were taken away from them just like they had always been.

The best part of this book was the detailed information of how difficult it was for women like Abigail to continue to fight for women’s rights against the incredible odds and  the incredible obstacles that were put in her path. One has to really admire her determination, her commitment, her courage, and her strength through the many years she fought the good fight. She wrote books and articles, spoke at gatherings, and had meetings with legislators and important influential men to try to sway them to supporting her cause.

I appreciated the opportunity to learn things that I didn’t know about the suffrage movement. Many of us had been well acquainted with Susan B. Anthony and all that she did. But all of these other women, like Abigail, who fought on state levels had just as much impact on eventually getting the right to vote passed.

While I admired what Abigail did, I had a hard time relating to her as a woman and mother. Too often I wanted a stronger emotional reaction to the internal conflict between wanting to be with her family and her need to go out and do what was called “her work.”

When she left to go on a speaking tour when one of her children was dying there were some logical, and practical reasons, for what she did, but I wanted to feel her heart wrenching as she made that decision. That didn’t happen at that moment in the book. Her emotional reaction was overshadowed by her thinking of the logical reason that she left. Maybe that was her way of coping, but it would have been more realistic to me if she’d had a longer mental debate with herself before landing on the fact that the only way she could handle the impending loss was to look at it with her mind instead of her heart.


Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, including One More River to CrossEverything She Didn’t SayAll Together in One PlaceA Light in the WildernessThe Memory WeaverThis Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center.

Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar.

Website ║ Bookbub ║ Facebook 

║ Twitter ║ Pinterest ║ Amazon ║ Goodreads



1st: Copy of Something Worth Doing + Oregon Map Bag

+ $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card;

2nd and 3rd:

Copy of Something Worth Doing + $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card. 

SEPTEMBER 15-25, 2020 






or visit the blogs directly:

9/15/20 Character Interview StoreyBook Reviews
9/15/20 BONUS Post Hall Ways Blog
9/16/20 Review Jennifer Silverwood
9/17/20 Excerpt Max Knight
9/18/20 Review Forgotten Winds
9/19/20 Author Interview Librariel Book Adventures
9/20/20 Scrapbook Page Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
9/21/20 Review It’s Not All Gravy
9/22/20 Deleted Scene Texas Book Lover
9/22/20 BONUS Post All the Ups and Downs
9/23/20 Review Momma on the Rocks
9/24/20 BONUS Review The Clueless Gent
9/24/20 Review Missus Gonzo


blog tour services provided by





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#FridayReads Excerpt from Desperate Season

Posted by mcm0704 on September 18, 2020 |

First a note to all of the politicians who have been politicizing the current pandemic, and the horrible effects of climate change that we can see in the fires that are consuming vast swaths of the West Coast, as well as the hurricanes that are starting to smash into gulf states.

I am so tired of all of the maneuverings, the lies, the posturing, the stalemates, and the unwillingness to compromise.

Everyone in Washington, from the very top to the lowest rung on that governmental ladder, needs to get off their ass and do the work that they were sent to Washington for.

I don’t care what political party you belong to, and I don’t care what position you have. You are all letting the American people down.

Whew! I feel so much better for getting that off my chest. 🙂

Now, here’s the excerpt I promised. This picks up from the last one I posted back in July.

Back in the squad room, Angel went to her own desk and Sarah noticed a blue folder on top of hers. She slipped out of her blazer, hung it on the back of her chair and sat down, opening the folder to find a forensic report. Leafing through the pages, Sarah noted that yesterday’s crime scene had yielded lots of items. It was a public park after all, and Sarah wondered if any of the scraps of paper, cigarette butts, or fragments of fibers were going to mean anything to their case.

No shell casing had been found at the scene, which possibly meant the shooter cleaned up his brass, but a small bag that had contained dope was found close to where the victim had fallen. Some of that cheese that had been showing up for months all around the city and in the suburbs. It had become the drug of choice for young teens. “Hey, Angel.” Sarah waited a moment for her partner to look up. “CSI tech found a Baggie at the park. It had remnants of cheese in the corners.”

“For eating or sniffing?”

Sarah chuckled. “The dope. What if the girl was there to score and something went wrong?” After a beat, she added, “Or what if the dealer approached her, but she refused? Made him mad?”

“Possibly.” Angel paused for a moment. “But the way she was shot? That’s not a typical MO for dealers. They don’t usually use such precision when taking someone out.”

“True. But that scenario fits better than one that has some kind of hit man killing a girl that young.”

“Hit man? Where did that come from?”

“I’m not saying it was a hit. I’m just thinking out loud. Because of the close range of the shot.”

“I seem to recall some detective telling me how we work on facts, not scenarios.”

Angel smiled and Sarah couldn’t help but smile back. These brief moments of camaraderie always felt so good. Too bad it just took one moment of friction to wipe the smiles away.

Sarah sighed and turned her attention back to the report. She was much better off trying to solve a murder than fix the problems between her and Angel. After another half hour, she stood and stretched, then walked around to Angel’s desk. “You ready for lunch?”

Angel slapped a file closed. “Sure. You find anything else?”

Sarah walked back to her chair and grabbed her blazer. “Nothing that helped. Let’s see if we can prod a lead out of Santos after we eat.”

Before I go, I want to remind you about the giveaway at Goodreads. It’ll run until release date of October 1st, and you can enter for a chance to win one of the 50 copies of the e-book that will be given away for Kindle readers

If you’d rather secure a copy for yourself instead of taking the chance on the giveaway, you can pre-order the book for only $1.99 at Amazon. After the release date of October 2nd the book price will increase to $3.99, so this is a chance to get the book at a big discount.



That’s all from me for today, folks. I do hope you have a wonderful weekend and you are not in harm’s way from the fires, the storms, and the pandemic. Tough times for so many. Be safe. Be well. Be happy.

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An Ode to September

Posted by mcm0704 on September 16, 2020 |

It’s always with great anticipation that I look forward to seeing what Slim Randles is going to write about Autumn. I think he does the season great justice.

So, without further ado, grab a piece of pie and help me welcome Slim as today’s Wednesday’s Guest.


Cherry, my favorite. Only needs a scoop of chocolate ice-cream.


Our month of change. Our month of happy change. Once more we can stand the thought of wearing a sweater as the summer sun burns itself down. Once again we can think about a new school year and the special challenges we face this fall. Once again, the house is quiet during the day.


In the forest, the animals are polishing antlers, sleeking muscles for the mating ruts to come, marking their territories. The deciduous trees are showing those awesome changes of color as the mountains become a splendid quilt of transient beauty.


A resting time for the older folks. They can sit on the patio now even in the afternoons. It’s a time for barbecued ribs and football, and picking fruit. On the farms, the canning pots are boiling with treasures for the coming winter.


Time for the Fall gather. Time to see what’s out in those far pastures. Time to brand and work any late calves. Time to sort those who will stay and those who will go to the sale. Time to make money for the ranch.


Time to sit and sip something hot and think about things past and yearn for certain future things and to plan … plan how we can finish this year in a better fashion than last year.


Brought to you to honor those masked folks who wait on us in the coffee shops and take our temperature at the doctor’s office. Thank you for your courage.

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for ten years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than thirty years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.

That’s all from me for today. Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think of Slim’s essay, as well as what is special to you about Autumn. Until next time, be well, be safe, be happy.

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Autumn in the Air

Posted by mcm0704 on September 14, 2020 |

Autumn is beginning to show itself in cooler nights and a few gold and red leaves starting to drift from nearby trees.

I love Autumn. Maybe because the worst of the Texas heat is gone for another year. Hopefully no 100+ days in the forecast until next July, but also because of the bold colors.

I just finished a jigsaw puzzle that pictures a lovely Fall country scene, and this is what comes to mind when I think of this time of year. Bright orange pumpkins. A blanket of yellow and orange and red leaves. A golden sky at sunset. Cool breezes blowing through open windows.

While cleaning in my office the other day, I came across a calendar that I’d saved from 2018. I’m sure I saved it because each month had an inspirational quote. This is the September quote, and I was a bit surprised at the source.


On Twitter Sunday, Sharon Hurley shared a link to an article over at The Medium. It was written by Marley K. in the form of a letter asking for a divorce from White Supremacy, and it’s quite an enlightening read. Harsh in places with some rough language, but, oh, how it needs to be read, especially by people who still don’t understand how White Privilege has worked through the years to hold people of color back.

That “holding back” and forcing people of color to work so hard for so little, is what is fueling the Black Lives Matter protests and the civil unrest.

And let’s be clear. The leadership of the BLM movement and most of the members are not condoning or encouraging violence. They are not forming bands of marauders who are going to stream into the suburbs and break into peoples’ homes.

BLM was not behind the awful behavior of a few people who stood outside the emergency room in Los Angeles where two sheriff’s deputies were in critical condition after being shot as they sat in their squad cars.

BLM did not send a killer to that dark street to take out those officers.

Here are a few quotes from Marley’s article:

“What you’ve failed to realize after all these years of marriage is that you need me, I don’t need you. I can survive without you and you know it, that’s why you won’t set me free. You can’t survive without me, and you know this too, which is why you will do anything to keep me in this unhappy marriage.”

The link to that article came only a few hours after I’d listened to an interview with author Yaa Gyasi on Fresh Air during which she expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the problem with racism rests firmly in White society.

Because of all my recent reading about racism and White Privilege, I’ve come to realize that I knew so little about the issues. Some of the new insights will be explored in the next book in the Seasons Mystery Series, Brutal Season. as Angel and Sarah grapple with their new reality in the face of police brutality and the BLM protests in Dallas.

The third book in the mystery series, Desperate Season, will launch on October 2, and leading up to release date there are two ways of getting a copy of the book if you’re interested. It’s on a special pre-order price at Amazon for only $1.99, which will guarantee you get the book.

Order Here

Or, if you’re the gambling type, there’s a giveaway at Goodreads where folks can enter to win one of 50 copies of the e-book.

Enter Here

This story has Sarah and Angel, two Dallas Detectives fighting to rid the streets of a nasty new drug that is killing too many young kids. Or, as Sarah says, “One dead kid is too many.”

That’s all from me for today. I do hope you have a good start to your week. Stay safe. Say well. Do we dare hope that the nasty COVID 19 is waning, or is it too soon to get excited?

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History Shouldn’t Fade

Posted by mcm0704 on September 11, 2020 |


One thing I don’t want to do in the midst of the current dismal state of our society is let the memory of that horrible day on September 11, 2001 get lost in the barrage of all the depressing news around us. Not that we need another bleak something to focus on, but it is so important that we never forget…

Never forget the day terrorists flew planes into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Towers, ultimately bringing them down, along with the lives of 2,977 people.

Never forget the day that terrorists flew planes into the Pentagon, causing the partial collapse of the buildings west side and killing 175 people.

Never forget the day that brave passengers aboard the fourth plane that had been hijacked by terrorists, stood up to the hijackers and forced the plane to crash in a field in Pennsylvania. The plane had been headed to Washington D.C.

Those facts just barely scratch the surface of the extent of the devastation and ramifications of that horrible day. Thousands and thousands of people were affected by the immediate carnage. Wives lost husbands. Husbands lost wives. Children lost mothers, fathers. Mothers and fathers lost children.

And on and on into extended families, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, sisters, brothers, cousins. Like circles in the water of a pond when a stone is dropped in.

The long term effects include health problems experienced by first-responders because of the toxins in the debris left by the collapse of the buildings, as well as those lost and injured in the wars that followed the attack. Latest statistics I could find state that 7,000 U.S. troops have been killed in war from 2001 through the end of 2018: 2,298 in Afghanistan and 4,572 U.S. troops in Iraq. Over 250,000 service men and women have been wounded in those wars.

Again, think of the ripples in that pond.

The history of atrocities that mankind inflicts upon mankind should never be forgotten. At least until maybe it never happens again. Do we dare hope?

No more wars

No more holocausts

No more genocide

No more Trail of Tears

No more slavery


Sadly, that list could go on and on.

I didn’t write this to make people sad. I wrote it in the vain hope that it might stir some hearts to do one kind thing and see how far that particular ripple could go in our world.

Go ahead. Drop your pebble.

That’s all from me for today, folks. I do hope you have a safe and happy weekend. Whatever you have planned, I hope it brings you joy. 

As always, I welcome comments. If you’d like to add to my list of things we shouldn’t forget, please do. Maybe even some bright moments in history that give us hope. 

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#lsll Book Blog Tour – The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Posted by mcm0704 on September 9, 2020 |



Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: September 8, 2020

Number of Pages: 400

Scroll down for the giveaway!

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother’s estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo frames—she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth—both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others—takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.


Amazon || Barnes and Noble || Christian Book Distributor || IndieBound || Revell

Watch the Book Trailer on    Youtube


What a wonderful story that shows one does not have to be born into a family to belong. I was captivated from the very first when Harvey found the infant and decided he was going to do all he could to help her and make sure she didn’t have to go into a foster-care system that had let him down so horribly years ago.

Some things might be a little too coincidental, like how he gets the job at the church that is the first step toward saving Ivy, but I let my disbelief go as the story progressed and I could see the magic happening between all the characters.

I’m not one to wear my Christianity on my sleeve, but I also recognize when the power of the Spirit is working, and that power sure was working in the lives of the people in this book. The author did a terrific job of incorporating the religious aspects of the story without hitting people over the head with her beliefs. That made the reading even more pleasurable.

It’s hard to decide which character, or characters, I liked best. They were all so well-defined and relatable. I loved Harvey for all he was willing to do to save this child. I loved the Pastor for taking a chance on hiring Harvey. I loved Reese for his steadfast love. But I think I loved Grandma Pearl the most. Maybe it’s a grandma-to-grandma thing, but I also think it is an appreciation for the way she pulled her past into the present with Harvey and took him into her heart.

Amanda Cox is a blogger and a curriculum developer for a national nonprofit youth leadership organization, but her first love is communicating through story.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology and a master’s degree in professional counseling. Her studies and her interactions with hurting families over a decade have allowed her to create multidimensional characters that connect emotionally with readers.

Amanda lives in Tennessee with her husband and their three children.

Website ║ Facebook ║ Instagram ║ Blog

Goodreads ║ BookBub ║ Twitter

Amazon Author Page



1st: Copy of The Edge of Belonging + Fern Tote Bag

+ $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card

2nd and 3rd: Copy of The Edge of Belonging

+ $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card

September 1-11, 2020

(U.S. Only)



Or, visit the blogs directly:

9/1/20 Author Interview Forgotten Winds
9/1/20 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
9/2/20 Excerpt Max Knight
9/3/20 Review Tangled in Text
9/4/20 Review Missus Gonzo
9/5/20 Playlist Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
9/6/20 Author Interview Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
9/7/20 Review That’s What She’s Reading
9/8/20 Top Five List The Page Unbound
9/9/20 Review It’s Not All Gravy
9/9/20 BONUS Promo All the Ups and Downs
9/10/20 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

blog tour services provided by





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Happy Labor Day

Posted by mcm0704 on September 7, 2020 |

Even though the Labor Day Weekend is winding down, I do want to take a moment to wish all my U.S. readers a happy holiday. I especially want to send a “job well done” message to first responders, hospital workers, and essential workers. You are doing tremendous work during this uncertain time of the COVID19 pandemic, putting yourselves at greater risk to make sure others are taken care of.

Thank You!

And I fully intend to as soon as I finish this post. LOL


For many people this is a special holiday to wrap up the summer and start looking ahead to fall. Families gather for picnics and cookouts, and when I was growing up, this holiday was almost as big as the Fourth of July.

After I married, I was inducted into the Miller family tradition which was to picnic at a local park with the whole Miller clan. The primary celebration was for Mom Miller’s birthday, which was September 5th, but it was also a challenge for the kids to cram all the last of the summer fun they could into one day. They played hard until we ran out of daylight, and slept through their baths. Moms and dads were tempted to just fall into bed fully clothed.

Yesterday one of my sons reminded me during a texting visit about how we would have those end-of-the-summer picnics with some friends in Texas. Those friends had become like family to us and we shared many a holiday together when we were not able to go to Michigan to be with our biological families.

It was good to remember all the ways those special friends were a part of our lives. It made me smile.

The Labor Day holiday was started to honor the American workers, and every year I  think of the song, “40-Hour Week” by Alabama. My roots run deep in blue collar America, so this song speaks to me and my family. Enjoy!


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Never Forgotten

Posted by mcm0704 on September 5, 2020 |

It’s been seven years since my husband died on this date. It was a Thursday in 2013, and after a lingering breakfast during which we had one of the best talks we’d had in some time, he left to do his volunteer stint at the Winnsboro Center For the Arts. There, he had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital after friends found him.

Even after all these years, some details are still clear in my mind. What I was doing when my friend called to tell me that Carl was at the hospital. What I said to her. Calling a neighbor to come over and take care of my horse who was tied out in the yard for mowing duty. Calling one of my daughters. Telling her I couldn’t call the other kids. Would she?


My friend coming to drive me to the hospital.

Being slammed with the news.




Then, nothing.

I don’t remember coming home. I think my friend drove me. None of my kids were there yet, so I was alone. This “alone” was so different from the alone when Carl was at the store. Or at the art center. Or at church for a meeting with other clergy. This “alone” was going to be forever.

As I write this today, I realize that I never actually put those words to the situation before. I never fully accepted the reality that I was singular now. Not a half of a couple. Just one person.

Wow! Why did it take so long for me to acknowledge that? Perhaps because denial is an ongoing part of dealing with loss. Not the denial that he was gone, but not looking at that horrible reality of “alone” with open eyes and an open heart.

Sometimes we take giant steps through the grieving process and other times baby steps. Thank goodness there is no timeline for any of this.

As a hospital chaplain in charge of grief support groups, I learned that it is imperative to keep taking those steps. It’s also important, as part of a healthy grieving process, to work toward not focusing so much on what is lost, but looking at what we have. No matter how long that takes.

So I try to look at all the good things we had together for all those years.

In addition to the wonderful family that Carl and I had; all the kids and grand-kids who filled our home and our lives with joy, I had that one last good morning with him. It still makes me smile to think about it, despite how the day ended.

Our Anniversary breakfast at Art & Espresso

We’d just celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks prior, and were so hoping we would make it to 50. Since his health had been so fragile for a year or more, we both knew that was a real long-shot, but we hoped nonetheless. That’s what people do, right? You don’t just stop and wait for that final moment.

Ironically, Carl had had a heart attack at the art center early in August on his Thursday volunteer day. He survived that one and came home from the hospital on August 19, the day before our anniversary. We had two weeks of really good days from the time he came home from the hospital until the day he died. He felt better than he had in months, and that dark mood that had made him so depressed had lifted. He had more energy. We talked often. He smiled more. It was like the sun coming out from a dark cloud.

You know.

That dazzling brightness that almost takes your breath away.

Today, I can smile through my tears, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss him. Or I’m “over it.” We never get over losing a partner, or anyone in our lives for that matter. It’s just that the pain of missing him isn’t with me 24/7 anymore. Slowly, as months and years march on, we adjust to the shift in our lives and have more days of no pain of grief. And, slowly, those days start to string together to form… maybe a whole week.

That’s all for me for today folks. I extend condolences to any of you who have lost people close to you. This grief stuff is hard. And in this current state of the pandemic, we’re grieving the loss of so much in addition to people we love – jobs, income, health insurance, socialization, and emotional stability.

Whatever you are dealing with, stay safe and stay strong. And if you’d like to share your story here, please do. 

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Sweet Summer Nights

Posted by mcm0704 on September 2, 2020 |

Oh how I love this essay from Slim Randles, who is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. Maybe because I, too, enjoy a summer evening on the back porch, as long as the mosquitoes stay away, and I do enjoy a tune on the guitar. There was a time I could pluck a string or two. My kids continue to play. 

Read on and enjoy, then share your favorite summer-evening pastime with a comment.  

Our day is filled with heat at this time of year. It commands our attention and makes our work harder. As we toil, we daydream not about love or success, but things as mundane as shade and a cool drink.

But though the oppressive heat weighs on our brains and taxes our bodies, it is the price we pay for being allowed to spend time outdoors … and it has its one singular consolation: our summer evenings.

When the sun goes down in summer, it’s romantic enough to hug a cactus.

The recipe is simple; keep the earth warm, but just bring out the stars and a soft breeze that cools the skin. Mix this with a fulmination of little night varmint sounds of peeping and chirping and croaking. And guitars. Whether we play them ourselves or just turn on the radio, it is a setting that is perfect for guitars. Villa-Lobos, Fernando Sor, Tarrega, Randy Travis, Doc Watson, Steve Cormier.

We sit in brick-paved patios with something cool and someone sweet and relax and talk about dreams, because on evenings like this, anything is possible. On nights like this, it’s difficult to decide whether remembering evenings like this we’ve enjoyed in the past is better than anticipating those to come. All we really know is that it sure is nice to be here right now.

Tonight I’m going to see if I can remember all the words to “Little Joe the Wrangler” and find out if my guitar is still in tune.

Brought to you by The Backpocket Guide to Hunting Elk, by Slim Randles. Check it out at

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for ten years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than thirty years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.

That’s all from me for today. Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think of Slim’s essay, as well as what you enjoy most on a summer evening. Until next time, be safe.

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Friday’s Odds And Ends

Posted by mcm0704 on August 28, 2020 |

I’m going to do something different this Friday for my blog post. Partially because Mr Ramsay Hunt is kicking my butt big time this week, and the meds I take to control the pain from trigeminal neuralgia make my brain really foggy.

 Image courtesy of The Empaths’s Guide to Becoming Worth a Damn

Also, I can’t even begin to describe my feelings about current events. The shooting of another black man, Jacob Blake, by a police officer. The protesters who were shot by a vigilante. The continuing climb of the COVID 19. The devastation that hurricane Laura created as the storm swept across parts of our country.

All of this happens, yet people in high places still deny that systemic racism exists. People deny, or try to play down, the extremes of the pandemic. And those same people in high places still ignore the reality of climate change and what it is doing to our world.

When I am this weighed down with sadness, it’s very hard to put words together to express how I feel. Kinda weird that a writer can’t find words, but that’s my reality right now. So today I’m stealing, er borrowing some things.

First is some advice that’s circulated around via email an other social media for some time, but every time I read it, I can’t help but smile and nod. I wish I knew who wrote this, I’d love to give them credit.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away…never to return.. So… while we have it ….. it’s best we love it…. and care for it.. and fix it when it’s broken……… and heal it when it’s sick.

This is true. for marriage……. and old cars…. and children with bad report cards….. and dogs with bad hips…. and aging parents…… and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.


Now some fun facts about cats. I found this information about tortoiseshell cats on the pretty litter blog, and the picture that showed up reminded me of a sweet little kitty that we had for a while as a barn cat when I lived out in the country.

That kitty who was named TOC showed up one day very hungry and scared, and I found her hiding high up on the stack of hay bales. I took some food out for her, and she decided that maybe she would like to continue living in my barn.

She got her name because we kept referring to her as “that other cat.” I’d tell my husband I was going out to feed her, or ask him to go out, and wanted him to know that I didn’t mean any of our other cats, who all had names. “That other cat in the barn,” I’d say, and her name was born.

We were delighted that she decided to continue living in the barn. First of all we came to love her, as we do all cats. But also because for the time that she called that place home, there were no little critters in the hay to leave presents that were not good for my horse or my goats.

Long before we had TOC, I knew that the tortoiseshell was not a specific breed but some people do think they are. My belief was validated in the blog post at Pretty Litter which pointed out that it is not a breed, just a color pattern, although people do breed them to continue some coloring. Because tortoiseshell cats are 99.9% female cats, they are bred with other colors hoping that the tortoiseshell gene will dominate, and a few female torties will be born.

Some people describe the tortoiseshell cat as sassy, fiercely independent, and strong-willed, but that could be applied to a lot of other cats. I have one black cat that fits that description to a tea.

I found this list of cultural lore that applies to the tortie fun and interesting:

  • In the U.S., both calicos and torties are good luck cats that bring money into the home.
  • They’re thought to have psychic abilities and see into the future—plus, they chase off ghosts!
  • If you dream of a tortoiseshell cat, you’ll soon be in love.
  • A bride hearing a tortie sneeze on her wedding day means good luck.
  • Ancient Celts believed it was good luck if a male tortie stayed in their home.
  • A legend from Southeast Asia says that tortoiseshell cats were created from the blood of a goddess born from a lotus flower.

Before I go, I want to remind you of the pre-order sale of Desperate Season. You can order your copy for only $1.99, now through October 2. That is when the price will go up to $3.99.


That’s all for me for today folks. Whatever you have on your calendar for the weekend, I hope it is something fun, but also something safe. We’re all chomping at the bit to be out and about, but it’s still not a good time for that. Take care.

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