Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Paradise Road.

My dear friend Beth Vogt did a vlog for her book dedication. 
I got about a minute and a half in.

You can watch it here :

Why did it do me in?

And before I tell you why, know that I understand and respect the fact that losing an unborn child is a universe away from losing a teenage son. I KNOW that. Don't bother telling me that. I am FULLY AWARE of that fact.
Sorry, but, I've heard the "it's not the same" come from well meaning people.

But our loss was ours and it was still brutal.

I was encouraged to find a place to voice my feelings. I found that place on a website called "Open Diary". I rarely go there anymore, but I owe much recovery to the friends I made there and many of them are on Facebook. But since I started writing, this sounds dumb, I have no time to write. I know, lame!

But, this is what I wrote for my first entry there, 12 years ago.

I need an outlet for my thoughts right now. Somehow anonymity is my friend
So here we go...
There was a film made a few years ago about women in a POW camp in WW2. It was called "The Paradise Road", in reference to the road towards the gates of Heaven walked alone once one had died. Why do I mention this now??
We found out yesterday that our 10 week fetus was not 10 weeks along, but had died at 6 weeks. Holy smokes. I had just wrapped my head around the "we are having another Baby!!!"
Now they tell me that it isn't a baby, it's a mass of cells still attached to my uterine wall, somehow still in there. But it's NOT a "mass", it's my child. My DEAD child.
A lesson called" How to crush the spirit and still pretend to function"?
So now I prepare for the slow/fast expulsion of the "baby". Somehow.
How do I let this baby go? How do I cope with still harbouring a dead child? Ahhhhhhgh ! I thought and I thought. Then the shortest prayer many have uttered..."help".
Then, the movie's title came to mind." Paradise Road". Walk down the Paradise Road. I am a firm believer in an absolute and loving God. I know He put this thought into my blurred and worn out mind.
So I mentally wrapped my baby up, put it in the nice big blue pram, and walked down the long Paradise Road. I am not alone in this. God is there, walking ahead, leading us so I can keep my eyes on you.
So on we walk, Baby and Mother. Saying my goodbyes. It was so painful,I didn't even know if you are a girl or a boy!!!
We get to the Gate. I have to go back now.
I'll meet you in 60 years when I die in my sleep, then please meet me at the beginning of the road. You'll show me the way. Then you can tell me your name. Take the blanket. Even though Heaven is warm, you might need this. We loved you.

Remember this, my friends, if and when there is a day you choose to go to war with God, and yes, that was the day for me...He will not fight back, but He will hold your hand on the battlefield and bring you home. He will heal your broken heart. He will hold you against His heart and let you cry until you have nothing left.

And He will restore you.

Trust me.

Because I know I have five children, it's just that one lives in Heaven.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A visit with Laura Frantz.

Have you ever come across a writer that just knocks your socks off? Like,his or her book was written FOR YOU? 
I have several favourite authors like that. Dee Henderson, Jeannette Windle, the Theones...and this year, I've added several more to the list. I don't want to pick an absolute favourite, but I will go out on a limb and say that a few have taken my breath away. 
Like, that moment when you're reading and you literally are holding your breath, only you didn't realize you were breathless until your body voluntarily begged for air?

I had seen this writer's books on shelves and ignored them. I hadn't heard any word of mouth opinions on her work, so , well, I'd skip hers and  I'd buy a book I knew had good feedback.

Then I started seeing her name pop up on blogs and websites. Then one day, on the fabulous Books and Such blog, there was a genuine love fest going on. Then a few days later, one of her books was on crazy sale on Amazon. So I got it for my Kindle app on my tablet. 

That evening I 'cracked it open'...and finally turned the lights out HOURS AND HOURS later!!!

Laura Frantz, where have you been all my life?!?!?!

I think she just whispered "hiding".

Now, not that I am sucking up (more like, a shop-vac on red bull, Bolivian coffee and tonnes of white sugar) for an early copy 'Love's Awakening'.

I cannot remember which one I read first, but I think it was Courting Morrow Little.

I wanted Red Shirt for my birthday. Okay, maybe not, the hubby would frown upon that. Ahem. If he reads this, I am so going to get teased.

What I'm saying is, umm, Laura has a way with words.

Over the last few months, I've gotten to know Laura a wee bit, and she graciously took time out of shopping for my birthday present to answer a few questions.

So, now that you've skimmed down to the interview, here we go!!

1) What was the 'aha' moment or situation when your realized that people had embraced your work and you were in for some wild literary adventures? Such as crazy fans, Starbucks recognition or another weird added dimension to your writer life.
Oh, Starbucks recognition, yesWinking smile, which was about the time Oprah called...! Actually, my personal epiphany happened when my first 2 novel were finalists for awards. Really, I thought? Why? I don’t pursue contests personally but my publisher did at that time. I thought then that perhaps all those stories I’d scribbled on for years had paid off in the sense that they somehow resonated with readers. And I was and am so thankful whenever that transpires. There’s also this interesting thing that happens when someone finds out you’re an author. They have this sort of *aha* moment and believe you have superpowers or something. I always smile and tell them the rest of the story...

2) What is the novel out there that you loved and wished you'd written? Not anything older than 2000 please, we all love Jane.

Lol, love how you phrased that, Jennifer. I think Jane would chuckle. I would probably say Diana Gabaldon’s Scottish novels though her first reaches back into the 90’s. But I’d make sure they were the CBA version instead without the adult themes. I don’t read much of her work because of that though I do feel she is a very gifted writer. I almost chose Redeeming Love but that’s back in the 90’s, too. To be honest, I can’t think of a novel in the last few years that I’ve been so wild about I wish I’d written it, even my own (other than Serena Miller's, Joanne Bischof's, Lori Benton's (not out yet), Liz Curtis Higg's...etc.!) I am a harsh critic with my own work especially. And no, I still haven’t read THE HELP!

(disclaimer from Jennifer...I failed 'copying and pasting' in school.)

3) Have you gotten any unexpected flack for your inter-racial romances? You knew I'd ask this one, right?

No flack from readers, thankfully. Not one. My publisher/head editor was a bit nervous though. I believe that people know I write a bit out of the box so many stay clear of that but those who like that sort of story embrace them. The CBA audience tends to be very conservative and there is still some hesitation about relationships between white women and native men even if it’s done tastefully/well. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had a fascination for Indian captivity stories, especially when history tells us white captives did not wish to return to their own people when “freed” or given the chance.

4) If you could be any of your characters, who would it be? Male or female.

Are you ready for this? I would be Roxanna Rowan because I am absolutely smitten with Colonel McLinn. He was my “first” for lack of a better word in that he was the only male POV I’d ever written up till then. It was a joy climbing into his handsome head and trying to figure out what made him tick. I still haven’t unraveled him but perhaps that’s part of his charm. He became very real to me and very human and the more I got to know him the more I liked him. Okay, we’ll just say I’d like to be Cass out of all my characters, tormented soul that he is.

5) What's a shoe pack? Do you enjoy research?

 A shoepack is a heavy winter moccasin like a boot. The leather is cured in a way that’s more waterproof, unlike most ordinary moccasins, and is made for long distances and hard travel. YES, I love research almost as much as writing. It’s like finding treasure and is a wonderful diversion. The trouble comes when you have to STOP researching and go wash the dishes or taxi kids around or those reality-shattering things. Then I only *dream* about researching. Most every novel I’ve written comes from people and events from history/research.

6) Will you ever set a story or a series in Washington State? Bolivia? Canada?

  I love Canadian history though I’m not very knowledgeable about it. There seems to be huge story fodder there, ripe for the picking. Bolivia – oh my! Washington State, perhaps, though the state is so new (birthed in 1889)it has baby history at best. Though there are those loggers and big trees! I had thought of doing a couple of standalone novels involving the timber industry and the Mercer brides and also the historic inns around the lake we live by. But I really want to return to the 18th-century which I will do shortly. Can’t wait!

Thank you SO much , Laura!!

If you'd like to get to know Laura a bit more, go visit her at

I am NOT a wimp, I repeat, I am NOT A WIMP! AND a visit with Laura Frantz! Updated!!

Hey kids!!

It turns out that I am NOT a wimp and have basically had complications to the wee bit of molar wrestling. According to the lovely receptionist/brain trust/real boss at the dentist office, I should have been fine 72 hours after Dr B pulled the molar. 
It's been almost a week. 
They're seeing me this afternoon for a something something and then a something.
I should be fine by the time I leave the office.
Thank you , Lord!!

OH!!! I'm not a wimp, but I am a twit.

 And Laura Frantz will be here tomorrow!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Can you die from having a tooth pulled?

I am a wimp.
A flaming, 'oh whoa is me' WIMP!!

It is a known fact that red heads have very low pain thresholds. 
And I have never been very brave.
I turned into a ninja jacked up on a case of Red Bull if I see a big bug.
Ask my son Christopher.
It happened one summer...
It was like I was auditioning for an idiot's version of Peter Pan.
He put a MASSIVE icky flying thing on my foot and then all of a sudden..."I can fly!"
My kids still share the sweet joy of that moment with me. Which is a nice way of saying they laugh their guts out at me and weep at the hilarity of it all.

Okay, so. What happened?
I had a root canal done in a previous MILLENIUM...and over the last few years the poor tooth has cracked and chipped off. 
My super awesome dentist, let's call him Dr. B, you know, a totally made up name for the interwebs, is not a pasty indoor type of boy who plays chess as a sport. Nor does he look at my teeth and say "Oh, for observational purposes, that'll be $ 923.42. Cash."
We like him, the kids like him. But we're not keeping him as a pet. His supermodel wife *A* gets that job.
So two weeks ago I went in, the tooth had been shifting sideways. He xrays, we chat, I decide to leave it until late June , after my trip to, umm, Europe, and then I get this little nudge inside.
I know 'the nudge'. It's a God thing. I KNOW this.
"Ya know, why not just get it over with, how about before I go away?"
So his lovely brain trust, R, books me in for the the 19th. Hey, it'll be a few days of pain, no biggy.
Well, the next day, the 12th, I start spitting out TEETH!! Okay, A tooth. Huge chunks of tooth. In my food. Yes, I looked really dumb. 
I'd be chewing, like, okay, MAYBE a single, small chocolate chip (handful) and it was all "WHAT??" 
I mean, what a huge waste of chocolate, I had to spit it all out. And there they were chunks of tooth!!
So, long story short, I had the root canal post itself , sticking up out of my gums.
By Thursday, I was ready.
In goes the needle.
"Oh, pain, owww."
Dr B reefed on that tooth for a full half an hour. The boy is not feeble, he does not lift a Q-tip and yell "Hey, honey, check this out, I got it off the counter!!"     
Late that afternoon, by the time the freezing wore off. I was ready to curl up in a drooly ball and cry.
I had NO CLUE it would hurt this bad.

How bad is it?

John is fussing over me and showing sympathy. He brings dinner home or makes it himself.

In a normal day, John makes Simon Cowell look sympathetic.

Yup, it's bad.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's time for a new Navajo Word of the Day!!

Once again, thank you to Byron Shorty for allowing me to post this awesome resource.

So, what's our word for today? Give it a try, have some fun!


In Navajo, t’áá’áko is translated in a variety of ways. In general, it’s a term that denotes something agreeable, or an accord of some sort.
It could mean ‘okay,’ ‘fine,’ ‘alright,’ ‘it’s good,’ or ‘it’s agreeable.’ That’s the general idea.
A simple phrase would be: “Shił t’áá’áko,” meaning “It’s alright with me.”
In question form, you could use the -ísh- particle to inquire if something is agreeable, such as an action or condition. “Shíká anilyeed, t’áásh’áko?” is another informal phrase meaning “You will help me, won’t you?” You can get a sense of what the term conveys.
Remember, in conversation a person may begin a sentence with ya’ or else end the statement with da’ in order to ask a question. These are the ways you can ask questions with the expected answer being a yes or no.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Slaughter by way of stupid.

Normally here at TFTR, I run a fairly perky show.

Not today.
I am quite angry, but not surprised one flaming bit.

Well, let's see, there's that little skirmish-fest in Nigeria that keeps popping up in the news. 
It seems that an Islamic militant group wants to kill the Christians. And there is pressure on the Nigerian government to grant the group amnesty in exchange for peace.

Bahaha. IDIOTS.

Amnesty for people who slaughter whole families??? That's like saying "if I give the lion a cow, he will never go hungry again and all the lambs will be safe."

Lots of countries have tried that approach. It's called "appeasement". Ask some of the Czechoslovakians in 1938 what they thought of appeasement. Ask them again in 1945? Oh, not possible? Yeah, because they're most likely dead or displaced.

Amnesty is a dismal, pathetic way to do business when people are being slaughtered.

And you can bet the world's media would be all over that story IF it was a bunch of fair skinned people being hunted and killed. 
IF the ones being killed were anything other than Christians.
And IF whole scale slaughter was more interesting that TV reality personalities who were basically fame mongers and publicity junkies.

Quick, tell me who Beyonce is married to!

Quick, where is Nigeria?

  1. I have decided to follow Jesus;
    I have decided to follow Jesus;
    I have decided to follow Jesus;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  2. Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
    Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
    Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  3. The world behind me, the cross before me;
    The world behind me, the cross before me;
    The world behind me, the cross before me;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  4. Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    Though none go with me, still I will follow;
    No turning back, no turning back.
  5. Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
    Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
    Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
    No turning back, no turning back.*

    * "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" is a Christian hymn originating from India.
    The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in Assam, north-east India, who along with his family was converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, "I have decided to follow Jesus." In response to threats to his family, he continued, "Though no one joins me, still I will follow." His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, "The cross before me, the world behind me." This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village.

Please, pray for Nigerian believers. And pray that the hands of the enemy are stilled.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Pate

All my gluten free friends!!!
Wait...friends who are gluten free!!
No...friends who EAT things that are gluten free!

Get ready to rumble, because this dessert will cause fights and untold amounts of happy sounds.

Use a heavy bottomed pan, copper bottom, if you have it.

Annnnnnd away we go!!

TWO sticks of salted butter.

1/2 cup white sugar

3 cups chocolate chips. I use 2 dark, 1 milk

Set the burner on LOW, I repeat, L-O-W and melt everything together, stirring every few minutes. Be patient, my young padawans. This will take about 1/2 hour. Can you see the grains of sugar? Those need to go bye-bye.

Now you need to start whipping the 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream,
whip until it's *SLIGHTLY* stiff, but not too stiff. Trust me.

Now add two eggs to the chocolate, whip them in well, but leave it all on the stove.

Line a large wet loaf pan with plastic wrap. The moisture helps hold the wrap in place.

When the whipping cream is ready, blend in with the chocolate mixture.

Pour it into the pan and chill 8 hours or overnight.

To serve, flip onto a flat serving plate and slice like a loaf. I serve mine with a berry reduction and whipped cream.


*forget asking about calories in this. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

He knows my name?

You want the simplest explanation of why I believe what I do?

Here you go.

Monday, April 1, 2013

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