An Irish Thanksgiving Blessing

As you gather with your family and friends tomorrow, Chicken Wrangler Sara and I offer this Irish blessing for you and yours.


Thanksgiving Festivities Around My House

In three days Thanksgiving festivities will commence.

The American celebration of the day began during the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

The traditional New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924. Our family tradition is to watch while we unpack Christmas decorations. Truthfully, we tend to spent more time watching than decorating and no one misses Santa’s arrival.

After filling their bellies with turkey and all the trimmings, the menfolk, and most of the women, around our house gather in front of the TV for football. The National Football League has been broadcasting Thanksgiving Day games since 1920. Our family’s been watching games since the sixties.

Down here in Texas, the Thanksgiving Day collegiate games are often more important than the professional football games. Our own meal time centers around the University of Texas Longhorns’ schedule for the day.

None of these things happened on that first Pilgrim Thanksgiving in 1621, but the basis for our modern Thanksgiving festivites remains the same. We pause on this day to give thanks for our blessings.

When my turn comes to share my blessings this year, I will include

My husband (the role model for my heroes)

Family and friends (far and near)

My pets (who brighten every day)

What blessings will you be sharing?

Almost A Dozen

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Our chickens have been slacking off lately. We’ve only gotten 4 eggs a day for several weeks.

We’re not sure why and I’ve even had to buy eggs at the store. It was very strange.

I’ve told the girls to get busy. The deal is they feed us and we feed them.

It worked- yesterday we got 10 eggs!  That is almost a dozen!I guess we’ll keep feeding the chickens after all.


Guest Author – Donna Schlachter

Welcome fellow author Donna Schlachter. She’s visiting to tell us a little about herself and answer some questions about her two new releases, The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado and Christmas Under the Stars.

Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Home is in Denver with her husband, who is her first-line editor and biggest fan. A hybrid author, she publishes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense as Leeann Betts. She’s also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction. Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management represents Donna.

And, here are her answers to the interview questions:

  1. How do you balance writing and everyday life?

It’s not easy. I have learned that with anything that’s important in my life, I have to make time. I will never find it. I am very goal oriented, so if I tell myself I have to write at least one chapter today before I can go on to something else, I do it. Check it off the list. Next thing.

  1. Do you listen to music to set the mood for writing?

I don’t listen to music because then I want to sing along, and those words mess with the ones in my head. If I go to a coffee shop—which is where I am as I write this—my mind keeps drifting back to the music playing in the background, and I try to make sense of the lyrics, which, in this case, is impossible. I like to “hear” the story—to me, writing with music is like going to a movie and trying to listen to a baseball game on the radio at the same time. 

  1. What was the spark that gave you the story idea for Christmas Under the Stars?

I ask a lot of “what if” questions, and the question that sparked this story was what if a man was attracted to a woman he thought was married? Then the challenge became how to keep that misinformation from being straightened out too soon in the story.

I had done a lot of research in Echo Canyon, Utah, for another book and loved the setting. There is actually a place in the canyon where early settlers gathered for church services at the base of the palisades. Once I stood in that spot, I knew I needed a story where they could hold a church service in that same spot.

  1. What will readers find appealing about The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado?

I think readers will find the older characters appealing. So many of our reading population have elderly parents or are contemplating being caregivers to their parents. I wanted to show that just because our age increases, our abilities, our faculties, and our longing for love doesn’t decrease.

  1. What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the seventh in a mystery series that is published under my pen name, Leeann Betts. Next up will be a month of working on some older manuscripts, and then I will begin in January writing a new novella for a romance collection coming out late 2018/early 2019 with Barbour Publishing.

If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, then add either of Donna’s two new books to your library. Just click on the book cover.

Matthew returns to Christmas Inn to celebrate his fortieth anniversary alone, intending to take his own life so he can join his beloved Sarah, who passed on to glory the previous January. Not certain how—or if—he will go on without her, Matthew learns on his arrival that the old inn will close its doors on New Year’s Eve. A developer has purchased the building and intends to tear it down and put up a chain hotel. Determined to keep his memories and his connection to Sarah alive, Matthew embarks on a harebrained scheme to keep the inn open.

Edith Cochrane, a widow, comes to Christmas Inn because she has nowhere else to spend the holidays. Her children are angry with her because she refuses to choose to live with one of them. Edith and her husband enjoyed a long marriage and a long mission-field ministry, but ever since his passing the previous year, Edith has found herself at loose ends. She comes to Christmas Inn to spend some time thinking about her options.

Can Matthew and Edith save the old hotel—and themselves—or will they run out of time?


November 1858, Utah Territory
Edie Meredith strives to keep her temper and her tongue under control as she heads west with her brother to California. Raised in an itinerant preacher family, she promises she will never marry a man of the cloth.

Tom Aiken, drover of the wagon train, longs to answer his true calling: to preach, and while he realizes not every woman would choose a preacher for a husband, he hopes to soon find his help-meet.

Suspicious ‘accidents’ plague their journey. Is someone trying to keep them from reaching their destination? Or will misunderstanding and circumstances keep them apart?

Connect with Donna Online

Facebook * Twitter * Website * Blog


Focus on Gratitude – Each Day

Some days finding one good thing can be hard. You can do it! When you do, your day will go so much better. At least mine always do. Try starting your day with a grateful heart and let me know if the day goes better.

As always, my memes are my gift to you. Use them wherever you want.


10 Ideas for Paying It Forward

Gratitude is contagious. We get it by practicing every day.

We can spread the cycle of generosity and kindness when we repay a good deed to others instead of the original benefactor.

If you’ve read the book Pay It Forward, or even if you haven’t, you’ll probably recognize the expression. The book’s about a young boy who did three good deeds for others in need. All he wanted in return was that the recipients pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going.

The idea spread and gained movement. Now, April 28 is recognized as international Pay It Forward Day

But, you know what, we don’t have to limit sharing good deeds (or practicing gratitude) to one day. One good deed every day might not seem like much, but if we practiced paying it forward, the difference in attitude, others, and ours could be phenomenal.

As Gandhi has said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Need some ideas on how to pay it forward? Here are ten:

  • Send a greeting card to someone.
  • Visit a neighbor and ask if you can help with any chores or pick up something at the market for them.
  • Complement the store cashier.
  • Drop off books you’ve read to a shelter.
  • Pay for the person in line behind you at a fast food drive through or express line at the grocery store or tollbooth.
  • Cook a casserole for an elderly couple or new mother.
  • If it’s raining, offer your umbrella or at least share it.
  • Pay for someone’s cup of coffee.
  • Volunteer at a school.
  • Donate a bag of pet to a local shelter.

What would you add to the list?


Not So Lucky

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Last week, actually on Halloween night, we heard a ruckus in the chicken yard. I had just closed them up and it was raining so I was not happy about whatever was causing the commotion. I headed out to find one group of chickens had escaped their coop and were frantically calling at the front of the chicken yard.

My protective instinct kicked in and I hastened back to see what had frightened them.

Nothing was in their coop however I saw movement between the fences.  A possum had grabbed the hen that had been living between the fences and was dragging it off.  I chased the possum off and began to gather our hens back into their coop.

Rachel heard the racket and came to offer support.  I showed her the hen which I assumed was dead.  She thought it best to remove the body so the possum did not return to finish the meal.

When I reached through the chain link fence to grab the hen’s leg, it gave a feeble squawk.

Now, according to animal science major Rachel, there was no choice but to retrieve the hen and assess its injuries.

After rinsing it in the bathtub, Rachel was able to bandage the wounds and fix it a nice dry place in a laundry basket in the bathroom.  At least it would die in comfort.

The hen survived the night so Rachel named her “Lucky.”  We tube fed her and Rachel bought some special antifungal, antibacterial medicine called “Blue Kote” to put on her. After a couple days in intensive care, Lucky was moved out to an isolation run in the chicken yard.

She wasn’t mobile so each night I would lock her in the coop and each morning I would gently move her out near food and water.  I would put her near the water and make sure she drank.  I watched her eat.

I was hopeful.

However, after three days, despite the best efforts of animal science major Rachel and Chicken Wrangler Sara, Lucky succumbed to her injuries. Perhaps she was not so lucky after all.