Hello Sweet Readers!

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful week. : )

I have the second part of the story I started last week below – the one about Ron and the money we lost and my son needing to duck. But, I’m warning you, I don’t finish it this week – next Tuesday I’ll have the end in. Hopefully that’s okay.

I do have a super fun treat today – Jay has a video on Say with Jay of him performing a sample of the audio that he’s working on – His Best Friend’s Sister in the Show Me State!! I haven’t even heard this entire audio yet, so this is about as new as it gets! Plus, I’m sure you all have noticed Jay has been having some fun with these videos – his natural personality and humor is really coming through and makes what he does so much fun.

I know you all are going to enjoy it. Check it out, and please leave a few comments to let him know what you think!

Watch as Jay performs this sample!

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★★★★★ “I always know I can count on Jessie for a great story that makes me think and teaches lessons without being preachy. She talks about real problems and issues, and doesn’t pull punches about the devastating consequences that our choices can have. She talks redemption, grace and forgiveness and allows the characters to change and the people around them to love and support them while delivering it up with a dollop of humor so the story doesn’t go dark.” – Wren

★★★★★ “Jessie is the best author I have read from, because she includes Christian life in her books….this is marvelous and I love reading her books…..will always look for her new ones, also ! ! !” – BDOT

★★★★★ “When Jessie Gussman writes, she often tackles the hardest subject matter. This book is no exception. Another heartwarming story from Jessie!” – Jan

★★★★★ “This is a sweet story of redemption, discovery and love. I enjoyed it very much, as I do all of this author’s books that I have read so far.” – GumboMom

★★★★★ “This book had plenty of chemistry, but what I loved was the deeper complexity in the lives of the characters. I loved this book and am looking forward to more.” – swavelykid


Box set by Jessie on sale for $.99!

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Matching making parents meddle in their adult children’s lives in these sweet romances brimming with faith, family and lots of laughter!

Book 1: A simple cowboy in love with a surgeon. A decade of unrequited love. A hopeless, one-sided romance. Except sometimes, if you’re patient, God writes your love story.

Book 2: She’s losing her house. He never had one. A marriage would give them a house to share, but could they learn to love each other and make their house into a home?

Book 3: Late night rides from a secret Santa and an infusion of the Christmas season of love and laughter that’s in Mistletoe, Arkansas year round, just might melt their hearts and create beauty out of brokenness.

Book 4: Everyone thinks Poppy Kyle is naturally happy and positive. But it took a major tragedy in her life for her to overcome her natural negative tendencies and develop a happiness attitude. She will not allow the surly West Barclay to steal her joy.


TEN books for $.99! Last Chance!

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10 full-length novels filled with sweet beginnings, beautiful romance, faith, family, fun and always a happy ending!

This collection contains the first book in each of Jessie Gussman’s ten series. Be swept away by cowboys, enjoy some relaxing time at the beach, laugh in Good Grief, Idaho, and feel the cozy warmth of small town life.

Book 1 – Cowboy Walking Away: After being fired from her waitressing job and coming face-to-face with her ex, Rose Baldwin lets a little lie escape. She forgot there is no such thing as a “little” lie.

Book 2 – Heartland Joy: 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.

Book 3 – Harvest Moon Homecoming: When the high school’s float explodes five days before the National Farmer’s Day parade, Principal Calvin Finkenbinder sees his chance at the promotion to Superintendent disintegrate. Unless he enlists the help of Ellie Bright, the most annoying, disorganized and kissable woman he knows.

Book 4 – Yesterday’s Treasures: She doesn’t want a divorce, she just wants…something. Something more than being a single mom yet doing a man’s laundry.

Book 5 – Me and the Cute Catastrophe: I live in Idaho. (Yes, potatoes. *eye roll* Can we talk about something else?) And I love it here. Small town values galore and it’s right where I want to raise my girls after my jerk ex traded me in for a “younger, newer model” (his words, not mine). I was pretty happy with my life until the hot shot, all-state baller from my teen years moved back in next door. (I babysat him, yes, but I never changed his diapers. Just wanted to be clear about that.)

Book 6 – Best Friends in the Show Me State: They’ve been best friends forever. When violent weather sparks an unexpected attraction, will they risk their friendship for a chance at a lifetime love?

Book 7 – Dreaming of Her Cowboy’s Kiss: A simple cowboy in love with a surgeon. A decade of unrequited love. A hopeless, one-sided romance. Except sometimes, if you’re patient, God writes your love story.

Book 8 – 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 9 – The Small Town Boy’s Redemption: Blade Truax did some street racing when he was younger. Illegal, sure. But that’s not what sent him to prison. It was the lying, conniving Watkins girl and her father, Judge Watkins.

Book 10 – Always With You: He doesn’t want her to owe him. He wants her to love him.

Jessie again:

I know some of you were aghast last week and hope Ron gets what’s coming to him…

I want to say, we never did get any of that money back. That was probably one of the hardest years financially we ever had.

We didn’t have much, but I remember wishing I could keep the kids that age forever, because we just had so much fun.

So, anyway, we could have used that ten grand, but God clearly tells us that when someone takes something from us, we’re to let it go. When they mistreat us, we’re to turn the other cheek.

Like I said last week, I’m not always great at this. I get upset when I don’t get everything I think I deserve or when people treat me wrong. Sometimes, I think the more we care about someone, the worse we react when they treat us badly…because it hurts, right? Or maybe we just have higher expectations of people who are close to us. When they let us down, it hits us in the heart.

Regardless, I know we can stand on God’s promises. There are so many that apply to that money that we lost, but maybe one that is especially applicable is: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

That didn’t happen right away. That year and the next were hard. Lean. Then something shifted.

Through the years since, God has given us back that ten thousand dollars over and over and over. There’s just no way anyone will ever convince me that any promise in the Bible isn’t true—I’ve experienced so many of them fulfilled.

Honestly, it amazes me sometimes that I still have trouble living them when I know with such certainty that God delivers.

It’s not always right away, and honestly, it’s not always here on earth. But it always happens.
Alright, I’m going to start with a few lines from last week’s story to set the scene:

On this day, my second son stood on the bank behind Ron—a good ten feet away from him. Our kids learned how to do things because they were at the garage all the time, but they were also taught to stay out of the way.

Anyway, Ron was buffing a wheel. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the buffer caught on something. It ripped the pad off the wheel, exposing the metal and yanking the buffer out of Ron’s hands, still rotating at a very high RPM.

The buffer hit the trailer, bounced off, and sliced down through Ron’s knee, laying the skin back to the bone in a rectangle four inches wide and six inches long.

The buffer hit the ground, where the force of the blade rotation ricocheted it back to my son.
Sometimes when you’re writing, it’s hard to describe time. Even the fastest reader is taking longer to read this than what it took to happen. A second. Maybe two.

My kid didn’t even have time to move, let alone duck.

Thankfully, he didn’t need to duck. He was standing halfway up the steep bank. If he hadn’t been, I’d be telling a different kind of story.

The buffer caught my kid’s leg just below his knee and bounced down it maybe ten or fifteen times in short jabs, laying open a couple inches of skin each time.

My husband came running, along with Pappy Dick, who was actually no relation. Pappy Dick was a driver who got too old to drive—couldn’t pass his physical—so he retired and spent his days at our house, adopted into our family, eating at our table, and spending every day and special occasions with us. He was a blessing to us and to our kids, and we loved him. He’s with Jesus now. I miss him.

As they ran closer, Ron, who was bleeding profusely, shouted, “Don’t touch my blood. Don’t touch my blood!” and wouldn’t let them near him.

My husband pointed him to the car we used to deliver papers—that summer, I got up at 2:45 a.m. every morning and, along with one of the boys, delivered 300 papers on five different routes before 6 a.m. That was probably the leanest summer of our lives, and the money we made from that paper route and the grass-mowing jobs the kids and I did saved our bacon.
You might wonder why they didn’t call 911.

First of all, back then, GPS brought people to a dirt road about four hundred yards above our house. Because of the woods, you couldn’t see our house. The GPS stopped them and told them to “Get out and walk to your destination.” (There was no “destination” in sight. LOL.) There was also no cell service there, so people inevitably drove back down to the road to call us and ask how to get to our place.

Second, the ambulance comes from the same town where we’d be going to the hospital. It takes twice as long to wait for the ambulance as it does to drive yourself in.

I wasn’t at the house when this happened—I was mowing grass with my oldest son at one of the big warehouse jobs we had when my husband pulled in.

I stopped the mower and shut it off as he got out of the pickup and walked to me.

To say it was unusual for my husband to be “visiting” me as I was working was to put it very mildly.

I waited.

“You’re gonna need to take our kid to the ER.”

Isn’t it funny how this is always my job?

So, my gaze shoots to my son who is sitting upright in the passenger side of the truck. His eyes were open; he looked calm and wasn’t crying. He was watching us. He looked fine from where I was.

My husband starts telling the story as I get off the mower to go to the passenger side of the truck to look at him.

He had a couple of towels around his leg, and as I started peeling them back, my husband got to the part of the story where Ron said, “Don’t touch my blood.”

Which, of course, made my heart freeze.

Okay, so as I’m writing this, I had to stop and get up there. Walk around some.

I can feel it still.

Some of you know what I’m talking about. It’s that second when you know something has happened to your child that will change their life forever, and not in a good way, and you are powerless to do anything to stop it or change it or fix it.

It’s fear and anxiety and a helpless energy that wants to burst out of your chest. It’s probably what would drive you to step in front of a bullet for your kid. Only there were no bullets. Nothing to fight, because the damage had been done.

I think I’ve mentioned I look calm under pressure and everyone thinks that I’m a great person to have in a pinch like that, and maybe I am.

I’m usually calm past the point of abnormality. Funny, but as much as I felt all those protective, fight-for-my-kid feelings, I recognized almost immediately that there was nothing to do there, and my mindset moved immediately into focusing on what we could do.

I needed to see what we were dealing with.

I took the towel off my son’s leg, and it looked as bad as you think it would. I won’t describe it.
Still, I can handle stitches. He’s a boy. He’s never cared, not for one second, about the scars on his leg. It hadn’t severed any arteries; he was in no danger of bleeding out, and if that’s all it was, it would have been another day at the office for me (as a mom of boys, right? LOL).

But that thing my husband had said that Ron said—don’t touch my blood—wouldn’t leave my head, and I knew in my heart THAT’S the thing that I would fight if I could.

While I was wrapping the towel back around his leg, I probed Watson for more details. He hadn’t really paid attention, because he didn’t realize the implications.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Ron just said something about a disease in his blood.”

The money Ron spent still didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I was almost positive it had something to do with drugs despite his clean test.

(I found out years later, when I was packing eggs in our old barn while chatting with another driver who had come up while waiting for his truck to be ready to go—a blue-eyed, red-haired farm boy who’d had a bad split from his wife, got into alcohol and drugs, wrecked one of our trucks on a quiet Monday morning before daylight, caused $100,000 worth of damage, but thankfully no one was hurt, although he failed his post-accident drug test, was unemployable for years, and lost everything. He got himself into rehab and got cleaned up. We hired him back, and he stood in the packing room with me for several hours that morning and explained some of the many, many ways a guy can do drugs and still have a clean drug test, among other things. An eye-opening morning for me. I remember thinking I should be taking notes in case I ever wanted to write books like that.)

I didn’t know all that then, but I still figured Ron’s money had something to do with a drug habit, despite his repeated drug tests that came back clean.

I figured Ron’s “blood disease” was either hepatitis or AIDS.

And that buffer disk had gouged deep into his knee before it had bounced and sliced down my son’s leg.

Our hospital is small, and I was pretty well-known there. I guess people liked me okay.

They loved my kids.

Honestly, no matter how bad my kids were hurting when I took them in to the ER, we always had a good time there. We laughed and joked with the staff, and they said we were their favorite “regulars.” I joked that we were the only “regulars,” but they’d get serious and say, “No, we have the same people in here every Friday and Saturday night.”

It took the staff about a half an hour to put together that the druggie in the last room (there are four patient rooms in that ER) who had told them about his “blood disease” had been cut by the same piece of equipment that had sliced through my son’s leg.

You know how people walk around with their lips sucked in and their brows lowered, eyes narrowed, and their movements jerky?

The staff all knew what I had figured out, and they were outraged and offended on behalf of my son—a clean-cut kid who sang with his family in church and nursing homes, wasn’t even allowed to say the word “stupid,” and didn’t drink anything but water and milk. Ron’s poor choices had not only ruined his own life but were going to ruin the bright future of an innocent kid with so much potential.

I’m sure, even though it was a small hospital, they saw plenty of people who made bad decisions, and it made them angry that my son was going to suffer because of someone else’s stupid choices.

They gave Ron only the basic amount of care but otherwise ignored him and gave all their resources to my kid.

Ron wasn’t special to me in any way—other than he was created by the same God who loved Ron just as much as he loved me—but it bothered me that he was hurt so badly and had no one to fight for him.

My kid was being taken care of as well as that small-town hospital could. The VIP treatment, maybe. LOL.

After they gave my son the Novocain, it takes a while for it to work, so I said to my kid, “Are you okay here for a minute while I walk down and check on Ron?” (Of course he was—he had all the lollipops he could eat, and someone had snuck him a Sprite, which was a huge treat for my kids, he’d gotten out of a whole afternoon of work, he knew we’d stop at Burger King on the way home [the only fast-food joint in our small town and another huge treat, reserved for ER visits, LOL], and pretty soon, he was going to have the coolest stitches in the world…he was basically in heaven.)

The nurse’s head jerked up. Visiting between patients wasn’t something they typically allowed, I’m sure, but we weren’t typical patients.

But she didn’t care about that. She pulled me out of the room and hissed (seriously, hissed at me), “Do you realize that man has hepatitis and possibly AIDS? And he’s probably given that, and who knows what else, to your son? You don’t want to go see him!”

Alright – I’ll finish this story on Friday. : )

Thanks so much for spending time with me today!

Hugs and blessings!

~Jessie ❤️