Sutter’s Landing by Betty Thomason Owens ~ the inspired pen

Sutters Landing

I write detective stories. Mostly that’s what I read and showcase. But every-once-in-awhile I come across a general fiction novel that’s so good, I have to promote it. SUTTER’S LANDING by Betty Thomason Owens is such a novel. Although it does have a measure of suspense, too.

 

Literature, Biblical Allegory

Still reeling from tragic losses, Connie and Annabelle Cross face life with their signature humor and grace, until fresh hope arrives on their doorstep.

In early spring of 1955, Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie have nearly made it through the first winter on their own. Then the skies open up as West Tennessee and much of the south endures one of the worst floods in history. As many of their neighbors endure losses due to the flooding, Annabelle and Connie sit tight on dry ground.

As spring gives way to summer, Annabelle begins to dread Connie’s upcoming marriage and removal to Sutter’s Landing. Though she’s happy to note the growing affection between Alton Wade and her daughter-in-law, their marriage means Annabelle will be on her own for the first time in her life.

Connie’s doubts increase when Alton’s bigoted brother Jensen uses every opportunity to drive a wedge between them. Is she doing the right thing? Did she move too quickly? Unexpected summer visitors and anticipation of a new neighbor provide diversion and open possibilities for both Annabelle and Connie.

EXCERPT:  Chapter One

Connie Cross sat straight up in bed. What was that sound? Slowly, her vision adjusted to the semidarkness of her room. Outside, but close—too close. A gunshot? She slipped out of bed, donned her robe and tiptoed through the next room where her mother-in-law Annabelle lay. A soft snore told her the woman still slept.

Quiet as possible, Connie opened the back door and stood looking through the screen. Chilled air curled around her ankles and sent a shiver up her spine. She pushed the screen door open. Outside, on the small back porch, she stood for a moment to get her bearings. A thick, white fog enveloped the surrounding area. She wrapped her arms around herself for warmth and peered into the mist.

One of the hens broke into a loud cackle, which wasn’t unusual, though a bit early in the morning for such a racket. Connie was just about to retreat to the warmth of her bed when she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. She squinted in that direction, listening. Was someone approaching the house? An odd noise, like an animal snuffling, was the only sound. Her scalp prickled. She trembled, though not because of the cold. The sound moved closer.

Gradually, a shape emerged, advancing through the mist. Before she could make out what it was, there came a sharp whistle. Her back straightened as her nerves uncoiled. She recognized that whistle. The thing halted. Connie stepped forward. “Samson, is that you?”

The dog whined, and gave a soft yip. He trotted closer, nose to the ground, tail at attention.

A smile warming her insides, Connie peered into the mist. “Alton?” Their nearest neighbor, Alton Wade, was also her fiancé, though they hadn’t publicly announced it yet. A moment later, she made out his lanky frame, moving toward her.

“Samson, sit,” he said.

The dog sat.

Alton stopped below the porch, too far away for her to make out the face beneath the brim of his hat. Dressed in a loose jacket, he held a disjointed shotgun in the crook of his arm. “Did I wake you?” His voice was low, as though he was not yet fully awake.

Keenly aware of her state of undress, Connie kept both arms crossed over the front of her blue chenille robe as she crept closer to the edge of the porch. “You did. Was that a shot I heard?”

“Yes, it was. A fox was about to have herself a morning snack on Miss Annabelle’s chickens.”

Connie caught her breath. “Did you kill it?”

“Of course I did.”

Connie could hear the prideful grin on his face. She gave him an answering one. “Of course you did.”

 

Author Bio:

Betty T Owens

Betty Thomason Owens has been writing for almost thirty years. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a 2016 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM. When she’s not writing, Owens is a part-time bookkeeper, who loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Betty would like to invite you to her Facebook author page, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page.

And she posts weekly on her blog, Hello, Thursday Morning, found at LOVE IS THE LEGACY ~ BETTY THOMASON OWENS.

SUTTER’S LANDING @ AMAZON


Warm Greek Pasta Salad ~ yum

1980-01-01 00.00.28

The Finish!

I saw this recipe on a food website and the photo looked sooo good, but then the photos usually do. So, I said to myself, “Self, let’s try it”…and of course, I made some changes.

Note: I live alone and cook for one. However, I usually prepare food for two or three and freeze what I don’t eat for another meal. This recipe can be easily doubled.

So, let’s start with the warm part.

Boil water and cook 2 C of whole wheat pasta according to directions.

1980-01-01 00.00.33-1

 

Then, in a large skillet (I have a ceramic one I love that’s a semi-wok), liberally spray olive oil pan-spray,  saute 1/2 C roughly chopped red onion, 1 tsp minced garlic (I used the jarred variety), 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Cook until the onion begins to become translucent.

Add 1/2 a package of frozen chopped spinach (I used organic). When it appears to need more pan spray, I add 1/4 C water and let it steam. Also add 1/2 tsp jarred vegetable bouillon. I use very little salt and the bouillon has enough for me. Taste to see if you need to add salt. When thoroughly cooked, as seen above, add 4 tsp red wine vinegar and stir through. Turn off the burner and let it cool…but it will still be warm. Note: Don’t be afraid to taste as you cook. Professional cooks keep forks and spoons handy for tasting.

1980-01-01 00.00.08-1

Add the cooked whole wheat pasta to the spinach mixture. If you want to get rid of starch, first rinse the pasta with warm water, then add to skillet. (Note: I placed two portions into plastic containers. One I saved for later in the week, one I froze. Then later, when thawed and warmed, I would add the fresh ingredients.) But, this recipe if for the entire amount.

1980-01-01 00.00.28

 

Place entire amount of warm, cooked ingredients in serving dish large enough to add 1 C of sliced Kalamata olives, 2 chopped fresh plum tomatoes, [Note: You can use 1 1/2 C sliced cherry tomatoes. I think grape tomatoes are too small.] 2 Tbsp virgin olive oil (I used organic), 9 oz of crumbled feta cheese. Gently mix. That might seem like a lot of Feta, but it’s the protein for this dish.

This serves three for dinner, four for lunch. It can be easily doubled. You can serve it with a loaf of rustic bread. I don’t because I eat lowish/lower carb. Of course, if I have guests, I’d serve it with a loaf of bread and olive oil on the side to dunk the bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 


European Street @Park Street in Riverside ~ a restaurant review

 

 

I’m late writing this review since I went to the European Street Cafe on Park Street/Riverside  in the winter. I was cold that day and immediately asked for coffee. The very nice waitress brought it right away with half and half. I don’t know if I wasn’t thinking due to the cold, but I wanted plain milk. So, I asked and she brought that. The coffee was very good, warmed me. [I must note, having once been a New Yorker, cold in Jacksonville, Fl is anything below 50 degrees.]

For lunch, I ordered the Smoked Pastrami Reuben sandwich on black bread with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, which was excellent. There certainly is plenty of meat between the bread slices. The chips were crispy. I finished the meal with carrot cake, which for some reason I didn’t photograph. I probably simply devoured it as it was yummy. My friend ordered a huge cookie with whipped cream. I also didn’t photograph her lunch selection. As I said I was cold and probably grumpy that day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part of the fun of European Street is browsing the cake display and bottled beer offerings after eating. I’m not a beer aficionado and didn’t purchase any but looking added to the experience

This is an American cafe with a definite German twist.  Casual dining. A good place for robust sandwiches and/or German beer. Frankly, I’m all eyes for their cakes. The prices are very reasonable.


National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day ~ small blessings

Sophie Winter Coat 2011

 

Sophie the Wonder Dog ~ adopted seven years ago at the Manhattan (NYC) ASPCA. I often tell people, you’re going to find your adopted pet rescued you. Even if you didn’t realize you needed rescuing. Sophie definitely rescued me after my husband passed away too young.

IMG_2690

 

 

Sophie and Beauty, one of my adopted cats, at the vet on a senior wellness visit. If dogs become the “heart” of the house and they do, then cats become its “soul”.

 

Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. ~ Genesis 1:24 [New Living Translation]

1980-01-01 00.00.28

 

Sophie with her Christmas gifts. Santa loves her too. She had so much fun with these “squeaky” toys.

 

 


Singles ~ need emotionally mature friends

Friends 2Are your friends the ones who commiserate with you? The ones who say, “After all you’ve been through, go ahead and do that?” Whatever “that” is.

You don’t yet have a spouse to give you clear insight, balance. It’s very likely you’re not under parental direction. At this point, more than ever, you need emotionally anchored friends. It doesn’t matter if you’re never married, divorced, or a widow/widower. You need stable friends, steady friends….friends who give wise counsel.

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. ~ Proverbs 18:24 [New Living Translation]

friends 3

Things a true friend might say that are not easy to hear:

  • He/she’s no go for you. In fact, he/she’s plain no good.
  • Don’t be alone in a room with that woman/man. Not ever!
  • I love you, but you have to look at how much you’re drinking.
  • You’re weekends are sneaking into Monday. Better get to work on time.
  • Don’t you think you’ve carried that grudge long enough? Your obsessed with it and it’s negatively coloring your life. It seems you’re never happy anymore.
  • I know I’m a frugal fiend, but honestly, you tend to overspend. You need to pay your bills, not buy a $500 watch. Think of the credit card interest.
  • Don’t promise your child, parent, boss something when you know you can’t deliver.
  • Please don’t repeat that about Jane/Joe again. I’m sure it’s not true.
  • I respect your beliefs/politics, but they’re not mine. Let’s keep that out of the friendship. We have so many other things in common that we both enjoy.

If two or more friends have said something like this, it’s probably something worth taking a good look at…even if it’s uncomfortable.

Friends 4

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? ~  (Proverbs 20:6 [New Living Translation]

 

 

 


Singleness ~ a most valuable season

woman dancing

In American culture we’ve treated the state of singleness as a state of me-ism, freedom from other’s needs and desires, carefree liberation, interspersed with times of mutual body disrobing. One nonfic writer admits, fueled by several glasses of wine, she started her list of things to do for her-single-self in prep for this body disrobing with another adult. The list included exercise class, clean apartment, spiff up her appearance and style, etc.. Doesn’t sound that liberating to me.

woman with violyn

As Christians, God should always be Number-One in our lives. We should seek God’s will for this single life-season. Actually, singlehood is one of the most valuable seasons. It’s a time to develop into whole, fully functioning human beings. A shalom time. In Hebrew, shalom means nothing lost, nothing broken. Whether we will marry, or stay single, singleness is a time for personal growth, healing, and developing of God given talents.

man and woman 1

I’m now single, again…a widow. However, when I was single the first time, it was commonly said, “two will make a whole.” That’s not true. Two half-people do not make one wonderful whole. Two half-people are two broken people floundering in a marriage. Many of us went into marriage that way. With God’s help, fifty percent of the marriages survived. Can I suggest, that mate-seeking model is flawed. It’s also a horrible model for eventual parenting. Jesus gave the best advise for relationships.

29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12: 29-31

In my belief system, Jesus is telling me at the bottom of this, I should have appropriate self-love, but certainly not the puffed up kind. As a Christian, I believe all life on the planet, as created by God, is amazing, and all human life is sacred. That includes my life. As a born again believer, I realize the Spirit of God dwells within me. That’s something incredibly awesome and valuable.

I was born into singlehood. Although I didn’t always recognizance this, from day one until the day I married, was a time of preparation. Ideally, it was a time to get to know God intimately, and a time to know myself. It was a time of intense personal growth…a time to discover my talents and my purpose on the earth.

Forgiveness

In order to live intimately with another human being of the opposite sex, from a different cultural background, heritage, and ancestry…these years of singleness were a time to learn about forgiveness. In marriage you will have to forgive. You will have to forgive yourself perhaps even more than you forgive your mate.

These are things in our culture we don’t talk about much. We make game shows and reality TV out of marriage. We talk about buying the perfect wedding gown, taking an amazing honeymoon that will be the envy of our friends and coworkers. The wedding gown gets packed away and eventually might be given to the Salvation Army Store. We come back from the honeymoon and have to live together…actually communicate and relate to a human being totally different from ourselves.

Why not take this time of singleness as a time to know that God loves us. We can then love Him, appropriately love ourselves, and more deeply love others. Not just love a marriage partner, but our families (even if they’re flawed and they’re all flawed), and our friends. We can learn how to love the unlovable — in Christ, and not get stepped on, manipulated, and used because we know we have worth and purpose. Yes, singlehood is a very important and wonderful season of life.


Don’t Despise What You Have ~ craving more

Child, photographer

Your Superpower

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8 [New American Standard Bible]

If God, looking at us, started with what He had…that might not be such a bad plan of action.

We live in a disposable culture. We all know people who live their lives constantly craving the next, newer, better thing.  They have a smart phone that’s working just fine, but there are smarter ones coming out. So, they discard the one they have and get the new one. Or it’s a wide screen TV, and they get a wider screen. Or, whatever.

Many of us have been in situations where someone at work had a close friend. Then they aspire to and are in the running for a promotion to a higher position. So, they drop their old work buddy. We’ve all seen or heard of scenarios like this. I know I have.

So many seem to fall short in the appreciation department, in the areas of gratitude, reliability. I try to be kind, honorable, but of courses, like you, I’ve fallen short.

pigeon-943273_640

Your Superpower

It really gets insidious when someone looks down upon one of his/her own talents or abilities because it’s not enough, not cool, not in demand, not of high standing, doesn’t command attention. They’re looking at whoever they think are the movers and shakers, belittling themselves by comparison. This is so sad.

When young people, or even not so young people, look at reality TV stars and devalue themselves while they crave the lives and lifestyle they are watching…this is soul killing.

Fixing, hammer

Your Superpower

This is not how the Creator made us to be. It seems cliche, yet it’s still true, we are each unique. There will never be another your or me. We’ll never be replicated. We were all born with innate abilities and talents. Maybe someone made fun of yours or put yours down. So, you thought they weren’t enough…you weren’t enough.

What were your God given talents? They could be small things. Do you always fix your bed exactly so? Do you have a green thumb and the ability to grow things? Do you love color, or music, or dance…or all of those? Are you a planner? Do you make list?

Coaching

Your Superpower

These things that are innate to you and I are precious. They are part of a whole that makes up the authentic human being we are. These traits/talents/quirks can be clues to our purpose. Or they can be a vehicle to fulfilling our purpose.

I used to sometimes think, I can’t hear from God. He’s not directing my steps, so how can I know what I’m supposed to do, what my purpose or direction in this situation is supposed to be? But then I learned, a lot of the time I was making it too complicated. The answer was often in what I had in my hand. What had I already been blessed with? I needed to take care of that and value it…maybe share some of it. What was I able to do? What felt right to do? Yeah, ask that question. What’s the right thing to do? Doing that will most certainly leave me with authentic self-esteem.

I needn’t make the situation grandiose. Perhaps making a fuss wouldn’t be the best idea. Whatever I had peace about…walk into that. Just take the next step.

 

 


%d bloggers like this: