Poems and Short Stories to Live By
Just in time for Christmas, a collection of inspirational poems and short stories
Find inspiration for our hectic times in these straight-forward poems for happy and sad days.
Find history, warmth and a touch of the paranormal in three stories.
Getting the Goat peeks into the early 1900's when mountain life was tough. Does Mama's advice hold true today?
In Stitches in Love Rose's deep love for her grandmother motivates others to share their gifts. Does Rose reap her reward?
Robert Horner is tempted in The Stranger, but does he succumb to the lure?
Print copies coming soon!
Excerpt from the Poems
"...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew: 22: 37 - 39
uncovers a sharp, ugly snare
snarling, like a grizzly bear.
Reluctantly we confess
we’re in a forest of distress
where, hopes, like leaves
have fallen off the trees.
Winter icicles we see
hanging on a barren tree.
Life seems hard and cold,
and we feel very old.
How our life has past.
"Where did it go?" we ask.
Then like miracles untold,
new joys unfold.
Love brings blossoms of spring.
The forest begins to sing.
bear new leaves.
With promise, our heart dances,
and our soul no longer grieves.
Looking up, toward the sun,
we say, “My, my life’s just begun.”
Excerpt from Stitches in Love
"Hi. I'm home for the whole month of June. I'm coming to visit you every day."
Grandma Jackie lifted her head ever so slightly toward Rose, but she didn't utter a word, and no signs of life flickered in her eyes.
Rose stood and weakness swept over her like a hurricane coming ashore. She let herself out and locked the door with the key Grandma Jackie had given her seven years ago—the year Rose had turned sixteen. Sobs erupted from the depths of her soul as she slipped into her two-door coupe and drove to 143 Broadway.
Within minutes she walked toward the white-columned two-story home while she bent double holding her stomach. It was a hot, dry day in Springdale, Georgia. No breeze stirred, and the humidity as high as a kite. Air conditioning caressed Rose's face when she opened the front door. Clearing the foyer, she hurried up the oak staircase to her room. Tears flooding her eyes blurred the flowers on the pink and green comforter as she stepped to it and fell face-down on the bed.
Amy, Rose's mama, had called last week about Grandma Jackie's health. Rose could hear her distressed words now.
"Mama hasn't been the same since Dad died. She's been slipping away little by little. The doctors say nothing is wrong other than high blood pressure and cholesterol, but she's just not herself I've hired Miz Mary Clark, a local caretaker, to come during the day to make sure she takes her medicine and to tend to her personal needs."
That's why Rose had come home to see Grandma Jackie. It was worse than she had suspected. There must be something someone could do. She sat up and wiped her cheeks. What if she picked the peaches off the tree and told Grandma Jackie to make a pie? No. The last time Rose talked to Grandma Jackie on the phone she'd told Rose cooking at the homeless shelter wore her out.
Doing things for others pleased Grandma Jackie, but maybe she'd reached a time when she needed others to do something for her. What? She liked to read, but that wouldn't make her want to live. Sweat popped out on Rose's forehead. What did Grandma Jackie love enough to get up and do every day?
Excerpt from Getting the Goat
What was wrong with this animal? Why did Father think he could handle her? His heart pounded as he stood. He raced after the unruly creature, blood flowing from a cut on his leg. She ran in a circle, Norman behind her panting until she halted and let him clutch the leash hanging by her side.
He led her to the tree, secured her, and brushed off his hands. Anger at the goat for her meanness festered inside him, but ire in the boy who wanted to be a man boiled over because she'd gotten the better of him. He hurried to the house and charged inside.
"Mother, look what the goat did."
His mother's eyes filled with compassion. "Sit down." She guided him to a straight back chair at the wooden kitchen table, grabbed a cloth, cleaned his wound and applied iodine. "I'm sorry. Leave the chore for today and try again tomorrow after school."
Norman gasped. "You want me to go back?"
Eleanor hugged him. "If you don't graze the goat, she won't eat, and we won't have milk. We must all do our part while Father's sharing the Gospel."
Norman knew better than to argue. He gritted his teeth. Why did they have to suffer to hold body and soul together on the side of this...what had his grandmother called it? This desolate mountain so Father could save heathens in the hills?
Eleanor patted his shoulder. "You'll feel better tomorrow."
Excerpt from The Stranger
Stress shot through every muscle in Robert's body. "That's ridiculous, Mac. No one turns down money."
"I've been perfecting the design of these nails for years. I painted the tops to keep them separate from my regular supply." He picked up a nail and rolled it around in his hand. "I'm going to market these. Then you can have some for exactly what it costs to manufacture them."
Sweat popped out on Robert's forehead. "What's so unusual about them?"
Mac raised his dark, thick eyebrows. "I'll tell you and everyone else after my final test on Monday."
Robert tried to sound pitiful. "I need to put them in an old green table."
Mac laid down the nail and lifted a small box off the shelf. "Paint the tops of these nails." He handed them to Robert. "You can have them. The box is nearly empty."
"I'll give you a thousand dollars for the green-tipped nails."
Mac's mouth gaped. "I should make quite a bit of money if they stand up to my test, but I can't imagine why you'd want to pay so much."
"This is instant cash. Think it over, and I'll call later." Robert trudged through the sawdust on the floor and left, wringing his hands. His anger over Mac's refusal pounded in his temples. If Mac rejected his offer again when he called, he'd up his price to two thousand."
Fresh air whipped around him, cooling his ire, un-jumbling the thoughts popping around in his head like popcorn. "Hmm. Maybe there was something else he could do. Mac told him to take those other nails. He could paint them, but that creepy stranger probably would know the difference. He'd take the green-tipped nails. Yeah. He had a right to make a living.
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