Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Say what you mean to say, but ...

...don't you dare make something up to make yourself look good, or make me feel like you care, when you don't.

WHY am I on this topic?
I was reading Facebook posts on what not to say to pregnant women or adoptive parents.

And it got me thinking. 
And yes, I am as guilty as anyone about this subject.

Do we give out false compliments that end up hurting someone?

First, a wee story.

Years ago, like, 15 of them, there was this (for real) wonderful lady in the church we attended.

No, no names. 

I mean, AS IF??

Anyway, she was one of those women who EVERYONE adored. You know the kind I mean, leads Bible study, visits the elderly, cooks for the folks who can't, preaches, teaches, and generally rocks the Casbah and is downright pure awesomesauce.

A truly, genuinely NICE and loving person.

And I wanted her to like me.

And I don't think she did.

Many of you are thinking "really, why not? You're just so warm and fuzzy and calm and haven't an ounce of judgmental snark in you!"
Oh, and the mutated way I view the world has nothing to do with it either.
Or that I grew up in a big city church and rubbed elbows with all kinds of people who blew me away, and this lady didn't. 

I mean, DID I have an air of  "No, darlin', you don't impress me much, but keep trying, maybe one day you will."?
Did I have the air of "big city girl does time in small town"? Probably. 

At the time, I was still STRUGGLING with the fact that we were in a place I hadn't wanted to live. Ever. Not my whole life. And whoaaa, here we were.

And there was Mrs Supergirl, parting the crowds with her smile and hugging as she walked through the throngs of admirers.

But not me.
Never me.

But, I sort of got an attitude. I think. 
Anyway, I started to feel like, "ya know, I don't care, I really don't" when I really did. NOT because all of a sudden she picked me for the team, but because she'd look at me like "hey, Trainwreck, how ya doing?"

So I tried to behave. I know, stop laughing. 
I TRIED to be worthy.

*I* tried.

Then one day, the woman who NEVER SPOKE TO ME EVER, was walking out the door as I was walking in, and she grabbed me by the shoulders and hugged me and blurted out something that sticks with me and resonates for all the wrong reasons.

"You're doing a wonderful job as a mother." 

Then she was gone.

So was my respect for her.


She never asked my name.
She didn't know my story.
She didn't know ME.

So why did that statement insult me so much?

If she didn't know me, she didn't know my kids and she had NO idea about my life. AT ALL.

So, what am I saying?

If you are going to up and give out a whopper of a compliment, KNOW to whom you bestow the words.

Because when you grab someone by the shoulders and say something like that. Say it in a moment when the listener can soak it up and let it wash over them.

There are SO many hurting people in the world. 
Don't toss kind words under the wheels of life. Give them out so that they are rain in a desert.

Be sincere.
Be real.
Be an oasis.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Who are Ted and Evie, Billy the Kid, what is a hogan and why I'm glad I can climb fences.

Back in 2012, two friends and I made it to the Bosque Redondo museum in beautiful Fort Sumner , New Mexico. It's quite pretty there, although hard to find,since the bigger draw in Fort Sumner is the Billy the Kid Museum and grave.
Yup, the supposed grave of a dead criminal. I know, right? 

"Honey, get the kids!! We need a picture of them posing next to a criminal's grave!"
 Anyway, we finally found the museum, waaaaay at the end of a road.

But I didn't get a chance to go out onto the land.

But, in November of 2013, I met...

Ted and Evie.

Or as they are formally known, Mr and Mrs 
Theodore and Evelyn Charles, of  Gallup , New Mexico. 
Well, not in Gallup, they live in a two story hogan, a rarity, on a hill outside of Gallup.  
Here they are, posing at Canyon de Chelly ( 'duh Shay) I seriously don't have a picture of the two of them without one of them either with their eyes shut, or someone having fun. 
Cough. Ted.

These two met in the early 1960's when she arrived at Rehoboth MIssion School in Gallup to work as a nurse. She was sweet and idealistic, and somewhat far from home. Ted had just gotten back from his time as a Marine and  was the boy's dorm supervisor/muscle/counsellor/chief trouble maker.
And if I do say so myself, I *think* our Ted was somewhat of a flirt.  
And here they are, 47 years later. 
And he still makes her blush.

So, HOW does a Canadian living on the East Coast meet and travel all over New Mexico and Arizona with a Navajo man and his wife?

Short story? I met Kiersti Plog(, (Facebook/blog 'met') then I found Mark Charles' blog on Kiersti's blog roll ( and then Mark introduced me to his dad, Ted.
And so it began.
I spoke with Ted on the phone, for almost 90 minutes, and long story short, he suggested I come to New Mexico.

Umm, here's the thing.
I haven't got the time or money to go to New Mexico. My schedule is packed solid.
So I prayed about it...

And God opened the doors!

Backtracking...I drove from Colorado Springs with Amy Drown, and we arrived in Belen, had dinner and Andrew and Barbara and the next morning, Ted and Evie drove A LONG WAY to rendezvous with me in the (not) swank Super 8 in Belen.

Then we drove a long way to Fort Sumner. Like, a LONG way. 
We got there, it was a gorgeous day, birds were singing, we were having a great time getting to know each other, the gates were locked and the sign said "no trespassers"


So, we ended up next door at the state fair grounds.
And the gates were chained there, too.
Thankfully, the sign said "no littering".

See those two?
We didn't litter.

Neither did Evie.

We discussed our options, and decided to climb the fence. Evie wasn't too thrilled about it, since it really was trespassing. But, technically, there was no sign to say "2 white girls and a Navajo man cannot climb this fence and wander over to museum property and climb that fence and wander around unsupervised".

And I did not come ALL THIS WAY to be deterred by a sign.

 Here's the Pecos. 

The pretty but poisonous Pecos. 

Meandering through the prison camp, the only water source for miles.

It was a beautiful day.

We even found a squash vine. We wondered if that vine was part of a garden, 150 years ago.

Given that is was close to the riverbank and under a huge cottonwood tree, it may very well be a heritage plant.
Or, who knows?

See how flat the terrain is? Imagine thousands upon thousands of people there, living in squalid, inhumane conditions. It was SO BAD, that the government signed a treaty and let the remaining prisoners go.

The Navajo measure their history before Bosque Redondo, or as the Navajo call it, Hweeldi , which began in 1864 and after, 1868.

Some say the word Hweeldi is a derivative of the Spanish word fuerte.

What it was? 

It was a living nightmare for 9500 Navajo.

And one of them was a little boy named Tsi'naginnie. (sit-nah-jin-ee).

One day, little Tsi'naginnie would grow up and have his own children, and one day, his grandson would come into the world.
His name? 

Theodore Charles.

Somewhere, across that field, all kinds of families existed and endured.

 Including Ted's family.

The very interesting part of the "no trespassing"thing is that if the museum was open, we'd have never gotten so close to the river. Or in my case, onto a sand and gravel bar in the river. 

And where does the second book in my series start?

In the river.

That night, after a long drive home, and a lot of discussion, we arrived at their home. But, this was my home for a few lovely days. 

This is 'the little hogan', down the hill from their two story hogan.
What a peaceful, lovely place to think, and wonder, and be thankful for blessings I never saw coming.

Ask any one of the hundreds of people who've known and appreciated Ted and Evie's hospitality, about the little hogan, and they'll smile and sigh. 

Because Ted and Evie know exactly how to walk in beauty.

Thank you, Evie and Ted, for the treasure of your time and wisdom..

Monday, January 13, 2014

Annnnnnnd, she's down.

I had planned to write Part Two Of My New Mexico-Colorado Adventure.

But instead, you have to read about the (roughly) 35 x-rays, the cat scan and the ice storm.

Roll those altogether, add a hockey tournament in small town Canada, and you have my weekend.

Okay, LONG story short, we were in Miramichi NB for a tournament and there was a wicked ice storm. EVERYTHING was coated in ice. And I mean, everything. Roads were ice rinks, ice rinks were open and hockey must go on, right?

My friend Lynn had parked her SUV, she headed one way and I headed the other, thinking the already driven on road was better than the slick parking lot. I was walking slllllloooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwllllllllly and carrying a cup of tea in each hand. I slipped, up went the cups, and down came me.
Or, in order: my knees, quickly followed by my chin, then my arms. 

I smashed my chin into the ice, and I could hear something snap. I think it was either my neck, or my shoulder. Not sure. 

Anyway, next, my arms went out in front of me, still holding the tea. My hands didn't have a chance to go palm open and catch my fall. And so, I landed like a volleyball player , not a skater. I'm no doctor,  but I think THAT move saved me 2 broken wrists.

And a complete meltdown, because a writer needs to type, yes?????

I managed to get my self up, then I slid and hobbled to the rink, inside and then found some of our other team parents. Of course, I needed to make sure my son had a water bottle and speak to him before the game. He was in net. 

I made it to the stands where the other parents were and that's when things got hazy. And woozy. One of the moms, Alicia, is a nurse, and I asked her to take a look at my shoulder. Then next thing we know, I'm in Renee's truck on the way to the ER. Something about my sore head and wanting to keep my eyes closed.

We got to the hospital, then somebody asked some questions, then poof, I was on a gurney, in a neck brace. 

4 hours, at least 35 x-rays, one cat scan and a really painful shot of pain killer into my thigh, I was back in the truck and in a neck brace and sling.

My friend Renee was a godsend!! She texted back and forth, from the ER, with the other parents at the game, and called my husband and kept him posted. 

Once we got back to the hotel, my son and I got settled in and then I attempted to sleep. Hahahaha.

Sunday morning, they had an 8am game, but got back at 8:45am. The other team didn't show up. Not a phone call, nothing. Stay classy, Tracadie!! So, we made the finals!
Another mom, Jennifer, drove me to the game. Our boys won and I was elated, but I just so badly wanted to get home.

ANOTHER mom, Sandra,  drove me and my van home and my son went in the truck with her hubby and sons.

I am SO happy to be home. And I am SO thankful to not have fallen backwards. I would have crack my skull and badly injured my already weak back.

Thank you, for all your help, Wildcat moms!!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A year in review....come ON, you knew I'd do this!! And yes, it IS all about MOI.

January: Well, it was bone chilling cold, I went back to work on my manuscript, I took kids to hockey. One family birthday.

February: Well, it was bone chilling cold, I worked on my manuscript, I took kids to hockey. Three family birthdays.

March: Well, it was bone chilling cold, I worked s'more on my manuscript, I took kids to hockey. 

April: Yes,  it was LESS bone chilling cold, I worked s'more on my manuscript, I took kids to hockey.

May: SPRING!!!!! Annnnnnnd, I turned 50. My friends threw a HUGE partay. I struggled with being FIFTY. I worked on my manuscriptS. And took kids to hockey.

June: My Mom and I went to EUROPE. And we went on a cruise through the Mediterranean. I am forever spoiled. For. Ever. SPOILED. Nothing will ever be the same, because I have seen Rome, the Greek Islands and stood where Paul preached. And I shared that adventure with my mom. TWO WEEKS of  "every day is epic" with my mom.
Found out I wouldn't be able to go to Bolivia in the Fall. Sad, but God had other plans...
I interviewed a Very Famous Person for my blog. 
My geezer brother turned FIFTY TWO!!! HAHAHAHA!!! SUCKER!! You're OLDER!!!!
Hubby and I had our 24th anniversary!

July: brain numbingly HOT, I worked on my manuscriptS. Took kids to soccer and you guessed it, hockey.

August: still hot, I worked on my manuscriptS. Found out I was able to go to ACFW because a dear angel paid for my hotel and God dropped 600$ out of the sky, therefore, I could go to the BIGGEST Christian writer's conference EVERRR!!! 
No hockey.

September: worked my sorry butt off on my manuscriptS, got a rejection...vowed to work harder. Prepped for the conference. Slowly lost my mind. Went to the conference. God blew my mind and gave me an agent!! Mary Keeley!!!

October: Workedworkedworked!!! Took kids to hockey.

November: Went to New Mexico and Colorado to do more in-depth research for books 2 and 3. Took kids to hockey.

December...took kids to hockey, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!