Welcome to the Open Window, a monthly newsletter
designed to enlighten, encourage, and bring joy to your heart.

Wrapped in Snow

I created this 16X20 oil painting the year we moved to the mountains of Colorado. Forgotten by God, a feeling real and brutal to me, from my anguish I applied the filled brush to the canvas. The year 1977 became the “The winter of my soul.”

Homebound, four feet of snow, no phone, no four-wheel drive, and frozen water pipes, we became more than living in the same house. We became family.

Off the beaten path, our family of six huddled around a wood burning potbelly stove. The aroma of a pot of beans and bread-baking filled the house. Deer and elk meat in the freezer helped us believe we would survive. Homemade goodies, piano lessons, craft projects, children’s laughter, this became home on the Lower Blanco.

Living in Pagosa Springs brought the best and worse out of a person. We saw many families come with dreams, drive away in separate cars, heart-broken. We were one of the few families who survived and stayed in this mountainous wilderness.

Would I ever see ‘wrapped in snow’ as God’s way of wrapping my family in his love, protection, and building strong godly values? No. But in the coldness and loneliness of a person’s soul is where one meets themselves and God. I learned what it took for God to tame a wild heart like mine.

Taming Wild Hearts is a fictional story about the Crawford family living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado—unpretentious, hardworking, wanting a good life and raising good children. The characters in the Crawford family are all of us who have chosen to live a simpler way of life.

Our family roots reached down below the frozen Colorado soil while God poured heaven’s life into us. Our barren branches reached up for the Son and we learned how to appreciate the small things in life. With open hearts, trusting the love of God’s hard lessons, knitting the fiber of our family’s soul together, those years are who we are today.


To Be Released Mid-Winter 2023 ~ Taming Wild Hearts ~ A novel about a Colorado country family, a five-thousand-acre ranch in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and a rare mustang. A western drama, romance, and mystery.

Yes, Disappointment Valley, Colorado is a real place. Three hours from the Crawford River Ranch in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, the story begins. Rescuing a Curly Sulphur mare from poachers brings Luke Crawford Barrett to the plight of the wild horses of Disappointment Valley.

Meet Joseph Crawford, one of the characters in Betty Slade’s novel.

"I’m Joseph Crawford, the eldest son of Joe Crawford. My claim to fame is my bull riding days where I captured women’s hearts and receiving the purse of winnings. My claim to fame is my champion belt buckets and trophies won on the back of mean bulls at the national rodeos. I have scars and broken bones.

The readers of Betty Slade’s novel will see me as an antagonist of this story, but I work to keep my family’s ranch in the black. I don’t have time or disposition to deal with nonsense. I am misjudged. I loved and lost, now the memories of the past are staring me in the face."

Subscribe to this newsletter and live the saga of drama, romance, and mystery with Luke and Bree.


Mid-month, a prompt is sent out to tell a story in six words. Thank you to all who contributed a six-word story this month.

Despair loneliness darkness sadness surrounds me.
Fran Lewis

The dawn of something new within.
Janet Parks

My sadness equals my darkened image.
Fran Lewis

Dark thoughts envelop my mind tonight.
Fran Lewis

Emergence, acceptance, disillusionment, resilience, acceptance, emergence.
Cathy Johnson

The sunrise promises a fresh start.
Jessica Tanner

Sunrise sunset, life swings in balance
Bettie Hanse


All alone…again. Still no ring.
Cathy McIver

God sees me in the dark
Betty Slade

Reflections on the Wonders of God.
Jan Davis

Note to self. Cancel wedding plans.
Cathy McIver

What is out there for me?
Larry Weseloh

Soaking in the last sun's rays.
Carolyn Wease

God provides an amazing view. Enjoy.
Rachel Critchley

Watch for our January 15th communication for next month's Six-Word Story prompt and be included in the February newsletter.


I’m putting a spotlight on Cammie Seferovich this month. She has been a valuable source of information for the Sulphur horses in my novel.

She sent pictures of her two Sulphur Claybank colts.  Both are sons of her stallion Sulphurs Khanketsuba.


About the Claybank Red Dun Horses
About my connection with these Sulpher horses


Enjoy another article I wrote about the years in Pagosa Springs called, "What is happening under the snow."   Read more...
December - Don't Rush the River
November - The Father’s Face

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Copyright © 2023 Betty J Slade, All rights reserved.

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