Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Folded Napkin ... A Truckers Story

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued sp
eech of Downs Syndrome.

I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.

"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."

"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"

Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said. "But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is." Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I didn't get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said. "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup."

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie.

Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.

Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: "truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!"

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

"First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.

"There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. "Happy Thanksgiving,"

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow. At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.

Well.. Don't just sit there! Share this story!

Keep it going, this is a good one!

Friday, October 26, 2012


"The Lord directs the steps of the GodlyHe delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand" (Psalm 37:23-24 NLT).

                                    Isaiah 65:24

This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa .  
One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities. 

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. 

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates).. 

'And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in   Central Africa
it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. 

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. 

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough,mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. 

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.' 

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?' 

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this. 

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in   Africa  for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. 

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! 

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly.  Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.  From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? 

I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. 

I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. 

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!'

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! 

Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied! 

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. 

And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.' 

'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24) 

When you receive this, say the prayer. That's all I ask. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want - but do send it on.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another.  

This awesome prayer takes less than a minute. 

Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal our love and release to them Your courage.. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them.  I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. Amen

P. S. Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ would do.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30

So, did you think i dropped off the end of the world? Well, i guess in a sense i did. Mom and i sadly but determinedly set off for Mom's favorite cousin Luise Boese's funeral on Tuesday, August which was held at Linden on the 16th. We traveled through from home to Three Hills Diamond Inn motel that day, stopping occasionally. Wednesday morning we visited her Aunt Helen in the Linden Nursing Home, Aunt Joan Barkman at her place, stopped to see the Fabric Store and saw another friend before meeting with Heather and Aunt Joan for lunch in Linden. After lunch we went back to the motel for rests before the family supper and service for Luise. Well, i think within an hour, 911 had been called, and shortly thereafter was taken to the hospital with excruciating pain. After a sleepless night, a transfer to the Red Deer Hospital for a CT scan was ordered. By 6:30 that night Mom was in surgery. She had had a blood clot to the colon, which caused the colon to die. Peter & Karen got to Red Deer that night, and we have been making the Holiday Inn Express our home. i am happy to say she made it through surgery, and by the prayers of friends and relatives she has made it this far. Truly we saw prayers answered not only daily, but hourly. She is still in ICU where we expect she might be for a few days/weeks depending on how things go. She is off of the ventilator, and they are hoping to have her moving soon. So that's where we have been/are. Thanks so much hardly seems enough to say for all that has been done for us. So for now i'll just say God has been good to us. Thanks for the prayers, and we ask for continued prayer. The nurses and doctors for the most part have been awesome instruments in God's hands, and we can not say enough about the care she has had so far. God Bless.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Say I Love You Now

i got this in a post from Amanda Stephan at Sisters in Cahoots  and wanted to share

I received this in an email from my loverly (yes, I said loverly) daughter. It was too poignant not to share. I hope it's a blessing to you today.

One day a woman's husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't "anymore". No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more "just one minute."

Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye, say "I love you."

So while we have it, it's best we love it, care for it, 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.

Some things we keep -- like a best friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what.
Life is important, like people we know who are special.. And so, we keep them close!

 Suppose one morning you never wake up, 
do all your friends know you love them?

Let every one of your friends know you love them. Even if you think they don't love you back. And just in case I'm gone tomorrow:

I Love You, My Bloggy Friends!!!

Live today because tomorrow is not promised.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Magnolias....a rerun of a beautiful story

I am sharing a post i received via email tonight. It is a story that has been circulated before, and will be again. Sorry no idea who wrote it.

MAGNOLIAS - I really hope all of you will read this.

I was getting ready for my daughter June's wedding which was taking place
in a church about forty miles away, and felt loaded with responsibilities as
I watched my budget dwindle..... So many details, so many bills, and so little

My son Jack said he would walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking the
place of his dad who had died a few years before. He teased Patsy, saying
he'd wanted to give her away since she was about three years old!

To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large
magnolia trees. Their luscious, creamy-white blooms and slick green leaves
would make beautiful arrangements against the rich dark wood inside the

The big day arrived - the busiest day of my life - and while her bridesmaids
helped Patsy to dress, her fiancé Tim walked with me to the sanctuary to do
a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush of hot air, I almost
fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautiful white flowers were black.
Funeral black. An electrical storm during the night had knocked out the air
conditioning system, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted
and died.

I panicked, knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown, gather
more flowers, and return in time for the wedding and I certainly didn't have
extra money to buy a new set from the florist in town.

Tim turned to me. 'Edna, can you get more flowers? I'll throw away these
dead ones and put fresh flowers in these arrangements.'
I mumbled, 'Sure,' as he be-bopped down the hall to put on his cuff links.

Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up at the dark wooden beams in the
arched ceiling. 'Lord,' I prayed, 'please help me. I don't know anyone in
this town. Help me find someone willing to give me flowers - in a hurry!'
I scurried out praying for the blessing of white magnolias.

As I left the church, I saw magnolia trees in the distance. I approached a
house.... no dog in sight.... knocked on the door and an older man answered.
So far so good. No shotgun. When I stated my plea the man beamed....
'I'd be happy to!'

He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me.
Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said, 'Sir,
you've made the mother of a bride happy today.'

No, Ma'am,' he said. 'You don't understand what's happening here.'

'What?' I asked.

'You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday. On Tuesday I
received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday..... He paused.
I saw tears welling up in his eyes. 'On Wednesday I buried her.' He looked
away. 'On Thursday most of my out-of-town relatives went back home, and
on Friday - yesterday - my children left.'

I nodded.

'This morning,' he continued, 'I was sitting in my den crying out loud. I
miss her so much. For the last sixteen years, as her health got worse, she
needed me. But now nobody needs me. This morning I cried, 'Who needs
an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!' I began to cry louder.
'Nobody needs me!'

About that time, you knocked, and said, 'Sir, I need you.'

I stood with my mouth open. He asked, 'Are you an angel? I assured him
I was no angel.

He smiled. 'Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those


'I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. Why, I might have a flower
ministry! I could give them to everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home
have no flowers. People need flowers at times like that and I have lots of
them. They're all over the backyard! I can give them to hospitals, churches
- all sorts of places. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to serve
the Lord until the day He calls me home!'

I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding day, if
anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have
said, 'Forget it! It's my only daughter's wedding, for goodness' sake! There
is no way I can minister to anyone today.'

But God found a way. Through dead flowers. 'Life is not the way it's
supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes
the difference.'

If you have missed knowing me, you have missed nothing.
If you have missed some of my emails, you may have missed a laugh.

But, if you have missed knowing God you have missed everything in the world!!
He can be your everything. May God's blessings be upon you.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17, 2012

First of all, Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and dad figures out there. Just as someone can have a mother's heart without having children, so you can have a father heart without children.

It's a rainy afternoon here in the Three Hills/Linden/Swalwell area. How totally blessed we were though that the rain stayed away and the sun shone warmly this morning, and through the graveside service for Aunt Anna Baerg. It was only after while we sat downstairs at the church having lunch with the family that the skies opened up and it rained.

i didn't post last weekend, but i had brought Mom down then, too and we visited family and loved ones in this area, including Aunt Anna, who knew us, but did not respond well. Actually Mom and i came down Thursday, bringing Karen along to see her family as well. We stopped at Barrhead to drop her off at her sister Kim's and then carried on, stopping at Innisfail to see Mom's aunt Helen who turned 100 years young in February before going to Three Hills for the night. Friday we went to Red Deer to see her cousin Luise who lost her husband in May, stopped in Innisfail to see Aunt Helen again, then to Linden to see Aunt Anna. That was a rough day for Mom, seeing those three in the same day. Saturday we saw friends and family in the Linden area, Sunday we took Helen Rose to see her mom in Innisfail, than came back to Linden to visit more. Monday morning we met Karen, her mom and sister and niece for breakfast in Linden and left for home. We met Peter in Fahler, had supper in Eaglesham and were very happy to get home that night.  Either that night or Tuesday we were told Aunt Anna had been moved to palliative care, and she passed away Wednesday.
Friday afternoon Mom and i were on the road to Linden again. It is so great to have a place like the Diamond Inn - Best Western to stay in at Three Hills when we com to the area. Today has been tiring, although Aunt Anna was 95 years old (or young?) and was more than ready to go home. It is really a day of reunion...meeting cousins and friends we hadn't seen, since perhaps 8 years ago when Uncle Peter Baerg passed away.
Now we're taking a break from family. Peter and Karen arrived last night, but left for home just a bit ago. i brought Mom and Aunt Doris (Uncle Abe's widow from Abbotsford, B.C.) to the motel for naps. We plan on going to the Swalwell Hall for 6:00 for supper and memories with the family.

As for life on the Barkman Farms? We have all but 200 acres seeded into either canola, wheat or barley. The 200 acres is hopefully drying this weekend, so we can put canola in there yet. The 200 acres of fescue we had last year will be sprayed out and we plan on seeding that to winter wheat.
Our canola from last year has all be hauled to the elevator, and this last week and next we have wheat to haul to the elevator, and spraying for weeds to do. We don't have a garden, not this year nor last year, and perhaps we will put our garden spot into something else. We do have our flower gardens for when we need garden therapy, and i have strawberry plants. As for fresh produce? we have market gardens and farmer's markets to keep us supplied. And we don't need make work projects.
Now that i've talked your ears off, i will close. Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012

Last night we had our first thunderstorm of the year, And was it impressive. With it, came a little rain. Just enough rain to shut down the seeding. It came in fast, from the east, and within 10 minutes of rain, the to the field i was working on was nigh onto impassible with an SUV.  Maybe 15 minutes later  it reached the west field where Peter and Karen were working with the new-to-us seeder. We did get about 200 acres closer to being done this week, and with two units going, it should only be a few more days till we're done for the season. The wheat is all in, only canola and barley left.
The dogs certainly wanted to be close to a human during the storm. These farm dogs suddenly thought they were lap dogs. So sweet though.
It must be spring - we have found kittens. One kitten wandered away from the security of her litter and got caught where her mother couldn't help, so her mom came to the next best source of help - humans. Once we got her baby out of the tough spot, she was anxious to retrieve her though. This mother "looses" about one or two kittens each year in the same spot. You'd really think she'd find another nest, but it is safe from us unless they fall down the wall.

The other litter i came upon as i was looking for lumber. This one had five, and all darkish in color and the mother was very upset and hissing when i took her babies to show the rest of the family. And shortly after i took them back and put them nicely into their nest, she had found another nest for them.  This year it doesn't look like we'll have any tame ones, and the only way i'll get close is if they think i am a dog! The day is coming along, and today we are going for a breakfast meeting so have a great day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012 diary

it has been 3 weeks since i posted, sorry about that. In the meantime, Spring has definitely arrived. We finished working the fields once, and have the wheat seeded. The canola is next, and we have 146 acres of the 1400 done. Today, we woke to a fine mist, and by evening we had 1 and a half inches! Awesome. Now i hear the birds singing, so it must have tapered off a bit. Mom and i went to Fahler to pick up shanks for the air drill, then met Cathy for lunch at a little roadside cafe. Spent the afternoon making cards...such fun! Tonight we braved the rain and messy roads to go to a neighbor's yard sale. Found a few planters - just in time for planting flowers. The garden is tilled, so will put some flowers in there, and plan on moving my strawberry patch from the west end to the east end. It's been a very busy three weeks, but we have gotten a lot done. So thanks again for visiting

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1st..diary continued

Yesterday we went to Grande Prairie via Rycroft and Spirit River, leaving Mom's vehicle in Spirit River for an oil change and having lunch at our favorite Chinese Restaurant. Groceries was our big purchase .. getting some at both Costco and Safeway. Originally Mom had said she was staying home, but deciding at the last minute to join us. We filled the coolers and tool box, then stopped at Pizza Hut for supper. While in town, we were told Mom's Envoy was ready for pick up, so we went back home via Spirit River.  Peter's continued home to unload groceries, and Mom asked if i would stop at our dearest friends, Bill & Mildred to let them know we were home. Of course, we couldn't leave before having tea. Awesome visit!
We were just coming up Birch Hills before our place when i had to stop to let a moose cross the road.  Let's not rush, we might stumble! Then about half a mile further, we stopped because a brown bear (black in color, actually) was sitting in our path. Eventually he moved off, but only into the ditch where he sat down to look at us! Probably only about a year old. Cuddlier looking than feeling, i think. Have a great night, and thanks for joining me!

diary - May 1st 2012

It doesn't really seem that long since i posted, but i guess numbers don't lie! Mom and i left Phoenix on the 7:30 evening plane and arrived in Edmonton at 11:30. The flight was good, the trip into the airport with John and Sheri better, and seeing Karen entering the airport lobby just as we picked up our luggage was the best! They loaded our bags (and us) and off to the motel where we were next to the exit door (not far to walk) with a Jacuzzi and a queen bed. Mom and i were too tired to try out the tub, and we slept well. We lazed around abit in the morning, leaving Nisku/Leduc around 11:00 after a hearty brunch at White Spot. Peters' needed to get something at Cabella's, and i went in to look around while Mom stayed on the Envoy. The trip home was good, too, except for the fact that the northbound traffic was stopped for about half an hour on Tower Hill. Although we don't know what happened, we saw a fifth wheel RV with road rash being pulled by a tow truck, and a little later a pick up that looked worse for the wear loaded on a flatbed. With all the traffic on the road, i'm surprised that's all we saw!
We met Mom's sister and her 'new' husband for supper on the way, and had an enjoyable visit and meal. So good get home. The dogs welcomed us royally.

Will continue, so it doesn't get so long.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012 diary

Well, we've set a date for leaving sunny, warm Arizona. We fly to Edmonton from Sky Harbor International Airport on Saturday. Peters will be at the airport in Edmonton to pick us up. Of course, since we fly in at midnight, we'll stay night at Nisku. The weather here in El Mirage has been very favorable - the hottest we have seen it has been 107 F. But they say it will cool of this week. Actually, it only got to 97 today. i have started to get ready...the shed is ready for the golf cart, the patio table and bikes are stored. My craft items have been stored for the season. The resort has certainly emptied out this last week. There are three mobile homes occupied right in our vicinity, (one across the street from us and the one just south of us. Very quiet. We expected our painter to show up yesterday or today, but no show. Moms Aunt Helen, who turned 100 years old in February has been moved out of palliative care into a private room at the hospital. it seems she has no recollection of the 3 days she was so sick she didn't eat, though she appears to know that she didn't eat, and that it was because the nurses snitched the things they thought she liked. Her sense of humor is still intact. Peter says it's cold at home...not sure if he is thinking that we'll think it, or if he really feels it's still cold. Thanks for listening again. Have a good night.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19, 2012

Good morning on this lovely sunshiney morning. i haven't heard any complaints about the lovely morning (but then, i haven't talked to anyone other than Mom this morning, either!) It is 72 F. at 8:11 a.m. Forecast says it will reach 91 today, but that guestimation has consistently been on the low side this spring. Mom and i went to Home Depot yesterday and checked out the door - and yes it is in. Told Bert (our contractor) and he said he'd be here this morning. Hopefully it will be in by tonight, and we'll sit back and enjoy it.

The resort is emptying is very quiet here. we took back the streets! Shuffle board starts early because of the warm weather - 8:30 instead of 10.
i did some bowling this week. Maybe i am getting better, or not Thanks for checking in. Love you guys.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16

oh my Word (inside joke, the girls mom taught knitting to used this expression alot)! It's been awhile since i updated my diary! Well, today was wash day. Just because i needed to this week, and i might as well do it today rather than waiting for something to come up. i took the laundry to the laundromat here in the resort, and started it going, then went home to have breakfast. When i got back about 20 minutes later, my one rubbermaid tub was missing. Put the sheets, towels, dresses and etc. on the line then went hunting for the missing tub. Asked about everyone i met about it, no one knew anything. Went off to play shuffleboard, then finished the laundry - dried, folded and put away. When i went back to the laundromat a few hours later and asked again, an elderly gent said not only had he seen it, it was now in his shed. Okay...i was baffled why he would have helped himself to something that obviously wasn't his, but found out later he has dementia and likely just didn't know any better. Sad, though, both he and his wife have it but they are still living on their own here at the resort. Guess i'll just have to keep better watch on my things, and hope he doesn't anger someone by helping himself.
The little girls are busy knitting, and need more yarn, so mom and i went to JoAnn's looking for some, but the store we checked at didn't have any left. Guess we'll try another one tomorrow. Most of the snowbirds are gone or leaving this week, so no coffee at Paradise Bakery tomorrow. i forgot to pick up milk today, so we'll go to IHOP for breakfast, then search for yarn. Have a good night, and we'll talk soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday, April 12

Today was a quiet day...too windy for shuffleboarding, or even to be outside much, though in temperatures it was not too bad. It was actually nice to have a quiet day for a change. i should have worked with my cricut making cards, but instead i read, read, read! Oh, and i went to Walmart a bit and did some looking around and buying a bit. Then Mom and i went to IHOP. i love their Cinnastack French Toast. Have you tried that?
Not sure what tomorrow will hold - do we ever? Kimberly Ensz get to know the Hanley triplets the year they were about 2 and wants to hear what i know about them...What will i tell her? She talked about getting together for lunch tomorrow so will have to see.
Sorry i haven't blogged this week. Guess that is what happens when there is not much going on. Have a great night

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday, April 6, 2012

It's getting toward the end of the week again! Seems like every time i look it's Saturday or almost! Yesterday i frittered the day away. I was on shuffleboard duty this week, which meant i was at the courts early to help get them ready for playing, then i stayed to play. i feel i can actually put the puck where i want to, some of the time. Mom's cousin's daughter and family was driving through on their trip from Winnipeg to San Diego and back (they are on their way home) and had a few hours window to see us, so we took them to Rio Mirage for lunch.
They had decided that on this trip they would not eat at the same restaurant (or chain) twice. So eating at Rio was a great choice (they are not a chain, having only two restaurants, and both in the Valley). The rest of the day we were lazy. And i mean lazy. Except for a short walk in the evening we were at home.
Today? Totally unplanned. There is a Good Friday service at church tonight...Will see what the day holds. Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April 3, 2012

Good evening. Was your day as awesome as mine? First, went to help friends in the park get the shuffleboards ready for playing this morning. Then hurried off to Paradise Bakery to meet other friends for coffee, and chocolate! Then four of us headed off to Crossroads Bibles and Bookstore for browsing. i really like their store, cause i can trade in my read books for ones i haven't read yet. Then we went shopping for material for the roman shades in my red bedroom. Phyllis will make them, and yes, i found something i like. All this shopping made us hungry so we stopped at Barro's Pizza before going home. i picked up Mom and went to Len & Shari to say goodbye to them and their girls. We had so much fun with the girls and their knitting lessons this winter. For supper we picked up A. Agnes and met Walter and Phyllis for supper at Olive Garden. In between my running around i moved a bit more into my room, plus some organizing! Sure glad not all days are as busy as today was! Thanks for listening. Hope tomorrow is so boring i have nothing to write, but don't suppose that will happen. Take care. Love you

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1st, 2012

Good morning. i won't mention much about the year being a quarter gone, or that we only have a month left here in the sunny south, or even that the snowbirds are busy flying north.

Yesterday was a lovely day. Some complaints from others who thought that 95 F was getting too hot, and that summer was here, but not much.

i found deals yesterday at the book sale. Not sure what i want with MORE books, but i have them! i also stopped at Walmart and picked up Karen Kingsbury's last novel in the Bailey Flannigan series called LOVING. And got some cool stuff at the CROP GIRLS yard sale.

Then went to the bowling alley with friends and played 5 games. They do say that laughter is the best medicine, and i say another quote that said time wasted laughing is not wasted at all! So there you have it. It was a hilarious afternoon, and totally relaxing - well except my right arm is pretty sore right now!

i came home to a gray/blue room with white ceiling. The ceiling is finished, the walls primed for tomorrow morning. It's getting closer! And now, i'm getting excited to move in and enjoy it!

We don't have plans for today...beyond to church. How are you spending the weekend?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31

i am happy to announce that this round of renovations is almost done! i set up my bed in my 'new' bedroom last night. The painter is coming this morning to prime the walls and ceiling, not sure when he will be back to do the painting. And yes, i chose red. An amazing feeling. The carpenters have a little to do outside, like but the railing up on the deck and the skirting. But then i found out that the door we ordered on Wednesday, should be delivered next Wednesday. So, that is the next stuff to do.

Now it's off to a used book sale, breakfast and a sidewalk sale at a cool craft store. So...until later, have an awesome day

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27

Good's been one of those days, in the carpentry world at the Barkmans. Yesterday our contractor was on his own...and about finished painting the exterior. Today was better. The helper was here, and he finished the painting. The drywall-er was here, and finished step one of the process. The deck is ready to have trex put on, and the trex is all here.
Mom and i went to Paradise Bakery for coffee this morning with a group of 9 women (not sure how many men were in their own corner). Then Mom and i went to check out exterior doors to replace the sliding door that is in there now. Since the man we were suppose to talk to was just on lunch, we decided to go have some, too. To make a long story short, we found out what we needed to, took a quick trip to another Lowe's to buy a light fixture for my room, then back home after 2:00. Mom had her nap and i went to check out more doors. Conclusion? i may be confused, but it's an educated confusion!
Friends are stopping in to say goodbye, which is sad, but the busyness we are involved here, it keeping us upbeat. Have a great night!

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23

Good evening... it seems that here in Arizona, every time i turn around it's the weekend again. i suppose that is because Saturday and Sunday are the two days that are different than the rest of the week. As mentioned Monday, we've been lying low. Oh, i've been doing stuff, but Mom  has been staying home more.
Today i did some needed errands out and about town...water run, bought some small items, library to return books and so on. Did that this morning and was back for a light lunch of fruit, veggies and such. Helped out a friend in the park with her bulletin board she's making for friends' farewell, cleaned up a bit on the construction site, then Mom and i went to Lens' for the girls knitting lessons. Lens went with Sheri's folks for supper, and evening, and the girls and i took Mom back home then to the park to play for an hour. Then to Cracker Barrel for supper and by the time we got finished there, Lens were home again so took the girls right home.  A tiring day for Mom, but couldn't have done it different.
One day this week i had coffee with a special BFF (2000 miles in between, couldn't see each other, but had super great fellowship nonetheless.)
Another morning i went to play suffleboard with friends here in the park. We have 16 courts, and 9 of them were being used! Some of the centres are eliminating their shuffle board courts, but Pueblo just redid theirs, so come on over and play!
The construction is coming right along. The siding is on now, and will be painted Monday or so. The drywaller is expected Monday morning, as well, and since that is a two step project, hopefully that will be done by Tuesday night. If all goes as planned, then the rest of the floor would go down Wednesday, with the deck being next in line. We will wait until Monday before we call our painter for the bedroom.
Now i need to run along, so until next time, i love you.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19 -

Good morning! The sun is shining brightly on our side of the clouds after a weekend of wind, stormy clouds, rain and even a bit of hail here in El Mirage, in the Valley of the Sun! We're in the middle of construction (stretching my bedroom and the shed) and though the rooms are basically enclosed, there is one spot in my bedroom where the water found entrance.
Although i see a few clouds, over all, the air feels washed, and the trees and so on look clean. It feels like Spring! With a week and a half of construction going on here, Mom and i have decided to lay low. We did go out with friends to Cracker Barrel for lunch (we're all farmers, there, so to us it was dinner) and had their scrumptious special of Homestyle Chicken. No calories if shared, (Mom and i do) or out with friends, right?
Not sure how today will go...if Mom is rested up enough, we might go see what kind of curtains she wants in the living room. Of course, i suppose next will be furniture? New floors, painted walls, new know how it goes, i'm sure!
Mom had thought she would like verticals, but i want her to think curtains - and then she can decide which she wants. Other than that, i'm into knitting...not fancy like Mom, but who knows, i'm almost tempted to do something like a lap robe, or perhaps a simple prayer shawl. So many ideas, so little time.
It feels like spring...did i say that already? Anyways, it's got my juices flowing so we'll see what comes of it. Have an awesome day! Thanks for visiting.

And yes, i love comments, and will answer them

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 14

Saying Good-bye is hard. Even if it's just for the summer, and not because of death. Mom and i took Allen Ensz to the airport this morning...had Aunt Agnes along, too, and she took us out to Freddy's Steakburgers for lunch. Yummy. Then, in the afternoon, my cousin and her husband who have been in Phoenix for 3 weeks, left for home today. Lots of memories made again, this year, different from any other year, past or future. i guess it's that time of year, Spring. and we only have about 5 and a half or 6 weeks left, too, until we head north, as we think now, any ways. No carpenters today...other obligations that needed fulfilling.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 13

Hope you are having one great day! The temperature here is awesome...The construction on our addition is coming along smoothly. The inspector was here, no red flags so everything was good to go. They are hoping to get far enough today that they can call for another inspection tomorrow, and then they could close every thing in.  Yeah.
Allan Ensz, a dear friend who was just a week older than my dad, and sort of cousin to him, is leaving tomorrow. Back to the cold country that he calls home - Alberta.  So i believe a few of us will be doing something a little special with him today, though not sure just what. And since i can't really help with the construction (insurance) guess i might as well leave!
So, have a great day, and until next time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

march 9th

Mom and i left El Mirage Wednesday around 11:30 a.m. after i finished with my 'make & take' class at the fun craft. We are making purses/beach bags/book bags or what-ever-you-want-bags from plastic shopping bags. Yep, the kind you get from Walmart or Safeways or almost any other store these days. Most of the women are crocheting theirs, but i crocheted Karen a beach bags a few years ago. Also, with Mom teaching the girls to knit, i figured i should be knitting as well. It is really surprising how much i actually remembered from when Mom taught me to knit years ago. Of course, knitting with plastic bags (yarn) is very different than knitting with conventional yarn.
We stopped at the library to pick up a bunch of books i had put on hold (including home front, by Kris ten Hannah, which i hopefully will get read and reviewed this weekend) and headed out to Yuma. The carpenters were actually at our house at shortly after 8 in the morning, and before we left at noon the carpets were all torn out! We found Greg & Esther's favorite restaurant in Gila Bend (Sofia's Mexican Restaurant) for lunch, stopped at Dateland for milkshakes and got to Bill Eitzens' in Yuma around 4. After a lovely visit there, we checked in at our motel and went to Dean's for supper. Got back to the motel around 8:15 and crashed for the night. Thursday was spent visiting a few places. Went to KFC Buffet with Donna and met Oliphia...a lovely spanish speaking woman, would have loved having her as a close friend and she could teach me spanish while i taught her english!
Coming back today, we had breakfast at the Donut Corral with a tableful of Northern Albertans, stopped at Bennie's to see Sharilee and the boys, then on off home. Had lunch at Dateland, as well as our milkshakes. Then at Gila Bend, instead of heading north to I-10 we went east to Maricopa. What a lovely ride through the Sonoran Desert. Had never been there, but would love to go again. As we got home, the carpenters were just putting the finishing touches on the floor! They moved the heavy furniture in, and actually cleaned up before heading out for the weekend! They plan to be back here Monday morning by 9 to work on the addition! New floor - it's awesome!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4

i want to be more consistent with blogging, so will start with that today. It's a lovely Sunday morning here in El Mirage, Arizona. The sun is shining, very few clouds in the sky, but still on the cool side for here - 40 degress F., but i am sure it will warm up by noon. It has been a busy week socially - out every night. Mostly this was because friends were returning home after some time in the sun, others were because of expected company in the coming week. Last night i picked up our dear widow-lady (Aunt Agnes) and our partners in eating - Walter Millers and took them to Happy Valley where i had found a neat rib shack (Actually called Shane's Ribshack!) for great ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken etc. fabulous food, quiet place which is very important when you have hard of hearing friends along.
i started a new handcraft project this week, and yes i am knitting! i can't very well let a 7 year old do something like that and not join in. I am knitting a book bag using - shopping bags. Yes the plastic kind you get from Walmart, Safeways, etc! i have actually crochet a beach bag before, but decided that i should knit this book bag. The make and take it is for crocheting  purse, and i may do that some other time.
Today. Mom and i are going to venture on a day trip. We have not been to the far east part of this great valley, except for a dinner theatre one night a couple of years ago. So we chose today to do this. It helps that we know Raymond and Erma Remple (Mom's cousin's son) live over there, and we have their address, so will stop and see where they live. So, now it's off to get ready. Hope you all have a blessed Sunday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1st

Good morning...
Yes it's been a while since i sat down and wrote about my life....but it's March 1st, and our time here in Arizona is over three fifths done. That's right. Mom and i have been here over three months, and have less than 2 months before we pack up our duds and head north for the summer. But it looks like it will be a very busy 2 months. Back in December we contacted a contractor who we knew to do some work in the park model. It started out with putting in new floors in the main part (not the addition). The barbar rug is a light color and is impossible to clean anymore. (The explanation i have received on that is that the smog here tracks in, but personally i think it might be the dust). So we bought the laminate floor we liked, and scheduled the work to begin the middle of January.  Well, Bert (the contractor) has had some setbacks and he's still not here. Luckily the flooring is bought and paid for, or maybe not so lucky?
And before we scheduled him, Mom and i (and Peter & Karen) decided to do some major renos. Major in the way that we will be adding about 5 feet to my bedroom, and about that to the shed. Hopefully that will begin soon.
Before we got the floors redone, we though it would be wise to paint the walls, so Mom chose some bright colors to replace the off white walls. Sure changes the looks of the house. Once my room is enlarged, i will have the fun of choosing my color. Can't really decide yet, as i am not sure how it will turn out.
I'll try to keep up with projects as they happen, whether it's construction or jaunts to the desert. Have one great day.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Giveaway on Hardcover Feedback Julie Lessman

Hop over to to Megan's blog at for a chance to win a Julile Lessman novel

Excerpt from 'A Love Surrendered' by Julie Lessman & Giveaway!

HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY, MEGAN!!! I know you love ALL things Irish, so I thought it might be appropriate to give you and your readers a sneak peek at my upcoming book, A Love Surrendered, which is the final installment in the saga of the O'Connors, the most PASSIONATE Irish family you will find in Christian Romance! In this scene, the hero--twenty-five-year-old Steven O'Connor--reluctantly drives the heroine Annie Kennedy and her little sister Glory home, hoping to distance himself from this sweet seventeen-year-old who he feels is too “innocent” to get involved with the likes of him.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hardcover FeedBack 1st Blog Anniversary

i just wanted to remind you that the giveaways are still going on at for her Blogoversary.  Today's interview is with Lorna Seilstad and she is giving away a choice of one of three books

Monday, February 20, 2012

Giveaway on Hardcover Feedback

Wouldn't you love, love to own this novel by MaryLu Tyndall? Head over to for a chance to win. Megan is having a blogoversary going on right now.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Beauty for Ashes - Dorothy Love

Book Description

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.
After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.
Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.
Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes.

My Review

I found this novel to be a very tender-hearted and realistic one. Although I had actually met the characters in the first novel of the series, not having done so would not spoil the story. The story is told with rich word imagery, bringing the country side and small town folk to life, from Carrie trying to think of anything but the wedding at the beginning of Beauty for Ashes, to the last word.
I must admit I was angry at Mary, a secondary character for her whiney and childish behavour, but I guess some people just never grow up, and I think it might have changed after she had to take care of her children on her own. Carrie is a strong farm woman, intent on being in control of her own life. Griff comes from the city of Charleston, of a family rich in resources, but with a questionable past. Although the characters deal with losses, this is not a story of discouragement, but rather encouragement. These people have realistical problems of anger, disallusions, gossiping, and the other things that torment the rest of us. Throughout all of the trials, though, the Love of God and friends, shines through.

I would recommend this Hickory Ridge Romance to anyone who enjoys a good romance novel.

I received this free book from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review, which I have given. The opinions are my own.  

This book is available where ever good fiction romances are sold,; Barnes and Noble,, and your local bookstore.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another Giveaway

Hi has a great cozy mystery giveaway by Denise Swanson - Little Shop of Homicide. Yvonne has done a great interview and review of this book. Read about it there. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Great Giveaway on Legacy of a Writery

HI...just to let you know that Katie McCurdy on Legacy of a Writer has a great interview and giveaway for Cathy Gohlke's Promise Me This. Please check out her blog and post!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms - Cindy Woodsmall

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms
Coming February 21, 2012!
Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.
But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.
Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm? To read more, go here>>

 Both Aden and Annie are very strong characters - strong i n their convictions, strong in their beliefs, loyal to their families and church. Both come from heartaches and trials. Aden from a family where both the father and two sons are physically handicapped, and Annie from a dysfunctional family. Cindy does a great job of bringing these into the story without condemnation, but with true heartfelt emotions and you ache with the characters as they struggle and rejoice with them as they overcome.
The scent of cherry blossoms has a very important position in the novella, and is a perfect title to draw the reader in. The whole novel is full of sensory details - obviously the smell, but also the vivid scenes in this Amish/Mennonite community.

i was wondering how Cindy would resolve this dilemma of bringing the two faiths together. I belong to what might be called a conservative Mennonite sect, and know how extremely hard it is for the older members to accept true friendship with those not of our faith, and yet, how little really separates us. For us, intermarriage is also not sanctioned by the church, and I love how Cindy delicately handles this fact.

This is a great novella, and am eager to recommend it to my friends. Cindy consistently brings us super reading material.

This book was sent to me free of monetary charge from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review, which i have done. The opinions stated in this article are my own.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Sound Among the Trees - Susan Meissner

Product Details

Product Description

A house shrouded in time.
A line of women with a heritage of loss.

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.
When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.
With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.  

My Review

Susan Meissner is a writer with divergent topics, but I would say that most of her novels deal with women relationships. A Sound Among the Trees deals with numerous women spanning the time from the Civil War to the present time, though really it is mostly about Susannah (Civil War time) and Adelaide. I had heard many positive reviews about this novel before I requested it as an ebook from Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging For Books program, and I must say it lived up to it's reputation. She tells the story in Five parts, and the epilogue.

The novel starts off with the wedding reception of the grandson-in-law and his bride. It doesn't take long until we find out...the mystery. The story is told mostly through the life of Adelaide (third person point of view) until we enter the cellar, where we find letters that Susannah wrote during the War. These letters are, well, letters with dates, etc. as Susannah would have written them.

The novel is very compelling, very absorbing. So much in fact, that when I came up from reading the letters I blinked, surprised that not more time had passed. Susan also had a very satisfying closure.

I received this ebook free from Multnomah Publishers for the purpose of writing an honest review. A postive one was not manditory, and the opinions expressed are my own. Actually, to be further honest, although I did not pay money for this ebook, I paid with the time and effort I put in to bring you this review.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Heart of Gold - Robin L. Hatcher

Product Details

Book Description

February 14, 2012
The truest treasure is found deep in the heart.
Back in her beloved Virginia, Shannon Adair loved nursing injured soldiers back to health. But in Grand Coeur, Idaho-the rough-and-tumble place where her father has been called to lead the church-she's not sure where she fits in. Then a critically ill woman arrives, and Shannon knows her place at last: to care for this dear woman and ease her pain.
Matthew Dubois is the fastest and most reliable stagecoach driver on Wells Fargo's payroll. But his widowed sister is dying and he's about to inherit his young nephew. So he takes a job at the Wells Fargo express office in Grand Coeur until he can find the one thing he needs to get back to driving: a wife to care for the boy.
What neither of them knows is that God is at work behind the scenes-and is lovingly bringing them together to discover the true desires of their hearts.


Robin Lee Hatcher has woven a novel of romance, and intrigue set in the gold fields of Idaho. Come with me, fellow reader, as we follow the Reverend Adair and his lovely daughter Shannon around the gold mining town of Grand Coeur, Idaho. They have just arrived from war torn Virginia to share Christ with the diverse town. We never do meet the miners as such, nor do we come in contact with the work itself. Instead the story revolves around the town people – in particularly Matthew Dubois and his deathly ill sister and her son.
As we follow the story we are drawn into their lives, laughing at a young boy and his dog, aching with the ill mother, struggling with the young man as he faces the fact that he is the only father figure in his nephews life.
Right from the beginning we are drawn into the mystery of how the characters will align themselves with the civil war being fought in the eastern states, because though this is Idaho, far from the war zone, allegiance is still a strong indicator of who your friends are.
I thoroughly enjoyed Robin's novel, and look forward to her next one. Her novels portray the needs of the heart and how they can be fulfilled.

I received this ebook free from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their Booksneeze program in exhange for an honest review. A postive one was not required, and these opinions are my own.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hidden Wives- Claire Avery

Product Details

Sara dreams that she and her sister, Rachel, might escape their abusive father and his four wives, who constantly vie for power in their overcrowded household.  Sara wishes to choose her own path in life.  To go to school, to get a job, to marry of her own free will.  She wants the same for her beloved sister.

But that is not Sara’s destiny, nor Rachel’s.  Trapped in a secret, polygamous cult, the fifteen-year-olds are overdue to be married to husbands selected by their Prophet.  Sara—too smart and willful for her own good—is terrified when she learns she will be sealed to her already-married uncle.

For Rachel—a stunning and loyal beauty—the Prophet has a different plan.  Sixteen men, including some of the most powerful elders of their Church—seek Rachel’s hand.  But a forbidden love is blossoming for Rachel, one that will change her forever and threaten the entire community.


Hidden Wives was a fascinating, though at the same time, depressing novel. Mari and Michelle very aptly crept into Sara's and Rachel's minds to bring the reader their emotions and thoughts about the type of life they were born to, raised in, and expected to embrace. The first sentence had me glued closely to the pages to find out the why and how. The pain and angst are so vivid I felt them as if they had been done to me, the teach so clearly protrayed, I almost understood them.
The story is told in the third person point of view from both Sara and Rachel's viewpoint. Most of the time both girls are there, so it is not difficult to keep track of who feels and says what. There are a lot of secondary characters in the story, vital to the plot, but sometimes confusing me somewhat at times. The primary characters could perhaps have been fleshed out more, as well as a few of the secondary ones.
In one way, there were a lot of questions about the sect that were not fully addressed, but this was two sisters stories, not a story about the sect.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novel, not wanting to put it down. I also look forward to more novels written by the sisters known as Claire Avery.

I received this book free from the authors in a contest. The review is honest, and the opinions are my own. I would recommend this book to the discerning reader, but not as a fact on how the fundamentalist mormons live.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Little Girl Gone - Druscilla Campbell

Little Girl Gone

From the back cover -

Medora was seventeen and heading for a load of trouble when Willis rescued her. Fearful of the world and alienated from friends and family, she ran away with him and for five years they lived alone in near isolation. When Willis kidnaps a pregnant teenage girl and imprisons her in a truck trailer behind the house, Madora is torn between her love for him, her fear of the world, and her sense of right and wrong. A pit bull named Foo brings Djano Jones a brilliant but troubled twelve-year-old boy, into Madora's life. As Django struggles to understand his place in the world, he helps Madora discover the personal and moral courage to free herself and the girl from Willis's control, and learn to stand on her own.

My Review

Drusilla Campbell, author also of the Good Sister brings to the reader a heart-wrenching story of troubled teens and tweens and a man who exploits them.

Told in the third person point of view, the story follows Medora as she is devastated by the suicide of her father, abandoned emotional by her mother, and accepted by her peers into a group of drugs and alcohol, and then by Willis. Druscilla explores the possibility of how a seventeen year old girl could be enthralled with an older man and fall prey to his control. The story is well told, describing so well the area where the old trailer was that when I went to Yuma after reading this book I wondered if I was looking at the canyon where Medora used to live. I not only felt the dust of the red soil as it covered everything, I also felt the anxiety of Medora as she faced her conscience, and Willis' anger. I saw the squalor of the place they called home, the loneliness as Medora sat on the rock, isolated from everyone else.

This is a very well written story I will not forget.

I received this Advanced Reader's Copy book free from the author, Drusilla Campbell for the purpose of review. She did not ask for a postive critique, just an honest one, which I have tried to do. The opinions stated in here, are my own. Thanks, Drusilla.