Short Stories

Short stories that will inspire, encourage, educate and even change the way you see everyday life.

Trail Walking

When morning came I felt the trail calling me and daring me to come see what was different each day. Sometimes the voice came from inside me and other times it came from my husband telling me we needed to get going.

Either way, I got up, got dressed, put on my shoes, a jacket that could be tied around my waist when the sun began to warm my back, some food and water in my pocket, and off we'd go.

We were living in West Virginia at the time. The trail was one long stretch one way until we reached half the amount of our walking ti...

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Dangers in the garden

"Please God, don't let my Papa die this week. That's all I got to say. Amen." That was my 9-year-old grandson's prayer when he had to go home early because my husband was admitted to the hospital.

It started late one night a few weeks ago when I woke up and heard my husband stumbling through the dark hallway. I got up quickly and went to him. He didn't seem to know where he was, and when I tried to help him I realized his skin was hot and didn't seem to know who I was.

I took his temperature. It was 100.2, and by the time I go...

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Capturing the Moments

We were getting ready to leave our daughter’s house after the holidays. I walked into the room as my daughter and husband were talking to each other. She was seated at the piano, and he was standing tall and lovingly beside her.  

The window light from behind them was soft and very complimentary. It was such an endearing scene, and I thought I would get one more great photo before we left.   

My husband started to walk away, and I said, “Stop, let me take a photo!” Each of them looked at me and, at the same ti...

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Laughter

My daughter reminded me one morning of the importance of laughter in our lives. She was sitting on the floor playing and laughing out loud with her six-month-old daughter.

I listened as her laughter and my granddaughter's giggles filled all the space around me. She said she wanted to feel this kind of joy always and see the world through her child’s merry eyes.

We talked about the carefree laughter of childhood before we had bills to pay and so many responsibilities.

I asked my daughter, "So wha...

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Recovering Hope

For a moment it all came unbalanced. The sad and the angry became heavier than the happy and good, I gave in. The tears came, the anger raged and my heart pounded.

Then someone asked for my help. I heard them and moved dutifully toward them. They sounded anxious and I reached out to assure them.

With that gesture, I felt a shift in my heart. The sadness and anger lightened. The happy and good became stronger. The balance hesitated a moment and then it became equal.

In fact, by the time I finished talking to a friend who ...

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Turn on the light

My nine-year-old grandson understands what the Coronavirus Pandemic is, where it started and how it has affected his world.  Recently when we had our Zoom visit, he said that most of the people dying from the virus are older people. I remembered once when he asked me if his Papa and I were old. So, I thought I’d find a way to assure him that we are OK.

“I’m writing a story on how light helps us to see better in the dark,” I told him. “Are you afraid of the dark?”

“Sometimes, whe...

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Eye Contact

My friend laughed when I told her how persistent my dad was about making eye contact when speaking to or listening to someone.

I hated it when he would say, “Look at me when I’m speaking to you.” The rule wasn’t just when he needed my attention. It was when anyone was talking to me.

“You know, Deana, when babies are born, making eye contact with them is their first connection with the people who love them.”

She’s right. Eye gaze is one of the most exciting milestones babi...

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Happy Mother’s Day Rosie

Rosie knelt down, felt the pecans in the grass, and then crawled around on the ground collecting them and depositing them in her bucket.

She is legally blind, and couldn't see the nuts when she was standing. Her vision, which had been damaged by scar tissue as a child, was clear enough to make out objects, but she had to get very close to see the details.

When she held the pecans in her hand, she used her sense of touch to tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones.

She could feel if there was a t...

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Dear Mr. President

My husband is a quiet man, the kind that when the storms come, outside or inside, he's steady as a rock. While I am trying to figure out how to fix everything and everyone he usually has three things to say. Deana, leave it alone, this to will pass, there's a reason why things happen or what are you going to do about it?

I think the quarantining is getting to him and like everyone else he is ready for it to end. He sometimes edits my columns, checks my grammar, and reminds me to check the facts.

However, I think he may be stres...

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Changing the way we do education

My daughter asked me if I wanted to participate in our grandson's Zoom Video classroom assignment. I said, "Yes, but what can I do?"

At 10:AM each morning he participates with his classmates and teacher in their online classes.

"I would like for you to have a 25-minute class at 9:30 AM to prepare him for his school morning," she said.

I thought for a moment and she continued. "The children usually have guidance counselors in their schools but they are not a part of the online class."

Elementary guidance counselors...

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How Not To Pick Your Nose During the Coronavirus

An entire country has been shut down for almost two months because of a virus that is transmitted through the very things mothers have been trying to teach their children for centuries: Wash your hands, keep your social distance and for goodness sake(a southern term), get your thumb out of your mouth and stop picking your nose!

The nagging that made our children roll their eyes in the past may not be necessary in the future, especially if parents are talking to their children about how and why this virus, and all viruses, spread so fa...

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Everything is Going to Be Alright

It’s Palm Sunday as I write this story and my husband walks in the room and says, “Hey, aren’t we going to church,”  I look up at him for a moment and he says, “Oh, right, I forgot.”

He is a retired minister and always goes to church even if we are on vacation.  He believes it is important to visit the house of God on Sundays, but our churches are closed today as we practice social distancing due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

He goes into the kitchen and turns on gospel music to its highest vo...

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Our family and social distancing

Our children live in three different states and we are hours away from each of them. This week our youngest son needed some medical supplies and we offered to drive them to him.

He was worried about our travel and being in contact with us because he is still working around a lot of people.

After a lot of conversation we finally decided to meet halfway because he knew if we drove to his city that I would need to see our grandchildren and like other grandparents right now, we are not doing that during this time of social distanci...

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Uniting against the Coronavirus

"It’s time to shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit," said Miguel de Unamuno in the poem, Throw Yourself Like a Seed.

These may be the words we need right now to stop analyzing whether it's true or not, stop complaining about our discomfort and come together as a family, as neighbors, as communities and as a nation to get through a difficult time in our world.

This morning I listened to sermons all over the country being streamed live to lift up and encourage us, and it didn't feel bad at all not to be i...

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Prayer and the Coronavirus

My husband and I were eating dinner in a local restaurant enjoying a nice Sunday meal a few years ago. There were several couples from the church present. Two tables over one couple was having trouble with their small child.

The father asks, "Do I need to take you to the bathroom?" "No," the toddler replied. However, the little boy continued to behave unruly.

Finally, the father politely picked the child up and headed for the bathroom. Immediately, everyone in the restaurant heard a small voice pleading, "pray, people, pray."

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Peace during the Coronavirus epidemic

I've seen and felt all sorts of emotions since the pandemic has begun; from confusion, fear, anger, panic to love, laughter, and peace.

Just like all disasters in our life there is always confusion, "Is this really happening? Is what they are saying is true?" And then the fear begins to creep into our hearts and minds; "What should we do?"

The anger builds and swells in our minds from listening to the news media blowing things out of proportions and realizing they are using fear to promote their political agendas instead of g...

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Do You Need to Self Quarantine During The Coronavirus?

If you or your family member have been exposed to the coronavirus you need to self quarantine yourself.

I recently published,"I'm Not Afraid of the Coronavirus and You Shouldn't be Either,"on my Morning Coffee Beans website.

In the story I tried to cover everything about what the coronavirus is, how to protect ourselves and what to do, if you are exposed to the virus.

My point was to help people not to be afraid, but instead to be informed.

However, a reader sent me another perspective of why people are st...

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I am not afraid of the Coronavirus

I am not afraid of the Coronavirus and you shouldn't be either. When we overreact to epidemics and other perceived risks in our lives, we become less attentive to the other threats that are far more likely to harm us, like the flu.

Fear is like being in a dark room and hearing a noise that frightens us. The way we remove that fear is to turn the light on or in this case–get the facts.

When we understand what the Coronavirus is and learn how to protect ourselves and our families and what to do if we have been infec...

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Things Everybody Should Know

"It’s important that Everybody knows how to eat French Fries with ketchup and nuggets, and people should know not to bang their head," said Orlando.

I like to partner with teachers, who hear these words of wisdom from their students often.  I hope you enjoy these responses from children in Kindergarten to third grade who participated in a local school writing project, which asked the question:

"What does everybody need to know?"

The letters reminded me of one of my favorite books.  All I Really Need to Know I lear...

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Winter Blues

I found a plush, warm, gray sweater that seemed to wrap itself around me with deep pockets and tried it on. It felt so good, but when I looked into the mirror I saw my husband behind me shake his head no. "No?" I asked. "Why not?"

"Because it's gray and you've had a lot of gray days lately," he said. He was right. The winter days have been rainy, dark and cold and it has definitely affected my mood.

I have to admit, I have a love hate relationship with winter. I love the cold air when I breathe it in and out of my lungs. I love...

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National Wear Red Heart awareness

My sister called and told me she was having some symptoms that felt like a heart attack. "What are you feeling?" I asked her. "I don't know, ” she said. “Something doesn't feel right. I feel anxious and my jaw is aching a little." I suggested she go to the emergency room. She argued, "But I don't feel any chest pain. I just wanted to talk to you about it."

"Sis, please trust me. Go to the hospital. We can talk after you get checked out," I pleaded. She said OK and a few hours later my niece called to say that she h...

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75th Holocaust Remembrance

“The time will come when we will be people again and not just Jews!” – 11 April 1944.

More than one million children under the age of 16 died in the Holocaust during World War II. Anne Frank was one of them.

This written excerpt came from her diary that was written while hiding in the secret annex of her father’s business. She wasn’t writing a book or an important document–just a journal that kept her occupied and helped her to cope with a difficult time in her life. However, in 1947 her diar...

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My Christmas tree is still up

My Christmas tree is still up. I know — Christmas is over and it's time to take the decorations and lights down and get on with life.

But Christmas isn't really over until after January 6th, the day when many Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany from December 25th until January 6th. These days are a collection of 12 feast days beginning with Christmas day and ending after the revelation of the wise men. The revelation is called Epiphany or the unveiling or finding God in the flesh, (the baby Jesus in the manger).

<...

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Having Fun at the Mediavine Conference 2019

“Blogging is so much more than writing,” the woman told me when I introduced myself as a writer at the Mediavine conference I recently attended. Her words were a meer peek into what I was going to learn in the next three days.

I have been a professional freelance writer for 30 years. I am a retired nurse and health educator, so I have written for many health venues, but, as a Christian writer and speaker, my passion is to write stories that educate and encourage my readers.

The difference between writers and...

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Please Read Me a Story

One of the best memories I have from my childhood is the time my mother read to me. When it was cold outside, we sat on the couch late at night with the fire blazing in the fireplace. I leaned against her shoulder and watched the lines on her face disappear as she used her voice to mimic the characters in the book.

She laughed and pretended to cry to make the story come to life, and sometimes in those moments, she looked younger to me. It was our particular time together to read and talk about books.

It could have b...

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The Power of Sharing our Family Stories

I had never traveled anywhere alone. Riding a bus from Macon to Atlanta, Georgia with strangers was not a long distance, I know, but it was frightening and exciting for an 18-year-old.

My mom died when I was 13 and I lived with my brother and sister-in-law. The trip was a graduation gift to visit my aunts, who I hardly knew. They thought it would be good for me to hear stories of my mom and get to know what she was like when she was a young girl.

The bus arrived late that night at a very busy bus station on Peachtree st...

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My Vietnam Soldier’s Story

My husband was a cook in the Vietnam war.  One morning after praying for God's protection for himself and his fellow comrades, he felt he should go into the mess hall early to prepare his baking duties.  He had to convince the head cook to allow him do his work during the evening meal time. Normally, he started his baking after dinner and worked late while the soldiers stayed in the lighted building to do their letter writing and play cards. However, they all had to leave early when he closed the building for the night.

Next t...

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STANDING YOUR GROUND

When I noticed the two women getting out of the convertible in front of the hotel, I had a feeling there was going to be an awkward moment. My husband spotted them the same time I did and proceeded to do exactly what I was hoping he wouldn’t do.

“Excuse me, ma’am,“ he called out. The two women looked up curiously as they stepped out of the car. “Are you aware that you’re parking in a handicapped parking place?” he asked. I was sure everyone in the parking lot and possibly all of those on South...

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You’re Almost There….

"When it was over, I lay spent and exhausted on the cold, hard earth…never to be ranked with the average and mediocre..." This is a quote from one of our late presidents, my daughter sent me when I was toiling with one of life's many problems. She continued with, "In essence…I am a winner, and I will not say it's over until I have given everything. Until there is nothing left in me to give. That makes me special and unique." I keep this close to me and read it when I am struggling or just want to feel the strength of my children....

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What would the world be without color?

What a wonderful time of the year! Color is everywhere, and everything has color, especially during these beautiful Autumn and Fall days. The variety of colors are endless, and it fills our world with beauty.

What would the world be without color? As an educational writer, that's the question I sent to an elementary school recently. The answers ranged from no changing leaves, no beautiful flowers, no rainbows, and no jelly beans! What an awful thought!

"I think that the world would be depressing because you wouldn't see the bea...

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What are the things that really matter?

I ran across a good illustration this week that paints an excellent picture of how important it is to stop and think about what we do with the hours in our day. It was about a philosophy professor who wanted to teach his students a lesson that went beyond the classroom.

When his students begin to noisily arrive for his class, the professor stood patiently at his desk with just a few items in front of him.

After the bell rang and the young men and women settle down, he wordless picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceede...

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My Sister is My Hero

My sister Juanell is my hero , I called her Nell. Her name was never in the newspaper and she was never on television. She didn’t finish school, because she was a wife and mother by age 16. When she was 26, her husband walked out on her after she gave birth to their seventh child. Frances was born with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome(LGS), a rare and severe type of epilepsy that starts in childhood.

I was a child when Nell was an adult. I watched her go through many hard times. Some of those times she was angry because life was ...

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It is never too early to talk to your children

The subject was drugs. My son was telling me he thought his children would receive good information about drugs in their schools, but it was still the parent's responsibility to talk about it at home.

I agreed with him, and reminded him that we did the same thing for him and his brother and sister. "I know, Mom," he said carefully. "But you were too late.”

Trying not to show how dumbfounded I was, I asked him what exactly he meant. "By the time you asked me about drugs, Mom, I had already tried them," he said as gently as...

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How Not to Order Mexican Food

My husband loves Mexican food. When we lived in south Texas, he worked very hard to learn Spanish. As a hospital chaplain and a nurse, we needed to know how to speak and understand Spanish to better communicate with our patients.

One afternoon, not long after we had completed our Spanish classes, he picked me up from work early. He said he wanted to go to Mexico for some Mexican food. We only lived about 20 miles north of Progreso, a Mexican border town.

I pointed out the fact that we had great Mexican restaurants right...

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Breast Cancer Awareness

If you find a lump in your breast or underarm area, you should see your doctor right away.  The good news is that most lumps are noncancerous.  Sometimes they will go away on their own, which is why your doctor may schedule a return visit for three to six months.

However, sometimes the lump or change in breast tissue may be cancer.  It is very important that you go to your follow up visit.  If, at any time, you feel like you need a second opinion, you should probably get one. My friend, Jill, did and she is alive today 21 years later....

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It was just a small, round gold loop placed in his left ear, like the one many of his friends wore, but it bothered me. Why? I am not sure. It was probably because it represented rebellion against what was the norm in our family; that is, girls wore earrings, and guys didn’t.

It could have been the vain concern that our friends might think our parenting skills were weak, or the fear that he would reject other rules we thought were important.  So, I did what frustrated mothers do; I scolded him, nagged him, and finally pleaded hi...

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The worries of our children

We often use the expression: “I feel as carefree as a child.” But children are not always carefree. In fact, children have many worries and one of them might be unanswered questions and fears about the Coronavirus.

At a time when parents are worrying about the many impacts this viral epidemic is having on their lives, their jobs and maybe even their health, children are listening and worrying too.

According to legend, Guatemalan children tell one worry to each of their hand-made Worry Dolls, placing them und...

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Take time to enjoy mornings

One morning I was getting the children ready for school. It was the usual too busy morning with the kids running around trying to find their socks and school books. I was late for work, and the bus was due soon. I felt my job as a mom was to make sure everyone was nicely dressed, fed, and thoroughly prepared for the day ahead.

I'm not even sure what I was making for breakfast. I just know it was fast. The children were unusually slothful this particular morning, not moving as quickly as I thought they should. This was making me irrita...

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Going Back to School at 54!

I retired from nursing and decided to return to college when I was age 54, and now my brain had to open a folder I had put away a long time ago.

Algebra has always been like electrical wires in my brain connecting the positives and negatives at the right time. However, it may be true that repetition helps, much like giving allergy injections to build up immunity.

My fears began to subside a little. I mean I didn't feel like I was going i...

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The Power of Compassion

Sympathy looks in and says, "I'm sorry.”Compassion goes in and says, "I’m with you.“

Sympathy look in and says, "I would like to help."Compassion goes in and says, "I am here to help."

Sympathy says, "I wish I could carry your burden."Compassion says "Cast your burden on me."

Sympathy often irritates with many words.Compassion helps and hears in quietness and understanding.

-Author Unknown

Empathy refers to feeling what another person is feeling. Sympathy means you understand what the ...

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How Sports Teach Young People To Never Give up

It was the last 45 seconds of the game, and the basketball had been pushed into her hands. For a second, she stood there numb, bouncing the ball on the polished hardwood floor. The seconds ticked by until she was jerked into action by the shouting on the sideline. “Throw it, throw the ball!”

A tall guard loomed in front of her face. She moved to her right side, glanced at the round metal ring with the basket below, closed her eyes, and threw the ball toward the goal as hard as she could.

Relieved that the discarded ...

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Slowing Down and Paying Attention

“Doodlebug, doodlebug, come out tonight, doodlebug, doodlebug, your house is on fire.” The little chant still echoes in my head when I see a familiar cone-shaped track spiraling downward into the soft, warm sand.

My brother and I sang this tune over and over while we lured these short, hairy insects from their homes in the warm Georgia sand when we were children, using only a straw or a small stick. We placed the stick in the middle of the soft cone-like entrance to their pits and wiggled it around.

After a while, a...

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How to Deal With Telemarketers

I am not always friendly to telemarketers. I am ashamed to say that occasionally, I have slammed the phone down and been rather short-tempered about the times they call my house. However, all that changed a few years ago when I decided it was time to reclaim control of my telephone calls.

Like most people, we receive so many annoying telemarketing calls each day–for credit card offers, vacation packages, pledges to various charities and insurance companies–that I spend a good part of my evenings complaining about those irr...

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Children Remember so Much

One weekend I traveled to Tennessee to visit our grandchildren without my husband, who was not able to get off work. Alex, our oldest, and I went to the grocery store together to pick up something for lunch.

We were getting ready to get out of the car when he said, “Nana, are you and Papa sorry?” Startled, I said, “Sorry for what, Alex?” “Sorry for taking my Grinch toys away from me,” he said. “What Grinch toys,” I asked him. I couldn’t remember that he had any Grinch toys. “...

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Happiness is How We Treat Our Families

Think for a moment how we treat our friends. We laugh with them, share good times, listen to them, and always try to be fair. We comfort them when things are going bad, and we would never interrupt them or allow ourselves to be distracted while they are talking to us. In the workplace, we treat our coworkers with respect and would not dare tell them to shut up or accept a kind gesture without saying thank you.

But how do we treat our spouses and children when we get home out of the view of people who admire us?

Last wee...

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Wiggly Messes and Tasty Memories

All the students in the room wore full aprons to protect their clothing. They needed to because they were a group of wiggly 2 and 3-year-olds in a cooking class. My daughter scheduled the class at the local community center for my granddaughter and me when she knew I was coming to help her during the arrival of their second child.

“You’ll love it, mom,” she said. “You and Clare can have some fun together and make cookies.”

Eight little squirming bodies stood on chairs around two long tables with se...

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Our Crafty Gift Moments

Crafty gifts are usually unique because the person receiving the gift knows that the giver makes an extra effort to show how much they care. My youngest son still has a quilt that his grandmother made him when he was 8 years old. He was so excited when he woke up one morning at her house and found it lying on his bed. She sat up all night to finish it so he could take it home.

When my daughter was expecting our new grandson in September, she painted his room a bright blue with red trim and had drawn animal characters on the walls. I t...

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Why it’s Important to Show Kindness

I read recently a story of a man who had bought a brand-new car with an area in the back that would accommodate his large, furry dog. Not too long after purchasing the car, he had it washed in an upscale, expensive car wash.

Afterward, however, he noticed that the back portion of the car was still filled with dog hair. Because he had paid a significant sum of money for the wash, he felt ripped off and became upset. He complained to the staff, but no avail.

They insisted that their policy was to “not vacuum the trunk....

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How to Move Forward in Life

Streams are plentiful in East Tennessee. They trickle down the sides of mountains, run beside the shaded rural roads, and flow joyfully into the rivers. If you sit quietly in a wooded area, you can hear the water spilling over rocks that have become smooth due to the water’s consistency.

Occasionally something huge, like a rock or fallen tree, will trap the busy water and stop it from flowing. It can’t go around, it can’t go over, or under its obstacle. The water feeding the little stream feels the sudden halt and de...

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What’s the Best Thing That Happened Today?

“I had a bad day, Nana,” my grandson, Donovan, said to me on the phone once when I called him after school. He was only four years old at the time, and he went to Head Start.

“Why did you have a bad day,” I asked him. “Cause I couldn’t do nothing right at school,” he answered as though it had been on his mind all evening. “What did you do wrong, Donovan?” “I couldn’t do good on my speech,” he said.

I reminded him of all the incredible things about h...

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Friday the 13th

When you woke up this morning and realized it was Friday the 13th, did you hesitate for a moment and think, “Oh no, everything is going to go wrong today!” Many people do. Some people don’t get out of bed all day or leave their houses. There are hotels that do not have a 13th floor and streets that go from 12 or 12A to 14 to avoid using the number 13. The reasons for ducking out of sight on Friday the 13th can range from battles between mythological gods to Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden on Friday. Even t...

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There is More to His Story

When I was a writer in South Texas, one of my first assignments was to accompany students at Fort Worth to cover the International Science Fair. Each day, with my laptop, slung over my shoulder, I walked to the convention center to observe and interact with the students to write about their reactions to being a part of an international event.

As I walked by the park near the convention center, I noticed a homeless man lying on a bench. I couldn’t help but gaze longer than I should, and feel a need to sit down next to him and tal...

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

The first time my husband received a cross over hearing aid, he was astonished when we stepped outside the doctor’s office. “Do you hear that,” he asks. “What?” I asked. “The wind,” he said. “I can hear the sound of the wind.”

Most people take hearing for granted until they lose it. My husband is deaf in his left ear due to a severe injury he sustained as a child. He lost much of the hearing in his right ear when he served in Viet Nam.

A crossover hearing aid is a hearing a...

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In My Corner of the Field

I grew up on a farm. At the end of each summer or harvest year, my dad set fire to the fields to make ready for seeding the following spring. My brothers and I helped him by containing the fire in our corner of the fields. We didn’t have vast fields, but this was a low-cost alternative to tilling in the previous year’s crops, and my dad also believed it killed unwanted insects.

Our job was to stand in our designated section of the field with a large wet cloth or a wet broom and make sure the fire did not go beyond our corn...

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One Thing At a Time

When my husband asks, “Are you trying to bake that cake, again!” I know it is my cue to slow down and concentrate on one thing at a time. It is a gentle reminder that started between us many years ago when our children were small and our life was extremely full of people and activities.

Right before guests would arrive for dinner, regardless of what a wonderful meal I had prepared, I would inevitably decide to add something else, which often made the moments before their arrival stressful.

Trying to do too m...

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Trails, like rules, are there for a reason

“Trails are there for a reason; my husband always told me when we were hiking.  The high grass and wooded areas can be dangerous”. His warnings were usually confirmed by the posted signs that instructed people to stay on the trails.

The problem was that I had a hard time staying on the trail.  My curiosity about what I couldn’t see compelled me to follow sounds that I couldn’t identify.  Often I went off the trails to get photos of birds, such as the Painted Bunting and the Scarlet Tanager soaring out of my cam...

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Cats, Predators or Pets

I didn't notice the big black and brown cat perched on the other side of the fence peering into our backyard.  I was busy watching the gray and white mocking bird with a long black tail dipping its beak into the cool water inside the birdbath.

It is a sight I can see most any time of the day, because our yard is usually filled with birds. We have Sparrows that build nests in the eave of our back porch, doves that nest in the big tree that shade the bird feeders, Woodpeckers hammering away at all hours of the day and red winged...

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Fishing On The Fly

I watched with interest as my husband worked on his casting technique with his new fly rod. Fly-fishing has always been an appealing sport to me because it requires more activity than just standing and waiting for a fish to pull your floater underwater.

I was assigned to watch over the other four fishing poles he had brought with us.  They were baited with live shrimp and had bright green, orange and yellow floaters bobbing on top of the water. I wanted to try my hand at casting the line too, but it was his pole and I figured I would ...

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Learning How to Help Your Child With ADHD

“When I was in the first grade I had trouble concentrating and doing my work and what added to this problem is that I have a disorder called ADHD, (Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder) and I didn't know it.  I was always hyper, out of control, and always getting in trouble. I also had a temper problem. Because of this I set a goal to improve. The school put me in a program called 504, (to receive extra help), and I also started to take a medication. I finally got to the point where I reached my goal. Now I'm in Pre-AP (honor cla...

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Be careful what you wish for

My photo fantasy, while on a road trip to Alaska, was a big black bear standing on his hind legs looking directly into my camera lens.

According to the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, black bears rarely attack humans unprovoked. Usually when they stand erect it is to get a better look at you and possibly to show their size as a warning not to get too close.  I had no intention of getting too close, or feeding or petting a bear. I just wanted a great photo.

Black bears and their cubs were plentiful on the side of the road as we d...

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Armed Forces Day in May

When we lived in Harlingen, Texas I loved visiting the Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Texas Air Museum.  The last time I was there it was hot, Texas hot! I thought I might go in, look around, and say hello to my friends, John and Jeanette Houston, and then leave. But I ended up staying three hours, and I hardly noticed how hot it was because of all the interesting things I saw and learned. Volunteers were serving food, cleaning up, listening and telling stories, and heartily involved in recreating history for the Independence Day celeb...

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Looking in the Mirror

A curious mouse visited a carnival that was in town. There were tents that contained attractions the likes of which he had never seen. The mouse entered one tent that was filled with thousands of mirrors in various shapes and sizes.

He ran from one to another, fascinated by all of the curious mice smiling back at him. He thought to himself, “This is a wonderful place, full of so many happy mice. I will come here as often as possible.”

As he left the tent, he came upon another mouse. “Guess what?” he excl...

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The Power of Touch

It is hard to go to sleep at night when you are angry with your spouse, especially if you are trying to stay on your side of the bed. I’ve tried it occasionally.

Recently, I had an idea for a column about touch–the importance of feeling human touch. The idea came to me while I was having a massage to help relieve some very tense muscles in my neck.

I was lying on my stomach with my face resting downward in a doughnut hole pillow. My shoulders began to relax as skilled hands targeted the mus...

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and everything was going wrong. There was no heat to warm the small trailer where we lived. That was because the butane tank that held the gas was empty.

We called the gas company, but they refused to come out on a holiday to fill the tank, even though the temperature was only going to reach 15 degrees. My husband’s job had brought us to the small Georgia town. He was the new pastor of a small missionary church.

It was so cold in the trailer that the children had to wear their coats...

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Threatening our Children Causes Many Problems

The little girl ran from one side of the waiting room to the other, almost tripping the adult walking by. Her mother tried to stop her, but the three-year-old ran out of her reach. When she finally got her back to her seat, she stood up and began jumping up and down dangerously close to the edge of the chair.

The frantic mother told the child to sit down or she would not get a treat when they left. It didn't work. When all other negotiations failed, the mother seemed to have had enough. She said to the child with exasperation; “...

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Health Fears are Often Unexplained and Overblown

Our daughter was always afraid of the dark when she was little. She would see these monsters looming over her bed or swaying in the dark and cry out to us. Her dad or I would go into her room and turn the light on to show her that the monsters were just pieces of furniture or the curtain moving in the wind of an open window.  “See, if you turn on the light, it’s not so scary, is it?” he would tell her

Just like the scare with the coronavirus we are having now, she had a scare during her second pregnancy that ...

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Hope and Determination are Important Tools in Life

When we lived in Texas, I had a friend who needed to write a paper about Hispanic Heritage Month for an English assignment. She asked me what I thought was the most important thing young people in the Rio Grande Valley needed to succeed in life.

While I was thinking about the answer, she said everyone else had told her the answer was education. I agreed that education was definitely the answer for success in any person’s life, young or old, but there is something we must have even to reach that goal. It is hope.

E...

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We Are More Than Occupants

I was hoping that the seat next to me on the plane would be empty. As I opened my magazine, I thought how comfortable it would be to spread my personal things out a little and relax without having to talk to anyone.

However, the voice that made me look up told me that was not going to happen. The small young girl standing before me wore brown baggy shorts that were obviously too large for her and an equally baggy gray shirt with a guy’s name on it.

Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail and her face looked tired. Sh...

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A Child and a Flower

The little town where we lived outside of Augusta, Georgia was very small.  There was an elementary school, a flower shop, a bank, a minute market and a family owned restaurant and, of course, many churches. We knew just about everyone in the community, and everyone knew our youngest son.

He was a friendly child, with whitish, blonde hair, who was always zipping around the neighborhood on his red bicycle. First thing every morning during the summer he would get dressed and off he would go for his morning ride. In his travels he often ...

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He That Endures to the End

From a distance you could barely make out the blurred image of two people moving down the road.  A police car with its headlights on low beam followed close behind them.

All of the other runners had already completed the 10K run and were sitting around the outdoor tables set up at the Valley Race Park eating lunch and drinking cold drinks. “We asked them if they wanted to ride to the finish line, the officer standing beside me said.  But they said no; they wanted to finish the run.”

I looked back down the road and ...

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If You Love Me, Buckle Your Seat Belt

I hated to start our evening with nagging, but when our daughter drove up in front of the restaurant, I noticed she wasn't wearing her seat belt. “Sweetheart, you should wear your seat belt,” I said. “Sure mom,” she laughed.

While we were having dinner, like most moms, I felt compelled to give my usual lecture about the danger of not wearing seat belts.

When we started to leave it was raining, and I felt anxious about her driving back to her college dorm on the wet, winding roads of East Tennessee. Even ...

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An Educational Gift for My Children

The older gentleman standing in the hall outside the classroom was dressed very nice.  He wore a brown tweed jacket, dark brown trousers, a stripped shirt and a sharp looking tie.  His hair was gray and his glasses made him look very wise. I figured he must be the professor of the class I was about to enter.

When the door opened, 25-30 college students, dressed in an array of youthful outfits, funneled in and sat down ready to start the new semester.

I took a seat in the middle near the wall just in case I changed my mind and d...

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Are We Teaching Our Children to Lie?

One day after school, our youngest son, Jay, seemed fidgety. I could tell something was wrong, but when I asked him, he said it was nothing.  Finally, after staring at the TV for an hour or so, he meekly said, “Mom, I have to tell you something.” His face was tense and his eyes were sad.

I put everything aside, and gave him my full attention while he stuttered out his words. “The teacher sent you a note home,” he said. I asked to see the note. The teacher had written that Jay had not been turning in his...

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Connecting With Our Children in the Kitchen

Our kitchen was two steps down from the rest of the house. When you walked through the living room and dining room, you took two steps down into the kitchen.  My favorite place to sit was on those steps.

As a little girl, I would sit and talk with my mother or watch her move about the kitchen with flour on the front of her dress and at the edge of her hairline where she wiped her forehead with the back of her hands when she was making bread.

Some mornings I stepped down into the kitchen and sat on the stool beside the butter ch...

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Taking Care of Yourself

The flight attendant stood at the front of the plane mechanically, giving safety instructions for the flight. It was apparent that she could probably give those same instructions in her sleep, because she had done it many times.

 I had heard them many times before, but something she said caught my attention this time. “In the event of an emergency, the oxygen mask will drop from overhead. Put the mask over your nose and mouth. If you are traveling with a small child or an infant, put your mask on first, then help the child.̶...

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Till Death Do Us Part

They were married for 61 years. He told us about their life together. He said he had to wait till he turned 18 before they could be married, but they had been together ever since, except for the 33 months he spent overseas during World War II.

There was another time when he had to take a job away from home, but he always came home on the weekends to be with his family. He worked and brought his money home, and told her where he thought it should go, and she took care of the their home and three boys.

They traveled together. He ...

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Enjoy the Journey

“Stand still,” my husband whispered. “I think I've got it.” I tried not to move, even though something was scratching my feet. I glanced down to see prickly little bushes pressing against my legs.

He moved in closer, aimed and clicked, but not quickly enough.  The fickle little orange butterfly fluttered out of the camera's view to another blossom a few feet away. We tried to follow it, but we were waist deep in yellow wild flowers, and losing sight of our feet altogether.

“Wait, I told him. Here's...

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Reacting Without Thinking

He was just a man sitting in a crowd watching a baseball game. His face and clothes blended in with all the other faces in the crowd at the Wrigley Field baseball stadium. The Chicago Cubs were holding a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, and suddenly the ball was hit to left field directly in the path of the man sitting in the front row. Without hesitation or thought he stood up and reached his left hand out and literally caught the ball inches above the hands of the Chicago Cubs' left fielde...

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Making Room For the Important Things

Sometimes our minds are like computers.  When we are trying to enjoy those special moments in life, a message appears, “No more room. Temporary files too big, need to delete.”

When I complained to my friend about not having enough room on my computer, she showed me how to delete and transfer files to free up room for the important things I needed most.

The phrase, “There is no room in the Inn,” became very real to me when I was invited to a friend's home in south Texas to share in their family’s C...

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Happy Meal Toys

Before the holidays began, I spoke with my 5-year-old grandson on the telephone.  He and his two little brothers live in Knoxville, Tenn.  I told him we would meet him in Washington, D.C. at his aunt house for the Thanksgiving holidays.

He was so excited about being able to see us.  He said, “Oh, Nana, will you be bringing me “Happy Meal” toys?” It seems that I have become the grandparent who gives him the little things in life.

When our youngest son was little, his favorite toys were happy meal toys.  ...

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The Fireworks In A Veteran’s Mind

We were hypnotized by what seemed like millions of colors drizzling down into the reflection of the lake as the crowds applauded the Veterans Day extravagant fireworks display paired with a musical salute to our nation’s veterans.  The town lit up around us after a beautiful Veteran’s day parade. My daughter said it looked like a box of Crayola crayons shot out of a cannon into the sky.

We had hurried with our two children to get the best spot near the lake. We were lying on our backs on a thick plaid blanket. I br...

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Under The Same Sky

One summer in a different country seemed to have changed the way our daughter saw the stars at night.

During her freshman year at college, she and seven other students from Lee University were invited to Russia to help set up the first Christian education department at Poltava University in the Ukraine.

When she came home, she tried to give us a visual picture of how different the lives of the people were in Russia.

"The food was very different," she said. The main staple was hard bread and a fatty sausage. Large familie...

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Feeling Safe As A Family

At 4:am, my head finally sank into the overly soft pillow in the attic bedroom.  I had been waiting all night for the last child to arrive for the Thanksgiving holidays at the cabin we rented in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

I was thankful indeed, as I lay completely peaceful knowing that once again all of our children were under one roof.  If I listened intently, I could almost hear each of them breathe, though they were sleeping on different levels of the three-story cabin that we found nestled in the Tennessee Mountains, surroun...

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Crying Child

Being in a plane with a child screaming to the top of their lungs is not only hard on the parents, but also on those around them. “She’s just throwing a tantrum, said the man sitting near me.  It’s her mother’s fault.” He said it loud enough for the young mother to hear the comment, too.

The little girl making all the noise was about 18 months old, and no amount of consoling from her frazzled mother would soothe her.

I was flying home from a conference in Atlanta and feeling really sorry for the yo...

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Embarrassing the Kids

When our children were teenagers one of the things they hated most was when I used coupons to buy groceries, or when I would count out change from my purse instead of handing over dollar bills or a credit card.

Little things embarrassed them; like the time I cut a coupon from the newspaper for a bucket of chicken.  I stopped at the intercom of the fast food drive-in sign and ordered the fried chicken, but failed to tell them I had a coupon.

When I drove up to the window, I showed them my discount coupon, but they said they coul...

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Separation Anxiety Not Just Kids Stuff

The first day of college was pretty much the same as the first day of grammar school in our family. There was anxiety, fear of the unknown, tears and a slight longing to retreat back into that comfortable place at home called the nest.

It is called separation anxiety. We understand it completely when our children cling to us the first time we are separated from them.

But what do we call it when it happens to the parents? It is labeled the “empty nest” syndrome. I experienced symptoms with each child as we packed up ...

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Children Do As They See

The old man was small and stooped over.  His steps were careful as he carried his tray to the table in the restaurant where I was having dinner. I could see relief in his face and muscles as he reached his destination, set his load down and eased his weak body into a chair. The woman sitting down beside him was his daughter.

When the man had difficulty cutting his meat, she very patiently took the knife from his hand and cut the large portion into small pieces, perhaps the same way he did for her when she was a child. It is always ver...

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Sarcasm Can Leave Emotional Scars

When my friend walked by my desk looking really sharp in her stylish, black suit, I remarked how great she looked.  She said she had just come out of a senior management meeting. “Is that your senior management suit?” I asked. We laughed and she said something funny to me about my casual dress.

We were being a little sarcastic and it was funny. It lightened up our day because we're friends and wouldn't do anything to hurt each other.

But there are times when sarcasm really hurts. Even the word itself can lea...

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Barefoot Summer

Our bare feet grew tough, our hair turned gold and our bodies browned and freckled in the sun that pursued us on long hot summer days.

Across the dirt road where we lived, there was an old abandoned building.  Bushes, high grass and broken tree limbs hid it from the road, but we found it and made it our secret clubhouse.

We swept the dust from one side of the room to the other and put a cardboard box in the middle of the huge open space for a table and cement blocks around for chairs.

Underneath the cardboard box table w...

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Blinders

Have you ever been tempted to take a ride in one of the guided horse carriages?  It seems so romantic and peaceful trotting through the city or a quiet park.

I think about how difficult it would be for a horse, taken from a pasture, to be placed in a noisy city to be told where they should go. That is why the owners use blinders.

Blinders are leather flaps on the bridle that keeps the horse from seeing to the sides. It helps the animal to focus and stay on course.

Blinders were used on farm horses and mules to pull plows...

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