Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sick of Being Sick
Found this little gem on Pinterest and thought it was most appropriate.  Seems many of us are suffering from the virus making the rounds.  I've had it for two weeks, and Krista Ames is under the weather today, so check back for the next person in line and we'll hope we all get well.

Ginger and the Kissin' Cowgirls.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Healing Power of Peyote - Blogjacked by Ginger

Note:  If you're confused, then you can thank me.  I retired Lyn Horner from the blog in error, and added Krista Ames in her place.  When the mistake was brought to my attention by Lyn, she wasn't up to blogging because of the same symptoms I'm feeling.  Krista now is going to be blogging on the third Wednesdays of each month, I have taken Sharla Rae's spot until she returns, and Lyn Horner will be back in her regular second Monday slot starting next month.  Sorry, for the confusion, but so glad that McKenna Gebhard allowed me to be a thief of her interesting post.  So, without further ado, I'll stop babbling and post the blog I had scheduled  Please help me promote it.  

Because I'm sick with bronchial asthma and my brain is fried from all the meds I'm taking, I asked permission from McKenna Gebhard to use a post she wrote for Stilettoes at High Noon.  She graciously agreed to let me use it. 

 I had hoped to broach the same topic since I had planned to post more from Lakota Woman, and her experiences with her husband, Leonard Crow Dog, who happened to be the peyote priest who introduced Mary to the "medicine". 

 I noticed Mckenna's warning at the beginning of her post, and I might be one of those who isn't in total agreement with the use of Peyote as I'm seeing in Lakota Woman, the ingestion of the plant provides a mental escape from reality by inducing hallucinations, very much UNLIKE Christian Communion where we delight in partaking simply because it's a celebration of our belief. The taste of what we are offered does not cause visions nor does it taste bitter or invoke vomiting. Of course, McKenna has offered a very viable comparison, but even other Indians criticize those who participated in Crow Dog's peyote ceremonies. In the peyote priest's words..."Grandfather Peyote,he has no mouth, but he speaks; no eyes, but he sees; no ears but he hears and he makes you listen."

Next month, I'm hoping to continue on the topic from her point of view. In the meantime, thank you Mckenna for allowing me to share your blog to introduce our readers to the healing power of Peyote.

Warning, the below presented views may be offensive to some and are not necessarily the shared views of the readers and or authors of this website.

So, picture this, you are in a church and it is time to take communion. You wait patiently in line, hands folded, praying you will be worth of such a heavenly gift. It’s your turn, you step up to the priest, he is flanked by two altar boys. You look up into his eyes, he says “This is the body of Christ” and you reply ‘Amen.” He places a thin wafer upon your tongue, you close your mouth step to the side, make the sign of the cross and go back to your seat.  Once you arrive back in the wooden pew you take the serene moment to kneel before God, thanking him for his blessing and asking for his grace. 

Now take this entire scenario, but replace the wafer with a button of cactus or a sip of tea.  I can hear all of the gasps of horror and the shock of what I propose, however the two instances are remarkably similar despite their cultural gaps. To the Christian, the wafer is a gift from God, the body of Christ. According to the Christian Sacrament, ‘When Our Lord said, "This is My body," the entire substance of the bread was changed into His body; and when He said, "This is My blood," the entire substance of the wine was changed into His blood.

Peyote is also regarded as a gift from God. “To us it is a portion of the body of Christ, even as the communion bread is believed to be a portion of Christ's body by other Christian denominations. Christ spoke of a Comforter who was to come. It never came to Indians until it was sent by God in the form of this Holy Medicine." - Albert Hensley, a Winnebago.

Peyote is not eaten to induce visions, it heals and teaches righteousness. It is eaten, or consumed as a tea, according to a formal ritual and offers the opportunity for self-understanding through self-examination. This experience can lead an individual to new understandings about their situation in life and the repercussions of their actions. Road men (Road Man, or Road Chief, is a title given to the leader of the peyote ceremony in the Native American Church) encourage participants to ‘ask the medicine’ or ‘listen to what the medicine tells you’ about a certain problem. They point out how the ‘power of the peyote healing experience can set a person on another course – a life of dedication in a deeper sense’.

Does anyone else see the similarities? Both rituals are meant for self enlightenment and healing. Of course the wafer doesn’t really have the same side-effects. I am sorry as I do not want to offend anyone but can you imagine a congregation of people experiencing the effects of peyote on a Sunday morning? According to the research, the participants could be starting out their week right, as it has been noted that an ‘afterglow’ effect can many times be experienced for 7 to 10 days after ingestion, humming the song ‘Because I’m Happy'...

The peyote cactus contains buttons that can be cut from the root and dried. The buttons can be chewed or soaked in water to produce an digestible liquid. They can also be ground into a powder and smoked in conjunction with the leaves of cannabis or tobacco.

The effects of ingestion of peyote varies from user to user but among the most common are; vivid   heightened sensory experiences (i.e. brighter colors, sharper visual definition, increased hearing acuity, more distinguished taste), difficult focusing, maintaining attention, concentrating, and thinking, loss of sense of reality; melding past experiences with present, preoccupation with trivial thoughts, experiences, or objects,  highly adverse reactions ("bad trip"), including frightening hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, agitation, depression, panic, and/or terror. – This last one would totally be my
personal reaction to it!  Surprisingly, no physical dependence or psychological dependence has been reported, although it may be possible.

mental images and distorted vision, perception of seeing music or hearing colors, altered space and time perception, joy, exhilaration, panic, extreme anxiety, or terror, a distorted sense of body (users can feel either weighed down or weightless),

Because of the intense psychological effects of the consumption, the use of peyote in spiritual ceremonies has been present in many cultures for over 10,000 years. From the very beginning, ‘modern” society has misunderstood the Native American adoration of peyote. Fear and lack of knowledge has led to denouncing the spiritual journey as diabolic and satanic.

Serious study of its use, however, began 1890 when James Mooney, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, researched Peyote meetings among the Kiowa in Oklahoma. He extended his studies of Peyote rituals to other American reservations as well as its use by the Tarahumara in Mexico. In 1918, Mooney testified in favor of Native American at Congressional hearings in an effort to obtain a legal charter to protect their religious freedom and the use of peyote within those rights. The Native American Church or NAC was officially incorporated in 1918. Currently supporting eighty chapters and members belonging to some seventy Native American Nations. 

In the present day, peyote is very effective is in the treatment of alcoholism. Acceptance into the NAC requires abstinence from alcohol and drugs. The community is also seemingly close knit offering the consistent support a recovering addict will need in recovery. The peyote itself is empowering in its own right. The ceremonies help  the addict mentally have power over the alcohol. During ceremonies, the road man will ask the creator to help the person by speaking to them through the peyote, as it acts as a messenger between the individual and the creator. By absorbing the healing power behind the ritual, and the experience, hope in a transformation and new ways of living becomes much more attainable and sustainable.

Whether you are receiving holy communion or looking for spiritual enlightenment through a ritual of faith, in the end, we are all looking for answers to the greater questions. Thus we are all the same. Methodology of enlightenment should not matter, as the intent of enlightenment is the growth of one’s own soul.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Girl!

Hi!  I'm the newbie on the blog.  Just thought I give you more info about me than what's on the author page.

As you can tell by my picture, our son plays baseball.  Hubs is the head coach so we are in the beginning of the season.  Undefeated at 3-0 but the season is young.  Our son is 8 yrs old going on 25 and thinks he knows everything.  LOL!  Being a 3rd grader sure makes them smarter now a days.  I know I wasn't that smart when I was a 3rd grader.  *snort*

One thing about baseball season, it means flip flops, shorts and allergies. As I write this, my head has been pounding for the last two days.  Stupid trees!  Yes, I have tree allergies and I live in East Texas.  Doomed, doomed I say. is serious stuff in the small town I live in.  Its almost like Friday Night Lights during the fall.  I have to remind my husband that the players are only 7 and 8.  Cut them some slack.  And remember, Jeter was this age once.  Not everyone is going to hit, catch the ball but at least they don't play in the dirt anymore.  I miss t-ball but not that much.

I'm not one of those moms that eats, sleeps and breathes baseball.  I don't go to practice, tell my husband how to manage the team and the parents.  I let him do it all but I'm here if he needs my help. Believe it or not, my husband is an introvert.  He needs this to come out of his shell.  I do keep the book on game days and I'm the official scorekeeper most games and this makes me happy.  I consider all the other times Brian and daddy time.  My husband works weird and sometimes long hours, so they need that time together without mom hanging around.  Plus, Brian is coming to that age where I'm embarrassing.  What's wrong with dancing in the aisles at the grocery store?  I can't help it if I like the song.  He he!

I'm pretty much an open book.  You can ask me anything and I'll be honest with you.  I have an author page on Facebook but its easier to just friend me.  I'm always around and love to talk.  Just ask Krista Ames.

On the writing front...I'm currently working on a YA (set in Texas/Oklahoma), a small town contemporary in Oklahoma and a romantic suspense with paranormal elements in Chicago.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Springtime In The Old West by @JacquieRogers

Springtime in the Wild West

Spring is here and we're tossing off our coats for sleeveless shirts.  It's a time for change, and all things look brighter.  So what were the folks doing in the Old West?  The farmers were planting, the ranchers were herding cattle to higher country, and these things:

April 1, 1877
In Arizona Territory, Edward Lawrence Schieffelin discovered a rich silver vein and named it Tombstone, which would eventually become the name of the lode, the hills, and the yet to be established town.

April 2, 1885
Spurred by hunger and mistreatment, the Cree, led by Wandering Spirit, killed nine M├ętis and white settlers at Frog Lake, Saskatchewan, in what is known as the Frog Lake Massacre.

April 3, 1860
The first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph, Missouri, headed to California.

April 4, 1858
Gold fever is discovered in the area between Hope and Lillooet on the banks of the Fraser River near current day Langley, British Columbia, marking the beginning of the Fraser River Gold Rush, which would attract 30,000 souls and change the culture of the area forever.

April 6, 1880
Charles Russell, takes a job as a cowhand at a ranch near Utica in Montana Territory.  Read a fictional account of this famous artist's cowboying days in Jackson Lowry's West of the Big River: The Artist.

April 7, 1898
Heck Thomas and Bill Tilghman shot and killed Richard "Little Dick" West while resisting arrest on this date at the Arnett Ranch in Oklahoma Territory.

April 9, 1867
The US Congress ratified the Alaska Purchase from Russia (called Russian America). It passed by one vote, and naysayers dubbed it "Seward's Folly" after its chief proponent, US Secretary of State William H. Seweard.

April 10, 1875
The North-West Mounted Police began construction on Fort Brisebois to protect the fur trade and defend against US whiskey traders.  It was later renamed Fort Calgary, and the city of Calgary, Saskatchewan, sprouted from it.

April 11, 1895
Anaheim, California became the latest city to receive electrical service.

April 13, 1860
Remember that rider who left St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 3rd?  The mail arrived in Sacramento, California--Tom Hamilton carried the packet.  The various riders traveled 1,966 miles in 10 days.

April 15, 1862
The Civil War made its way West to New Mexico Territory at the Battle of Peralta.  One Union soldier and four Confederate soldiers were killed.  A dust  storm ended the battle.

April 16, 1882
Cockeyed Frank Loving was killed in a shootout with John Allen in front of Hammond's Hardware Store in Trinidad, Colorado.  Allen was arrested but acquitted and became a street preacher.

April 18, 1878
In New Mexico Territory, a Lincoln County grand jury indicts William Bonney (Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty) and others for the deaths of Sheriff Brady and George Hindman.

April 19, 1875
Helena becomes the new capital of Montana Territory, taking the honor from Virginia City.

April 21, 1836
An army of Texans led by General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna's troops at the Battle of San Jacinto, and won Texas's independence from Mexico.

April 22, 1889
10,000 people raced to claim 160-acre parcels in the first Oklahoma Land Run.  Boomers followed the rules.  Those that didn't were called Sooners.

April 26, 1860
Abe Lee discovered a rich lode of gold in the California Gulch, which led to the creation of a boom town named Leadville.

April 27, 1865
The four boilers on the steamship Sultana exploded, killing over 1,500 people (many of whom were Union soldiers who'd been prisoners of war) and wounding many more.  The worst steamship disaster before or since had little coverage because the newsmen were preoccupied by another major news story--the assassination of President Lincoln.

April 28, 1880
Chiricahua Apache chief Victorio led a raid on Cooney, New Mexico Territory.

April 29, 1878- Texas- Sam Bass and his gang are found hiding at the home of Jim Murphy near Cove Hollow and a four-day running gunfight ensures.

Contact Jacquie:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not as Prevalent as Before by Ciara Gold


File:Horned lizard 032507 kdh.jpg
photo from Wikipedia
The Texas State reptile is the Texas horned lizard. When I was young, we’d find these funny little creatures everywhere and what little kid couldn’t resist playing with them? We used to call them horny toads. We’d turn them on their backs and stroke their tummies until they’d go to sleep. You don’t see them much anymore. Their main staple is the harvester ant but with the introduction of the fire ant, the harvester ants have decreased thus causing a significant decrease in the horned lizard in central Texas. Might be different for other areas but I know it’s been years since I’ve seen one here.
The firefly or “lightening bug” is another creature we see very little of now. When I was younger, we’d see them all the time. I always loved catching them and putting them in a jar for a short time to enjoy their antics before releasing them to the night sky. Just last spring, we spied one in our front yard for the first time in twenty years. We were very excited. I did find a website that collected firefly sightings from Texas and it seems there are pockets here and about where you can still find swarms of them. They like the marshy areas and I imagine the draughts we’ve had in recent years have affected the firefly populations in our area.
File:Mountain lion.jpg
photo from Wikipedia
These recollections got me to thinking about other animals and their dimensioning numbers. When folks first settled the west, I imagine they saw a great many species of animals that are no longer as prevalent. For example, before Europeans settled in Texas, the cougar or mountain lion roamed all over Texas. Now the majestic felines keep to scattered counties of Texas and the mountainous country in West Texas.
Black bears in Texas used to be quite abundant. From 1850s until 1950s, folks would hunt these animals just for fun and by the 1950s it was very rare to find a black bear in Texas. By the 1970s, hunting restrictions were put into place and by 1983, it was illegal to hunt black bears in Texas at all and they were placed on the endangered species list. Twenty-some-odd years later, there seems to be a growing population of bears in west and east Texas, thrilling wildlife biologists.
I supposed the point I’m trying to make with this short reflection is that along with everything else we need to remember when we write, authors should research the existence of animals, insects and birds for the time period of their setting. I remember reading a book where an author mentioned a black bear in Texas and I’m thinking, eh? The book was a modern western written around 1980 and I don’t recall ever hearing of bears in Texas at that time so it kinda threw me off. I imagine there might have been a few rare sightings then but …

Friday, April 4, 2014

Top Ten Ways to Die in Yellowstone

Top Ten Ways to Die In Yellowstone
by: Peggy L Henderson

For my post today, I thought I’d stray away from the usual western-themed topic. Instead, here are some gruesome facts about ways people have been knows to die in Yellowstone, whether it was early tourists in the 1800’s, or people visiting the park today

Boiling in a Hot Spring
People have fallen in, jumped in to rescue dogs or personal items, or thought it was safe to bathe in . Some of the springs reach temperatures in excess of 200 Degrees Fahrenheit.

Death by Bison
Gorings and stompings by bison occur often because people don’t heed the warnings to stay at least 25 yards away. These animals may look slow and docile, but a two ton bison can charge at 35 miles per hour. That’s faster than the average human can run.

Lightning Strikes
Most lightning strikes occur while out boating or hiking, and not having adequate cover when a storm hits.

Aside from car accidents and illnesses, drowning claims more lives than any other danger in Yellowstone. Several deaths have been reported as recently as 2007–2010. Swimmers who underestimate their abilities, boaters whose boats capsize, and hikers who fall into a lake or river account for most of the drownings.

Poison Plants and Gases
Water hemlock looks a lot like an edible wild parsnip or carrot, but it's a virulent poison. For both of the confirmed deaths, it was, unfortunately, their final meal. Deadly hydrogen sulphide, which occurs naturally in Yellowstone, killed a worker helping to dig a pit in 1939.

One fall involved a driver who backed his car off a cliff, killing both himself and his wife. Several workers have died after falling from scaffoldings or buildings. Others who have fallen to their deaths from cliffs have ignored warning signs and wandered from established trails.

A number of people froze to death or died in avalanches in Yellowstone during its early years. Since 1921, however, such deaths have been very rare; three people died in two separate avalanches in the 1990s.

Rolling Rocks
Setting a boulder tumbling into a canyon might seem like innocent fun until you realize there are hikers down below. One person died this way, while several others were killed by rocks that were unintentionally dislodged or just happened to fall.

Falling Trees
Although rare, deaths from being hit by a tree have happened several times in Yellowstone, either during logging operations or windstorms.

Grizzly Mauling
The first documented death caused by a bear in Yellowstone happened in 1916; the latest two, in summer 2011, after a gap of 25 years when no bear-related deaths were recorded. Visitors have died while hiking, sleeping in tents, or getting too close to a bear while trying to snap that perfect picture.

This list was complied from one of my favorite books about Yellowstone. For more details about deaths in America's oldest national park, check out Death in Yellowstone - Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park
By park historian Lee Whittlesey.
In the introduction, the author states, “Play safely, and think before you act.”
Now go out and enjoy your national parks!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dodge City, Kansas

Dodge City Gathering

Dodge City. The name itself conjures up images of saloons, brothels and gun fights in the street. Wyatt Earp and his brothers come to mind. So do Bat Masterson and Bill Tilghman. But long before these men brought law and order to the notorious cowtown, Dodge City started out as nothing more than an army post.

Fort Dodge was established in 1865 along the Santa Fe Trail. The main objectives of the army was to keep wagon trains and the U.S. mail safe from attacking Indians and to serve as a supply base for detachments participating in the Indian wars. The Cheyenne, Kiowa and other tribes populated the area, as buffalo and other wild game were abundant. Six years later, at the foot of a hill west of the fort, Henry L. Sitler built a three-room sod home. Sitler was a cattle rancher and his home quickly became a twenty-four hour stopover for travelers and buffalo hunters.

George M. Hoover arrived shortly after Sitler and opened Dodge’s first business; a saloon. After Hoover, a group of businessmen from Forts Dodge, Riley and Leavenworth organized the Dodge City Town Company. The company began the planning and developing of the town. Originally, they named the settlement Buffalo City, but since a town with that name already existed, they changed the name to Dodge City. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad arrived in September 1872 and Dodge grew rapidly in size and population over the next few years.

Buffalo hunters, railroad workers, soldiers and drifters came to town, packing the saloons, dance halls and brothels. Laws didn’t exist and the military had no jurisdiction. Gunfights abounded, with men dying in their boots; hence the need for a burial place. Boot Hill Cemetery was developed and remained in use until 1878. Before that, men were buried wherever a hole could be dug, or, if he had friends or money, he was buried in the post cemetery.

Buffalo Hide Yard 1878
Dodge City was known as the Buffalo Capital, until mass slaughters destroyed the herds. By 1875, the Buffalo were gone, and so was the source of income for local farmers who gathered the bones and sold them for profit. The bones were used to make china and fertilizer. Luckily, the cattle trade shifted from Ellsworth and Wichita to Dodge City, keeping Dodge from going belly-up. But along with thousands of Longhorn making their way to Dodge in a ten year span came more lawlessness in the form of cowboys. The mayor contacted Wyatt Earp, who was a lawman in Wichita at the time, and asked him for help, offering an unheard of salary of $250 per month. Wyatt took the job and hired four deputies to assist him; Bat Masterson, Charlie Basset, Bill Tilghman and Neal Brown. 

Peace Keepers
Wyatt Earp and his deputies assessed the layout of Dodge and the best course of action to bring law and order to the town. Earp initiated a ‘Deadline’ north of the railroad yards on Front Street. The area north of the deadline was mainly commercial business and it was his intent to keep this area quiet. South of the ‘Deadline’ consisted of saloons and brothels. A gun ordinance went into effect banning guns from being worn or carried. Those on the south side who didn’t cotton to the new ordinance carried on as usual.
The term ‘red light district’ sprung from here, as railroad men carried their red caboose lanterns at night to visit the brothels. With so many disobeying the new ordinance, Earp soon found his jail cells full.

Earp left Dodge for a while to track famed outlaw Dave Rudabaugh. When he returned, he was made marshal of Dodge City and asked the courts for more severe sentencing. He also organized a committee similar to modern day neighborhood watches to police the streets. Ed Masterson became the assistant marshal in June of 1876. His brother Bat became under-sheriff. In January 1878, Bat became the sheriff, and Wyatt Earp left Dodge in 1879. The Santa Fe rail line reached Santa Fe in 1880, bringing an end to the use of the Santa Fe Trail and to people traveling to Dodge. At the same time, the Indian tribes were housed on reservations and there was no further need for a military presence. Fort Dodge closed in 1882 and the cattle drives ceased in 1886. Today, Dodge City is home to approximately 30,000 people.