Saying goodbye is hard!

I don’t like saying goodbye. I’ve always dreaded farewell parties. And while our children and grandchildren live close enough to visit often, I still get a lump in my throat when they drive away. When we lived at Windsong Ranch I would give them all hugs and kisses at the back drive as they loaded into their vans, then hurry to the big kitchen window that faced the road so I could wave to them one more time as they drove past. I still stand on the porch and wait for them to make the curve out of our drive and head to their individual homes…they roll down the windows and we all holler, “goodbye’ I love you.”

We five ladies are as diverse as can be. Thus the ‘stages’ part of the name. At first our commonality was our individual writing journeys–the ‘pages’, if you will. Yet, our diversity became the binding of those stories into a picture book of life. Singles, widows, mothers of special-needs, homeschool mom who now teaches in a Christian school, and grandmothers, freelance writer, cancer survivor, farm wife, advocate for families with special needs, and retiree. We soon realized that though we might approach any given subject from completely opposing views–our hearts were one. That won’t change. We won’t let it change. But once again, our differing stages have created different pages, and as writers that’s exactly something we strive to create…pages that keep turning to reveal an ever deepening story.

We are grateful for every comment made and every page view received. Some of you have become regular encouragers and are very dear to our hearts. We looked forward to your comments, and worried about you if we didn’t see your names. Thank you for being so faithful. It was a gift!

While we will no longer post on this blog, past postings can still be read in the archives. And we hope that you will continue to follow us on our individual web sites. We are still each on a journey, and would love to have you travel with us.

For now, I’m waving and calling

“Goodbye!  I love you!”

 

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Saying Goodbye

last chapter

 

As Susie mentioned yesterday, there is a ‘bend in the rail’ for this blog. This week is the final chapter of Pages From Stages.

Just a little over four years ago, I met my dear friend Sara through an online critique group hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers. Through Sara, I connected and became friends with these other lovely ladies…Susie, Julane and Kathy.  In 2012 we came together to start a blog where each would share about faith, laughter, tears and triumphs from our own ‘stage’ of life.

I’ve enjoyed learning about my fellow bloggers through their writing over the last 2 ½ years and the dialogue we’d have about each post. While our blog is ending, our friendships will continue. Each one has so many wonderful gifts and are a treasure to me.

I’d like to thank our readers who have joined us. Special thanks to Jeannie and Ian who regularly commented and encouraged us! I also appreciate the friends and family who also let me know when they read a blog post or bought a book that one of us reviewed. Writing and trying to get published is not for the faint of heart, so every bit of support goes a long way in keeping us from giving up.

Also, I must thank my wonderful husband, Grant, for listening to me read my blog posts week after week. He is the one who gave me the courage to stop dreaming about becoming a writer and to actually take the steps to get there. Over the years, he has happily taken care of the kids when I attend conferences or need some time with the fictional characters I’ve created.

The journey of life has many seasons…some filled with joy and others with sorrow. No one has ever promised us an easy life, but we are promised that we are never alone. I thank God for being with me through the many stages in life and for His unending love. It is because of this love I can run the race with perseverance looking to Him, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

Though this journey ends, I look forward to where another will begin.

Farewell,

Cherie GagnonCherie

Malicious Mischief – Katy Railroad Mystery Book Review

Malicious Mischief is truly a delightful book. Set in Missouri on the Katy Railroad, it felt like taking a trip back in time. I could feel the rumble of the tracks, hear the train whistle and smell the smoke.

Author Lora Young is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. I have shared many delightful hours with Lora as we carpool to writers meetings. Since she let me read an early manuscript over a year ago, I have loved this story and am so glad she has published it. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

The heroine of Malicious Mischief is Delia Eastman, who is caught between pursuing her own dreams and defending her father.

Rivalry between the steamships and the railroads turn their sleepy Missouri River town into powder keg. Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings Delia face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s father.
As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. Though he is intelligent and charming, she suspects Endy knows more than he’s telling. Delia reluctantly agrees to partner with him to solve the mystery.

The railroad rivalry provided a fascinating mystery. The romance, however, was what stole my heart. Their banter and the quirky twists of the cozy mystery made this very, very fun. I truly enjoyed this historical novel filled with interesting characters, detailed mystery and superb writing.

It’s available in paperback and Kindle. Click here to purchase Malicious Mischief on Amazon.

One of greatest joys of being a writer is making friends, like Lora and the other writers here at the Pages From Stages blog, as well as our dedicated readers. The other great thing is getting to read their works. Even though our blog here will be taking a bend in rail, I am excited to see what new writing will lie ahead.

Happy reading and God bless you,
~ Susan Mires

Senior year

Senior year. It’s full of new experiences for all of us. I’ve listened as other mothers (mostly of girls) have spoken of how sad they are that this is THE year. Honestly, I’ve felt  bad because it hasn’t bothered me at all.

Until last night.

Senior picture night.

My view from the back row

My view from the back row

I stood and watched as the wonderful photographer took pictures of my son. A man. There was no little boy left as she snapped pictures and showed him the results. He humored me as I fixed an awkward collar but for the most part, I just stood and watched.

And remembered.

The first picture in the hospital. The first month photo at the studio. His one year birthday announcement picture. The first days of school. Birthdays. Eighteen years of memories.

I know parenting is never done, but we’re moving into a new stage. It’s very exciting. It’s a little sad.

Last night I stood in the back and watched. He could have done this on his own.

And then I saw a glimpse of my little boy–he caught my eye and mouthed the sweet words, “Do I look okay?”

He still needed me. For a few more moments I’m needed.

photo 1 (2) Sara

Sweet Potato and Pear Soup

This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada. The weather where I live was sunny and warm, making a gorgeous backdrop to the golds, oranges and reds in the trees. Today is a little more typical for fall…overcast and windy.

Over the last several weeks, my husband and I have been working on new landscape in front of our home. It’s mostly done but we will add the finishing touches in the spring.

The two new additions we are most excited about are the new Pin Oak tree and the Burning Bushes. Buying them at this time of the year allowed us to see how pretty they will turn every autumn. Too bad I didn’t think of taking pictures when the sun was out this weekend when the red really popped…but this should give you an idea.

image

With this change of season, I thought I’d share one of my favourite fall soup recipes. I made this up one night with what I could find in the house and we enjoyed it. Hope you will, too.

 

Sweet Potato & Pear Soup

  • 1 leek chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 Bosc pears, peeled and cubed
  • 3 ½ Cups vegetable stock
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ¼ Cup of cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté chopped leek and ginger in melted butter until soft. Add sweet potato and sauté for 3 minutes. Add vegetable stock. Bring to boil for 10 minutes. Add Pears. Continue to boil for 10 more minutes. Stir in cinnamon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and puree soup (either in blender or with wand). Add cream and serve!

Enjoy!

Cherie Gagnon- Cherie

Sweet and Sour Green Beans

This is my sister-in-law Cindy’s recipe. It’s a Thanksgiving staple for my family. Familiar green beans get a fresh, tasty makeover that is perfect for a fall day.
beans 2

Sweet and Sour Green Beans and Carrots

Perfect for fall – apples, bacon and onion.

1 quart fresh or canned green beans
1 can sliced carrots (or fresh)
3 to 4 slices bacon
1/2 onion, sliced and diced
1 to 2 apples, cored and diced
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

If beans or carrots are fresh, cook until tender. Fry bacon, then cook onion in the bacon drippings. In stock pot, combine beans, carrots, crumbled baon and cooked onion. Add raw apple, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. Heat until the apples are tender and mixture is cooked through. May want to add more or less sugar and vingar depending on taste.

I  hope you enjoy Cindy’s recipe!

~ Susan

It’s a Piece of Cake

We’re almost at the nine-week mark of this school year. Nine weeks into my second year of teaching FACS. I thought this year would be so much easier, and in a way it is, but I still get just as nervous whenever we start a new project. What if I can’t explain it right? What will I do if the girls just can do it? What if they don’t even like this project? Yes, those are the questions that keep me awake at night.

We started the year with sewing pillowcase dresses for orphans. This year the dresses will be going to Africa in the spring. Most of the class started with little or no sewing experience, but they learned quickly and soon had the required three dresses made. For the most part they enjoyed sewing, but the next project is making a bag and it isn’t easy. So, I thought we’d take a little break and learn to decorate cakes. Why was I losing sleep over this one? These girls were AMAZING. My favorite part is when they hold them up for a picture and I don’t even have to say smile. The pride in their face is so fun to see. It’s those moments when I know why I love my job!

Here are a few of the pictures:

photo (19)photo (18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo (20)photo (17)photo (16)

photo (21)photo (15)

Amazing! Right? This is just a few. Look at that basket weave. I couldn’t believe she was tackling that!

Have a great weekend,

Sara

 

That’s Perk!!

 

When Bob first started on the FD, there was no 9-1-1 dispatch. Each entity–fire, police, sheriff–had their own numbers, and the ambulances were run out of the funeral homes.  Newton had two fire stations–#1 station was at 5th and Poplar when he began his career, and later a new station was built on West Broadway, but always remained station #1.  Station #2 was at 3rd and Oak, and was the headquarter station.  When a fire alarm came in–the senior officer at station #2 would take the alarm and dispatch the engines–this being determined by the type of fire and the location. The officer at station #1 was only to ‘listen’, not talk.  Much like a party line!  :)

Dale Perkins was a lieutenant when Bob was first hired. Bob has memories of his beautiful penmanship, his shiny shoes, and either a big chaw of Red Man tobacco, or a Muriel Magnum cigar in his mouth. And to this day, when hubby eats a bologna sandwich, Dale comes to mind!!  He also remembers (remember, they lived together 24 hours at a time) Dale always slept with an electric blanket in the winter. Bob stayed up late to watch TV and would always unplug the blanket when he went to bed. The routine was as expected–and Dale had choice words every morning for his endeavor.

During those early years the sirens on the engines were not electronic, and were run by the officer riding shotgun, by pressing a button on the floor. You’d press, and it would wail, and if you kept you foot on it, it would eventually hit it’s highest peak and stay there. And that was Perk’s signature!! As a rookie, Bob rode tailboard, and he recalls that by the time they left the station at 3rd and Oak, and headed north on Main street, Perk would have the button smashed to the floorboard. Riding down Main, the buildings on each side would echo the scream of that siren, held at it’s highest pitch, and it would vibrate through his whole body. Even if hubby was off duty, if he’d hear a  siren wind to it’s highest pitch, then stay there–he’d say “that’s Perk!!”

Dale retired a lot of years ago, but like many of the firemen he has a son who followed in his footsteps and is now is a Battalion Chief with the Newton Fire Department. Dale’s health is frail, but he holds a special place in the hearts of those who worked with him.

In the past, it has been custom dispatch to send a ‘last alarm’ notice at the graveside of a fallen fireman. I wish Dale could live forever, but we all know that’s not possible.

But I do hope, that instead of that last alarm–they will floorboard a siren and hold it there.  There won’t be dry eyes, but all the older timers will say –“That’s Perk”!!

Roger, Carol and Scott–feel free to add to this either on face book or here on the blog.  We’d love to hear your stories–from the tailboard.

 

Dale Perkins family

Dale and his children. L-R: Roger, Dale, Carol and Scott

 

road 2 we like!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How a “smoke break” can bust stress

This week we’re sharing “stress busters.”

I learned about a great way to clear my mind from the smokers at the office where I used to work. When they were frustrated with a project, they’d often roll their chair away from the desk and announce, “I’m taking a smoke break.”

One day, the injustice got to me and I muttered, “Why should smokers get a break when I don’t?” I realized there was no reason why I couldn’t take a break, too. So I went outside and instead of breathing in smoke, I got some fresh air into my lungs and walked around the block. I timed it and discovered that it took me less time to walk around the block than for a smoker to finish a cigarette, so I didn’t feel guilty.

I also discovered that a brief time away from my desk – moving my arms and legs, getting fresh air and seeing the scenery – helped me focus once I got back to my computer to write. Each work day, I usually take one or two “smoke breaks.” A young woman in our office actually worked here six months before she realized I am not and never have been a smoker.

Although these little treks around the neighborhood probably need a new name, this is a good habit I’m going to keep.

Susie-3994-EditPS 72~ Susan

Help me, there’s a wasp in here!!

I’m a little late posting today–was on the road. But now have arrived at my destination and will try to catch up.

Remember how I said the firemen lived together 24 hours at a time?  Well, they also played together…a LOT!! One of our favorite pasttimes now, when we are all together, is to listen to the funny firehouse stories.  And they seem to be never ending.

Those who know my Bob, know that he is incredibly good natured, so it is no wonder that a lot of things were tried on him. This one involved his good friend, Tom Winters. Tom actually retired from the Colorado Springs,Colorado FD, but for a time he worked at Newton with Bob, and it’s been a friendship that will never grow old–even when they do.

So–Bob finds Tom holding a bucket against the ceiling with a broom handle.

“Winters? What the heck are you doing?”

“You gotta help me. I’ve got a wasp trapped in here. Come hold this bucket while I get something to kill it.”

Guess what?  Bob fell for it.  As soon as he took hold of broom handle, he knew he was in trouble.  The bucket was full of water–and Winters was gone!!

I’m not real sure we ever heard the real ending to this story.  Tom–can you fill us in?

Until next time–that’s all from the tailboard for today.

 

road 2 we like!

 

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