Thursday, August 19, 2010


Stephen Bly

Ward Fergusen teaches school, so he gets summers off to do what he wants. He often spends  that time painting houses to supplement the income and keep busy. But a few summers back he headed to the higher elevations for a little gold digging. He stopped by our place with his truck loaded with all sorts of equipment, such as a small portable dredge to sift through stream beds. He sure looked like a modern day prospector.

“That’s quite an investment,” I said.

“Well, my car dealer friend, Bill Hastings, sort of grubstaked me,” he replied.

The term ‘grubstake’ still fits lots of situations. Hastings put up the money and Ward did the work. Any gold found would be split between them. At summer’s end, Ward reported that he didn't find anything like a geode, but he made enough to pay for the equipment and buy a few groceries. 

“Hastings was happy and now that the equipment’s paid for, next summer we should turn a profit.”

There’s a sense in which God grubstakes you and me. That is, He gives us gifts and talents and expects us to go out and do something productive with them. Both God and we benefit. 

Matthew 25 relates how each one has been equipped with various sizes of grubstakes. The important thing is not how much you receive, but how you use what God has given order to accomplish His purpose. In the story, the first two servants did quite well with their grubstakes. Both received the same commendation: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matthew 25:21). Pure gold. Priceless.

However, the third servant’s condemned for laziness and indifference. He was a bum who expected to be cared for, whether he deserved it or not. He cached the grubstake (buried it in the ground) and returned it later, untouched and untapped.

The day will come when each of us gives an account for God’s investment. He expects some sort of work sheet of what we've done with what He provided.  That keeps me motivated--even in my old age with my health not so great. He deserves a proper payback.


Have you ever had a grubstake type experience? What was the result?

Monday, August 09, 2010


Why am I so drawn to snapshots of decrepit old barns and cabins about to fall at the next stiff breeze? Sure, I like the shiny, red ones too, however can’t pass up the antiques that no one would want for their kitchen view landscape. The one on the right I call "eternal autumn."

Maybe because they symbolize the skeleton of stories. Fun on a long trip to think who lived there and why and what happened to cause them to move away and abandon their homestead. Now moss covers their memories.

Or it’s the clash of contrasts. These treasures pop out of fields ripe for harvest or lush forests or come with swamp land, but also sensuous views like these snow-capped mountains. 

Recently I discovered this fairly new motor home parked next to a well-ventilated barn on the verge of collapse, way out in the Southwest boonies. Were they vacationers? Did they inherit the land and had many pleasant memories of summers with grandparents? Or did they have engine trouble and parked at the first site? Or were they temporary or permanent squatters? No one around to ask. I took my shot and moved on.

Last spring when the snow hadn't quite all melted, I got this find. . .what I call the ultimate "fixer-upper." The realtor might wait until things green up a bit to show this place.

Or perhaps do a tour of this barn that comes with a charming dormer window.

What photo ops can you not pass by without clicking or kick yourself because you didn’t bring your digital?

We'd like to use your country pics. . . 
You're invited to participate in our "Country Life Captions" feature. 
Guidelines for entering on the right sidebar.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

KILLING TIME, a novel by K. Dawn Byrd

Killing Time blurb:

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense released in April and was Desert Breeze Publishing's best-selling novel for the month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at , most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular Facebook group, Christian Fiction Gathering.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Publisher: (there will be links at this site to purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the Sony ebook store and others)

See Book Trailer below. . . .

KILLING TIME by K. Dawn Byrd -- Book Trailer

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Stephen Bly

An old time cowboy’s typical outfit included muddy boots, brown duckins for trousers and an off-white cotton shirt that turned gray with age. His colorful bandanna got very grimy on the trail. 

But there was one other essential piece of clothing: his bright or mustard yellow oilskin rain slicker. He called it his “fish” because of the trademark Fish brand on the inside, so named in the 1800s because they originally had a fishy smell. The slicker is split for mounted use and large enough to cover the entire saddle, therefore ideal protection for inclement weather. It didn’t keep him warm, but he stayed dry.

Many a cowboy wore out his fish just being tied to the back of his saddle. But he wouldn’t think of going to work without it, no matter the condition. 

To get caught in a downpour without your fish humiliated more than getting bucked off a kid horse. And that fish came in mighty handy on more days than rainy ones. If he rode a forked saddle on a horse that wanted to buck, the slicker jammed between him and the saddle horn provided a bucking roll to help wedge him in. This helped train the horse to not be so jumpy at new sights. And being waterproof, the fish covered his pack, his bedroll, his dinner, his other shirt, his spare Colt .44, or anything else he didn’t want to get soaked in a storm or crossing a river. 

The old fish…or slicker…could cover a wide variety of valuables. A cowboy without one was either dirt poor…or dumb.

Reminds me of the admonition: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8).

To cover the sins of those you love doesn’t mean you imply that their actions were right or smart or that they’ll escape the consequences. But the ‘love cover’ allows you to refuse to let another’s wrongdoings destroy your friendship. 

You can roll up that kind of love and take it with you wherever you go, ‘cause you never know when someone close will all of a sudden fail you.
With God’s help, you’re not too poor to love this way. Nor too dumb to know its good spiritual smarts.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

ABIGAIL, a novel by Jill Eileen Smith

Abigail  by Jill Eileen Smith released February 1, 2010 and is book 2 in The Wives of King David series.

About Abigail:
Abigail is the third wife of King David and her journey is one of heartache and shattered dreams, but in the end she grows stronger for what she has endured and her relationship to David takes an interesting turn.

Here's the back-cover copy:
What price must she pay for true love?
Her days marked by turmoil and faded dreams, Abigail has resigned herself to a life with a man she does not love. When her husband Nabal’s foolish pride angers David and his men, she boldly steps forward to save her family—and David, the would-be king, takes notice. 
Circumstances offer Abigail a second chance at happiness with the handsome David, and she takes a leap of faith to join his wandering tribe. But her struggles are far from over. How can she share his love with the other women he insists on marrying? 

Abigail follows the bestselling novel Michal and continues Jill Eileen Smith’s rich story of David’s wives. 

A little about Jill:

Jill Eileen Smith has been married for 33 years to her beloved engineer husband, Randy, and together they have three adult sons. Two sons live in California pursuing a film career, and one lives at home finishing an English degree. She was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom for 12 years so the transition to almost-empty-nester has been tough! She is most grateful for technology, particularly Skype. Jill lives with her family in Southeastern Michigan.

Ten random things about Jill: 

1.  I am a third-born, married to a third-born, and we have three sons.
2.  My maiden name and married name are the same.
3.  I collect refrigerator magnets of places I’ve been.
4.  I was a high-school valedictorian.
5.   My hubby and I used to be camp counselors.
6.   Randy (hubby) used to take me drag racing in his '66 Mustang.
7.   Traveled to most of the continental U.S.; plus Canada, Hawaii, and Israel.
8.   Used to sing solos in church.
9.   Catered food for a music video production for my kids.
10. I love Bible trivia questions

 Reviews of Jill’s books:

“With skill honed by years of historical research, made sharper still with a gifted passion for storytelling, Jill Eileen Smith crafts the story of Abigail in a way that takes us deep into the heart of King David and into the heart of a woman determined to follow God’s will, no matter the cost to her—or to the man she loves.”—Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of From a Distance and The Inheritance 

“Smith’s writing swept me back to ancient days and brought Abigail and David’s love story vividly to life.”—Deborah Raney, award-winning author of Almost Forever and the Clayburn Novels 

“A rich tapestry of an era filled with love and longing that rings true across the centuries.”—Siri Mitchell, author of Love’s Pursuit

Available from Amazon and fine bookstores everywhere.

Bathsheba, book 3, releases March 1, 2011.
Michal, book 1 is available now.

For more info about Jill and her books, go to: