Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Clothes Down Under

It was a hot summer day.
The girl whose family owned the only swimming pool in the town was hosting an impromptu pool party with her friends.
One girl came without a swimsuit.
“No problem,” the hostess said, “I have a whole drawer full. Just find one you like!”
She then waved, vaguely, before turning back to her other guests.
The guest disappeared, returning a short time later dressed in a modest blue two-piece.
Tossing out greetings to the young men and women clustered around the pool, she sauntered around to where her hostess was sitting.
And struck a pose.
“What do you think?”
Her hostess looked up, then shrieked and jumped to her feet. “Where did you get that?!” she said.
The guest blinked and glanced around nervously.
All eyes were on her.
“F-from your drawer, like you said.”
“The top drawer?”
“That's my underwear drawer!”
“Eeeeeeee!” the guest sprinted back into the house.
She had been covered.
In what could easily be mistaken for a swimsuit.
But just being told she was wearing underwear made her scramble madly for shelter.
I thought this story was hilarious.
Then, I saw it happen to my Mom.
Well . . . something similar, anyways . . .

Our family was getting ready for church.
My current boyfriend, coming to church with my family for the first time and dressed uncomfortably in a shirt and tie, was seated in the great room, waiting for the rest of us.
I was the next to be ready, so I sat beside him and started talking.
Something I did a lot.
A lot.
But I digress . . .
My mother scurried out of her bedroom and started puttering around in the kitchen, in plain sight of the two of us. She put a roast in the oven for dinner and then started tidying up from breakfast.
I kept talking.
But for some reason, my boyfirend woudn't look at me, but stared, instead, out the window.
I kept talking.
He kept staring fixedly (good word) at something outside.
Suddenly, my mother, still in the kitchen, said, “Oh, my! Look at me!”
I did.
As she was making a fast exit towards her bedroom.
At first I saw nothing wrong.
She was dressed in her usual fashion. Undershirt, bra, full slip.
Skirt. Stockings.
Oh. Wait. Something was missing.
Her blouse.
Suddenly my boyfriend's fixed gaze made sense.
He had noticed as soon as Mom had entered the room.
Huh. Funny that I didn't see it.
Okay, so observant, I'm not.
Mom went through the rest of the day rather pink-faced.
Which was funny.
She had been completely covered.
Modestly, even.
In at least three layers of cloth.
But because the material had been termed 'underwear', she was embarrassed.
As I would have been.
As anyone . . . you get the point.
Aren't we weird?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Early Spell-Checkers

Speller extraordinaire
Speller less extraordinaire

Our second son is, in many ways, like his father.
It's a good thing.
One of the most notable is his ability to spell.
Anything. Any time.
It's a gift.
I should mention, here, that I don't have this gift.
Enough said . . .
It was the early 80's. My brother, Blair, was working on his Bachelor's degree in Engineering.
We had a computer.
Which he visited.
Our computer was in our eight-year-old second son, Erik's room.
Blair would work there by the light of a single lamp. We would hear the clicking of the keys late into the night.
Erik was supposed to be sleeping.
He wasn't.
Occasionally, the keyboard sounds would stop and I would hear the brief sound of voices.
Then the clicking would resume.
Finally, Erik came out of the room, needing a drink of water.
I was tidying the kitchen.
He moved close to me.
"Mom," he whispered. "Uncle Blair can't spell."
Ah. The occasional sound of voices was explained. Blair was consulting with his spell-checker.
It must have worked because he went on to achieve a doctorate in Engineering.
Okay, I admit that today's sophisticated spell-checker programs are probably more efficient and more easily accessible.
And don't need their sleep.
But none of those programs have personality. And certainly aren't as cute.
Yep. Progress isn't always progress.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


There were tears.
Cousins had been playing happily for some time.
They had ranged through the house: upstairs arranging the detailed and extensive Santa’s village; the basement with its vintage western village, playhouse, castle, train and Barbie dolls; the spare room and its Minecraft game.
The hours had passed peacefully as the parents visited.
Then, the tears.
Parent (and grandparent) ears perked up.
Said tears couldn’t be too serious. They were moving—coming up the stairs.
Granddaughter #6 appeared, cradling something. Her face the epitome of woe.
“Gramma?!” she wailed. “It’s broken!”
“What, Sweetheart?”
‘This’ proved to be a small, pink bunny, approximately four inches high, made of super-stretchy silicone.
Designed to be overextended and available at the local dollar store four-for-a-dollar.
With all the toys they had at their disposal, the one she was crying over was this inexpensive little bit of—let’s face it—trash?
She handed it to me. “See? The foot broke off!”
It had indeed. Snapped off cleanly, leaving the stump of a leg.
“Were the kids too rough?” I asked, in my sympathetic ‘Gramma’ voice.
“No. I did it myself. I stretched it too ha-ard!” The last word came out as a wail.
“Well, I’m sorry, Sweetheart, but this can’t be fixed.” I handed it back. “You will have to play a bit more carefully.”
Yeah. No real solutions here. I prepared myself for the protest.
She looked down at the poor maimed little toy and sniffed. Then she brightened. “Hey! Now it’s a pirate!” She spun around and started back toward the stairs. “Arrrr—me hearties!” she said as she started down.
Turning stretchy bunnies into—pirates.
It’s true. The power of positive thinking can do anything.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mary's Story Part Four

(A short story of Fiction) Conclusion

We never got the chance to help Mary.
Two days after that visit, my husband's mother suffered a bad fall, breaking her hip and causing considerable extra damage.
For the next two weeks, when we weren't at Mother's bedside, we were running up and down the road at a frantic pace. Our visits to Mary were cursory and brief.
Through that time, she remained a beacon of light in a darkening world. Cheerful. Helpful. Always there with a smile and a story.
Ready sympathy.
And tea.
When complications set in, we were again by Mother's side, watching helplessly as she slipped quietly away from us.
Broken-hearted and feeling very much alone and vaguely as though we had failed somehow, we spent the next two weeks in a fog as we cleared out the family home and took care of the multitude of services that accompany letting go of someone so dearly loved.
It was a painful time for both of us.
Finally, feeling drained and ineffectual, we were once more in the car and on the road home.
Mary's house appeared in the front window.
"We can no longer be of help to my mother," Frank said softly. "But there's someone else we can help."
We didn't do anything for her during our visit with Mary that day, but it was exactly what the two of us needed.
She made us sit, served us tea and encouraged us to talk about Mother. Choice memories long buried were brought to light and, by the end of the visit, we were even laughing.
It was the beginning of healing.
With one thing and another, the next month passed far too quickly. Without the added incentive of returning to Mother's home, we found it difficult to make the time to visit Mary.
But finally, on a clear, bright Sunday, my husband made the familiar turn.
We found ourselves parked beside a strange vehicle.
Mary's car was nowhere to be seen.
We looked at each other and I shivered. We both knew it. Something was wrong.
We got out quickly and hurried toward the front door.
But the sight of two unfamiliar figures seated on the stone steps stopped us. "Hello?" one of them said.
We approached slowly.
"Hello. I'm Mary and this is my husband, Frank--" I began. I stopped. The couple, a young man and woman were staring at us strangely.
"We know who you are!" the young woman said softly, reaching out her hand. "We wondered if you'd come. We hoped we'd be here if you did."
I raised my hand doubtfully and felt it gripped tightly.
"What's the matter--?" Frank spoke up beside me.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Of course you don't know!" The woman dropped my hand and locked both of hers together. "I'm Mercy Edwards. This is my husband Jacob. We have quite a story to tell you."
"Yes?" Frank prompted.
"Well, she--the woman who lived here. She's--dead."
The words went through me like a bolt of electricity. "Oh, no!" I whispered.
Mercy turned to me. "I'm afraid it's true."
"But how? The last time we saw her, she was fine. Happy!"
Mercy smiled softly. "Yes. I'm quite sure she was." She took a deep breath. "And that's something we need to talk to you about." She turned towards the doorway. "Please, come in. I'm afraid this is going to come as a bit of a shock."
We followed her and Jacob up the steps toward the sweet, familiar home with dragging feet.
How could this be? My mind struggled to take it in.
They paused just outside the door.
Or the gaping hole where the door had been.
And that's when I began to notice the differences.
The front stoop that had been so neat and tidy was looking--neglected. Leaves and dirt had blown up and piled against the stone walls.
The tubs of flowers, so cheerful and bright had disappeared.
The sparkling clean windows were gone. I frowned and moved closer.
Gone. As though they had never been.
Everything seemed to slow down. I turned to Frank and clutched at his hand. He turned a pale face to me. "What's going on?" His voice was faint.
"Please," Jacob said.
Dazed, I looked at him. He and Mercy had moved through the doorway and paused there. He was beckoning to us.
Clutching Frank's hand, I followed them.
Mary's lovely, tidy home had been transformed.
Gone were the furniture and trappings. Curtains. Rugs.
The remaining bare, stone floors were heaped with dirt in little piles and eddies.
We walked through and into the kitchen.
The stove was gone. As were the table and chairs. The old sink, containing the remains of what looked like an ancient bird's nest was the only thing I recognized.
Frantically, Frank raced through into the bedroom. I followed slowly, stopping in the doorway.
The room was empty.
Completely empty.
The back door hung precariously on a single hinge.
The ragged shreds of the curtain that once covered it waved gently in a soft breeze that blew through the opening.
Frank came slowly back into the kitchen. "But this looks as though it has been deserted for--years.
Mercy nodded. "It has."
"But we were here--" he paused.
"Just a couple of weeks ago," I finished for him. "We saw Mary. Spoke to her. She was cheerful. Loving. Help-ful." My voice broke on the word.
Again Mercy nodded. "Not surprising. That sounds like Mary. That's what she is."
"Was," Jacob said.
She looked at him and smiled. "Is."
He shrugged, then nodded. "And this is the part I need you to prepare yourselves for. Mary died--" he paused.
"Yes?" I said. I shivered and moved closer to Frank. I suddenly felt cold.
"Mary died about ten years ago."
I had to sit down. I dropped abruptly to the dust on the cold, stone floor.
"But--how--? What--?"Frank was as confused as I.
The couple smiled. "Mary--comes back," Mercy said.
We stared at her.
"When people need her, when someone is alone, she comes back." She tipped her head to one side as she stared at us. "Have you been having some troubles?"
"Well--" Frank said slowly. "My mother just passed."
Mercy nodded.
"Mary helped us immeasurably. Especially in the last weeks."
"That's Mary. She just--knows. And cares." She straightened. "There's something else you need to see."
She and her companion moved through the kitchen and back into the front room.
Moving stiffly, I got to my feet and followed.
She was standing, staring at the fireplace.
Instinctively, my eyes followed hers.
There, framed neatly above the cold, long dead firebox was a large picture of Frank and me. The two of us were leaning towards each other and smiling broadly for the camera. Behind us, through clear glass windows, one could see the mountains, close up and falling away into the distance. The sun was just setting behind the furthest ones.
It was a beautiful picture.
Obviously the one taken by Mary with her ancient camera on our very first visit.
"Oh," I said, rather ineffectively.
Frank gripped my arm tightly.
"I think I need to sit down again," I said.
The two of us moved instinctively toward the spot where Mary's old, horsehair couch had stood.
And received yet another shock.
There on the window sills, exactly where they had been before, stood my row of plants. Healthy. Waving gently in the breeze blowing in through the gaping windows.
"We check in here periodically," the young man said. "And as soon as we walked through the front door, of course we saw the plants. And the picture. We figured that Angel Mary must be back."
"Angel Mary," I said.
"That is what she is. Our family angel." Mercy smiled and held out her hand. "Welcome to Angel Mary's forever family."

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When Mommy's Home With Me

In a word?
Never have I found a book that so perfectly describes the many different roles of being a mommy.
On every page is a mommy who does--or did--have a profession that is now either juggled around or has been sidelined for the 'Mommy years'.
A picture book full of heart and with which every mommy--and their children--will connect.
The bright, busy pictures and cheerful rhyme captivated my grandchildren at the first glance. And second. And third.
Okay, we read it a lot.
And this Gramma? Cried.
Every time.
Here is one example chapter:

My Mommy was a pilot,
And now she's home with me.
She lifts me high into the sky;
I feel like I have wings!
Then I put down my landing gear;
The runway is in sight.
I get a tickle-tune-up 
And a bedtime kiss goodnight.

Got kids or grandkids?
This is a great way to tell them what Mommies do!
P.S. Have tissues handy.

About the author and illustrator:
Alison Benson Moulton has run the early literacy program for babies at Caldwell Public Library for five years. She brings arts to her community as the executive director of Caldwell Fine Arts, where she manages a performing arts series and educational outreach programs. After graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in Family Science with a minor in English, Alison was a child abuse prevention specialist and grant writer, for the Family Support and Treatment Center in Orem, Utah. After moving to the Navajo Reservation, she was an adjunct instructor at Dine College. Another move brought her to Florida, where she worked at Girls and Boys Town as a foster parent to 20 teenage girls. Since settling in Idaho, she has written songs for two albums for the New York Times Bestselling author, Marla Cilley (The FlyLady) and two albums for country singer Eric Dodge. For two years, she was a guest blogger for a weekly family life post on the popular blog
Kinsey Beckett received a BFA in illustration from Brigham Young University. While at BYU, she took a variety of design classes and interned at the Chiodo Bros, an animation studio in Burbank, California. Kinsey works in traditional media, such as acrylic paints, but also is proficient at graphic design and stop-motion animation. Her professional work includes an animated short for Glenn Beck’s national TV show, and illustrations for clients such as Protection 1, Brite Energy, and LinkedIn.
When Mommy's home with me can be found at these fine stores:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mary's Story: Part Three

(A short story of Fiction) Part Three of Four

As our visits continued, we quickly came to discover the positive, independent attitude and irrepressible sense of humor that marked our new friend.
A scream, then sounds of a struggle. Then . . . gurgling.
"Mary are you all right?"
A rather breathless, "Come in! Come in! I'm here in the kitchen!"
I set my newest addition to her plant collection on the floor and the two of us quickly made our way through the inner door.
There we found our friend collapsed in a chair, head on the table, obviously convulsed with-- emotion.
Her large, grey cat was sitting on the table beside her, poking at her hair with a soft paw.
I hurried to her side and put a hand on one shaking shoulder. "Mary, are you all right?"
A blackened face appeared, with two bright blue eyes looking out of it.
She swiped at some clear, wet streaks on her cheeks. "Oh, Mary! Frank! You're just in time!" she gasped out.
"Mary, what's wrong?"
"Whoop! Nothing that a person with a stronger stomach than I can't take care of!" she chuckled.
I realized that her shoulders had been shaking, not with tears as I had first imagined, but with laughter. I stood back. "What happened? What can we do?"
Still chuckling, she scrubbed at her face, smearing the wet, teary streaks. "Well, I guess for one thing, you can get me that coal scuttle over there." Mary waved a hand, indicating the ancient metal bucket beside the stove.
Frank hurried to bring it over.
"Oh, and the broom and dustpan." Mary glanced down and, for the first time, I realized that we were standing in a light carpet of ashes.
I stepped to one side, feeling the slight crunch as my foot came down on still more debris.
"Ick," I said.
"Good word!" Mary said, "and totally appropriate."
"But Mary, what happened?"
"Well, I was working on my quilt when I heard the most awful scrabbling sound here in the kitchen."
"Scrabbling sound?" Frank said.
"I don't know how else to describe it," Mary said. "I hurried in here and realized that the sound was coming from the chimney."
"Oh, dear," I said. "A bird?"
"Yes. The screen around the chimney must have blown loose or something and a bird got in there. Poor thing. I didn't have a fire going as I had been planning on cleaning out the ashes later today, but there must have been some residual smoke or something because, as I was trying to figure out how to help it, it quit struggling and I heard it fall to the bottom of the chimney."
"Oh, the poor thing!" I said. "So did you reach into the stove to help it?"
"Well, I tried. But when I opened the door, there was no bird in sight. So I decided that maybe it was just buried in the ashes. I brought the coal scuttle and a candle and peered into the stove. I discovered that there are a series of bars across the bottom of the chimney, where it joins the stove."
She shook her head. "I put the light further in and could see . . . something lying against those bars. I reached in . . ." again her shoulder began to shake with laughter.
"Mary, what happened?"
"I grabbed what I thought was the bird's foot, thinking I'd just pull it out. But what I got was the bird's beak."
She laughed again.
"I don't know why, but it seemed so much more--personal--than a foot. I screamed and pulled my hand back, then lost my balance and landed, face-first in the ashes." Her eyes twinkled from their sooty frame. "Then all I could do was laugh. That's when you two came in."
We stared at her.
What would this marvelous, independent woman think up next?
She got to her feet. "I'd better get this cleaned up."
"Please let us do that for you!" I said.
She sat back down. "You know what? I'm going to let you."
Frank and I swept the normally spotless floorboards clean, dumping the ashes into the coal scuttle and setting it back beside the stove.
The Frank grabbed a small shovel and broom from hooks on the wall and proceeded to sweep the rest of the ashes and soot from the stove, adding them to what we had collected from the floor.
Mary got up again and moved over to the counter. She picked up a small mirror and peered into it.
"Oh, my!" She traced one sooty finger across her equally sooty face, then looked up at us.
"You have to admit, this is an improvement!" she said, her eyes twinkling.
She dipped steaming water out of the reservoir attached to the side of the stove and, pouring it into a little pan in the sink, quickly washed the ashes and soot from her face, hands and arms.
Finally, looking a bit more like Mary, she dried herself on a towel.
"There. That feels better!" She turned and looked at Frank, who was just finishing with the stove. "Oh, thank you, dear boy," she said. "You are so kind!"
Frank set the coal scuttle beside the stove and walked over to the sink to clean his hands.
Then Mary grabbed some pieces of wood from a stack beside the cupboard and quickly laid and lit a fire.
Closing the stove door, she turned and looked at me. "Well this was hardly the way to welcome my friends into my home!" she said, smiling.
"Maybe, but at least we'll never forget it," I said.
She laughed. "Let's have tea!"
"First, where can I put those ashes?" Frank asked.
"Oh, just leave them there. I'll tote them out later."
"No, I like to finish my chores once I start."
Mary smiled. "Well. all right." She moved to the doorway of one of the bedrooms and pointed. "There's a door to the outside behind that curtain. You'll find a pit for the ashes not far from the back of the house."
Frank lifted the scuttle and disappeared through the door.
"Now, you set yourself right there at the table and I'll get the tea together, dear," she said to me.
Obediently, I settled into the chair she had just vacated. We chatted while she bustled around.
By the time Frank came back through the door, carrying the now-empty bucket, she had laid everything out on a tray and was dipping water out of the reservoir into her little teapot.
"Everything's just about ready, my boy," she said. "Now you two go out into the front room and I'll follow."
The tea tasted especially good. Maybe because it contained even more love than usual.

We were sitting quietly during the drive home, each of us busy with our own thoughts.
"Do you know that Mary doesn't have a bathroom?" Frank said suddenly.
"Bathroom. Mary doesn't have a bathroom."
"I rather guessed. I didn't see one on our initial tour and none have sprung up since then." I looked at him. "But did you just discover this? You've been all over that house, tinkering."
"Well, I just never thought about it. I never went into her bedroom, and I just sort of assumed that there must be a little one in there. You know, joined up to the kitchen or something. With a little pump--"
I looked at him. No plumbing in the kitchen and you thought she would have it in a bathroom?"
"I know. Silly, right? Anyways, she has an outhouse, probably built when the rest of the house was built, out behind."
"Yeah. It's stone, like the house and really is quite nice."
"But it's still an outhouse."
"Well . . . yeah."
"Not very pleasant in the winter."
"Definitely not." He looked at me. "And another thing. She has a big washtub hung against the back wall. And a scrub board."
"I didn't know you knew what a scrub board was."
Frank made a face at me. "Of course I know what a scrub board is. I've seen them played as instruments."
"Oh, that would explain everything!"
He laughed. "Anyways, I think that Mary scrubs her own clothes and takes a bath in that washtub."
"My thinking exactly!" He frowned. "The thing is, I can't help but think of what her life must have been like, living in the city with its obvious amenities. And then, when she is in the winter of her life, moving back here, were there really aren't any comforts at all."
"Well, she does appear to love it," I said, doubtfully.
"No phone. No plumbing. Fireplace and stove for heat. The only modern convenience she has is electricity, which she hardly uses." He looked at me again. "My point is--how can we help her?"

Enjoying Mary's story?
Watch for conclusion on Wednesday!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mary's Story: Part Two of Four

(A short story of Fiction) Part Two of Four

For the next several months, we stopped in for a visit with Mary nearly every week.
Her windowsills were soon lined with little potted plants (I like plants) and every light bulb in the place had been replaced at least once and most of the doors and windows adjusted. (Frank likes to tinker.)
She would show us the amazing quilt she was currently working on and talk about the eventual recipient.
Then she would serve us tea.
Take our picture.
And talk.
Week by week, we got to know this marvelous person.

"I haven't told you how Ray and I met," she said, sitting back in her chair and taking a sip of fragrant tea.
"No, that's one story we haven't heard yet," Frank said.
Mary was silent for a moment.
"Are you comfortable with telling us, dear?" I said.
She smiled. "Oh, yes! I just need to gather my thoughts."
She set down her tea cup and leaned toward us. "We weren't suppose to be there, either of us."
"Where?" Frank said.
"At the dance."
"Maybe I'd better start at the front." Her lips parted in a slow smile. "There was a big dance. For New Years. The war was on and people needed some--diversion."
"Ah. The war," I said.
"Yes." Mary nodded. "It was 1944 and we thought the war was never going to end. So any chance we got to kick up our heels and forget for a little while was welcomed. The only problem was that these affairs usually got rather out of hand."
"People tried a little too hard to forget?" Frank said.
"Yes," she smiled, "but not very--" she puckered her brow, "--I guess 'classy' is the only word I can think of."
I smiled at her. "I take it your parents didn't approve?"
"Definitely not. Especially because my best friend, Bea, had gone to one of them and ended up getting married."
I frowned. "Getting married isn't so bad."
"Well, not when it happens normally. You know - planning, family invited. The problem was that Bea and her beau got married the night they met."
"Umm, okay that is a bit different."
"How is that possible?" Frank asked.
Mary raised her eyebrows. "Well, closer to Vegas, I don't think would have been a problem. Here, in Alberta, though, it wasn't strictly legal. But it was done and the young couple certainly acted as though it was a real and proper ceremony. By the next morning, there was nothing else to be done but have another ceremony. This time with witnesses. And very quickly because the groom only had a 48 hour pass." She smiled. "So the rest of the parents in the town were a trifle--gun shy. So to speak."
"I can certainly understand that," I said.
"Anyway, back to the dance." Her eyes twinkled. "Neither of us was supposed to be there. Me, because I wasn't quite 18 and Ray, because his parents didn't approve of dancing."
"So how did you end up there?"
"Well, I crawled out my window and Ray told his parents he was going to the library."
I laughed. "You rotten kids!"
Mary smiled. "Yes, weren't we? Then we both felt so guilty about what we had done that we just hovered in the shadows on the outskirts of the party."
"And that's when you met?"
"Yes. Out on the fringes of 'Guiltsville'.
Frank and I laughed.
"Go on," I said.
"Well, this handsome soldier saw me standing there, tapping to the music and he came over and asked if he could get me a drink." Mary smiled. "I didn't drink, but I was afraid to tell him, so I just asked him to bring whatever he was drinking. He grinned and disappeared. A couple of minutes later, he handed me a tall glass."
Mary snorted softly. "I remember staring down into that liquid and ice cubes and thinking about how flawed my plan had been. Then he leaned closer and whispered, "It's just ginger ale", into my ear. I was so relieved! We spent the rest of the evening perched on the table furthest from the dance floor, and talking."
Her eyes moistened. "It was the beginning of over fifty years together." She looked up at us. "And we never did stop talking."
"What a beautiful, wonderful story, Mary," I said.
"Thank you," she said. She looked away. "The only thing that dimmed our happiness was the fact that we never could have children."
"Oh, Mary, I'm so sorry!" I said.
She shrugged. "Yes, well, life is what it is."
We were silent for a few moments.
Frank looked at the picture over the fireplace. "But I thought . . ." he didn't complete the sentence.
Mary followed his gaze. "You thought they were my children?"
She smiled. "Well, they are, in a way."
I looked at her.
"I saw that picture in a store and loved it. So I bought it and placed it there, where pictures of one's family should go." She smiled at it fondly. "So they are my family. My 'pseudo' family."
I touched her hand and smiled.
"Well, enough of that!" Mary sat up and gave her grey head a shake. "More tea?"

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Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

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First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

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A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

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Ghost of the Overlook

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My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

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New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

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The newest in my Christmas Series


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My novel, Carving Angels

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Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

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What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

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A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

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Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

Be Courageous!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?