Friday, May 31, 2019

Wagon West

Last week, my husband Murray got a reminder of what he’d posted on Facebook six years ago.

We drove with our daughter Rebecca for her summer internship, from Cleveland to Phoenix, Arizona. Along the way Murray shared our adventures with his Facebook friends.

We've started out for Arizona Territory. Pa said we'll provision up again at St. Joe, Missouri. Ma and Sister are in the wagon but Pa said I had to walk.

We had our first river crossing. The horses are the only ones who liked it. Pa shot some rabbits this morning. It will be great having meat in the stew tonight.

We met some indigenous persons this morning, and Pa swapped them some tobacco for deer hides, to make shoes. I wish I was indigenous so I'd get my own horse.

We reached the first settlement and laid over 3 days for repairs. Pa said I had to help Ma the first day, but then I got to help him. Lot of wagons going thru.

Outlaws! Real outlaws! They were getting after the wagon in front of us, and two of the settlers chased 'em off! I'm not worried - Pa said they won't bother us.

Made it to Illinois. The grass is beat down from wheels, it's an easy road. Ma made me work on reading for 2 hours tonight. She cuffed me when I complained.

In Missouri, headed for St. Joe, overland because Pa said the boat trip up the Missouri is too dear. Rafting the Mississippi was fun, but Ma and Sis cried out.

We made it some ways across Missouri. We're camping tonight near a country saloon. Ma didn't want to but Pa looked around and couldn't find any other water. Ma washed some of our pots tonight and that will help the taste. Hoping not to run across any of them angry indigenous persons tomorrow.

We got up before the sun. Pa said we're not going to St. Joe, we’re going to Springfield, Missouri to provision up. He said there are alarming tell of natural covering fires and outlaws along the Missouri, so we're headed south. Ma said she wasn't sure she wanted to meet southerners, and Pa quick looked around to see who might of heard, and asked her to hush.

We are stuffed full! Came across settlers driving some cows. One broke its leg, so they shot and cooked it. Twas more'n they could eat or cure, so they fed us!

Pa is irked at me! We met settlers headed for Oregon, and I told them Arizona is better. He said the best Arizona land's limited, and not to add folks after it

Made Springfield, took longer than I thought she ought. At the mercantile, my eyes near popped out when I saw the cash money Pa had. No wonder he feared outlaws.

Pa don't smoke, he don't gamble, he don't drink, he don't curse, he don't cheat - I always wondered how me and Sis was born.

Today got to Oklahoma Territory. Pa said the whole place is set aside for indigenous persons. That seems fair. He said they'll leave us be if we do the same.

It's hard to get our wagon across Oklahoma. Going around hills and going around the creeks and rivers as the trail do, it seems what we go 10 miles to get 5.

Poor pa. At a provision station, he came out yelling they's crooks, that we'd starve afore he paid their prices. Ma made him go back in and get us some stores.

We stopped to water the horses, and Sis fell in the creek, I expect this is a sin, but I sorta wish they hadn't a fished her out.

Mostly across Oklahoma, should make Texas in the morning. I'm hoping maybe Pa will let me join up with a cattle drive if we meet one. Always wanted to see Kansas.

This is the worst night of the trip by far. We're camped in a field with 8 or 10 other wagons full of settlers. And I do believe every adult is snoring. I'm sure the sound will draw dangerous critters.

I will never understand folk. Getting to leave this morning, I saw the Ma in another wagon, and she was a scared. Told this to a boy in the wagon and he got mad.

Texas! So far I seen a Ranger arresting a drunk cowboy, windmills, indigenous persons in a teepee, 2 cattle drives (Pa said NO!), a shootout, an a bat ball game

Got to Conway, Texas. 3 houses, a blacksmith, and a deputy. Pa aimed to barter for beans and fat. Ma said one day a singer should name hisself after the town.

Into New Mexico, last step before Arizona. Ma made me work on reading last night. I told her cowboys didn't need book learning, but she didn't mind, she just smiled.

Pa decided to make camp early tonight, in Gallup, New Mexico Territory before our push into Arizona Territory come morning. There are settlers and wagons everywhere, and too many townspeople to count. Seems like most are indigenous persons or Hispanic (non-white). We ate a meal that someone else cooked up! Pa said we have spent less on provisioning than he expected, so we could afford the occasion. On a scary note, we encountered but had no physical contact with a wagon where the folks had or were suspected that they had the typhus.

I asked Pa this morning how long we been traveling. He thought and said that, if we'd been on the trail just days, this'd be our 4th and last. Oh, so looking forward to seeing Arizona Territory, our new home.

Pa wanted to take a small jog in our trip, he heard tell of a bunch of logs that are as stone, we went there and it was true. Pa didn't know how it happened.

Pa said I have to cease my jottings now that we're arrived, so this will be my last. It was an exciting, tiring trip of many weeks, with just enough danger to make it worth my while. Pa said the hard part starts now. We have to build our cabin, improve our fields, and I heard him and Ma talking about school, but I'm hoping they forget that, once they see how much of a help I can be on the farm. I've been hearing a lot about Montana Territory. If they really take that school foolishness seriously, maybe I can slip on out one night and head on up thatchers a-way.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Psalm 119:81-88: Kaph

כ Kaph
My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.
How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law.
All your commands are trustworthy;
Help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

“Father God, thank you for this reminder that it is okay with you for me to cry out with pain and anger, even hopelessness. Thank you for the example your child gave of desiring a strong life so that he could live for you. Father, even in my times of weakness and pain, thank you that you help me reach for you.”

Friday, May 17, 2019

Who Says Sleepovers Are Just For Kids?

My friend Pam and I got together for three days of girl-alone time.

I love to tease Pam that she’s my oldest friend, even though she’s younger than I am. But we’ve known each other since first grade.

I was maid of honor for her wedding, and she would have been matron of honor in mine if Murray and I hadn’t eloped.

I left Missouri in 1989, and we haven’t seen each other much since then. In 1999 when we moved from Wichita, Kansas to New York state, we stayed one night in Columbia, Missouri with Pam and her family. In 2008, Pam came to my father’s funeral. That was the last time I’d seen her.

But we keep in touch with emails and occasional phone calls. Pam is great about sending birthday cards to everyone in the family, and just fun cards at any time. She is the one I contact when I need prayer for serious difficulties.

For a few years now, we’ve been talking about getting together. Pam said she would come to Cleveland to visit, and I suggested we stay in a hotel together, just the two of us. Why not have a sleepover for ladies in their 50s?

In January this year, Pam said, “let’s set a date.” We picked the second week of May.

Pam’s vacation started at the airport. She said this was only her second time to fly, and she had no idea where to go. But she asked people for help, and met a good handful of interesting new people to talk to. God bless her—she told people she met about my book that was just released.

We had a hotel suite. Hotel rooms are never easy for me to orient to. This had a bed, couch, bathroom, kitchenette, desk, and a big flat screen TV sticking out in the middle of the room. We got there on Tuesday afternoon. I told Pam, “You know, by Friday morning when we leave, I just might have figured out how to get around this room.”

I don’t watch TV, so it was fun sitting with Pam and watching Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. We watched CSI, and shows about building tiny houses and cooking shows where chefs and their mothers prepared a meal from shopping to cooking and presentation in one hour. And a show about alligator hunting. Maybe not what kids watch at their sleepovers, but it was a fun new kind of entertainment for me.

And oh yes, we talked. About our husbands and kids; about Pam’s grandchildren, (I’m still far too young to have grandchildren); about our families and work and old school memories from forty years ago; about our pets. We prayed and read the Bible together.

We brought lots of different kinds of snacks and ordered in food. And oh how we laughed. Long and hard.

I guess our sleepover wasn’t that much different from kids’ sleepovers, except that we have long-ago memories to share, which made them even sweeter and funnier. And so many stories to tell of things that happened during the years that passed when we weren’t together.

I heard Pam tell her sister over the phone, “We started talking like it was just five minutes since we were last together. That’s how close we are.”

Friday, May 10, 2019

June Foster Author, Dreams Deferred

I’d like to introduce you to author June Foster. I am so looking forward to reading Dreams Deferred.

A Story Behind the Story
Dreams Deferred is inspired by the true story of my great grandfather and great grandmother. Father Frances Matthew Halbedl grew up in the European Austrian Empire and followed the tradition in which the oldest son became a priest in his family's Catholic faith. After being ordained in Moravia, he immigrated to the United States in 1866 to serve in a parish in the state of Louisiana.

My aunt and mother always told the story of how one Sunday while saying mass, Father Matthew spotted a young teen, much younger than my heroine, Mary Louise. He waited several years for her to grow up then stepped down from the priesthood to marry her. I wish I knew some of those rich details of their courtship, but since I don't, I fictionalized their romance.

They later moved to San Antonio, Texas and had five children, three girls and two boys—Ida, Mamie, Alice, Roy, and Clifton, who was my grandfather.
Mathew taught music both in the public school and privately. Later he became the first principal of a high school in San Antonio.

I've always wanted to write a book inspired by Mary Louise and Matthew's story. I finally saw the opportunity when my editor gave a callout for contemporary romances where a pastor falls in love. I asked her what she thought about a Catholic priest falling in love. I'm sure she must've scratched her head, but when I told her it was based on a true story, she liked the idea.

Though I set the story in contemporary times, I used elements from the real story. My Matthew went into the priesthood at the urging of his father. He had a great love of music and wound up in San Antonio, Texas after he married Mary Louise. Father Matthew falls in love with Mary Louise from almost the first moment he sees her in mass one Sunday morning. All of these things are based on Matthew's real life story.

I fictionalized most of the rest of the story, basically because I don't know many details of Matthew and Mary Louise's lives. If I've learned anything from writing this book, I wish I'd probed for more information when my mother and aunt were still alive, but I'm grateful for what I do know.

As I got into the book, I realized that this is probably the most romantic story I've written. Mary Louise and Matt fall in love, but even a casual kiss is taboo. When they finally do sneak a kiss in the garden at the church grounds, they take the risk of being discovered, yet their love for each other spurs them on.

I believe Dreams Deferred is a story both Catholics and Protestants will enjoy. It was likely my most favorite to write.

About June Foster
June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. To date June has seen publication of 17 novels and 1 devotional. Find June at

Dreams Deferred
Frances Matthew Hall is obedient to family tradition: all firstborn sons will serve as a priest. Now Matt officiates at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. But when on Easter Sunday, he notices a beautiful young woman who takes his breath away, he must fight against his attraction to her or leave the priesthood and alienate his entire family.
Mary Louise Graham is a middle school teacher and devout catholic. Yet no amount of service to the community can ease the heavy load of guilt she carries. God can never forgive her unspeakable mistake. But when Father Matt tells her about a forgiving God through His son Jesus Christ, she's free. Only thing, the Godly priest now means more to her than he should.
Can two people find their way to each other amidst insurmountable obstacles? Dreams Deferred is inspired by the author's great grandfather and great grandmother's story.

Father Matt Hall wants to serve the Lord. School teacher Mary Louise Graham needs freedom from her unforgivable past. They never expect to fall in love.

Purchase Link:

Friday, May 3, 2019

Grace and Truth, John 7:1-24:

Jesus had to be careful. The leaders wanted to kill him. His brothers did not believe in him. The crowds disagreed about him. But he did go up to teach during a festival.

Verses 14-15: Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”

Jesus was careful, but he was brave in his challenge to the leaders. He made an outright statement that he came from God. He confronted the people for wanting to kill him. He challenged their hypocrisy in the way they used the Law.

Verses 21-24: Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

Father, thank You for teaching me more about the man Jesus was on Earth. Help me to be open to Your Word.