The sounds of rattling weapons, and the clang of tin cups against canteens were heard throughout the night.   General Sumner’s entire Second Corps was now in place, and the little Maryland town of Sharpsburg was now going to be the focus of a tremendous battle.

Among the various sutlers and “camp followers” which accompanied the Army of the Potomac was seventeen-year old Amy Anne Howard.  Amy was a pretty New York City laundress and when her employer Mrs. Harrington announced that she was going to “march south” with the boys of the 61st, Amy begged for the chance to go with her.

While Amy’s patriotism, and loyalty to the widowed Harrington, were without question, she did have her own agenda as well.  This was namely the person of Private John Randolph Daniels.  Howard and Daniels had grown up in the same tenement and when he had joined the army she was sure her “life would end” without him.

Now they were in Maryland, and the relationship, while still rather innocent, was blossoming.  But the upcoming battle seemed ominous.  On the 16th of September, John Randolph, therefore went to his company commander and begged for permission to marry.  The Captain was a compassionate man and gave his assent.

John then went and found Amy and asked her to marry him.  While this was an unorthodox way to arrange things it did make things run a bit smoother.

Amy jumped at the chance.  Early on the morning of the 17th, Mrs. Harrington quickly prepared the soon-to-be bride’s hair and the three rushed to the Chaplain just as the opening sounds of battle began to be heard.

There, next to the Chaplain’s tent, the young couple, attended by Mrs. Harrington and a quickly waylaid Corporal Taylor, stood before the clergyman.

“Time being what it is,” the old parson said, “we will dispense with all the unnecessary bits.”

The couple nodded in agreement as a salvo of canon fire briefly drowned out their speech.

“Amy Anne, do you take John Randolph?”

“Yes, sir.” she replied.

“John Randolph, do you take Amy Anne?”

“Yes sir!” John said loudly.

“Then consider yourselves took,” the chaplain said.  “Now kiss that girl, and go fetch your musket, Soldier.”

And that was that.

John survived the Battle of Antietam, and the pair had thirty-five years and seven children together.



Tale Weaver #227 – Wedding – 13th June


The Lesson

Image result for snakes and ladders game


Mrs. Murray was explaining to her class that Snakes and Ladders was originally a teaching tool to help children understand Karma.  The bottoms of each ladder bore words or phrases such as “Kindness, Honesty, or Thrift;” while those at the mouths of snakes read, “Lying, Bullying, and Greed.”

The class was divided into groups of four, and as they played they were to record what actions advanced them, and which set them back.

Harvey Johnson, who was both a troubled and troubling boy, was fascinated with the progress of his game.  He noticed that the “Goody-two-shoes” Amy Carson lost the game after “pulling hair” and later when she had nearly won descending to the bottom row for “killing.”

The experience seemed tranformational for the would-be bully, Harvey.  He resolved to only do “ladder” things from that moment onwards.

Later, on the playground, several girls screamed in distress.  Harvey, having sworn to be “Ladder ‘Helpful’,” ran over to offer assistance.

When he arrived he found that a large diamond adorned snake had cornered the girls against the playground fence.  What should he do?  “Killing” was definitely a bad “Snake” thing to do.

Harvey lifted his softball bat and clubbed the shoulder-less creature, as the girls ran to safety.

Had Harvey gone for “Snakes” or Ladders?”


Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Snakes


Though the story is fictional, I do use the general lesson plan when teaching ethics.

The Act: A Cousins Tale

Ninja, Warrior, Japan, Assassin, Sword, Mask, Shadow


Wai Yen de Klod, or Wayne as most everyone called him, stood before the full length mirror admiring his own physique.  He wore all black and a mask obscured the features of his face.  On his waist was a belt with special compartments for throwing stars, and a set of nunchaku hung from his waist.  A matched set of black hilted katana were strapped across his back.

“Are you all dress like a ninjab?”  Wilberta Small asked as she entered the room from behind him.

“Niqab is a garment some Ralulee women wear. Ninja, he stressed is a special kind of warrior from my mother’s country,” he retorted.

“So which are you?” she asked with a wink.

“Aunt Wil, you are not in the least bit funny!” he snapped trying to cover his embarrassment.

It had been twenty-five years since Wilberta and her “Sisters” had set off on an expedition to find a huge treasure trove.  Though the adventure had been successful, and set them up for a comfortable life, it did not make any of them extravagantly rich.

The Amazing Wil Small, had been a circus performer before the expedition, and while the show which she had been attached closed owing to some unfortunate circumstances, the skills she had acquired as an acrobat made her an important addition to the party.  On their return she had used her share to purchase the Little Guilds Playhouse in the Low Guilds district of the capital city, and re-establish it as The Temple a showplace for circuses and other entertainment.

It was there that Wil and her “nephew” waited for the monthly “Talent Extravaganza” to begin.  This would be the first time that Wayne would publically display his skills of agility and martial prowess.  He was nervous, but not nearly as much so as his aunt, who was not only be the ring-mistress for the event, but who had volunteered to be his assistant.

She was fairly comfortable with the idea of him chopping a melon off the top of her hear with a sword. But when it came to ringing her with lethal metal stars while he was blind-folded. . . . Well she really wondered what she had gotten herself into.

“Don’t worry, Aunt Wil,” he reassured her as he caught a glimpse of her distant musing.  “I’m not going to hold that Niqab comment against you.”

“Oh so very kind of you,” she said with a dry smile.

Just then there was a fanfare from the main auditorium.

Wil gave him, a quick hug donned her top hat and headed for the stage.

“See you soon, Wayne.  Just relax.”

Wayne’s was the third act, and apart from Wilberta being totally splattered with bits of melon, the performance went off without a hitch.

Maybe show business was in the de Klod line after all.




Visitor in the Night Free Download

Visitor in the Night

Visitor in the Night  is available today as a free download on Amazon to accompany the release of its sequel, Zoe Means Life.

“Four young women have disappeared from small villages in the Norfolk Broads. Now rumours are starting to circulate that there is a vampire involved, and that it has all happened before. Detective Inspector Hardwick will have his hands full as the dark mystery unfolds.”

Amazon UK     Amazon US    Amazon IN   Amazon CA



Runners, Silhouettes, Athletes, Fitness, Healthy

Image: Pixabay


“Nice guys finish last” –
That I’ve heard them say –
Not one to take advantage –
Or the nasty game to play.

“The Last shall be the First” –
Jesus, His disciples did implore –
And look what happened to Judas –
When he wanted just that bit more.

Last may not make you feel good –
Last may leave you well behind –
But first at any cost –
Is not the type of friend I’d like to find.

So kindness and compassion –
These things too are ones that last –
Loved by most, despised of none –
For what more could one have asked?



First written for a poetry prompt on goodreads 

All You Will Ever Need


imageedit_4_7001457750 (1).jpg

Bazaar Jerusalem

I have all you will ever need –

And perhaps a few things more –

Far lower the prices here –

Than you’ll find in any store.


Is it for your wife you buy?

A scarf, a belt or ring –

I’m sure that within my stall –

You will find just the perfect thing.


My prices, my rivals –

They will never match –

And today it’s my birthday –

So there’s special deals for you to catch.


There are rugs, and throws, and carpets –

Bargains by the score –

Every kind of lovely covering –

To put upon your floor.


I have all you will ever need –

And perhaps a few things more –

Far lower the prices here –

Than you’ll find in any store.




dVerse Prompt: To market, to market!


Based on wonderful experiences in markets and souqs in East Asia and the Middle East.  please see my poem Souq Song  as well.

Conquering Mountains

Mountain, Mount Robson, Peaks, Mountain Range

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay 

Sister Lisa brought a tremendous lesson to us this week.  She drew her text from Joshua 14, verses 6 to 15:

Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me.  I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions,  but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.  So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’  “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old!  I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.  Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”  Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.  So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.  (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)  Then the land had rest from war.”

Caleb had been one of the two faithful who had trusted the promises of God more than the fears of men.  He then struggled at Joshua’s side as they went through desert, and now his inheritance the hill country of Judah was before him.  He did not see Giants in the land as something to fear or run from, nor were the mountains he would have to possess something insurmountable.

Jesus said, that faith the size of mustard seed could mountains.  And if you can move one, then conquering one is comparatively easy.

Okay, that might sound overly simplistic, and a bit uncaring to those suffering hurt, and seeing “real” obstacles in their lives.  But it does have a valid application.

Sister Lisa introduced us to the first man to climb El Capitan “free solo.” This man had a faith of sorts, to scale a “real” peak.  But we face mountains and peaks of our own.  Fears, alcoholism, additions, violence in our pasts.  These mountains are just as daunting, and sometimes even more terrifying as they are not always our choice to climb.  But here is an open secret – we don’t have to climb them alone!  We have a constant companion, who stands with us through these struggles.  God is with us.

Caleb understood that.  So should we.

Here are a couple of thoughts about our relationship with mountains – both physical and symbolic.  God engages with people on mountains! Yes, even the painful scary personal ones.

It was on a mountain that God presented Moses with instructions on how to live godly lives.   How freeing to have a guide for life’s journey given by the One who set out the path.  Yes those bitter “mountains” of our lives may have come from us, or others straying from that pathway, but on the mountain  (which is easy to locate and see) he will again show us the way.   This is not a mountain to shun or fear.

But people being people took that Law given to Moses and made it a mountain in its own right.  Something to struggle with and a burden.  But it was not the intention.  Truth sets us free, it does not enslave us.

To prove this,  God gave us another mountain at Calvary.  There the Law was fulfilled, and true freedom was offered to all.   This Emmanuel, “God with us,” climbed the hill of our sin, fears, and doubts for us.  He stands with us still, to aid us in facing our mountainous concerns.

And it was on yet another mountain that Jesus ascended to heaven.  He told his disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them (and us).  He was going to the Father to make our inheritance sure.

We therefore like Caleb, should look to life’s mountains not as the beasts before us, but as places where we can be “more than conquerors;” as places to ascend in order to enter into our inheritance.

Bring on the mountains, I have a mustard seed!


The Highway

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

The sales convention was going to be in Wichita this year.   The internet had brought about a lot of change for most traveling salesmen, but farm equipment salesmen were still just holding their own.

Davis and his wife, Gloria were a little behind schedule if they were going to make to the convention by November the First.

Their Ford EcoSport glided down the highway, but it was odd that they hadn’t passed another vehicle going in either direction since they had gotten gas in Amarillo.  The road in fact had an eerie loneliness to it.  There seemed to be nothing but miles and miles of vacant farmland, and only each other, and Gloria’s Queen CD to break the monotony.

Even the few towns they skirted seemed to be devoid of life.  Gloria thought it odd to not see any one on the street in Shattuck on Halloween.  Surely the younger trick-or-treaters should have been out.

About forty-five minutes out of town a strange haze seemed to come over the fields on their right.

“Could there be a storm coming?” Gloria asked, looking at the partially clouded sky.

Davis pushed the button on the entertainment console but the FM radio only gave static, he checked a few other stations with the same result.  He switched to AM to only catch broken snippets of Radio Mundo from Mexico.

“Something’s not right,” he said, craning to look at the sky as he drove.

“What are those?” Gloria gasped, looking out the window on her side.

In the field there were at least forty humanoid figures approaching the road at an angle to intercept them.  Their grey skin, and vacant expressions were horrifying.

“Zombies?” Davis questioned aloud as he put his foot down hard to avoid them.  “Must be some kind of a Halloween prank.”

The engine suddenly sputtered to a halt, and the electrical system failed.

“Aliens!” Gloria corrected as the first pressed its face against her window.



Haunted Wordsmith

Prompt A (Holiday challenge): Write a story with a Halloween theme

Prompt B (sentence starter): “What are those?”

Prompt C (photo): Above

You Go First


– bookbadaboom/Pikabu

“You go first,” Mary said.

“I don’t think I like this game,” Suzie replied.  “Can’t we just go back to the swings?”

“Don’t be such a baby,” Mary taunted.  “Besides it will be fun when we get inside.”

“How do you know?” Suzie asked skeptically.

“Because everybody says so,” Mary said pedantically.

“Like who?” Suzie challenged.

“Millie Wilson,” Mary said as if that was the only evidence necessary.

“Okay, I will try it, but you go first!”



Photo Challenge #267



Into The Woods

Related image

image: Freepik.com


François and Jules had been clearing dead wood from a fire-break on the north side of the ridge.  It was tedious work, and while necessary, it lacked the satisfaction of felling the massive pines which was their usual work.

Jules had just shut off his chainsaw when far away an interrupted cry broke the quiet.

“What was that?” François questioned.

“Something ungodly, to be sure,” his companion responded uneasily.

“Maybe we should have a look,” François suggested.

There was suddenly another eerie wail which again seemed to be cut abruptly short.

The two lumberjacks stared at each other with looks of apprehension.

Jules grabbed an axe from the pickup truck, and beckoned his colleague to follow him.

As they crested the ridge, neither man could believe his own eyes.  There before them was a huge Sasquatch with her leg caught in a bear trap.


(144 words)



dVerse Prosery #1