How do you do it all?

Wow! January is half over already! It’s hard to believe. I hope it’s gone well for all of you. 

I’ve been doing a lot of writing, and for me, at least, the wait is almost over – Just a Cowboy’s Convenient Marriage releases THIS Friday – in both ebook and audio! 

We’ve had a nice break, four or more weeks without a release, and I’m ready to get back into it! I think Jay is, too. I appreciate all of your support on Say with Jay while we released the episodes of Christmas Car Kerfuffle. That allowed Jay to have a break from recording and for me to have a little time off from writing.

This is the last newsletter where I’ll be answering questions. I couldn’t get to all of them, but I did put a bunch in today:

I just starting reading your books in 2022. Reading the Sweet Water books has left me with a couple questions–what happened to Wilder’s story and who is the sixth Stryker son? [Clay, Boone, Cord, Wilder, Maverick and ???

Oh, boy. This is a hard question. Does anyone know the answer? I’m honestly not sure about the sixth Stryker son. I do know Wilder hasn’t gotten a story yet, but he showed up – with a wife – in Cowboy Crossing, Missouri.

How did you and Watson meet?

Watson and I went to the same high school where I wowed him with my amazing ability to sit in class day after day and never say a word.

He, apparently, impressed me equally as much with his talent to sit in the same classroom and never shut up.

When he asked me to go with him, I must have blinked, which, positive thinker that he is, he assumed was a yes. I blinked again and we got married.

Over the years I’ve become more prudent about when I blink.

Have you ever based a character solely on youself? 

No. I tried to base a character on myself once, and the feedback I got from the judge of the contest where I submitted my ms went something like this, “Heroine is unlikeable and unredeemable and obviously needs psychiatric help. No one wants to read about her. Rewrite necessary.” 

So, yeah. I don’t base heroines on myself. ; )

Do you base heroes on Watson?


You said somewhere that you play a “bunch” of instruments, but the piano was your favorite. What other instruments do you play?

Guitar, banjo, violin, viola and French horn, all in various degrees of mediocracy.

Hi! I just wanted to say that I was stunned as well when I first saw your picture! You look sooo young to have grandkids!!! You’re lucky! When I was 16, people used to think that I was 10 years older and I’m afraid it has not changed 20 years later!! Haha! My question is: do you have a recipe to look so young?! 😉 – Delphine

Haha. You guys are SO funny. : ) I’m just younger than you all thought I was, and I have no secrets for it, other than I never wear make up and I use hair dye.

How did you know writing and farming along with being a mom was the path for you? What inspired your journey and faith to bring you here?

Great question. I grew up in the Presbyterian Church, which, like a lot of denominational churches became more and more liberal. I disagreed with something they were considering about the time I was a senior in high school, but I didn’t know the Bible well enough to give chapter and verse for why it was wrong.

That made me dig into the Bible, but at the same time, I also questioned why the Bible was so important. Wasn’t it just a book written by men?

So, I researched the Bible. There were a lot of things that made me choose to believe (because isn’t that what we all do? We have to choose what we’re going to believe, or choose to believe nothing, I guess, but God gives us free will and we get to choose) that the Bible was God’s Holy Word. One of the most compelling was the prophecy contained in Scripture. One third of that prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, two thirds has already come to pass, and it’s all happened exactly as the Bible foretold, down to the very last minute detail. The odds of that happening are so small as to be impossible. That was one of the main things that convinced me. There were a bunch more, but that one really hit me.

So, from that time on, I resolved to follow the Bible. That meant leaving the Presbyterian Church that I had grown up in – which wasn’t easy – and finding a church that preached the Bible – the whole Bible, as it was written, without changing anything to keep modern man from being offended or convicted about his sin.

By that time I was married, and the Bible clearly says that a wife is to be a keeper at home and is to obey and be submissive to her husband. I definitely wasn’t raised to do that, but I made it my policy to throw myself into whatever my husband was doing and support and help him to the best of my ability – same for being a mom. 

As for being a farmer, that’s what my husband did, so I did it too.

And as for being a writer, God open that door one February day when I complained about the book I was reading by saying, “Anyone can write a better book than that.” And my husband said, “Why don’t you?” 

The Bible says a wife should be the keeper at home, but it doesn’t say that she can’t work as well, and as my children have gotten older and needed me less, I’ve been able to spend more time writing. Watson is okay with me writing as long as I help on the farm when he needs it, which provides some nice stories for the newsletter, anyway. : )

What is a typical weekday for you like? What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday?

I’ll have to write out a typical day soon and put it in the newsletter. I’ve done it a few times. The problem is finding time! 

I wanted to answer the second part of this question about Saturdays. They are just like weekdays for me – the Bible talks about taking one day a week to rest, not two. So, being that I’ve almost always worked from home, Saturdays have always been a work day. Honestly, I often work on Sunday afternoons, especially, since my manuscripts are due to Heather, my editor, on Monday morning, so I’ll work Sunday and (try to) take Monday off. 

How do you do everything you do? When do you sleep? How do you run two farms in two different states, raise kids, do blueberries and trucks, homeschool, be a wife and mom, play a bunch of instruments and write books, too? 

Ha. I got a lot of questions like these and I struggled hard with answering them. I’m not sure what to say, and I really, really don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. 

The thing that always pops into my mind is the fact that I haven’t watched much tv in my life. If think if people would consider how much time they’ve spent (wasted?) watching tv, I’m sure they would realize how much more they would have/could have accomplished. 

The other thing that I always think when someone asks me that is that I don’t do it all. Julia does a lot of cooking and most of the cleaning. Pie and her sister do some, too. There’s homeschooling, of course, but that doesn’t take as much time now as it does when the kids are young and need your help with EVERYTHING. (Makes me tired just thinking about it.)

We have people we’ve hired to help with the chicken houses in PA and I seldom am needed up there. The boys have totally taken over the trucking company and have even started their own businesses. 

One thing that does take time is driving back and forth between VA and PA. I enjoy the drive, honestly, but it usually takes me at least five hours and I’m tired when it’s over. 

I do help a lot on the farm in Virginia, but not every day is solid farm work. A lot of days in the winter, especially, I do the morning chores, then I don’t have much to do outside until the afternoon/even chores. It’s not like dairy cattle, which are a LOT of work, morning and evening.

Sometimes if we’re moving cattle or doing herd check or baling hay or hauling feed or one of the myriad of other things we do, then the farm takes up the bulk of my day. And, yes, sometimes I’m up in the middle of the night catching up on my writing work.

I suppose it seems like I work a lot, but I love everything I do. God commanded us to work, and I figure life is a lot more enjoyable if we decide to love that work. I guess if I had a lot of leisure time that I just spent on myself, I would feel like I was wasting my life. God wants us to rest and have fun, of course, but He also wants, commands, us to work, and I think as humans we need it. It gives us purpose and a sense of accomplishment, especially when it benefits others (I just love thinking that I help produce the food that feeds our nation – what a fulfilling job! And I love just as much thinking that God takes what I write and uses it to bless people. Man, how can I not jump out of bed every morning, eager to dig back into the work that God has blessed me with?) and even more when we know that we’re doing exactly what God wants us to do.

Don’t forget about Jay’s preview!

Thanks so much for spending time with me today!

Hugs and love,


One Response

  1. I just finished the Cowboy Come Home series and it ministered to me so much. God used you, and your talent, to speak to my heart about being a godly wife, a better human, my moods, living in Iowa instead of SoCal (it’s been 6 months and I love it here but I’d have never understood about winter in ND without the move!) and forgiveness. These are things I thought I knew, after all, I accepted Jesus as my Savior in Sunday School when I was 5, I’ve been married 41 years next month, and I’m the mother of 3 adults. But the youngest of those spent the last days of his fifteenth year in a coma. He’s been an honor student, active in church, an outstanding athlete and somehow he contracted encephalitis. Doctors gathered the family 3 weeks in to the drug induced coma and told us that our son’s was a 1 in 10,000,000 case, so severe that he wouldn’t survive. Family and friends rallied and we got him to a hospital with hope. He work just days before he turned 16, still intubated so unable to speak. After several weeks we discovered that while not paralyzed, his legs were responsive to his brain and he couldn’t walk. Rehab, struggles and life went on. Then he had complications, unknown to use he’d been misdiagnosed by leading pediatric neurologist. After being treated for that diagnosis for a year his body collapsed and he was back in the hospital. While there this time he suffered cardiac arrest, SUDEP (sudden death by epilepsy). This time my husband and I were each holding one of our sons hands as he died. He died. But we were at the hospital and the response was immediate, he was revived! Another coma as his body tried to recover and once he did wake up we discovered more damage had been done. The progress he’s made vanished. That all started in 2013, I fully believe God saved this young man for His purpose. The journey to be healthy and figure out that purpose has been long and hard. I’ve never depended on Jesus so much, or felt his presence next to me like I did those months in the hospital with him. You encouraged me, and believe me, I need that! There’s so much more I could say but I’ve already said so much. Thank you for glorifying God and your encouragement in your books.

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