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.

All The Same, All That Matters

I am working to turn this poem I wrote into a song:

Inside

there is

no offending color

All the same

All that matters

It’s the beating of the heart

the working of the brain

the moving of the blood

All the same, all the same

It’s the Spirit of God

it’s the soul that remains

tell your brother that you love him

give your sister her place

Good night

And a very good Day

when the Lord comes down

and He carries it away

He’ll bring His color

and nothing else will remain

All the same

All that matters

Ephesians 2:14-16


A Seed in the Hand of God

Throughout Spring 2020, I was too concerned about COVID and my health to walk into the local gardening center. I ached for the day when I could roam the crowded and too narrow aisles once more. Never again would I complain about the long lines. And when I finally did go in for my Spring shopping spree a few months ago, I didn’t have a single thought of discontent. Though no one could tell, I was smiling behind my mask as I swiped my card through the machine because I purchased more items than were on my list, as usual.

Gardening is my special pleasure.

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But Now She Sees

I had the privilege of singing “Amazing Grace” this afternoon at the memorial service for a dear woman and longtime member of my church. Rosemary was 97 when she died. Her losses of hearing and sight began when she was in her fifties.

To end the hymn, I planned to repeat the first verse, the last line being “Was blind but now I see” — a reference to the author’s spiritual change after becoming a Christian.

But it turns out that God wanted something different. For when it came time for me to sing that last line, the words we all heard instead were — through no prior thought of my own — “She was blind, but now she sees.”

My voice shook and tears fell as I sang those words directly to Sue, Rosemary’s daughter, from whom I sensed a beautiful peace. I cannot adequately describe this precious moment, but I hope you get at least some idea from what I write here.

Rosemary sees. After 40 years. Now. In heaven gazing clearly at her God with love and awe.

I tell you, there is no greater joy for me than singing the Truth.