Sunday, July 31, 2016

"I was born game, sis, and I intend to die in that condition." // Quotes Game

What's one of the reasons we love westerns? Why, because of the dialogue, of COURSE. Those salty, gritty, soulful lines that stick with us and sometimes find their way into our conversations.We love the way cowboys and ranchers and outlaws and inlaws talk. It is a truth universally acknowledged that westerns should be quotable. So, in preparation for Western Week, how 'bout a Westerns Quote Game?

(You're supposed to say "yes" to that.)

    Here we are, then. All these quotes are from Western movies or TV series, all of which I happen to love dearly, and I'm sorry they're only from movies I've seen, but then you can't really expect me to know any lines from a movie I haven't seen, right? Anyway, that said, I hope these are some of your favorites too. Take a gander and see how many you can name!


"You're lucky this gun's got blanks."


"A man could die of thirst around here before anyone'd offer him a drink."


"I'd pay forty dollars just to watch you hang laundry."


"I said to myself, 'Striker, you've done a lot of fool things in your day, but you ain't done any lately, and you're overdue."


"I have lapped filthy water from a hoofprint. Was glad to have it, too."


"You're getting the hang of it. I'll be back later to check on your work."


"I said I didn't have much use for one. I didn't say I didn't know how to use it."


"Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."


"I've got two guns, one for each of you."


"Somebody back east is sayin', 'Now, why don't he write?' "


"This man wanted to shoot me down, for nothing. He lost. I am taking his gun."


Answers will be posted next Sunday!

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Man on the Buckskin Horse // book review


    Of this collection I only read "The Man on the Buckskin Horse" by Rachel Kovaciny, because she'd asked me to be one of her advance readers, to which I happily answered "OF COURSE!" I've never been an advance reader before and it sounded pretty cool. I like this, this advance reader business. I feel pretty important.

     This story was so fun! I had no idea how the Sleeping Beauty premise would work with the western setting, but Rachel fit things together very well. The flow of the story was nice. I'm still getting used to the fast pace of novellas, having only read a few before, but I was pleased that this wasn't too rushed, and nothing seemed awkward. As for the characters -- well, these folks would fit in nearly any good old western movie. Miss Emma Thornberry was an amusing narrator. Rosalind was sweet, Mrs. Mortimer was ATROCIOUS (seriously, who authorizes her to act like she owns the territory?), Victor Owens was good and steady, and Mr. Palmer was quite intriguing. For such a short piece, the character development was great, especially with Mr. Palmer. (I love the fact that he was a surgeon in the Civil War. Bring the Civil War into anything, and I like it even more.)

     The whole feel of the story is a lot like most every historical/western Christian fiction book I've read, which I personally get tired of when I read too much of it, but I don't happen to be tired of it at the moment and I enjoyed this very much. :-) Thanks Rachel, for letting me read it!

Monday, July 18, 2016

You're gonna want to hear this...

Y'all, we have an announcement.

And when I say 'we' I mean myself and my pal Olivia, who is a good friend to ride the river with.

Do you remember, way back in the day, in July of 2015 when we hosted our Legends of Western Cinema Week? How much fun it was? Well, guess what, folks. We're doin' it again.

Robert Duvall as Gus McCrae. Lonesome Dove. 1989:
Gus is happy!
You should be saying to yourself, "Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!" because you waited for this day to come again, right?! (Right.) Olivia and I had so much durn fun with the last week, we looked forward all year to doing it again (and that's not really an understatement). Just like last time, this will be taking place on both our blogs, A Lantern In Her Hand and Meanwhile, in Rivendell... 

     Basically, there will be everything from movie reviews to western-themed games to giveaways and perhaps some explanations as to why we love this genre of film in the first place. (For more logistics on what this is or how to participate, see last year's post.)

Here's some buttons to get the word out....

See y'all August 1st!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Last Kind Words Saloon (and why Larry McMurtry is an amazing author)


"Whoever ordered that lotion probably got snake-bit and expired soon after," Doc said.
     Wyatt didn't answer. Nine out of ten statements Doc made were nonsense, but it was dangerous to stop listening because the tenth statement might be really smart.


     Ah, Larry McMurtry, I have missed your voice!

     Here is one reason why I love Larry McMurtry's books: he has such a way of creating a scene, so vividly, that you never doubt the sincerity of his characters and place. Here's another reason: he knows how to drive a story, and doesn't waste time with the unimportant stuff. And another: HIS DIALOGUE. Man alive, his dialogue. How. Does. He. Do. It.

     Another reason? He's just plain hilarious.

     Prior to this I'd read Telegraph Days and Lonesome Dove and loved both, so when a friend lent me this, McMurtry's latest, I knew I would gobble it up, and I did.

     For me, having read TD and LD, The Last Kind Words is like a visit back into an old familiar world. Characters such as Charlie Goodnight and Nellie Courtwright make appearances, while the main story revolves around none other but Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. This is Larry McMurtry's own sardonic take on the two's friendship, and some of the events leading up to the O.K. Corrall.

     Now, I love Wyatt Earp and Doc. Anything written about them, I'm gonna like. And if Larry McMurtry's doing the writing, all the better. I will say, he does have a tendency to make characters sarcastic and haplessly indifferent to life in general (which, now that I think about it, is a trademark of lots of western characters...) Wyatt is lazy and Doc is a motormouth, almost comparable to Gus McCrae. I liked Doc Holliday better than Wyatt; McMurtry's version of Wyatt isn't very nice at all. (My Wyatt Earp will always be Kevin Costner, and don't try to mess with that.) But I still loved the book, because this is the author's version of the legendary characters. This is his take. And I really cannot resist getting sucked into anything he writes!

     It's a short little book, not a ton of action, with a tone at once bleak and humorous. (Someone said it very eloquently in a review on the cover of the book...oh look, it was the Washington Post...."rueful humor and understated tone of elegiac melancholy"...pretty much.) The characters are as full of spunk and spitfire as any western characters should be. And I cannot praise the dialogue enough; after reading this, I'm more inspired to pick up my pen and try being an actual writer again. McMurtry makes it look easy; what's more, he makes it look fun, and it is. In short: I loved this odd little book, and now I feel like going back to Rita Blanca and seeing what fresh news Nellie Courtwright has discovered to write an article about. :-)


(I read most of this book while walking back and forth on the street from my house to our farm. Folks, don't do that. It's a street. There will be cars.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Two good hands.

These are hands.:

I am fascinated by them. Hands.

I've read in books that the first thing you notice about a person are their hands, but in most cases that's not true. Unless you're Sherlock Holmes, I don't think we really pay much attention to people's hands. At least, I don't. I look at a person's face, see what they're wearing, maybe notice the way they carry themselves, but rarely do I think to look at their hands and see what kind of clues to their life may be revealed there...what kind of stories they tell...what kind of emotions they speak without using words.

 It's cliche, but you can tell a lot about a person by their hands.

Today I went to pick up some flats of strawberries at another farm. The man we bought them from was a kind, soft-spoken sort of fellow, with an easy smile and a friendly way. When I wrote out the check and he took it from me, I noticed his hands.

Tough, creased, but smoothed down with use. Capable. Hardworking. Steady. Reliable. Honest. Hands worn down from years of hard work, seasoned with life, softened with age. The hands of a farmer. I appreciated those hands.

     My daddy's hands are tough like that too, only they're more leathery and brown as an Indian's. My mama's hands have dirt under their fingernails from weeding the garden. My grandma's hands are a little shaky now, but they've got wisdom and experience from all the work they've done, all the dresses they've sewn, the pies they've baked, the small heads they've touched. My grandpa's hands have been splattered with paint time and time again. My ninety-something-year-old piano teacher's hands were once long and slender and could fly over the ivory keys like hummingbird's wings, though now they are wrinkled and bent, they still try. The little boy I danced with at my cousin's graduation party has smooth hands -- young hands, eager hands that are not sure yet but someday will try and find what they should do.

My own hands are unextraordinary. There's dirt under my fingernails too, a permanent dent in my right middle finger from holding a pen, and my fingers aren't long enough to reach an F chord on the guitar. (At least, I can't make them do it.) They're young hands too. They usually smell like my dog. Sometimes they're foolish hands, not knowing where they fit. They fumble and they fidget and they break things. They fix them and start over, and mess things up over and over. They try to put the pieces back together.

But my hands will learn. They are the tools God gave me to use in this life, the ones I want to use for His glory and my family's good. I want to work with them, create with them, build with them, love with them.

Someday I want to have beautiful hands -- honest, loving, unstoppable hands -- so that when people see them, they'll notice them, and they'll think, like I did when I noticed that farmer's hands, that they're something wonderful.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"Time just gets away from us."

     It's 9:30 pm and I'm sitting at my desk, listening to the fireworks someone's shooting off somewhere in my neighborhood. It's obviously been a spell since I sat down to write a lengthy post of any kind, and in all honesty, I don't know where to begin. I want to tell you all about how much has happened this June, but it's all sort of blurred together in my mind this evening....

     This month has been a doozy. I can't even describe it. So full of excitement, first meetings, good times and bad, adventures big and small, goodbyes. Just, a lot has been happening. I finally have a moment to sit and breathe and think about everything and share with y'all a little bit of the good stuff.

photo credit: Naomi (and yes, we did ride it)

     I met my best friend for the first time ever this month. I saw her face-to-face, I hugged her tight, and we spent three weeks together. Three weeks eating strawberries, singing Newsies and Josh Turner songs, quoting Fiddler on the Roof, watching Downton Abbey and raiding bookstores. Three weeks that have already become some of the most memorable of my life. It was amazing to be together, to hear her voice, to see her smile, to find out the things about her you can't tell from just letters. Our time together was precious -- it had its kinks, of course (Naomi learned that I don't like having my blog hacked...*ahem*) but even though we may not have been exactly what we imagined, and even though I may not have seized every single moment like I wish I had now, and even though we were exhausted by the end of our visit, I know it was worth it. All of it. I can still hardly believe how blessed I am to have a friend like Naomi. :-)

     Best Moments With Naomi Which I Will Never Forget:

     ~ sitting on the couch together eating popcorn and listening to my dad tell stories of when he was a kid ;-P

     ~ singing hymns after dance class, harmonizing on 'The Old Rugged Cross'

     ~ laughing with the Cousins on the way home and singing 'Stars'

     ~ sitting on crates in the stand, eating M&Ms and talking about our different accents -- several times while she was here, people asked Naomi to try and imitate an American accent, which was always funny because every time she'd start out by saying "Hey, y'all!"

     ~ sneaking into A Hotel even though we weren't technically supposed to...THAT was fun.

     ~ sitting together around the bonfire -- on the bridge -- on the dock on the lake -- in the car at a church parking lot

     ~ riding the ferris wheel & watching fireworks

     ~ Naomi taking random selfies at inconvenient moments ;-P

     ~ MOONING over books together at Barnes & Noble, at which she bought a bee-you-tiful copy of P&P and I bought, um, the entire Hamilton cast recording. I NOW HAVE THE ENTIRE HAMILTON CAST RECORDING.

     ~ walking our bikes home while the twilight set in (then setting up our tent in the dark....that is, Naomi set it up...)

     ~ watching 'The Waltons'

     ~ sitting on Sadie's bed, talking about snowbanks....I'm just going to let you wonder about that one

     ~ watching Blimey Cow videos and laughing our heads off

     ~ making pizza and singing Newsies songs!

     ~ eating strawberries all day long :-)

       Saying goodbye was HARD. Harder than I'd thought. I miss Naomi's laugh, and I miss having her around every time I want to tell her something, like, "Hey, did you see that person? Guess what song's on the radio! Listen to what I just found out!" It puts a whole different perspective on living an ocean apart. It's even harder now. But I know we'll see each other again, someday. And hopefully that day will come soon.

     Next adventure, writing camp! I left the day after Naomi did. Talk about emotionally bereft.

     Anyway. That was interesting. (COUGH.) I'd found out I was accepted late in May, which made me extreeeeemely happy because it's so rare that I ever win/get picked for anything, heh. It was at a university and I was one of 24 other students. Interesting, but not quite what I'd first I thought I'd be eaten alive, but then I got used to it, and things turned out alright in the end. There were good moments, and I made some great friends that I won't forget. Kindred spirits aren't so scarce as I used to think.

    After that whirlwind things have calmed down a little. I'm working on our farm, catching up on my projects, making the usual mischief, and trying to get back into writing what I love. I spent a long time looking over my manuscript this evening...but didn't really get anything accomplished, except it reminded me how much I desperately LOVE this story and how important it is that I tell it. I'm still not giving up on that novel. It may take years and years, but I'll do it.

     Some things I've been loving this June....

     NAOMI // my new journal, sleek and new // the pea patch // peach pie // American Cowboy magazine // this song // Blimey Cow's 'Ten Most Awkward Types of Hugs' video // the golden color of the meadow at dusk // the four little kitties we've been taking care of // geraniums // conversations with friends // driving my daddy's red Ford (I feel like such a boss ;-P) // water // The Paradise // braids // funny stories // my cat Oliver // daisies // the country station // ice cream bars //

     It's good to have those things you can always count on -- like a family who loves you, work to do, and old shows like The Waltons. These are the things that don't change. Sort of my touchstone when life starts getting crazy and I'm pulled in so many directions at once. I love my home, I love my folks, and I love my Lord who gives me all I need and usually more just because He loves me....I will never deserve all the loveliness of this life I've been given.

     So how are y'all, my friends? What fun have you had this month, and what are you looking forward to the rest of the summer? For me it's our rodeo, three concerts, and possibly finishing my book...time will tell. ;-)


P.S. Happy Independence Day!

"Time just gets away from us."
~ Mattie Ross, True Grit
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