Lives remembered…


Post written by Michael Staton.

Earlier this month I began scanning the Facebook newsfeed and discovered a family photo posted by a cousin, John Snyder, the family genealogist.

He gave fellow cousins a more detailed examination of the children in the really old photo. First the sisters (left to right): Nellie, born in 1894; Hazel, born in 1895, and Ethel, born in 1898. Their brothers are (left to right): Clarence, born in 1901; John, born in 1903, and Wayne, nicknamed Sweenie, born in 1905. These are some of the children of David Elmer and Icie Belle (Edwards) Kurtz. Ultimately, David Elmer and Icie Belle of Wayne County, Ohio, would have thirteen children, including my maternal grandmother, Mildred (Kurtz) Franks.


These are some of the brothers and sisters of my Grandmother Mid (Kurtz) Franks.

This photograph is one of the oldest in the family, copied multiple times by me and my numerous Kurtz-related cousins all over the U.S. and the world. My Grandma isn’t in this photo. She was born in 1907. Sweenie looks to be about a year old. That means the photograph was taken sometime in 1906.

David Elmer and Icie Belle were poor. He was a tenant farmer who did whatever he could to make ends meet. Icie Belle took in laundry to wash and iron. Take a moment to study the photo. See how wonderfully the girls and their brothers are dressed? Genealogist John Snyder’s older brother Ron noticed and commented: “John, I look at this photo knowing how poor our grandmother’s (Ethel) parents were that she had to leave the sixth grade to work cleaning gaslight chimneys and fireplaces and do the laundry. Yet how beautifully the children were dressed for this photo. I wonder if these were the photographer’s clothes. We were blessed to be raised by ancestors who had to work hard for their food and homes.”


My dad Louis Staton is believed to be the boy second to the left of the teacher in this photo of Sharon Center, Ohio, students.

Back in in the mid and late 1960s, I often spent Saturdays and Sundays at the Fourth Street house in Rittman, Ohio, owned by Grandpa Frog and Grandma Mid. On weekend drives in Wayne County, Grandma would sometimes point out the rural farmhouse where she lived as a child. Later, the family moved from that farmhouse to a small house on the end of Fourth Street in Rittman. I could sit on grandma’s front-porch swing and see that old house. In the summer of 1920, Icie Belle died on the back steps of that house, a heart attack victim. Grandma was twelve years old.

A few days after John posted the 1906 photograph of some of the Kurtz siblings, a fraternal cousin – Candy – posted a class photo from the late 1930s that showed my dad as a kid not much older than ten or eleven. I’m including the photo with this post. Dad’s the light-haired boy two kids to the left of the teacher.


My Grandma Mid is the older girl behind her younger siblings in this photo circa World War I era.

Dad and his cousin Gloria (mother of cousins Candy and Pat) were the children of twin sisters, Natalie (Iuppenlatz) Staton and Hortense (Iuppenlatz) Gruver, of Sharon Center, Ohio. That’s a small crossroads town in Medina County, just next-door to Wayne County. Candy thinks she has located her mother in the photo of Sharon Center’s schoolchildren circa mid to late 1930s. She writes: “I think my mom is in the second row up in a striped dress. And I think the child next to her in the dark dress looks like Lara Jean Brown, who lived next door as an adult – the same smile.”

I’ve other photos of Grandma Mid and my Dad I’m including with this post. One in particular shows Grandma and other brothers and sisters born after 1907. This photo was probably taken around the time of World War I. Grandma is kneeling while her younger brothers and sisters in front of her sit on a blanket.


Here’s Grandma Mid and her best friend Pearl sometime in the late 1920s.

There’s another photo I really, really like – Grandma in her late teens or early twenties with her best friend Pearl. Can you tell which girl is my Grandma? She’s the one on the left, reaching up to hold Pearl’s fingers. I love their outfits – men’s hats, baggy pants and a college-style sweater for Pearl and coat for Mid. Notice the Model Ford in the background? I’d say this photo was snapped in the late 1920s, probably before the Great Depression; Grandma Mid graduated from Rittman High in 1925.

My memories of Grandma Mid encompass my toddler years, the elementary school era, my time in junior/high school, and my adulthood period, including college. Through it all I remember her fabulous Mennonite-style cooking and the great deserts – her chocolate drop cookies and the coca cream candies. There were two apple trees in the backyard. One eventually rotted and had to be cut down. For years the other supplied apples for the best applesauce between here and Pluto. When I did a sleepover, I’d sleep on a studio couch/bed in a corner of her bedroom. On summer nights, she’d keep the bedroom windows open and at first light I could hear songbirds making their delightful singsong chirps. I couldn’t wait to get up and go exploring in the eerie gully behind Fourth Street houses.


Dad was born in April 1927, so I imagine this photo of him with his Grandpa Iuppenlatz can be dated to 1927.

Of course, I grew up, and when I made visits to the Fourth Street house with Mom, I’d sleep downstairs on the back-room sofa. I was there one stormy night when lightning struck a lightning rod on the roof, sending sparks cascading past the window above the sofa. Upstairs, a bolt emerged from an outlet and sparked across the hallway and exited out another outlet. The strike fried the refrigerator, freezer and outlets in the upstairs bathroom. It was quite a shocking weekend, second only to the time Grandpa Frog had to chase down a bat that managed to escape from the attic.

Grandma Mid passed away in 1995, her body brittle, her mind weary, and her sweet soul ready for the angels to escort her to Heaven. Dad left us in late January 2015, but he left behind plenty of memories for his loved ones to treasure. Here’s three photos of him before the responsibilities of life chased away his childhood dreams. The earliest one shows Dad perched on Grandpa Louis Iuppenlatz’s 1920s car. My Great-Grandpa has a cigar nestled in his hand as he admires his new grandson. It’s 1927, two years after my Grandma Mid graduated from high school.


Here’s the family’s budding Fred Astaire lookalike — my dad sometime in the early 1930s.

The next dad photo I like shows him at age six or seven in his dance outfit, top hat settled on his head. I expect he’d just participated in a dance recital at the urging of his mother, my Grandma Nan. She did like that sort of thing. The year would’ve been 1933 or 1934, the heyday of Fred Astaire. Did Grandma Nan fantasize about her son dancing in a big Hollywood production?

The first photo I ever saw of Dad as a kid captured him standing beside his bike. He looks to be fourteen or fifteen, a handsome fellow who would soon attract girls from all over Northeast Ohio. He’s not in a winter coat, so I imagine the bike is an April birthday present.

It’s funny how you find yourself reminiscing more and more as you grow into your sixties and realize you’re getting older. So many of the people you love are no longer in your life.


Dad as a teenager in the early 1940s.

Instead of having living grandparents and aunts and uncles, you’re now the uncle for young boys and girls. New loved ones come into your life, but they can never substitute for those who have gone on to Heaven. I’m so glad for those old photographs.

# # #

Mike Staton is the author of a published fantasy trilogy and is currently working on a Civil War novel. Check out his books on the websites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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A Supernatural Dream Come True

CindyCarrollEThe TV show Supernatural (IMDB link) debuted on my birthday in 2005. I’d seen the commercials for it and thought it looked like something I would love. It appeared to be a show that would be like a mini horror movie every week. I love horror movies. And the two stars weren’t hard to look at either. I watched that first episode and fell in love with the series. I’ve been watching ever since, all eleven seasons. And season twelve has just started.

I’m a Dean girl. Both brothers are great but there’s just something about Dean that appeals to me. He’s funny, cocky and extremely sexy. He’s such a great character. The show works because of the relationship between the brothers. Family is everything for them and they just have each other.

sn16-300x250I didn’t realize until relatively recently that there were Supernatural conventions. I joined a bunch of SPN groups on Facebook and people were posting pictures of themselves with the stars of the show. I loved seeing the pictures and envied the people who got them. I quickly found out they were taken at conventions. Fans purchased photo ops. Years ago I wrote a piece on my own blog about me not agreeing with paying for pictures with stars. All the pictures I’d taken of celebrities had been free. Some of the stars that appear at conventions make quite a lot of money from the photo ops and autographs. Unless I sell a screenplay and Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester on the show) ends up starring in it, AND I get to be on set, there was no way I was going to meet him. Unless I went to a convention and got a photo op.

supernaturaltvguideSo…I bought a ticket to the Toronto Supernatural Convention! I bought photo ops and everything. I figure it will be my one and only chance to meet the cast so I went all out. The package I bought includes autographs. I’m trying to figure out what I should bring for them to autograph. I have a few options. A TV Guide from October 2005 with the stars on the cover. A Supernatural bag my husband got me for my birthday last year. One of the scripts I wrote for the show that were just for me. Or something else.

What about you? Would you go to a convention for your favourite show? What would you bring to have autographed?

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ReflectionsFinal2A road trip without a plan sounded like a good idea when Lena and her friends hit the road. After hours of driving in the heat in a cramped car they’re all ready for something to eat and a good night’s rest.

Reflections Inn looks perfect for the group of friends. A little run down, it hides a supernatural horror. A curse that replaces people with their repressed alter egos forces the friends to fight for their lives. Duplicates who lack restraint, crave gratification emerge from the mirrors. Too late they realize they didn’t know each other as well as they thought.

One by one, Lena’s friends learn the truth about their repressed emotions, their suppressed violent urges.

What doesn’t kill them can only make them stronger.

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The Haunted Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast by Barbara Schlichting


Halloween is not Halloween without all the spooks and goblins. Tis the season to discover where to go and spend the night. Doing so, you should be completely scared.

lizzie-borden Lizzie Borden

The first place I thought of was the Lizzie Borden house. I didn’t know it was a Bed and Breakfast, which makes it all the more fun.


It’s located in the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. When the first Mrs. Borden passed away, Lizzie and her sister became distant from their father. When he remarried, they certainly didn’t care for their stepmother. This brings a whole new meaning to the word, ‘step’. Lizzie was thirty-two years old on August 4, 1892. First she took an axe to the maid, then her father, and lastly her stepmother. However, it wasn’t proven so she was acquitted.


Several rumors of seeing the spirit of Lizzie Borden, who died in 1927, have been documented. There are also claims of moving objects.

If you’re looking for a place to become rightfully spooked on Halloween, this might be the bed and breakfast for you.


Since I write the First Ladies Mystery Series, I love a good mystery.  I’ve wondered what it’d be like to spend a night in this house.  You can purchase my books from my website:

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The Colors of Halloween

105182105411111cdpby Neva Bodin

While we celebrate fall with orange and brown of pumpkins, leaves and grass, we also mix Halloween colors in. There are many colors of Halloween with different associations.

Halloween, also known as All Hallows Eve, or All Saints Eve, or All Souls Day, was first set for November 1st as a Celtic holiday to mark the end of summer and beginning of winter. The Catholics, sometime in the eighth century apparently, chose to use it to honor and remember those who had died, including saints, martyrs and departed Christians, making it a Christian holiday. Now, we have mixed it up with all manner of scary things, plus reasons to have a party and go trick or treating!

At any rate, several colors are used to decorate for this holiday.

batBlack is a predominant color displayed during the holiday. Black is a symbol for death or darkness, the realm of witches and goblins. Hence, we have black cats, black bats, black spiders and black witches hanging everywhere! I particularly hate the black spiders.

Orange is a symbol for warmth, fire and an echo of the leaves of autumn. It is also in contrast to black and the two complement each other.  It seems to be the one and only positive color symbolizing Halloween.

Purple has become a Halloween color also. Sometimes witches have purple hair or purple around their eyes. Purple is the color of the seventh chakra which represents the third eye and clairvoyance.witch-green

Chakras are thought to be seven centers of spiritual power in the body. Clairvoyance speaks of extra sensory perception.

Some believe Halloween is a night when the veil between what I’ll call the tactile world and the spiritual world is thin. Spirits are about. Apparently adding spiders and bats and witches adds to the thrill and fear of thinking so.

skullsWe have also added white—for bones and skeletons and ghosts; green—for goblins, goo, and slime; and red—for blood from vampires

On another note, how did pumpkins become Jack-O-Lanterns? (It is thought in original celebrations, hallowed out turnips were used instead of pumpkins.) Apparently many cultures have tales of a tricky lad known as Jack who gets in trouble through his own devices.

Here is a story quote from the website:

(Copied 10/19/16) “In the case of the jack o’lantern, the story that inspired it is one in which Jack tries to outsmart the Devil himself. In the tale, Jack tricks the Devil into agreeing never to collect his soul. However, once Jack dies, it turns out he’s led too sinful a life to get into heaven, but because of his bargain with the Devil, he can’t get into hell either. Jack complains about how dark it is, wandering around earth with no place to go, and someone tosses him a hot coal, which he places in a hollowed-out turnip. Now poor Jack uses his turnip-lantern to guide him, and he is known as Jack of the Lantern.

In some variations of the story, Jack comes out only on Halloween night, and is looking for someone to take his place… so watch out, if you see him wandering your way!”

So there you have a little about the colors of Halloween, and with the last tale, perhaps orange isn’t such a positive color after all!pumpkin-mad

(All images from Pixabay.)

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My Name is Leonard

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

My name is Leonard. I am a beautiful, buff male kitten, if I do say so myself. I haven’t hadunadjustednonraw_thumb_1bd much of a life up until now because my sisters and brothers and I were turned over to the Humane Society. I had to share a big cage with lots of other kitties. I tried to get them to play but they weren’t too much fun.

A couple of days ago I was neutered, and if you know what I mean, you know I didn’t appreciate it much. Someone put a sign on my recovery cage that said I was up for adoption. I might have liked a couple more days to recuperate, but no one asked me.

The other day some people came in with a Service Dog (a Shih Tzu) and one of my handlers unadjustednonraw_thumb_200came in to get me and put me in a room with the people and the female dog named Patty. I tried to get her to play, too, but she told me to go fly a kite, so I sat on the man’s lap, and then sat on the woman’s lap. I was on my best behavior – after all, I wanted a forever home. I wasn’t sure about the dog, but I figured if she tried to bug me I’d just use my claws to let her know just who is boss.

I was very excited when I found out I was being adopted. Dreams of all the kitten chow I could eat and maybe at least one toy that is just for me floated through my head. I wasn’t too fond of the ride home, because they put me in a box. Can you imagine that? A box! Even if it said Cat Box I wasn’t too impressed.

When we got home I did get some toys just for me but the dog kept playing with my feathers and bell toy. That first day I got to know my new parents but Patty the dog acted very uppity.

I ignored her. My dad loves his coffee and I like to share it with him. Mmm, what a goodunadjustednonraw_thumb_1b3 taste. It has cream in it and, well, everyone knows cats like cream. I found a favorite place to take a nap but my mommy got a little upset with me. It’s the dish drainer, just long enough for me to stretch out.

Patty sits on my dad’s lap all the time. So I thought I’d show her who is boss. I climbed all around my dad’s head and then cuddled up next to the dog to be nice. She jumped off the chair – not very polite if you ask me.

I spent another day exploring the camper I am staying in for the summer. There are lots of places to hide and I like to torment Patty because she can’t get in the spots I can. Yesterday I finally took a nap on my dad’s chest and Patty stayed in his lap. Later she let me lay by her but she still doesn’t want to play with me much. I guess I have to be patient.

Update: My family has moved home from the lake for the winter and I’m happy to say I unadjustednonraw_thumb_1a2finally won over that darned dog. We have lots of fun together now, running through the house chasing each other, grooming each other and sleeping together. If my mom would settle down a little it’d be nice. She really doesn’t like it when I jump on the kitchen counters or the table. She squirts a water bottle at me and since I don’t like it I get down. But if she only knew the places I explore when she’s gone! I try hard to get out of the house every time the door is opened but so far I haven’t gotten very far. One thing I just love – when Patty has to go outside she gets a treat when she comes in. My dad gives me three little treats first and then gives Patty a bone. I’ve got it all figured out now and I stay close to the door when they go out ‘cause I really like those chicken treats.

That’s all for now, except I really love my new home. I feel very lucky to live with such nice people and Patty. I’ll keep you posted.

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders



Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)



13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

Linda's book


13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an Ebook



You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews





Posted in animal adoption, animal behavior, animal rescue, animal stories, Animals, Cats, Dogs, homeless, L.Leander, lessons from pets, pet rescue, pets, service dogs, true stories, unique | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Slashers, Re-blogged by Cher’ley

Frank wrote some of the bet scary blogs, so I wanted to share one of my favorite for the Hallowed Month of October.

This post by Frank Larnerd

The very first slashers come from the ancient Greeks. In his first adventures, the hero Theseus battled six different slashers, before going to Crete to fight the monsterous Minotaur. First he had to face the chthonic bandit, Periphetes, who beat travelers to death with a giant club. Second was Sinis, a robber who disposed of his victims by tying them to two bent pines which ripped them apart once they were released. The witch Phaea was Theseus’ third challenge. This old crone could transform herself into an enormous boar which devoured her targets. Next was Sciron who feed his prey to a giant sea monster. In his fifth encounter, Theseus challenged Cercyon, the King of Eleusis who broke his opponents’ bones in wrestling matches. Finally, Theseus faced Procrustes the Stretcher. Procrustes would offer weary travelers his bed. If they were too short to fill the bed, he would stretch their limbs. If they were too long, Procrustes would cut off their feet to make them fit.


Modern slashers owe more to urban legends of the fifties than to the ancient Greeks. The story of “The Hook” would provide many of the tropes that we identify with modern slashers: kids alone in a deserted location, a twisted killer with a unique weapon, and a warning against teenage promiscuity.


Filmmakers in the eighties used the fear of spree killers like Ted Bundy and the Zodiac Killer to focus the slasher concept into a marketable commodity. Slashers continue to be hot sellers throughout the 90’s and on into the 21st century. Each time subtly changing to reflect fears of the public. Without having to look too hard, we can see a correlation between Jigsaw and the media reports of torture in the early 2000’s.


So what do you need to create your own slasher in 2014? Here are a few things to consider when crafting your very own axe wielding psychopath.

* Back story – Every slasher needs a reason to be a kill crazy monster. Freddy was the son of a hundred maniacs. Jason’s mother was killed by camp counselors and Cropsey was disfigured by cruel kids. Like any good character, give them a motivation for their actions and they will be more than just a killer in a mask.

* Appearance – Most slashers are disfigured in some way. They look fearsome and abnormal. You don’t want to lay eyes on them, let alone have them touch you with their decomposing hands.

* Weapons – Many slashers have a particular trademark weapon. Freddy’s glove and Leatherface’s chainsaw help to set them apart from similar slashers and bring a primal fear to their audiences.


* Intelligence – This one goes both ways. Single-minded killers like Michael Myers provide great thrills as do highly intelligent slashers like Dr. Hannibal Lector. Find a balance for your slasher and the thrills will follow.

* Setting – Usually tied to the back story, the setting should be remote and creepy. Of course cell phones never work there. Try to avoid clichés of the woods, or summer camps.

* Mask – Some slashers were a mask to disguise their revolting appearing. The dehumanizing effect of wearing a mask helps to relate the inhuman passions of the slasher.


* Victims – Usually teenagers, they provide fodder for the slasher’s cruel rage. They should be likeable enough to root for and make you worried they might not survive.

* Last Girl – A slasher is only as good as his greatest challenge. The Last Girl is usually intelligent and morally uncorrupted. Her goodness and wits prove to be a slasher’s greatest obstacle.


* Do something different – Make your slasher chase after senior citizens, or swap genders and make your Last Girl a fraternity jock. Do something different and your slasher will stand out amongst the sea of bloody imitators.

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Bill’s Birthday

Abbie J. Taylor 010

This Post by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Bill would have been seventy-four years old today. I wrote the following poem four years ago on his birthday while he was in the nursing home almost two weeks before he passed. It appears in my new book, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. Click on the title to hear me read it.



Gray hair against white pillow,

lips caress my cheek,

his good arm encircles my shoulder.

The odor of peanut butter

scent of his shampoo comfort me.

Seventy years old today, he says he loves me,

kiss soft against my cheek,

as we hold each other,

for who knows how long.


Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

Click to hear an audio trailer.

Like me on Facebook.


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Making a Successful Slasher

Writing Wranglers and Warriors


This post by Frank Larnerd

The very first slashers come from the ancient Greeks. In his first adventures, the hero Theseus battled six different slashers, before going to Crete to fight the monsterous Minotaur. First he had to face the chthonic bandit, Periphetes, who beat travelers to death with a giant club. Second was Sinis, a robber who disposed of his victims by tying them to two bent pines which ripped them apart once they were released. The witch Phaea was Theseus’ third challenge. This old crone could transform herself into an enormous boar which devoured her targets. Next was Sciron who feed his prey to a giant sea monster. In his fifth encounter, Theseus challenged Cercyon, the King of Eleusis who broke his opponents’ bones in wrestling matches. Finally, Theseus faced Procrustes the Stretcher. Procrustes would offer weary travelers his bed. If they were too short to fill the…

View original post 510 more words

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Post (c) Doris McCraw


Made a trip to Santa Fe this past weekend. A busy time, lots of information gathered, and many miles on the road by myself. I share with you photos and verse.


Quiet of echoes, rising out from land

Rolling of wagons, images lost in mist

Mountains grow – sink, hourglass sand

Ghosts in the mind, voices persist



History beckons, out on the plains

Stories are calling, help they insist

Aged city, feels growth pains

What is mystery, ceased to exist



Time grows short, trip soon done

Will memories fade, post haste dismissed

Voices cry out, before long none

Echoes call, do not desist



Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted five days a week at – and has now passed one thousand haiku and photos posted on this blog. Check out her other work or like her Amazon author page:

Lost Knight cover

never cover option

Angel Of Salvation Valley ARaines Web (2)




Posted in History, poems, poetry, unique, women poets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Falling for Wildlife

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Okay so maybe the title is a little deceptive. I am sure most of you are looking forward to stories about how clumsy I am when I am focused on a critter.  Sorry that isn’t today’s subject.

Instead I am focusing on the changing seasons. I’m sure most people think summer time is prime time for photographing wildlife, not this summer.  When it the temperature hits the upper 90’s most of us are hot, cranky and generally in a bad mood.  Critters feel the same way.  Approaching a cranky deer can get you charged, or stomped by those powerful hoofs.


Bears are large, strong, and have massive claws and some nasty teeth as well. They don’t like the heat either.  A large bird just trying to stay cool doesn’t want to pose for a picture.  They can show their irritation by swooping down and attacking with their razor sharp talons.


So I spent most of my summer approaching smaller critters less dangerous critters. I added shots of, some passive shore birds, butterflies, squirrels, ducks, and frogs.


Now that the hot oppressive heat of summer is gone and Fall has arrived I am ready to go. It’s time for me to head to the woods.  This time of year the vibrant fall leaves make a great backdrop for critter photos.


So I have pulled out my sweatshirts, purchased back up batteries and extra film for the camera and I am heading to the woods. I may stop along the river’s edge and visit a lake or two in the early morning hours.  When most of you are having that second cup of coffee I will be zooming in on my next subject.


As you munch on your lunch Jay and I will be discussing where we want to be just before sunset. As you settle in for the evening I will be heading home with a number of new images and some happy memories of the day.


Enjoy the cooler temperature of fall and take a few minutes to let the colorful array of colors Mother Nature give us this time of year engulf you.   No Fall isn’t my favorite season, but it does come in second.  What is your favorite season ?

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S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

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S. J. Brown’s children’s pictures books are only available through S. J. Brown.

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Cover All the Birds I See Cover

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