Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there! So glad you could join me. Today, I have a gift just for you, faithful readers. Excerpts. Yep, you heard me. Free excerpts of my books, all of them focusing on moms and mothering.
The three ladies you are about to meet are as different as night and day, yet they have one thing in common; all of them take on the care of someone in need of a mother. Maggie Scott is a mom and an aunt. Dr. Faith Valentine takes on the responsibility of ten orphaned children who live next door. Lady Ann MacQueen Davidson is a widow living in her brother’s home with her teenager son. Now that I think of it, these ladies have something else in common; all are believers. Oh, and one more thing, all are fictional. They weren’t created with anyone special in mind, but as I read over these excerpts, I can’t help but remember what my life was like while I wrote about them and see characteristics of folks I either know or once knew.
Living several miles away from her 18-year-old daughter, Maggie Scott from “Wild Heart” is a seamstress. In the scene you are about to read, her nephew and former neighbor have just arrived unexpectedly in the night. Maggie first came West on the California trail back in 1850. In the 1860’s, she moved with her husband and daughter to Wyoming to ranch. Now, she is living in New Mexico near her ailing brother. She loves to feed people, and she makes no secret about being a matchmaker. She rather puts me in mind of my Papaw’s sister who insisted on feeding you every time you came to her house. Come with me to Maggie’s cozy kitchen.
Maggie reached into her cupboard and retrieved three mugs. After pouring the coffee, she placed the hot mugs before her guests, and then began to slice the cinnamon cake. When everyone was served, including herself, she sat down and asked, “So, what brings the two of you to Silver City?”
She watched with curiosity as the young people at her table looked at one another. Shewana opened her mouth to reply, but Gage beat her to it.
“We were just passing through on our way to Cheyenne,” he said.
Maggie gave him a look that said more plainly than words, “Sure you are.”
Gage met her gaze and tried to tell her with his eyes to let it alone, but apparently she either didn’t understand, or she didn’t care.
“Going to Cheyenne?” she asked. “Well, that’s nice. Shewana, your brother’s up there, isn’t he? Well, so if you’re going to Cheyenne, where are you coming from?”
“Coming from?” Gage asked, not sure he understood her question.
“Yes, coming from,” Maggie reiterated. “Where did you two meet up? In Texas?” Then, as a thought struck her, she asked, incredulously, “You two aren’t married, are you?”
Shewana choked on her bite of cake, and Gage’s eyes grew wide. Maggie enjoyed watching them, even though she knew it wasn’t really all that funny.
After a silence that seemed to go on forever, Shewana managed, “Married? Uh, no, Maggie, we are most definitely not married. Whatever gave you that idea?”
“Well,” Maggie said, “I’ve never seen the two of you together. In fact, I didn’t even know the two of you knew one another. I just…”
“It’s ok, Maggie,” said Gage, rising to his feet. “Shewana’s right. We’re not married; we’re just traveling together. I’m going to carry our bags upstairs. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Hurriedly standing to her feet, Shewana said, embarrassed, “I think I’ll go up with you. I’m sort of tired. Thanks for the coffee and cake, Maggie. I hope you will excuse me turning in so early.”
Knowing that there was more here than what met the eye, Maggie decided to wait until she had Gage alone to press further. Aloud, she said, “No problem, Honey. You sleep as long as you like.”
Faith Valentine from “To Tame A Heart” is a physician in a town where no one has ever heard of a woman doctor. The orphans who are her neighbors keep her hopping, but she wouldn’t trade them for a moment. If she could, she’d take them all in as her own. While I am eternally grateful the Lord only blessed me with two children, Faith’s busyness of always cleaning up after sick folks puts me in mind of myself when my girls were small. LOL Seems like I was always wiping up messes on the floor, changing diapers and walking the floors at night. Let’s go see what Faith and the children are into now.
When the door was opened, she stared in puzzlement at the four smallest children from the orphanage: Megan, Blake, Tracey and Kierstin.
“Good morning,” she greeted. “Is there something wrong?”
Why are they looking so serious?
Pulling her thumb out of her mouth with an audible pop, little Kierstin said, “There’s a big fight down by the jail and Candace says you need to come.”
“At this hour?” she asked, incredulous. “But, who… Why me?”
“Cause somebody beat Colbey up,” the child answered before replacing her thumb in its customary place.
“Oh for pity sake!” Faith exclaimed, before slamming her door, lifting her skirts and running with the children toward the jail.
What kind of trouble has that boy caused this time?
Reaching the middle of town, all Faith could see was a crowd of people. They were standing around something or someone, but she could not see over them, not at first.
“Let me through,” she commanded, shoving shoulders aside.
The people moved apart, allowing her amidst them.
There was indeed a big fight, or rather, there had been. Now all she saw were bloody faces and a motley group of boys and girls standing around a single figure who lay silent in the mud.
Kneeling at his side, Faith touched a finger to Colbey’s neck and was glad to feel a strong, if rapid, heartbeat. He looked awful, blood and bruises all over his face and his clothes all torn and muddy. But, he was alive.
Glancing up, she met Ruby’s green eyes and commanded, “Go get me some water, Ruby. Candace,” she said to the teenager whose face was tear-streaked, go get my bag for me.”
The children were not long in obeying; they knew her well and knew she meant for them to hurry.
“Colbey!” Faith called kindly, wiping away the dirt and blood from his face, “Colbey, wake up. Come on, Son, open your eyes and talk to me.”
Then, as Candace handed her the bag, she grabbed up a bottle of ammonia. She uncorked it, passed it beneath her patient’s nose and called out, “Colbey! Come on, Colbey!”
Suddenly, his eyes flew open and he tried to sit up.
“Careful, there,” she said, steadying him with a hand to his shoulder.
He turned his head and tried to meet her gaze, but his eyes were swelling shut fast.
Colbey,” she began, gently, taking his hand, “Colbey, do you think you can stand up?”
He nodded, so she and Candace helping, he managed to get to his feet. They steadied him and, glancing around at the staring faces, Faith asked, “Is anyone else injured?”
No one answered. They just stood there like knot heads and stared wide-eyed at her.
“What?” she asked in exasperation.
“Ain’t you even going to go in and check on your husband?” a male voice asked from somewhere in the crowd.
Glancing around, she looked for Deric, but did not see him. Then, her eyes were drawn to the barred window near the corner of the jailhouse. And there, looking out upon the scene in the street with troubled eyes was Deric Christy. He was unshaven and still wearing the clothes he had worn the day before. When their eyes met, she felt her face burn with shame and not a little anger.
“Uh, Miss… Uh, Doctor, if you’d like, I’ll help you get this young man home. We can talk then.”
Lady Ann from “A Moment in Time” has lost her husband, and now her son is critically injured. The woman she is trusting to care for her only son has strange ways about her, but since her brother trusts this new person in their midst, Lady Ann must trust as well. I tried to think of someone who reminds me of her, but she is original, unlike anyone I know. Come with me back to 15th century Scotland where Lady Ann’s son is being cared for by a 21st century American.
Even before my fingers touched the young man’s brow, I knew we were in trouble. I bit down on my bottom lip and ordered my face not to show any emotion.
“Mayhap he is in need of more of your wee rocks?”
The trembling voice of Lady Ann from somewhere behind me penetrated through the fear choking me and I turned to her.
She looked like she was about to cry. Twisting a handkerchief between shaking hands, her blue eyes implored me to do something.
“My lady,” I said, having no idea how I managed to sound so calm and respectful, “If you could reach my hand bag over here, I’ll have your son resting quietly in no time.”
“Aye, Annie, get Mistress Bronwen her things.”
I flashed Himself a grateful glance, then turned back to the bed.
When Lady Ann handed me my bag, I tried to talk her and her brother in to leaving me to my work, but the expression in the laird’s eyes told me he knew there was reason for concern. Geordy’s mother and uncle were going nowhere.
I knew what I would find when I unwrapped the bandages, and I was right; the wounds were swollen, warm to the touch and reddened. One of the gashes was beginning to ooze yellow pus. Not taking my eyes from the affected area, I reached a hand toward my bag. This young man was going to need that codeine in order to make it through the coming ordeal.
Instead of the well-worn denim of my shoulder strap, however, my hand was grasped and a bottle placed in my palm. I glanced up only to see Colin’s somber face. He wrapped my fingers around the plastic bottle of pills and pushed it toward me.
“Nephew,” he said, voice full of tenderness, “ye need to swallow more rocks, and Mistress Bronwen needs to fix up your wounds.”
“Aye, uncle, I know,” came the whispered reply from the bed.
“It’s going to hurt, laddy.”
“Aye, well, she better get to it before I lose my courage.”
The difficulty was not the task of washing the wounds with whisky. No, that was the easy part. The difficult part was seeing Geordy’s pain. The codeine hadn’t had time to start working on his system, and, braw lad that he was, he had still needed his uncle to hold him down during the worst parts. Honestly, I don’t know who cried more, Lady Ann or me. By the time I had spread a thick layer of antibiotic cream on the wounds and wrapped clean bandages around them, all four of us were damp with perspiration and dragging with fatigue.
I slumped on to a stool and leaned my back against the stone wall, closing my eyes.
“Will… Will Geordy be all right?”
Clutching the shoulder strap of my bag, I wanted so much to lie to Lady Ann, but I couldn’t.
Opening my eyes, I met her gaze head on.
“Only time will tell,” I said, then shut my eyes against her pain.
The sound of pouring liquid came to my ears and then Colin’s voice.
“Take a drink, Annie.”
“I dinna want it,” she said.
“I dinna care what ye want. Drink it. Ye are no help to anyone if ye dinna take care of yourself.”
She must have obeyed, because the next time I heard him speak, his tone was more gentle.
I looked, and the MacQueen was lowering his sister to the pallet I had slept in the night before. He touched her cheek, told her to rest, then stepped away and faced me.
Any woman can be a mother, but it takes a real woman to be a real mom. I think it’s rather funny, sometimes when I look back at my own childhood. As a youngster, I thought my mom had it figured out. Then, I became a teenager and Mom didn’t know a thing. Now that I have girls of my own, I realize, we all have one thing in common; we are all just trying to do our best and figure it out as we go. A newborn will teach you that you don’t know anything. A busy toddler will teach you what it means to be alert. A preteen will teach you that only God can convict your child and know what and who they are talking to when you aren’t around. My oldest will be twelve in August, so I’m sure there’s more learning up around the bend, but for now, I gotta go on what I know. Only way I know to do that with any peace is to put my trust in the one who created us. He is ever faithful, and it is His will that my girls trust in Him.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, and i pray you’ll make Jesus the Lord of your life. Be sure and join me each Tuesday. I don’t always know what I’m going to say, but I post something each week. Take care, be blessed and hug your mama, if she is still living. If she isn’t, here’s a big ole hug from me. XX