Thoughts of My Horse Shamrock

It would seem that everyone had thoughts of green and shamrocks on their minds today. I, on the other hand, am thinking of a different kind of shamrock, not the four clover kind, but the four legged kind.

shamrock and brandy

When Shamrock first came into my life, she came with her constant companion, Brandy. A sixteen hand tall Tennessee Walker gelding. They had been together since foals.

I remember the day we bought Shamrock and Brandy. My dad had a two horse trailer with a ramp gate on the back. The sides of the trailer literally bulged once both horses had climbed in on their respective sides. Brandy a little more uncomfortable than Shamrock, I suppose, as he was the larger of the two horses.

Having been with a Tennessee Walker all her life, Shamrock thought she was one. It took me many weeks that first summer teaching her to stand long enough for me to get a foot in the stirrups, but she had the smoothest trot I’d ever ridden. 


Susan Lower

Besides hitting the trails around the ridge with my cousins, Shamrock and I ran barrels and poles at many horse shows.  In the picture above we turned quick as could be inside the keyhole and head back for our time without knocking a pole.
4-H barrel racing #horse

Practically every weekend my dad would load us up and head off to a 4-H show or game show. There are times when I look at these pictures and think I should have dressed her in green, but she always  looked so much better in blue. Especially when it came to ribbons.

My #horse Shamrock

She could be stubborn just like me, and I’d have to work with her to get her to leave the ring. Sometimes, I think she just wanted to go another round for that second chance of getting a better time.  Then once she got back on the other side of the gate, she was a complete different horse.

At home, she’d take the neighbor kids for rides around Mom’s lilac bushes and around the three trees in the front yard. Yet, when you got her to the show ring and she heard the gate click behind her, she switched to her gaming mode.

I recently read a post on Facebook from a National Horse Rescue Center where an owner had been reunited with her horse after many years of separation. I’ve often times thought of what it would be like to reunite with Shamrock, but in my heart I know it can’t be so.

Many horses can live to be about 40 yrs old. If my quarter horse, Shamrock, is still alive today, she’d be the ripe age of 32. But the memories I have of her will live on forever.

When I said goodbye to Shamrock 14 years ago, she was headed to a therapeutic camp for kids in the State College, PA area.  Also, somewhere around that same area is her filly, Rosie, not a filly anymore at turning 16 this summer (this little filly was born on my birthday). And somewhere is her colt Thunder, 14, and probably just as feisty as ever.

I hope their new owners feel as lucky to have them all these years, as I felt during the time they blessed my life.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone.

May the luck of the Irish be with you, this day and always.

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First Road Trip of Spring

You’ll have to forgive me if my grammar and misspellings are a little worse than usual, I’m writing on a few hours of sleep.

Yesterday, I trekked across the state with critique partner, Roberta Brosius, as we headed off to the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association meeting. The spring meeting is a critical one, it’s where we fine tune a lot of the details and schedules of running the annual St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference (no, I didn’t forget the “’” after the “s” on St. Davids – it’s named after a town not a person.)

My day began at 4:30am, just like on the farm and heading out on the road by 5am. Its mornings like these ones that I wish I drank coffee. Thank you Lord for the person who created cappuccino and latte’s and discovered chocolate, unlike money, actually grows on trees.

5am is even a bit early for me, as my usual schedule is up at 5:30am – 6am and getting my writing time in before the kiddos get out of bed.

If you’re a writer of any kind and would like to come to the conference, please check out the St. Davids’s site at

Maybe you’ve never been to a conference before and have always wanted to go but finances have hooked you up, don’t let it. Apply for one of St. Davids’ scholarships.


fMay you all be well rested for the weekend and have a great day filled with relaxation and bliss.

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Crafting a New Bow Book in Plastic Canvas

Before we dive into today’s post, I want to announce the winners of the Photo contest with KadiAnnettePhoto. Since two people voted, both Joni Kane and Cindy Emmet Smith will receive their selected photo.

If you two ladies would be kind enough to contact me with your mailing address, I’ll forward it on to Kadi to receive your photograph print!

Congratulations, they are all such beautiful photographs.

Today I thought we’d get a little crafty and share some creativity outside of writing.

Bug and I have been sitting down together in the evenings to spend some time together. She really likes to sew plastic canvas, right now. I’d started working out this design for a hair bow book last year, but never got it finished. Since I’ve choose Nanos for my word this year, I decided to get my butt in high gear and get this project finished.

Plastic Canvas Hair Bow Book DSCN1848

My mom and sister and I sewed plastic canvas a lot when I was younger. It was a popular craft back in the 80’s and 90’s, and many still do it. It’s always a great craft for youngsters and helps them learn sewing skills and coordination. Not to mention it’s a good stress reliever or way to wind down your day.

This plastic canvas hair bow book is my design, Bug did the inside stitches and I did the fancier work on the outside.

We travel to see family a lot throughout the year and take a few camping trips. I wanted something the girls could carry their hair accessories in and keep them organized and was “unbreakable” and definitely washable. It was inspired thinking of my husband’s little niece who has the cutest hair bows in her hair whenever we get to see her.

It wouldn’t be a hair bow book if it didn’t have hair bows, right? We whipped the ones  you see in the photo above from felt, ribbon, and buttons for inside. My brother-in-law is a Penn State fan, so we made matching themed hair clips for inside the hair bow book. I’ll be shipping this one off soon as a belated birthday gift.

The heart barrette is a free pattern, that you can find here.

With St. Patrick’s day around the corner, we made these sweet shamrock hair bows.

 shamrock barrette hairbow

 You can find the pattern for the shamrock at

I’ve sent the bow book design to a craft book publisher and hope to hear back from them soon and be able to make it available to those who like to sew plastic canvas.

Bug and I are working up a new project that involves her Littlest Pet Shops. I’ll share soon I promise. But for now, I’ve got to get back to making some revisions on my Middle Grade Fantasy novel.

Do you believe in trolls? You just might once this middle grade novel of mine is available for you to read.

Are you crafting up anything this weekend? If so, what are you working on?

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Vintage Hats, In Style?

Last week, I headed out on an adventure through an antique mall with a friend searching for a set of coffee tables. Bell and I tagged along. There are tons of antique places and thrift stores in our area and its fun to explore and find old vintage things.

In one of the vendor stalls, Bell and I came across a rack of vintage hats. Bell picked out this ivory one with a brown ribbon and told me it was just my style. Apparently, I wear a lot of brown and she told me so.

vintage hats IMG-20140305-00152

I could almost write a story about this hat…. Where did it come from? How many owners has it been passed down from? How did it end up here?

Hmmm… I feel the cogs of a flash fiction story slowly turning in my mind. I’ll be sure to share once I’ve got it worked out in words.

But in the mean time, what do you think? Is this vintage hat my style?

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Setting Up An Etsy Shop

This past week I spent the day helping a friend set up their Etsy shop. We started with the banner, and staging the props for the photo to create it. You can check out my tutorial here for creating banners in Paint, to create a simple one on your own. An Etsy shop banner is 100 x 760, when looking for the size.

We started with this photo.

 mud hut design studio

And cut it down to this:



Then we moved on to creating the simple little thank you message that goes out to customers when they make a purchase. You can’t ever be too grateful for someone supporting handmade, or in this case – vintage finds. This, to me, is one of the most important areas of any Etsy shop or any endeavor, is to make sure your customer knows they are appreciated.

The thank you for this shop went a little like this:

Thank you for selecting a little piece of beautiful from my shop. I hope it inspires you and brings happiness to your space. While you await your special selection from shop to be delivered, please join me where I share tips and ideas for creating a beautiful space inside and out.

To create your own special thank you message, go to your info and appearance tab in your Etsy shop and place your personalized message in the “Message to Buyers” box.

This coming week, we’re going to work on the “About Me” page. I’ll share some tips and samples that I hope will inspire you to personalize your own About Me page or perhaps write your own unique bio as an author or professional.

What do you think… what is the most important thing you, as a customer, want to see and know, when you shop online through Etsy?

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When There Is No Tomorrow

I was reminded yesterday, just how short our lives can sometimes be, and just how important relationships are – outside of Facebook and all the other social media places we like to hang out.

I’ve been forcing myself to think only of the positive, be grateful for even when the day is deary and seems like it will never end, and look forward to tomorrow.

But what if there were no tomorrows?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that since yesterday.  A guy I went to high school with lost his battle to ALS. I’ll always remember him as this sweet guy, never complaining, always smiling, and always a good friend to those who knew him. When you go to a small rural school, your entire class becomes like a family. And even though we all have gone our separate ways, we always seem to run into each other again.

For a lot of schools, it’s class reunions, but for my class we always have the local grange fair. It’s one of the things I love to come home to visit for. It’s not really the fair that draws me home that weekend, but the prospect of saying hello to family, and everyone I went to school with. Who needs a class reunion when you’ve got the fair, right?

I count myself fortunate this past September that I took my family to the fair on the day that this classmate and his family where there, too. I got to say hello to an old friend, as well as I’m sure did many others who knew him. I think back to those school days and the pranks and the laughs and the good times and smile.  There are no tomorrows to look forward to of those days, just memories.

It has been said many times that we should live our lives like there is no tomorrow. Live your life to the fullest. Be happy. Smile. Laugh.

Think of only the positive. Think of only the good times. Think of only the love and keep it at the center of your heart where it wards off the sadness and disappointments in your life.  Count your blessings, be thankful for those who have come into your life even if they’ve been called away.

I’m thinking of all those people.

I’m counting my blessings and I’m eternally grateful for having them share a little piece of their life with me.

If there were no tomorrow, who or what would you be thinking of today?

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Creeper Craze

creeper maskTomorrow is Boy’s birthday. He’s on a Minecraft craze lately, and decided he wanted a creeper treats to take to school today. Usually, for the kids birthdays I do cupcakes, and I fully intended to this time. That is until Mr. Smartypants announced he needed enough for both his 4th grade math class and his regular 3rd grade class. He’s not happy about having to be transported between two schools this year thanks to our school district splitting up the schools and turning our elementary schools into primary and intermediate schools ( a rant I’ll keep to myself today). But I was happy to see that he was thoughtful enough to think of both his classes for sharing treats today.

creeper rice crispy treatsThanks to a friend who sent me some Pinterest ideas, I forwent the cupcakes. 50 cupcakes is a lot and to carry between two schools was going to get messy. So…. I did rice crispy treats instead and made an attempt to create faces on them. Let’s just say that cake decorating isn’t one of my main creative outlets, but Boy was happy with them.

I used the regular rice crispy recipe and just added green food coloring to the butter and marshmallow mix before adding the rice crispy cereal. It was very easy. I don’t know why I haven’t ever made these before!

We’re heading off to the farm this weekend. I’ve already called ahead to warn the barn cats that the kids are coming. They may want to find better hiding places then the hay loft, as the kids will have digging for them. Of course, there is always the sound of the milk compressor and the cats come running for their share of the milk. They’re in for some hugs and cuddles if they do. 🙂

As for now, it’s time to round up my little creeper and his sisters so we can get ourselves in cow territory before dark.

Have an awesome Friday everyone!.

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