You’ve got to Write those Stories Down

JoelMontes / Foter / CC BY-SA

Every parent wants their children to thrive among the best and brightest, and I was no different. But for my children to become their best, I knew they needed healthy minds and bodies. Nurturing their bodies was easy, but stimulating their minds was another story. I remember searching through multiple books looking for crafts, art projects and any other possible idea that would be fun and build their creativity. One of the best ideas I found was to tell “on-the-spot” stories from scratch. My children immediately loved this story time, not only because of the stories themselves, but because they gave me the beginning scenario. They would feed me a sentence or two and I would go from there.

When my youngest son began attending kindergarten, I began substituting at their school. One of the first classes I subbed in was my eldest son’s class, and apparently he had informed his peers that his mother told awesome stories because they immediately began begging for me to tell one. Being a bit leery about handling discipline issues in a school setting, I answered, “Okay. I’ll tell you a story, but only if everyone behaves themselves and after all assignments are completed for the day.”

What a remarkable bribery tool! There was not one discipline issue—which is unheard of for a beginning substitute—and all assignments were completed about forty minutes before the final bell rang. I remember gathering them around and then asking my son (because he was familiar with the process) to give me the opening sentence or two.

Word spread quickly and every class I substituted for requested a story. In just a few weeks the teachers, as well as some parents, were asking where they could purchase the book containing these stories. The kids had apparently retold them to their teachers and parents. When I explained that these stories could not be found in books, the normal response was, “Then you’ve got to write them down.”

. . . and that’s how The Heavenly Host Series began.

The Heavenly Host Series is available through Amazon. Book 1 is Jake and the Heavenly Host; Book 2 is Adventure in the Rockies; Book 3 is Terror in the Rockie; Book 4 (available in a few weeks) is The Secret Cave . . . with more on the way.

How To Reject Discouragement

Everyone faces discouragement at some time in their lives . . . You’re not alone!

It's Hard to Drain the Swamp When Yer up to Yer Ears in Alligators!

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Did I hear the headmaster’s words correctly? Was I really being laid off? My head was swimming with confusion. For the past seven years I had poured my heart and soul into teaching the Bible to these high school students. It had become my life’s passion. Yet now, because of the economy, my contract was not being renewed. In a way, I did understand. No high school Bible teacher had ever stayed more than two years, so my salary was far more than MJCA was used to paying. The other high school Bible teacher was fairly new, his wife was an excellent teacher in the elementary department, and he was paying for two children to attend. Economically speaking, not renewing my contract was the better of the choices. Yet when the headmaster began to hint at the possibility of me causing trouble because of my release, I was more than…

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The Howling Noise Grew Closer

dr.snitch / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Shivering, Misty dipped her bloody paws into the icy cold water. The soothing, frigid liquid seemed to lessen her pain. How she wished it would lessen the throbbing in her side, the throbbing that came with the loud ringing noise from the farmhouse. If only she could have caught one of those big birds before the loud noise banged and the piercing thud threw her to the ground. Perhaps then, with a full stomach, the worsening pain in her side wouldn’t seem so bad.

Everything was so confusing. She stuck her nose in the air and sniffed. No, she could no longer catch the scent of the squawking birds. Oh well, why dream about something you can’t have? She backed out of the icy creek water and glanced around the immediate area. For the first time in her life she was alone . . . truly alone. She cocked her head to one side and carefully listened. The sound of the howling coyotes was gone. Perhaps they hadn’t seen her after all. Perhaps they hadn’t smelled the blood from the wound in her side. She limped over to a small scrub and worked her body beneath it. After trying to lick the wound clean, she decided she would rest only long enough to catch her breath and then she would again be on her way. How she wanted to be home . . . to see Pa and Ma. She was so tired . . . so cold and so tired. She lay her head down to rest and . . .

Suddenly, it was morning. Pa and Ma were sad. She wasn’t sure why, but they were concerned about something. She made her way around the boxes that had recently begun gathering in the living room. Charlie, her brother, was sad too. He had sensed it also. It floated through the air like a heavy mist, a mist not visible to the naked eye. “We have to,” she heard Pa say. “No,” Ma argued. “We just can’t. It wouldn’t be humane. If they don’t find a home, they’ll put them down.”

“What else are we to do?” Pa snapped. Tears filled Ma’s eyes. “I don’t know,” she again argued. “Surely there’s a farmer somewhere who would adopt them. They’re good dogs. None of our friends can take them, but they deserve to have a chance at life. It would be so wrong to just put them down!” Misty wasn’t sure what “put them down” meant, but she didn’t like the sadness or anger in Ma’s voice when she said those words.

“Maybe,” Pa finally agreed. Ma kept packing dishes into the box on the table, but Pa left the room. When he returned his whole countenance had changed, yet there was still hesitancy in his step. “Hey, Little Lady,” he greeted, bending down and petting Misty on the head. How about if we go for a ride? “Ride!” Misty’s tail began to wag with excitement. That was one word she knew very well. Charlie began whimpering. “Don’t worry, Little Buddy,” Pa added. “You’re going too. Whatever happens, you two won’t be alone.”

“Are you sure?” Ma whispered. “If we’re not going to take them to a shelter, what other choice do we have?” Ma didn’t respond to Pa’s question, although she did give both Charlie and Misty a long, squeezing hug.

The mouse jumped. Misty bounded after it. Her side hurt with the pain of hunger. Three days had passed since her last real meal—unless you count the small snake-like creature with legs that was hardly more than a gulp. Suddenly, she poked her ears up and listened. What was that noise? Yelping? Was that Charlie yelping? Forgetting the mouse, Misty darted toward the sound of Charlie’s screaming. She couldn’t lose him! He was all she had left.

Misty’s heart pounded as she jerked herself awoke from her accidental sleep. In fear, her eyes darted to and fro. Where was she? Where was Charlie? Where were Ma and Pa? Why was she hearing that howling noise in the distance—the kind that meant predators were closing in on their prey? Suddenly, she remembered. It wasn’t a park or playground or camping area that Pa took her and Charlie on a ride to—it was nowhere. Pa had dropped them off in the middle of nowhere. Panic set in as Misty scrambled from beneath the scrub and darted away from the howling predators. She had seen Charlie’s fate from a distance. If she were caught, she could expect the same outcome. She ran as fast as she could . . . yet the howling sound grew closer.

Yes, I do realize that I have given human traits to animals, but the message remains the same. People are constantly dropping animals off in rural areas of the country for one reason or another. I guess they expect farmers to adopt these animals, but that very rarely happens. Usually, the animal ends up starving to death, being shot for chasing horses or cattle, or being ripped apart by coyotes. Occasionally, these stray dogs form packs and attack animals and humans alike. There are other options. Please, if you are unable to continue caring for your pet, check with animal shelters or the Humane Society for other options. Otherwise, they will most likely perish by unthinkable means.