The “Can Do” Attitude

by Linda Ford, author of Claiming the Cowboy’s Heart (Love Inspired Historical)

When I was about six or seven years old, and my brother a year older, my dad brought home a big man’s bike. And I mean BIG. Heavy and black. It was monstrous. Dad stuck my brother on it and off he went, riding freely across the prairie trail. Humph! If he could ride a bike, I could too. Never mind that I was always on the small size for my age and the bike crossbar came to my shoulders. I tried to ride it like my brother did, but my feet didn’t begin to reach the pedals. I tried shifting from side to side to use the pedals alternately. After a few nasty crashes to the ground I knew that wasn’t going to work. So I improvised. I rode under bar. Now for you who have never heard of such a thing, it means leaning the bike to one side and riding with one leg reaching for the far pedal under the crossbar. Truly an awkward way to ride. Not only awkward but very difficult.

But if my brother could ride, I could ride. Or die trying. I practiced all summer. My knees had scabs an inch thick. I had bruises on top of bruises. I tore the knees from a number of pairs of pants. But I would not give up. After about three months, I got it down to a fine art and could pedal all over town. I must have surely made a strange sight. But I didn’t care. When I decided to do something, I wouldn’t quit until I succeeded.

Writing about Jayne in Claiming the Cowboy’s Heart struck a familiar note for me. Her “I can do this’’ attitude rang with such memories. Jayne, too, had set her mind on learning a skill and didn’t intend to let failures or disagreements or disapproval stop her.

She had witnessed the murder of her fiancé and done nothing to defend him though she could have grabbed the nearby gun. What good would it have done? She didn’t know how to shoot and was too frightened to even try. But all that was about to end as she left her past and harsh memories in England and joined her brother in the New West of the Canadian Frontier.

I can see myself facing the challenges of pioneer life with equally stubborn determination.

I could live in a log cabin if I had to:

Log Cabin photo

Or even a soddie. <shudder>

Soddie-photo-1

m

I could manage to cook on a big black stove.

Big Black Stove photo

I could learn to bake bread in a big pan.

Baking photo

Maybe Jayne’s story turned out to be a tiny bit autobiographical.

***

Are there times you’ve faced new, difficult or challenging situations and proved to yourself and others that you could succeed? Do you admire people who do so? Even fictional characters like Jayne?

About the Book

claiming the cowboys heartA Haven Out West

After witnessing her fiancé’s murder, Jayne Gardiner won’t let herself be caught on the wrong side of a gun again. But a disastrous first lesson in self-defense has left her with a wounded cowboy. She insists on nursing the handsome stranger back to health—whether he wants it or not!

Getting waylaid by a wild shot has definitely put a hitch in Seth Collins’s step—and plans. Duty may call him home, but Seth can’t resist lingering on Eden Valley Ranch to teach the English beauty to shoot. And when a shadowy figure from Jayne’s past resurfaces, Seth’s sudden urge to protect her has nothing to do with duty.

Cowboys of Eden Valley: Forging a future in Canada’s west country

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Comments ( 19 )
  1. Janet Lee Barton
    January 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm
    Reply

    Great post Linda! My mother’s family actually lived in a dugout in New Mexico for a while and I often wonder what that was like. I think we’ve all been spoiled in this day and age, but like to think I would tackle those things with the same determination of those who’ve gone before us. Can’t wait to read this book!

  2. Margaret Daley
    January 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm
    Reply

    Loved the post and pictures. I’m so glad I don’t have to live in a soddie!

  3. Judy Duarte
    January 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm
    Reply

    Linda, what a fun blog. You and I are a lot alike. In fact, we would have been great childhood friends if we’d grown up together!

    I often think I could have been a pioneer woman, although I’ve been terribly spoiled by living in contemporary times. 🙂

    Your books sounds great. It’s on my nightstand as we speak!

  4. Belle Calhoune
    January 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm
    Reply

    Hi Linda,
    Great blog post. I’m really fascinated by your pictures and the research you conduct for your stories. I am feeling very thankful that I don’t live in a soddie. We contemporary women should thank our lucky stars every day. Your book sounds wonderful and the art department did a beautiful job on the cover. Best wishes!

  5. Janet Dean
    January 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing your “can do” childhood memories, Linda! No wonder your heroines are strong! Thanks also for the terrific pictures we historical writers find so inspiring!

    Your book sounds wonderful! Love the hero getting accidentally shot by the heroine. LOL Will pick it up.

  6. Mindy Obenhaus
    January 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm
    Reply

    Linda, I couldn’t help laughing as I imagined you on that huge bike. What a great memory.

    Jayne sounds like quite a spitfire and I’m looking forward to reading her story.

  7. jolene navarro
    January 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm
    Reply

    It amazes me what my ancestors went through to make a new life. They came to before it was Texas. Jayne sounds like a great heroine for a Cowboy. I do love a good cowboy story. Congrats on the new release.

  8. Linda Ford
    January 15, 2014 at 1:14 pm
    Reply

    Janet Lee Barton,
    What great research info to have a mother who lived in a dugout. It ‘sounds’ adventuresome from a distance but the gloom and dripping would have tested my strength I’m sure.

  9. Linda Ford
    January 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm
    Reply

    Margaret,
    Thanks. I love taking pictures at museums to feed my imagination.

    Judy, Did you play hotscotch a lot and climb trees to read books? I did. lol. I hope you enjoy the book.

    Belle, we are fortunate for the comfort of our lives yet how many complain? I know I do and have to give myself a shake. I agree. The covers are beautiful Kudos to the art department.

    Mindy, I’m sure you’re not the only one who laughed. I wonder what the women of the town thought as they watched me. It must have given them a good chuckle or two.

    Jolene, I would guess you have plenty of fodder for stories from your ancestors lives.

  10. Valri Western
    January 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm
    Reply

    Loved your blog, Linda! That’s why I love your books! I, however, don’t think I could live like this this….unless I was born in that century and didn’t know any better maybe! Now, however, no way! I’m too much of a cissy! Camping is the worst thing you can do to me! Just ask my hubby! I’m usre grateful for my ancestors though! They all came from Denmark (mom’s side) or England (dad’s side) and were pioneers on the prairies of this great country. So admire them!

  11. Linda Ford
    January 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm
    Reply

    Valri, I don’t enjoy camping any more but I often wonder what we would do if our civilization as we know it came to an end. I like to think most of us would adapt even though it would be challenging.

  12. Keli Gwyn
    January 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm
    Reply

    Loved the post, Linda. I pictured you on that big black bike and smiled. I have a hunch your parents and big brother admired your tenacity, even if they smiled or chuckled as they watched you best the bike.

    Your story sounds great. I picked up my copy at Walmart as soon as the January LIHs hit the shelves. 🙂

  13. Linda Ford
    January 15, 2014 at 3:37 pm
    Reply

    Keli, I think my parents and brothers got tired of my stubborness which is how they saw it. They love to tell tales of how my stubborness got me into trouble. Oh well. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. 🙂

    I hope you enjoy the story.

  14. Angel Moore
    January 15, 2014 at 5:53 pm
    Reply

    Linda, this was so fun to read. Love the pics. It puts my challenges in perspective. I’d rather do anything I have to face today than live like any woman a hundred years ago. I’m spoiled to plumbing, a/c, and electricity.

  15. Charline Bonham
    January 15, 2014 at 6:19 pm
    Reply

    I never could pass a dare which often got me in trouble. Growing up with 4 brothers, I thought I could do anything they could. I don’t know people talk about the ‘good old days’ when that was a hard life. No wonder life expectancy was so short.

  16. Valerie Hansen
    January 16, 2014 at 10:18 am
    Reply

    Great post, Linda. I suspect that those of us who have stuck to it until we saw our books in print have the same kind of “can do” attitude. I used to prefer playing with boys as a child because they climbed trees and joined posses to catch the bad guys while girls giggled and played with baby dolls. 🙂

  17. Debora Dale
    January 16, 2014 at 11:19 am
    Reply

    Linda, I love the visual of you as a determined little girl! So adorable. I was brave and determined as a kid – in everything. It never occurred to me that something couldn’t be done. If you ‘failed’ you got up and did it again. And again. Until you made it work. Then I grew up and suddenly failure mattered as if it were the period at the end of a sentence. I forgot about that determined kid. Thank you for sharing this can-do story. I love it and will try to adopt that attitude. Again. 🙂

  18. Sandra Orchard
    January 16, 2014 at 11:52 am
    Reply

    Such a fun post, Linda! I can sooo see you on that bike. I started with training wheels…not nearly so brave. 🙂

  19. Jessica Nelson
    January 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm
    Reply

    Oh yes, I’ve had to start new things. It’s very hard. Your heroine sounds wonderful!!

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