Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Saturday, December 11, 2021

A Sputterling Christmas: Part Five

Welcome to the Sputterling Household!
If you missed 
Part One, it’s here!Part Two is here!Part Three!Part Four!

And now to Part Five of Christmas with the Sputterlings!

Saggot jumped back, colliding heavily with the front door and knocking a gusty ‘whoof’ out of himself.
The inspector merely stared at the hockey stick, wide-eyed, the colour draining from his face.
“Inspector? Are you all right?” I touched the man’s shoulder, but he didn’t appear to notice.
Slowly, he dropped to his knees and reached a shaking hand out toward the stick.
“Inspector! Don’t touch it!” Saggot shouted. “You don’t know where it’s been!”
The inspector looked up as his fellow officer, his face now suffused with brilliant colour.
Angry colour if I know my shades.
And I do.
The bushy brows had lowered threateningly as well. My late husband used to assume the same expression. I called it ‘dropping his visor’. I choked back a laugh.
“Saggot!” the inspector barked. “You’re off this case!”
The rotund policeman blinked. “But . . .”
“You heard me! Go wait in the car!”
“But . . . sir . . .!”
“Go. Now. Or. I’ll. Have. Your. Badge. And. Gun.”
I was suddenly glad this trim officer wasn’t looking at me. I was almost ready to hand him my badge and gun.
If I’d had either.
Saggot turned and fumbled with the door handle.
“Oh, for Heaven’s sake, can’t you even open a door? What are our boys in blue coming to?” Norma again.
Saggot froze, his mouth dropping open. His hand dropped from the knob and he stared as it turned smoothly without him. A moment later, the door swung wide, bumping into the stunned man.
“There you go!” Norma wasn’t wasting any time.
Saggot’s mouth snapped shut and, without a backward glance, he bolted outside.
The door closed smartly behind him, rattling the glass.
The inspector had risen to his feet, his arms clasped around the hockey stick. He looked toward the door, then shook his head and turned to me. “Could you ask your sister who . . .” he swallowed hard. “. . . who gave her this stick?”
“Norma . . .”
“I heard him!” Norma snapped.
“Well you don’t have to get snippy with me. I’m just the messenger.”
A sigh. “Fine. I’m sorry!”
“You don’t sound sorry.”
“Well I am! What do you want? You want it in writing?”
“Yes, I do.” I folded my arms across my chest.
A paper appeared out of nowhere, and drifted to the floor.
I scooped it up and turned it over. ‘I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!!!!!!!!’ was written across it in Norma’s distinct scrawl, and, at the bottom, ‘You haven’t changed Reggie’s paper today.’
“Drat, Reggie!” I shouted. “He’s your stupid bird! You look after him!”
“I can’t! He’s afraid of me!”
“Well then, he’s finally gotten some sense!”
A distinct sniff. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“Norma! This isn’t very nice! Talking to you in the air. Having policemen barging into my home, speculating on my possible proclivity for murder and mayhem.”
“Ooh! Proclivity. Good word, Sis.”
“Thank you.”
“Oh, you may need this.”
A roll of toilet paper appeared much the same as the hockey stick and sorry note. It bounced a couple of times and came to rest against the inspector’s shoe.
“Why’d you take that with you?”
“Well, one doesn’t know, does one? I mean, isn’t it best to always be prepared?”
I picked up the roll. “I guess.”
The inspector cleared his throat. “May I speak?”
I looked at him and shrugged. “I guess so.”
“Norma?” He looked up into the air. 
“I’m over here, sitting in the chair.”
Both of us leaned over and peered through the doorway into the living room. Reggie, his colorful feathers slicked down tight stared back at us. 
“I got tired of standing around. I needed to sit down.”
“Oh.” Still clutching the hockey stick in both arms, the Inspector maneuvered through the entry and moved hesitantly inside.
“Have a seat.”
“Okay.” He shuffled toward one of the chairs.
“Not this one. I’m in it!”
“Norma, how is he supposed to know! You’re being woefully unwelcoming. You’re usually a bit more hospitable than this.”
There was a pause. Then, “You’re right. I’m sorry. Please take the blue chair, Inspector. It’s a bit more spacious and comfortable. Then we can have a nice, cozy chat.”
He perched gingerly on the indicated seat.
“So you want to know where the hockey stick came from?”
The inspector looked down at the stick clutched tightly in his arms, then over at the chair opposite. “I think I do.”
“A rather nice young man gave it to me.”
The man caught his breath and his eyes filled with tears. “A young man, you say?”
“Yes.” There was a pause and Norma’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Yes, I’ll tell him.” Speaking normally once more, she went on. “He’s here now, Inspector. Would you like to talk to him?”
The man looked like he’d just seen the coming of the Lord. Tears spilled down his cheeks. “C-can I?”
“Well, I think so. I’m not really sure how these things work.”
“Inspector?” The voice was husky, soft. A young man’s voice.
“Yes. It’s me. Inspector Wilson. Who . . . who are you?”
“You know me as Benny, Inspector.”
The man sucked in in a quick, sobbing breath. “Benny?”
“You’ve been looking for me for a long time.”
“You were my first, Benny. The case I just couldn’t solve. You’ve . . . pardon the expression . . . haunted me for over forty years!””
The young man laughed. “Well, I appreciate that you kept on trying. I know it was hard for my parents, not knowing.”
“You just . . . disappeared.”
A sigh. “Well, I can finally tell you. I was playing hockey on the ice on the lake and fell through. I know it was stupid to be there by myself, but I wanted to practice something new on my own. The recruiters were coming and I just had to impress them!”
“So you weren’t kidnapped. Or murdered. Or a runaway.”
“Nope. Just stupid. I’m so sorry.”
“I never figured it out. You were supposed to be at training. It never even occurred to me you were training. Just by yourself.”
“Can you tell them, Inspector? So they can finally stop . . . wondering. I’m . . . my body . . . there’s not much but . . . it’s still there . . .”
“I . . . yes, I can.”
“Thanks, Inspector.”
“Thank you, Benny.” The inspector mopped at his face with his sleeve. 
I pulled a long piece from the toilet paper roll and handed it to him.
He nodded his thanks. “Benny?”
“He’s gone, Inspector,” Norma said.
He shook his head and set the hockey stick on his lap so he could blow his nose. “After all this time.”
I touched his shoulder. “What will you do?” 
He smiled wryly. “Go and tell his parents.” He looked up at me. “If they’ll believe me.”
“Well I believe you,” I said.
“And I do as well!” Norma added.
“Well of course you’d believe, you silly old girl. You’re there with him!”
“Oh sure. Cloud the issue with facts!”
“I think I’ll be going,” the inspector said, getting to his feet. “Erm . . . can I take the stick?”
I shrugged. “Norma?”
“Well I don’t want it. What would I do with it?”
I sighed. “Yes, take it.” I followed him through the foyer. “Good luck.”
The door opened on its own as he approached it. He shook his head, then paused just inside. “I’ve been working on this case my whole life. It’s hard to take in.”
“Well take it in and close the door! Reggie will get a chill!”
I rolled my eyes. “I apologize for my sister, Inspector.”
“No need.” He looked at me. “I’ll be in touch.”
He pulled the door shut behind him.
I turned just as another paper appeared, fluttering to the floor. I picked it up.
'Bird cage', it said.
I sighed and headed for the living room.

Join us tomorrow for the conclusion!

Friday, December 10, 2021

A Sputterling Christmas: Part Four

If you missed Part One, it’s here!
And now to Part Four of Christmas with the Sputterlings! 

I looked through the frosted glass of the front door. The silhouettes of two people could be plainly seen, thrown into sharp relief by the setting sun behind them.

One of them was speaking. “We’ll get to the bottom of this real quick, Inspector.”
I rolled my eyes. Officer Saggot was back. And by the looks of it, had brought reinforcements.
One of them put a finger on the bell and left it there.
I jerked the door open, startling the two men standing on the front step. “Officer?”
“Oh, erm . . . Mrs. Sputterling, I mean Kayser,” the officer said. He hitched his uniform up over his too, too solid midsection. “Yes . . . well . . . um . . . I'm back.”
I nodded. I mean, he was standing right there. Hard to miss. I leaned against the edge of the door. “Yes, Officer?”
He waggled a finger at me. “And to make sure there are no more shenanigans, I’ve brought Inspector Wilson with me.”
The way the title rolled off his tongue, I almost felt I should be bowing. I glanced at the man beside him. About retirement age. Short. Lean. With a gleaming bald head and thick, bushy eyebrows. “So?”
Now, I know you know I’m really not a rude person. But I’d been accused of nasty things by this officer and I wasn’t feeling charitable. Plus, I still hadn’t found my sister. Okay, yes, I had spoken to her, but you also know that speaking to Norma without benefit of visual aid is usually . . . unproductive. Or downright confusing.
“Mrs. Kayser.” The Inspector had decided to get into the conversation. “May we come in?”
I stood back and swung the door wide. “Of course. But I don’t know what you are going to be able to do.”
The two men stepped into the front hall.
“My colleague informs me that you have been uncooperative on this investigation.”
I frowned sharply. “I have not!” I snapped. “It’s just that he didn’t believe me!”
The inspector’s eyebrows went up. They looked like two big, fat caterpillars perched above his eyes.
“Did you know your eyebrows look like big, fuzzy caterpillars?” someone asked.
I suppressed a smile.
“I . . . erm . . . what?” The inspector looked around. “Who said that?”
“It’s her! The sister. I told you!” The officer leaned toward his colleague, looking smug. “Still up to their tricks!”
The inspector narrowed his eyes and looked at me. “Would you be so kind as to explain this, Ma’am?”
I shrugged. “I will but you won’t believe me.”
He merely waited. 
I sighed. “This house is haunted.”
The Inspector sucked in a quick breath.
I paused, but when he said nothing, went on. “My sister has been quite friendly with the spirit or spirits who live here. Christmas, BBQ’s. Weekends at the lake. She invites them to everything. Yesterday, she disappeared in the middle of a conversation about going to the ‘other side’ for a visit.”
Officer Saggot snorted. “See? And she expects us to swallow this!”
But the Inspector was looking . . . interested. “Go on,” he said.
I blinked. “Well . . . there’s not much more to tell.” I scratched my head. “I’ve talked with her. She says she’s having fun. Norma never really was much into details.”
“So she’s on the other side right now?”
I nodded.
The eyebrows again as he tipped his head toward me. “Could I talk to her?” 
His colleague looked at him, a sharp frown on his round face. “Sir, I . . .”
“If you aren’t interested, go wait in the car, Saggot!”
“No. No, I’m interested,” he said hurriedly.
“Well, we can try,” I told him. I looked up. “Norma? Are you here?”
“Well where else would I be!” Norma sounded a little testy. “I live here, don’t I?”
“The inspector wants to talk to you.”
“I heard!” There was a pause. “So? What do you want to talk about?”
“Well . . . maybe you’d like to describe to me . . . erm . . . where you are?”
“I’m right here!”
He looked around. “I don’t see you.”
“Well, on the other side of right here.”
“Could you describe it?”
A sigh. “Foyer. Stairway. Doors to the front room and the outside. Hallway to the back of the house. My sister and two policemen standing looking around. I don’t know. What do you want to hear?”
“That’ll do.” The inspector was looking more and more  . . . happy? Excited?
“Sir, I really think we should be . . .”
“Quiet, Saggot!”
The officer pressed his lips together and took a step back.
“So you don’t have to wait for night or the light of a full moon or anything like that to talk to us?” the Inspector asked.
“Nope.” Norma was sounding a little more cheerful. “The lines are always open.”
“Are there other . . . people there?”
“Oh, yeah. Lots of them.”
“Any . . . young people?”
I looked at him. His expression had just gotten very intense.
“Oh yeah!” I could hear the smile in Norma’s voice. “They keep things hopping!” Her voice lowered a bit in volume, almost as though she had turned away from us. “Yeah. Yeah. Okay.”
“What?” the Inspector asked.
“Oh, I was just talking to someone. I’m supposed to give you this.”
A hockey stick appeared out of the air, narrowly missing Saggot as it clattered to the floor between the two officers.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

A Sputterling Christmas. Part Three

And now to Part Three of Christmas with the Sputterlings! 
If you missed Part One, it’s here!

Those of you who know me, know I don’t get upset.
Except—I was upset. “I have no idea, Officer . . .” I leaned closer and looked at his name tag, “. . . Saggot. She was here one minute and gone the next!”
He stared at me.
Behind him, Reggie was doing the same thing.
For a moment their resemblance was remarkable.
In another life, I would have pointed it out.
Officer Saggot was the first to blink. “And you have no idea where she went?”
“No, Officer, as I already told you.”
“And she didn’t go out the front door?”
I sighed. “She was pulling a giant, heavy case behind her. In the time between when she left me and I followed her, there is no way she could, physically—”
“Just how heavy was this case?”
My thoughts scattered. I caught Reggie’s eye and deliberately lowered both lids for a moment. “Umm . . . “I don’t know. She struggled bringing it down the stairs so I assumed—”
“A-ha!” he said as though he’d caught me in something. “So she was on the stairs!”
I frowned. “I already told you that. She brought the case down here. Pulled it into the front room where Reggie and I were sitting. Talked to me. Then pulled it back into the hall and disappeared.”
“Reggie?” The man looked around. “Who is Reggie?!”
“The bird behind you.”
He spun around, almost dropping his notebook. “Oh. Erm . . . Hello, Reggie.”
“You never let me have any fun!” Reggie said. He began to preen his left wing.
Now we were both looking at him. He had sound remarkably like Norma.
“Yooouuu nnnneevvverrrr lllleeet mmmeee have anyyyy funnnnn!” The bird rolled the words about in his great beak like he was tasting something yummy. “Yooouuu . . . yooouuuu . . .”
“That seems an odd thing for a parrot to say,” Officer Saggot said.
“He’s a macaw,” I told him, rather absently. “Norma got him from some retired Yale professor.”
“Who taught him to say that?”
“Well, my sister, I guess.”
He frowned and looked at me. “Is this something she said often?”
I felt my face grow warm. “Well . . . no . . . that is . . . I think she said that just before she disappeared.”
“Uh-huh.” The officer scribbled in his little book.
“My life isn’t my own!” Reggie obviously wasn’t through causing problems. “My life isn’t—”
Now the officer was staring at me. “I suppose your sister taught him that, too.”
“Well . . . yes. I guess so. That was another thing she said—”
“Just before she disappeared.”
I frowned at him. “I don’t know if I like your tone.”
He shrugged. “What you like or don’t like is immaterial. What matters now is . . .”
Someone knocked.
I moved past him into the hall but felt him come up behind me as I opened the front door and looked out onto an empty stoop. “Huh. No one here.”
The knocking came again. This time from somewhere behind us.
We both turned.
Another knock. I tipped my head, trying to decide where the noise was coming from.
The officer pointed with his pencil. “I think it’s coming from the living room.”
I made a face as I walked back into the room we had left only moments before. “It couldn’t have come from here—” I began.
I jumped and, I’m not sure, but I think the officer screamed a little.
And yes, it was a girly scream. Probably an occupational hazard.
“Is this thing on?” It sounded like Norma’s voice. I looked at Reggie. He was in lethal weapon mode, puffed up to approximately three times his usual size.
Not a good sign.
“Testing. Testing. Can you hear me?”
I looked around, trying to find a possible source for the voice, finally going to the kitchen door to peer inside. Nothing.
“Hello? Hellloooo!”
I was once again standing in the middle of the living room. I cleared my throat and looked up toward the ceiling. “N-Norma?”
“Oh it does work! They said it would!” The voice sounded cheerful. Happy.
I frowned. “What works?” I looked at the officer, who was standing in the doorway, the picture of confusion. 
“Who are you talking to?” he mouthed the words.
“Norma!” I mouthed back, pointing upward.
“Right.” He snapped his notebook shut and stuck his pencil behind his ear. Between you and me, I didn’t realize people still did that. “I don’t know who you think you’re kidding, ma’am,” he said, his mouth twisting into an ugly line. “But there are charges for people who play tricks and waste officers’ time.” He turned and disappeared into the hall.
I started after him. “Honest, Officer Saggot, I know as much about this as you!”
He was already at the door. “I’ll be back,” he said, putting one hand on the doorknob. “To give you and that fraudster sister of yours the dressing down you deserve. One or both of you is going to end up in custody!”

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Sputterling Christmas Part Two

First, a little note: normally on Wednesdays I participate in Adela Durkee’s super fun 50 Word Challenge. But this week, due to time constraints, I have to beg off! But please zip over to see what she has done for this week. You’ll be glad you did!

And now to Part Two of Christmas with the Sputterlings! (If you missed Part One, it’s here!)

It was snowing.

So both Reggie and I had eschewed the great outdoors in favour of something warmer and more welcoming to old bones.
The front room and the fireplace.
Okay, yes, it was December, so such weather should be expected, but cold and damp is cold and damp, no matter how jolly the season.
Reggie was entertaining himself by whistling rising and falling notes. A sort of a do, ray, mi for birds.
Let’s face it, Julie Andrews, he’s not.
Between you and me, he was about two stanzas from joining that old birds home in the sky.
Where birds go up.
And never, ever come down.
Back to my story . . .
Something thumped on the stairs.
Now I know that you know my sister and I live in a haunted house. So strange noises or things that go bump (even in broad daylight) are not uncommon.
The first thump elicited no response from either Reggie or me.
But the second, third and fourth did.
And the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Reggie fluffed out his feathers. His usual reaction when something is happening that he doesn’t understand. I don’t know about you, but nothing shouts ‘I’m-dangerous-and-every-part-of-me-is-a-lethal-weapon’ better than a fat bird.
Me? I lowered my magazine.
Both of us were now ready for anything.
We stared at the doorway into the front hall. The place the sounds seemed to be coming from.
Norma appeared around the corner.
I let out the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. “Norma, what are you doing?”
She moved further into the room.
Then pulled a gigantic, obviously heavy suitcase in behind her.
Immediately the noises were explained. Someone had been transporting something much too large down someplace much too steep.
I was suddenly thankful that I hadn’t heard more thumping and bumping. (*snort*)
I raised my eyebrows and looked at her expectantly.
She smiled at me. “I’m leaving,” she announced in the same chirpy, good-news voice she would have used to announce that she’d changed the toilet paper roll.
Yeah, I guess you’d have to know my sister.
“Leaving?” I stared at her. “Where are you going?”
“I’ve been invited for a visit!”
“O-kay. Who and where. And more importantly, for how long?” I’m sure you haven’t forgotten that the two of us were living in Norma’s house—she, because her name is on the deed, and me, by invitation and economy.
“I don’t know for how long.” Norma went for the last question. “Maybe forever!”
My head reared back. “But, but this is your house!”
“Yeah, well, if I don’t come back you can have it!”
“I can have it?”  I wasn’t sure I’d heard correctly. I gave Reggie a can-you-believe-what-we’re-hearing look, then pinched myself mentally and shook my head. I’d obviously been around him too much. I turned back to Norma. “Okay, you’d better start from the front and take me through your orbit again.”
She sighed and sat down on her suitcase. “Well, you know how sick I’ve been getting. Those fevers and all.”
“Umm . . . yeah. But the doctor thinks he’s got it figured out.”
“Well I was talking to her and she said—”
Norma raised her head and looked up toward the ceiling.
“Oh. Her!”
She nodded. “And she was telling me how no one ever gets sick over there.”
“Yeah. Well, Honey . . . they’re dead.”
She shrugged. “Whatever.” She went on, “And she told me I could come for a visit and see how I liked things.”
“A visit.” I blinked. Then looked around. “Are we on Candid Camera?”
She gave a very unladylike snort. “No! She asked me to come for a visit and I’m going to go!”
I got up. Some things you just have to do while standing. “Norma.” I put a hand on her shoulder. “You can’t go over there—and then come back.”
“Who says so?”
“Everyone!” I sputtered. “Norma! You can’t cross into the world of—spirits and then come back.”
“Pfff.” She waved a hand dismissively. “I can do what I like.”
I have to admit that this has been Norma’s mantra from day one and, for a moment, the thought crossed my mind that if anyone could do it, she could. But then reality returned. “Norma, you can’t do this!” I was getting a bit desperate. “It’s . . . almost Christmas!”
“Fine!” She got up and started back toward the hall, pulling her case behind her. “You never let me have any fun!” She disappeared through the doorway. “Since you moved in here, my life isn’t my own!” Her case followed her around the corner. “One day, I’m going to—” Her voice quit.
Frowning, I followed her into the hall. “Norma, try to see reason—” I stopped.
And stared.
Norma--and her enormous case--had disappeared.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A Sputterling Christmas

 Part One

I stopped in the living room doorway and just—stared.

A long streak of sunlight bathed the area in a bright glow, which was remarkable in itself following weeks of grey and gloom. But what really caught my attention was that there, in the center of said glow, huddled a smelly old bird. In a cage.
Reginald had come home. 
For a moment, the two of us eyed each other. 
Okay I admit it, even though we have, at times, shared accommodations—the most recent being at Cousin Edith’s house—we have never really been friends.
He ruffled up his feathers and croaked something that sounded like ‘smelly old broad’.
I narrowed my eyes, then tried to infuse some enthusiasm into, “Hello, Reggie, old boy. You’re home!” I don't think I nailed it because he immediately turned his back, shook his feathers and shot out a great, white glob which, with impressive accuracy, completely missed the pristine paper in the bottom of his cage and landed on the shining clean floorboards at my feet.
“Did you see?” Norma bustled into the room behind me. “Reggie has come home!” She noticed the great gob on the otherwise spotless floor.  “Oh! Reggie you little rascal!” She turned back toward the kitchen. “I’ll just get—”
What she was going to get was left to Reggie’s and my imagination. He had slicked his feathers and was looking toward the empty doorway--hope for possible treats in his round, dark eyes. I, on the other hand, was pretty sure her abrupt departure had something to do with bird poop.
He and I never have existed on the same plane.
I took a chair on the other side of the room, as far from the upcoming action as I could get, and picked up a magazine.
Norma scurried back into the room and I smirked at Reggie. I was right. She was carrying the anticipated bucket of warm, soapy water and a sponge. And, inexplicably, the star for our Christmas tree.
She dropped the star into my lap, then carefully lowered herself to the floor and attacked Reggie’s welcome home gift.
I picked up the star and stared at it. Then looked at her. Well, at her broad backside, which was all I could see. “Ummm—Norma?”
“It’s for—the tree—dear.” Her words were slightly muffled and punctuated by her cleaning efforts.
“I’m getting—the tree and—stuff out.” She sat back on her heels and wiped her forehead with the wrist of the hand holding the sponge. “It is December.”
“Yeah,” I said again. “But why did you bring it in here?”
She looked at me and frowned. “I don’t know.” She shuffled a bit on her knees, the held up a hand. “Could you please—?”
I sighed, got to my feet and helped Norma to hers, then followed her into the kitchen where she deposited her bucket. From there I trailed her to the sitting room where our tree sat in lonely glory in one corner, flanked by numerous boxes.
“See?” she pointed.
I set the star on a table and moved to sit in the one big armchair.
“Nooo!” she shrieked. “That’s for her!”
I paused halfway to sitting and blinked. “Her?”
Norma nodded. “Her.”
She smiled. “Well I’ve spoken to Frosty at the department store, written to Santa, even begged Krampus and the Grinch, who obviously must know her—”
I straightened and looked at her. “Okay?”
“Well, it's fairly certain by now we're never going to get her to leave. So I’ve decided that the only way we are going to have our beautiful white Christmas is to invite her.” Her smile widened. “Christmas is for sharing. That’s why I brought Reggie home. Oh, and Edith is coming, too.”
I turned toward the door.
“Where are you going? I need your help!”
I shook my head. “You’ve spoken to all of your imaginary friends. I’m going to call Batman.”
One of us needs to keep a foot in the real world.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Because I Believe

A tiny town, the angel sings,

Is chosen for the King of Kings.

It sleepy lies and quiet waits,

While all salvation, God creates.


And in a manger, not a bed,

Our Savior lays his newborn head,

Soft grasses frame his tiny form,

And keep his swaddled body warm.


A hush falls o’er the stable scene,

The babe has come, all is serene,

He will bring peace from world’s alarms,

But for now, a babe, in His mother’s arms.

 For just a moment, all is still,

As Son fulfills his Father’s will,

Though tiny now, one day He’ll be,

The Saviour of both bond and free.


The choir gathers, awesome sight,

Their presence shines upon the night,

Above the clouds, their voices swell,

As they shout forth their first ‘Noel’.

As bells ring out the joyous news,

In golden tones, in ones and twos,

We recall another place on earth,

When a prophet spoke of the coming birth.


Far to the East, men weep, because

A star shines bright. They point, and pause,

There in that sphere, each of them sees,

The prophecy that’s come to be.


And all the Faithful, now, are called,

From pastures—free, to cities—walled,

To see the babe who soon will reign,

When He brings peace and conquers pain.


God makes so much from something small,

This babe? Salvation for us all,

How are we freed from pathways grim?

Why...just believe. And follow Him.

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, the best of all the world,
We'll talk of ice cream cones and swirls!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...

Hanukkah/Christmas/Holidays (December 6) Today!
Ice Cream (December 13)
Music (December 20)
Fruitcake (December 27)

Sleep (January 3)

Peculiar People (January 10) 

Ditch Your New Year's Resolutions (January 17)

Opposite Day (January 24)

Typo Day (January 31) Celebrate those funny (autocorrect) mistakes. 


Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
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

Better Blogger Network

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!

Grab and Add!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?