Mindy Obenhaus
Big Changes
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Change is inevitable, or so they say. Yet, many times, we try to avoid change. We like the status quo, even if it’s not perfect, because change is usually accompanied by uncertainty and the unknown is always scary.

Well, recently my family made one really big change. Actually, it was the fulfillment of a dream. You see, since before my husband and I married, we’ve been coming to his family’s ranch in south-central Texas. It was our getaway. A respite from the craziness of life in the city. A place to relax and regroup.For years, decades even, we’ve dreamed of how nice it would be to live here. But there were jobs and the kids schooling to consider, so those dreams were set aside.

Until last month.My husband retired and our youngest child graduated from high school. We were free to act on our dream of leaving the suburbs to go rural. Though we definitely had our fair share of trepidation.

Still, we pressed on.Once the moving truck showed up, there was no turning back.Welcome to the camphouse. Have you ever tried to cram 2000 square feet worth of stuff into 900 square feet? Of course, the welcoming committee was here to greet us when we arrived.Not all of which were that inviting.We don’t have snakes like this one in the burbs.

Luckily, our oldest boy did not inherit his mother’s fear of snakes.But he’s not the only one having fun. The four-legged members of our family are having the time of their lives.However, all of that exploring can be very exhausting.I suppose it’s a small price to pay for another day in paradise.Oh, but this is not where the story ends. This is just the beginning of the Obi’s Big Move to the Country. You know that 900 square foot camphouse I mentioned? That’s only temporary. And we hadn’t even settled in before we were on to phase two.This house was built by my in-laws back in 1975. It was their dream house.

Now it’s time to make it ours.

Over the next few months, we’ll be turning this Mexican-style hacienda into the Texas ranch house of our dreams. And I’ll be chronically the transformation right here. So I hope you’ll grab a glass of ice tea, put your feet up and join us on this journey.

Until next time…


A Gift for You – My Favorite Holiday Recipe
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Christmas is almost here. The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped and cookies have been baked. I can hardly believe how this year has flown by.

This has been a busy writing year and I am happy to announce that Their Ranch Reunion, the first in my new series entitled Rocky Mountain Heroes will be out in August 2017, with the second yet-to-be-titled book releasing in December.

But as we approach this most blessed time of year, I wanted to take a moment to wish all of you the merriest of Christmases and give a you a very special gift. One of my all-time favorite holiday recipes that everyone around you can share in.

holiday-scentChristmas scent is so easy. Even if you rarely set foot in your kitchen, you can have your entire house smelling like the holidays.

Christmas scent consists of :

3 (4 inch) cinnamon sticks

3 bay leaves

1/4 cup whole cloves

half of a lemon

half of an orange

1 quart of water

Bring all ingredients to a boil; reduce heat and simmer as long as you like, adding more water as necessary. People will think you’ve been cooking up a storm. 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


How Does Your Garden Grow?
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I’m not much of a gardener. My thumb is definitely not green. Yet every spring, I get the urge to plant something. I mean, who can resist all those pretty flowers at the garden center. Not to mention the promise of veggies planted with care.

Over time, though, I have learned my limits. Flowers in the front yard are relatively easy. The sprinkler waters them and a hefty layer of mulch tends to keep the weeds away. And while I’m enamored with annuals, I also plant a lot of perennials that will bloom at different times of the year.flower bed

In the backyard, we tend to stick to container gardening. My husband loves hibiscus.Hibiscus

But I like herbs. Especially basil. basil(Confession time. This is my second round of basil this year. The first round died over spring break because no one was home to water them. Silly me, expecting it to rain in March. 🙂 )

Most herbs are relatively easy to grow. That is, assuming you actually  remember to water them. I always plant basil because I like to cook with it and caprese salad is a summer favorite. I also use it to make pesto, which I can freeze and use any time of year.

Now it’s your turn. I want to hear about your garden. Are you gardener extraordinaire? Does the thought of working the earth and growing your own food thrill you to no end? Or are you convinced you have a black thumb and that any plant you touch will die?


Springtime
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bluebonnets1 (800x600)Bluebonnets. A sure sign that spring has sprung in Texas. They adorn roadsides and pastures. And the aroma is pure heaven.

I love spring. It’s when nature awakens after a long winter’s rest. The colors are more vibrant because everything is new.

Spring means crisp mornings.IMG_1184 (800x600)Storms.Storm cloudsWhich can make for a plethora of mud.bogged down polaris (800x600)mud-covered bootsSpring is also about new beginnings. These ducks are looking for a place to start their new family.DucksAnd spring always means lots of babies at the ranch076 (800x533)babies

Has spring sprung where you are? What’s your favorite part of spring?

 


What’s Happening
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What a summer this has been. Birthdays, deadlines and a book release were just some of the highlights. But, when deadlines are involved, nothing can slow you down.deadlines, parties and RWA

 Good news, though. Book four has been turned in. And just in time, because next on my agenda was Romance Writers of America’s annual conference in New York City. Talk about exciting. I’d never been to New York before, so to be smack dab in the middle of Times Square was an amazing experience.Times Square4

While there, I was privileged to participate in a Harlequin book signing, where I signed my brand new release, A Father’s Second Chance.Harlequin signing

The highpoint of any conference, though, is getting to hang out with writer friends.

HQN party - Lisa Susie Me

Authors Lisa Jordan and Susan May Warren

However, the best, if not the most humbling, news of the summer may have been this.

2015Carol Award finalistI learned that my second book, Rescuing the Texan’s Heart, is a finalist in American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award contest. What an honor. And to be grouped with authors Irene Hannon (who just won her third RWA Rita award) and Naomi Rawlings makes me feel doubly blessed.

Winners will be announced at ACFW’s annual conference in September.

But until then, the dog days of summer, along with their triple digit temperatures, are upon us. And I can’t think of a better way to combat them than to settle in with some new characters and get started on another story set in Ouray.

Now it’s your turn. I want to hear about your summer. What’s going on in your world?