A Man named Joseph  Part  1

“The story of Joseph is like the buffet at Golden Corral. There’s so much to choose from.”   There are many outstanding characters in the Bible. In the Old Testament, there is no one who shines brighter than a man named Joseph. His life is truly a “riches to rags to riches” story as found …

John Wooden’s Socks

John Wooden’s Socks   “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.”   -John Wooden   I was a college senior the year I met John Wooden in 1979. I was preparing to embark on my journey as a high school basketball coach. I traveled to Monroe, Louisiana to hear John Wooden speak at …

L.T.W.B.T.U.F.I. Leave this world . . .

Leaving this World Better . . .  “L.T.W.B.T.U.F.I.” Leave this world better than you found it! It’s a good motto to live by. Whatever we touch. Wherever we go, we ought to leave it better. I’ve always loved camping and hiking. Part of the joy is in setting up camp along a bubbling mountainside creek …

  Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he [b]meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the [c]rivers of water, That brings forth …

How to Fight a Bear

How to Fight a Bear I’ve got hiking fever. It’s strikes me several times a year and I find my heart, if not my feet, on a trail in Arkansas or the Appalachian Mountains. In both of these hiking locales, encountering black bears does occur. I want to share a few good bear stories along …

Travel Light and De-Clutter: A Backpacker’s Toothbrush

A Good Time to “De-clutter”   As many of you know from my stories I love to hike in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and along the Appalachian Trail (or the “A.T.” as it is called.) One thing backpacking quickly teaches you is the priority of traveling light. When you are carrying a 30-40 pound …

December 11: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Each day in December, we’re spooning out a helping of Christmas Jelly. Today’s story features two illustrations of  forgiveness.  Christmas is a tough time for those with “issues”: hurts from the past, wounds that haven’t healed, bitterness, and regret. Christmas is also a great time for extending forgiveness. These two stories illustrate the strength and …

A Remarkable Story

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The next best time is today. It’s a story worth retelling. His name is  John Stephen Akhwari and he had the dubious honor to finish last in the Marathon at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. John Stephen, a Tanzanian runner, finished more than one …

Love and Discipline

Love and Discipline I once read a story about a father’s wise advice to his daughter, who was struggling with disciplining her young children. The father invited her to take a boat ride on a nearby lake.  The boat had two oars and the father told the daughter to take one oar and row. The …

Jan. 2: Dinosaurs

Foreword: Dinosaurs “Tell me who you are, and I’ll tell you where you’re from.” –Wallace Stegner I was born in the Louisiana Pineywoods when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. Most of them are gone, and I still miss them greatly. They helped shape my life, and I’ll always be grateful for each of them. These …

Sing Your Life Song

A word from Curt November is NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month. I’m leading a group of six writers (I still have room for two more) to write a book (fiction or non-fiction) of 60,000 words. That’s 2000 words per day. The story below, “Sing Out Your Life Song” is from my November project, The …

From “The Pineywoods Manifesto”: Know Those Who Serve

  The following is from the upcoming book by Curt Iles, The Pineywoods Manifesto. It’s is a collection of essays and life lessons for his four grandsons. Noah, Jack, Jude, and Luke Iles. He is currently blogging book chapters at his website, www.creekbank.net Know Those Who Serve. Do unto others as you’d have them do …