Hello Sweet Readers!
I hope everyone has been having a wonderful week. : )
I have a new release today!! Cowboy Coming Home is out on Amazon and I’m SO excited to share it with you!
And, just as exciting, there will be a NEW audio/video up on Say with Jay this Friday!!
I just so happen to have a little preview video that Jay Dyess made and shared with me. I haven’t had a chance to watch it, so I’m hoping you all will let me know what you think? It’s short – just five minutes – and you can watch it all HERE.
I wanted to thank all of you again. Jay hit his 1000 subscriber mark, and has been steadily adding subs since then. You all gave him SUCH a great response! Over half of those subs came from you all, and it just thrilled my soul to see how supportive and wonderful you all were. Thank you!
Some of you have been asking me how the hours are going, and as of yesterday, we needed just a little over 1000 hours to get to the goal of 4000 watched hours. I can’t believe we’re so close, and, again, I’m so thankful to all of you for your help and support!
Alright, and on a slightly different note, I need to apologize to anyone who emailed me in the last few weeks and did not get a response. I normally answer every single email that comes – and I try to do it right away if I can. I’ve had some things going on and I haven’t been able to do that lately. I really hate that, but sometimes life happens – to all of us, right? Anyway, if you needed something, please don’t ever hesitate to resend an email. I actually appreciate it, and I’m working hard to respond to everyone.
Next week Heartland Mistletoe will release. That’s Lincoln’s and Annie’s story. ALSO, Preston’s and Carmon’s story will release as well, but it will ONLY be available on Say with Jay. And it will be FREE. I am SO excited about this – I’ve never released a book for FREE before, and never released it only on audio, so I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am about this!
Okay, a few weeks ago when Jay Dyess launched his channel, he had three audios of mine that had never before been released anywhere. Heartland Holidays, Heartland Stars and the third one: A Second Chance in the Show Me State.
They’ve kind of been a little neglected, since I love to announce releases and make a big deal out of them – every one represents a lot of hard work and a lot of hopes and dreams. I’ve been sad that these got shoved aside in the big launch.
A Second Chance in the Show Me State has my absolute favorite five minutes of audio Jay has ever recorded. EVER.
When I first heard it, I listened to it over and over and over again. I know you all will know exactly what I’m talking about when you hear that five minutes and will be blown away as well.
You can listen to the whole audio for FREE HERE.
They were high school sweethearts, but money and pride came between them. Can their twin sons trick them into falling in love again?
Reid Hudson would be happy on his Missouri farm except he’d always thought he’d be sharing it with his soulmate, Emerson. Instead, he gets six months with each of his boys and splits the holidays. Not the life he’d planned.
Emerson Mahoney hadn’t expected her family to fall into a fortune. When her new husband flatly refused to use any of their money to ease the financial burden from the birth of their twins, she couldn’t believe how hard-headed he was. She’d taken the opportunity to fly to the Swiss Alps and become a temporary member of her father’s new business team, never expecting it to last eight years.
When one of their boys deliberately misses his flight to stay on the farm with his twin brother in Missouri, Emerson is forced to come back to the states and confront the husband she is still married to and the man she’d never fallen out of love with.
When fuel shortages ground all airplanes, she’s forced to spend a month on the farm.
Can their twins trick them into falling in love again?
This audio will be FREE on Say with Jay on Friday. Check out the short preview video today!
He saved her life. She owes him a summer. The price might be too high for both of them.
Armstrong Brant stepped between Glory Baldwin and a charging cow. He ended up with broken ribs and a farm and family he couldn’t care for through the pain.
At the prompting of The Sweet Water Piece Makers Quilting Club, Glory volunteers to watch Armstrong’s four children while he recovers. She owed him and it made sense. But she never expected to fall for a man with four boys.
Armstrong isn’t comfortable sitting around. And he’s definitely not comfortable watching someone else do his work. But he’s downright surly at the idea of allowing another woman into his life after his ex simply walked away.
Still, he doesn’t have much choice since he can’t even change a diaper with his broken ribs.
Spending a summer together might convince both of them they could take a chance on each other, but when his ex walks back into his home, he’s faced with a choice: does he walk away from the best thing that’s ever happened to him? Or will he come home to stay?
Late one night Lincoln was delivering a yard decoration when he came upon a wild, unruly teenager throwing stones at the window of his neighbor’s house. He tackled the belligerent child and was about to call the cops when she informed him she was his neighbor’s sister who had been locked out of the house.
Not the best beginning, but it gets worse when he accidentally walks into her house and accuses her of squatting in it.
Annie has never trusted large men, and Lincoln has not only attacked her, but he’s thrown unfounded accusations of thievery at her as well.
There is no way she’d ever fall in love with that man.
Except The Snowstorm of the Century hits and the two of them are pitted against nature to try to save the elderly folks in their care.
As they work together will they find out that sometimes first impressions are wrong?
It’s Jessie again with a short story from last year:
Someone wrote to me and said something to the effect that as a writer, I seemed to understand the emotions involved in hard things like divorce or losing a baby, and they wanted to know how I did it.
That question kind of stumped me a bit because I didn’t really think I did that great of a job at going deep into those emotions, and a lot of times, I’m just trying to put myself in that position in my head and figure out how I’d feel, which, if you’ve been around me much, I don’t always react to things the way I’m “supposed” to. Big things often barely register for me, while little things that I can logically explain away can totally disrupt my life. It’s annoying, honestly.
One thing that I seem to have is calmness. Personally, I think that’s just because I process things slowly. Regardless, I guess I seem to be a good person to have around in an emergency, because I never flip out.
Anyway, I was thinking about Ada, a sweet and beautiful woman from Kentucky who married a Yankee and moved with him to PA and started going to our church a decade or so ago.
Ada’s husband had been married before, and he had a young son, Ryder, who was about three. Ada’s husband and his ex-wife shared custody, although their relationship was not friendly, and Ada brought Ryder to church with her.
She was such an amazing mom. Ryder’s clothes were always perfect, his hair was styled with gel and hairspray into a cute, spiky hairdo (versus my boys who had buzz cuts so I didn’t have to comb anything), and she was patient and attentive.
I had no idea Ryder wasn’t hers—she was a better mother to him than I was to my boys, for sure—until she told me.
Ada and I weren’t best friends, but we chatted some in the nursery and after junior church when she picked up Ryder, and she confided that her deepest wish was to have a little girl.
If anyone deserved a baby, it was Ada. She was such an amazing mom.
Ada’s husband worked as a lineman. He was up in the bucket of his bucket truck, working on a pole, when a drunk driver went through the flagger and cones and hit his truck. He had a bunch of back issues from it and eventually needed surgery.
One summer day, I was out in the blueberry patch picking blueberries when Watson pulled up and walked to me. In the summer when I’m picking, I’m always happy to see anyone who brings me a drink, so I walked up to meet him. I don’t remember if he had a drink, but I do remember his face was serious.
I knew Ada’s husband was scheduled for surgery, but I hadn’t really thought too much about it. I guess in the back of my head, I knew her whole family was in Kentucky and she was pretty much alone there in PA with only her husband and his ex who did not like her much.
Usually when someone had a surgery, the pastor went and stayed with them during the surgery, but this was unusual in that it was at Danville, a hospital about two hours away. Our pastor’s wife didn’t want to go, and she kind of ran things, I guess.
Anyway, Watson said our pastor had called him and asked if I’d go and be with Ada during her husband’s surgery.
I guess that’s a little odd. I mean I’m not trained in helping anyone through anything hard.
I suppose the pastor figured we were friends, and we chatted a lot at church.
Ada had confided in me, with barely suppressed excitement, a few weeks prior that she was expecting and she hoped it was a girl.
Still, I had a ton of work to do, and normally Watson is pretty demanding about getting everything done. But for some reason, he wanted me to go. Ada was just one of those amazing people that are so kind and sweet you just have to love her.
That, along with the fact that anyone would feel like they needed to support her since she didn’t have any family nearby, I guess made him feel like being with Ada was more important than the blueberries and the paperwork that I did for the company after dark when I couldn’t pick anymore.
So, Watson handed me his phone, and I called Ada.
We greeted each other, and she confirmed that she and her husband were on their way to Danville, which happens to be the hospital where they life flighted my third son when he was a day old. I was quite familiar with the NICU and the PICU, although not as knowledgeable about the rest of the hospital complex.
Still, I knew how to get there.
I said, “Would you like for me to come and be with you during the surgery?”
She started to cry. It took her a while to answer, and I wasn’t sure what to do. You can’t hug someone over the phone, and I’m never great at having the right words come out of my mouth.
Finally, Ada said (in that voice where you’re crying and trying to be quiet and trying to talk and your voice squeaks and sounds terrible), “I’d like that… I’m…losing my baby.”
I knew how badly she wanted a little one. She’d been married before, and her husband had refused to have children. She and her current husband had been married for several years with no babies, and she’d been over the moon with this pregnancy.
You know how your whole body just cringes and feels terrible, and you know this is a horrible thing, and you know there’s nothing you can do to stop it and nothing you can do to help even though you want to do something, anything, right away to make this person feel better?
So, I’m standing in the blueberry patch, feeling like that. My five healthy children are helping with all the work that’s going on around us, and on top of all those other feelings, I’m feeling blessed beyond words at all God has given me—my children and family and the ability to work and honest labor to put my hand to and with which to teach my children.
She said she wanted me, so I said, “I’ll be there. I just need to throw some clothes in a bag. Give me two hours and ten minutes.”
She explained where she was. (Maybe I mentioned I was terrible with directions?)
I gathered my kids, explained to them what I was doing, and told them they would have to pick up the slack. I told them what needed to be done, charged Julia with keeping an eye on our youngest, grabbed my clothes, and left.
It took me a bit to find her [that direction issue I have ; ) ], but I sat with her through the surgery and her miscarriage.
I think that night at the hotel was the hardest for her—isn’t everything harder at night?—after we put Ryder down. There were some tears, and my heart cracked and ached and bled. I suppose it’s easier to talk at night, too.
I’ve talked before about the joy of seeing your little one as you walk into Heaven. First hugs and smiles and hearing about all the things they got to do—imagine a childhood in Heaven with Jesus as your babysitter, right? Super cool, and I’m sure He’d do a better job of raising a child than anyone else ever could. Just, the parting is hard. Love never wants to let go, I guess.
We talked some about that, and while she’d never thought of things quite the way I had, she saw right away that while her arms would be empty, God would be holding her little one. It was a blessing to her on a night that was painful and hard.
Anyway, her husband had gone through the surgery okay, and the next morning after breakfast, Ada went to the hospital by herself to see him because where he was they didn’t allow children. She’d been told that they were going to move him, so Ryder and I stayed at the hotel, and she said she’d be back over to get us when Ryder was allowed in.
Okay, so I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I was feeling a little nervous about being “trapped” in a hotel room with a three-year-old. We didn’t have any toys, and Ada hadn’t left a room key. LOL.
There was a TV, but in case you still think I’m normal because you missed the newsletter where I admit to not knowing how to turn our TV on, I’ll fix that now. I probably could have turned it on, but I had no idea what kind of shows were appropriate for a three-year-old, and I had even less idea of how to find them.
So…before Ada had left, she’d gotten him up and dressed him and fed him. He looked like an adorable little man with his spiky hairdo and neatly pressed clothes. (She ironed his clothes! I have even less experience with an iron than I do with a TV. I think they’re dangerous, so I try to avoid them.)
Anyway, Ryder and I kind of looked at each other. He knew me from the nursery at church, and I also taught junior church and he knew me from that, too, and I think he liked me okay, although maybe he was just as nervous as I was.
I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to try the TV, but I had three boys, and I kinda thought I could come up with something.
I think maybe Ada would have preferred he sit and watch something, but there were two queen-sized beds in that hotel room, and Ryder and I spent a fun three hours jumping on them.
He was a little hesitant at first, but I suppose I made it look fun, and by the time Ada came back, he could do a front flip and almost land on his feet. : )
It turned out they found some issues during her husband’s surgery, and with that, along with everything else, she had enough to deal with, and I think she was just happy Ryder was happy.
I stayed as long as I could, but I did have responsibilities I had to get back to, so I left before she did. She and I talked more in church, but that was before I had a cell phone, and eventually both of us left that church, landing in different areas and losing touch.
A few years ago, Watson and I were out at a restaurant with our big family, and we happened to run into Ada and her husband, who had never been able to go back to work as a lineman. He’d found something else to do, and they were out eating with Ryder and an adorable little girl, all blond curls and big eyes and sweet smiles, just like her mom.
We chatted a bit and caught up some with Ada saying what a blessing and gift her little girl was. She also mentioned the sibling that was currently waiting on them in Heaven. Maybe her eyes were a little misty, and mine might have been, too, but it was a happy mist, I think.
I don’t think you ever really understand something until you’ve gone through it yourself. You just can’t. But I do think it’s possible to learn from the pain and joy of others, especially when their heart is as beautiful as Ada’s is.
Thanks so much for spending time with me this week!
Hugs and love!