Saturday, February 28

I Remember When and a Winner...

Spring weddings are a lot of fun. That is when my first husband and I got married, but instead of talking about our wedding day, I'd like to talk about something that isn't done today. Something that Grandma planned for us...a shivaree.

In bygone days, a rural bride and groom were often the center of attention shortly after their wedding when locals gathered to give them a shivaree. I remember Grandma doing this after my aunts and uncles got married. However, I had forgotten all about it the first time that my husband and I made the trek two hours north to visit her and Grandpa.

We went to bed about 11pm. We had just fallen asleep when we heard a commotion outside our window. I got out of bed and looked into the yard. There were all of my aunts, uncles, as well as some of the neighbors, banging pots and pans together and making a terrible racket. My uncles were hammering on metal barrels and the uproar was enough to wake the dead. I quickly got back into bed and we pretended that we hadn't heard anything. That's when the door opened and the gathering burst into the room. We were young and were so embarrassed. I can laugh now, but back then, we were both mortified.

After everyone had left the room, we got up, dressed and went downstairs. Grandma had food galore spread out on the table for a midnight feast. We had lots of fun talking to neighbors and reminiscing about when my grandparents moved to the area when I was twelve and how I'd always spent summers there.

Not many people today can say they were treated to a shivaree--a good old fashioned way to have fun and a great excuse for a celebration.

If you would like to join the I Remember When meme, please visit Speaking from the Heart. It's a lot of fun stepping back in time through our memories.

I put the number of entries into the random generator at for the giveaway of Miralee Ferrells' book Love Finds You in Last Chance California. The winner is (Drum Roll, please) Denise from Samaritan Women. Here is the time stamp:
Timestamp: 2009-03-01 01:48:31 UTC

Denise, since I already have your address, I will pass it along to Miralee so she can send you out the signed copy of her book. Congratulations!

Friday, February 27

A Bit of a Struggle

Just in case any of you are wondering what I've been up to, I've been writing my regular web content and studying my children's writing course. The first lesson was sent in last week. It was quite easy. I had to write an autobiographical letter and write a story for Lesson One. I wrote about a young girl who was afraid of storms. She lived in Tornado Alley. She braved the high winds to rescue her younger brother and they made it to the storm cellar of an abandoned property just in time.

My tutor sent the lesson back, saying I was a strong writer but the plot needed a lot of work. She gave a few suggestions and I revised the story. I'm very pleased with it now. Since that time I've been studying lesson two and completing the mandatory reading. It was enjoyable and I learned a few things about writing for kids that I didn't know.

Tonight, I tried in vain to put a first draft together. My tutor gave me the leeway to send in anything I'd like. I really want to send in a historical fiction story that is based on legend, but am having some problems. The main character is a girl and though the story is interesting I'm trying to figure out how to get some dialogue into it. Her act of bravery is something that she does pretty much on her own.

I am a bit frustrated and maybe I'm being a bit too hard on myself. I am so used to writing from the heart and just putting my words to paper that when they won't flow, it drives me to distraction. This is going to take a while. I'm glad she gave me a month to do this assignment because I don't see it being easy. I may end up changing my mind about the subject matter but really want to write this. The story is one that I love and I'm sure that many young girls would enjoy it as well. Wish me luck and if you have any pointers, I'd be glad to hear them.

A cold front has moved into our area and we even saw a few flakes of snow this afternoon. The temperature dropped 20 degrees in two hours. I've gone back into hibernation. I hope the weather in your area is nice, so that you can enjoy the weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~

Note: Don't forget to enter your name for the giveaway of Miralee Ferrell's book, Love Finds You in Last Chance California. For a second chance to win this book, visit Angie's blog.

A Visit from Author Miralee Ferrell and a Book Giveaway

***This is a sticky post. It will remain at the top until Saturday night at 8pm EST, which is when the comments for the book giveaway will close. For regular posts, please scroll down.***

I was honored that author Miralee Ferrell dropped by and left messages for everyone who commented on my book review. She also offered to give away an autographed copy of her book. So, anyone who comments on this post will have their name put into a drawing for Miralee's book. Though there is a hint of romance in it, it is mainly a historical novel woven around the little town of Last Chance, California. You will indeed love the suspense in this novel. If you didn't read my review, you can find it HERE.

This is what Miralee had to say to those who posted a comment:
Hi everyone---if you want to read a bit more about other books I've written or am writing, you can ck out my website.

Amy--Thanks for visiting and for your nice comment!

Anni---I actually don't care for romances, either, LOL! And here I wrote one. But it's really more of a historical suspense with a lightly woven romance thread. I do NOT like mushy romances and avoid that in my books. You might just be pleasantly surprised if you try this one!

Anvilcloud---Thank you! Our trip to the ghost town area of Last Chance helped me set the stage and bring the old town to life, as well as weaving in a bit of true life into the book. If you get a copy let me know what you think!

AirmanMom---Thank YOU for stopping by!

Hi Deborah--Glad you found Mary's Web site as well. Nice to meet you!

BClark--This was my first historical suspense...I highly recommend if you think you can do it, then get started, girl! Study the craft, and try your hand at it. I'll bet you can do it!

Carolyn---If you like reading and you pick up one of my books, I'd love to get your thoughts.

PEA--I'm a lot like you. I used to read non-stop. Now I have a huge library and about 1/3 of the books I haven't read yet. Part of my 'excuse' tho, is I'm too busy writing now so other people can read. But I do miss reading like I used to.

Jess---thank you for stopping by. I'd love it if you happened to pick up a copy of my book!

Thank you, Miralee for your generous offer of the signed copy of Love Finds You in Last Chance California.

Now Ladies and Gents, leave a comment and I will add your names to the hat. Cut off time for comments is 8pm EST on Saturday evening. I will then do the draw, announce it here and let Miralee know where to send the book. This is a great read and you will most definitely enjoy it. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, February 26

One Word Game

The One Word Game -I saw this at Bears in Exile. Here is what you are supposed to do - copy and paste into your own note, type in your one word answers.

Where is your cell phone? hubby's jacket

hair? thin

your father? deceased

your mother? home

Your favorite thing? books

your dream last night? weird

your favorite drink? tea

your dream/goal? Children's author (sorry I know that is two words)

the room you are in? Office

your fear? Heights

where do you want to be in 6 years? Alive (hehe)

muffins? Blueberry

one of your wish list items? Books

where you grew up? Ontario

the last thing you did? watched TV

what are you wearing? jeans

your tv? on (hubby's watching it.)

your computer? on (I'm using it.)

your life? Contented

your mood? irritated (for the moment) Hubby forgets to close the bathroom door and Dakota gets into the garbage.

missing someone? Friend (My neighbor moved to Nunavut last week. I miss talking to her.)

your car? van

favorite store? Smitty's (great store for season items and gifts - nice stuff and reasonable)

your summer? Beautiful (summer of 2008 was not humid or overly hot)

your favorite color? Green

when is the last time you laughed? Today

last time you cried? last week. (I don't often cry so this is very unusual.)

three people who email me? Anni, Denise, Paula and Marrianne (Iknow, that's four)

three of my favorite foods? Depends (Different food at different times)

three places I would rather be right now? I'm a home body. What can I say.

Let me know if you do this so I can read your answers.


I finally heard from my neighbor, Marrianne. She arrived in Nunavut safely. It has been between 30 and 40 below zero. She likes her job. The people are nice and she is settling in to her new job.

The weather here has been sunny and warmer the last couple of days. It is raining now and it's to rain into tomorrow. By late afternoon on Friday, a cold front is to move in and it's to be chilly. Sure wish Miss Spring would come along and chase Ol' Man Winter away. Dakota and I have been enjoying outdoor time in the morning and we both enjoy it.

Take care and have a great day. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, February 24

Love Finds You in Last Chance California

I put my copy of Independence aside to read this historical fiction novel by Miralee Ferrell. This is Ms. Ferrell's second book. Her first, The Other Daughter, is next on my reading list.

This is the story of Alexia Travers, whose father has died unexpectedly. When Alexia finds out that her father has taken a hefty loan, putting the ranch up for collateral, she is devastated. Will she be able to keep the ranch?

The townspeople think that it isn't right for a woman to run a ranch on her own and want her to marry one of the town's eligible bachelors. Alexia refuses to marry anyone and is determined to make it on her own, with the help her uncle.

The plot thickens. Alexia's father's gold is missing, her neighbor suddenly wants to marry her and the horses that she's raising for the army suddenly begin to disappear. Enter the hero, a man who applies for work on the ranch. Unknown to Alexia, her father has sent for Justin because he feels that his life is in danger. Ferrell spins a good tale that is tightly written around mystery, intrigue and the suspicious death of Alexia's father. Secondary characters delight the reader and bring the story to life. This is one book in the Love Finds You series that you won't want to miss.

Both the heroine and hero are strong characters and the plot is well structured. Ferrell has done a great job of spinning this tale that will endear both Alexia and Justin to her readers. A bit of mystery, a little romance and a lot of double dealing crooks keeps the pages turning on this wonderful book.

Note: Miralee Ferrell and her husband traveled to Last Chance, California to visit the area of this mining town. Miralee has incorporated many historical facts with fiction and came up with a novel that will endear you to the characters long after you've finished the book.

There are several books in the Love Finds You series, published by Summerside Press. Love Finds You in Last Chance California can be purchased at or Be sure to pick up a copy. It's a book you won't want to miss.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Monday, February 23

Update on Dakota

It's been a while since I've posted an update on Dakota's progress. He is growing like a weed. He's more than double the size he was when we got him. He is intelligent and eager to learn. He has learned to whine at the door to go outside. Unfortunately, sometimes it is after the fact, if you know what I mean.

He is into mouthing,(puppy biting.) and I wear the scars to prove it. Over the weekend he seemed to get the hint that this is not allowed. That doesn't stop him from trying. Like a kid, he's testing his boundaries.

He goes out with Dwight without the leash and stays with him or, if he does wander away, comes when he is called. I hope this continues. He knows to come when I whistle for him. I've whistled from day one so that hopefully he will always obey when he hears that particular sound.

The weekend before Brandon left for Quebec, the boys came over on Sunday afternoon. They wanted to see Dakota. When they realized he liked playing ball, they came up with the idea of playing, "Monkey in the Middle." Guess who was in the middle...yeap! Dakota.

Here is Brandon showing Dakota the ball. Then, he rolled it across the living room to Jordan.
Here is Dakota in the middle, keeping his eye on Jordan, who has the ball at the moment. He did good. When Jordan rolled it, he intercepted.

Jordan, trying to lure him closer so he can roll the ball to Brandon without Dakota intercepting. Ha! Dakota fooled him.
Brandon watching Dakota chase the ball. When I pressed the button on the camera, Dakota was also in this picture. By the time the flash went off, he was at the other end of the room with Jordan.

When the boys left, Dakota was exhausted. He slept through our usual play time and got up for about an hour at 11pm. Then he slept right through until morning.

While Brandon was in Quebec, Jordan came to stay over on Thursday night. It was snowing and about 9pm, I put on my shoes in order to take Dakota out. Jordan offered to do it and I let him. Dakota was biting and chasing the leash. Here, Jordan is lying on the terrace, trying to get Dakota under control. Dakota is looking at some people who were walking up the other side of the street.
Jordan and Dakota, having fun. They stayed out there for about 20 minutes interacting and playing in the snow. Good for both of them. When they came in, Dakota went to bed and slept through the night. He got up about 7am and played with Jordan as he got ready for school. After Jordan left, he had a three hour nap. He plays hard and sleeps hard.

This past weekend, hubby took Dakota out and I thought I'd try to get some photos of him to show you how much he's grown. Well, getting a good shot of him is rather difficult. I got lots of pictures of the ground. By the time I aimed the camera and shot the picture, he was long gone. However, I did manage to get a few that included him.

This last one is cute, though it's from the side. Hubby was making squeaking sounds and Dakota sat there trying to figure out what he was doing.

This little creature can tucker us out completely, but we wouldn't trade him for anything. He's already a great companion and keeps us in stitches with his antics. He loves the snow, playing ball and he has all of Meeko's old toys, so he is the most spoiled dog in town. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Have a great week and remember to do a random act of kindness for someone. It will make life a little better for both of you. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, February 22

Brandon's Trip to Quebec City

Last Tuesday, Brandon boarded the bus with his class for a four-day trip to Quebec City. He really wanted to go and his teachers agreed that he should go. So off he went.

This was the first time Brandon had ever been away without a family member. We weren't sure how it would go but his teacher, who is a great guy, assured us Brandon would be fine.

The kids were going snow tubing, dog sledding and, though we didn't realize it, snowshoeing. Brandon was definitely looking forward to the snow tubing before he left.

We knew the first day of the trip was to be long. They wouldn't arrive in Quebec City until about 6:30 pm. Then they were to check into the hotel, catch the bus for dinner and after dinner, go on a walking tour of Old Quebec. Mmm! Sounds like a long day for a boy who got up just after 4am.

Brandon is an early riser, but he also like to go to bed early. We knew that wasn't going to happen and figured he'd be exhausted. That is a long day for anyone.

Brandon had a few adventures on his trip. He got confused in the snow park the first day and sent a text to Michelle, asking what to do. That was a big step ahead for Brandon. In previous times when he was in a predicament, he would meltdown. As you know, Brandon has Asperger's Syndrome and these children have trouble controlling their emotions. I've seen big changes in Brandon in the last couple years and this was a giant leap forward for him. Instead of a meltdown, a simple phone call to Mom did the trick and he found a Tour Guide.

He had a couple of other adventures when he went dogsledding and snowshoeing. You can read about those on Michelle's blog. Be sure not to miss them. She tells a good rendition of his experiences.

Way to go, Brandon. You did us proud. Congratulations!

Have a great week and remember to take time to relax. ~Blessings, Mary~