My Books · My Thoughts · poetry · Ranching

Would You Like to Taste One of My Books?

            Taste one of my books, sample it, savor it! Here’s samples from three of my books. Enjoy!

Excerpt from This Tumbleweed Landed

“She Was Born Dancing!”

 On June 26, 1953, my folks left
their thirteen-month-old son with Millie,
the family babysitter,
to go to a square dance in Trinidad,
fifty miles away.
 
Mom danced one tip that night—
She was nine months pregnant
with me.
They left the dance early
feeling something was about to happen.
 
Early the next morning
Mom had labor pains
that made her stagger across the floor.
It was time!
 
The fifty-mile trip back to Trinidad
and the hospital
was made in record time.
 
At 10:30 a.m. I was born.
 
Dad went downtown
to buy celebratory cigars
and ran into a fellow dancer
from the previous night.
 
Dad announced his good news—
a new baby girl!
 
Remembering Mom at the dance
the night before,
the only comment the stunned friend
had to make was,
“She was born dancing!”
 

Copyright © 2014 Larada Horner-Miller


Excerpt from When Will Papa Get Home?

Chapter 8

Halfway through our delicious, but modest meal, the much-feared event happens. Horses approach our house in a rush of noise from men and animals. The dreaded moment arrives and catches us all clustered together in the dark corner of our small kitchen. Three unfinished meals cover our deserted table.

            Several loud men on nondescript sweaty, panting horses ride up with shouting and cussing. A brisk pounding at the door sends us further in the corner. Before Papa can open the door, this mob forces the door open. What a violent invasion of our home! Six gringos fill our small, modest house of stone and adobe with their foreign language and foreign smells. One of these invaders is the sheriff of Las Animas County.

            Peering from behind Mama’s protective full skirt, I see the sheriff, now our enemy, argue with Papa in English. Papa pleads. I don’t understand the words, but I do understand the tone of his voice and theirs. Grabbing the sheriff’s hand, he begs, pleads, and cries! And then, they laugh, a communication that crosses all languages. Their laughter overflows with power, ridicule and anger. And all this is aimed at my Papa, my hero! That laughter bounces off of our adobe walls and crashes into my head.

            The sheriff and one man get on each side of Papa and push him outside towards the corrals. The others move back to their horses, light cigarettes and stand talking. Mama and I move closer to the closed door, listening and trying to understand what is happening. I don’t understand their words but I know they feel they have won.  

            In a loud voice, Papa continues to argue with the two men who take him to the corral where the horses are. I hear English words that I do know: “The Rose horse ranch” where we bought Smokey as a colt. From the conversation, I see in my mind the two gringos surveying our two horses, especially Papa’s horse. Papa continues his litany of innocence with his voice growing louder and shriller with each statement, but they ignore him. Laughter is their only response.  

            I hear Papa beg about something. The two ruffians bring him back to the house for our tearful good-bye. The last thing I remember hearing is his screams as they drag him from our house. “Mi hijita, mi esposa preciosa–esperame, esperame!” His screams for us to wait for him echo through my mind. I must have fainted because the next thing I remember is waking to Mama and our neighbor and friend, Pablo, standing over me with worried looks on their faces.

            “Where’s Papa? Where’s Papa? ¿Dónde está mi Papa?” I scream, demanding to know and trying to shake the cobwebs of uncertainty from my mind.

            Mama falls across me on my small bed, crying and sobbing out of control, “Papa, se ha ido! Papa’s gone! He’s gone. Se lo llevaron. They took him away.” The weight of her body and sound of her wails almost suffocate me.

            Pushing Mama aside, I scramble out from underneath her, search our two-room home and explode. Uncontrollable anger rages from deep within me and I attack and destroy anything I can get my hands on. My doll crashes against the hard rock wall; my marbles fly out the door in all directions.  

            Mama tries to console me in the midst of my savage tantrum, but I push her away. I shove open the front door and collapse on the front step. I scream, I cry, and I wail! Finally, I take a breath and open my eyes—Paco is staring at me a few feet away. He seems apprehensive about coming any closer. My tantrum has lost its power, so my little friend ventures near and I scoop him up in my skirt. I gingerly hold him in my hand while my sobs are subsiding. He seems to know that I need him close to me. I sit there with him consoling me.  

            I look around and see my marbles strewn around our front door; I don’t pick them up, but go inside, leaving Paco outside. Mama and Pablo stop their conversation, and I slide into my bed fully dressed. Pablo touches my brow with gentle rough fingers and whispers, “Adios.  Hasta la mañana.” I appreciate his good-bye and the hope of seeing him tomorrow. Mama walks to the door with him and says her good-byes.

            She returns to my bed and repeats what Pablo did; she touches my brow with her long slender fingers and whispers, “Buenas noches.” I sigh my response and turn to the wall, heart-broken because the most valuable person in my life has been taken away.

Copyright © 2015 Larada Horner-Miller


Excerpt from A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir

I Want you Back! Or Do I?

January 27, 2014

I stand at that mysterious wall
between life and eternity
                     and scream,
"I want you back!"
 
I pound my fists.
I scream!
I cry,
but nothing changes.
 
You slipped
through my finger tips.
I grasped.
You were here one second
and
gone the next!
 
Nothing I could do
would hold you.
Where are you now?
Sitting next to Jesus and Dad—
              smiling
              youthful
              relaxed
              happy!
 
I hope so!
 
I am earth bound—
held in place
  by time and
              my human existence!
 
I now know more,
realize there's more.
There has to be!
 
A small peephole
opened into eternity
              at your death bed.
Surprisingly, a small kernel of hope was born that day for me.
 
Life ended here for you
so quickly!
Your shell of a body
lay limp and lifeless
in that hospital bed.
I saw your last breath,
but I also saw something else
              slight
              faint
 
Relief for you!
A passing
A knowing
              that you are gone
                          from here,
              but will wait for me
                          there.
 
In my solemn, desolate space,
I will still cry,
"I want you back!"
 
But today I know
that
I don't want you back—
I want to join you
              there!

Copyright © 2017 Larada Horner-Miller

Maybe one of these samples makes you want more. Visit my website at: https://laradasbooks.com


~ Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft, for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft


Blogging · My Thoughts

What Does Six Years of Blogging Look Like?

Six years of blogging—yahoo! I’ve taken the advice of writing pundits that I should blog as an author, so I did it sporadically and half-heartedly for four years. I didn’t do regular posts. I wasn’t committed. I didn’t know what to do.

Then in 2017, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to Ireland and England, and it hit me–blog about every day of the trip. We were gone for 23 days, so I had topics for twenty-three posts, and I was off and running. I realized the power in having planned blogs. My statistics changed, and in 2018, I hit it full tilt. I grew exponentially in 2019! Now I have a database of topics for 2020 already.

Last year, I looked at my first five years, and the data opened my eyes! Today, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at the statistics of my blogging and thoughtfully consider what’s working and what needs to be tweaked! Let’s look at my statistics for the last six years:

For the first two years I had 207 views but my visitors increase. In 2016 views more than doubled and visitors increased also. In 2017 again, views increased but visitors more than doubled. But 2018, my numbers went off the map! My views increased more than six times and the visitors jumped by seven times. Wow!

In 2019, I more than doubled my views and visits from 2018. I moved my website to wordpresscom so the blog and website sit together, and I think that’s helped.

Over the years I increased my posts, and last year I posted on a regular weekly basis–some weeks I posted twice a week. Readers like regular blog posts, and they like more. Regularly, I post one blog post a week, but last year I added some at the holidays and did that again this year.

Here’s how many posts I have published in six years:

  • 2014 – 7
  • 2015 – 16
  • 2016 – 6
  • 2017 – 22
  • 2018 – 55
  • 2019 – 66

Let’s look at specifics from 2019. My most popular post published was “Why Knit?” with 1939 views. Experts say to ask a question in your title and I saw that suggestion improve visitation. “Home” visitation of my website was the second popular, so moving my website is the reason for that!

What was your favorite blog post of mine in 2019?

I love the growth statistics this last year, but I continue to have two disappointing statistics: likes and comments.

Likes:

  • 2014 – 0
  • 2015 – 1
  • 2016 – 8
  • 2017 – 45
  • 2018 – 136
  • 2019 – 57

A major decrease from last year shocked me. What do I do to encourage more likes on the wordpress site?

Comments:

  • 2014 – 0
  • 2015 – 2
  • 2016 – 77
  • 2017 – 8
  • 2018 – 48
  • 2019 – 0

Many visitors interact on Facebook with likes and comments but don’t go out to wordpress.com to like and comment. How do I move the reader to go out to my blog and respond?

I want more interaction with my visitors. I end each blog with questions to stimulate conversation, so help me out. What do I need to do? What would make you like and/or comment more on my blog?

Visitors to my blog come from all over the world which fascinates me, so what countries visited my blog last year and how many did I have from the top countries?

2019

  • United States – 4893
  • Pakistan – 593
  • Algeria – 520
  • Turkey – 485
  • Nepal – 425
  • India & Mynamar (Burma) – 149

2018

  • United States – 3962
  • Australia – 108
  • Canada – 103
  • United Kingdom – 69
  • Germany – 36
  • Ireland – 34
  • India – 26
  • Japan – 25
  • Hong Kong (China) – 19
  • Sweden – 8

Notice the directional movement in readership of my blog from 2018 to 2019. It’s amazing the difference.

In 2019, other countries who visited my blog were Venezuela, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Libya, Ireland, China, Egypt, Philippines, Bolivia, Tunisia, Japan, United Kingdom, Chile, Canada, Argentina, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Iraq, France, Australia, Brazil, Albania, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Mexico, Bhutan, Ecuador, Germany, Somalia, Colombia, Guinea, Georgia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Italy, Serbia, Sweden, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Paraguay, Russia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Honduras, Hungary, Mali, Surname, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Thailand, Cambodia, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Ukraine, Peru, Austria, Macedonia, Namibia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Poland, Haiti, Finland, Costa Rica, Senegal, Armenia, Hong Kong SAR China, Tanzania, Singapore, Kenya, Croatia, Cameroon, Laos, Mauritius, Lebanon, Fiji, Tonga, Niger, Cote d’lvoire, Spain, Samoa, Lithuania, Taiwan, Malta, Greece, Vietnam, Zambia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Maldives, Barbados, Benin, Liberia, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Vanuatu, Congo – Brazzaville, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Yemen, South Korea, Belgium, Uzbekistan, Panama, Qatar, Portugal, Czech Republic, Uganda, European Union, Belize, Mozambique, Congo – Kinshasa, Comoros, Madagascar, Bahamas, Iran, Denmark, American, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, Gambia, Chad, Norway, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Kazakhstan, Burundi, Puerto Rico, Kuwait, Uruguay, Brunei, U. S. Virgin Islands, Moldova, Caribbean Netherlands, French Polynesia, and Reunion.

 In 2018, readers from 29 countries have visited my blog in 2018; in 2019, it grew to 150 countries! OMG! I changed something this year—I paid for an ad, but at the beginning of March, I selected “Worldwide” when forming my audience, and that made all the difference.

So, why did you come to my blog from such far-away places? Let me know.

I continue to add quality photographs and graphics because of good blog design.

Over 84% of all marketing strategies use images, popular GIFs, graphics, animations, and signs among others to pass information. Visual communication has more impact in passing information to people. 

In 2020, I plan to include these topics this year:

  • Our Travels
  • Square Dancing
  • MAJOR FOCUS: Marshall Flippo and promoting my new book
  • Personal life stories
  • Being 65 and fully alive
  • HolidaY highlights
  • Ranch life in southeastern Colorado
  • My 16-year-old cat, Jesse

What would you like to hear about? I’m open!

All-in-all, my blog has become a major focus of my writing career, so stick around and see where we go this next year!


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · Writing

How Do You Cut Any of Marshall Flippo’s Stories?

Scissors to cut stories

If you knew Marshall Flippo, you know he wiled you with his stories and he had many—not surprising with the longevity of his 91 years! So, after 40+ hours of interviews, stories galore and 258,000+ words, I faced the dilemma of cutting some of his stories as I prepare the manuscript to be published, but which ones?

Early on in this project, Flip told me he wanted to tell stories about his caller/cuer friends and include them in his biography—an interesting reflection of him. He saw himself through his relationships.

So, originally, we made a list of seventy-one names of callers, cuers and dancers, and it was amazing to listen to how he listed them. After Flip identified the names that came to him easily, he geographically traveled the United States and added to the list, saying, “northern California, northern California. Around and Around. I thank I’ll have a funny story for each one of them.”

That was the criteria—a funny story! So he eliminated some of the names based on that criteria.

Next, he moved to those who called frequently at Kirkwood Lodge where he called for six months out of the year for 42 years. Then Flip moved to his home state of Texas to add more names. Next, he went to “around St. Louis, and oh, Memphis, Memphis, Memphis!”

Regularly he instructed me on how the chapters should be set up, “That’s going to be quite a few in a chapter—headline like Gary Shoemake. The next one would be Ken Bower.”

As we progressed down the list, Flip moved west to Reno and Mesa. Then he jumped back east to Chicago, then East Coast, North Carolina, and then down the East Coast, Alabama and Georgia.

At this point he emphasized, “Put Georgia down thar. I have a story about Georgia.” Be ready for this hilarious one included in the book. He returned to Texas and listed his mentors and dear friends there. He headed to East Texas and then New Mexico, over to Arizona. Then he went south and northwest.

Quickly Flip announced, “I’m down in Houston again.” He added from San Antonio, Amarillo, Lubbock. This went on for weeks!

After we compiled this list, we went back through it, and Flip told his stories, crossed off some names and added some. Again, I saw the importance of relationships to this man.

When Flip first stated he had a list of callers he wanted to tell stories about, with a snicker, he added, “I have another list but it’s short: Callers I’ve Slept With!” I gasped when he said that but laughed when he told me the story. You’ll have to look for who that is in his biography.

Always involved in the layout of his biography, Flippo later requested I separate out the stories and have a section at the beginning of the book, “Before Marshall Flippo was born in Tuscola, Texas,” identifying the callers who have passed away and had helped him, so these people and their stories hold a premier place at the beginning of his biography.

So, back to my dilemma of cutting stories—I’m still deciding which stories will be in the book, and which will land up on the website, but it doesn’t matter because if you purchase his biography, you’ll have access to all of them.


~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

~Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft for digital or paper copies of all my books: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

Holidays · My Thoughts

2020 is Larada’s Year!

Happy New Year! 2020 is here and I’m ready! 2019 was a hard year for me health-wise, so I’m ready for a change, and Lin, my husband, and I have dubbed 2020 as my year!

Yesterday, I started the new year off with a Cribbage game with Lin during breakfast, and he won. We jumped into the Rose Bowl parade—a tradition Lin and I both enjoy.

Since I have been in recovery, I try to attend a meeting on New Year’s Day, and I did yesterday. It was a glorious celebration of life, and exactly what I needed. Afterwards, I bought some black-eyed peas to serve for our lunch for good measure to start the year off right, southern style.

After our late lunch and between football games, we played two more Cribbage games, and I won. I started off the year ahead 2 -1. For years, LIn and I have started each morning off with a couple Cribbage games during breakfast, and he has beat me over the last two years like crazy. Three years ago, after losing a lot, I told him, “You win more than I do.”

He denied it, saying, “No, you win as much as I do!”

So, to prove my point, I created a spreadsheet of wins and losses, and he has been relentless: in 2018, he beat me by 43 games, and 2019 wasn’t much better. He beat me by 44 games.

We played this morning, and in 2020, I’m already ahead—I’ve won 4 games and he’s won 2! Yahoo! So I’m keeping track again this year!

Yesterday, after my wins, my wonderful day continued with cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. Because I was sick a lot of last year, I kept bypassing this chore. But I felt it was a good way to bring in the New Year, and metaphorically it felt right—cleaning out the old to make room for the new!

After some relaxation time, I worked on my current project, the Marshall Flippo biography and assigned ISBN numbers to the different versions I will publish. I also investigated Ingram Sparks, a self-publishing company I’m using to publish the books and e-books.

My biggest goal of the year is publishing this biography. I’ve been working on it for two years, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The manuscript is with the editor right now. I’m busy doing behind the scene work because I self-publish my books, so I design the cover, adjust the pictures and lay the book out, so I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I see that it is going to get done. The release date is April 6, 2020 at the annual CALLERLAB Convetion in Reno, NV.

Here’s my favorite Facebook cartoon as we face this new year! Yes, I plan to take advantage of all 365 opportunities ahead of me–how about you?

Yes, I started 2020 in a fulfilling way, and it promises to be fantastic. I hope your start to this new year was as a great as mine!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Albuquerque · Christmas · Holidays · My Thoughts

Why Celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas?

You hear this song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” every holiday season many times, and it’s a mystery what it means. Let’s look at a possible explanation.

The Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas, has strong liturgical ties to the Catholic and the Anglican church which is my church, the Episcopal church. I cherish the celebratory nature of stretching the Christmas season out for twelve days instead of one day only. I mean, we work so hard preparing for it, it should be more than twenty-four hours!

“The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).”

https://www.vox.com/2015/12/25/10661878/12-days-of-christmas-explained

Another explanation for this song is based in the Catholic church: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written in England as one of the “catechism songs” to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith – a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head – or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I’m not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. ” https://www.catholic.org/advent/advent.php?id=2

I love this song and idea that Christmas lasts for twelve days, so when the rest of the world takes down their decorations and folds away their favorite Christmas leggings, I continue enjoying my decorations twinkling and wearing my colorful Christmas outfits.

Here’s the traditional words of this favorite song:

The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me:
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, 
My true love gave to me: 
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing, 
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings!
Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
and a partridge in a pear tree. 

http://www.chiff.com/home_life/holiday/christmas/12-days-lyrics.htm

Listen to the traditional song for a moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fe11OlMiz8

I live in New Mexico, so here’s a regional humorous take on this familiar song:

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS LYRICS (NEW MEXICO STYLE)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….
A roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Red and Green chiles
And roadrunner in a piñon tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
11 biscochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
Five turquoise rings!
Four hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…
12 farolitos
11 bisochitos
10 pork tamales
9 margaritas
8 bright red ristras
7 bowls posole
6 sopaipillas
5 turquoise rings!
4 hot air balloons
3 lift tickets
Red and green chile
And a roadrunner in a piñon tree…

https://www.newmexico.org/nmmagazine/articles/post/12dayschristmas-79060/

Take this information to heart and keep celebrating Christmas until January 6 this year, and you will be in the real spirit of Christmas, then next year when you first hear this Christmas carol, remember my blog and plan on twelve days of celebrations.


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price. PRICE GOOD UNTIL JANUARY 5, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~30% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE-All Paper Copies discounted until January 6, 2020. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · My Thoughts · Writing

How about our Christmas Letter?

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is writing our annual letter. Here’s our Christmas letter–enjoy!

Lin & Larada's Newsletter

NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~40% OFF END OF THE YEAR SALE–All Digital Copies of my books are yours at a reduced price.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Cats · My Thoughts

Do You Own a Pet?

My pet, Jesse with a Christmas bow
Last Christmas, Jesse with a bow!

The answer for me is a resounding “Yes.” I rescued a Siamese silver tip cat ten years ago, and his name is Jesse. At the time, I was going through a divorce from my third husband. We had a dog I loved, and the Ex got the dog, so I yearned for a pet.

Petless, I floundered. Friends said I needed to get a cat instead of a dog because I traveled a lot and they’re easier to leave. One afternoon, one of my colleagues who pushed this idea repeatedly, called me and said, “Where are you?”

“I’m leaving a training and will be back at the office in about thirty minutes.”

She proclaimed, “Your cat is here!”

When I got there, she ushered me out a side door outside, and I saw this compassionate lady’s work: she had food and water out. She lured the cat with treats out of the bushes, and I was smitten.

The night before I had left the office late after doing a teacher’s training, and as I closed my door, I heard that eerie Siamese cry. I stopped to see where it was coming from, but it stopped, so I went home. I guess it was this cat.

But wait a minute! As an adult, I had never owned a cat! I was a dog person! I have had dogs my whole adult life—a cat??

We admired this sad, scared animal. She urged me, “Take him home tonight!”

My immediate response, “No, way! I’ve got to think about it,” so I went home catless, and felines ran through my dreamed all night.

After my restless night, I succumbed the next day, and this enthusiastic cat lady helped me buy a litter-box, scoop and cat food, and home I went with my new companion. I named him, Jesse, a name I was almost given as a child.

After he settled down and l examined him, I realized he had recently been cared for and wasn’t a stray. I waited until Saturday and took him to VetCo to see if he was chipped. He was! The veterinarian called the chip place, got the owner’s name and called them, then they called me and relinquished ownership of him to me! Jesse was officially mine.

Over the years, Jesse has been an angel for sure. He has made me laugh. He used to like to do late night antics after the lights went out like throwing my shoes around the bedroom and walking all over me.

Since Lin and I married, he’s not allowed in the bedroom because Lin has cat allergies, so needless to say, Jesse doesn’t wake me up with those crazy cat behaviors, but he loves to meow first thing in the morning! Lin and Jesse have a meow fest to start the day!

At first, Jesse wasn’t a lap kitty which I preferred, but I had shoulder surgery in 2012, and his instinct told him I needed extra love and care, so now he takes up residence in my lap anytime I’m relaxing in front of the TV, and I love it. In fact, he’s such a habitual kitty, he parks himself on the arm of our loveseat in anticipation of TV time.

In 2015, Jesse was diagnosed with feline diabetes. He was so sick at the time. Normally he weighed around 20 pounds—fat cat, but he lost down to 13 pounds! At first, we changed his food to diabetic cat food and that helped some, but then the vet added insulin and now has increased the dosage to 3 units twice a day.

Jesse loves our Christmas tree and hides under it whenever he can. After I add gifts under there, he gingerly steps over the packages to get out of his hiding place.

As Lin and I prepared for future travel plans next year, I texted my pet sitter about watching him. She is so conscientious about Jesse’s care. She related her concern about me leaving him during the winter with the possibility of a snowstorm and her not able to get him his insulin shot! Wow! So, we’re coming up with contingency plans. What an awesome pet sitter for sure!

My pet, Jesse relaxing
Jesse Curled Up & Sleeping!

I love this 16-year-old senile fat cat! He’s gained up to over 16 pounds now, and we have managed his diabetes. He’s aging before my eyes, sleeps curled up in a favorite place and moves slower. He loves the sunshine and follows it wherever it is during the morning. In the morning, I make sure I’ve given him his shot before he trudges upstairs to the loft to find his beam of sunshine. Often in the evening, Jesse meows at me like “It’s time for my insulin.” I wonder–does he know?

He’s just precious! I’m a committed pet owner through and through!

What are your feelings about pets? Cats? Dogs?


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · Christmas · family · Grief · My Thoughts

Christmas Traditions or Not?

            Do you have repeated Christmas traditions in your family? We did—my Mom, Dad and I! During my lifetime, I often helped Dad shopped for Mom’s Christmas gift over the years, but this one was special.

Mom & Me in the mid-1980’s

In the mid-1980’s, Dad asked me to pick out a dress alike for Mom and me and started a tradition that continued while he was alive and after he died for seventeen years until Mom’s death.

Any time we wore of outfits alike with Dad, his chest swelled, and he smiled a lot and made a point of letting everyone around him know the history of this tradition—he was so proud!

            When Dad died, Mom whispered to me in her grief, “You don’t have to buy our look-alike outfits for Christmas anymore.” We both sobbed. I shook my head, and I never wavered. I continued this heartfelt idea.

            Our first outfit was a dress, then during the years Dad was alive I bought us dresses. After he died, I bought us a variety of outfits: slacks and sweaters, warm-up suits and dresses. One problem I faced when I bought slacks was my Mom’s height. She was short; I’m short, too, but she was shorter.  So, I always had to buy her petite size slacks so she didn’t have to cut them off. Often that forced me to have to look hard for outfits in two different departments or I would buy petite for me and just deal with shorter slacks than I preferred!

            So, we wore our outfits together proudly and often explained why we were dressed alike. We always gave Dad the credit for starting this tradition.

            When Mom passed away, getting rid of our look-alike outfits broke my heart! I couldn’t imagine seeing them on someone else. Then I had a brainstorm! I shipped them off to a girlfriend in Virginia, wanting her to have them, and I didn’t have to see them again. In fact, those outfits were the first of Mom’s clothes to go!

I did continue wearing mine, celebrating the connection to Mom. This tradition blessed my heart for many years. Do you have anything like it in your family? Share yours with me!


NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · Christmas · My Thoughts

My Hair Was on Fire!

My childhood holiday experience included activities at our Community Church. Here’s a poem from my book, A Tumbleweed Landed, recognizing the place that church had in my life.

Branson Community Church

The Branson Community Church
small and quaint.
 
People that touched my life
Maynard Bowen,
Walt Graham
Ministers of God, who took the time for me.
The Loudens
The Gilstraps
The Smiths
The Warners
The Cummins
Mabel Survant
Mrs. Jamieson
 
Sunday School teachers
and family friends who let me sit with them,
singing my songs out loud
when I couldn’t even read.
Beautiful old hymns and singing.
They loved me, taught me,
and encouraged me.
A safe place to be on Sunday morning,
and a nice place to meet God.
 
Youth group on Sunday night
games and talking about God
Youth group picnic and campouts at the Gilstraps
and the annual Christmas programs.
 
One year, at the Christmas program
I was an angel
with the other young girls.
Donned in our white robes, wings, and haloes,
we walked in a straight line
carrying lit candles.
The girl behind me got too close
and caught my hair on fire!
Our teacher quickly handled the situation, and
I wasn’t burned.
The program went on.
 
Copyright©2014, Larada Horner-Miller

NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42

Christmas · My Thoughts

Bobby Pins & Christmas Ornaments?

Bobby pins and Christmas ornaments? What’s the connection? My Grandma Horner was ahead of her time! She used bobby pins to hang her glass ornaments up on a Christmas tree decades before someone invented those great little ornament hangers we all know!

My Christmas decorations resound with memories! Here’s a few of my favorites:

Grandma Horner’s Glass Ornaments with Bobby Pins

Grandma's Christmas Ornament with Bobby Pin
One of My Grandma’s Glass Ornaments with Her Bobby Pin

When Grandma Horner died, I waited until all the other grandchildren went through her belongings to make my selections. I chose her Christmas ornaments—three boxes of vintage ornaments which I had seen yearly on her Christmas tree. When I took them out to hang them the first year, I noticed her use of bobby pins as hangers! And I’ve kept those precious bobby pins attached to many of them every since!

I’m sad to say several ornaments broke one year when my Christmas tree toppled over! But I still have about fifteen I hang every year.

Santa Claus Dollar Bill

My Dollar Bill with a Santa Face
My Santa Dollar Bill

As a beautician, I received tips as a part of my pay, and gladly so! I had regular customers who came in every week and were like family to me. In 1979, I received a surprising tip from one of my clients, Tex White: a dollar bill with a Santa Claus glued on the face of it–it looked real!

Forty years later, I giggled as I placed it on my tree this year, remembering the joke that Tex had pulled on me with this dollar bill! I had never seen anything like that! Every year, it’s one of my favorite ornaments to decorate my tree.

Wooden Cut Out Ornaments

A Sampling of My wooden ornaments
A Sampling of My Wooden Ornaments

About 1974, in the first couple years of marriage, we had little money and no decorations for our tree, so I bought a set of wooden cut-out decorations and hand painted each ornament. Each year since then, I’ve enjoyed adding those simple ornaments to my tree and remembered how I felt when I finished with the numerous decorations.

Colorful paint spotted my hands, and I gathered up the newspapers every night when I finished and set the painted pieces on the porch to dry. I continued this routine for several evenings proud of the dazzling set when I finished. I painted Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, an angel, Soldier, dove, and many other Christmas figures.

This year, I placed these ornaments near the bottom of my tree because I have a cat, Jesse, who loves to hide under the tree. If he knocks one off, it’s safe and won’t broke!

Santa Claus & Mrs. Santa Claus (Plaster Craft)

Mrs. Claus & Santa Claus (Plaster Craft)
Mrs. Santa Claus & Santa Claus

My Mom loved to do crafts, so I inherited her interest in working with my hands. I couldn’t afford ceramics when I was a young married woman, but I found plaster craft. I truly enjoyed the handicraft, so I did my Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus in the mid-70’s. I love their whimsical expressions: Santa’s wink and her focus on her knitting!

For many years, I stored this precious couple in my guest bedroom closet, up on a shelf safe and sound. I was so afraid something would happen to one of them, but 40 years later, they still look perfect even though he’s yellowed some.

Christmas Tree (Plaster Craft)

My Christmas tree (Plaster Craft)
My Plaster Craft Christmas Tree

After my success with Santa and Mrs. Claus, the next year I moved on to a lighted Christmas tree. The original tree was small, so I bought an extension to make it bigger!

I keep the small colored bulbs in a zip lock bag and enjoy putting them on the tree, making sure I spread out all the colors. This is another item I have kept stored safely, so it looks pristine!

Since Lin and I married, we put this tree up in our bedroom, and it’s a pleasant light to go to bed and see!

Latch Hook Noel

My Latch Hook Noel Hanging
Latch Hook Kit I Made

I thoroughly enjoyed latch hook for many years. I bought the kits, finished the pattern and created ways to hang them. For Christmas, I did this Noel hanging and also a Christmas wreath. These two decorations adorned my living room and hall way.

As you can see, the majority of my decorations I either made myself or inherited. I have never wanted a perfectly trimmed Christmas tree; I prefer one loaded with ornaments and memories!

How about you? What are your favorite Christmas decorations?


A Colorado Country Christmas with Santa Claus
My NEW Christmas Chapbook

~ NEW Christmas ChapbookA Colorado Country ChristmasFull color paperback chapbook or digital version. Visit my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~Whitey & Gladys Puerling were playful friends of Flippo’s who created a Fan Club. I thought it would be fun to recreate this group. Would you like to join the Marshall Flippo Fan Club Facebook page? Read interesting posts about Flippo’s life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/328325644382769/

~I HAVE OVER 200 PRE-ORDERS FOR THE MARSHALL FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY!  You, too, can pre-order this amazing story? You can select which paper format or e-book format you would like. Go here to order the version you want. Monthly SWAG Giveaways!  https://goo.gl/forms/4D4hwbHdme1fvJc42