Short Stories

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

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.

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 ...

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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 obvious that she could probably give those same instructions in her sleep, because she had done it so many times. Just like her, I had heard them so often that I didn't even look up from my magazine to see where the exit rows, the float cushion or the oxygen mask was located.

However, something she said caught my attention this time. “In the event of an emergency, the oxygen mask will drop from overhead. Put the ma...

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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 nations veterans.  The sky was 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 brough...

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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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