Posts in Small Stories
Fragrant Words

There is a woman in my neighborhood who has homemade signs in her front yard. I don’t know her, but her signs speak volumes to me. Her signs are colorful and hand-lettered. She displays a popular slogan against a political candidate and carefully letters out an acrostic of negative name-calling. When I walk our borrowed dog past her house it makes me sad to see such ugly sentiments permanently on display, marking her space.

This is my own struggle lately. Harsh and judgmental words. 

Almost every morning I awake with my own words that I spoke carelessly the day before haunting me.

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Dancing in the Moonlight

I watched her, gorgeous and tall in her ivory jumpsuit, four-inch heels with ankle-straps, brown hair flowing almost in slow motion. Unbridled joy filled her face as she danced within the circle of teenagers, the music from the wedding DJ lifting the dancers as they clapped and spun in circles, faces and arms lifted high.

 Occasionally her husband would face her, pumping arms to the beat, before moving off to dance alongside others. 

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And the Rain Will Fall…

I wake this morning to the sound of gentle rain falling on my roof, and outside my windows. It is a gentle rain.

I wander through the house, cup of coffee in hand, looking out through discs of water clinging to glass, and beyond to the pine-straw dark and rich with moisture, the bamboo bowing down gracefully under its new weight. Rain. I am thankful for its arrival. But after three days, I will be happy for the skies to clear and the sun to shine again.

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The invitation.

The chance to respond.

What if it was never given?

What if the question was never asked? 

“Do you want to accept Jesus into your heart as your Savior?”

And I said, 

palms sweating against the back of the wooden pew in front of me,

knees shaking and legs like jelly,

pushing past my cousins lined up beside me,


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Squishing God into a Small Box

We like to keep God small and manageable. We may visit Him on Sundays from eleven until noon. We may look up into the night sky and exclaim His wonders. We may talk to Him when a friend has had a heart attack or our children are late arriving home. But we like to keep him contained. Not too big. Not too out of control.

We forget that the shepherd David was also outlaw and warrior before becoming king over a divided nation. He saw God larger than life. And he wrote love songs to Him. 

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Dying Flowers and The Water of Life

The sun was already high in the sky as we took off for our neighborhood walk. My niece, my daughter, her baby in the stroller, and me. The neighborhood is hilly, the streets are winding with no sidewalks, so we walk in the street, at a leisurely pace in our leggings and athletic shoes. Pretending to get exercise. Mainly to talk women-talk and share our lives.

It is on the crest of a dangerous hill, where cars cannot see us because of the steep approach and the sharp descent that we pause near the driveway of a 1960’s once-modern house. Deep down its wooded slope, the shell of the house is undergoing extensive rebuilding after a kitchen fire. Construction rubble, charred framing, a trash dumpster. My daughter reaches down and picks up a small handful of wilting flowers. 

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Death Has Lost Its Sting

‘Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take’

Did you learn this bedtime prayer as a child? I think I must have. By the time my kids came along I was long gone from church and all its practices and I thought this was the most morbid prayer you could ever teach a child! 

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God is Your Neighbor: He Just Doesn’t Look Like You Thought

I have the awkward privilege of caring about Michael. It is a strange friendship that always needs explaining. I have become his voice to bankers and detectives, lawyers and prison wardens. It is not something I care to do in my spare time. And I can’t see how it will possibly have a happy ending. But here we go.

 It started with a story. It always does, doesn’t it? You know the story; the one of the school shooter, who slipped in the front door of an elementary school with an AK-47 and a backpack full of ammunition and by the grace of God was talked into laying that gun down as helicopters circled overhead and swat teams reloaded their rifles. School shooters never live to tell their tale. Michael did. So someone needed to talk to him. That would be me.

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Salted Watermelon, Wrong Monograms, and Different Versions of the Same Story

My momma said she didn’t know why I liked my watermelon with salt on it. I thought it was our family thing… “Lord, no. I don’t know where you got that.”

 I dig around in my memory and realize whenever watermelon was involved, it came through the backyard balanced on the shoulder of Woodrow Bolding and was promptly placed in the pool to chill (that tells you a little bit about the temperature of that water). Later it was sliced length-wise into wedges and if you wanted, there were knives to cut your slice into little cubes of red juicy goodness and the tin salt shaker. 

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Slow Motion, Soft Focus

I wonder if it is my metabolism… my heart rate… my extreme ‘southerness’. Or is it something so hardwired into me before I was born that will never be anything other than what it is?

I dilly-dally. I linger. I reread paragraphs in books because I want to soak up one more time the loveliness of the words. 

I eat slowly and slice my portions into tiny bits to make each taste last longer. And then there is the conversation – it can go on for hours, can’t it? My poor son-in-law has not figured out yet that coming over for dinner is a long, slow-moving affair. Or maybe he has…

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The Wonderful Smallest Things

The sun is stretching high into the sky, its light blinding and high already on this summer morning. White particles of dust float around me, reflecting the light as they dance between me and the dark leaves of the magnolias.

But looking longer, I realize they are not dust, but the tiniest flying insects, gifting me with morning entertainment.

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Carry One Another

The text comes in at 7AM. “Surgery today. Please pray.” 

My nephew’s wife stood hard and fast onto her brake, trying to stop her car as the car from the opposing direction decided suddenly to turn left into her path. The children in the back seat were okay. Her foot was broken like the egg in the nursery rhyme and the doctors didn’t seem to know how to put it back together again. Small town in Mississippi. Eleven days. Three surgeries. And the pain continues.

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We Worship a Scarred God

Lord, I do not even know how you have protected me. I am oblivious. Blind. Naïve. You gave us such limited sight and such hemmed in awareness.

We go through our days putting our hands on what is within arms-reach – completely unaware of the angel standing guard over us, sword drawn, eyes watchful.

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Watching the Playback

 In my world of film and video, we have something called ‘playback’. After the “Roll camera,” “Speed,” “Action,” and “Cut,” the director can say, “I want to look at playback before we move on to the next scene.”

And the video assist technician, the script person, the client and agency, and director will gather around the video monitor to watch the favorite takes ‘play back’. Heads will nod in agreement. Or occasionally we will decide we need one more take with some minor adjustment.

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But You Picked Me…

The sand would be cold in the morning, as I slipped my feet out of my flip-flops. The sky and the water and the sand blending together in shades of pale gray blue, waiting for the soon to rise sun to pierce through the darkness and bring it’s aquas and turquoises and brilliant shocking blues trailing behind it.

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Slipping into Her Skin

My friend Ann introduced me to Glyn Evan’s Daily with the King and most mornings as I read through the devotional for the day, some sentence he wrote will cut through my complacent spirit to find its mark. Here it is this morning: 

“Is there any greater sensitivity to human need than ‘God so loved the world’? The tragedy is that often we become harder toward people as we walk with God. If so, something is terribly amiss.”

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Pools and Baptismals

Daddy built the pool when I was 18 months old. I am told when they opened it that both Kathy and Meadors learned how to swim that day. They, and every other kid in the family had stayed in that cold water all day long, and when our parents took their orange life jackets off, they both could swim.

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