September Story of the Month: Telling Stories

During my childhood, it got to the point where my sweet relationship with my mother was broken due to her bad choices. I never stopped loving her, but, unfortunately, things with us were never again the same. She died 22 years ago, shortly after her 68th birthday (September 20). Questions I had for her were never answered. Apologies I craved from her were never received. 

How did I deal with that loss? Terribly, at first. Talk about bad choices! I tried to replace that hole in my heart with a variety of temporal and unhealthy solutions. It wasn’t until my heart was filled with the love of God, through my faith in Jesus Christ, that I stopped focusing on my personal loss and started thinking about Mom and all she had experienced. I forgave her. I began to write stories fueled by my imagination, hope, newfound knowledge, remembrance of the good times, and a desire to keep God’s commandment to honor my mother.

Like this one. I imagined Mom in her current state of eternal life with God, listening to others tell their stories — theologically incorrect, I’m sure, but that was not my goal here.

This was: To hear her give to me the apology that I never received.

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A Dream: Indestructible

Most of the time my dreams are made up of disconnected scenes that don’t make sense and weird, sometimes scary, situations. I usually wake up and (1) am thankful that it was just a dream, and (2) wonder about those people in my dream whom I’ve never met. Fascinating. This dream “stars” my brother and me, and is another quirky one. This time, though, most of it had a meaning that was clear and wonderful to me.


The car would not start, and they were in the middle of a street that was full of men and women walking in all directions.

He tried again, but he only heard the click-click sound. So they stepped out.

People grabbed at them, saying, “I’m ready” and “Take me.”

Then, they were at her home. The sky was gray. So was the house and their skin.

They walked through the gate and saw bundles of branches on the ground. The bundles covered the lawn, all stacked three-high, neat and twined.

A path, cut deep and wide and colored black, led them to the side yard where the lavender flowers grew. She lingered there while he moved ahead.

He stopped. “Lightning!” He turned to look at her.

She went to his side and saw it, too. There, where the path ended.

The tree.

Its trunk had burst. The remaining branches were daggers, ugly and short, with splintered bark. The fruit that remained were scorched in shades of brown — except for one, untouched, a bright yellow.

“When did it happen?”

“Don’t know. It rained yesterday.”

“Did you hear it?”

“No.”

Then, a rustling sound.

They saw a book. It was thrust through from the back to the front by a branch of the tree. Its pages fluttered with a strong wind but did not tear.

They moved close to the book. It held strong on the branch, despite the wind and the wound.

Holy Bible, the cover read.

They stared at the book as it hung there. They did not speak.

Then, they walked on, past the book, past the broken tree, and into the street where the people called their names.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

Image from augustachronicle.com. Rare bibles on display at the Christian Heritage Museum in Maryland.

I Collect Old Books: Pilgrim’s Progress

A book written in 1678, gifted to a person in 1900 (handwritten note inside), and treasured by me in 2021. Oh, to write a story as long-lasting as this!

Click here for an online text of the book (via desiringgod.org ) that also shares information about Bunyan’s life and the things that make the story a literary masterpiece.

August Story of the Month: The Long Walk Home

As I drove through one of my childhood neighborhoods, I was surprised to find Hoit Gardens only four blocks from Milpas Street, the main street on the east side of my hometown. As a child, I thought it took for-e-ver to walk to Milpas from our house.

Driving those few blocks brought back a poignant memory.


Hoit Gardens. I’m not sure who or what Hoit was, but that was the name given to the newly-built housing occupied by welfare recipients; public housing provided by the city’s Housing Authority. It was 1969 or ’70 when I, Mom, Dad, and five siblings first moved into a four-bedroom, two-bath, two-story duplex that we rented and paid for with the monthly welfare check. Nine other families did the same.

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July Has Ended and There Was No Story of the Month?

One of my monthly writing goals is to share a story with a theme that corresponds with that particular month. Well, today is July 31, and, though I tried to make the goal, you will not find a July Story of the Month posted on my website — but for a good reason!

I began my July story right after Juneteenth, imagining a newly-freed young woman and her reaction to the news. I decided to use the first name of one of my ancestors, who was born in 1845. Our family records list her without a last name.

My tentative title is “Tell Her About Freedom,” a theme in line with the Fourth of July holiday that we celebrate in the United States.

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I Met an Angry Lady at the Check-out Line Today

Happy Anniversary, Angry Lady! Five years ago this month (July 2016), I posted on my previous website an encounter I had at a grocery store that became the most popular story that I have ever shared. The story took several weeks for me to write, so the original readers received the story in three parts. Here is the full story in one post.

Fran the Angry Lady. I met her at the check-out line. We had a conversation. This is our story.


Part One: Darla Overhears an Angry Lady at the Von’s Check-out Line

When I arrived at the mall, I found a parking spot close to the grocery store, a feat which confirmed this truly was a glorious, work-free, weekday morning.

I entered the store and worked my way down the aisles. A bag of cat litter. A jug of water. A pack of gum. Done. I pushed my cart towards the “Express” check-out. There must have been ten people waiting.

So I steered my cart to Checkstand Four, which had one person waiting. Much better.

The woman in line had a full basket, so I prepared for the wait. I opened my purse to get my phone, but the words I was hearing distracted me. Angry words from an Angry Lady.

A Super-Loud-With-Her-Angry-Words Lady.

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Hymn: How Can I Keep From Singing?

My life flows on in endless song;

Above earth’s lamentation,

I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn

That hails a new creation

Through all the tumult and the strife,

I hear that music ringing

It finds an echo in my soul

How can I keep from singing?


What though my joys and comforts die?

I know my Savior liveth

What though the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that refuge clinging

Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth

How can I keep from singing?


I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin

I see the blue above it

And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it,

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart

A fountain ever springing

All things are mine since I am his

How can I keep from singing?


Such beautiful words, and all so true in my experience. As far as I can tell, no historian has found the original author of these words, but Robert Wadsworth Lowry put them to music in 1869. You can hear Kristen Getty sing this hymn in her lovely way by clicking here.