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Soul Searching in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Survive

The Grand Canyon National Park is filled with beautiful open spaces between the canyons. It is one of God’s great blessings to be able to observe the natural beauty of this place. The blue, orange, pink, and brown hues grow deeper as the sun moves throughout the canyon during the day. It provides a canvas to explore and discover new things within our souls.

It is difficult to imagine that the Colorado River carved this canyon. The river appears so small in the vastness of the crevices of the canyon. There are many places in the Grand Canyon to park or hike that are quiet and serene. It is easy to listen to God and search within your soul for answers to some of life’s questions.

It was a curious time in my life. I had a job that provided a comfortable income but no real challenges. Each day it was a chore to get out of bed and go to work with a positive attitude. I felt like a trapped animal unable to move on.

The relationships in my life were also a drama. Everything was always in turmoil as the people around me were content to argue and perpetuate bitterness and hatred. It was taxing just to get out of bed and deal with life.

The people surrounding me were miserable. They had substance abuse issues and were unwilling to seek help. Manipulation ruled their lives and had a profound effect on mine. It was not a joyous time in my life.

Change is a difficult thing. When we are familiar with everything in our lives there is a strange sense of contentment. We believe that everyone in our lives is essential to survival no matter what the cost.

One morning while visiting the canyon we parked the truck and walked out onto one of the canyons to observe the surrounding area. After a few minutes I decided to sit and absorb all of the beauty surrounding me. It had been a difficult year filled with decisions and this seemed the appropriate place to sort out my feelings about life.

I slowly relaxed as the sun and the morning coolness surrounded me. Taking deep breaths it felt like I was becoming a part of the canyon. The sounds of nature were clear and in harmony. There were a few birds rustling the bushes in searching for food. A whistling sound in the wind was harmonic as it cascaded across the canyon.

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The issues that had been bothering me melted away and seemed small in comparison to the world now surrounding me. For a brief moment it was just me sitting on this canyon. Living in that moment was a freeing experience.

I meditated on this canyon for a while praying to God for answers on how to go forward in life. In the silence I had a revelation and now the answer was clear. It was time to move on.

Standing up I took one last look at the vastness of the canyon. The blue, orange, red, and purple hues appeared to be sparkling in the reflection of the afternoon sun. Walking back to the truck I felt more alive than I had in a long time.

It was now time to return home and put into action the revelations that I had on the overlook of that canyon. Change was still frightening but now there was a renewed sense of purpose in my life.

I had decided that the best course of action was to leave the world which had been my home for many years. It took some research but I found a new city filled with nature and all the things that I enjoyed. It was time to move on and create some new dreams.

Finding a job in a new city was not as difficult as I had imagined. There is an abundance of opportunity if you are willing to search for it. The new job promised to be challenging and provided opportunities for advancement.

I moved to a new apartment and began the process of searching for a new group of friends. Talking to all the people I came into contact with provided a network of people with similar interests. It was not long before this network became like a family to me.

Many years have passed since that day on top of the canyon. Leaving all the friends that I had ever known was difficult but worth the journey. There have been many adventures and life is joyful. My soul is nourished daily with the love and companionship of my husband and friends. I have no regrets and each day thank God for his guidance and blessings. I survived that season of my life.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Totem Poles: An Adventure in Culture and Remberance

AlaskaI got off the cruise ship and admired the landscape surrounding the dock. This was one of the last stops on this Alaskan adventure. Everything is so beautiful here and different from Mississippi.

The small town was directly off the dock and had a unique architecture to the buildings. They were two stories and made of wood with brightly colored exteriors. Each shop had its own unique goods to sell. The buildings fit in perfectly with the mountains in the backdrop.

I adjusted my coat and hat as we entered the small boat for the tour. It is cold in Alaska this May morning with a bit of a biting wind. The boat is going to take us on a tour of an old fish factory, a rain forest, and a totem pole village. This was going to be an exciting day.

The fishing factory had provided employment and food to the people of this Alaskan island for many years. I was impressed how the people of this cold land took advantage of the natural resources surrounding them. The factory had been closed for many years and now it was a museum. The history and resilience of the people in Alaska is fascinating.

The last stop on this tour is a totem pole village. It is a wonderful site to behold. In a circle are very large totem poles. They are extremely colorful and are beautiful in their tall structure.

The native Alaskans believe that everything comes from Mother Earth. They do not tear any structure down but allow Mother Earth to retake it. There are many old abandoned buildings falling down on this island. They will continue to deteriorate until Mother Earth completely recycles them back into the soil.

This deterioration is a wonderful example of the symbiotic relationship the people have with the land. Each thing taken from the land is returned and nourishes the environment. The same principle is true of the totem poles.

The native Alaskans used the totem poles as an impression of their culture. The totem poles are constructed out of wood and have elaborate carvings in the wood. The colorful carvings represent different parts of the belief system of the people.

There are times when a deceased person’s remains are inserted into the totem pole. The pole serves as a representation of that person’s life. Each event in that person’s life is represented by a carving. It is an interesting testament to life.

While viewing some of the totem poles I pondered at how our lives would be depicted if this was a common practice. Would our lives be depicted as a positive influence filled with love and joy or would the totem poles reflect our negatives influences such as hatred and bitterness? It is an interesting question for each of us to answer.

Each totem pole has a series of carvings on them that represent parts of the culture. The Alaskan totem poles have carvings of animals in them. Many believe that these animals will guide their deceased loved ones to the spiritual world.

Other totem poles have carvings that represent a certain part of a family’s heritage. Each impression is used to express what is important to be passed on to future generations. This is a wonderful legacy.

The totem poles remain until Mother Earth reclaims them. The totem pole deteriorates and returns to the soil where it provides nourishment. This is a continuance of the cycle of life.

Before leaving the totem pole village we visit the gift shop. I find a small totem pole that has been carved by the native Alaskan people. It is small and has beautiful vibrant colors. There is a small card attached that indicates the artist. I wonder what the artist had wanted to express about his life in this small carving.

We return to the tour bus and proceed back to town. We are instructed to look out the windows of  the bus while passing over a bridge. There is a bear gathering and eating salmon from the creek. This is a common occurrence as people and animals live in harmony in this community.

While standing in the cold biting wind waiting to get back on the cruise ship I look at my small totem pole and reflect on the impression the tour has made on me. From this time forward I will try to fill my life with positive influences. Perhaps if a totem pole was erected as my grave marker it would reflect a life of service to others.

Finally we enter the cruise ship and it is warm again. I am blessed to have been on this tour and my soul is nourished. The totem poles have made a wonderful impression on me.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Reblog: https://writingforme1961.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/what-we-really-need/

I’ve been watching TV, ok I’ve been mesmerized by Netflix. Instead of looking for what is new, I’ve been watching older shows. I’ve seen all the Twilight Zones from the 1960’s over the years until I have them memorized, so I started with Night Gallery which ran in the 1970’s (that I actually remember as […]

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Geysers: A Life Lesson from Nature

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It was a cool summer morning in the mountains of Wyoming. We gathered our things and headed to the car. This day we were going to be catapulted into the adventures of Yellowstone National Park.

We were staying in Cody, Wyoming which is a small town that is about forty-five minutes from the park entrance. It is a beautiful town with old buildings that feature a wild west type of architecture.

Driving along the highway there are large rocks surrounding us absorbing the early morning sun. The rocks are covered in orange, pink and dark purple hues that are reflecting in the sunlight. God has provided us these beautiful canvases to observe on our way to the park.

After entering the park we stopped at the visitor’s center and planned our day. The visitor’s center is surrounded by huge dark green trees and some wildflowers. The brilliant yellow and white colors of the flowers are vibrant. There is a small breeze blowing through the trees reflecting rays of sunshine from above.

The first stop this morning is the geyser region. Old Faithful is a geyser that has been erupting at a fairly consistent time for many years. We approach the visitor’s center at the geyser region and check the schedule. There is about ten minutes before the anticipated eruption so we find a seat along the wooded path to observe.

People are gathering to watch the geyser erupt. The stands are full as the geyser begins to erupt. It is a fascinating sight to watch the hot water being catapulted into the air. Beginning with a small ripple of water anticipation grows as the water continues to build into the air. Hot water is hurled approximately twenty feet into the air for a few minutes and then slowing sinks back into the ground. It is a wonderful site to observe. Nature is beautiful in its displays of drama.

After the eruption ends the crowd scatters to explore the geyser area and other parts of the park. We gather our things and begin to walk the wooded paths around the remaining geysers. I am in awe of the natural beauty of this national park and begin to wonder the lesson that these geysers teach us about life.

Geysers are unpredictable in their eruptions. The same principle applies in life. We never know when the next crisis will occur. Our lives will be calm and all will seem to be going as planned.

Then a crisis will occur and we will have to deal with an issue. The issue may seem small in the beginning. If the issue is dealt with then life can proceed without drama. However there are times when the small issues of life begin to build. We allow them to heat up within us and stretch into all parts of our lives.

Like geysers these small issues continue to build up inside of us until we can no longer hold all of our emotions inside. Then there is a huge eruption. Our emotions explode and come to the surface in a grand fashion.

There may be anger associated with these emotions and cause violence in our lives. Some people express these emotions by causing  harm to other people.  This may take on the form of mental or physical abuse. The eruption is dangerous and there are no easy answers to its resolution.

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After the eruption there is a time of calm again as we resume our lives. The eruption may have only been temporary like a tantrum from a small child. When the issue is resolved life will return to normal. We learn to head off the next eruption by learning how to cope with life’s issues.

Other eruptions occur on fairly regular schedule like Old Faithful. They consume us and  our emotions erupt each time something does not go our way in life. These are challenges for us to find a permanent resolution in life.

Such challenges may take the form of homelessness or consistent unemployment throughout life. These are difficult issues and are not easily resolved. They may require the help of trained professionals to guide those affected to resolution.

It is time to leave the geyser area and explore other parts of the park. We watch Old Faithful erupt one last time before moving on. It is inspiring to watch the geyser send the water up into the sky. The water recedes back into the ground the same as our issues in life. I am grateful that we have the opportunity to solve life’s issues and can learn from the beauty of nature.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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The Adventure of Living an Intentional Life

fallen limb in reservoir outlook march 31

The morning was cold and the rain was coming down in sheets. I had been in this new city for about a month and my life was adrift. Gathering my things and heading out to work it seemed as though the weather was a reflection of my life at this moment.

It had begun as an exciting adventure with high expectations. After graduating from nursing school there had been a job offer in a city far from home. It would be my first time to live so far away from family and friends. The new city seemed to offer everything that home lacked.

The loneliness had set in about two weeks into my new adventure. There was a lot to do in this new city but no one to share the experience with. Getting out of my car at the hospital I was pondering on how to solve this dilemma. The wind was pulling at my umbrella this morning as a car splashed water on me as I crossed the street. The parking lot was across the street from the hospital. At the time solving the issue of loneliness in this new city seemed out of reach.

It is an enlightening experience caring for people who are ill. When taken into perspective I realized that everyone has an issue and there are solutions to life’s problems. This is the point where I decided to explore the city and make new friends by living intentionally.

Intentional living is exploring life by doing things with a purpose. There was a reason that this new city was appealing to me. It had beautiful mountains with trails to hike and rivers with rapids to kayak. There were beautiful sunrises and sunsets to observe. There were music venues that featured up and coming artists. It was a city filled with life.

I began my intentional living by attempting to make new friends. People are really quite friendly when asked about their interests. It was not long before I found a few people with interests similar to mine.

The next weekend I met a few people at a local river where kayaking was popular. The river sparkled in the morning sun and the morning was cool. It was not long before we were laughing and exchanging stories of the river. At noon it was time to stop and have lunch. We had packed coolers filled with food and found some shady spots among the trees to picnic.

pelahatchie bay river 1 april 12

One of our conversations was discussing how lonely it was to be in a new place. Many of the people with me were travel nurses who changed locations every three months. They commented that living intentionally was a great way to fully experience the adventures of a new city.

In each new city they would choose the activities that interested them. Then plans would be made to do each of these things. They would not be adrift because everything would serve a purpose. This made each new adventure fun and exciting.

We finished our lunch and began to kayak down the river once again. The temperature had risen and the cool river water felt wonderful. Going over the rapids increased the joy in this trip. Soon we were back at our starting point and everyone headed home. It was a wonderful day.

Back at my apartment I began to apply intentional living to other parts of my life. Exploring the history of this city was important to me so I began to visit the local museums. At each museum there was usually someone from the area who would explain the local traditions. It is easy to find friendly people in most places if you take the time to ask people about their surroundings.

I also began to apply intentional living to my finances. The new city was expensive and I had wondered how to make ends meet. My new job paid well but there are times when my wants did not meet the budget. By living intentionally I was able to do everything that was truly important to me. Letting go of the small things enabled me to have an adventure and save money.

After two months in the new city I was not adrift. Things were no longer overwhelming and now it is beginning to feel like home. Intentional living has been wonderful and made this journey a joy. The weather is warm now and I am excited to continue this adventure.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Lighthouses: A Guide to Finding The Way Home

biloxi lighthouse may 9

Audio provided by my husband Jess Pierce

Lighthouses are guiding beacons for ships at sea. They announce that land is ahead and act as a guide into the harbor. Many lighthouses are located on inlets and shine a light to warn ships that danger is ahead. The light is a navigation tool that acts as a protection device.

Mississippi has several lighthouses on its Gulf Coast. These lighthouses are magnificent and beautiful to observe. They are a lesson in searching for the light that leads us home. We all look for navigation in our lives that lead us to a safe harbor. The example of the lighthouse acts as a guide for us to look toward the light to bring us home.

Life has many challenges that take us out to sea into dangerous waters. Like a ship sailing in the ocean we look for a beacon to lead us to safe harbors. One of life’s challenges is to provide our families with food, clothing, and transportation. When employment is plentiful the lighthouse serves as a beautiful building to observe.

In times of hardship and job loss the light acts as a beacon to navigate us to safe harbors. The lighthouse may be the community that surrounds us. Friends and family lend support and hope that the hard times will pass. The light surrounds us and new opportunities arise. Resolution is in the harbor.

Lighthouses may present us with a guide to adventure. Sailing to foreign lands in search of new experiences provides a light for many restless souls. Lighthouses in these places provide a navigational route for adventure. There is beautiful scenery and other cultures to be explored.

When our adventure in foreign lands is complete we set sail for home. There may be storms and rough seas that send us off course. In our attempts to find the way home we always search for the lighthouse. There is hope that the waters will calm and a familiar harbor will be found. When the light beacons from our home lighthouse there is great joy.

Lighthouses may guide us in the exploration of who we are as individuals. Sitting on an inlet alone the lighthouse gives us a chance to explore our souls. The solitude of observing the ocean and its cycles gives us an opportunity to look inward. The soul may find relaxation and nourishment in the observation of the life around the lighthouse.

For some troubled souls the lighthouse may serve as a fearful guide. They may lose themselves in the deceptions of the world. These souls may see a reflection of light on the harsh sea and see death as the only option for a safe harbor. Sometimes these souls may be saved by other souls. The souls that have found their way home by following the true light coming from the lighthouse.

Lighthouses may act as a guide for us in our spiritual lives. The light in the house may represent where the strength in times of adversity comes from. We see God standing firm in the lighthouse guiding us out of the harsh dangerous sea of life and into the calm harbor of His arms. There is comfort and new life in this safe harbor. We are filled with joy and renewal.

Lighthouses may serve as an inspiration for art. There are people who paint lighthouses in beautiful watercolors. These artists see the lighthouse as an object to be admired and posted in a gallery or on a wall in someone’s home. The lighthouse in the picture serves as an inspiration to begin or end a person’s day.

Some people come to visit the lighthouse as a vacation adventure. These people bring their families and review the history of each lighthouse. The lighthouse may have been a haven for previous generations. The lives of these family members are wrapped in the history of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is a guide for these people to find the home of their family heritage.

All working lighthouses have a person that serves as the keeper of the light. This person lives and works at the lighthouse. The life of the person is one of solitude and great responsibility. This person must be aware of all the dangerous conditions surrounding the lighthouse area. His job is to navigate the ships and guide them to the safe harbor. It can be a lonely job.

Lighthouses guide us in life through symbolism and the physical world. For ships the lighthouse is a beacon for safe navigation on the way home. The rest of us marvel at the light that emits from the lighthouse. It represents beauty in the world and serves as a guide for us to find our way home. We are no longer unmoored.

copyrighted by Debbie Pierce 2017 All Rights Reserved

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Descend: Life of a Mississippi Magnolia Tree

magnolia tree april 21

The magnolia tree is a large majestic tree. The large white blooms are beautiful and decorate the Mississippi landscape. The magnolia tree has a long life span that may extend to 120 years. This is a possible life of a suburban magnolia tree.

The magnolia tree was born in a field in central Mississippi. At that time the field was filled with different types of trees. The young magnolia tree thrived in the ecosystem and grew to a large and healthy tree. There were few people in the area to disturb the ecosystem.

As the years past the magnolia tree began to put on beautiful white blooms. These blooms were numerous and an occasional person would happen on the tree and admire their beauty. The magnolia tree was happy and content in the ecosystem that nature provided.

magnolia group blooms april 21

Slowly over time the ecosystem became disturbed as people began moving closer to the field. There were rumblings of houses, businesses, and golf courses being built and getting closer to the field.

The pollution from all the building began to change the ecosystem. The environment was descending into a period of deep decline. There were fewer resources for the magnolia tree to draw from for survival. All around were plants and trees dying. This was frightening to the young tree.

As more time passed the magnolia tree began to see more human activity. There were more people passing by on a daily basis. This was a time of great change in the world and the tree observed young men in uniform carrying guns. The world was at war and the magnolia tree hoped that the field would be spared from the violence.

More years past and the world was again at peace. The magnolia tree noticed there was an expansion of young children surrounding the field. The tree watched as the plant life and other trees were cut down. It prayed its life would be spared from the death surrounding it.

The magnolia tree was spared and a local park was built around it. There began to be a large number of families coming to the park. A creek was created to supply water to the surrounding area and the ecosystem began to flourish once again.

The years passed and the magnolia tree was happy and content once again. There were many trees with squirrels and birds to commune with the tree. The families took care of the park and everything was in harmony.

squirrel eating grass in park march

One day there was a storm producing many inches of rain. The land was devastated by the sudden influx of water and debris. The people left their homes and the park was abandoned. The next generation of people moved in and had no interest in the park.

The magnolia tree survived the flood and was saddened by the changes. Now the abandoned park was filled with trash and drug dealers. All the surrounding trees and wildlife were dying around it due to neglect. The magnolia tree was frightened since its survival was threatened.

More years passed and a new generation of people moved into the neighborhood. They were a generation that believed in change and renewal. There were new homes built and old homes renovated and given a new life. The park was cleaned up and the ecosystem restored. There were sprinklers installed and the creek was restored to give the ecosystem the water it needed to regenerate.

Slowly the ecosystem began to recover. The magnolia tree was relieved and began producing beautiful blossoms once again. The squirrels and the birds returned singing their songs of joy.

The magnolia tree continued to observe these changes with great joy. Perhaps the people now occupying the neighborhood and park would remain. This thought gave the magnolia tree great hope for the future.

The years past and the magnolia tree grew to be extremely old. The park and the neighborhood continued to change but this time the trend of preservation continued. It was with great hope that the magnolia tree put on its last blossoms. Time for the magnolia tree to live in this physical world was growing short.

magnolia bloom april 21

One of these great magnolia blossoms deposited a seed on the ground. This seed was nourished by the nutrients in the ecosystem. Soon the seed grew to be a young magnolia tree growing in a healthy ecosystem. The cycle of life began again in the park healthy and happy.

The old magnolia tree passed away and the shell of the tree returned to the ecosystem to help the renewal of life. There is gratitude for the privilege of living a long life and the ability to observe the changes in the ecosystem. The spirit of the magnolia tree now resides in Heaven and is resting in the knowledge of a life well lived.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Prayer About Refuge – A Reblog from Walk With God

Psalm 18:2 New International Version (NIV) 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. When you look around today does your world seem out of control? Everyone seems to be on edge. […]

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An example of Random Kindness from India – a Reblog from Frozen Wisdom

Howdy Readers, Today I want to write something on kindness. It’s not actually a topic it’s just my views on what I saw today… First of all, let me begin with what I saw today. I was walking down the road just to change my mood and relax my nerves a few minutes ago. I […]

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Notorious: A Fisherman’s Tall Tale

alligator on golf course 2 may 5

Our actions in life can make us notorious. Some people are famous for the jokes they tell and others are known for their kindness. In my family there was a great-uncle known for his tall tales. Jim was an average size fellow and a little overweight. He was an older man when I knew him and loved to sit and talk. Jim could spin a tale from thin air.

The community church would have a potluck dinner one Sunday a month. It was a wonderful gathering with a variety of food on the tables. Jim and his wife would join this group and often there would be stories exchanged in the afternoon. The storytelling would last for hours as each person told a tale. Finally it was Jim’s turn to take the stage.

There was a morning Jim went fishing at a lake near his home. The morning air was cool and the sun was beginning to shine on the lake. The glimmer from the sun made it a little difficult to see the swells from the fish rising to the top of the lake.

There was a small island not far from the fishing spot. It had tall trees with thick green leaves and some brush on the edge of the water. There was a large gray alligator sunning itself on the banks. The alligator had huge eyes and briefly opened his large mouth. He appeared to announce to the world that this was his territory.

Jim took note of the alligator’s presence but continued to bait his pole with a minnow and then threw the line into the pond. The red and white bobbin moved around in the water as the minnow swam around looking for safety. In a few minutes it settled down and all was quiet.

Relaxing on the banks of the lake is calming and nourishing to the soul. The sun was warm this morning and acted as a warm blanket. The sounds of the birds and crickets around you sound like a lullaby. It is easy to fall into deep thought or fall asleep listening to the sounds of nature.

Jim was almost asleep when suddenly the line jerked and the bobbin went down into the water. He stumbled out of the chair and quickly pulled on the line. The fish fought and was splashing in the water as Jim attempted to pull him in. In all of the commotion the alligator who had been watching this action decided to join the struggle.

The alligator moved toward the fighting fish and opened his wide mouth in an attempt to steal the fish. Jim was unwavered and pulled the fish back from the alligator before he could eat it. The alligator was also unswayed and moved in closer to the pole in another attempt to get the fish. This back and forth struggle went on for about ten minutes before Jim let the alligator have the fish.

It seemed that the battle was over until Jim decided to throw rocks at the alligator. This agitated the alligator and he swam to the bank to come after Jim. The fishing pole was the only obstacle between them. The alligator grabbed the pole and Jim began to fight for the pole. After much back and forth pulling action of the pole Jim decided to let go.

The alligator took his prize and returned to the calm bank of the small island. Jim was exhausted but not deterred as he grabbed a new pole and baited the line. Tossing the line back into the water Jim sat down and resumed his calm stance in the chair.

All was calm after this encounter and it was soon time to return home. The alligator was content with his prize and Jim returned home with a stringer filled with fish. His wife was waiting for his return with the food for the evening meal.

Jim waited patiently for his wife to inquire about the events of the day. She finally asked how the day had gone and he began to weave the tale. His wife laughed and stated how glad she was the alligator had been content with the fish and fishing pole. It would have been sad to lose Jim.

The group of people at the church lunch laughed as they heard the end of the story. Many wondered if Jim’s ability to tell a story was inherited or learned. They all agreed that being notorious for telling a tall tale is a wonderful blessing.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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