Friday, December 9, 2016

Words of Old at Christmastime: "Christmas Every Day" by William Dean Howells


"The little girl came into her papa's study, as she always did Saturday morning before breakfast, and asked for a story. He tried to beg off that morning, for he was very busy, but she would not let him. So he began:

"Well, once there was a little pig--"

She put her hand over his mouth and stopped him at the word. She said she had heard little pig stories till she was perfectly sick of them.

"Well, what kind of story shall I tell, then?"

"About Christmas. It's getting to be the season. It's past Thanksgiving already."

"It seems to me," her papa argued, "that I've told as often about Christmas as I have about little pigs."

"No difference! Christmas is more interesting.""

Click here for full story
First published 1892

Wild at Heart by Terri Farley: Book Review

Wild at Heart
Author: Terri Farley
Photographer: Melissa Farlow
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Ages: 10-14, Middle Grade nonfiction
Pages: 196

Velma Johnston of Nevada (some called her “Wild Horse Annie") developed a special love of wild horses in her youth. In 1950, she witnessed the roundup of wild mustangs for slaughter on state land. Horse meat for dog food had become a profitable business. The roundups were bloody and vicious, with no regard for horse families and nursing foals. Having suffered from crippling polio as a girl, Velma understood pain and couldn't bear to see the wild mustangs she loved mistreated. She spoke out against the practice, and as a result, a new state law protecting the horses was passed, but horse hunters simply moved the practice to public lands where the slaughter continued. Cattlemen in particular supported roundups because they freed up grazing land.

Seeking new support, Velma requested help from U.S. schoolchildren nationwide. Students began writing letters to the U.S. Congress, exposing the plight of wild mustangs. Successful once again, a law was passed in 1971 to protect the mustangs and burros. Henceforth, they would be “living symbols of the historic pioneer spirit of the West” forever and free to roam public lands under the protection of an agency called the Bureau of Land Management. However, the agency failed to protect the mustangs when a later decision was made that drastically reduced the acreage on which the animals could roam.

Today, wild mustangs continue to suffer in roundups and are considered an endangered species, but a steady group of horse-loving youth have followed in Velma's footsteps to carry on the fight. Farley shares their stories and shows the positive influence the wild mustang has made on their lives personally. Readers learn the history of horses in America and more about wild horse culture. The pages are filled with gorgeous photography throughout, making this a lovely book for horse lovers everywhere.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Signing Off Till Further Notice

Dear Blog friends,

Well, it has finally come to this. I've let life take over and it is time to give my writing a more serious look. 

The challenges before me: Continue the submission process of my completed novel and finish (or scrap) the projects I've started. 

"Looking for Balance"
My "perfect more balanced world" (blending all I hold dear) would be to return with news this spring. I might do a book review or visit your blogs every now and then, but must say goodbye for now. I wish you well in your writing and life endeavors, and want to thank all of you for your kind support and friendship. You are the best of the best!!

Till further notice......Sharon

Friday, September 23, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: End of Summer Thoughts

Funny how seasonal weather can be invigorating in the beginning and an energy drain in the end. I love the advent of the seasons, don't you? It's a wonderful time to reflect on the next leg of our journey.

Vince and I have one final job before completing this summer's landscaping project, the installation of colored rock over the new berm. If we finish by Friday, I'll post an image. 

Salmon-colored rock over the berm is coming soon. Whew! What a lot of work shoveling dirt and planting everything. The rock garden in the middle and shrubs next to the house were planted by the previous owner. We did everything else. Slowly the gravel is disappearing....

We also planted two new trees, an Amur Maackia and Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry. 
Amur Maackia - I love this tree. The leaves look tropical.

Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry. Off to the right....out future deck!
The Serviceberry can only be described as hopeful. It doesn't look like much sitting alone in the gravel, with most of its leaves gone. I'm told the tree will fill out beautifully in time and pictures online all agree, but for now, it's a version of Charlie Brown's little tree. Remember the one with the single Christmas ornament? That's ours!

The serviceberry is a good reminder that all good things (and endeavors) come in due time if we persist. Kind of where my writing projects are at the moment, but I haven't lost hope. I'm attending the the Rivers of Ink writers' conference next month in Richland, WA. I'm excited to learn more about the field, and in particular, the writing software, Scrivner, one speaker's topic.

We passed the following restaurant while driving to Spokane recently, and decided to stop. We now have a new favorite. Check out the neat sculpture in front.
A great place to eat, Ritzville, WA

Across from the restaurant, just off I-90
Have a nice weekend everyone!!

Celebrate the Small Things: To join, visit Lexa's Blog for the rules. We post every Friday about something we are grateful for that week. It can be about writing, family, school, general life or whatever. Originated by VikLit, co-hosts are: L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Katie @ TheCyborgMom

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