Category Archives: Mountain Wisdom

Bibliography in Book Covers


The following book covers include books I currently have in print and available on and Kindle. The first section includes Christian faith based books.




















I have written one Christian Romance novel:  In the Circle of His Arms.







The next section includes books appropriate for middle school, junior high, and high school.





















The next section includes book of Appalachian folklore, culture, and interest.    






























The following books include short stories I have written as part of their project collection:




























The following books resulted from student projects at Wallins Elementary School and Junior High in Harlan County, Kentucky in the 30 years of my teaching career. The students are also featured in a book called Hope and Heroes by international photographer Barry Shainbaum, and illustrated the book Odette, Goose of Toulouse by the late, beloved Earl Hamner, Jr. (creator of the Waltons).       Their work was also highlighted by Steve Flairty in his Kentucky Heroes book series.

















The Wooly Worms Lied. Will Groundhog Do Better? – Feb. 2, 2015


FotoSketcher - IMG_1541  Will the groundhog tell the truth on Groundhog Day?

Every year in the part of the country I live in (Appalachia), people check the colors of the woolly worm to see what kind of winter we will have.  A solid orange woolly worm is thought to mean a mild winter. Solid black woolly worms mean a horrible winter is ahead.  Sometimes woolly worms are black on one end and orange on the other, or maybe black on both ends with orange in the middle or vice versa.  This means having a winter with some bad weather and some mild.  At this point the woolly worms have lied to us this winter.  They were totally black in the fall, but this has been a very mild winter.  Although it is snowing today, it doesn’t appear that it will be a serious snow fall.

Today being Groundhog Day, I was curious about whether or not he saw his shadow.  He definitely did not.  The Weather Channel said it was the worst weather on a Groundhog Day in 18 years.  The good news is that if he did not see his shadow, spring will come early.  With the weary dreary days of winter, I will be especially glad to see the arrival of spring this year!

Let us hope Mr. Groundhog’s predictions are correct!


Growing Old Together is a Blessing Not All Get to Enjoy – December 5, 2014


2008_1108WB2Wedding0344  Not everyone has the joy of growing old with their love.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” – Robert Browning

One of the sweetest things I saw on my trip to Scotland was the way elderly couples walked down the street holding hands.  My mom and dad still do that at age 83 and 81.  I love seeing elderly couples who are still in love.

Some don’t get to experience this because of singleness, widowhood, or divorce.  I’ve been single for a very long time.  I’ve been busy in my single years, but there is part of me that still longs for God to send a precious man into my life to be my friend, my companion, my love and let us grow old together side by side.

Billy Graham and his wife have been a good example of growing old together.  This is what he says about aging.  “When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice. Growing older with grace is possible for all who will set their hearts and minds on the Giver of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

If you are growing old with someone you love, please know that you are truly blessed.


Hills and Mountains – June 27, 2014


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Today was a good day for a drive with my mother and brother.  We passed through many little mountain communities and on into hill country.  The scenery was beautiful.

I realized that I am in love with mountains, hills, and valleys.  This is the landscape that  pleases me aesthetically, calms me, and gives me such a strong sense of God’s presence through His creation.

The Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest in the world.  They are no longer the tallest because of wind, weather, and erosion that has worn them down over time.  The beauty of these mountains nurture my spirit.

I grew up in the Midwest in land as flat as a pancake, the mountains never stopped calling to me.  As soon as I was old enough and went off to college, I promised myself that I would make my home in the mountains I love.

There are a lot of mountain ranges I’d like to visit.  Hopefully the Scottish Highlands will be among those I visit before the end of the year.  I’d love to visit the Adirondacks and the Rockies.

What the soothing sounds of lapping waves, ocean breezes, and white beaches do for some people in calming their spirit, mountains and hills do for me.  “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.”  Psalm 121:1


Family Reunions – June 7, 2014


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This week-end is our annual family reunion.  This is only a portion of my mothers 16 siblings.  Some have passed.  Some were not able to make it to the last reunion when this photo was snapped.  My dad’s family had 14 children.  Both groups lost a couple of children in childhood.

My math was off, but when I was in grade school the teacher asked the class how many aunts and uncles we had.  I figured 14 +16 = 30.  And 30 plus their spouses would be 30 more.  So my math came up to 60 aunts and uncles.  It wasn’t too far from the truth.

They took the Bible literally when it advised to go forth and multiply.  If you put both my mom’s and dad’s family together, plus each aunt & uncles children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, the numbers are hard to believe.

Our family members have scattered across the nation.  Their careers are varied, and their impact on the world impossible to calculate.

When it comes to family reunions, it’s all relative!




Watching for Changes – June 6, 2014


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This is the house I grew up in.  It seemed like such a big house and that blue spruce in the front yard seemed like a Christmas tree!  I lived there long enough to realize the tree was growing some because I measured myself with the tree and bit by bit it grew taller than me.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago when my family went back to visit that neighborhood.  I hadn’t been there in almost 30 years!  The house looked so small and the tree was enormous!  It was quite a shock, to say the least.

Growth happens to all living things in the cycle of life.  Some things spring up overnight (like dandelions), and other things take hundreds of years (like redwoods).  Just because we may not be able to see growth with our physical sight, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t taking place.

People’s lives are like that.  We can not see the spiritual growth, mental growth, personality growth, or growth of talents by looking at a person.  Only God can see the big picture.  Only He knows what we can become.

Bible verse for today:  2 Thessalonians 1:3

“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;”


Remembering at a Graveyard – May 26, 2014


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A cemetery is perhaps a peculiar place to go for remembering, but it is one of the best places to have a reality check. Have you ever gone to an unfamiliar cemetery and walked through?  I love to look at the statuary, the inscriptions, the dates, and names.  Perhaps that is because of the writer in me.  Each grave represents a lifetime of little stories and one big one from beginning to end. What do cemeteries cause you to remember? Loved ones who have passed.  Loves that have died.  Friends you haven’t talked to in a long, long time. Accidents, tragedies, illnesses, old age. Time, mortality, immortality, unfinished business. Regrets, loss, empty spaces. Prayers.  Songs.  Lives well spent.  Lives squandered.  Lives in progress. The importance of each day.  Keeping promises.  People we love.  Eternity.  Our relationship with God.  Things we hope to accomplish before we die.  Priorities.  Making a difference.  Endings. Cemeteries are a good place for remembering.


You Reap What You Sew May 24, 2014


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When my son and grandson came to visit, my dad (Pappaw) decided they needed to plant some beans together in the garden.

I couldn’t help thinking about the laws of reciprocity and how we do reap what we so.  In Appalachian speak, “If you plant beans, you don’t get taters.  If you plant taters, you don’t get maters.  You reap what you sew.”

Men, please remember that your sons and grandsons are watching you and following your cues about how to be a man.  And your daughters will love you and try to find a man like you to marry.  Are you the man you want your son to become?  Are you the man you want for a son-in-law?

Women, are you teaching your daughters that a beautiful spirit is more important than physical beauty of the things she puts on?  Are you teaching her to sexualize herself to draw attention from men?  Is she going to grow up to be a good mother and wife?  If she imitates  you, will she be the wife you would want for your son?

Galatians 6:7 – 9 says:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.



Avoid Cow Patties!


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My grandmother Hamlin used to say, “I don’t know what’s wrong with these young people today.  They will fly and flit over a field full of beautiful flowers and land on a cow patty!

She was referring to young women and young men who pass up good people who would make excellent spouses and chase after the despicable ones who bring nothing but heartache.

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who freely admitted that she is attracted to the “bad boys.”  She has had nothing but a string of broken hearts and disappointments all the way into her 40s.  When a guy is nice to her or tries to treat her like a lady, she finds she is not attracted to him.

She said the is looking for that spark of chemical attraction to start with… if it’s not there, she moves on.  She said she was looking for the kind of romance she’s read about and seen on TV.  I have known A LOT of people who fall into that same stupid Hollywood perversion of true romance and eventually love.

If fireworks happen to start with, they usually fizzle out when one or both parties are through using the other.  If fireworks start and remain throughout a lifetime, that couple is truly blessed and a rarity.  I have observed that the more stable relationships start out “friendly” and give opportunity for the attraction to grow into something deeper, more meaningful, and then let the fireworks start.

So, my advice for today is this:  If  you meet someone who is really nice, and who treats you nice, you should take a seriously long look before you fly off in search of a cow patty.


Blackberry Winter – May 15, 2014


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It is Blackberry Winter in the Appalachian Mountains.  We measure our cold snaps in the spring by what blooms at that time.  There is Sarvice Winter, Redbud Winter, Blackberry Winter, and Dogwood Winter.

Wild blackberry briars are hanging full of white blossoms.  This summer they will be hanging full of blackberries.  The photo above was taken in July of a previous year.

We often hope for fruit in our lives without passing through the “cold spells.”   We just want the fruit without the briars, without the blossoms, without the waiting.  Fruit only comes in it’s right season.

If we are patient, we can watch the fruit come forth in our lives and in the lives of others after they pass through the cold spells and growing spells.

A Christian’s desire is for their life to bear fruit, but there are no shortcuts.  To bear the fruit we desire, we must go through the growing process.  Prayer, study of God’s Word, self discipline, consistency in our daily walk – all of these are necessary steps in our growing season that will bring forth fruit.

On the blackberry vine, we see the blooms in May, but the ripened fruit will not be ready until July… and well worth the wait!