Honoring Grandma Moses

Born this day in 1860, Anna Mary Robertson Moses was the third of ten children. As a child, she attended a one-room schoolhouse that is now the Bennington Museum in Vermont. She took art lessons at school and was encouraged by her father at home. At a later age, she wrote, “I was quite small, my father would get me and my brothers white paper by the sheet. He liked to see us draw pictures. It was a penny a sheet and lasted longer than candy.”

As a young wife and mother, Moses applied creative touches to her home. She used house paint to decorate a fireboard, created beautiful quilted objects, and made embroidered pictures of yarn for family and friends.

At the age of 76, she developed arthritis and was forced to abandon embroidery. She turned to painting, focusing on episodes of farm life she had experienced firsthand. A prolific painter, she created over 1,500 canvasses in three decades. She was “discovered” in her eighties.

Here are ten of my favorite quotes from Grandma Moses:

A strange thing is memory and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow. Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day.

I like to paint something that leads me on and on into the unknown, something that I want to see away on beyond.

I’ll get an inspiration and start painting; then I’ll forget everything, everything except how things used to be and how to paint it so people will know how we used to live.

A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.

People should take time to be happy.

Life is what you make it.

If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.

I look back on my life like a good day’s work. It was done and I am satisfied with it.

Even now I am not old. I never think of it, and yet I am a grandmother to eleven grandchildren.

I would never sit back in a rocking chair, waiting for someone to help me.

Happy National Grandma Moses Day!


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10 Trail Riding Tips

I’m happy to welcome award-winning Soul Mate author Sally Brandle to the Power of 10 series. Today, Sally shares essential trail riding tips and her latest release, The Hitman’s Mistake.

Here’s Sally!

You’ve always dreamed of meandering on a woodsy trail on a calm, trusty steed? Well, me too. I’m living my childhood dream of every pony girl—four decades later. It all started with a Living Social coupon to a local equestrian center. For the last six years my gelding, Lance, and I have shared a treasured trust in one another while trotting trails. A shout out to Vanessa Kuhlman, owner of Highpoint, who teamed me with a wonderful four-legged teacher and friend.

Lance and I assisted or ponied riders on frequent trail rides, and here’s what I’ve learned. I’m far from an expert, but I pride myself in paying attention. I’ve ridden stable horses in Spain, Ireland, Mexico, and most Western states. Horses are kind, intelligent creatures allowing us to ride them. Enjoy the blessing!


















1. Do your homework on area stables offering rides. View online comments about the owners/guides, horses, and terrain you’ll be riding on. Honor the weight limits and find the right fit for your comfort level. Please consider a lesson first. At a minimum, watch a couple of You Tube videos on basic riding cues and horsemanship or go to a site like Hay-net.co.uk for tips.

2. Be honest with your ability—to the point of underselling your accomplishments.

3. Go prepared if the stable doesn’t list requirements on their site. Long pants, long sleeves, sunglasses, sunscreen, boots with a low heel, and a pocketful of mini carrots are my standard equipment. Yes, I carried boots and breeches to Hawaii for my birthday trail ride on Ziggy.

4. Arrive about fifteen minutes early and absorb the barn vibe. It should be calming. If you have kids with you, remind them that quiet voices and slow movements are mandatory around horses. When you’re given the okay, you greet a horse by walking in from the side and letting them smell you first. Horses are prey animals. If approached from behind their natural instinct is to kick or flee. Stable horses should be calm, but don’t assume.

5. Ask first about giving treats and where your horse prefers to be petted. The guide will show you how to flatten your hand to offer a carrot. If the mounts aren’t fully tacked, offer to help groom. The quicker you form a bond, the better your ride will be.

6. You’re in the saddle. Don’t be shy voicing a concern if the stirrup length doesn’t feel comfortable. If you can’t do a one-handed stop, ask, and then do a couple circles utilizing the technique. If something unusual happens on the ride, you need to know how to implement your emergency brake. Scratch your horse’s withers and complement him throughout the ride.

7. Sit up straight and relax. Keep your reins to where they’re not pulling on the horse’s mouth. Been to a dentist recently? Well, your horse has much worse than a rubber dam in his mouth. Most horses are trained for leg cues. If you want to move to the left, you push him with your right calf. Need to stop, lean slightly back, and say whoa. I’m non-violent, but there were a number of customers at the stable I truly wanted to whack for reaming on their horse’s mouth.

8. Enjoy the sights, smells, sounds, and energy of riding in the woods. Take deep breaths of fresh air. I prefer early morning or dusk. It’s magical in the fall when you pass through a field glistening in sunlight with spider webs adorning tall, dry grass.

9. No ride’s guaranteed to be without incident. 99.9 percent of the time they will be, but, if you do slip off, relax (as much as possible ), tuck, and roll to the side or back end. You don’t want to fall forward and under hooves. I try to remember basic moves of head down and hands in. Hopefully you’ll be unhurt and can get up and mount again.

10. Have the guide take photos enroute or after you’ve returned and the big grin plastered on your face won’t leave. Give your horse plenty of scratches, praise, and carrots-if it’s okay. Ride again!

Blurb

After Miranda Whitley stops crooked cops from assassinating a prominent Seattle judge, she’s next on the hit list, and her survival depends on the buff FBI Agent she’s had one awkward encounter with. But can she find him in time?

The last person Grant Morley expects to discover on his annual supply run to a Montana mountain hermit is alluring Miranda Whitley, nearly dead from a bullet wound in her side. An accidental witness or the cold-blooded accomplice to would-be assassins?

Miranda must convince Grant of her innocence, evade the killers intent on preventing her testimony, and fight her unwanted attraction for the agent…an attraction which seems to be mutual. Fortunately, love thrives in Emma Springs. If you love sizzling chemistry, Montana’s mountain landscape, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Sally Brandle’s galloping thriller, The Hitman’s Mistake.

Excerpt

Setting: Our heroine’s pruning indoor plants in the lobby of Seattle’s Justice Building after hours.

***

Squeaks from her mom’s old pruning shears echoed in the large, vacant room. She pulled another uneven limb of the Chinese Elm closer to her face and squinted. While she clipped, a peppery fragrance released from the wood.

A twig grazed her cheek, making her flinch. She brushed the neckline of her purple T-shirt with the back of her hand.

The place threw off the vibes of an abandoned morgue. Chill. She released the limb, let out a long breath, and grabbed a lop-sided branch from overhead. Tonight, even a rude prosecutor’s voice rupturing the tranquility would be welcome.

Not happening this late, but Ike would be descending in the elevator any minute. Hopefully in a better mood than when she’d watered the jade plant in his judge’s chambers earlier. He’d been tense, without the fatherly banter he doled out when she visited him and his wife, Shirley.

Soft taps came from a few feet behind her. She tilted her head.

Footsteps? From the stairwell? Miranda released her grip, and the tree limb sprang free. She swung her head and watched the branch skim the fly of the trousers on the man now towering over her right shoulder.

Not Ike. She froze.

“What in the hell? Oh, didn’t see you there—” he sidestepped, and her cup scrunched in protest under his big boot. The lid popped off and the double shot of Kona glugged into a mocha-scented pool.

He jumped to avoid the puddle. “Damn energy conservation put you in the shadows. Sorry, I nailed your coffee.” His swinging backpack missed her nose by inches.

She twisted her body and scooted her butt until her shoulder jammed against a carved pot.

“I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

“It’s okay,” she mumbled, keeping her head lowered to avoid further contact with the bag-wielding klutz wearing black trousers. Must’ve been him she’d glimpsed a few minutes ago, while the elevator doors had closed on the floor below Ike’s.

“I’ve never been attacked by a branch. Must say, you deployed it well,” the deep voice announced. He stopped directly in front of her.

His hiking boots made her size-nine high-tops appear dainty.

Not the shoes of a snobby lawyer or a lost, post-trial pimp trying to find his way out of the building. Still, the flailing branch served him right for sneaking up on her. “I didn’t hear you.”

“And I shouldn’t text and walk,” he said in a lighter, almost sexy tone. “I’m Grant.” He dropped his pack and stuck out his hand.

An FBI tag printed ‘GRANT MORLEY’ hung from the bag.

She peered from under her cap’s brim and gulped.

Him.

Agent of Interest. Her heart took off at a gallop.

Buy Links

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Reviews & Interview

Tome Tender | USA Today Interview | Haynet Review

Bio

Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense stories. Sally left a career as an industrial baking instructor to bring to life stories of women who learn to trust their inner gifts. Her rescue Aussie is her companion during long spells of writing, bouts of tormenting weeds in her garden, or afternoons spent riding on the wind with her twenty-eight year old Quarter Horse. Sign up for her newsletter at http://www.sallybrandle.com for a free segment of her latest book, The Hitman’s Mistake.

Where to find Sally…

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads


Honoring Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76. A talented pianist with a powerful voice, Ms. Franklin is considered one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. She achieved commercial acclaim and success with such songs as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Spanish Harlem.”

The recipient of many accolades—among them 18 Grammy Awards and 112 charted hits—she also earned the “Queen of Soul” title and stood as a symbol of black empowerment during the Civil Rights Movement.

One of the truly amazing voices of our time!

My favorite quotations from Aretha Franklin:

I sing to the realists. People who accept it like it is.

Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, it’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.

Never take the music for granted…whether you have a hit or not.

Sometimes, what you’re looking for is already there.

People really don’t have to give you anything, so appreciate what people give you.

It really is an honor if I can be inspirational to a younger singer or person. It means I’ve done my job.

My faith always has been and always will be important to me.

Every birthday is a gift. Every day is a gift.

Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.

Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.

My favorite song …


Honoring Amelia Earhart

Born this day in 1897, author and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. For this flight record, she received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross.

Ms. Earhart continued to set record after record demonstrating that women could aspire to the same heights as men. And even more amazing she was able to transform her hobby into a career going on to become an author, lecturer, poet, and airline industry vice-president.

A powerful role model, she continues to inspire girls and women of all ages.

My favorite quotations from Amelia Earhart:

Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?

Never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.

Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off! But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.

There’s more to life than being a passenger.

Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others cannot do or will not do.

Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.

The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.

Happy National Amelia Earhart Day!


Happy Birthday Dalai Lama!

Today, the Dalai Lama celebrates his 83rd birthday. The recipient of numerous awards, among them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, he continues to inspire us with messages of non-violence and universal compassion.

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Here are ten of my favorite quotes from His Holiness…

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.

Someone else’s action should not determine your response.

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.

Anger or hatred is like a fisherman’s hook. It is very important for us to ensure that we are not caught by it.

I always say that people should not rush to change religions. There is real value in finding the spiritual resources you need in your home religion.


Lady Honor’s Top Ten Healing Herbs

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Madelyn Hill to the Power of 10 series. Today, Madelyn shares ten healing herbs and her latest release, Highland Honor.

Here’s Madelyn!

Lady Honor MacAlister is a healer. Her innate healing ability allows her to sense which herb is right for any malady.

1. Ginger – Lady Honor uses ginger for upset stomachs, building immunity when one is ill, and even to apply to a cut or sore to help it heal faster.

2. Willow Bark – Lady Honor uses Willow Bark as a pain reliever that is steeped in a tea.

3. Lavender – Soothing in a tea to help calm someone or help with sleeping.

4. Honey – Lady Honor gathers honey from the Bee Boles to use in teas for soothing throats, but also as a barrier to prevent infection. Honey offers antibacterial properties.

5. Camphor Oil – Not readily available in Scotland as a natural resource, but available for purchase in larger cities such as Edinburgh. Aids colds and consumption, think Vicks Vapor Rub.

6. Onion – Used in poultice to help with congestion and can prevent scurvy.

7. Catnip – Helps the body release heat from a fever and relaxes muscles and induces sleep.

8. Chamomile – Makes a calming tea and with other ingredients can be a soothing tonic.

9. Fennel Seeds – Helps with stomach upset, helps lower blood pressure, and treats respiratory issues.

10. Valerian Root – Has anti-inflammatory benefits, reduces stress, and calms anxiety.

*Please note, I am not a doctor and you shouldn’t try any of the above mentioned remedies without consulting your physician.

Hook: Lady Honor MacAllister can heal everything but a broken heart . . .

Blurb

Lady Honor does not believe in marriage. Her father’s death broke her mother’s spirit and took her from her daughters emotionally well before her own death. When Honor is attacked in the forest, she keeps the event to herself, lest her lairds search for the man and strike him down. As a healer, she’ll do anything it takes not to cause harm. Rumors of attacks in the Highlands forces the lairds to increase guards and security measures. When Bryce Calder is assigned to protect Lady Honor, she fights the burgeoning attraction for the man, knowing she’ll never risk her heart to love.

Warrior Bryce Calder trusts no woman. Women only strive to better themselves through cunning, as his father warned throughout his childhood. When he is asked to escort Lady Honor while she gathers healing herbs, he is vexed. Training the men and protecting the clan are his duties, not following the sharped-tongued lass about the wood. With each passing day, Bryce becomes enchanted by Lady Honor, despite his father’s words, but his unworthiness halts any proclamation of his desire.

An unlikely partnership develops during the frequent trips to the forest and work in the apothecary. The walls each has erected to protect their hearts and their future crumbles. Until a stranger arrives at the keep. Lady Honor’s secret is threatened to be revealed putting in jeopardy the growing romance between the ardent healer and the reluctant warrior-suitor.

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Author Bio

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They are busy with their 3 children and a puppy named Cannoli! They love to cook, go to the movies, and hang out with friends.

Where to find Madelyn…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | GoodReads | Amazon Page | Instagram


Rebecca’s Power of 10 List…This is NOT a Diet!

I’m happy to welcome author Rebecca Marino to the Power of 10 series. Today, Rebecca shares ten rules for losing weight and her latest release, The Drive.

Here’s Rebecca!

(Disclosure—I am NOT a health professional or a dietician. I’m a teacher/author who loves to eat chocolate and peanut butter.)

April rolled around in Indiana after a snowy winter. In one week the high temperature changed from 31F to 68F. Time for a drastic wardrobe change. I pulled several pairs of shorts from my closet and not one pair fit comfortably…My favorite pair were impossible to get into. I finally squeezed into last summer’s ‘loose shorts’ and decided I really needed to do something. Diet??? UGH!


I had all kinds of excuses…

• I’m a preschool teacher and work five days a week
• I’m an author and have been doing a lot of sitting while writing and revising two books
• I hit the golden age of 50 in February
• I run two to three times a week…isn’t that enough?
• I found some REALLY yummy dessert recipes on Pinterest that I just had to try–(and eat the entire batch)

There are more excuses too embarrassing to mention…

BUT, not only was I unable to zip my FAVORITE pair of shorts…I couldn’t squeeze into 90% of my shorts. I jumped on the scale and my eyes bulged almost as big as my protruding gut….I had gained 10 pounds in the past 6 months.

I HAD to do something about this because I couldn’t bear to place my favorite shorts in the Goodwill pile!

I turned to the internet and Googled every diet and exercise program I could find. Everything was commercialized…buy this food…buy this book…buy this exercise program…Diet and exercise is EXPENSIVE! The before and after pictures were encouraging, yet every success story had a small print disclosure stating, ”These results are not typical.”

Hours later I decided to not ‘diet’. I had watched a ‘Good Eats’ by Alton Brown episode a few years back about how he lost weight without being on a ‘diet’. He lost 50 pounds by changing the way he ate…without totally giving up sweets and carbs.

I LOVE bread and I LOVE chocolate and I LOVE peanut butter. Giving those foods up completely was not an option. I knew if I wanted to wear my shorts again I’d need to severely limit my intake of those precious commodities.

I also researched exercising and found out when you exercise is important for weight loss. The best time to exercise to burn fat is first thing in the morning BEFORE you eat. I didn’t increase my running (two to three times a week) because the research showed the best workouts for weight loss were NOT running…they were High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Strength Training. I decided to include a short Tabata workout (The Seven Minute workout on Youtube) and 25 minutes of strength training three times a week.

With a lot of will power and the following 10 rules…I changed my eating habits with the goal to lose those ten pounds. Here’s my POWER OF TEN list…Remember…this is NOT a diet!

1) Eat oatmeal for breakfast. Not the little package kind. Straight oats with water and a dash of cinnamon and almond or vanilla extract. I either cook it on the stove or microwave it. It’s not the tastiest breakfast, but it keeps me full.

2) Eat a mid-morning snack, a mid-afternoon snack, and an evening snack in addition to three small meals. Snacks I choose included: a protein shake (easy to drink at preschool) or a plain rice cake with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, or a handful of almonds or walnuts, or carrot sticks and humus, or a half cup of plain Greek yogurt, or an apple, or a piece of deli turkey wrapped in a piece of cheese, or any fresh green veggie.

3) Eat as much fresh green vegetables as possible during your six meals/snacks. Spinach, Kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, etc.

4) Drink a gallon of water every day. This one is REALLY hard. Most days I didn’t drink the entire gallon…but I found if I carry a water bottle around I come close to drinking a gallon.

5) No snacking in between the three meals and three snacks. AND no eating after 9:00 pm.

6) No added sugar. Read the labels. If sugar is an added ingredient…don’t eat it.

7) No high carbohydrate foods. (Oatmeal, brown rice, and ancient grains like quinoa are slow burning carbs—GOOD. Bread, potatoes, pasta, basically anything with flour in it—NOT GOOD).

8) Limit fresh fruit to one serving per day. Fresh fruit has a lot of natural sugar in it. Berries are the best with the lowest amount of natural sugar.

9) Treat yourself! Eat two servings of bread OR pasta each week…not per day… Two servings per week. That means one bun and one small cup of macaroni in seven days.

10) Treat yourself! Eat dessert once a week or alcohol once a week…make it worth it and keep the proportion small. Desserts taste so much better when you only have one a week!

During the first week I was shocked that I wasn’t hungry. Yes, I missed sweets and breads and potatoes at first, but quickly noted my energy levels had gone up instead of down. The water and the veggies really helped me feel full all day. I even had a hard time remembering to eat my healthy snacks three times a day.

After seven days…I got on the scale…I had lost 5 pounds! My shorts still didn’t fit, but the weight loss gave me some serious motivation to continue.

After three weeks…I remained at a 5 pound loss….UGH! At first I was very frustrated BUT….my shorts were beginning to feel MUCH looser!

After four weeks…I had lost 7 pounds and my shorts were zipping without me taking huge deep breaths!

After six weeks…I remain at the weight loss of 7 pounds…but ALL of my shorts fit comfortably!

I’m very happy after nine weeks….despite remaining at a 7 pound total weight loss. I’ve talked to a registered dietician and she noted my 3 extra pounds is probably added muscle from working out. I lost the fat but gained muscle which helps my body burn fat around the clock—even while I’m sitting. Cool!

Did I ever cheat? You betcha! I had two desserts one week (chocolate brownie and fresh strawberry short cake) I also ate a piece of yummy bread at a restaurant before I ate my grilled shrimp, broccoli, and green beans. I’d remind myself, “It’s okay to cheat once in a while, just don’t make it a habit.”

I accomplished my goal of fitting into my clothes without losing all ten pounds and that is OKAY because I feel new strength in my arms from the muscle I developed. My biggest takeaway is my new awareness of ingredients in the foods I’ve eaten mindlessly for so long. With a little preparation and planning I eat more foods that are healthier and make me feel better.

Plus, I learned how to eat to feel full, yet remain in moderation without completely giving up chocolate and peanut butter. Now that is sweet!

Here’s my favorite snack.

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

2/3 cup peanut butter (I use natural crunchy)
½ cup Hershey dark chocolate chips
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup ground flax seed
2 Tablespoons honey

Combine all 5 ingredients in a bowl. Stir. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to make it easier to roll. Roll into 12 bites and store in a zip baggie in the fridge for up to a week. (I use my small cookie scoop which makes 16 smaller bites.)

I found this recipe at ChefSavvy

I LOVE to try new recipes and read mystery/thrillers so feel free to share your favorites in the comments below. Thanks, Joanne for hosting me today!
Keep reading, writing, and indulging (every once in a while).

Blurb

Three last words…Trust No One.

Kasey Carter’s life changes forever when a mysterious flash drive arrives on her doorstep. Three people with connections to the drive are soon murdered. With evidence in hand, the police and FBI quickly close each case.

A year later, Kasey finds the drive hidden, along with a note from her husband. ‘Deliver this to FBI Agent Dylan Rogers. Trust no one.’ Within hours of contacting Rogers, she finds herself on the run from an organized crime ring, the police, and the FBI.

Who can she trust?

A heart-pounding, action-packed tale of nail-biting suspense that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Free on Kindle ~ Wednesday, June 20 – Friday, June 22

Ms. Marino has crafted a riveting thriller filled with nail-biting suspense, multiple murders, romantic tension, and plot twists. I was impressed by the descriptive detail, heart-pounding and action-packed scenes, and smooth handling of multiple POVs. I strongly recommend setting aside large blocks of uninterrupted reading time. You won’t be able to put down this gripping page-turner.

Next, please!

Bio

Rebecca Marino is a preschool teacher, author, and mom of three, almost-grown kids (four if you count my husband of 26 years). I read and write suspense novels and children’s picture books while eating chocolate and peanut butter.

My novel, THE DRIVE is a Suspense Thriller, taking readers on a non-stop ride full of mystery, murder, and unexpected twists from the very first page.

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