The Crayon Bucket

Broken crayons make weak hands strong. Let that sink in. We are made for a purpose. We are important. We are loved. *I* am loved. Say that out loud.

My Story, My Song

In my classroom, we have this bucket. We call it the crayon bucket. It’s job is to hold two kinds of crayons: the broken ones and the forgotten ones.

When I started teaching it didn’t take me long to figure out that crayons are hard for five-year-olds to keep up with. Like… I found it out within thirty minutes!!! 🙂

We started out that first day and everyone had a brand new pack of shiny, beautiful, pointy crayons (by the way, I quickly learned that you don’t give a class full of kindergarteners an entire pack of crayons on day one…teaching 101). Now I do a crayon a day.As we learn each color,if wetreat our first crayon nicely, we get to keep it and eventuallyget more, but anyway, that’s another story!

So, after thirty minutes on that first day of school, I had a floor full of random crayons…

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Painkillers of the 1800s

If you need to administer pain relief to a fictional character here’s a great list of the different remedies available. You’re welcome!


“Give me somethin’ for the pain, Doc…” How many times have you heard this in a Western movie?

If you were to rate the knowledge about painkillers in the 1800s in North America, which one would you say:

  1. Doctors knew very little. Most of the time, they just gave whisky.
  2. They knew enough to help some people. Mostly with unknown herbs.
  3. They used the major painkiller that is still the major painkiller we use in hospitals today.

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She Wears Her Red Today

As a survivor of domestic violence I really love this poem. Such great imagery of triumph, hope, moving toward a future.
Something I try to portray with my characters. 🙂

Ellen Carr

red dress smaller image-864107_640

She wears her red today,
bias-cut and flouncy,
her hair let loose and wild,
a-tumbling and bouncy,
and scarlett lips,
bright fingertips.

She rides the train to town,
with chocolate bars for munching,
credit card at hand,
money spare for lunching,
meeting her friends,
for exuberant ends.

She stops to hear a busker
singing in the street,
empties coins into his hat,
and taps to his drum beat.
Her spirits are high;
she could virtually fly.

While waiting for her friends
her feet are almost dancing,
the rythmn of her heart,
her silent joy enhancing.
Life’s as it should be,
breezy, sweet and free.

The scars beneath her clothes,
clear but fading slowly,
are reminders of her days
of worry, feeling lowly.
Now that is the past;
she is free at last.

She celebrates her healing,
in food and wine and laughter,
rejoicing with her friends
for her happy ever…

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Free Christian downloadable ebooks

Free Christian romance ebooks. Free ebooks for Kindle. Free epub books.


Love free Christian ebooks? Especially Christian fiction? Here are some tried and tested links that I’ve found for FREE BOOKS! 😀

Each link  opens the site with free books. Happy reading!

Christian Book Finds, here, and here. every Friday they update their list of free books.

Amazon Top 100 free Christian romance: this link is Kindle’s top 100 best sellers in Christian fiction. not all these books should be labelled as “Christian” so read the blurbs/reviews carefully. But who knows what gems you’ll find. They’re free so there’s nothing to lose.:) takes a bit of sifting through, but I have found some good authors through this site. this is great, especially if you use the subscribe by email function. They email you a list every day of their pick of free or heavily discounted books by the top selling Christian authors. Bonus! free classic Christian books. Authors such as A.W. Pink, Calvin, John Bunyan, Luther, Spurgeon etc.

That’s all I’ve got to share. How about you? Do you know of any good websites that have free ebooks? Post any links in the comments.:)

In other news, my book, “Mail Order Surprise” is available on Amazon. $3.99

Happy reading!

Clash of the Titles – Please vote for my book cover 😀

Morning everyone!

All of this week my book cover is featured (along with a few others) on Clash of the Titles. If you are so inclined, please pop over and vote for my cover by clicking here and voting.

Thanks so much!


Mail Order Surprise

My cover. I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s pretty. 🙂

I wish the other covers (and authors!) all the very best. 😀

Christian Author Scavenger Hunt!

Scavenger Hunt from Winged Publications Authors

Scavenger Hunt

Below, you will find a list of questions. One answer can be found at the author’s website or author page (link provided). The other can be found within the mentioned book. Spend some time browsing the pages to find your answers.

This hunt will run through the entire month of May.

When you have your answers, send them to A winner will be drawn on June 1, 2016. US ONLY!

First prize is a Kindle, generation 7 with WiFi and the listed eBooks.
The Nosy Neighbor series by Cynthia Hickey
Mainely Mysteries, by Susan Page Davis.
Murder Under the Mistletoe by Debby Mayne
Desert Duet by Debra E. Marvin
An Indian Paintbrush Summer by Julie Pollitt
Lamp in Darkness by Colleen L. Reece
Her Candy Cane Christmas by Bonnie Engstrom
Operation Scarlet Carnation by Jennifer AlLee
Women in Peril by Birdie L. Etchison
Garden of Love by Martha Rogers
Desert Desperate by Dana Mentink
The Seekers by The Cuffe sisters
Apple Blossom Daze by Gail Gaymer Martin
Montana Skies by Mary Alford
Orange Blossom Café by T.I. Lowe
Early Birds by Janetta Fudge-Messmer
The Case of the Bouncing Grandma by Alice K. Arenz
The Cross divider by Richard Thompson
Dressed for Death by Darlene Franklin
Bitterroot Bride by Angela Breidenbach
This Side of Heaven by Diane Dean White
Hawthorn Hope by Helen Gray

Second prize is an eBook of the boxed set of Cynthia Hickey’s Nosy Neighbor Series.

Third prize is Anything For a Mystery, the first book in the Nosy Neighbor series. For a tie, we will have a drawing.

Author Susan Page Davis:
Question: What state was Susan born in?
Book: The Reliable Cowboy (in the Christmas Mail Order Angels collection) Question: What was Isabelle’s deceased husband’s first name?

Author Dana Mentink:
In what year did Dana win the Women on Writing Flash Fiction contest?
Book question: In the Up Finny’s Nose series, how did the town of Finny get its name?

From the Cuffe Sisters:
Where do the Cuffe sisters live?
What’s the name of the young slave boy who keeps Lawrence Wainwright out of trouble in The Seekers?

Author Martha Rogers:
Question: Who is with me in a picture sharing our books at ICRS?
From the book, Garden of Love: What advice did Mrs. Benson give Carrie regarding her love for Landon?

Author Anita Higman:
website link:
Question from site: What is spanning across the top of my website?
Question from the novel, A Question of Destiny. What is the heroine given that changes her life?

Author: Cynthia Hickey:
How many children does Cynthia have?
What is Stormi Nelson’s occupation? (From Anything For A Mystery)

Author Alice K. Arenz:
On Alice K. Arenz’s website, what does the “home” button look like?
Question on Alice K. Arenz’s novel An American Gothic: What’s the name of the book the lead character, Lyssie, is writing?

Author J. Carol Nemeth:
FB page link:…
A question that someone has to go to the site to find: What is the name of my debut novel?
A question from your book: What’s the name of Jessica Montgomery’s new friend and co-worker?

Author Colleen Reece:
Question: “What and when was Colleen L. Reece’s first writing success?”

Question: from Shepherd of Love Mystery Romance Book One, A Lamp in Darkness. “What are the names of the five nurse friends who
star in the series? Which departments do they work in?

Meet me at:

Author Debby Mayne:
My website:
Question from my website: What type of tips does Debby offer on her website?
Question from my Summer Walsh series: Where was Summer Walsh a police detective before she decided to get out of law enforcement?

Author Debra Marvin:
Question: What state do I love writing about?
Question: In what year does my novella Desert Duet take place?
Author Carrie Fancett Pagels: is my website.
Q from website — How many covers does Carrie have on her Press Kit page and which one is your favorite?
Q from The Steeplechase — Where was this 1810 story set?
Author Jennifer Collins Johnson:
My website is
Question: In the book Help Wanted: A Bluegrass Bride Cade was a young teen the first time he saw Emilie, who was just a child herself. What was she doing when he saw her?

Author Debra Ullrick:
Where is it posted on my website that “I’m Getting A Book Contract”?
Question from the book, Say it with Roses: Who is Lulu and what breed is she?

Author Lucy Thompson:
Question for the site:
What do lamingtons, pavlova, Vegemite, and Lucy Thompson all have in common?
Question from my book:
How many brothers does Beau, the hero from Mail Order Surprise, have?

Author: Janetta Messmer:

Question from website: What was the name of Janetta’s Bed & Breakfast?

Question from book: What restaurant do the Early Birds frequent?

Author Julie Pollitt:
“What picture shows up next to ‘Welcome Friends?'”
In the book, An Indian Paintbrush Summer, what state did Millie and Buck grow up in?
Q. If you were going steady, what was the matching color yarn the girls thought would be cool to wear on his school ring, that matched their sweater?

Author Diane Dean White:
If you were going steady, what was the matching color yarn the girls thought would be cool to wear on his high school ring to match their sweater? From, Evening in Paris, Tangerine Lipstick and Sandra Dee.
Q. What kind of bird scolded and then serenaded his approval during Brett’s marriage proposal in Diane’s book, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN?

Author Birdie Etchison:
Birdie Etchison Writer is the website.
Look for: Laughter is the Sunbeam of the Soul
From Wind in the Pines Mountain Music, Book II
Question: Where is Snowy Lane and why is Audrye going there?
Author Debra Lynn Collins:
Question one: On my website’s home page what drink is mentioned?
Question two: In Camellia’s Smile there are two dogs in the story. Moe is the name of one of the dogs. What is the name of the other one

Author Sherri Stewart:

My blog is my author page is
Book question from Stranded with Pearls: What’s the name of the Italian restaurant where Gracie enjoys a romantic meal with Trey?
Blog site or author page: What suspense novel is compared to a ride on a roller coaster?
Author Linda Johnson:
Question from website: Name one of the national tv shows where Linda appeared?
Question from Forget Me Not: What is the name of the fishing lodge Kate is hired to promote?

Author Trish Perry:
At what profession was I horrible in my past?
From the book Under the Dogwood Tree: What crime does Bernadette discover at her boyfriend’s company gala?

Author Helen Brown Gray:

A question from the website:
For what line did Helen write before becoming an independent author?

A question from a book:
River Town Romance contains what two novellas?
Author Candice Prentice:
Question from my website:
What certification did I recently complete that has nothing to do with writing?
Question from Murder in the Milkcase:
What gift did Trish Cunningham receive from her husband in Murder in the Milkcase?

Author Niki Turner:
Website link:
Question: What is the name of my blog?
Book Question: What kind of fancy German ski wax does Ruby need to order?

Author Anne Greene:
My website address:
A question from my website: What is the name of the second book on Anne’s home page?
A question from A Christmas Belle: Why did Amanda need a husband?

Author Mary Alford:
Your website link or blog:
A question from the website: How many books does Mary currently have published?
A question from your book: What town is Cara Stevens from?

Author Angela Breidenbach:
Your website link:
A question from the website: What year was my grandpa’s antique Bible published?
From a book, Bitterroot Bride, from American State Flower series:
What did Emmalee Warren need to learn to survive?

Author Anne Greene

Author Darlene Franklin
Question from website: How many states has Darlene lived in?
Gunfight at Grace Gulch: When was the town of Grace Gulch founded?

Author Jennifer AlLee

Website question: In what city was Jennifer born?
Book Question: In Operation Scarlet Carnation, what is Harold extremely allergic to?

Author T.I. Lowe
Website T. I. Lowe
Question for website.
While sipping a cup of coffee, you may discover a life lesson from who?

Orange Blossom question.
What prank ended up costing Aiden $500?

Author Gail Gaymer Martin
Question: What two subscriptions are available on Gail’s home page?

Question; In Romance By Design: How many brothers does Morgan have?

Author Bonnie Engstrom
Who was the teacher who said I could be a good writer if only I would learn how to spell?

Her Culinary Catch
What was Connie’s cat’s name?

Author Patty Smith Hall
Question–What book is listed second on the books page of her website?

Question from His Cherokee Rose–What item did Aunt Lucille take with her to the hospital?


How much fun are those questions?! Happy hunting! 🙂

Windows of Blessing (and more publishing news)

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10

When it rains it pours!


Not sure who to credit for this pic. Not mine. I found it here….


God has been moving in my life lately. I mean, he ALWAYS is moving in my life, but in the last two weeks I’ve really seen his hand and felt his favour.

My first book is now published. Available here. 😃 So exciting!

Lots of love, fuzzy feelings, cyber hugs, digital high-fives, and assorted comments, shares, and most importantly–reading! happening over on my facebook author page. One lovely lady even made a meme with a quote from my book!! See? Blessings.


Credit to Susan Snodgrass


Just when I think God is about to shut that window of blessing … cos I have doubts sometimes. In my humanness I put limits on His grace. Silly me.

We had a win in a personal matter. I won’t share the details, but it had me crying happy tears, feeling relieved, and smiling non-stop.

Ta-da! Another window of blessing opened by God.

And then…

I have to ask this question. It’s very serious, so bear with me. Practice your serious face.

🤓   🤔



What’s better than ONE mail order bride story?


NINE mail order bride stories!!

I’m now included in a fantabulous NINE book collection of mail order bride stories. *gasp* 

Mail Order Brides: Sometimes Love is only an Advertisement Away

Mail Order Brides- Sometimes Love is only an Advertisement Away (9 stories of mail order love)

Click here to buy. $3.99 for all nine! 😮

The other lovely authors in this collection are:

Janice Thompson      Jennifer AlLee      Cynthia Hickey      Debbie Mayne

Darlene Franklin      Teresa Ives Lilly      Martha Rogers      Julie Pollitt

Now that’s a huge window of blessing.

Wow. I’m amazed by God. Only he could orchestrate the events that happened in the last few weeks, few months, or indeed, anything life-changing in my life.

How about you? Have you noticed the windows of heaven opening in your life? Or is God silent?

I’ve had seasons of both in my life. All I can offer is this: Pray. Trust. Wait.

God bless. And keep reading. 😉



The Journey to Mail Order Surprise


So much to say….


In early 2011, I sat at my computer and thought I’m going to write a book. Such a lofty idea. All I knew of the story was that there was a lady and she was on a train. Yup. All I knew about this story! So I wrote the first line and then the next and the next and… Well, you get the picture.

At first it was a secret. Just me and the words. The paper and I. Gradually, I introduced “Book Draft” to other people. At first, my sister, who I bugged  for feedback over the phone. Then to a few select friends (writers!). I joined ACFW and through them, Scribes the big critique loop.

I got feedback on my manuscript, still stubbornly called “Book Draft”. I learned a whole bunch of writerly stuff. Point-of-View. Character Arcs. Tension. Motivation. Add in some edits from the talented Helen Wakefield. I visited the US and attended a writers conference in 2012. There I learned a bunch more in workshops, met my critique partners, Lizzie and Susan in person, and met my agent, Chip MacGregor.

Life fast-forwarded along a busy road filled with family, church, and friends.

Contest finals came and went in 2013. “Book Draft” became “A Certain Woman of Worth” and then “Mail Order Surprise”. An Honorary Mention in the Maggie Awards. 2nd place in RWA Touched by Love competition.

Fast forward some more, blithely skipping over more writing, moving, getting married, a new baby, more writing, and much merry-making.

My agent submitted this book to one publishing house after another. All with varying responses, but the bottom line was no.

And then…

We tried (I say we, when it was really Chip. 😜 ) tried Forget Me Not Romances. Finally! A yes. Even better, a “I’d LOVE to contract this series”.


But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me introduce some old friends of mine, Beau and Lydia. You’ll find their story here.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going  to stare at the cover a li’l bit longer. Catch me on facebook. I’d love to chat. 😀

Mail Order Surprise


Buy it on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

P.S. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. This book started with one line over five years ago. Who knows where your dream will take you! 💜