A Pineywoods Manifesto

A Short Sermon

  Straight Out Of Yale   As I’ve followed the brouhaha around the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and M.I.T., I’m reminded of one of my favorite stories: A young man from a smaller church felt called to preach and entered Yale’s Divinity School. After one year at Yale, he triumphantly returned home and was invited to preach at his home …

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Bald-Faced Liars

  A Bald-Faced Liar “He’d rather climb a tree to tell a lie rather than stand on the ground and tell the truth.”   Where I come from, calling someone a bald-faced liar are fighting words. What’s the difference between a lie and a bald-faced lie? A lie is telling untruth. It’s wrong. It’s a sin. “Do not swear false …

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The Key Sentences in ‘Where We All Belong’

    Friends and Readers, We’re putting the final touches on our upcoming novel, Where We All Belong. Don’t give up on us. There are many moving parts in getting a book into your hands. I really believe the final product will be worth the wait. Remember, it takes a village to raise a book and you’re a part of …

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Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last Thoughts on Servant-Leadership “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 I’ve recently discovered a fascinating book, ‘Leaders Eat Last’ by Simon Sinek. The book’s premise comes from the United States Marine tradition, where officers will wait until the …

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A Mentor named Jay Miller

A Mentor named Jay Miller   “I was born in a tiny Southern town. I grew up with my family and friends all around.” Something to Love Jason Isbell   I grew up in a rural community where I was fortunate to have a long line of mentors and role models.  Many of these relationships continued even into my adult …

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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 a coaching clinic. Wooden, who’d …

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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 or under the tall pines …

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Blessed is the Man . . .

  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 its fruit in its season, …

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My Most Important Story

    My most important story By Curt Iles I make my living as a storyteller. As a novelist, I create characters and stories. What I wish to share is a true story. It’s my story. It’s a story of what happened inside me. I grew up in a rural area of Louisiana. Our lack of material things was offset …

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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 with information from a “Bear …

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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 pack on your back for …

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December 11: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Tall Pine

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 power of  pure forgiveness. On …

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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 hour after the winner had …

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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 boat went in a circle. …

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