Grace and Parenting

Today was an ordinary day. I made Tony breakfast and once he headed off to work I went to my balcony. On my balcony I watch the activity of my little block. I love watching the different flowers bloom across the street, the neighbors walking with their toddler, the mourning dove moving from tree to tree. I also love writing in my prayer journal, reading my Bible and praying over my island, I love Galveston. And I love this morning routine that grounds me and sets my intentions for the day. Yoga is a new addition and the benefits have been so great that it is a permanent addition.

On days with a relaxed agenda, I get to read on my balcony.

Reading on the balcony, Galveston Texas, Pretty legs and flowers on Galveston Island

I, then, sit down to my desk. What comes next is anybody’s guest. Sometimes I get straight to work answering emails and sending docs wherever they need to go. Other days, I create social media content or write. Some days a very vibrant three year-old greets me and climbs up into my lap. This morning she didn’t. She fell back asleep in her bed after being up since 5:30 am.

As I watch Cheyenne and Savannah in this season of motherhood, that season where you don’t really ever feel rested and you answer the same question 452 times, I am amazed. I am amazed at the patience and grace they operate with and extend to their children. They are far more relaxed than I was with them. I was convinced that if I didn’t jump on every little hint of rebellion or misbehavior, they would grow into lewd women who dealt drugs and ran around with strange men- or something of the like. It seems so ridiculous now, but when you are raised with religion as your master and grace is unheard of, these are the things you think. Now, I know that there is no need to fear.

I did learn to relax as the years went by and I spoke of it often. I am so utterly grateful that they listened and God’s grace was and/is abundant. I have watched my girls mother with excellence, not perfection but who even wants perfection? They find joy in their children. I am so stinking proud of them I can’t hardly stand it.

Because of the job they are doing, I can simply enjoy my grandchildren. Tony and I can pick them up and take them anywhere. They are funny and happy and spunky. We laugh at their antics even if it wears us out. I mean, I had forgotten just how much energy it takes to raise children! I can rest knowing that we did a good job and now my children are doing a good job.

God’s grace covers the weak spots and He promised me He would show me his salvation. He also promised me that my children would be taught by the Lord and great would be their peace. I have walked through enough to know that He is faithful, if he made me a promise, He will keep it. I can laugh at the days to come because my God is with me and them.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91: 15-16

I love my ordinary days. They are filled with life- which could be boring or monotonous but I choose to see the beauty and blessing that surrounds me everyday. I pray prayers of gratitude daily, how could I not? I am fully aware of just how blessed I am.

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Kind words are like honey, marriage, romance, love, happily ever after

Book Release! Compliments to the Chef is LIVE!

Compliments to the Chef is LIVE on Amazon- Action Romance Holly K. Ross Island Inspired Writer

Today is the DAY! Compliments to the Chef is live and available at Amazon. It is a Kindle book but you don’t have to own a kindle to read it. The Kindle App is free and will work on any device such as a phone, laptop, or tablet. Just download the app and you can search by my name, Holly K. Ross.

I love romance, a good love story, a good story, and a happy ending. This book is all of those things. The world is filled with angst and anxiety, my books are not. There is danger, but strong men and women face the danger, trust each other, and love wins. This is what makes a great story, a great love story, and the best kind of romance. Of course, every one gets a happily ever after.

As with most all my writing, it is island inspired. Regan LaRue is BOI (born on the island) in Galveston. She heads off to the University of Texas in Austin on a golf scholarship. She chose Austin because the city had the same vibe as Galveston along with great music and food- just like Galveston. She then passes on the MBA route for culinary school. Running her own business is her passion which leads her to cross paths with Chance Blakely- an easy going, pretty boy, lobbyist- at least that is what Regan thinks he is, and he is, but he is also more.

There are fireworks as his Alpha male ways clash with her fierce independent streak. With four older brothers and a father, she knows just how to handle an Alpha male. He blows it up more than once, but his comebacks are legendary.

Love wins and it is one fun ride.

It was tough wrapping up this book because I knew that I wouldn’t get to hang out with these people that I love every day. I know I sound weird, but if you hate for a book to end because you will miss the characters, trust me, the writer gets just as attached. But, I am so delighted to share them with you!

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Where to Eat in Galveston- Koop’s BBQ Kitchen and Catering

Wow, this place is so freaking good and so far from “normal”! Yes, they serve mouthwatering BBQ but that is just the beginning. But whatever they are throwing down, I am picking up- and then stuffing in my mouth.

Hamburger from Koop's BBQ Kitchen & Catering. Great food in Galveston TX, Holly K. Ross. Galveston Island
Cheeseburger from Koop’s BBQ Kitchen & Catering. Great food in Galveston TX,

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne

You can tell that the folks at Koop’s love this food they serve! Everything is made from scratch and you can’t beat the flavors. Not only will you have a huge selection of BBQ in various forms such as tacos, lasagna, sandwiches and more, but on certain days you can find crab and shrimp mac & cheese, chicken spaghetti, and whatever else comes out of the creative minds and talented cooks at Koop’s.

There are two things you need to know:

#1- If you are offered Bacon Jam- say YES!

#2- Come early because they sell out fast- EVERYDAY

Seriously, they do sell out of the day’s specials but they do allow you to call ahead. The best way to keep up with what is available for the day is to follow them on Facebook.

These folks are fun and they make great food. You can beat the local food scene and Koop’s is definitely a star on the island.

Koop’s is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and open from 11:00 am to 4:00pm Tuesday- Saturday. You won’t be disappointed when you put this local eatery on your list.

As I said, you can call ahead and place your order. The only thing better than their BBQ is eating it on the beach which is just a few blocks away.

Koop’s BBQ Kitchen & Catering- 409-539-0059, 1110 Tremont, Galveston, TX 77550

For more good eats in Galveston, go to Texas Travels.

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A Sneak Peak- Compliments to the Chef

As she rolled the last crate in, she shucked out of her black chef’s coat. Hopping out in just her skinny black jeans and black tank, she turned to shut the doors.

“Need any help?” came a deep sexy voice.

Regan screamed, jumped and reached for her gun strapped to the small of her back.  Before she completed the draw, her brain registered that the voice belonged to the very handsome lobbyist.

“You!  Don’t you know better than to surprise someone like that?” she said as she fought to regain her composure.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Can I help you?” asked Regan in a tone that didn’t really sound all that helpful or sweet.

“You can have drinks with me tonight.” he said with a smile that had the same effect on Regan as a hot biscuit has on butter.

Even while melting, her tone was icy, “ I don’t even know your name but it doesn’t matter because I don’t date lobbyists.”

He grinned even bigger, “My name is Chance Blakely.  How did you know I am a lobbyist if you didn’t know who I am?”

Chance Blakely, Regan didn’t know him, but she did know of him.  He was not only a lobbyist but a heavy hitter in Austin.  Anyone involved in Texas politics knew who he was.

“For three years, I have served dinner to the who’s who in Austin.  It doesn’t take long to learn to recognize a lobbyist.”

“You say lobbyist like it’s a bad thing.” he said.

Good gracious, thought Regan, that grin.  Ignoring her girl parts, her brain continued,  “Anyone who advocates for a cause because of how much they are being paid, isn’t not someone who has any core values.”

“So, you are judging me because of my profession without even knowing me.”

“Yeah.”

“Wow, you don’t even feel bad about it.  Just one date, that’s all I ask.  Let’s see if you still don’t like me after one date.”  He was pushing but not in a way that was offensive.  He was smooth as silk, charismatic and not one bit ruffled by Regan’s tone or her words.

“I am not sure what part of ‘no’ you aren’t comprehending.  I would ask if you were always this dense but given the ring on your finger, I already know the answer.” said Regan as she nodded towards the college ring on his hand.

Chance glanced at his hand and looked up surprised.  “Let me guess, you are a Longhorn.”

“Hook ‘em”, Regan made the Longhorn sign of her Alma Mater, University of Texas. “See, we were destined to fail. You’re an Aggie and I’m a Longhorn.  So, we’ll just leave it alone. You go back to your lovely date and I’ll go on with my life.”

“She’s not my date.  No, I don’t think I’ll leave it alone.  How about breakfast?”

Regan couldn’t help but chuckle, he was so charming.

“No.” she said and stepped towards the door.

He moved and cut her off.  Her whole body reacted to his close presence.  He stood a great deal taller than her.  If her gaze were level, she would be looking at the button in the middle of what appeared to be some very defined pectoral muscles.  She had a thing for broad chests.

“Do I look like a serial killer to you?”

“No, what you look like is a heartache looking for a place to happen.  Now, are you going to move aside or am I going to have to pull my sidearm?  Please understand, I was raised knowing that you only pointed a gun if you intended to fire it.”

“No need to go there.  I’ll see you around.” He was still grinning like she was the most fun he had had in a long time.

“No, you won’t.  Have a nice night.” Said Regan as she headed in the staff entrance.

The Pride of Galveston Series, Romance, Love Story, Book, Happily Ever After by Holly K. Ross
Romance

If you think you fall in love with characters as a reader, imagine how the writer feels! I love Chance Blakely and Regan LaRue. Once again, the hero has his hands full with a smart-mouthed Texan- and this one even had a Cajun granny.

You get to Meet them May 7th! You can pre-order now or sign up for this newsletter and get notified when the book goes live.

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Where to Eat in Galveston- Darlene’s Shrimp Shack

If you are driving down 61st street along Offats Bayou, you will see Darlene’s Shrimp Shack (a food truck) sitting pretty next to Aunt Margie’s Bait Shop and a shrimp boat named Darlene.  If you are thinking that a shrimp shack next to a bait shop with shrimping boats means that the shrimp in that shrimp shack is fresh- you would be correct!

The shrimp is fresh and locally caught (when possible) and battered as it is ordered.  You can get your shrimp battered or “naked” and choose from twelve different seasoning options.  The baskets come with 10 shrimp and 2 hushpuppies for about $12.00.  The shrimp are huge so reasonably you could share but I am not reasonable when it comes to sharing my food.

These shrimp are contenders for best shrimp on the island.  I have eaten there multiple times and have loved each and every bite.  Everyone in my office loves this place. The batter is on the light side, so you really taste the shrimp.  My favorite flavors are Cajun or Garlic Parmesan.  Other flavor options are lemon pepper, buffalo, plain, and more.

If the weather is pretty you can sit out at the picnic tables and watch the sail boats on the Bayou or watch the sea birds come and go.

From the family history I have picked up from talking with the folks who run the bait shop, Margie and Darlene were sisters.  Margie was the aunt who kept most of the kids when they were little.  When she passed, the family decided to name the bait camp after her.  Aunt Margie’s bait camp is a popular spot for bait AND they sell “eating” shrimp in there as well.  We have been buying shrimp, squid, flounder and more in there for years.  If the seafood is fresh, you don’t have to be a great cook to make great seafood.

Aunt Margie’s bait camp and Darlene’s Shrimp Shack are BOI (born on the island) and as local as you can get.  Give them a try, you will be glad you did!

It’s National Homemade Soup Day- Recipe!

I am a huge fan of soup. It is the first meal I made solo at the age of five. Yes, I was five- you can read all about it here. My mom made this soup frequently and she taught me how.

Soup comes in so many forms ranging from extremely difficult to super simple. What we called homemade soup is super simple. Because I only know how to make soup in a large quantity, I often freeze portions in quart size freezer bags. This soup reheats well making it a great option for daily lunches. This recipe is very flexible making a great way to repurpose leftovers such as pot roast or pinto beans.

Recipe for Homemade Soup

1 lb. of ground meat or ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
2-3 cups of mixed veggies- any kind you like
1- 13 once can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

In medium skillet, brown the ground met with the onions. 

In an  8 quart stock pot or Dutch oven (you can use a larger stock pot- then you don’t have to worry about over-filling) bring water and potatoes to a boil.  Add enough water to boil the potatoes, but not so much that you have to pour a lot off, because the water does have lots of nutrients in it.  If you are using fresh or frozen veggies, add them now.  Boil until the potatoes are fork tender.  Add the ground meat, stewed tomatoes  and veggies- if you are using canned or leftovers.  Add seasonings and more water or broth as needed to achieve the desired consistency.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes then let  cool a bit.  This soup is great with cornbread or crackers.

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Is There Any Good Thing Left? Absolutely!

Words are swirling around us and have been for months. Most of these words are predictions of death, despair, desolation. There is a reason for this- a fearful person is easy to manipulate.

All this talk may make you think that there is nothing good left in this world, nothing good left to look forward, and nothing good to celebrate.

This is not the truth.

Here is the truth:

Whoever seeks good finds favor,

but evil comes to one who searches for it.

Proverbs 11:27

Yes, there is evil in the world, and death, and destruction but there ALWAYS has been. There are NO good old days, evil walked the earth in 1950, 1850, 850 and even 210 B.C. Evil has been lurking on the earth since God hurled Satan out of heaven and he landed here.

BUT, and it is a BIG BUT- Jesus also came to the earth, righted the wrongs of the first man, Adam, and restored us to right fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit walks with us, fills us, and speaks to us.

There is good, plenty of it, all around us but we have to look for it. When you find the good, SHARE it. Fill your social media feed with the good in the world, your city, your life. Fill your mouth with good reports of what is happening in your life. Find the good and spread it around like sprinkles on a doughnut.

Regardless of what is going on in D.C. or Austin, Texas, my life is bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ and EVERY promise made in the Bible is MINE because of Jesus. There is nothing a man or woman can do to change that fact.

So, take heart to day. You are not hopeless you have the power to live a good life, you just have to look for it and put your HOPE in Jesus Christ.

Where to Eat in Galveston- The Mosquito Café

To name a restaurant the Mosquito Café may seem a bit odd, but when you’re in Galveston, odd is pretty common.  And usually, odd is tied to a bit of history.  This holds true with the tasty local favorite, The Mosquito Café.  You will still find the Mosquito Fleet docked in Galveston.  These are the local shrimp boats.  They were named this because the rigging makes them look like mosquitos.


Your taste buds will thank you for seeing past an odd name because the food that is served at the corner of Winnie and 14th street is out of this world.  As you might have guessed, the seafood is local.  The breads, including the hamburger buns, are baked locally across the street.  Patty Cakes bakery is another perfect spot but that is a subject for another day.  You really can’t go wrong when choosing off the menu.


There are many healthy choices that are not lacking in flavor and textures.  If you are traveling, finding healthy options is sometimes a challenge, so put the Mosquito Cafe on your itinerary.


Now, if you aren’t so committed to a low carb diet, you really need to get the bacon cheeseburger.  It is the best on the island- trust me, I have done my research.  You will also like the Island Jammer, made with the above-mentioned shrimp and a freshly baked hoagie roll.  On the lighter side, the salmon cooked whichever way you choose is perfect. The turkey chili is fantastic and even better served over the top of a baked potato.  There are several pasta dishes as well as comfort food like meatloaf.  Really, you can’t go wrong.


Breakfast is something that the Mosquito has down to an art.  The cheesy shrimp and grits are 100% southern.  Again, best grits on the island.  The breakfast bowl is one of the many excellent dishes that will start your day the right way.  We usually eat breakfast when we go.

Shrimp and Grits
Breakfast Bowl

Strong Women

This last Saturday, my family celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday. I am 48 and I still have my grandmother. Not only is she still alive, but she is LIVING. She works in her garden, goes to church, mows her yard- she is still living. We share a lot of interests- gardening, reading, and cooking. I am her oldest grandchild.

She has a sister who also lives around the corner from her. We call her Auntie (said Ain-tee). She makes the best cakes and pies of anyone I know. She also loves to read and for several decades was the librarian at the Junior High School in our small town.

I am her oldest great-niece. I have learned a lot from these two ladies. Mostly, I learned what it looks like to be strong. Both have suffered loss and faced difficulties in their lives. They both raised a large family and loved hard. My Auntie had four boys and my grandmother had 3 girls, 1 boy, and 1 more girl. I had 3 girls and 1 boy- had I had one more I am certain it would have been a girl. My mother and all my aunts showed me what strong looked like, as well. We are all Texan born and raised.

Not only did they live examples of strength but they told stories of the women in our family that handled their stuff. One great-aunt got tired of a drunk and abusive husband. She waited till he passed out, sewed him in a sheet, and took a broom handle to him. Things greatly improved in their marriage. As a kid I thought, “Oh, this is how you handle that situation.” Another great-aunt got tired of her husband running around on her. He woke up with this petite lady sitting on his chest and a .45 aimed at his face. He straightened up. Again, I was taking notes.

Now, I have never had to use any of these particular lessons. I married a great guy who is a faithful man. However, I have tools in my toolbox and this is empowering. As a matter of fact, Tony worked with a guy who didn’t see anything wrong with a little “extra” on the side. He had a very sweet wife who just kept paying for all his toys and putting up with his behavior. One day while they were on duty at the fire station this guy looks at Tony and says, “You mean you would never sleep around on your wife. Why?”

Tony replied, ” Because its wrong. AND because my wife isn’t as nice as your wife.”

Guy, “What do you mean?”

Tony “I mean my wife isn’t a nice as yours. She’ll take a sledge hammer to my knees while I sleep.”

He was not wrong, I am not that kind of “nice”. I come from a long line of women who don’t put up with that kind of mess. Boundaries matter, it’s also good to understand what happens when lines are crossed.

Now, some of you are having issues with my words. I mean how can a decent person advocate such violence. I am a God-fearing Christian, how can I advocate such violence? All I can say is that sometimes, violence is the answer. I know this just seems wrong, but how many times have people needed to get out of an abusive situation and had no help from law enforcement because a crime had not been committed or there was a crime and the abuser paid bail and was back on the doorstep within hours?

Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

Here’s the thing- I have never had to get physical in defense of myself or my family. I even tried once and the girl wouldn’t engage. Some punk beat up my younger sister on the bus. I wasn’t there and the girl, who was close to my age, jumped my sister who was 4 years younger. That would not stand. I chose to ride the bus to school the next morning. We exchanged nothing but words, however she did not hit on my sister again. Bullies know who to target. They target those they can attack without any repercussions. I am not one of those people. I may wear an orange jumpsuit for a time, but there will be repercussions if you mess with one of mine.

This cute little lady in the pictures above drove a school bus for a couple of decades. She drove a bus in the more “questionable” parts of Dallas. When my grandmother married my granddad, she was 5’4″ and weighed 105 lbs. By the time I was riding along on her bus routes, she weighed a little more but was still a small woman. This particular day, she was running a route that was predominately high school kids from a rough part of town. One boy mouthed off at her and I was like “uh-oh”, where I come from you do NOT mouth off to the women. I was also scared because she was going to need back-up and at around 10 years old (when I married I also weighed 105 lbs. and was 5’4″), I wasn’t going to be much help. So she looks up in her mirror at this kid and says, “You think you’re bad? You ain’t bad. I’m bad, now turn around and shut up.” I was in awe. He did it, too. The whole ride was calm and no-one gave her any trouble. Again, I was taking notes in my head and I thought “That is how you handle your stuff.”

So, now here I am at 48 and I write books with strong lead females. I don’t know how to write anything else. The women handle their stuff, they love hard and value their husbands and their families.

I am so grateful to have had my grandmother in my life this long. I am grateful to have been raised by a strong woman and been in the company of strong women my whole life. I am also grateful to have raised strong women, as well. Pictured below is five generations of the oldest daughter having an oldest daughter. The line goes back for seven generations.

Where To Eat In Galveston- The Gypsy Joynt

If you like off-beat and funky, Galveston is the place for you.  If you love good food served with a funky vibe, the Gypsy Joynt is the place for you. It’s not surprising to learn that the Gypsy Joynt got its start in Austin.  It’s still one of the best-kept secrets in Galveston. 

Located off the Strand in downtown Galveston, this jewel is tucked away a little further down Market Street than most people go.  And this is okay with us locals because we like not having to wait for hours to get our food!


The great folks are run a wonderful restaurant and really give back to the people of Galveston.  They also source their seafood locally which is very cool.


Speaking of seafood, my favorite dish is the Oscar Ocean. This sandwich has a homemade bun, pesto, balsamic vinegar dressing, veggies, and grilled fish.  the menu consists of a mix of traditional foods like chicken strips and mac and cheese along with crazy combinations of seafood and veggies.  The pizzas are the things dreams are made of- if you dream about food, which I do.  The deserts are AMAZING!


We love this spot!