Short Stories

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

I blew up the microwave!

One moment after I pressed the timer, it was humming away. Then suddenly, I heard a loud explosion.

The door flew open, and the plate I placed on top of the bowl flew out and shattered on the floor, followed by the clear bowl filled with eggs and water.

The sight and sound was startling, to say the least.

My husband and I jumped up to see what happened and saw the eggs and broken glass on the floor and the baseboards.

We were both making poached eggs. He was cooking on the stove, and I prepared mine in the...

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The Benefits of Silence

My daughter invited me to spend the weekend at a family cabin on the Chesapeake Bay for my birthday this year.

It was so quiet. The only sounds were our voices, birds chatting, water splashing against the bank, and wind scattering the beautiful, colorful fall leaves on the ground like puzzle pieces.

Exactly what I needed after suffering from a concussion at the beginning of the summer.

The unfortunate accident happened when I was working in our garden. I was bending over, pulling some weeds. My grandson called my name, a...

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My mother’s story

My mom had dark auburn red hair and beautiful green eyes. She had 13 children, but only 11 of us lived. We lived on a farm in Juliette, Georgia. She cooked our meals, made our clothes, taught us how to care for ourselves, and loved us.

One day I was sitting alone outside digging holes in the Georgia red clay beside our house. The dirt was hard, but I had a fork, and I liked digging and creating little clay houses for my stick people to live in.

The wind was blowing. I felt like the air was changing, but I was content to...

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My favorite thing about winter is the stillness

Sometimes we are so busy rushing from one activity to another that the days slip by way too fast.

If it isn’t a physical activity, it can be our minds constantly trying to figure things out.

Maybe it’s just me, but if my mind grew muscles with all the thinking and figuring I sometimes do, I wouldn’t be able to carry the weight.

And then it is the heart trying to give all that we feel that we need to provide. We forget that we must rest and refill ourselves to give to others.

That’s why I lo...

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It’s time to take a break

When you come to a stop sign or red light, you stop and look both ways. Likewise, at a yield sign, you pause and look both ways. It keeps us safe.

The same thing happens when we take care of ourselves. We must know when to stop, pause, and take a break.

After spending two weeks with my husband in the hospital this year, I noticed the words, Pause, Reflect, and Heal, on each patient’s door. Of course, I’ve seen this before, but it felt like a message to me this time.

When we never feel rested, overwhel...

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Father’s Day Forgiveness

A few months ago, I read a quote that said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” It made me stop and think.

Recently I bought a yellow rose bush. I am working on creating a small rose garden in front of our house since we removed all the Juniper bushes.

The yellow rose bush reminds me of when my sister visited me in Texas. I had started to prepare a flower garden in front of our new home but hadn’t decided what kind of flowers I wanted to plant yet.

When she got out of the car,...

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Super Nana

One minute I was a Super Nana, the next minute, I was lying on the tennis court floor trying to breathe.

When our grandchildren come for the holidays, it is fantastic, fun, and exhausting. But, unfortunately, the exhausting part has nothing to do with how much we enjoy them.

It is what my husband says to me all the time. “Honey, you have done enough. You don’t have to bake a cake, too!”

My daughter took charge of the Easter holidays this year. All the things that I usually work so hard on, she turned in...

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Consider The Lillies

Our daughter, Carol, died on July 3rd, 1980. She was 19 months old. It was devastating for us.

We adorned her small casket with beautiful white daisies. Our family and friends filled the church with arrangements and lots of daisies.

We decorated the church with daisies, my favorite flower when we were married. Our niece and nephew threw daisy petals down the aisles before I walked to unite with my husband.

The flower is beautiful yet stunningly simple, and I have always admired it.

Everyone that knew us we...

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Things Can Change Quickly

Things can change quickly. Palm Sunday starts with people laying palm branches, a symbol of victory, triumph, and peace, for Jesus as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem.

It was an exciting day. Jewish people from all over the world came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. They were crying, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ (Mark 11:9-10).

Ironically, these same voices that greeted Jesus as Messiah ...

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Lessons From Papa’s Garden

Lessons From Papa’s Garden

Our children and grandchildren were visiting for the weekend, and they all love mashed potatoes. So I told my husband we needed some more potatoes for dinner.

He said he would get some. Then, he asked our grandson, Donovan, to come with him as he walked out the door.

Going to the store with their Papa is always fun because they know he will buy them a treat.

So he jumped up and ran to the car while my husband was walking around the back of the house. When he realized he was walking...

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What is Your Love Language?

It only took 40 years for my husband to realize that bringing me coffee in bed was one of the ways that I felt loved. But, of course, he’s not a coffee drinker, so the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee in the morning is not a big deal for him.

After we retired, we bought a 26 foot RV and traveled out West to Alaska. It had a small table, a chair, a bathroom, and a tiny kitchen area next to the bed. So, only one of us could be at the cooking area at a time.

One morning while I was still sleeping, he woke me ...

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A Normal Thanksgiving … Finally

It's beginning to look like a more typical holiday season this year. Of course, we did not spend Thanksgiving with our children and grandchildren last year like everyone else.

Missing an almost entire year of holidays with our family has made me rethink how I want to cherish every moment I have with them in the future.

Let me explain. If you have ever read the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible, you know that Mary was the person greeting her guest, washing the feet of Jesus, and peacefully enjoying her company. (Luke 10:38-4...

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Sharing the Season

One year, while we were living in south Texas, I received a box in the mail from my son. The package was about 12X12X12 inches but felt very light. I couldn't imagine what was in it.

The post office had marked it fragile, so I was careful as I removed the tape and slid the lid off. I heard a rustling sound when I moved the box. The gift was wrapped in soft white tissue paper with a tiny piece of tape holding it together.

I carefully eased the tape away from the paper and opened it.  An earthy sweetness rose up to meet a...

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God Knows What We Need

"Love when your car doesn't start, and the only few people who helped were a stranger, a friend, and an ex while everyone else ignored your calls...."

My grandson recently wrote this on his FB page, and it reminded me of a story I have read many times.

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by, and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I...

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A few years ago, we decided to grow a spring sunflower house for our grandchildren. We used sticks and strings to map out a section of ground for the tiny house, leaving a clear space at one end for the door.

We cleared the grass and rocks and dug a small trench underneath the string. Then we planted two rows of giant sunflower seeds about six inches apart so that the sunflower walls would be thick. Finally, we watered and mulched them and watched them grow.

When the grandchildren visited in the summer, they were deligh...

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Paper Maps Are Better

On our way home from the Virginia Beach area, my husband suggested we take the rural route, using the east-west Highway 58.

"That's a good idea, I said. Let's stop and get a map." Unfortunately, we didn't have one in the car,

"We don't need a map, he said. We'll follow the GPS on google."

"No, I want to see the entire route on the map," I said. He didn't argue with me because he knows how much I like maps.

We drove into the next truck stop. I looked around but didn't see the maps, so I asked the clerk wher...

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Memorial Day

For seventeen days and seventeen nights, John McCrae, a soldier in World War 1 and a surgeon during the second battle of Ypres in Belgium, said that he and his comrades never took their clothes off or boots, except occasionally.

"In all that time while I was awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds, he said. Yet, behind all the noise, we could see sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and the terrible anxiety lest the line should give way."

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was a soldier, physici...

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Take care of yourself

Wouldn’t it be sad if you had to wait until the people you love died before you began to take care of yourself?

I met a 65-year-old lady named Pat this week who said that is what happened to her. She has lost 680 pounds in the last seven years and 280 in the previous two years.

“Wow, that is a lot of weight, I told her. What made you decide to lose the weight, and how did you do it”.

“Well, when my second husband died, I thought it was time to take care of myself, she said. So I took care of my f...

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A Different Perspective

Have you ever traveled down a road one way and noticed that things looked very different when you came back from another? Sometimes, when we change our routine, our world opens up a little more, and we see from a different perspective.

This time of the year, I have a morning routine that seldom changes. I leave the window by my bed open just a little to hear the dawn chorus that starts in late April to early June. Our backyard fills up with all kinds of birds. Their beautiful chorus sometimes begins as early as 4:30 AM.

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Raise Your Hand if You’ve Ever Felt Victimized by Daylight Saving Time!

Everyone was standing and singing the closing hymn in church. I smiled when the door opened, and one of our members walked into the church. He slipped into the back row and sang with the rest of the congregation.

When the song ended, the man sat down while others continued to stand for the benediction. I watched as he looked around, stood back up, and looked confused. He forgot to change his clock back to Daylight Saving Time.


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Making Real Connections

My niece called me recently and said, “Hey, I want to make a new year’s resolution.” “Ok, I said. And you want to share it with me?”

“Yes, she said. I want us to call each other more.” I reminded her that we text often. “I know, she said, but I need to hear your voice.”

Wanting to call each other more had a lot to do with what happened between us this last year.

My sister-in-law called to tell me that something I had said that upset my niece. I immediately tex...

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Standing at the sink with suds dripping down onto their bare feet was a fun way to wash dishes for my children when they were little.

I would pull a chair up to the sink for them to stand in and then fill it with warm, sudsy water and provide little things they could wash to entertain themselves.

While I did the rest of the housework, bubbles and giggles were everywhere. And, yes, I had to clean that up too.

However, as they got older, the game became a chore, and their enthusiasm disappeared. My husband helped a...

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A Helping Hand

One day I was coming out my front door and looked down on the walkway in front of me to see a little Sparrow lying on the pavement, flapping its wings, trying to get up. So I looked around to see if other birds might be a part of this little creature’s life.

I saw nothing and leaned down to see if I could pick it up. I waited to see if it would try to get away, but it didn’t. Instead, it became very still as I slid my hand under its little body and lifted it to my chest.

I checked to see if it broke a leg or wing, b...

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A Snow Day

Our 12-year-old granddaughter, Jayne, texted me every hour during the six-hour drive from south Georgia to our house in Virginia a few days after Christmas.

"Hey Nana, can you put some snow in the freezer? That way, we can feel Virginia snow when we get there." she wrote. "Yes, I will, I said, but there was still some snow on the ground." So I sent her photos of about an inch or so still lingering in our yard.

I was hoping it would be there when they got here because they had not seen snow before, and I wanted so much f...

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Things work out

The phone rang at 8 AM. My son, Jay, said, "Hi, mom; I wanted to let you know I will be praying for you and dad today. I'd like to have coffee with you." I said, "Thank you, son. We'll have coffee together soon." He said, "Well if you will open your front door, we can have coffee now."

On the first day of radiation treatment for breast cancer, he decided to surprise me and drove two hours to be at my house in time to have coffee with me.

While we were having coffee, I told him that the morning before he came, I felt anx...

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Overcoming fear

Other than ghosts and goblins appearing out of nowhere on Halloween to scare us, many spooky things are happening in our world now. We might be startled when someone plays a trick on us or jumps out to scare us, but it will go away after all the trick-or-treat bags have been opened and we put away the scary costumes. I did my Halloween prank accidentally this week when I walked into one of our small local businesses. There weren't many people in the store, and no one was behind the counter. However, I needed a particular item and couldn't f...

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Detecting Breast Cancer

I was two years cancer free in September of this year. But, each time I go for my check-up, another mammogram, and bloodwork, I’m reminded how quickly things can change and how important it is to take care of myself.

If you are thinking about skipping your Mammogram, please don’t. Why? Because by the time you can feel a cancerous lump in your breast, cancer has been in your body for two to five years.

I didn’t have a mammogram last year and almost didn’t have one this year. I was tired of the yearly unc...

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Trail Walking

When morning came, I felt the trail calling me and daring me to see how different each day was. 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, dressed, put on my shoes, a jacket that could be tied around my waist when the sun began warming 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 time, and...

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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 take him home early because my husband had to be admitted to the hospital.

It started 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 he didn’t seem to know who I was.

I took his te...

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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 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, simultaneously, sai...

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My daughter reminded me one morning of the importance of laughter in our lives. She sat on the floor, playing and laughing loudly 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 always wanted to feel this kind of joy 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 ...

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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 w...

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Turn on the light

My nine-year-old grandson understands the Coronavirus pandemic, where it started, and how it has affected his world. Recently, when we had our Zoom visit, he said that most people dying from the virus are older. 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 we were 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, when I think I see something...

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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 said, “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, ” my friend said.

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

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Happy Mother’s Day Rosie

Rosie knelt, 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 good and bad ones.

She could feel if there was a tiny insect hole or...

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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 trying to figure out how to fix everything and everyone, he usually has three things to say. Deana, leave it alone; this, too, will pass. Why do things happen, or what will you do about it?

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

However, I think he may be stressing out a ...

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Changing the way we do education

My daughter asked if I wanted to participate in our grandson’s Zoom Video classroom assignment. So, of course, 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 o...

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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 for the future, especially if parents are talking to their children about how and why this virus, and all viruses, spread so f...

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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 essential 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 enters the kitchen, turns on gospel music to its highest volume,...

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Our family and social distancing

Our children live in three states, and we are hours away from each other. 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 many people.

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

On the way dow...

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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 and encourage us, and it didn’t feel ...

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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 unrulily.

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

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Peace during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Since the pandemic began, I've seen and felt all sorts of emotions, from confusion, fear, anger, and panic to love, laughter, and peace.

Like all disasters in our life, there is always confusion, "Is this happening? Is what they are saying 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 proportion and realizing they are using fear to promote their political agendas instead of giving the publ...

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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 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 still afr...

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I am not afraid of the Coronavirus

I am not afraid of the Coronavirus; you shouldn't be either. However, when we overreact to epidemics and other perceived risks in our lives, we become less attentive to the different 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 the Coronavirus and learn how to protect ourselves and our families and what to do if we have been in...

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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 often hear these words of wisdom from their students. So 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...

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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. Choose a colorful one. You’ve had a lot of gray days lately,” he said. He was right. I loved watching the snow falling this week and the beautiful, mysterious mounds it creates, but not getting outside enough affects my mood.

I have ...

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National Wear Red Heart awareness

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in America, and the five most dangerous words associated with chest pain are: “Maybe it will go away!”  

In this story, I would like to give you two examples of how dangerous those words are.

It doesn’t feel like a heart attack.

“Something doesn’t feel right. I feel anxious, and my jaw is aching a little,” my sister said.

She said she was experiencing slight shortness of breath. I suggested she go to the emergency room...

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75th Holocaust Remembrance

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

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

This excerpt came from her diary 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. Finally, however, in 1947, her diary, saved during the war by on...

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My Christmas tree is still up

My Christmas tree is still up. I know — It is the first day of the new year, and it’s time to take the decorations and lights down and get on with life.

However, Christmas isn’t over until after January 6th, when we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany.

The 12 Days of Christmas is the title of a song we know. Still, it refers to the period between Christmas Day, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, to Epiphany, when they mark his manifestation — “incarnation,” in some Christian traditions.<...

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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 would 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 blogger...

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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; sometimes, she looked younger than me in those moments. It was our particular time together to read and talk about books.

It could have bee...

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The Power of Sharing our Family Stories

I had never traveled anywhere alone. I know riding a bus from Macon to Atlanta, Georgia, with strangers was not long-distance, 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 my mom’s stories and learn what she was like as a young girl.

The bus arrived late that night at a bustling bus station on Peachtree street, but no ...

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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 comrades, he felt he should go into the mess hall early to prepare for his baking duties. He had to convince the head cook to do his work during the evening meal. Typically, he started baking after dinner and worked late while the soldiers stayed in the lighted building to write their letters and play cards. After finishing his kitchen duties, they all had to leave because it was his job to close the facility.


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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 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 these words close to my heart and remember them when I struggle or want to feel my childrenR...

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What would the world be without color?

Do you remember the 1998 movie Pleasantville? It was about a television repairman impressed by a high school student”s  devotion to a 1950s family TV show, so he provided him and his sister with a means to escape into the black-and-white program.

The student initially takes to the simplistic, corny world of the show, but his sister does not. So instead, she sets about jolting the characters with doses of reality that unexpectedly bring a little color into their drab existence.

I can’t imagine a world without color! ...

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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 beyond the classroom.

When his students begin to arrive for his class noisily, 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 proceeded to fill ...

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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 giving birth to their seventh child. Frances was born with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome(LGS), a rare and severe type of epilepsy 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 hard on her, b...

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It is never too early to talk to your children

The subject was drugs. My son told 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 and reminded him that we did the same 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 he meant. “By the time you asked me about drugs, Mom, I had already tried them,” he said as gent...

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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 immediately.  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.  You must 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. My sister, Juanita...

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It was just a tiny, 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 might have been because it represented a rebellion against the norm in our family; girls wore earrings, and guys didn’t.

It could have been the primary 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 with him to tak...

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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.

When parents are worried 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 under their ...

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Take time to enjoy mornings

One morning I was getting the children ready for school. It was the usual busy morning with the kids running around 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 know it was fast. The children were not moving as quickly as I thought they should, making me irritable. As many mothers do, I gave orders left and right.Read More

Going Back to School at 54!

After 30 years of being a nurse, I decided to further my education in teaching. We moved a few blocks from the University of Texas, Pan Am, and I wanted to get a teaching degree.

I was 54, and my brain had to open a folder I had put away long ago. The most challenging class I had to take was Calculus.

I was never very good with numbers. Algebra had 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 injec...

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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 looks 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 many words. Compassion helps and hears in quietness and understanding.

-Author Unknown

There is a difference between symp...

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How Sports Teach Young People To Never Give up

It was the last 45 seconds of the game when suddenly a teammate passed the ball into her hands. A Chest Pass is a two-handed pass from chest to the chest without touching the ground in a basketball game.

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 bas...

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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 repeatedly while we lured these short, hairy insects from their homes in the warm Georgia sand when we were children, using only 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 litt...

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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 could not 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. “The on...

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Happiness is How We Treat Our Families

Think for a moment about 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 talking to them.

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 away from the view of people who admire us?

Recently, I went ...

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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 their second child’s arrival.

“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 s...

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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 recently read a story about a man who bought a brand-new car with an area in the back to accommodate his large, furry dog. Then, not too long after purchasing the car, he had it washed in an upscale, expensive car wash.

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

They restated their policy was to “not vacuum the trunk.” Obv...

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How to Move Forward in Life

Streams are plentiful in East Tennessee. They trickle down the 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 detours arou...

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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 and think, “Oh no, everything is going to go wrong today!” Many people do.

Some people don’t get out of bed or leave their houses all day. Some hotels do not have a 13th floor and streets 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 to the Last...

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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 Fort Worth students 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.

Walking 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 talk.


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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 on your deaf e...

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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 prepare them 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 co...

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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 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 many things...

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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 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 at 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 many ot...

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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 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 casting the line too, but it was his pole, and I figured I would wait for him to ...

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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 was 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 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 medication. I finally got to the point where I reached my goal. Now I’m in Pre-AP (hono...

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Be careful what you wish for

While on a road trip to Alaska, my photo fantasy 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 better to look at you and 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 drove our RV throug...

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Armed Forces Day in May

“Museums are a great way to teach our young people history. They are our future. We have to let them know. Sometimes kids are not receptive to lectures, but coming in here for Kid’s camp, movies, games, and experiencing the reenactments make them walk away with history without even knowing it.” John Houston, founder and Director of the Texas Air Museum in Rio Hondo, Texas.

I attended the first Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Texas Air Museum. It was hot, Texas, hot! We planned to go in, look around, say hello to...

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Looking in the Mirror

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

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

As he left the tent, he came upon another mouse. “Guess what?” he exclaimed. “I’m not ...

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The Power of Touch

It is hard to sleep at night when you are angry with your spouse, especially if you are trying to stay on your side of the bed.

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

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 muscles running from my neck to my shoulde...

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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 holiday to fill the tank, even though the temperature would only 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 and glo...

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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 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 night and cry out to us. Her dad or I would go into her room and turn on the light. Then we would 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 we’ve had with the coronavirus this last year, she had a scare during ...

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Hope and Determination are Important Tools in Life

I had a young friend who needed to write a paper about the most important thing young people need to succeed. It was for an English assignment.

While I was thinking about the answer, she said everyone else had told her the answer was education. I agree that education is essential to success in any person’s life, young or old, but what we must have to reach that goal. It is hope and determination.

Even parents with limited or no formal education can instill the hope and determination to reach for higher goals in th...

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We Are More Than Occupants

I was hoping the plane seat next to me would be empty. But, as I opened my magazine, I thought how comfortable it would be to spread my things out and relax without talking to anyone.

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

She had pulled her hair back in a tight ponytail, and her face looked tired. She already had headphones hanging around her neck, and...

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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, flower shop, bank, minute market, family-owned restaurant, and 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, always zipping around the neighborhood on his red bicycle. Every morning during the summer, he would get dressed, and off he would go for his morning ride. In his travels, he often stopped and talked with our neighbors.

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He That Endures to the End

I could barely distinguish the blurred image of two people moving down the road from a distance. A police car with its headlights on low beam followed close behind them.

All the other runners had completed the 10K run and sat around the outdoor tables 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 beside me said. But they said no; they wanted to finish the run.”

Looking down the road, I could see two people persiste...

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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.

Like most moms, while we were having dinner, 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 Tennesse...

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An Educational Gift for My Children

The older gentleman in the hall outside the classroom was dressed very professionally. He wore a brown tweed jacket, dark brown trousers, a striped shirt, and a sharp-looking tie. His hair was gray, and his glasses made him look very wise. So 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 sat in the middle near the wall just in case I changed my mind and decid...

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