Tag Archive | Georgia

Grits

If you say the word grits, everyone knows its going to be about something southern, whether it’s about eating them, or kissing them. There are so many rich, amusing, and wonderful things about the southern culture till one’s mind does ponder them often. I think of those hot summer days of childhood, filled with outside adventures, watermelon, and friends. I can remember waking up to the smell of bacon cooking, country music playing on the radio, and family chattering away about the plans of the day…

In thinking about those good ol’ southern things, I like to focus on the positives, maybe that’s another southern thing, anyways, my thoughts this morning have been on the southern things that have been strong influences in my life.

Music – This was mostly country, I later added some variety to my listening like Dean Martin, The Beach Boys, Bing Crosby, and even some Bach. Very eclectic, yes, but I think the south is very eclectic.

Food – Grits of course, but good down home southern cooking also included many other foods such as fried chicken, hamburgers, salmon patties, and whatever vegetables you grew in the garden (or found at the market) that year.

Manners – We were taught respect for others from infancy, so it almost seemed that everyone knew how you were supposed to deport yourself in whatever situation you were in. Rudeness was never tolerated, the old saying, if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all, was the expected norm.

Friendly – Upon meeting new people one was expected to smile, shake hands (firmly), and be friendly. Upon meeting people you already knew, whether you liked them or not, you were expected to do the same.

Hospitality – Southern hospitality, is or should be one of the most famous things about the south. When company comes, they are always greeted warmly. Whether they are friends or family they are invited in and offered food and beverage. A southern home when and where I grew up was always a very welcoming place.

With all this in mind how could I not make my main characters from the south? I also love the western culture, so being me, I had to have the two cultures collide. You’ll find these collisions often in my book New Parish, and soon, Return to New Parish.

 

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 3 – New Parish

“Michael!” shouted a lady’s voice from across the park.

            They all looked as a herd of cows came into view at the edge of the park. The cows progressed toward the party with speed and destruction.

            “Head’em off! Head’em off!” Brother Michael shouted as he recruited several of the men at the party to help direct the cows away from the party.

            Sarah was quite impressed at the cowboy aptitude of Brother Michael and the other men present. They were able to drive most of the cows toward the entrance of the park and contain them there, but there were three cows that would not cooperate with Brother Michael’s agenda, they were still stubbornly rampaging through the park. Then Sarah saw something she had to do a double take to realize was really happening. It was so surreal, a man on a horse came quickly and proficiently riding into the park after the cows and was expertly gathering them up. The man looked every bit like a cowboy right out of a western movie and immediately made Sarah think of Tom Selleck sitting on his horse, he was tall and tan, with dark hair and mustache with a three or four day showing of whiskers on his face. His hair was a little long and shaggy for this community, where every guy she’d met was sporting short very controlled hair. He was wearing a dingy grey cowboy hat, faded blue button up shirt, a blue paisley bandanna, jeans covered with shotgun chaps, and worn cowboy boots and gloves.

            Sarah had been so mesmerized by the cowboy and what he was doing that she stood there in a stunned daze… she didn’t see the cow coming toward the table she was standing near.        Brother Michael shouted to the cowboy, “What’s going on here Max?”

            The man on the horse shouted back, “I had a few heifers break down a fence and get out, sometime last night. I didn’t know it till this mornin and was rounding ‘em up when some stray dog started yippin at ‘em and they got ahead of me.”

            Brother Michael smiled and said, “Max I’d like to introduce you to, Sarah, from Georgia.”

            Max pulled on the reins of his horse and stopped a few feet away, he smiled and drawled, “Howdy, ma’am.”

            Sarah was completely captivated by this cowboy, she thought his smile was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, his deep blue eyes sparkled – she felt like her head was filled with something sweet and gooey which was slowing her thought processes down. Her brain was stuck on, “Oh my gosh, he’s so gorgeous…”

            Before she could reply to the cowboy’s greeting she heard someone shout, “NO!” The next sound she heard was a dog barking… This inspired the cow that was getting near her to jump, and run, bumping into the table and with a sort of bounce, trip, and run action. It landed on the table with a bang collapsing the legs of the table. At the same time of the table collision the cow bumped into Sarah knocking her to the ground as it ran off toward the playground. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but what happened next made Sarah think of a sitcom situation on a TV show, because this sort of thing doesn’t happen in real life… not in her life.

            Sitting on the ground where the cow had knocked her, Sarah saw the table legs fold under as the table hit the ground with a thud from the weight of the cow and very large metal container that held the hot chocolate – it instantly poured out all over the ground where she was sitting. But Sarah’s main focus was on the punch bowl that had been catapulted into the air from the other end of the table, it was coming right at her with all the red punch it held. The step ladder that had been placed underneath the table for support had worked as a fulcrum to create the catapult for the punch bowl.

            Sarah’s mental faculties returned to her in time for her to put her hands up to prevent the large plastic punch bowl from hitting her head… she was drenched in red punch and the hot chocolate had soaked into the skirt of her dress along with turning her shoes a new color of brown. She felt as though everything had been turned off for a few seconds or slowed to a slow motion state and now it was all back on in vivid living color. She was completely soaked through with hot chocolate on the bottom of her and red punch from her head down to her feet. She was shivering from the cold, and becoming more and more angry, and humiliated, by the second. Sarah couldn’t comprehend what, why, or how something like this could happen. She thought, “Of course, Max the cowboy had taken off after the cow incident without a word of apology.” Sarah was processing this, she’d been so awe struck with his stunningly irresistible, beguiling, captivating appearance, but now she could see him for what he was, “Just another macho, self centered, inconsiderate, blockhead of a man who only thought of himself and what he wanted… Just like so many other ignoramuses that have strolled through my life over the years,” she thought as Mary brought a blanket and wrapped it around her.”

 

New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! 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!

 

Challenges…

I think in life we all have challenges. Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Some challenges lead to other challenges that come along because of the original challenge… In my book New Parish Sarah finds that her challenge of becoming a mom is complicated by several other challenges. Challenges such as finding a good man to marry, moving west to live in Arizona, overcoming some predisposed prejudices about a certain cowboy… I hope you’ll enjoy Sarah’s challenges, and her journey to solving those challenges, in New Parish.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 5 – The Storm

“Looking out the window Sarah could see the wind blowing wildly as the rain pounded the windows and everything else outside. The storm outside was gaining strength…            

Sarah wanted desperately to distract her mind from the thoughts and feelings she was having so she went into the kitchen to fix some hot chocolate. She grabbed a warm blanket to wrap herself in on her way, the chill from earlier was still lingering deep inside her.            

With hot chocolate made, she sat on the mismatched cushions of the wicker sofa and watched the storm outside. The storm inside her raged on as well, she felt like her whole life was in turmoil, not just because of another bad date with a man who really, in the big scheme of things, didn’t matter – but because she had allowed herself to be in that situation, “So, what’s the next situation I’m going to allow myself to get into?” she wondered. She decided to go back to an earlier strategy and consider the pros and cons of plural marriage because now that she had definitely decided that dating was never happening again, plural marriage with its matching system seemed her only option. “Well either that or live my life completely alone and never have the kids I’ve always dreamed of having,” she spoke this thought aloud – she thought her voice sounded sad and angry at the same time.            

Sarah took a sip of hot chocolate and thought, “Cons, umm, Brother Michael’s wives covered a lot of those – jealousy, unfair treatment, possessiveness, controlling sister wives, husbands not doing what they should or allowing the new wife to be excluded… “Ah,” she said aloud, “It all sounds like a bunch of “mean girl” stuff! I don’t want to live the rest of my life that way!” She wrapped the blanket tighter around her and listened to the storm outside. The rain beat on the balcony like hundreds of miniature drums beating, the lightning and thunder joined in often to round out the show.            

Sarah felt like her mind was going numb from too many thoughts – like when you get an injury, it initially hurts then it goes numb and then hurts like crazy later… she welcomed the numbness, but she could still feel the turmoil and conflict of her inner storm just under the surface of her emotions. She sipped her hot chocolate again and braced for impact. Then a memory suddenly and clearly came to the forefront of her thoughts and she could hear Brother Michael’s voice repeating the advice he’d given her when she was in New Parish.            

He said, “The last thing I want to suggest to you is to take some time to ponder and pray about this decision. This is your life. Is this really what you want for your life? This lifestyle has many blessings but it can also be considered a curse to those who don’t have the capacity to accept it in all its varied and sometimes complicated components. I want you to understand that I only want the best for you. If this is truly what you want to do then I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen for you. But, if you have doubts about it, then take the time to find the answers you need to put those doubts to rest, before you make your decision. Okay?”            

“Okay,” she said aloud to this vivid memory, “I’ll pray, I’ve done the “pondering” well, I’ve mostly done the struggling, agonizing, and suffering.”            

Sarah determinedly sat her hot chocolate down on the old wooden end table beside the sofa and pulled the blanket tightly around her. Bowing her head, she poured out all her thoughts, doubts, and questions in sincere prayer. When she finished the long tearful appeal she sat there on the sofa quietly wondering what to do, then the memory of how she felt when she went to church in New Parish filled her with the peace and sense of belonging she’d felt when she was sitting in that place. She began to feel a new calm come over her heart and mind. Memories flowed now of how happy Brother Michael’s wives were and the things they said about accepting each other without requirements or expectations came to her memory’s surface. Next she remembered how happy the kids were and how Mary had described her family.            

The thought dawned on her, “I was only focusing on what could go wrong. There’s a lot that can and does go right…”            

Sarah began to smile, she wanted to keep this feeling, the storm inside was gone as the thunder outside was now sounding far away, she felt peacefully happy inside and had a peace and calm she hadn’t felt in a very long time… “Yeah,” she said, “I know what to do and what I want.””   New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! 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!

Snow Days

I don’t know if the reason is that I was born in a snow storm, or that the snow makes everything look new and clean, or that the snow makes me dream of Christmas… whatever the reason is, I really do love snow. We’ve had a goodly amount this winter, and it’s so pretty outside. The mountains out back look as though they’ve been sprinkled heavily with powdered sugar. I went exploring a bit the other day and saw some prickly pear cacti, mostly covered with snow, but still peeping out from under as though they were giving a little warning sign just to let people, or animals know, they’re still there and not to get too close. A snow storm out here is a sight to behold. You can see the storm coming from miles away, then everything gets white, the mountains are completely hidden, and the magic begins. In my book New Parish, they get some of the white and fluffy too. I don’t think I could ever write about winter and not include that most important element.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 4 – Girl Talk

“On Christmas morning Sarah and Mary were up early because Mary said Sarah, “Didn’t want to miss this!” Entering the main sitting room, it looked to Sarah like a magical place of happiness. The tree was full of colored lights and was filled to the brim with ornaments that depicted children, toys, and candy, and all sorts of Christmas paraphernalia. The tree had been there when Sarah first arrived and she’d immediately loved it. Mary had complained that she missed the decorating and explained to Sarah that the whole family gets in on the event, they put the tree up together, place the lights together, hang the ornaments together, make homemade things like popcorn and cranberry garland together and put it on together. She’d given Sarah the whole run down on Christmas at her home.            

The presents that had been added over night were covering a third of the room and there was a table with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and cool-whip. The table, with hot chocolate, made Sarah think of that “incident” she had been trying not to think of. The room looked and felt like Christmas, the best part of Christmas, you could feel it when you walked in… the kids were all filing in with excitement in their eyes and big smiles on their faces. Everyone was in their pajamas. This made Sarah think of her own childhood and the wonderful feelings she’d on Christmas morning. This made her both happy and sad, as a deep longing to share this type of experience with her own children filled her heart.            

Brother Michael came in last and as the kids excitedly jumped up and down pleading with him for permission to open presents he laughed and said, “Okay, have at it.” They did just that, there was a present opening frenzy the likes of which Sarah had never seen. She watched as Brother Michael slowly walked over and put his arms around two of his wives and kissed each on the cheek. Sarah smiled thinking she might like something like this, “It could really work… maybe,” she thought.             The rest of the morning was spent with hot chocolate and viewing the gifts the kids had received. Mary shouted looking out the window, “It’s snowing! How perfect is that?” Everyone crowded around the windows to see the Christmas magic falling down in large fluffy feathery flakes outside.”

 

New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!! 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!

 

Writing the West…

Being a good ol’ southern girl from Georgia, living out west has been an adventure. I’ve often marveled at the extreme contrasts and complete differences this land has from that of my nativity. This has become a major focus in my writing. The characters I write about are often in awe at the beauty they find in the west, and just how very different it is from Georgia. Writing about the west for me encompasses not only the New Parish series but also Brigham Tea Magazine (which will be out soon!). The research I do for either New Parish or Brigham Tea Magazine always spills over to the other. At this point in time I’m researching Texas Rangers and Federal or Territorial Marshals from the late 1800’s. This research is part of a new character development I’m working on for an upcoming book, but will most definitely find its way into an article for Brigham Tea Magazine. I love getting to know each new character in New Parish, it’s like making a new friend. For me each character has their own distinct personality and history, so I’m very careful to make sure that uniqueness sticks with them. I hope you’ve all gotten to know some of my friends from New Parish and the wonderful American West. If not here’s some excerpts to introduce some of them, from both New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine.

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 the 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.””

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 2 – Cowboys and Horses

            “As she neared the small community Hannah saw some men and a small boy riding horses across the prairie next to the main road. She also saw that they had a purpose, they were moving a heard of about thirty cows away from the road. One man, an older cowboy, who seemed to be in charge was sitting on his horse, a large impressive palomino, and pointing while the other men were gathering the cows in the direction he wanted them to go in. The sage cowboy made Hannah think of Sam Elliot, whom she had loved in several westerns.

            The boy stayed near the cowboy in charge until the old truck in front of Hannah made a huge bang! It was a very loud backfire, Hannah jumped and shouted, “Dang!” She looked back to the scene she’d been watching to see the boy’s beautiful blond palomino suddenly dart toward the fence opposite the road she was traveling on. The old cowboy was suddenly on the move, his horse quickly caught up with the one the boy was on. He grabbed the reins of the other horse slowing then stopping the horse. After steadying the boy on his saddle, he patted him on the back reassuringly.

            Hannah smiled, “I’m gonna like it here.” A right turn took her into the community, a few more turns and a couple of miles later and she was pulling up in front of Sarah’s home.”

Excerpt from Brigham Tea Magazine:

The Wild Desert

The Bird

When I go out to explore places along the Arizona Strip, I try to remember to take my bird book with me. When I forget I inevitably hear myself say, “I wish I’d brought my bird book!” I’ve seen many different types of birds as I’ve gone out into the desert, or up on a mountain, or over a prairie. They always seem to catch my eye. Lately several red tail hawks have been near where I live. They are amazing to watch, the birds are very large, almost two feet tall, and have some amazing design detail on their wings and tails.  The details are marked by the stark contrasts between the dark browns, tans, and whites that always make me think of Native American designs I’d seen on blankets or rugs. I saw a rather large red-tailed hawk on a fence post recently, it had very detailed sharp contrasts in its markings. The bird was simply gorgeous. I watched it as I approached, it was very still and obviously deeply engaged in something I couldn’t see. I was hoping it would stay there and let me get close enough to get an amazing picture, and more visual details for myself. My approach was slow and deliberately unthreatening. I actually got within a few feet of the bird and its fence post. It didn’t seem interested in me or my unthreatening approach.

As I neared, it suddenly swooped down onto the ground a few feet away from its perch. I was surprised by this action, as I was expecting it to soar into the sky. I watched as the bird wrestled around on the ground with something for a few minutes, wondering what its quarry was. The bird’s wings expanded and retracted quickly as it aggressively pounced and twisted about in the tall prairie grass, giving me a unique view of its colors and markings. Yes, very beautiful…  I stayed where I was so as not to disturb the struggle, hoping the bird wouldn’t fly away. It didn’t, the bird returned to its fence post with its snack, what looked like a small field mouse, and proceeded to, snack.  The bird and I continued on with our lives, I’m sure it never gave me another thought, but to me that experience will linger in my thoughts for a long while…

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!

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!

 

 

Irons in the Fire

Have you ever heard the expression too many irons in the fire? Meaning too many things going on at once… I’ve always been a person who likes to keep busy. Not just busy, but busy doing things that I love to be totally engaged in. The New Parish books are one of my irons in the fire and the other is Brigham Tea Magazine. Those two irons keep me very busy and very engaged. I know you haven’t seen the magazine yet, but you’re all going to love it, when I get it up and running. There are so many articles about the west – histories of people that I’m trying not to let fade away for good, places that don’t need to be forgotten, and the awesome grandeur and beauty of the real wild west that still exists.

So, I thought I’d share a few excerpts today from all my Irons in the Fire. Hope you enjoy…

New Parish:
“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…””

Return to New Parish:

“Hearing a light tapping on her door she pulled herself up from the sofa and walked to the door.  “Hi,” Sarah said, entering the room, “I wanted to check in with you before I settled in for the night.”

            “I’m good,” Hannah smiled at her sister who looked very tired, “go settle.”

            “I will in a sec,” Sarah shrugged, “What did you think of things today?”

            “It was all good fun,” Hannah shrugged back, then thinking of the guys she had met asked, “So what do you know about Daniel and Steve?”

            “Um, not too much.” Sarah wrinkled her nose as if a bad smell had entered the room then asked, “Why?”

            “Well they are cute eligible guys,” Hannah proposed, thinking Sarah had been out of the game too long.

            Sarah laughed, “Oh, I see. Well all the guys here are eligible, but really those two guys are unproven. So I wouldn’t give them much thought.”

            Hannah was shocked at Sarah’s comments, “Ah, I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way.” She felt a little weird with the new perspective Sarah had just put forward. It was slowly sinking in, but she knew this was going to take some time.

            “You have that deer in the headlights look,” Sarah teased her.

            Hannah laughed, “I suppose I’m allowed,” she defended, “I really hadn’t thought about that whole eligibility thing. What do you mean unproven?” she asked completely not understanding what her sister had said.

            “They don’t even have one wife,” Sarah explained with her nose wrinkled again. “Max told me that he went on a work mission, then to college, then built a house and started a ranch and his electrical business before he got married. He said it gave him time to get his head on straight and mature some so he could appreciate having wives and all the opportunities of married life.”

            “Oh,” Hannah said, feeling like the deer in the headlights look had returned to her expression.

            Sarah smiled slyly at her and said, “Goodnight.”     

            “Goodnight,” Hannah chuckled as Sarah closed the door.”

Home to New Parish:

            ““So when’s your return flight?” Samantha asked entering Brenda’s bedroom and interrupting the moment of peaceful delight she was enjoying.

            “It’s the same as I told you before, Mom, January 3rd at eleven in the morning,” Brenda returned in a we’ve already discussed this tone, and giving Wren a little scoot to get him on his way.

            “Just checking,” Samantha said with raised eyebrows. “You know how I feel about you going out there.”

            “Mom, I’m going to spend Christmas with my sisters, at one of my sister’s home. We’re going to have a wonderful time, and it’ll be good for the kids,” Brenda returned, trying to sound logical and ignore her Mom’s innuendo.

            “As long as you and Beth come back with no plans of repeating what Sarah and Hannah did,” Samantha stated firmly.

            “I’m over thirty and have four kids, Mom. Believe me, no one wants me, here or there,” Brenda sighed defeatedly and resumed packing.

            “That’s not true,” Samantha stammered, looking awkwardly uncomfortable. “I’m sure you’ll find someone wonderful, here.”

            “Really, Mom?” Brenda paused and looked at her mom with a very doubtful expression.

            “Yes, really,” Samantha returned defensively.

            Brenda sighed, shook her head and once again resumed packing. Her cell phone rang cutting off her Mom’s inquiry.

            “Hello,” Brenda answered, waving her mom off.”

Passion in New Parish:

Only in the planning stages – it’s Beth’s journey to New Parish.

Brigham Tea Magazine:

Tea Time

When the first pioneers moved west and settled along the Arizona Strip, rations could get a bit scarce. Some reports say that the Mormons learned about Brigham Tea from friendly Indians and that it was previously called squaw tea. I don’t have any concrete evidence of how they found out about it, just that they did, and they drank it.

In our day, there are so many teas to choose from, that everyone can find something they like. I think it’s good that we have a wide variety of tea to choose from, and a wide variety of people to get to know, and wonderful places to explore. I’ve found that people gravitate toward what they like, whether it’s tea, or friends, or places. There are times when we want what’s familiar and comfortable and other times when we want to try something else, that’s new or different.

Heroes of the Past

Jacob Hamblin Part 1

In researching the people who lived out here in the wild west, back when it was very wild, I’ve found that there were many who were real life heroes, who lived lives like Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett – they were true to life characters that John Wayne would have played in his best old cowboy movies.

One of the real-life heroes that made his mark on the Arizona Strip was Jacob Hamblin. Most of the research I’m using in this series of articles is from the man himself, through James A. Little. Little spent time interviewing Jacob Hamblin and recorded what he said in text form. I find Jacob Hamblin fascinating…  He was born in Salem Ohio on April 6, 1819. When he was just a few months old his family moved to another county in Ohio, Geauga, and continued the family business, farming. When he was a young man, around 17 years old, his family moved again – this time to the Wisconsin Territory in Spring Prairie. He homesteaded eighty acres of his own land there, next to his father’s homestead of the same acreage.

Pipe Springs National Monument

A while back I visited an amazing place, not too far from where I live, called Pipe Springs National Monument. The discovery of Pipe Spring by the white man, happened when Jacob Hamblin and his group of explorers found it back in 1858. I could see why explorers in the desert would be drawn to this place. It was, and is literally an oasis in the middle of the desert.  It has tall trees and lots of green around. The reason for the green is the natural spring that’s been quenching the thirst of the land, Native Americans, pioneers, and many a weary traveler for as long as recorded or verbal history can tell. It’s truly like stepping back, into the past.

The first actual settlers to the area were James Witmore and his brother in law Robert McIntire, in the spring of 1863. They lived in a small dugout house near where the fort was later built. They raised cattle, until 1866 when the settlement was ended with an Indian raid that took their cattle and their lives.

A Day in the Life of a Sister Wife

The moss ladened trees of Savanah strolled through Sarah’s mind as she sat on her balcony overlooking the mesas just past the desert prairie. Her new home in Arizona was a stark contrast to her old one in Georgia. Her new life was hugely different as well. If anyone had told her a couple of years ago that she’d be married to a cowboy who’d already been married twice, she’d have told them they were nuts. Sarah chuckled to herself thinking, “Yes, Max has been married twice. But, the thing is – he’s never been divorced.” Thinking back to the day she met her sister wives, Sarah remembered that she’d liked them instantly. That like had grown into a deep love and respect very quickly,” she smiled. “The like had taken a while with Max.”

The mug of hot chocolate warmed her as she braced for impact. She knew tomorrow would be a supreme test of her “mom” skills. Both her sister wives, Myra and Del, were going to be busy and gone all day, Myra had a meeting with a local art gallery and Del was going to her pre-natal checkup and then on to do some much needed shopping. So, Sarah would have her own baby, Parley (six months old), the family toddler Annie (18 months old), and two four year olds, Mia and Rosie to take care of, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner to prepare for the whole family, which consisted of about seventeen people, if no one brought friends home for lunch. Sarah had always liked the fact that everyone came home for lunch, it was something she looked forward to each day, her feelings about tomorrow’s lunch held a little more stress.

 

There are many more irons in the fire for me. I hope you’ll all enjoy the ones I’ve shared…

New Parish Available Now!

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com –

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535156774&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington    

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-parish-julie-worthington/1129421210?ean=9781732224001     

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

The Light and the Dark…

In a recent conversation with someone near and dear, we discussed the good and the bad of what I write about. Please don’t get me wrong, this was not an argument in any way. I know there’s some trepidation on the part of some people… So, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on this topic. As in all things there’s both good and evil, light and dark… In this conversation we both agreed that just like in Star Wars, there’s good and bad, and there’s a balance between the two. We have to have, the really good to make up for the really bad…

I think sometimes we hear so much about the bad in our world that we can forget to look for the good. We hear about the war, terrorism, the civil unrest (even in our own country) and we see the bad. I don’t like to think about the bad guys who’ve hurt people, like Jim Jones or Warren Jeffs, but they are there and they did what they did. I like to focus on the good guys like Mother Theresa, Elenore Roosevelt, Eliza R. Snow, Jacob Hamblin, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Joe Darger… the list goes on and on… people who live and lived as real heroes.

 I’m a very Pollyanna kind of person – if you don’t know who Pollyanna is please google it – but in short, she’s the girl who always looks for the good in every situation. I see the bad just as much as anyone else, but I choose to focus on the good. I see people helping people, I see people standing up for what they believe in, I see people finding happiness in adversity. So, I write about the good things, I don’t focus on the bad, there’s enough people writing about and reporting that. I hope to be the balance and show the good in our world…

In my book New Parish Sarah finds a way to be happy while discovering a very different way to live… the dark side of things are discussed, but I focus on the good.

Excerpt from New Parish:
Chapter 2 – Undecided

“Later that night there was a knock on Sarah’s bedroom door, “Come in,” she said, but Hannah had already opened the door and was entering the room.

            “Hey,” she said tentatively.

            “Hey,” Sarah replied curiously.

            “So, tell me about this New Parish place and plural marriage,” Hannah said, as she plopped down at the end of Sarah’s bed and sat with her legs crossed like an Indian – just like she used to do when they were kids.

            “What do you want to know?” Sarah inquired with surprise.

            “You’re not the only one who’s had “dating” experiences with guys who aren’t who you want to spend your life with. If this is a good thing, I might think about considering it too,” explained Hannah.

            “Oh,” Sarah said, now in complete surprise. “Okay, well, what I’ve learned so far is that they have the same beliefs we were taught growing up in the church, except, they still have everything that was restored and didn’t give anything up, back in the day.”

            “Okay, so how do they do it?” Hannah urged her sister on.

            “They use an old traditional matchmaking system, but no dowries. The girls have freedom to choose and get out of the marriage if it’s not working out. Brother Michael, the church leader is so funny…”

            Sarah spent over two hours explaining what she’d learned to Hannah. When Hannah finally left her room, Sarah felt like she somehow understood the whole thing better. As she lay there drifting off to sleep she thought, “Maybe explaining to Hannah clarified things in my own mind.” She felt very much at peace with things, and hoped she could stay that way.”

Find all the answers to Sarah’s journey in New Parish!

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com –

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535156774&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington    

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-parish-julie-worthington/1129421210?ean=9781732224001     

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

True North…

True north has many meanings for many people. Ask some people and they’ll tell you it’s the point on a compass, others will tell you it’s somewhere around the North Pole. While others know it’s the place where you belong, or the person you belong with, or the thing you’re supposed to be doing. True north is always that one thing that keeps us going, or centered, or focused when things don’t work out exactly the way we want.

We all have our own true north, the place we’re looking for, the place we’ve found, or the place we’re dreaming of… our true north, the thing, or place, or person that our needle will always point to.

True north can be in any direction – even west… In my book New Parish Sarah doesn’t give up on her true north. Her needle points passionately towards what she’s always wanted, but she finds her true north in a very different place and in a very different way than she’d ever imagined.

Excerpts from New Parish:

Chapter 1 – Bad Date

Sarah’s ponderings…

            “Around lunch time she headed out to the children’s center. As she walked down the busy Atlanta sidewalks she looked around at the horde of people on their way to their next destination. She thought about when she’d first moved to Atlanta and how excited she’d been to be living in a big city with so much going on. She’d lost that excitement: it had turned into a tired frustration. The city hadn’t contributed to her dreams at all, her experiences there had diminished them. Her thoughts went to how much her goals and dreams had fragmented over the last few years. Her career was great, but she’d planned on being married and having at least three children by the age of twenty-seven. She sighed thinking, “I have neither a husband or children.” Her frustration on this was starting to grow beyond the normal parameters. Her thoughts turned to her job, “Right out of college, I got this great job, doing what I love, being a graphic artist for children’s books. I’ve worked hard, and now I’m the top artist in the company. I chose this career so I could be a stay at home mom. Sheesh! What’s a girl gotta do to make her dreams come true?””

Part of Sarah’s first conversation with Brother Michael…

            ““Now, about our community and how we live,” Brother Michael went on, “we do live plural marriage, which Mary said you’re interested in. Is that right?”

            “Yes,” was all Sarah could say, she wondered if this guy would think she was serious or not, because she hadn’t been able to catch up to the conversation, the shock was slowing her thought processes down.

            “Why?” he asked, waiting for her response.

            “Honestly, I’ve always wanted to have a family, you know children… Well I’ve been trying to find a good man to do that with, and so far, I’ve had no luck at all,” Sarah felt dumb as she explained her dilemma, thinking, how could he take her seriously when she didn’t have a very significant reason for bothering him about this? It was an important reason to her but she felt like others might just laugh at her.

            “I see,” said Brother Michael after a slight pause. “This lifestyle has some challenges that go with it. We, of course, do support big families and having all the children you want to have, but living the way we do is a huge commitment. Do you think that would really be something you could do?”

            “I don’t know,” Sarah confessed, “I have a lot of questions.”

            “Fair enough,” Brother Michael replied. “What questions do you have?””

 

Find all the answers to Sarah’s questions in New Parish!

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com –

https://www.amazon.com/New-Parish-Julie-Worthington/dp/1732224005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535156774&sr=8-1&keywords=new+parish+by+julie+worthington   

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-parish-julie-worthington/1129421210?ean=9781732224001    

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!