On The Trail Beyond

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Was Louisa Cody a nagging shrew, as Buffalo Bill Cody claimed when he twice tried to divorce her? Or was this beautiful, dark-haired French woman a saint, enduring her husband’s long absences, recklessness with money, indulgence of liquor and relationships with other women?

Growing up in a secure St. Louis family and schooled by nuns, Louisa Frederici was unprepared for the hard life of making a home in what was still considered the Wild West. Due to the Civil War, her beaus had been few, so it’s no wonder she was smitten with a rugged army scout named William F. Cody and agreed to his proposal within weeks. Hours after their marriage, the newlyweds boarded a steamer for the west where Louisa followed her husband from post to post and dream to dream.

While “Willie” learned the art of entertaining dignitaries on buffalo hunts, Louisa learned to skin sage grouse and shoot a gun with her horse in a full run and a child strapped to her breast. She prepared antelope for a Russian Grand Duke while tending to toddlers and shooing Pawnee from the tiny kitchen of her crude cabin. Louisa would later say those days were the happiest times of her troubled and often lonely marriage. The more famous “Buffalo Bill” became, the more heated came the conflicts. The scandalous courtroom drama of her refusing his request for a divorce played out nationwide in newspapers.

In 1910, the final season of old age brought with it a truce after the couple was locked in a room together. Only William’s death in 1917 would end their fifty-year marriage. One thing is certain—without Louisa Cody and her talents and business sense, there would not have been a world-renowned figure still revered today as “Buffalo Bill”. Yes, theirs was certainly an intimate and yet stormy relationship. But then again, is there ever a perfect marriage?

Shrew or saint? I’ll let you the reader decide.

The Silver Cross Series

Imagine for a moment being gifted old journals written by your foremothers. Four generations of wild triumphs and soul crushing losses. What lessons did the women keep inside? What lessons could they teach you now? What conquests to strive for and what mistakes to avoid?

Marina Townsend is given such a gift after the death of her mother, with a stipulation attached. Before she can inherit the land, she must put the old diaries into books to be passed down to future generations—The Legacy of the Silver Cross Ranch.

The Legacy of Rose Bodeen—Marina’s first challenge is Great-Great Grandma Rose Bodeen, born in 1877. A hard-living kind of girl, Rose can out-ride and out-cuss any hand on the Silver Cross. After being jilted, she finds adventure waiting beyond the boundaries of the ranch: Buffalo Bill and his Wild West, and love with all its joys and heartaches. But just as her wise Mama said, the land draws her back like the sun draws flowers from the ground in spring.

The Legacy of Birdie Bassett—In 1918, Birdie Steele lies about her age and joins the Army Nursing Corp. Assigned to Hospital 16 in France, she finds that growing up on the Silver Cross Ranch was a good background to her new occupation of being an Army nurse—long nights, cold, disease, life and death. Never wanting to be a rancher, its challenges makes Birdie realize she’s more like her mother Rose than she cares to admit. Through high times in the 1920’s, the struggles of the Great Depression, and two World Wars, Birdie brings beauty and grace to the land and continues to build the ranch in her own, unique style.

The Legacy of Mavis McCall—In Mavis’s lifetime the world shifts on its very foundation, as does she. The Great Depression rocks her family, followed by World War II. Mavis enlists in the Women’s Army Corp, determined not to let evil win. As secretary to a general, she finds herself in the middle of the atrocities wrought by war. Though the Allies win, Mavis comes home tired, defeated and carrying heavy secrets. Only after returning to her beloved land does she finally, truly heal. With hard work and keen foresight, she moves the ranch, and herself, into a bold new era.

The Legacy of Claire Delany—Marina’s final and biggest challenge is transcribing her mother Claire Delany’s journal, written during the last year of the woman’s life as she battles a second round of cancer. Claire’s words are brutally honest, some touching and some leaving Marina wondering if she ever really knew the woman who raised her. Claire grows up a child of the 60’s and wants no part of the ranch. She wants freedom, but soon learns freedom comes with a high price. As the land did with her foremothers, it draws Claire back with a strong pull she cannot fight. The final words of Claire’s journal speak not of an ending, but a new beginning, and are as ageless and enduring as the mountains that surround the Silver Cross like a strong fortress. Claire’s deep secrets, along with hard-won kernels of wisdom, lead Marina to make tough choices about the ranch, her marriage and the way she’s leading her life. 

A lady rancher is a rare breed of woman with a spirit of survival branded into her soul—an enduring legacy passed from one generation to the next.

Mother’s Day

This book, the third in the Silver Cross Legacy series, holds a special place in my heart. The photo on the front cover is my mother, taken in 1943 when she was in Belgium during World War II. Like many others who have seen war face-to-face, her experiences were never talked about. She suffered from what we now know as PTSD, but instead was expected to come home from the horrors of what she photographed and be a happy homemaker and mother. Part of Mavis’ story is what I imagine was my mom’s. Only after doing research on WACs for the book, did I come to understand my mother, and most important, appreciate her for what she endured and who she was. I love you Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life.

Worry.  Kids, jobs, finances, things needing fixed both in our world and in ourselves.  Quite a list. With tea in hand at 3 a.m., the message comes subtle, but sure from a compassionate and strong mentor:
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” 
So rest easy tonight. We are all in good hands.

Need more reassurance? Visit Matthew 6:25-34.

Fear Not Little Flock

When Rose is in deep despair, it is a sheepherder’s Bible that brings her solace. Eases her anger. Calms her fears. As she looks at the majesty of the mountains, she is comforted by the words  underlined in the man’s ragged book.  Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
I’m thankful that no matter how deep the wound, how tired the soul, or how strong the storm, I can get out of bed, pull on my boots, and feed the hungry.
Rose Bodeen, May 10, 1911

Jilted

When Rose Bodeen is jilted by her childhood love, she thinks her world is over. But little did she know, it was just beginning. Isn’t that the way of life? A door slams shut in our face and even in our deepest despair, a crack of light shines through another – that small ray of hope that gives us the will to try just one more time. For Rose, her door opened wide to the thrill of performing with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Extravaganza on a Hereford bull named Dudley, and a life she couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams.

During Rose’s lifetime, her world, and her nation,  goes through dramatic changes and growing pains: The Great War, the fight for a women’s right to vote nationwide and have access to birth control, the Industrial Revolution bringing about replacing horses with machines and the movement of folks from rural farms to city manufacturing jobs. Then there’s the high-kicking 1920’s, Prohibition and the Great Depression. Thrilling triumphs and crushing sorrows to test faith and fortitude.  An exciting time, filled with the Lessons of History that are still timely and important for our world today.

Salt Dough Lessons

fayerobertswriter.com

Christmas can be a time of joy, peace and goodwill…or a time of heart-wrenching memories.

Published in 1989 by Guideposts Magazine, Ugly the Beautiful was such a story. The photo is the nativity my daughter Mandy, then six years old, made for me with the help of her grandma Judy, the first Christmas after my husband died in 1981, and the most precious present I’ve ever received. Mixed into the salt dough was hope, comfort, strength, and sprinkles of hard-won faith.

For those struggling this holiday, I pray you find hope from Ugly the Beautiful, and a thimbleful of faith that things will get better on this journey we call life. Please, don’t give up. Blessings are in the works for you.

Visit fayerobertswriter.com to read.     Click on Link: Ugly the Beautiful published 1981

It’s A Contract!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Winged Publications for a four book historical fiction series –
The Silver Cross Ranch Legacy.

For more information on the series, visit fayerobertswriter.com.

The first book in the series, The Legacy of Rose Bodeen, is now available on Amazon in ebook and in print.

Feed My Sheep

He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who have young. Isaiah 40:11

Spring.  A time of birth and renewal.  A time to throw off  heavy winter coats and free the body to absorb the sun.

It was a long winter. Dissention and hate blew over the land like a cold and angry blizzard. Name calling and division, throwing rocks and crude and cruel words.   A winter with a stifling,  oppressive burden to hearts and heads and souls, leaving us weak and disillusioned.

It is time to throw off last winter’s crippling heaviness in the spirit of spring. To turn away from what poisons hearts and minds. It is time to feed each other with the natural and healthy foods that strengthen and satisfy body and soul. Time to bask in the warmth of gratitude, of please and thank you, of kindness and humility. It’s time to play light-hearted with our children and teach them the beautiful spirit of spring.