Cattle grazing on wide, open fields remind me of a bad time in my life. Because of what someone had deliberately done to me, I was hurting. I wanted to run away from the pain, but couldn’t.
But then, one day, I was driving past a huge, sun-drenched field of grass and cows, and I got the wildest urge to pull off the road, drive across the ditch, and stop by the fence. I thought about slipping under the barbed wire and running to the middle of the flat pasture. I wanted to sit in the grass, wrap my arms around my knees, and shut my eyes. All I needed was to stay there with only cows meandering around me—the sun on my back and head. The scene spoke of total peace—warmth, safety, comfort, and healing. I almost couldn’t push the urge away.
When I shared my crazy thoughts with a cousin, he reminded me of what I might sit on. Ha. But I didn’t care. Even now—though years have slipped by—if I pass that field, the thought still tugs at me. It doesn’t call out with the desperate pull it did back then, but the calmness still beckons.
Karen Campbell Prough
Copyright © Karen Campbell Prough 2017
WHAT WERE HIS PLANS?
Yes, I’m using the poor gator in advertising for my book. I promise he wasn’t hurt in the process! He was just in the right spot, at the right time, and he decided to yawn … or smile at me. Actually, the “yawn” was bigger than this picture shows! But before I could fumble the camera into position, he started shutting his mouth.
In my book, With This Peace, one gator takes something very important from the main character, Ella Dessa. But with the initial loss, another thing is lost. And if a person studies the situation, it can be a forerunner to things to come. Life can be snatched away, when we least expect it.
There is the possibility the gator loses his life. The results of what happens might not be totally clear. I do not stress that point. He was doing what comes natural for an alligator his size. But it is one tense event at the beginning of my book.
I wonder what were God’s plans when he gave me the desire to write stories and books? I hope that through the stories I present, someone will receive courage to go on with life, even when faced with trials that seems to be blocking happiness. My stories are fiction. Events in my books are produced from imagination and bits of life’s situations, which I collected down through the years. Please, have fun reading my books. Thank you!
~Karen Campbell Prough
Copyright © Karen Campbell Prough 2015
Feel free to repost the blog and photos, keeping the copyright notices intact. Thank you.
Ella Dessa’s story became a reality! It is published!
Yes, her struggles came from my imagination, but I believe there are emotions woven throughout the pages–facets of life that might touch many readers.
Her story begins during a period of time in Georgia when the lure of gold pulled men into the mountains and caused them to leave their families behind.
Ella Dessa suffers loss in her own life, but brings hope to another family in Beckler’s Cove.
With the printing of this book, her path to acceptance will be a journey you can follow. Perhaps, you will long to search and find the faint rocky trails her feet traveled along–from a narrow, curved valley to a lonely log cabin. ~Karen
Book can be ordered at: Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Girl-Called-Ella-Dessa/dp/1941103855
A path through the woods meandered along the shaded stream and beckoned to me. My feet followed the unspoken promise of discovery. I failed to understand what tugged at my heart and compelled me to climb the irregular steppingstones toward the hint of sunlight.
An opening in the woods fanned out, inviting the hiker, the innocent passerby, and the curious to pause and catch their breath. I follow its irresistible summons—fueled by my imagination and the warm invitation to return to a former place and time.
I needed harmony and a slower pace to life. Inner peace had gotten lost in everyday duties.
An old homestead waited near the pines. The cabin stood gray, moss-tinted, and weathered, but the shaded porch drew me toward its promise of comfort. I rounded the corner of the building, and my hand caressed the sun-warmed logs.
Unripe berries hung from the nearby fence, a pledge of abundance in the future.
I stooped to pull weeds at the base of the porch, their prolific runners tangled among the “settler’s roses”. Vibrant blooms graced the sturdy canes. As the midday sun warmed the rose petals, their old-time fragrance filled the air, and provided a picturesque background to an old hitching post.
The porch steps became my sanctuary, and I pondered the presence of the astonishing roses. I wondered whose hands and fingers had planted them. Were they gnarled fingers, twisted and trembling with a lifetime of hard toil? Or were they the delicate and unlined hands of a young bride?
I lingered on the wooden steps, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the peace and quiet. But time does not wait, and I soon stood—to bid farewell to a gentler time in the past.
My steps took me away from the tranquil moment, but my heart grew lighter. The load I carried on my shoulders fell away. The image of the simple roses and the green stained logs followed me. They lingered in my mind, and reminded me to return more often—to think of the generations who have lived before me and had sought God’s comfort.
Ahh, perfect advice. Seek a portion of quiet comfort—a place and time that is special to your needs, as when the scent of roses lifts the burdens of the day.
Find time to remember.
“Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you. Deuteronomy 32:7 NLV
Thank you for stopping by and reading this post. I hope it gave you the longing to go back and realize God’s promises are meant for you and those you love. Bits and pieces of the past helped make you the unique person you are today. God can give comfort, which covers and erases the wrongs in our lives. And if we need his forgiveness, we can ask without fear. He can create a new person in us, a person filled with inner peace. Go back, find a place of peace, take your family with you, and bask in God’s love.
The pictures used in this blog are from two different trips to the mountains. The cabin pictures were taken at the Foxfire Museum while vacationing with friends. The rest of the photos are my pictures of roses and exploring I did on my own, during a trip to a writer’s conference. Walking around by yourself and visiting buildings that house the past can bring a different type of connection to a forgotten time period. You have no one to talk to. Only your thoughts give weight to what you see and feel. The hush of a wooded cove, the wind in the trees, and the echo of your steps on a wooden porch cause you to imagine the voices that once filled the air. Life moves on and we can only tread where time leaves its mark. But the moments of peace and reflection can be worth the time spent. We are not the only generation who has walked this earth. So many have gone before us, but we are reminded to remember the days of long ago. God was with those in the past, and he cares for us. He also cares for the future generations … the ones who will walk where we have set our paths.
“We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD.” Psalm 78:4 NLV
© Karen Campbell Prough 2014
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When huge challenges wash over us, the immediate reaction is to kick, bite, sob, and scratch. And as the waves of attack hit us, we fight harder, lose hope, and try to outrun the situation, but by then—it might be too late. And sometimes when we run, adversity seems to chase us down and double the beating.
Here is an example. A well-fed housecat will pounce on its tiny prey, hold it down with clawed paws, and finish the kill as the terrorized victim bites and launches its futile attempts to help itself. But sometimes, as long as the poor captive remains quiet and still, the cat will just bat it around for a few minutes. He gets bored with the captive’s lack of outward reaction and quite often abandons the destructive game.
And that is when the chance of escape presents itself. The prey opens it eyes, having learned a valuable lesson, and finds a safe haven.
Hold still and wait. So how can that advice compare to what the Lord can do for us, especially when we end up on our backs, staring at bad things in our life? In Psalm 40, we find a statement that can help us face troubles. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” Psalm 40:1-2 KJV
That is what the scripture says? God will hear my cries?
“For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.” Psalm 40: 12-15 KJV
I never noticed those words in the Bible. But I’ve heard them in real life. Aha, aha! So when the enemy or the situations of our lives seem to be taunting and sneering while wishing evil on us, we need to remember that our God turns toward us and hears our pleas for strength and help.
No loud aha, aha from the adversities of life can hold us down if we rely on God for strength. When we try to fight battles alone, we will suffer more damage. Let God take hold of your life—give all of yourself to him. Remember God is our Redeemer and will fight for us.
Please, scroll down and leave your response to the words, “Aha, aha!” Thank you for reading this blog.
© Karen Campbell Prough 2013
Material from this site may not be reprinted or copied without the permission of the author. Thank you.
We don’t journey alone, but it may seem we wander by ourselves. Many people will accompany us at different stages of our life–a younger sibling, a spouse, a child, or a stranger. Our influence spreads like waves in an ocean.
Some trails and trials may lead uphill, around sharp bends, and straight through a dismal swamp. And swamps pull people down. That’s why we must set a straight, level path toward God.
What we do with our lives might be mirrored by others coming in contact with us. We may never realize it–but there are family members and strangers watching us and our reactions to life’s trials.
Walk a crooked path and there might be loved ones who copy each step. Isn’t that frightening to think about? How much better to influence them to live a decent life.
God’s word promises us that there will be consequences related to where our desires take us and who tags along, copying and looking up to us. That means friends and family members might slip and fall if we have chosen a deceitful life. We need to be ready to reach down and lift up the weary, not add to their grief. Perhaps we’ll have to act fast in order to guide friends and family over obstacles blocking their paths. Life doesn’t slow down.
Who led you when you were young and unsure of where life’s path would take you? How did your steps grow solid and sure?
What obstacles appear in your life, make you stumble and vear off course? Perhaps you crashed?
“Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.” Hebrews 12:13 NLT
This road on the left is clear and uncluttered, with only a gentle slope and slight curve. It’s easy to stay on the path. But a straight path for our feet might resemble the next picture. It’s reliable, taking us to our destination with the least detours. Anyone following us will have no doubt about the direction our feet have travel.
Confidence in the path will help eliminate falls and injuries. Confidence in God’s guidance does the same and brings everlasting life and peace.
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© Karen Campbell Prough 2013
Imagine a group of people standing in front of the two photos of old windows included with this blog. There would be a variety of opinions about the colorful presentation on the glass. Some people would consider the paintings quaint, clever, beautiful, attention-grabbing, or a work of art. Other opinions may edge toward dislike.
But no matter how much you like them or dislike them—what you are looking at is a fake. The drawings are representing something that isn’t there—isn’t real. There are no curtains. There is no vase or pretty flowers.
At a glance, the paintings make the world think they are genuine and give the house that lived-in look, an indication that happy times still exist. But they don’t. The pretty, painted windows hide emptiness, disrepair, shabbiness, and promote a lie.
How does this compare to life and people? Some people are a work of art but they are empty inside. Others put up a fancy front and hide hurts. A bold outward appearance may be a cover for insecurity. A jolly laugh might screen depression. The list goes on.
It’s very difficult to learn how to discern what is really behind the established faces. But as we get to know people, we can catch a glimpse of the pain, rejection, and hurts behind the make-believe. God loves the person behind the façade. He doesn’t just look at the outward appearance. The Bible urges us to look beyond the pretense and see the real person, the troubles, and the hurt. God’s word tells us to love everyone, not jump in with rags to clean them up. We can’t assume we have the ability to scrub their grief away, attempt major changes and overhauls, or redo them to suit our standards.
Behind the fancy painted glass there may be emptiness, but you can help fill it with hope and a better life. Ask God to give you the ability to discern when a careful painting is taking the place of a real face. We can express God’s love to those around us by reaching out to them and giving of ourselves.
Please scroll downward and leave your comments. Otherwise, how will I know you came to visit?
~Karen Campbell Prough
From the time I was a little girl, my mother helped feed my imagination. She showed me ways to entertain my younger brothers with stories I made up. Paper dolls became my characters and catalogs became my prized asset. As soon as the catalogs were outdated, I attacked them with scissors. I could create whole families and pair them up as I saw fit. Of course, each couple had to have a baby, no matter how many other brothers and sisters there were in the paper doll family.
Every family needed furniture to sit on and so did my paper dolls. My mother showed me how to cut couches, beds, highchairs, chairs, tables, and rockers out of cardboard. No cardboard box was safe after that. I would grab the cereal boxes and detergent boxes, etc. I could decorate the furniture with crayons, paint, and pictures from the catalogs. I bent the paper dolls at the waist and placed them on the furniture. Babies snuggled down in their baby beds or cradles. Paper doll mommies could rock little children and watch a cardboard television.
If I did not have a catalog to cut up, my mother would draw people for me. My imagination expanded as I cut out the hand drawn figures, colored them, and added them to my collection of make-believe characters. Those times shaped my longing to be a story writer.
My brothers either joined in the fun or sat and watched me play and talk aloud, building stories as I introduced the families of paper dolls. I am sorry to report that dishonorable paper dolls, representing criminals or thieves, met the quick hand of justice. Heads would roll or the cords to the drapes became a hangman’s noose. Sorry … life is harsh in a paper world. The innocent must be protected!
We lived out in the country in Michigan. At that time, we had no television so my imagination became Mom’s babysitter. And even today, I have three, old catalogs stacked on a closet shelf. The tattered catalogs have come in handy when a child is bored with the store bought toys. Cereal boxes are confiscated and made into interesting copies of furniture.
I would rather have children leaving pieces of catalog or magazine pages on the bedroom floor, and using their imagination, instead of sitting in front of the television or sprawled on a couch with an electronic device in their young hands.
Thank you for reading this post. It gives you an idea of where I started with my storytelling and writing. Please, scroll down and leave a comment.
Karen Campbell Prough
© Karen Campbell Prough 2012