October 2022 Story Sparks

I can’t find my shoes or the charger for my off-brand exercise watch. I can’t find several dozen other things either. I know where they are. They’re all packed and stored now at my niece’s ranch. A young friend of ours (in her 30s so not sure what generation she’s in) moved and all her boxes are the same and stored and numbered and she could find a dog toy because everything in every box is listed and on her smart phone. Oh to be so organized! She’s living with her parents momentarily. And we are at her parents’ B & B. The Gants lived with us for 8 months while we built the Homestead. The B & B is attached to their stable and in the night we can hear occasional bumps of the resting horses and can see them grazing outside our window in the day. We will be here in this pastoral place until the end of the month so Jerry can go deer hunting one last time. Then we head to California – and decide what to do in the long term. We thought we knew. Head to California – which we will – but temporarily or permanently?  The spirit of Central Oregon still calls to us. Unlike the scrappy juniper tree whose roots are shallow though far-reaching, our taproots go deep here. Our faith community is here. Friends. Family gravesites. Even family farther away in Florida has a connection to memories made here.

I wonder if those overland travelers at the cutoff who had to choose to head their teams toward Oregon or otherwise into California had moments like this? Even those who knew where they were headed carried the weight of memories mixed with risk and change.  Such a mix either makes tear soup or a hearty chili one can eat off for weeks.  Despite the pain of Jerry selling his boats and pool table and me giving away books – precious books – we are grateful for the help of family, friends and the College H.U.N.K.S. with a Truck Company. We had friends and family who supported us. But no one can make that decision now but us. And I remember von Goethe the 19th century lyricist who wrote: “Once people make a commitment to something, Providence moves.” We are counting on that. We just have to listen to that inner voice so we make that commitment.  We will keep you posted.

Beneath the Bending Skies Launches

Wow! What a great evening we had at Bend’s Roundabout Bookstore on the first day Beneath the Bending Skies went on sale. A great turnout even though I put the wrong time on my Facebook page!  Good grief! (I cherish the article a friend sent saying forgetfulness could be a sign of advanced intelligence!) And for those who couldn’t make the event, here’s a YouTube link of that evening. https://youtu.be/x6WhFtUH6is

At the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Event, we teamed up at a signing there with that great bookstore group showing up to help celebrate. I love this photo! Check out my calendar below to see even more events around this book where award-winning writer Michael Zimmer told me that Mollie’s story was his favorite one of all I’d written!  Humbled by his praise. (Michael is the author of many titles. My favorites are The Poacher’s Daughter and Hard Ride Across Texas.)


October 18 – 5:30pm Pacific. Women of Influence Webinar for writers and other creative people for an hour discussion about writing and publishing. Presentation and discussion with Carolyn McCready Exec Director for Zondervan, Harper Collins. Hope Lyda, writer and writer’s coach, and Jane Kirkpatrick. See details to sign up and learn more about the Influence Lab.

October 19 – 4:00pm Pacific. Book gathering and signing at Redmond Senior Center 325 NW Dogwood Ave, Redmond OR. Light refreshments. Co sponsored by Herringbone Books. Join me for a fun event celebrating Beneath the Bending Skies.

October 20 – Invitation only. The rededication of Letitia Carson Elementary School.  Remember A Light in the Wilderness? It wasn’t the only reason, but an elementary school in Corvallis, Oregon (home of Oregon State University that now owns the homestead of Davy and Letitia Carson) is being renamed for her. And two of her descendants – James and Joseph Lavadour, Walla Walla tribal members and renowned artists – have donated two of their amazing landscapes that will also be dedicated on this special day. I’ll take pictures of the event and share later!

October 23 –  1-3:00pm -Pacific. Rainbow West Christian Bookstore, 3832 Center St NE, Salem. (509) 399-8892.  A great store where I have signed many books before. This will be my only visit to the Salem area. Come chat!

November 3 – 5:00pm Pacific – Discussion of Beneath the Bending Skies at Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT bookstore.  Virtual event. With me will be representatives of Extreme History Project in Montana. Preregistration is requested. Click on this link to find out more! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/438747424357

November 10 – Invitation Only – Jerry receives his high school diploma at Bend Senior High School during a Veterans Day assembly. (I had the wrong month in last month’s Story Sparks. A bit distracted?) A pretty special day that will mark a flight from Palm Springs to Redmond. I will provide pictures.

Rupert Arrives!

We are in love!  Just 3 miles from our old Bend home is Storytime Cavaliers. One of my Story Sparks readers shared that information with us and we connected. And now dear Rupert (4.lb 8 oz) is at home with us at the B & B. When Jerry fell earlier this week (he’s ok. Scraped up a bit) I called the breeder and she said “bring him by” so he got a couple of hours of sibling play while we dealt with issues in Urgent Care. I was complimented on my wound care. Ah, the new skills one develops due to circumstance. It may be that this wasn’t the BEST time to bring a new puppy into our lives with our schedules so disrupted. But he sleeps most of the night.

I get up once about 2:00am to take him out and he does his double duty then happily pops back into his kennel. This morning he slept until 8:00am after a 5:00am take-out.  One can’t beat that for a 13-week-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. And we have lots of time not taken up with packing so we can learn his signals. He’s a good traveler and we’re not far from favorite veterinarians and a breeder very involved in her pups making great transitions to their new homes. Can’t wait to share him with our desert friends in California. Rupert is another link to our past here. One thing I learned when we left the ranch 12 years ago is that we are capable of change, of writing new chapters. And so are we all.

My hope is that as you face choices in the weeks ahead – and I know you will – that you write the words that will bring you joy.  As Marcel Proust wrote: “The real journey of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.”  I still haven’t found my shoes for the journey, but I found some other ones I’d forgotten I had. And the lenses on my glasses are all cleaned. I’m on my way!

See you in November.



P.S. I often get requests from those wishing a book list of my titles. Incidentally, Wikipedia has some errors. Visit my Bibliography webpage for the real scoop.