It was a picturesque morning with promises of a beautiful spring.  The sun rose above the horizon across the bay, tickling the water with wavy shimmers.  The seaside community was beginning their workday in chemical plants, the docks, and small business scattered throughout the growing boomtown, grateful for work.   Fathers had left home a few hours earlier carrying their lunch pails.   Mothers kissed their children goodbye and sent them off to school.   Children laughed as they skipped on their journey to their classes, stopping to enjoy the smell of the crisp salt air.   Everything was as it should be in Texas City, Texas.   Then Texas exploded.

TXCITYDISASTERBOATIt was April 16, 1947.  A ship was being loaded at the docks with ammonium nitrate.  There had been warning signs; signs that went unheeded.   The ammonium nitrate bags were hot to the touch, the bags were ripping and the ship’s hold they were being moved to sat close to ammunition that wasn’t unloaded when scheduled.   Spontaneous combustion occurred in the ammonium nitrate bags and a fire broke out in the ship’s cargo area.  Attempts to douse the fire with drinking water were unsuccessful.  Within minutes the ship exploded, sending a mushroom shaped cloud skyward, blocking out the rays of the sun.

Across the bay, Galveston residents watched as the sky grew increasingly darker.  The blast was heard as far away as 150 miles.  A seismologist in Colorado noted the vibrations on his instruments.  News of the explosion soon traveled around the world.  But the effects went much further.  The effects went deep into the souls that survived the raining hell.

Over 500 died that morning on the Texas City shore.  Some were never identified.  For 63 years, family members have wondered what happened to their loved ones.  Remaining survivors are now in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  Some carry scars on their bodies.  All carry scars on their hearts.


This story has meaning to me because warning signs were ignored.  I think sometimes in our lives we dismiss signals that something is not as it should be.  We continue merrily along only to discover that our world has been blown apart.   We traverse into danger zones; we disregard God’s forewarning that something is hot; and we try to handle the consequences with inadequate fighting power.  The catastrophe may end, but the results stay with us forever.

Wishing on Buttercups – Book Review

Reading a good book, whether on the front porch, back porch or sitting in your favorite recliner is always an enjoyable activity. Today’s blog focuses on a book I recently read and enjoyed immensely. Read below for a blurb, information on the author, my review and how you can win a free copy of the book Wishing on Buttercups

Wishing on Buttercups-1

Wishing on Buttercups,  historical romance by Miralee Ferrell

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide?

She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has.

Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her.

Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart.

As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

Author Bio

Miralee Ferrell is a speaker, accredited counselor, and former ACFW chapter president who has published multiple contemporary and historical romance novels since starting to write in 2005. She enjoys horseback riding, gardening, and family gatherings around their eleven-acre property in Washington State’s beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Miralee has had eight books release, both in women’s contemporary fiction and historical fiction, with another 5 under contract. She’s an award-winning author of Western fiction, and her newest novel, Wishing on Buttercups released February 1, and is the second in a series set in Baker City, Oregon, 1880s.


My Review starstarstarstarstar

Another great novel in the Love Blossoms in Oregon Series. Wonderful story that kept me intrigued as to Beth’s mysterious past. Well written and easy to follow story-line about a young woman searching for who she is while reaching for who she wants to be. Author Miralee Ferrell once again gives the reader well developed characters coupled with life issues that touch so many people.

One thing I liked about this series is that both Wishing on Buttercups and Blowing on Dandelions deal with how we view ourselves. In Wishing on Buttercups, Beth sees herself in a negative light as she concentrates on physical and emotional flaws that are not so observant to others. I think this touches on a lot of self-image issues that are experienced by most people at one time or another. Another main character, Jeffrey, deals with his feelings about not meeting what he thinks are required expectations of him. Both issues not only touched my life, but helped me see them with a different perspective. 

I loved that this is a great follow-up to Blowing on Dandelions, but a story that can also stand on its own.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I also chose to participate in a blog tour for this book. See next section for the various blogs promoting this book. Each one gives a chance to sign up for a chance at a free copy of Wishing on Buttercups. 

Book Tour  Dates and Websites


Book Giveaway

Miralee has offered to give away a copy of Wishing on Buttercups, one copy per blog, US only. One winner per blog, and no winner may win more than one book in this tour.  

Miralee would love to answer questions concerning her books, writing, publishing career, pets or her hobbies. Please feel free to leave a comment only, but if you would like your name to be entered for a drawing for a free copy of Wishing on Buttercups, you must ask a question of Miralee in the comment section. Please be sure to leave your contact info (email) so you can be contacted.  I will pick a winner by March 2 and forward that to the tour host to get to Miralee.  Good luck! 

If you don’t win a free copy of Wishing on Buttercups, the following online stores have her book for sale. See links below. 


Snow Birds

Baby, it’s cold outside. So cold, that there’s been no “Front Porch” visiting. In fact, it’s been a bit lonely in the RV park. But God sent me some friends to brighten my day. From the large window overlooking the frozen creek, I have been able to watch a variety of birds as they hunt and peck in the snow for morsels of food. I refilled the bird feeders and have been having fun with my camera as I watch them devour their new-found treasures.
matthew 26-6Several pictures have conjured up memories of scripture. The picture of the small bird with the seed in his mouth reminded me of Matthew 6:26 . . . and God will surely meet all my needs.

Later I saw another bird “hunker-down” in the snow. I watched him wiggle back and forth, burrowing a small, although frozen, nest. I couldn’t understand why the bird would choose the snow rather than a place with a bit more warmth. Not knowing much about the birds in this area, I googled for information.

I learned that several of my new friends are various varieties of  Dark-eyed Juncos, also known as Snow Birds. Being a “Southern Fried Chick” (raised in southern heat), I thought a Snow Bird was someone from the northern US that wintered in an RV in south Texas or Florida. I guess the feathered snow bird and human snow bird do have something in common, however. They both learn to adapt to the circumstances and I’m sure this is another object lesson the Lord is trying to teach me.


So far my adapting to the sub-zero temperatures and wind chill has amounted to learning how to occupy myself with books, hot cocoa and knitting. My knitting consists of fingerless gloves and scarves. My cocoa often gets a bit of coffee added for mocha flavor, and my reading includes history, fiction and scripture. Today’s scripture contained a quote from Philippians 4:11: “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  For now, I find I am still in the state of West Virginia. “Lord, please help me learn to be content.”

So far only one comment below and it’s from my hubby. Friends, please leave comments as you wish. Hubby was allowed to preview post prior to putting on web and I did ask his opinion. However, no compensation in any form was given for his giving a true and honest opinion of today’s blog post. I just wanted everyone to know his was an unbiased opinion.

Microsoft Word Help – Adding Footnotes, Endnotes, Bibliographies and Citations

On one of the on-line writing groups I am on, I have seen several people post questions regarding how to insert endnotes and footnotes using Word. Several years ago I taught an online class titled “Microsoft Word for Writers and Editors.”  However, you don’t have to be labeled a writer or editor to get benefits from the lessons. The class was written to help those using Word 2007, but has extra notes to help Word 2003 users navigate to the correct solution. Eventually I’ll update these lessons for Mac users, but for now, the directions will give you a good idea of how to proceed.

I am posting Lesson 7 today as a freebie. This lesson deals with ‘Referene,’ so you will find more here than just how to insert a footnote or endnote. The topics covered are:


  • EndnotesFootnote and Endnote
  • Footnores
  • Bibliographies
  • Citations
  • Citation Place Holders



The quiz included is for your self-testing. Certificates are not being given out at this time and this is only one lesson of ten. Over the next few months, I will try to add some of the other lessons.

I think you will find the drawing and screenshots very helpful in explaining the directions I have written.

If you use this file, please leave a note about whether or not it helped you. Your comments will help guide others to find information that will help them.

So… here’s lesson 7.  Click and download for free.


Lesson Seven – References-1

Free 18″ Doll Clothes Pattern – American Girl

Christmas is just around the corner and I’ve been busy making hand-crafted gifts. Over the next few weeks I’ll share gift-giving ideas along with devotionals regarding this fantastic time of year. Be sure and bookmark this page. Alternatively you can “like”  The Front Porch FaceBook page or follow me on Twitter, where updates will be announced. (Just click on the Facebook or Twitter symbol in the right hand column.) Be sure and check back for additional gift-giving ideas. 

I have a lot of hobbies. One of them is sewing. I have a passel of grandkids. And only one of them is a girl.  She loves her 18″ American Girl doll. So I’ve been busy combining two loves – sewing and the one and only amazing granddaughter. My favorite of the outfits I’ve made are two simple but elegant sleeveless dresses.

yellow dress 2



For one dress I was inspired by the beautiful yellow buntings that were in abundance near our RV in the springtime. (See picture in header at top of page.) To my disappointment they disappeared from the landscape all too soon. In making the doll dress, I used a simple polka-dot fabric of buttery yellow. Trimmed in purchased ribbon roses and a coordinating green gross grain ribbon, I call this dress Bye-Baby-Bunting.






snowy barn anglewhite satin doll dress 1


Using the same pattern, I sewed a second dress in a pearly white satin and embellished it with a small bit of machine embroidery in an Ohio-Red-Barn color. This dress I named Going to the Winter Ball.  I’m currently working on a red satin jacket to accompany this dress.




It’s fun to take ideas for crafts and gifts from nature. If you are ever stuck for inspiration, just look around at all of God’s designs. His color schemes are amazing.


Below you will find a link to my pattern. Note: In case you want to save on ink, the second link is for the pattern only.  I hope you and the special little girl in your life enjoy the pattern and ideas.

Sleeveless Dress Pattern For 18 Inch Doll – PATTERN WITH DIRECTIONS

Sleeveless Dress Pattern For 18 Inch Doll – PATTERN ONLY