Tag Archive | Christmas

Thanksgiving in New Parish – Part 2

Thanksgiving is always steeped in tradition. Each family has their own traditions, such as what food is cooked and how it is cooked, activities that are a must for the day, and of course as much family and friends included as possible. It’s really all about love, relationships – and sharing the work!

In this next part of Hannah’s family’s Thanksgiving in New Parish you’ll learn some more about some of their traditions.

 

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 13 – Let’s Talk

“The next morning’s early start was the usual, Hannah and Sarah making their Grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, as per tradition. This time was a bit different, though. The big house kitchen made it easy to navigate, and of course Sarah had Parley with her.

Parley seemed very interested in what they were doing, Hannah dipped her finger in the icing just a bit, and gave him a taste. He got very excited and very animated with both his hands and feet moving rapidly. Sarah gave her a serious scowl.

She shrugged and winked at Parley, “Who’s your favorite auntie?”

He let her know his feelings with a big smile.

It didn’t take long for everyone to arrive on the scene and begin the traditional eating of the cinnamon rolls and meal prep in synchronicity. Hannah noticed her mom looking around often as they worked through the morning.

She began to feel a little uneasy thinking maybe she’d forgotten something important, so she asked, “Is something missing? What are you looking for? Maybe I can help find it?”

“I’m not looking for anything,” Samantha deigned.

“It’s just that, I see you looking around like you’re looking for something,” Hannah explained, feeling confused.

Samantha waved her hand in front of her as if to clear something away and went on with the food prep.

Sarah chuckled from behind Hannah and she turned to see what Sarah was laughing about. “She’s looking for Uncle Alex,” Sarah accused her mother.

“I most certainly am not!” Samantha defended herself, but couldn’t hide the guilty look.

“Oh,” Hannah sighed, catching on, “He’s not here. If, you were looking for him, he’s out till this afternoon.”

“Looking for another wife, I suppose,” Samantha scathingly accused.

“Ha!” Hannah returned. “He wasn’t looking when he got me, so I doubt it. He took Buck and some of the guys over to help out a fellow who’s had some hard times. You know, do some home repairs, mend fences, stock the pantry, stuff like that.”

“Mmm,” Samantha shrugged, “I’m still bewildered as to why you would marry a man old enough to be your grandfather. Even if things were perfect, and he’s not, you’d still not have very many years together,” Samantha sighed in frustration.

“She has a point,” Brenda shrugged. “With Sarah and Max the age difference isn’t that much. But Hannah, really, your guy is substantially older.”

Hannah’s thoughts went instantly to her friend at BYU, “Yeah, there’s an age difference, but it doesn’t matter to me. I think he’s awesome and amazing. Besides, you remember my friend, Helen. She came home with me a few years ago, she was a couple of years ahead of me in school. She was 21 and her husband had passed away a couple months before. They were the same age,” Hannah sighed. “They met their first year at BYU. He was so cute, very handsome, they had fallen in love immediately. He was sweet, kind, and really perfect. They were perfect together, so happy. Till his headaches got really bad. He went to the doctor and yeah, brain cancer, inoperable. Three months later all Helen could do was hold his hand and watch him die,” Hannah sighed again.

Silence settled on the room as Hannah finished telling about Helen. She noticed a sad smile on Sarah’s face, and how her mom was pretending what Hannah had said didn’t affect her at all.

To Hannah’s surprise her Dad spoke breaking the silence, “Sammy,” he began slowly, “You need to leave Alex alone. He’s a good man, and he loves our Hannah. And even more importantly Hannah needs him.”

Hannah wanted to run over to her dad and give him a huge hug, but she knew it would cause trouble with her mom. So she mouthed a silent, “Thank you.”

David winked and nodded, then went back to breaking beans.

Her mom continued to pretend nothing had been said.

When all the work of the day was done Hannah resisted the urge to grab another biscuit as she put them in the fridge for the next day’s work. They always made loads of them for the dressing, but Hannah liked them with a little butter and sometimes a little jam, it was a weakness.

Everyone was heading out for ranch tours, everyone except Samantha. They were going to take turns flying over the ranches and New Parish. All this was to happen before the traditional pizza and charades later. Dave and Sarah were already doing a bit of “clean” trash talk about who was going to win, Hannah had found that very entertaining, all day.

When everyone was gathered back together that evening, TVs were set up in the sitting room off of the kitchen for the kids to watch movies and play video games. Alex’s staircase room was the designated charades room, he hadn’t winced much at giving up his man cave for a couple of days.

There were five teams this year, the scoreboard was a large white board set up in front of Alex’s bar. This was the first time Hannah had her own team. She’d always known it would happen and now that it had, it felt even better than she’d thought it would, “A little weird,” she thought, “But, cool.”

Teams were divided up thusly: David, Samantha, and Beth. Her parents had always claimed Beth for their team because she was the book worm extraordinaire, she was also a librarian and had vast knowledge of all things literature.

They thought it gave them an advantage, Hannah thought it only gave them an advantage when the charade was about some old book or Shakespeare.

The next team was Dave and his wife Tabitha. The third team was Paul and his wife Margie. Next was Sarah’s team, which included Brenda, along with Max, of course, and Myra, and Del. Lastly was Hannah’s team, with her, Alex, Patty, Hope, and Cilla.

Once everyone was in the staircase room, numbers were drawn by the team captains to see what order the teams would present. Dave drew the number one, and smirked at Sarah, who rolled her eyes and drew number three. Hannah’s parents got number two, Paul got four, and Hannah drew five.

As Dave went to the charades bag, sitting on the center table, to draw his first challenge from it, Hannah noticed Alex sitting back relaxed looking amused. She had to smile…

Dave groaned a bit when he pulled the old strip of paper from the bag, then walked over to the designated charades spot at the end of the sitting area. He looked at it again as if he was wishing the words had changed, then placed one hand under his chin to accent his mouth opening as his other hand was behind his back acting as though he were moving a lever up and down. The room was silent with a lot of questioning looks on many faces.

Dave stopped this action and then did something very un-Dave like. He tip toed around with his hands pretending he were daintily holding onto a short skirt.

Everyone burst out in laughter and Myra shouted, “The Nutcracker Ballet!”

Dave sighed and nodded, “Thanks for ending that.”

Sarah jumped up triumphantly and went over to the scoreboard and put a tick mark under her team’s name.

David was next, and pulled out another old looking piece of paper. He slowly unrolled it and stoically read it. Then he looked at the back wall as if in deep thought and his eyes return to the slip of paper. With a sigh, he moved over to the presentation spot. Holding out both hands with a questioning look, he then pointed at himself.

“Who am I?” Beth spoke quietly.

David nodded and began to act very strangely. First, he squatted down and stood back up using his hands in a rising motion. Then he started strutting around like a bird with its chest puffed out. Then he opened his mouth as if he were singing, but with no sound coming out.

The audience went from watching intently to uncontrollable laughter in rotating intervals. There was also rapid whispering among the teams as they tried to figure out the answer.

He returned to the squatting and standing, but this time instead of the rising motion with his hands, he looked as though he were holding them purposefully low and then high. Then he began to pretend he were walking up stairs. After that, he pointed to his chin, and pulled at the loose bit underneath his chin to accent the extra part.

Hannah was at a complete loss, so she just decided to sit back and enjoy the show. She could overhear Sarah’s team whispering about a singing farmer and her Mom and Beth saying something about Fiddler on the Roof, but to her it was just hilarious.

Finally, Myra said, “Tevye?” 

As per the rules David still couldn’t speak, so he held up his index finger on each hand, put them together and then apart.

“Oh,” Samantha said, “that’s only part of the charade.”

“How many words?” Sarah asked.

David held up seven fingers and began to dance around like a bird and as though he were dancing around a large pole.

“Tevye, If I were a Rich Man,” Beth asked tentatively.

“Yes!” David said, exhaustedly.

Sarah stood and looked as though she were scared of what the bag might do to her. She grabbed the bag by the top and shook it really good, looking as though she hoped all the hard ones would be shaken down to the bottom. She drew a slip of paper that looked old and very worn, she sighed even before she unrolled it.

Stepping into the charades arena, Sarah turned to face everyone. Her face held a blank expression, she raised her hands to the top of her head with all fingers pointing up. Her expression changed to one that looked prideful and haughty.

Del asked, “Are you a queen?”

Sarah shook her head in the negative and held her arms up to show muscles and express masculinity. Then she pretended her hands were a book which she opened and closed several times as she pretended to read.

Everyone looked clueless so she changed her approach all together and began pretending to dribble a ball, then she suddenly jumped and pretended an epic slam dunk.

“King James!” Max shouted.

Laughter erupted throughout the room and another tick mark was added to Sarah’s team score.

Charades went late that night. David finally had to intervene and call it done for the night. Sarah’s team was ahead by five and Dave was not happy about it.

The next morning Hannah woke to her alarm blaring loudly and was very tempted to snooze it. Forcing herself up, she quickly showered, dressed, and ran down to meet Sarah, who was coming in the front door as she reached the bottom of the stairs.

That day progressed much the same as the day before, only different foods were made ready for the next day’s feast. There was only one incident, which was between Dave and Brenda. Hannah thought Dave should have known better. Brenda had always been able to promptly put him in his place, or the place she deemed he should be put in. They were running out of places to put the deserts and as they deliberated on where to store them, Dave snidely said, “Maybe we should just keep the best ones and toss the others.” To which Brenda replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought we were trying to solve a problem, I didn’t’ realize you thought it was a moment to be rude.”

Hannah had laughed so hard, not just at what Brenda had said, but at the expression on Dave’s face, which was priceless.

  When the work was finished for the day, they had every fridge in the house full to capacity, every counter top brimming, and five ovens filled with two turkeys and three hams.

Hannah lamented a bit over the smell of food throughout the house, it made her hungry all the time, no matter where she was.

Alex hitched up the big wagon and took everyone for a hay ride that evening before the pizza and charades. Hannah thought it was a really nice respite after the work and before the battle. Max brought his guitar so they sang songs as they rode along the old wagon trail. To Hannah this was a little bit of heaven, she could tell by the expression on Sarah’s face that she was feeling the same.

For the final tally in charades, Sarah’s team won by two points. Dave decided that he and Paul would merge teams for next year’s competition, “It’s only fair. You guys have more people on your teams, creating an unfair advantage over us two person teams.”

“Fine,” David allowed. “You guys can merge next year, but no more complaining this year.”

After her good night hug Hannah went to bed without full recollection of getting there. The alarm once again woke her before she was quite ready to be that way. Yawning, she rolled out of bed, although she was leftover tired, she was excited about the day. Thanksgiving had always been her second favorite holiday, just simply because she knew her family would all be together.”

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3 

   

Thanksgiving in New Parish – Part 1

 

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful time of year! Today I thought I’d share some of the Thanksgiving activities that happen in New Parish. In Return to New Parish Hannah’s family all come out to New Parish for Thanksgiving due to Sarah’s baby Parley, having a little head cold. So, of course, there’s a cowboy flair to this year’s Thanksgiving…

 

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 13 – Let’s Talk

“The morning her family were to arrive, Hannah thought, the holiday arrangements had gone pretty smoothly. The only kink in the plans had been when her mom insisted that she and her dad would be staying at Max’s, not Alex’s. Hannah had shrugged that off with the smirky smile thinking, “Really, it’s dodging a bullet, the less time Mom and Alex spend together the better.”

            Hannah remembered finding a bit of extra humor when Alex had told her, Cilla, Patty and Hope, “We’ll put ’em in the South wing.”

            “Maybe no one else would think it’s funny,” she thought, “but I do.”

            That whole area was empty, putting her family in the South Wing for the Thanksgiving holidays was perfect. It was the South Wing part that had given Hannah the giggles. Her southern heritage had long been a source of both pride and embarrassment, depending on the situation or the topic. When someone would say something had “gone south” Hannah always felt a twinge of embarrassment, but when they would refer to southern hospitality there would be a little beam of pride shining from her.

            Hannah pondered the memory of telling her sister wives about how her family all worked together to make the meal, “The prep, and cooking, and clean up are hang out times for us. We’ve always done it that way.” She was relieved and grateful they had embraced, and even gotten enthusiastic about her family’s traditions.

            A couple of weeks before the family were to fly out, her Mom had sent out the list of ingredients and supplies they’d need for the dinner. It literally took that long to gather all the supplies. Hannah supervised the extreme overloading of the house pantry. It was a very large pantry, twenty foot by twenty foot, but, it was so full with all the Thanksgiving supplies till it looked a bit inadequate. Some stuff had to be stacked in the main house kitchen. Hannah and her sister wives had decided that using the main kitchen probably wouldn’t be sufficient for the monumental job ahead. So, they planned on using Patty’s, Cilla’s, and Hannah’s kitchens to compensate and would probably have to use Hope’s fridge too.

            Hannah felt like she needed to heave a sigh of relief and brace for impact at the same time, as she waited for Max to arrive with the South Wingers. About an hour before the plane was to arrive at the small local airport, Max dropped Sarah and the rest of the family off at Alex’s so they could be there to greet the incoming family. Everyone was excited to see everyone again, and for some it was the first time meeting, so there was excitement all around.  Even Del was there, feeling better, and looking a bit more plump.

             Alex had Buck and the boys on standby, to take the bags to the designated rooms. Hannah watched, at the side windows as Max’s van slowed to stop. The South Wingers began emerging from the van, and Buck and his crew began unstrapping the luggage that was attached to the top of the van.

            “So far, so good,” Hannah thought. Then she took a deep fortifying breath, “This is gonna be fun. I hope…”

            The next little while was full of hugs, kisses, and laughter. Everyone was shown their rooms, and given help with settling in, everyone except Samantha and David. Their things were left in the van. Hannah noticed her mom avoiding Alex, and Alex not minding.

            After the settling, they had lunch in the big kitchen. As they were finishing up with the meal David leaned over to Hannah and asked, “So, where are all those Palominos you told me about?”

            “In the stables,” she chuckled. “I can show you in a bit, after the dishes are done. Okay?”

            “Sure,” he smiled.

            “I can walk out there with you. If you want to go ahead out?” Alex offered.

            “Alright,” David nodded, getting up to follow Alex, “Thanks.”

            “You’re welcome,” Alex said leading the way out of the kitchen.

            Hannah didn’t worry about this matchup, she smiled, thinking, “It’ll be good for them to get to know each other.”

            After inventorying and assessing the supplies, Samantha gave Hannah her approval, “Looks like you got everything, Sweetie. We’ll get an early start on it in the morning.”

            “Yep,” Hannah smiled, feeling a bit proud of her new position in the Thanksgiving hierarchy. All previous years she’d been the gofer, the assistant, and the “go put this in the garage fridge person,” which she didn’t mind at all. She was sure those roles would resurface in the morning. These roles were all comfortable for her. This new role was much more stressful, but she liked it all the same.

            “I made tea so we can have a nice visit in the sitting room,” Cilla said as she joined them in the pantry. “It’s herbal,” she smiled seeing the look on Samantha’s face. “Mint, no caffeine.”

            “Oh,” Samantha’s expression still looked awkwardly uncomfortable as she nodded.

            “Come on Mom,” Hannah chuckled, “it’s not against the Word of Wisdom.”

            “I know,” Samantha said, trying to recover from her obvious awkwardness at having tea.

            “It’s really good,” Cilla smiled. “Del grows it in her garden, all organic.”

            Entering the sitting room Hannah noticed that it was an all girl tea party. She looked questioningly at Sarah, “Max took the kids and Dave and Paul out to the stables to see the horses.”

            “Ah,” Hannah nodded, sitting down on the sofa close to Patty and snagging herself a chocolate chip cookie.

            “Here Mom, take this chair,” Brenda got up from the armchair she was sitting in and took a seat next to Hannah. It was a tight squeeze, but she was a very petite person and made it work.

            “Thanks, Sweetie,” Samantha smiled.

            “So, Samantha,” Patty began the conversation. “Tell us about your Thanksgiving tradition. Why do you all get together and do this? I know there has to be an interesting story in it.”

            Samantha nodded and looked pleased, “My great grandparents were immigrants, from England. They came over in 1915, just as the war was beginning. They were very proud to come to America and become citizens.

            My great grandfather already had some family that had immigrated a few years before, so they had a place to come to. It was in August, and believe me, South Georgia in August is an experience. My grandmother said that her mother told her she felt like she was going to die from the heat that first summer. She didn’t, they survived, and became citizens just before Thanksgiving. So, for them it was a special time to celebrate every year, both being American and being grateful.

            My grandparents taught me that when a family works together, they are close and stay that way. Their family had always worked together, so that’s what my grandparents did. As things changed and the world evolved with different job opportunities becoming available – things other than farming. Well, they made sure there were still opportunities for the family to get together and work together. Over the years that work opportunity has become our Thanksgiving tradition.”

            “That’s so wonderful!” Hope said. “I’m glad we get to be part of it.”

            “Oh, me too!” Patty beamed. “Your Grandmother was right. Working together does bring people close.

            “Gran was an amazing lady,” Hannah sighed. “We called her Gran, but actually she was our great grandmother, we never got to meet our grandmother.”

            “Oh?” Patty queried.

            “She and my father passed away when I was a very young girl,” Samantha interjected. “I was raised by my grandparents.”

            “Oh, I see,” Patty nodded understandingly.

            Soon the tea party was over and everyone was back together. Hannah thought the whole house seemed to be alive with life and laughter, and noise. Later that evening was a true cowboy dinner with large rib eye steaks and baked potatoes from the grill and a huge cast iron pot of baked beans cooked over the fire pit. When Alex had said he’d take care of dinner that night Hannah had had full confidence in his abilities but was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. She watched as he and Max manned the grill, including Max’s older boys, teaching them the fine art of manly grilling.

            Hannah got a good laugh when her Dad commented on how good the steaks were and asked where Alex had gotten them. Alex smiled broadly and replied, “Fresh off the hoof.”

            Later that night all the kids were gathered to Hannah’s apartment for the traditional slumber party. All the nieces and nephews along with Liam, Cassie, and Bella were there. Even Rosie and Mia stayed which was a bit of a surprise to Hannah, but she was very pleased they felt that comfortable with her. There was popcorn, movies, and not much floor space when the dust of things settled.”

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

   

Dreams, Cowboys, and Horses…

 

As Hannah tries to process the bad thing that happened, she has a few unique dreams that give her some awkward feelings. In these dreams she gets unwanted protection from a cowboy she doesn’t want to think about much less get protection from. Feelings of frustration, annoyance, and anger mount as the dreams persist night after night…

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 3 – Palominos

            “Sleep came swiftly, and Hannah was back at BYU, it was like a stroll down memory lane. She saw her first boyfriend, Scott, the dream evolved into the night when she was going home from work – when she’d seen him with another girl. Hannah could feel the emotions starting to surface, then she saw a large golden palomino walking toward her with Alex James sitting on its back. He wasn’t smiling – he wasn’t teasing her. His face had a look of hardness she hadn’t seen in the waking Alex James, but his face also held an expression of care and concern. He stopped his horse between her and the scene that would have happened had her memory been allowed to continue.

            Hannah tried to shake herself from the dream, but only managed to shift it to another place. She could see a literal parade of guys that had tried to flirt with her while she was at BYU. They were all cute, charming, and smiling at her. Once again, the large palomino with its rider came between her and the scene.

            Hannah looked up at him, he held out his hand as if he wanted to help her up onto his horse. Hannah pulled back and the dream evolved into the night when she was at the restaurant with Mark, who had laughed at her and let her know she wasn’t good enough to be his eternal companion. She could see the scene before her, him sitting at the table waiting for her to join him, but this time instead of the palomino riding up with its cowboy, just the cowboy came.

            Alex James stood between her and the scene, the look of care and concern on his face was very evident now. Hannah was confused, “Why’s he here?” she asked herself. “And why would he care?” Again, he held out his hand as if to help her – she pulled away once more.

            The scene faded away… The restaurant was no longer the one she’d gone to with Mark it was the one she’d gone to with Nathaniel. Mark was not sitting at this table, – it was Nathaniel. Hannah felt so ashamed, she could hear the soft music and see the soft glow of the drippy candles dancing over the scene.

            Nathaniel sat there smiling at her, waiting for her to come over and join him. Hannah choked back some surfacing emotions, she could feel the fear, pain, and the nausea swelling up inside. As tears began to flow Alex James once again stepped into the picture, standing between her and the table where Nathaniel was sitting.

            “No!” she shouted as she remembered what had happened that night. The ever present whirlwind of emotions that always tried to engulf her when those memories emerged, anger, embarrassment, fear, and the deep sadness that felt like it was now attached permanently to her soul… She’d kept this secret buried deep inside herself, she’d only shared it with Sarah. He couldn’t know, “not him,” she thought, “He can’t be here.”

            Alex James again had a look of care and concern on his face, the ruggedly handsome face had lost all hardness. There was no teasing smile. The tenderness she saw in his face was almost overwhelming. This time when he held out his hand, Hannah took it, and ran to him. She was quickly wrapped in his strong arms. She felt safe… she hadn’t felt that way since the night she saw that little white pill dissolving in her drink.”

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine on Amazon.com at the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

   

Return to New Parish Available Now!!!!

I just received word, that Return to New Parish is now live on Amazon.com!!!! 

I hope everyone enjoys Hannah’s journey to finding her happily ever after… 

Find Return to New Parish, New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine at the link below:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Worthington/e/B00E6622QO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1569181539&sr=1-3

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are really goals we set for ourselves. Yes, sometimes we set unreasonable goals that we can’t reach, but there are also those we can achieve as long as we remember to pay attention to all the little steps in-between where we are and where we want to be. Each year I try to look back and see what I actually accomplished and what I need to do next to get the rest of the job done. This last year my first book in the New Parish series was published. That was a wonderful goal to accomplish, but it took completing several other goals to actually get that one done. I know there have been lots of movies that romanticize the life of a writer, but in all actuality it’s really just a lot of hard work… Plotting on many different levels, character development of many different characters, research and more research, editing, and more editing… it goes on and on. Then when the book is finished, it’s not finished, there’s the copyright, ISBN numbers for each type of book you’re publishing, the book cover, the formatting, and the endless marketing once it’s out there. Then even before all that is done, you’re already writing the next book to go through all that process with again…

The gist of it is that we all have goals or resolutions, sometimes they are complicated, sometimes they’re simple, either way we have to take it step by step, paying attention to all the little steps as we go. In my book New Parish Sarah has what she thinks is a very simple goal. She wants to get married to a great guy, have loads of kids and be the quintessential soccer mom. Her goal turned out to be not so simple, it got a bit complicated and she had to think outside the box to actually achieve her goal.  

We can accomplish our goals, as long as we remember to work on each of the other goals – little steps – that will get us to the one we most desire. For me it was publishing my books, and still is, for Sarah it was getting married and being a mom, even if she had to do it a bit differently…  some of her little steps were actually quite big, moving to a whole new place, getting married a very different way, and having children even before she had one of her own.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 1 – Bad Date

          ““How am I supposed to know which guys to go out with and which ones to not go out with?” she groaned within herself.

            She pulled her long brown hair back into a ponytail and looked at herself in the mirror as she pulled on her pajamas. She scanned her bangs hanging over her forehead while some of the layered strands fell loosely around her face. The events of the evening were flashing through her mind like an old movie, as she thought to herself, “I’m not ugly… why can’t I find a good man? I have curves in all the right places, with ample endowments.” This had been a source of a pride with her as a girl and more especially as she got a little older. Sarah thought it was fun how boys would stutter and stammer at times if she wore a low cut blouse. Her five foot seven, somewhat athletic frame carried her very well, she thought, as she scanned for flaws. She looked at her face to check out what others would see when they looked at her. She had always thought her nose was a bit small but it looked okay, her brown eyes were a little big but they were okay too. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked aloud in frustration. 

            Sarah’s mind went to something her new friend Mary had said when they were working together at the children’s center. Mary had mentioned her home, a place called New Parish in Arizona. Sarah had known her for a few months. Mary was only going to be there for a while longer, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

           Sarah thought about the day she’d been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her, when Mary revealed to her that in the community she came from, the people did plural marriages. So, any girl could get a good man and not have to worry about missing out on being a mom. Mary’s descriptions of her home made it sound like a little piece of heaven, where people lived happy lives, and found their happily ever afters.

          Sarah sighed, thinking of the small rural community Mary had described, “Maybe…””

 

Want to see how she accomplished her goals? Get your copy of New Parish from any of the places below.

 

   

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Cowboy Party

This time of year, there are many parties going on everywhere. Whether it’s a Christmas party, a New Year’s party or a just for fun party. Have you ever wondered what a cowboy party might be like? I think there would be a lot of good food, good music, some dancing, some horses – and yeah lots of cowboys!

I do love a good party… In New Parish there’s a fun cowboy party I want to share with you.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 8 – The Social

“It was a short trip in Brother Michael’s SUV to the edge of the community where Sarah saw a rustic archway made of rough cedar that said, Lucky A Ranch, with two horses on either side of the words. Sarah thought, “It looked like those ranches she used to see on the old westerns,” an automatic smile came across her lips. When the SUV was parked in what looked like a hayfield across from a huge pasture they walked toward the festivities that were already under way.

            “I feel like I’ve stepped into a Louis L’Amour novel,” Sarah said looking around at all the cowboys and horses.

            A cowboy band was playing and there was a square dance going, Mary said, “Come on let’s go!”

            Sarah said, “No way, I’ve never dosey doed in my life. I don’t know how,” trying to excuse herself from this activity.

            Mary grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the dance area in front of the wooden stage the band was on, “I’ll show you, it’s fun!” she said laughing.

            Sarah had an inner dread that she was not only going to dosey doe for the first time, but that Mary had much more confidence in her abilities than she did.

            Mary had her twirling around the grassy dance area in no time. They were both laughing at her many mistakes, and having so much fun. Then Sarah saw one of cowboys on the stage… it was Max, he was playing the guitar, and smiling at her. He was wearing a black cowboy hat with a silver and turquoise band around it, a white shirt with a bolo tie, and a black leather jacket. Her mind had inventoried him quickly and then lost all cohesiveness. After that she lost her footing, causing her right foot to trip over her left foot – she landed on the ground with a thud. “Oh, I hate him,” she thought picking herself up from the ground quickly. Mary tried to help her up while trying to hide the fact that she was almost doubling over laughing at her.

            “Seems you’re always falling for him,” Mary teased.

            Sarah was even more embarrassed to know that Mary had seen the cause of her fall, “Thanks, that helps,” she replied half way laughing too.

            “Food?” Mary suggested, trying to suppress her laughter. She was pointing to two long tables brimming with food across the driveway from where they were, “It’s on the other side of things.”  

            “Good,” said Sarah, “I need to be on the other side of things.”

 

If you’d like to visit New Parish for yourself and see what else happens the free autographed paper back contest will be going on all this month (December, see other post – Free Books, for details) or the ebook will be available for free today on amazon.com.

You can get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Free Books!!!

One free book each week in December. What better way to gear up for Christmas! Keep it for yourself or give it as a gift, either way get your very own copy of New Parish this month.

This is how it’ll work: all you have to do is use the contact form on my website – www.julieworthington.com to submit your name, address, and email. Each week one name will be drawn for the free book. You’ll receive an email from me letting you know that you’ve won and the free book will be autographed and sent to you free of charge.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your visit to New Parish…

You can always get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

Thanksgiving Jetlag

My son and I had loads of fun cooking this year. We made messes and cleaned them up while enjoying the fruits of our labors. We discussed the philosophy of peeling boiled eggs and deciding that sometimes it just doesn’t work out well. There was Christmas music playing in the background and many wonderful aromas to enjoy as the cooking progressed. There was lots of smiles and a bit of laughter…

Two days after Thanksgiving when the cooking is done, the eating is still going on, and the fatigue it still going on… it’s still not over. It’s only the beginning! I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as a pre-Christmas celebration. I of course don’t mind if others feel differently about it, but to me it has always been that. Two days after Thanksgiving is a time for family and food, and making plans…

So now Christmas plans will be made, well, after the food is gone and we’ve recovered from all that fun…

Here’s a little bit of the end of Sarah’s Thanksgiving from my book New Parish. She’s making plans too…

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 2 – Undecided

“All the food was ready by two o’clock and everyone was seated. Sarah’s father offered a prayer and the family feast began. The conversations were the completion of many different catch up stories for each of them. Sarah listened quietly and was glad the inquisition on her investigation of plural marriage wasn’t the main topic of their conversations.

            By the end of the meal, when everyone was trying to shove more desert down on top of all the other food Sarah’s dad said, “Sarah, your mom and I talked last night about what you are looking into.”        

            Sarah’s heart sank. She’d hoped the subject would be skipped over… She looked her dad in the eye and braced for impact.

            He continued, “We don’t think it’s a good idea at all, but we love you and always want to be a part of your life, and always want you to be in ours. So, we’ve decided to be conscientious objectors to your choice to live that way, if you choose to do so.”

            Sarah saw the resolve and concern in his face as he talked and was very grateful that he was willing to love her and not cut her off because she might want to be different. Her love and respect for her dad grew at that moment far beyond what it had ever been. With a tear in her eye she said, “Thanks Dad, that really means a lot to me.”

            He nodded and smiled warmly at her. The feast continued with lots of family stories past and present, then on to future goals and wishes. The rest of the time Sarah spent with her family was filled with feelings of uneasy calm. No one else said anymore about her plural marriage research, which was a relief, but for Sarah it had become a constant backburner thing in her mind.

            Trying to settle back into her apartment and routine in Atlanta, Sarah thought it all seemed very empty. Her thoughts turned more and more to New Parish and the things Brother Michael had told her. She was planning on going out there for a few days over the Christmas holidays but was still very unsure of what to expect.”

New Parish available now:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

 

Changing Seasons

As Spring is rapidly approaching my thoughts wander off to the changing of the seasons. Everyone has their favorite season, mine is Fall or Autumn if one is formal. That’s where New Parish begins, I don’t think I planned it that way on purpose, but maybe that’s where it began because of my love of Fall. Oh, I like the other seasons too and they’re all present in my book New Parish, but I’ve always enjoyed Fall the best. Sarah enjoys Fall with her family in Savannah for Thanksgiving then the story moves on to Winter. Winter is nice, I like the cooler weather, but it can get too cold and have other challenges, such as wild winter storms. Sarah’s first visit to New Parish is in the winter, this visit, isn’t just fun, but very enlightening…  Sarah’s first winter in New Parish becomes an inner journey of winter changing into Spring. Spring is nice, it’s like life begins again, after a long time of barrenness… Sarah’s first Spring in New Parish is by far the most unique one she’s ever experienced, I won’t give spoilers… Spring is also a prelude to Summer. Summer can be nice in New Parish, early in the morning and late in the evening, after the sun goes down, but it can get too hot and has lots of insects that like to munch on a person. I don’t talk about the insects much in my book, New Parish, there’s way too many other things to be getting on with. As summer fades in New Parish the cycle begins again, and Fall returns with a whole new situation…

Of all the seasons we enjoy in New Parish or anywhere else I remain firm in my love of Fall, it’s cool but not too cold, there are still flowers hanging around, and it kicks off the holiday season, which if I’m honest is really my favorite season…

I hope everyone will enjoy all the seasons in Sarah’s journey to New Parish!

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish: Winter was Sarah’s first season in New Parish

“The next day after breakfast Sarah and Mary decided to get out and explore some of the community and enjoy the snow that had fallen. Several of Mary’s little brothers and sisters tagged along with them. They were all bundled up in coats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Sarah laughed at herself and the rest of the gang, they were definitely prepared. Sarah had already decided that the community was quite beautiful but now with a blanket of snow it seemed like a picture postcard of a Christmas village from long ago. There was even a wooden wagon with red painted wheels going down the road pulled by two large chocolate brown horses, it was all very picturesque.”