Tag Archive | romantic comedy

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!

Old Friends…

Sometimes when we haven’t done something we really enjoy for a while, we miss that activity, like an old friend. Old friends can be a book, a movie, holding a baby, making a craft, or watching a basketball game… at least with me they can be. These old friends can give us happy moments similar to the happy moments we experience with people. They are even a bit easier to deal with than people, because there’s no worries about awkward moments, tensions, or stresses… they are easy.

In my book Return to New Parish Hannah finds one of her old friends – horses. She’s always loved horses, and learned to ride at the age of nine. This old friend always gave her comfort, peace, and of course, joy. She finds it much easier to admire horses, or ride them, than to deal with an ornery old cowboy…

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

“In a few minutes they were driving under a rustic archway made of roughly hewn cedar and wrought iron that said, “Lucky A Ranch” with two horses on either side of the words. Pulling into the paradisiacal looking ranch, Hannah was blown away. It had a huge mansion type house with rock face like the one Max had built, only much bigger. There were three above ground levels, balconies were on the second and third levels with a large wraparound porch on the ground level which had desert landscaped gardens surrounding it.  A huge classic red with white trim barn sat directly across from the house, about a hundred feet away, with three long stables on the right side of the house also about a hundred feet away in the other direction. There were two fenced in paddocks or corrals next to the stables, with beautiful palominos frolicking about in them. All the fences around the ranch, including the one around the large pasture to the left of the driveway, where the green grass was knee high, were painted white giving the whole place a fresh crisp look.

            Hannah had to do a double take, to realize this amazing place was really real. It was like the opulent ranches shown in the old westerns she and Sarah used to watch when they were kids.

            “So does Louis L’Amour live here?” she asked trying not to giggle out of sheer delight.

            Sarah laughed, “Nope, but a real cowboy hero does. Wait till you meet Uncle Alex, he’s great! He used to ride in rodeos, herd cattle on long trail drives, and do all that cowboy stuff. You’ll love him!”

            “I love those palominos!” Hannah said excitedly, “They’re gorgeous!”

            Sarah pulled the car up near the house and got out, “You can go ahead out there and see them if you want. I’m going to pop inside to see the ladies of the house then I’ll join you.”

            “Cool,” Hannah replied and headed toward the palominos. Reaching the corral fence she climbed up on the bottom of the three wooden rails and held onto the top one while reaching out to touch the nose of an approaching blonde horse. The horse nuzzled her hand as though they were old friends. Hannah smiled and let the honest friendship flow between them.

            “Well, aren’t you a pretty little sorrel filly?” a deep melodious voice said from behind her.

            Turning quickly to see who was talking Hannah saw a tall, slender, older cowboy, dressed in full cowboy regalia. From the top of his dusty cowboy hat to his dust covered cowboy boots, Hannah couldn’t believe it, she might have been very happy to meet this guy, if he hadn’t just called her a red headed horse.

            Looking that old cowboy up and down she could see the weathered tanned skin on his face, the graying mustache, the cowboy hat that covered his graying unkempt hair, the worn pale blue cotton button up shirt, the worn leather chaps that wrapped snuggly around his blue jeans, and his very worn cowboy boots. He was carrying a lasso in one gloved hand and a tool to remove rocks from a horse’s shoe in the other hand – Hannah recognized the tool from her stable days as a kid.

            He was smiling at her in a friendly sort of way, which annoyed her, she knew why but didn’t want to admit it to herself. She did admit to herself that a guy smiling friendly at her was still not something she was ready for.

            “I’m not a horse,” stepping down from the rail, the anger in her voice was evident as she spoke to the man who looked like he was the beach-bum of ranch hands. He made Hannah think of the old guys on the beach who forgot they grew up so they were still out there acting like kids, “What does he think he’s playing at?” she thought. He had no right to call her a filly or approach her like that. The anger was gaining ground as he stood there looking confused at her comment.

            When he finally spoke again, Hannah thought he sounded like he was excused from the “normal” etiquette that everyone else had to adhere to.

Smiling broadly underneath his mustache he drawled, “Yes ma’am.” 

            “Who does this guy think he is?” Hannah thought angrily. Looking toward the house where Sarah had gone, she didn’t see her. “Come on Sis,” she continued to think, “rescue me or him, this isn’t going to be pretty.” All the while she continued to give the old cowboy an annoyed look that would have made most guys leave whimpering. He didn’t leave, he kept smiling like he was enjoying himself, this made Hannah even angrier.

            “Do you like the horses?” he asked still smiling.

            Instead of saying they’re absolutely gorgeous and I love them, which was the truth, Hannah looked at the dusty old cowboy and said, “I’m waiting on my sister and I don’t need company to do that.” She hoped that would be blunt enough to let him know to leave her alone.

            “Aw, you’re much to pretty to have that much venom,” the old cowboy smiled at her with one eye closed as though he were sizing her up.

            “Listen here you ornery old codger! I don’t put up with any crap from men like you nor do I need your passive aggressive comments!” Hannah unloaded on him with full force, and would have kept going if Sarah hadn’t intervened.

            “Hey,” Sarah said with an awkward, let’s calm down, tone in her voice, “What’s going on, Hannah? I see you’ve met Uncle Alex,” she gave Hannah a look that told her to cool it. Then turned to Uncle Alex and said, “Hi, this is my sister Hannah, Uncle Alex.”

            Uncle Alex smiled broadly and said, “It’s very nice to meet you Hannah,” removing his glove and holding out his hand to shake hands with her.

            He still looked like he was enjoying himself, which kindled Hannah’s anger even more, she took a deep breath and said, “Yeah,” as she took his hand, but only because of years of her mother droning it into her to have manners. She pulled her hand away quickly so as not to prolong the experience or give him any ideas about forgiveness or friendship. The soft gentle touch of his hand lingered in her mind but his next comment synched her dislike for him.

             “I can see that your hair and temperament are in perfect alignment,” he smiled pleasantly at her.

            Sarah gave Hannah a look that she recognized immediately, it said, behave, but she wasn’t sure that was going to happen. “This guy is asking for it!” she thought as she leered at him. Looks passed back and forth between Hannah and Sarah with no words being said, Hannah’s final look told Sarah she wasn’t going to put up with Uncle Alex’s comments.

            Sarah quickly said, “I came over to see your ladies about the party prep we’re going to be helping with and get an idea of what we’re going to be doing tomorrow. So I guess we’ll go now, I need to get back home and you know, hurl,” she smiled awkwardly at Uncle Alex and pulled Hannah along with her toward the car.”

  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!

 

Sisters…

All sisters have some things in common, and some very distinct differences. My sister likes the color purple, I’m more inclined towards blue. She doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh (when she was little, she was scared to death in a department store by someone wearing a Pooh costume), he’s one of my favorite characters. She likes pigs. I had to feed them as a small person and discovered I didn’t like them at all. We both love to watch Dancing with the Stars and Downton Abbey. I love to ponder the things we have in common and the things we are so very different in. Our biggest thing we have in common is that we love being sisters! Sisters are always there for you, no matter what, and that’s my very favorite thing about sisters. In my New Parish series readers meet Sarah, Hannah, Brenda, and Beth – all sisters, with very different likes, dislikes, and ways of doing things – but you’ll find that they all love being sisters too.

These southern girls each make a journey that’s very different, even though all the journeys have a common destination – New Parish. In the first book, New Parish, Sarah makes the maiden voyage, discovering a new way of living out west that leads her to her very own happily ever after. In the next book, Return to New Parish, Hannah makes the journey. Yes, it’s the same destination, but the journey is very different for Hannah. Hannah isn’t just looking for her happily ever after, she’s running from something that she needs her sister to help her escape from…

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

“…Now I’m scared, I don’t trust my own feelings about things. Maybe I’m damaged, maybe I’ll always be.”

“No, you’re not damaged,” Sarah defended her little sister, “You’re hurt and shaken, but you’re not damaged. Just like any other wound this needs time to heal, take the time you need to heal and feel better. You’re strong and smart and you’re going to be okay!”

Hannah heard the firmness in her sister’s voice, it gave her some strength and a little peace. Telling Sarah about what happened helped, but it also made the event very real in the now once more. A whirlwind of emotions tried to engulf her, anger, embarrassment, fear, and an overwhelming sadness that felt like it would never leave. She had kept it a secret, and tried desperately to bury it deep inside herself but now it was on the surface and flooding her with pain.”   

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!

A Morning Filled With History, Gardening, and Writing…

The title says it all. My morning has been spent with history, gardening, and writing. A morning well spent, I think. I’m working on a new project that includes, of course, history. I’m quite enjoying it, and seeing it all come together is always very fulfilling. The gardening is my inside gardens – I have a garden window in my kitchen and a garden room that’s just getting organized, with lots of new little babies just peeping up to greet me. The writing aspect of my morning is edits for Return to New Parish, I’m almost finished and getting very excited about getting all the other things done so I can share it with everyone. I have to tell you that the book cover is going to be wonderful with a new picture to represent the new story, Hannah’s story, as she discovers New Parish for herself…

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.””

Remember to find out all about New Parish by reading my book New Parish!

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!

First Page…

I think the first page of a book tells a lot about what the reader is heading into. The first page can excite, entice, or make the reader wonder what’s going to happen in the story they’re thinking about reading… The first page can also introduce a character the reader might want to become friends with or give insights into the character’s motives. I look at the first page of a book and sometimes that’s the deciding factor if I read the book or not. So today I decided to share the first page of Return to New Parish with everyone. I think it gives some insights to the story and the main character, Hannah. I hope everyone will become friends with Hannah, she’s a young energetic, vibrant, feisty southern girl just leaving college to begin the rest of her life…

Remember to read New Parish! You’ll meet Hannah in there as well…

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!

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 1 – The Drive

            “Hannah’s car was packed to the brim with her stuff, she sent some of it home to her parent’s house, the rest of her things filled every nook and cranny of her red Prius. She took a deep calming breath to relieve the stress of the morning rush. Then she checked her list of to do items once more before she started the car – cleaned and emptied her room at the Wymont Terrace, turn in her key, packed snacks for the drive down, and Christmas shopping done. She had checked off everything on her departure list so she pushed the power button to start her car and selected her play list. Bach’s sixth was one of her favorites, it was first, she loved the classics. She could usually find peace and solace in her music during times of needing peace and solace. She’d been having these times a lot lately.

            Hannah smiled at the light dusting of snow on the tops of surrounding mountains which had happened overnight. There were some things she would miss about Provo, but there were others she was going to be very glad to put behind her. Her mind went to when she first came to this place, she was excited at the prospects of learning, getting a degree, immersing herself in the lifestyle and culture, and, maybe, finding a great guy to spend the rest of her life with. She turned that thought into a checklist – she often did this. She had learned a lot, check, she had gotten two degrees, check and check, she had enjoyed the lifestyle and culture, check and check. Although there were many possibilities and opportunities for the great guy, she hadn’t found him, so a big red X was placed on her mental checklist for that item. She quickly swiped the checklist from her mind and thought, “This is a new beginning, I’m going to Sarah’s for Christmas and checking out what she did. She found a really great guy, so why not me?””

Free Ebook

As promised, the free ebook (on Amazon.com) of New Parish will start tomorrow and be available through Friday! Happy Birthday to me, a free gift for you!         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!

Giving…

I love to give! It’s one of my favorite things. This next week is my birthday, so for my birthday I’m giving away free ebook copies of my book, New Parish, on Amazon.com – Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (1/30-2/1). I hope you all enjoy the adventure of New Parish, I know I have… and still am. Return to New Parish will be available this year and I can’t wait to share that adventure with you all. Excerpt from Return to New Parish: Chapter 5 – Christmas Party “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’d 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 a bit surprised 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. She knew the sink in time for this new perspective 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 or unproven 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 becoming a father.”             “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.” 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…