I just wanted to thank everyone who prayed for my grandson. The surgeons said they were happy with how his surgery went. He seems to be recovering okay, and it seems to be a matter of just waiting until they’re satisfied everything is working and he’s getting the proper nutrients before he can go home. God is good! : )
I have four things in today along with a farm story at the bottom.
- Jay has a preview for Heartland Joy!
- Alexa Verde has a FREE book – Show Me a Second Chance
- Today is release day for the Sweet Water Ranch TEN book box set – it’s only $.99 for a limited time!
- An anthology with more than 35 stories to benefit the Ukraine
- FREE audiobooks on YouTube
I’ll have some winners from last Friday’s questions in the newsletter on Friday.
You all were so very helpful the last time Jay and I had asked your opinion on the thumbnails for YouTube and we definitely appreciated it! Jay made some really awesome ones for Heartland Joy (I looove them all!) and he has a poll up in the Chat with the options. I have one just below, he has another on his channel and there are a few more in the Chat. I’d love for you to go vote on your favorite HERE. And, please, make sure you check out the sample, see what Jay’s wearing today and like and leave a comment!
Watch as Jay introduces this sample!
Shawn Barclay didn’t plan to stay in Iowa long. He’d only left his family and the close-knit community of Mistletoe, Arkansas as a favor to his parents. They’d asked him to help the daughter of a friend who was in an accident.
After arriving in Iowa, it doesn’t take long before Shawn invests in saving more than the woman’s farm. When he sees how the town avoids her, he decides to save her reputation, as well.
Bridget Rawlings isn’t exactly considered a catch in Prairie Rose, Iowa. In fact, the locals all but shun her and her three children. A cloud of death and disaster seems to surround both her and her farm. After all, The Bad Luck Widow has already buried two husbands.
Although she admires Shawn’s courage and willingness to help, Bridget doesn’t welcome his aid.
What if the locals are right? What if she is bad luck? She’s not willing to risk Shawn’s life and prove them right.
Then Shawn makes a very public surprise announcement. Will it solve Bridget’s problems, or break both their hearts?
★★★★★ “Great start to a new series!” – Sandy
★★★★★ “Very inspirational with wonderful characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this one highly recommend it.” – Lucia
★★★★★ “It amazes me how Jessie show her faith and give lesson in live and faith without effort. You fall in love with her characters, feel their struggles and make you want to be a better person, a better Christian.” – Nati
★★★★★ “I just can’t say enough about this story. Jessie has created wonderful characters and a storyline that is filled with God’s love and blessings. It really touched my heart. Can’t wait for the next story.” – Kathy
★★★★★ “This is a wonderful overtly Christian story. It’s not just the town that thinks Bridget is cursed, but Shawn doesn’t believe it. He knows God is in control. He’s not scared away.” – MaryEllen
FREE book from the lovely Alexa Verde!
A single-dad cowboy, a woman with a secret who left him, and a second chance at love neither of them expects… A sweet, clean, wholesome romance with a happily-ever-after!
Frightened by a possible stalker, a big-city marketing manager flees to her uncle’s B & B in the small town where she once felt safe. A place where neighbors know each other and where she fell in love with a hometown hero over two decades ago. Only now, that handsome cowboy is a large ranch owner with a little daughter and soul-deep scars left by his alcoholic ex-wife. Kimberly Byrd made mistakes that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Can she allow herself to love and be loved again?
Broken heart or not, Mac Clark can’t leave a woman in danger. Old feelings rekindle, but he has a precious daughter to think about now. As he discovers shocking secrets in Kimberly’s life, can he hope that he or his child wouldn’t get hurt for the second time?
Welcome to Cowboy Crossing, a small town in the Show Me State where swoon-worthy single dad cowboys fall for strong-willed forty-something women, though sometimes those rugged handsome men might need a nudge—or a push.
Cuddle up with a cowboy and enjoy these great, heartwarming and inspirational stories of love and laughter under the wide, North Dakota sky!
Book 1 – The Cowboy’s Best Friend: He’s a cowboy with a billion dollar problem. His best friend can solve it, but it might break his heart.
Book 2 – The Cowboy’s Secret Baby: Will Ty pick up his cowboy hat and come back home? Can he convince Louise that he’ll stay this time?
Book 3 – The Cowboy’s Beauty: Can he trust her with his face? Because he’s very close to losing his heart.
Book 4 – The Cowboy’s Best Friend’s Sister: Should he follow the plan, or follow his heart?
Book 5 – The Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage: The cowboy’s not afraid of anything…except losing his heart again.
Book 6 – The Cowboy’s Fairy Tale: He’s the billionaire heir of Sweet Water Ranch. His family is throwing a ball and he must choose a wife.
Book 7 – The Cowboy’s Secret Romance: Called The Preacher, Clay Stryker has lived a life as straight as a North Dakota highway. He made a promise to her. And she’s riding west to make sure he keeps it.
Book 8 – The Cowboy’s Bargain Bride: Can love bloom between a woman who was forced to sell herself and the man who bought her to get her ranch?
Book 9 – The Cowboy’s Enemy: Can you love someone and hate them at the same time?
Book 10 – The Cowboy’s Mistletoe Kiss: Mack didn’t trust her, but he needed someone to help him with his nieces. She needed someone to help her put on the best Christmas festival Sweet Water had ever seen. Could they trust each other enough to work together? And what about that mistletoe kiss?
Book 11 – Listen to Jay Dyess perform it for FREE on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVkOxEbKxWs&t=357s
Hey! Jessie here and I just wanted to say a word about this anthology. It’s most likely NOT clean and wholesome. It’s also not sweet romance. I know it’s not something that many of us normally would read, but I preordered a copy anyway because I love supporting authors who come together to do a good thing. I wanted to make you all aware of it in case you wanted to do the same. Also, I trust the person I know who’s in this and I know the money will go where it’s supposed to. : )
Authors coming together to help Ukraine. Over 1,300 exciting pages to keep you entertained all summer!
Turning The Tide is a limited-time mystery, thriller, science fiction, and urban fantasy anthology featuring more than thirty-five stories, many of them never before published or only available as limited releases, from a selection of fantastic authors including New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. What’s more, 100% of the profits will be donated to charities helping the humanitarian effort in Ukraine, with each author directly donating their share to the charity of their choice.
And here is a story from last April:
Wacko Jr and JR
We got Wacko from the sale barn—the owner of the sale barn called us and told us he had a nice cow with a calf at her side and he knew we were expanding our herd. He said it was a nice-looking pair and he wanted to see them go together because if he sent them through the sale barn, they’d probably split them up and sell them separately.
Ha. Maybe he gives everyone a sob story like that, but it worked on Watson. We paid the sale barn owner market price, and later that day, Watson brought home a nice Black Angus cow and her very young heifer calf.
We were still up in PA at the time, and when he pulled in, I walked over to see them.
Watson stepped out of the truck and said to me, “That was a bull story about splitting them up. This cow is nuts. He didn’t want to run her through the sale barn because she was going to kill someone.”
He wasn’t kidding. She attacked everything that moved. Everything. She even attacked us when we were standing on the other side of the fence. I honestly wanted him to load her back up and take her back down the road. She was going to kill someone.
Now, that might be partly because she had a small calf and she was scared and upset with being moved and all the unfamiliar people and places. Whatever it was, she really was scary, and she got the name Wacko that day.
In a few months, she calmed right down to the point we could walk up to her in the pasture, scratch her neck, and pet her calf, which we named Wacko Junior.
As happens sometimes, Wacko Junior came into heat before she was weaned, and she was bred early. When this happens, there are ways to abort the calf, which, honestly, is better for the mother (but not so good for the calf), but it doesn’t always work, and we don’t like to do it anyway.
A couple of weeks ago, we helped Wacko Junior give birth to her first calf—a huge baby bull that we call JR. We had to pull him, and she had some temporary nerve damage that affected her back left leg, but once she was up, she was a great mom…except she didn’t have much milk.
It’s hard to move a single cow—they don’t want to be separated from the herd—and we had our cows in the far pasture. It was going to be difficult to get Wacko Junior somewhere where we could supplement her calf, so we hoped that she’d have enough to get him by, even if he was a little on the skinny side.
That was wishful thinking, and after doing a few things that didn’t solve the problem, we finally moved Wacko Junior on Saturday to the small one-acre pasture beside our house. JR took a bottle Saturday night, and our plan was to supplement him with milk replacer for a few weeks.
Sunday morning before church, I went out to feed JR. He took the bottle so well the night before and his mother is so tame, I thought I wouldn’t have much trouble, and I left the girls in the house curling their hair and painting their fingernails and borrowing clothes from each other as they decided what to wear.
I walk out, bottle in hand, and Wacko Junior, as usual, lets me walk right up to her. She’s small—maybe a thousand pounds (as a comparison, our cows probably average 1500 or 1600 pounds)—and really sweet.
Her calf didn’t remember the bottle from the night before and wouldn’t let me walk up to him. He’s not real wild, though, so I set the bottle on the ground and am able to sneak up behind him and snatch a back leg.
So, I’m standing there holding the leg, thinking, Okay, now what? (The bottle was too far away for me to grab it, and his leg was stretched out too far for me to get my other arm around his front, and I didn’t want to let go of the leg, now that I’d scared him, because I figured I wouldn’t be able to catch him again.)
I’m wondering what to do—but I was winning our tug-of-war—when JR bawls his little calf bawl, begging his mom to come help him.
Wacko Junior comes over, all one thousand pounds of her, which honestly looks small to me, and sniffs me, as I’ve pulled JR’s leg between mine and am holding it there with one hand while stretching over his back trying to put my arm around his front so I can get a better hold of him to move him the three feet I need to in order to reach the bottle.
JR bawls again, and yeah, Wacko Junior blows out, puts her head down (she doesn’t have horns, but that’s the way cows attack, with their noses tucked in a little, like they’re pointing their horns at you), and rips into me.
Okay, so I’m hopping around with JR’s leg between mine, still trying to get a good hold on him, and Wacko Junior is grinding her head into my side, and I don’t think that she’s really going to hurt me, because she’ll stop as soon as I let go of her calf (I think), but I figure with my clumsiness, I’m gonna trip and fall down on her calf, which will make it bawl again, and she’ll grind me into the ground with her head and step on me, and I would rather go to church than be dead, so I let JR go.
Wacko Junior chases me about twenty feet before she stops, and we stand about ten feet apart—me doing that weird Covid breathing thing I do now—and look at each other.
I’m standing there for about a minute, knowing I’m probably not going to catch the calf again, but I have trouble giving up sometimes, and so I’m trying to think if there’s a way that might work that I haven’t thought of yet, when Watson drives by in the tractor, back from feeding the neighbor’s cows.
He sees I’m just standing there, so he comes over, helps me catch the calf again, and we get the bottle in his mouth before he can tattle to his mom, and I scratch Wacko Junior’s neck with one hand and hold the bottle with the other. (I can’t really be upset with her when she was only trying to keep her calf safe.)
Julia kind of laughs when we walk in the house and calls down, “Hey, Mom. Did you have a little trouble with Wacko Junior?”
I say, “What makes you ask that?” Because, yeah.
“I saw you and thought I should go help you, but my fingernail polish was wet and I didn’t want to smudge it.”
Nice. So now I know that Julia would rather have nice fingernail polish than a mom. Maybe I should work a little harder at this parenting thing.
Anyway, the girls are still fixing themselves up (it takes HOURS to look good, right?), and so Watson and I take the Gator and go check the cows.
I see a cow that’s acting kind of funny (she’s not eating, has her head perked up like she’s listening to something, and takes a few steps, changes direction, and puts her head up) and nod to her and say, “That one’s going to have a calf today.”
Watson looks at her and says, “No. She’s not loose enough.”
I should have bet a dryer on it (my dryer is still not working, but that’s a completely different story), but anyway, we drove a little farther and saw a mama licking her newborn calf off.
As we drive by, this cow puts her head down and takes about three steps toward the Gator.
“That one is going to be a dangerous one,” Watson says, and I agree completely. “It’ll be easier to do the calf now—it will be pretty spry by this afternoon.”
Ha. Watson and I are used to boys, but he’s had girls long enough to know that you don’t really want to get between a female and her beauty routine.
But he’s right. Tagging the calf will be easier right now, before church, and since I know I’m going to be cow bait, and I was already manhandled by one angry mama this morning, I go for easier over considerate. “I think we ought to do it now.”
Julia already has both girls’ hair fixed. (It’s so funny to me—the one with naturally curly hair has her hair straightened and the one with naturally straight hair has her hair curled. We want what we don’t have? Or we just love change?) They look adorable, but they don’t complain when we say we’ve got a calf to tag and we need them, other than Julia sighing and saying, “I just finished putting the second coat of nail polish on.”
She screws the bottle closed and waves her hands in the air. “Hurry up and dry,” she mutters as she follows us out the door.
The girls ride on the back, and Julia has her hands in the air to catch the wind to dry her nails. Watson has given me the tagger and the needle. The calf is lying down, and we park about twenty feet from it on the side opposite of where the mom is standing.
I go in front of the calf to catch its eye so Watson can sneak up behind it and catch it.
It jumps up, and he misses it.
I move to the outside of the cow, pushing her in toward Watson to keep the calf from running away.
This works, and Watson is able to grab the calf, but he’s also very close to the mom who is between us. As soon as he grabs her calf, she puts her head down and starts charging toward him.
I cut around and run between them, yelling and throwing my hands in the air. She stops. Watson is right behind me, and the cow is about two feet in front of me and not looking like she’s going to be still long.
The girls’ job is to pin the calf on the ground. I hear rustling, and Julia mutters, “I hope I don’t smudge my fingernails.”
Of course, I’m eyeing the cow who is about twice the size of Wacko Junior, and I’m thinking, I hope I don’t die.
(I just want to take a second here and say how much I appreciate Julia. I talk about Jay and Chasidi and even Heather, but Julia is a huge reason why I’m able to write. She does almost all of the cooking and cleaning around the house. She assigns the girls chores and checks their schoolwork. She organizes and decorates and helps outside. She does my covers [aren’t they gorgeous?], and she and I talk covers and trends and plot and audio and book stuff all the time. She is invaluable to me, and she has such a servant’s heart.)
Okay, so the cow is looking at me, snorting with her head down (not good), and I really don’t like facing off with cows—they’re bigger than I am—but thankfully, while I love cows—they’re probably my favorite animal—they’re not very smart and usually don’t realize that they would win.
Watson is kneeling right behind my legs.
“I need the tagger!” Watson says.
Oh. Yeah. I have it in my hand, which is up in the air. I bring it down without taking my eyes off the cow, handing it behind me slowly so I don’t crack Watson on the head with it (done that before and Watson takes umbrage), and he grabs it.
The girls are holding the calf down and have confirmed it’s a heifer.
Watson gets the tag in her ear.
(Along with the date, which is what we usually put on the tag, we put Esther on the tag, since it’s Easter).
I put the shot behind my back, he grabs it, and the cow charges.
I yell and take a step toward her, figuring she’s either going to plow into me or not, but she swerves, and I stick to her shoulder as she does a tight circle around Watson and the girls who are holding the calf down.
We do a full trip around them before Watson says, “Got her. Let her go.”
The girls head to the Gator while Watson and I turn around and watch the calf—so adorable with her sweet white face and little black body, which is still wet and new—as she shakes her head, and the mom, who is sniffing her little darling and making sure she’s okay.
What a beautiful gift on a gorgeous Resurrection Sunday morning, right?
Everything is okay, so Watson and I turn and start toward the Gator.
“Takes a certain kind of bravery to face down a two-thousand-pound angry charging cow first thing in the morning,” Watson says.
I look over at him because I’m not sure if he’s talking about me or if he was peeking at the cow from between my legs.
I can’t tell from looking at him, so I say, “Eh, she’s not two thousand pounds. Maybe eighteen hundred. Seventeen now that she’s had her calf.”
Watson snorts, and we go back to the house. We do make it to Sunday school on time, although we don’t get breakfast.
We have another calf that afternoon—a breech birth—and a bloat we took care of ourselves. Maybe I’ll talk about them some other time.
Thanks so much for spending time with me this week!
Hugs and love,