#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Walking (not) in a winter wonderland

Woke up to snow this morning, and lots of it.  And it is BEAUTIFUL–probably because I don’t have to go anywhere.  My office is right here at home, one of the many things I love about my job.  We’ve had at least six inches overnight, and it’s still coming down in small, fast, furious flakes.  This morning, while doing my devotions, I noticed one of the plant pots on the deck–it has a lovely dome of snow on top, and that got me to thinking–again–about the bulbs actively slumbering under all that cold and wet and plain old dirt.  I describe the process as active because, of course, there is God-magic happening inside that humble and normally unprepossessing bulb, life and color and scent in their essential forms, being spun, like Rapunzel’s straw, into future joy.  Glorious beauty.

I believe the human heart is like that plant pot, too.  Dreams get planted, and they slumber away (okay, sometimes it seems more like a coma), under a lot of dirt and wet snow and cold–read: discouragement, disappointment, frustration–the question, then, is do we stop believing in Spring and Summer?  Or do we shelter those dreams, nourish them as best we can, and most importantly of all, BELIEVE that not just some, but MOST, such processes are silent and invisible?

I have had many dreams in my life, and I’ve been blessed to see a lot of them come true.  But there are others, planted deep, that have yet to sprout.  It would be easy to slide them over into the ‘never-gonna-happen’ column–and with some dreams, say, if I decided I wanted to be a top model (just the thought makes me smile) or an astronaut or a daredevil who leaps over buildings on a motor cycle, certainly BELONG in that column.  But there are other, gentler hopes, secret and sacred, just between God and me.  Giving up on those would be like giving up on God–and myself.   Not gonna happen.  The bulbs are down there, in the rich and fertile soil of my heart, and one day, they will bloom.  Or turn into something better and more beautiful than I could have imagined. 

As you can tell, I’m in a pretty philosophical mood this morning.  :)

On the practical side, lots of you are entering the What-Did-Sam-Write contest, and that delights me.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday, so be sure to have your answer in by then.  As previously mentioned, we’ll put the names of all those who give the correct answer into a bowl and draw out a lucky winner.

I received three beautiful bracelets from my artist sister, Pam, and watch this space, because I will be giving them away, one a week, starting when the current contest ends.  Excited?  You should be–these pieces are so lovely I’m going to have a hard time parting with them.  :)  Sister Sally’s arm warmers will be offered as prizes soon as well, and I have some great trinkets I brought back from Cowboy Christmas, in Las Vegas.  So stay tuned, and if you don’t win at first, keep trying.  This cowgirl loves to give things away!

Lastly, I want to thank you for your very moving comments about “Big Sky River”.  Boone and Tara and the others are as dear to me as grown children.  In fact, I keep expecting them to come home for a visit.  :)  Your kind words mean so much.

May God make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

And please accept my virtual hug.



34 comments to “Walking (not) in a winter wonderland”

      · January 7th, 2013 at 2:08 pm · Link

    What a moving blog today. That’s more than enough to get my day started with a smile. Sounds beautiful where u are. We aren’t fortunate enough to have snowy weather in Louisiana. But it is GORGEOUS with sunshine and cold!!! I’m LOVING the new book! Hope and Pray everyone is well. Have a Wonderful Day.

  2. Michelle
      · January 7th, 2013 at 2:08 pm · Link

    Just picked up Big Sky River and can’t wait to read it. I was about to panic because just last night I finished Here and Then and was wondering what I was going to read. Once again I was lost in this book! I almost cried when I finished it because it was so good I didn’t want it to end. I would love to see what happens with Rue and Farley.

    You are the best Linda!

  3. Hilda
      · January 7th, 2013 at 2:22 pm · Link

    Linda, wonderful blog, thank you for confirming what probably most of your fans also have; hidden dreams, some which we don’t reasonably expect to come true, others we are striving toward, and others that maybe we haven’t even realized we want. Anyway, I finished Big Sky River and was sorry to say goodbye. But, so happy for Boone, Tara, Elle, Erin, Griff, Fletcher, Lucy, Scamp, did I leave anyone out? I tried to figure out who would be the main characters in Big Sky Summer but I’ll be patient and wait for it. Will they be newbies to Parable?
    You are smart and blessed to have a profession that allows you to work at home. And, so are we!!! :)
    Thanks, and have a good day! Hilda

  4. Kristie Wilson
      · January 7th, 2013 at 2:37 pm · Link

    I was one of your winners a few weeks back (the “looking back in five years” question) and I wanted to thank you so much for the autographed book. It is sitting with a collection of my “special books” on my bookcase.

    I was never a fan of romance novels – in fact, I’d never picked one up until about a year ago when I was in need of a book and I’d read just about everything all my favorite authors had written. I love historical fiction, and I’m a big fan of Christian authors BJ Hoff, Francine Rivers, and Kathleen Morgan. My husband gave me a Nook for my birthday last year and while looking through the Nook books, I found your Stone Creek series. I had never heard of you or your books, but the story sounded good, so I downloaded it. The rest is history! I’ve read just about all of your “cowboy” series and I now have a new appreciation for the western US.

    I have fallen in love with the Creeds, the McKettricks, and most recently, the good folks of Parable, Montana. There are even times that I forget that these cowboys are fictional characters! I love the values that you carefully weave into them and the fact that the romance part of the book doesn’t overpower the storyline, but instead compliments it.

    I just finished reading Big Sky River last week and loved it.

    We were this weekend at our local Tractor Supply getting a birthday gift for my nephew. My husband tried on a cowboy hat and I told him how good it looked on him. He said, “No, I just remind you of one of those cowboys of yours!”

    “Well, maybe just a little bit,” I said.

    Thanks again for sharing your gift with us. I’m so looking forward to your next book. Oh, one last thing… everytime I hear Tim McGraw’s song, “Better Than I Used to Be” I think about some of these storylines, especially the McKettricks!

    God bless, Kristie Wilson
    Goodlettsville, TN

    • Juanita Rice
        · January 7th, 2013 at 7:43 pm · Link

      “…everytime I hear Tim McGraw’s song, “Better Than I Used to Be” I think about some of these storylines, especially the McKettricks!”

      That is so true?! Those McKettrick boys all needed a bit of straightening out and they knew it. ;) Bless their hearts.

  5. rita hutcheson
      · January 7th, 2013 at 2:44 pm · Link

    I so enjoy your blogs, today is no exception. I just finished River and so hope Big Sky Summer continues in Parable, MT. I have sop many of your books that I have a special shelf for them in my bookcase. Thank You for many hours of great reading. And yes it is snowing in Juliaetta, Idaho we have maybe 3 inches so far. Stay warm :)

  6. penny Wilson
      · January 7th, 2013 at 3:00 pm · Link

    Thanks for the blog. I really enjoy it, never thought I’d comment, but your writing this morning brought to mind yesterday’s sermon. Pastor spoke from John 6:60-71. He brought it around to Peter’s words in verse 68 when Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go?” How often we allow the world to distract us from our dreams and His plan for our lives, when we only need to ask ourselves that one question: “Lord, to whom shall we go?” The answer is nowhere…HE is EVERYTHING!!!!!

    Really enjoy all your books…keep them coming!

  7. Bina
      · January 7th, 2013 at 3:51 pm · Link

    I love your Big Sky series so much and can’t wait for the next book to be published.
    You planted a little bulb in me – through said series. I’ve wished to visit the Northwest for a long time, but now I’m absolutely certain that should this dream become reality sometime, I cannot leave out Montana. No way. But I guess my little dream bulb has to slumber away some more. Flying to the US is a long trip from Germany and I will have to be patient some more before I can come again after this summer’s trip to the Southwest.

    Thank you and have a good day!
    Bina from rainy and cold Germany

  8. Norma Stanforth
      · January 7th, 2013 at 4:08 pm · Link

    Hi Linda,
    I love the way you bring out things, about your dreams and work them into everyday life events. About the beauty of the snow on the potted plant.I try to go on that site to see your sister Pam bracelet that she made, but i could not find it. I have read around twelve of your books and have love everyone of them i could read them over and over again. Thank you for the way you express things, you bring it to life. God bless you and keep you safe.
    Norma Stanforth :roll: :-P

    • Sal
        · January 7th, 2013 at 6:16 pm · Link

      try this… http://www.PolymerPamela.etsy.com :)

      • Norma Stanforth
          · January 9th, 2013 at 9:05 pm · Link

        Thanks Sal, i was able to see Pam’s bracelets and other things she made. God bless you.
        Norma :-D

  9. Nyoka Smith
      · January 7th, 2013 at 4:14 pm · Link

    Hi Linda, beautiful thoughts in your blog today! It so reminded me of the song, ” The Rose ” written by Amanda McBroom and recorded by Bette Midler. Especially the last verse:
    “When the night has been too lonely
    and the road has been too long,
    and you think that love is only
    for the lucky and the strong,
    Just remember in the winter
    far beneath the bitter snows,
    Lies the seed, that with the Sun’s (Son’s) love
    in the spring becomes the rose.”
    The Son of God can cause the tiny seeds within our hearts to bloom into His all consuming love…
    I am so thankful for his Amazing Grace…
    In the middle of reading ” … River ” so far it is holding up to your wonderful ability to make music with words!!
    Thanks for sharing your talent!
    May God bless

    • Shari Grant
        · January 7th, 2013 at 8:27 pm · Link

      I was just thinking the same thing, Nyoka. That is a beautiful song and Linda’s blog for today was also very poetic.

  10. Anne Little
      · January 7th, 2013 at 4:44 pm · Link

    I too, was moved and inspired by your words, as always right on target. I Loved loved, Big Sky River. I could really feel the pain, the love and the healing. I so love it when you weave the stories like that where I can really feel and identify with the characters. On a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being super great) this one is a 15. Sorry I was late reading, my sons gave me the latest book for christmas and I had to wait for them to go home, then I had to rest, then of course take down the decorations, rest again. It wasn’t until this weekend before I could sit down and do any reading at all. Even then it was a battle because of Mitze feeling neglected with the kids visiting insisted on mom and kitty time.

    We have snow here in Iowa too. Maybe more this week. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow, but pushing a walker threw it on those rare ocassions I have to go out is not on my list of favorite things. I am ready for spring, flowers, and waiting for the wild things wake up from hybernation.

  11. Kathleen O
      · January 7th, 2013 at 4:46 pm · Link

    We have to have our dreams, with out them we would just exsist. Dreams are what keep me going. Like you some i have had come true and others have not. But I keep on dreaming.

  12. Lois Rotella
      · January 7th, 2013 at 6:11 pm · Link

    I rerally enjoyed your Blog today Linda. It makes you think and that is a very good thing. Have a wonderful week. :lol:

  13. Juanita Rice
      · January 7th, 2013 at 7:35 pm · Link

    Virtual hug back at you, Linda. And hope I can give you a real one in May. :)

    Love your philosophies, by the way. They sound pretty solid to me.

    Some wonderful gifts coming up for the winning! I feel like congratulating the winners even before we know who they are. :>)

  14. Shari Grant
      · January 7th, 2013 at 8:43 pm · Link

    Since The Man from Stone Creek is being rereleased, I am in the middle of reading it again and remembering how much I love Sam O’Ballivan and Maddie Chancelor. A little like your blog today, they have grit and determination and under it all they have kind hearts and a wealth of love waiting to bloom under a lot of wet dirt, cold and snow. I love all of your characters but Sam, Holt, and now Hutch hold special places for me. After this I want to reread Rowdy’s story while I wait for the new Blue Sky book to be released. It is like visiting old friends.

  15. jennifer
      · January 7th, 2013 at 8:46 pm · Link

    Someone please help me! I just started reading the mckentrick books 6 months ago and I thought I was reading them in order but now I’m not sure! I just finished book15 An Outlaws Christmas. Where do I go from here? I’m so into these books I don’t want to read out of order!

    • Hilda
        · January 8th, 2013 at 11:06 am · Link

      Jennifer, there’s a book list on Linda’s Website. I believe the first book is High Country Bride, about Rafe and Emmaline McKettrick (“wild west McKettricks”). This is one of my top 3 favorite of Linda’s books, along with McKettrick’s Heart (“modern McKettricks”) and The Man From Stone Creek (O’Ballivan family). Enjoy!

      • Jennifer
          · January 8th, 2013 at 12:26 pm · Link

        Thank you for the response. I just saw that there are diffeernt series. I read all of the McKentrick books (fabulous all of them)..What series do you recommend next? I wish there were more McKentrick books sniff sniff…

        • Hilda
            · January 8th, 2013 at 1:40 pm · Link

          Meet the Creeds! The are cousins to the McKettricks if I remember correctly. There are so many good books of Linda’s, I just love the Orphan Train Series, of course the current series, Parable, Montana is wonderful, and more coming! Last Chance Cafe is a great book, it’s a stand-alone story. So many choices! So little time!

        • Crystal
            · January 8th, 2013 at 1:58 pm · Link


  16. Rebecca (Becky) Hicks
      · January 7th, 2013 at 9:57 pm · Link

    I loved this message. My older son is writing his second book & his retired-teacher-mom is editing. (He’s come so far since his first.) Since it deals with a allegorical re-telling of creation (and science) and the fall, we share lots of spiritual thoughts & images. I loved your phrase “God-magic,” and your visualizing our hopes & dreams as bulbs germinating in the soil of our souls. (Speaks to this old Eng. teacher.) Thanks for such a peaceful, yet powerful message. I’m going to forward this to my guy. He will love it, too.

  17. Lea Williams
      · January 7th, 2013 at 10:14 pm · Link

    I hope I say what I am thinking and feeling after reading your blog today without sounding like an idiot. It touched me so deeply. I was having a pity party this morning – at 75 I want to get out and ride my mustang, muck stalls and do all the things I have done for years and its snowing and its cold and I can’t get the car out to go to the store. Then I read your blog and think of “the” word God gave me for this year – overcome – and I had to take myself by the nap of the neck and say you are healthy – other than a nasty cold – and the sun will shine again. Those bulbs which will sprout in the spring have overcome and that is what I need to remember. Sage will still be there to ride, maybe grandsons will muck the stalls and I really didn’t “need” to get to the store. Thank you for your good words today and reminding me that God is in control and I just need to keep on keeping on. I still have dreams to fulfill and mountains to ride.

  18. Sherry Wallace
      · January 8th, 2013 at 12:37 am · Link

    Ahhh, SNOW, & sooo cozy there, I’m sure! I’m particularly touched by your blog today, Linda. You’ve shared not only your heart, but your dreams as well. You have a gift of putting into words what some of the rest of us feel about our hope & dreams. I have been enormously blessed in my life, & am very grateful, however there is still a dream or two that’s unfilled. If the Lord wants to grant them or not is up to Him & I will praise Him no matter what! Would you like for us blogger fans to share our deepest dreams with you, or keep them to ourselves? It is a blessing in my life to know you, Linda ( well, I feel like I know you anway!). By the way, have you given any thought to a contest when one of us fortunate fans could win a weekend trip to come visit you? I’m loving Big Sky River as I’ve loved all the others :-). What was the word about the McKettricks books being made into a movie or TV show? If you mentioned it I missed it somehow. Hoping against hope to win a sister bracelet or a cowboy Christmas item !!
    Sorry about the length of this – turned into more of a dissertation.
    May our loving Father keep blessing you, dear lady

  19. Sherry Wallace
      · January 8th, 2013 at 12:39 am · Link

    To Lea Williams I say – AMEN :-) !!!!

  20. Amy Henderson
      · January 8th, 2013 at 9:40 am · Link

    Nice blog today…you write these blogs as one of your wonderful books! I finished Big Sky River this weekend…loved it of course, but I’m always kind of sad when I finish! I read your books so fast and I’m sad when I’m finished! The Big Sky series was great!!

  21. Emily
      · January 8th, 2013 at 9:46 am · Link

    I have been out of pocket this whole Christmas Season. Too, too many funerals! :cry:

    Please keep writing about the cowboys! They are great stories and I love all of them! :)

    SO’B is the answer for the other blog.

    Gott run for now. Can’t wait for the next book. I am re-reading your others now!

    • Norma Stanforth
        · January 9th, 2013 at 9:36 pm · Link

      Emily, i am so sorry you have had a lot of funerals.
      God bless you.
      In love, Norma :(

  22. Wendy McKinnis
      · January 8th, 2013 at 12:16 pm · Link

    I so LOVE your notes and books. I have every book you wrote, and have read all but the last 2. Been too busy now that I’m retired!!! Can’t imagine working right now. Hubby doing well after his bipass surgery in Nov, and trying to get out to Philly to see the grandkids (haven’t made it since Oct). Maybe this weekend.

    Dreams give us something to strive for or at least to hope for. If we didn’t have dreams, we would only be half ourselves!!. Never give up your dreams, and always encourage those that do.
    Hugs & Rainbows to you. Wendy

    • Norma Stanforth
        · January 9th, 2013 at 9:51 pm · Link

      Hope you make it out to see your grandkids. Hope your hubby continues in getting better after his by-pass.
      God bless you and watch over you and your family.
      In His Love

  23. Nikki Hiatt
      · January 8th, 2013 at 4:48 pm · Link

    Decided to visit my favorite author today (it’s that grey, dismal kind of day) and – what a beautiful surprise – I got my cup filled to overflowing! I met you once in Salt Lake City so it’s nice to have a picture of you in my mind as I read your messages. You wrote just what my inner self was thinking – more hope and more work to “right myself” is in order – and more “chatting” with the Lord! I cannot begin to tell you how much I love your books and your outlook on life as well – I’m learning it from your blog as I go.

    No matter the other authors I read – I always know that I can count on you to write just the way I enjoy it – and I literally check every time I go to a bookstore to make certain that I haven’t missed anything. And in between new books i get the privilege of re-reading the holder ones from my bookshelf. You’re just timeless!

    I saw a quote the other day I know you would like – “The Wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horses ears!” Hope yours are all doing well. Thank you so much for brightening my day(s) – words can’t express how much.

    • Juanita Rice
        · January 8th, 2013 at 6:45 pm · Link

      “The Wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horses ears!”

      Takes my breath away just thinking about it! And so true! Thank’s Nikki!

      There is nothing as good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse….. That’s a paraphrase and I have the author’s name around here somewhere. But the note was stuck on my fridge for many years. :)

      Linda’s stories always remind me if those good, horsey things. ;)

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