Montana Leaves

By Marie F Martin

The Montana Maples are in full glory along my street in Kalispell. Three of my great-grandsons showed to clean my yard. What a fun beautiful time it was. After the leaves were all cleaned up I sent them home with a container of my beef barley soup and brownies filled with canned cherry pie filling and frosted with chocolate. Just a fun slice of Montana life.

Pile’em high.

I wouldn’t want to try this move.

Buried alive.

Listen to the Children

Christmas Tree Farm Girl ImageReports of war and terror pour from the television as I rush to start the day. Despite a world now darken by apprehension, the anchorman urges us to return to normal life. And so I try.

Grabbing lunches, backpacks, and keys, the kids and I race through an icy rain for the safety of the car. Heading up the long driveway, I keep one hand on the wheel, while the other tries to buckle a seatbelt that shrinks with each passing birthday.

Return to normal life? How? My so-called normal life included guarantees, extended warranties and a comfortable, but perhaps naïve, sense of security. Where do I look for that now?

The to-do list inside my head grows longer. Buy stamps, pick-up dry cleaning, make bank deposit. Did I unplug the curling iron? I need a distraction so I turn on the radio. Disease, hunger, more fighting, the announcer reports. I turn off the radio, lock the car doors, and return to my mental list, which now includes thinking up a new reason for being late.

”There’s a rainbow.” A small voice from the back seat interrupts my mental whining.

“What is it?” I ask as my eyes dart from the clock to the speedometer.

“There’s a rainbow,” my son repeats. “Look at the rainbow, Mom.”

“I can’t. I’m driving.” But I glance back anyway. “I don’t see a rainbow, Clayton, just gray clouds.”

“Look again, Mom. Look where I’m pointing.”

As I slow to make a turn, I peek over my right shoulder. A pale band of violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red curves against the ashen sky, hues almost lost in heaven’s bleakness. I pull into the school driveway and the children get out.

“Don’t forget to look for the rainbow,” Clayton yells as he runs toward the playground.

Back at the intersection, I wait my turn to join the hurried masses. Then I see it. A multicolored ribbon stitched into the sky. I take my place in the metal caravan. My pace slows so I can admire the rainbow a little longer. The rainbow—a sign that the world will go on.

In times, battles will be won, work will get finished, and wounds will heal. And our nation will continue to be a beacon for liberty and a refugee for huddled masses yearning to breathe free for as long as there are rainbows . . . and children to point them out.

This Christmas, take time to look for the rainbows, the twinkle in the stars, and the angels (snow and otherwise) that touch our daily lives with their smiles, words of encouragement, and hugs-a-plenty. And please take time to say a special prayer for all the children in harm’s way, and a heartfelt “Thank you,” for the blessings our children and grandchildren bring us every day.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad and a Wonderful New Year!

Thanks for stopping by,

Deborah                                                                                                              250,000 small

Christmas at Nathan's mom's house  1992

Christmas at Nathan’s mom’s house 1992

Summer Heat: Be Proactive not Reactive

How Fast Can A Car Heat UP?

10 minutes = 19-degree increase
20 minutes = 29-degree increase
30 minutes = 34-degree increase
60 minutes = 43-degree increase

Just read where another baby got locked in a hot car. Fortunately, people found her in time. Without going into the particulars of the case, I’d like to share a few of the best suggestions I’ve heard about how not to forget there is a child (or pet) in the back seat when you jump out and run into the store, office, bank, etc.

  1. Put your left shoe in the back floorboard/seat. When you get out, you will see or feel your shoe missing and will look & find it and the child too in the back.
  2. Put something you MUST have or need in the backseat. Wallet, purse, briefcase, anything you normally remember to take inside with you, in the back seat. Find your item, find the child.
  3. Place large reminder note saying LOOK in the Back Seat BEFORE Getting Out somewhere on your dash so you will see it as your drive and when you turn off the car.

People and parents are not perfect and in the stressful lives we live, it is possible to forget a child or pet is in the back seat, especially if you aren’t the one who normally drives the child to daycare.

Best to be: PROACTIVE for the possibility you might forget rather than REACTIVE to a preventable tragedy.

Also, if you don’t have the time to take your child out of its car seat when you “run in” for something, go through the drive through window, get it/do it later when you don’t have the child, or do without. What is more important than the safety of your child or pet? The correct answer is A.) nada, nothing, zilch, naught, zero

Stay cool and safe this summer. Thanks for stopping by,


Deborah & Jasmine

Deborah & Jasmine


Breaking TWIG eBook now on sale $0.99 at

Breaking TWIG
eBook now on sale $0.99 at


Heredity verses Environment

Lately, I’ve received several emails from readers asking how I came up with the basic premise of Breaking TWIG. Although various themes come up in the book (as they do in most books), the basic idea of environment verses heredity has long been debated.

In college, I majored in biology and English. I’ve always been interested in the issue of heredity verses environment, and which one has the most influence on a child. At times, Becky (Twig) worries that she has inherited her mother’s “picker” ways and her gene for chicanery, but she also thinks having one person who loves and believes in you is all a person needs to keep hope alive. I want readers of Breaking Twig to think about how love or the lack of love influences a child’s development into an adult.

I’m also often asked questions about the use of racially-charged words that are not politically correct in today’s society. These terms were typical of the language used in the Deep South in this time-frame (1960s-1970s), when traditions like segregation were colliding with Civil Rights, Integration, and Vietnam. Although I strive to be sensitive of the nature of these words, I feel my job as a writer is to be true to my characters in all their glory, their shortcomings, and their bias.  We’ve all heard the quotation, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana) I agree, and believe that only by remembering the past as it truly was as oppose to “sanitizing” it, can we learn history’s lessons.

My goal in writing is to tell a good story, one that shows my truth, that nobody is perfect, life is messy, and we all fail more often than we’d care to admit. But with faith, love, and perseverance, we can find the strength to continue toward our own truth with a bit more forgiveness and understanding for others and for ourselves. This is easier to do (I think) if you have a good dog by your side.

Thanks for stopping by.


Breaking TWIG ebook will be on sale for $0.99 from 04-24 through 04-27-2015

Breaking TWIG Available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook

   Breaking TWIG
Available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook



Free or Low Cost ways to Teach Your Child the Power of Giving

by Deborah Epperson

by Deborah Epperson

In today’s tough economic times, charities are finding their funding decreasing while the need for their services is growing. But how can we give to others when our own financial resources are pulled thin? More importantly, how can we teach our children the benefits of sharing with those in need when our budgets are stretched to the limit? Here are four free or low cost ways to teach your child the power of giving.

  1. Recycle Aluminum:    Save aluminum cans for recycling and donate the money to your child’s favorite charity. Take your child with you when you go to the recycling center. Let her send the donation in her name. Suggest she enclose a drawing, picture, or personal note with the funds. Most charities will send a thank you note. Kids love getting mail addressed to them. Or if it is a local charity, like your local Humane Society, the donation can be delivered in person.

2.    Food Banks:    When you take your child grocery shopping, give her $2.00 to use to purchase nonperishable items for the food bank. Teach her how to select the best value. (Example: a box of brand name macaroni & cheese is $1.09, but the store brand mac & cheese is on sale for 2/$1.00)  Ask your child to point out any buy one-get one free item you’d normally buy.  Donate the free item. Take your child with you when you take the groceries to the Food Bank so she can see the outcome of her efforts.  (Bonus: This activity teaches money management, math, and comparative shopping skills)

3.   Phone cards, gift cards, credits from companies:  Some airline frequent flyer programs offer free magazines subscriptions. Check women or teen shelters for what periodicals would appeal to them. Send gardening magazines to an elderly neighbor that loves gardening, but is on a fixed income. Cutbacks in funding have resulted in schools having to trim the number of periodicals they buy for students. Call your child’s school and ask what magazines are needed. Have your child select a magazine from the school’s approved list. Donate a subscription in your child’s name.

4.  Elderly:  If you’re going to the post office, grocery store, or pharmacy, have an older child ask your elderly neighbors if they need items like stamps, milk, or medications picked up. Have your child deliver it to neighbor and receive the kudos. Going for a walk with your child? Offer to walk a shut-in’s pet.

These are only a few suggestions of easy, free or low-cost ways to teach your child to learn to share. You can think of ways to add to the list. Many donations are tax deductible. Check with your accountant.

One of the greatest benefits in teaching our children to help others is the feeling of empowerment they’ll get with every grateful smile and every “Thank you” they receive. They’ll grow up knowing that regardless of their age, income, or station in life, they have the power to help their fellow human beings. What a great gift to give our children.

Thanks for stopping by,


Breaking TWIG – available at in ebook or paperback

Breaking TWIG

Breaking TWIG