Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.
A Little Mud Between My Toes
by Jennifer Uhlarik
How do you handle problems or stress? Personally, I have lots of methods. My typical go-to tactics for working through a stressful problem is to talk my husband, my mother, or a very trusted friend. Hearing other perspectives helps me see past my own viewpoint and explore other options. I also pray a lot. God always has the answers if I’m willing to settle myself and listen. Sometimes a nap helps. It resets my day, and the problem doesn’t seem quite so big when I wake.
Have you ever played in the mud? I admit, it’s been a long time since I have, but I do have fond memories from my childhood of stepping barefooted into mud and letting it squish between my toes. Sinking ankle-deep in the sludge and hearing that awkward sucking sound when you try to extract your foot. Once you get past the momentary strangeness of it, the sensation actually becomes rather therapeutic. Sure, it’s messy. Yes, you might get a little dirty. But it can be quite the stress reliever, if you let it.
In my story, Wedded to Honor, found in The Convenient Bride Collection, Honor Cahill has a special spot on her California ranch where she goes to think. It’s a sun-dappled meadow with plenty of lush grass and a few trees sprinkled about. There is a creek that runs through the center of the meadow. Along the creek’s bank, there’s a small mud hole. Whenever Honor needs to think through a problem, she heads to the meadow, strips off her boots and socks, rolls up her very unladylike trousers, and walks around in the mud. Somehow, wiggling her toes in the goo loosens up the logjam of her thoughts, and she’s able to sort out all of her problems.
That is until she meets Ashton Rutherford the Third, or Ash as he likes to be called. Ash is the only son of a wealthy Eastern family. He is a college-educated lawyer who hasn’t done a day of physical labor in his life. By no means is he equipped to help her run the ranch she’s lived on all her life, and yet, he is the only man willing to marry her in order to keep the property from falling into her greedy half-brother’s hands. No amount of mud between her toes can sort out that mess. Or can it…?
More about Wedded To Honor:
According to her father’s will, 20-year-old Honor Cahill must be married in order to inherit the 5500-acre California ranch she and her father have run together until his recent, unexpected death. If she is unmarried, her greedy half-brother Nate will inherit the ranch. Honor posts an ad in the Matrimonial News, but can an Eastern-bred Harvard graduate truly help her save her northern California ranch?
About The Convenient Bride Collection:
Join nine brides of convenience on their adventures in a variety of times and settings gone by—from a ranch in California…to the rugged mountains of Colorado…to a steamship on the Mississippi…to the dangerous excitement of the Oregon Trail…into high society of New York City. No matter the time or place, the convenient brides proceed with what must be done, taking nuptials out of necessity. . .and never dreaming that God might take their feeble attempts to secure their futures and turn them into true love stories for His glory.
Thanks for joining us, Jennifer. I remember playing in the mud as a girl. I don’t much care for it these days, but I might have to take it up. 🙂