Aug 27, 2010

Thoughts of a Grateful Heart

God is good.
All the time.
Even when we can't see how He could possibly bring something good out of the turmoil in our lives - He does.

I was struck by this fact in the wee hours of the morning as my husband gently kissed my shoulder and whispered, "Good morning, princess" in my ear. Although it sounds cliche, words really cannot express how grateful I am that God brought this wonderful man into my life. Getting to wake up every morning to his gentle kisses and quiet smile is such a privilege, and I am reminded every day of how much I have been blessed.

It hasn't been an easy road. We went through a lot of trials during our relationship that threatened to pull us apart. I can't even begin to count the number of times I found myself crying into Reese's shoulder and telling him that he should just walk away. But he would only hold me tighter and assure me that he wasn't going anywhere. And it is because he stuck with me through it all that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loves me and will never leave me. His constant support and love were a picture of Christ's unconditional love.

I remember being told that the first year of marriage would be difficult. In fact, it seems as though whatever stage we are in, people always tell us that the next stage will be the hardest stage. When we were dating, we were told to enjoy it while it lasted because after that, it would all go downhill. When we were engaged, we were told to enjoy that stage of life because the first year of marriage would be awful and full of fights. Now that we're married, we are told to enjoy this part of our life because once we have kids "all hell breaks loose." I wonder why most people can't seem to enjoy the life they are living right now, but always seem to be wishing for the next stage. I suppose it has something to do with the saying, "the grass is always greener on the other side." How sad it must be to live life like that . . .

Honestly, compared to what we had just been through, the first year of our marriage was incredible. We have never been happier, and enjoy every possible moment we get to spend together. I think part of this is because neither of us are confrontational, so we have never had a real fight. That doesn't mean we agree on everything, but we are both committed to working through our disagreements in a logical manner and finding a compromise. Usually whatever we're disagreeing about is something so minor that the whole discussion is over in 20 minutes. We vowed to put each other first above ourselves. That kind of selfless love takes a lot of work, but is so worth it!

The last year of my life has been full of blessings. I moved out on my own for the first time, graduated with honors with my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an option in Management from MSU Billings (and yes, we often joked about the fact that the abbreviation for this started with 'B.S.'), married the love of my life, got my first professional full-time job, took a wonderful trip to Italy with my husband, and this week we bought our first house! I have also seen God restore relationships after years of prayer. It has been a delightful year full of surprises that challenged me to redefine my concept of who I was supposed to be.

I realized this year that for most of my life, I had been living to please other people rather than daring to be the person God meant me to be. At the root of my being, I have always had an intense desire to make everyone around me happy. And, let's be honest: some people are impossible to please. No matter how hard I worked, or how much I sacrificed, I could never make everyone happy. I couldn't solve every problem, and I just could not live up to everyone's expectations at the same time. I felt like a failure so much of the time that I would cry myself to sleep, begging God to let me move to an isolated island where the only person I needed to please would be Him.

Instead, He sent a very dear friend into my life. After listening to my frustrations over a cup of coffee one day, she looked at me and said: "Erica, you cannot control anyone's happiness but your own. As long as you are listening to God and obeying Him, the only opinion that should matter is His. If other people choose to go through life taking offense at everything, despite your best intentions, that is their choice. Not yours."

That concept has taken a long time for me to accept. I was so used to feeling responsible for the choices of other people that it has been difficult for me to accept that sometimes my best just will not be enough - but it's okay. I can't control the happiness of anyone else. All I can do is try my best and let God do the rest.

I love this quote from one of my favorite books*: "It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, my life is resembling me now, thoroughly."

And I have never been happier.

(c) 2010 Erica M. Holle. All rights reserved.
 * 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilberts

Jun 2, 2010


A journey through unfamiliar terrain begins, simply, by beginning. But perhaps not so simply, for the alien path always look terrifying from familiar highways. Yet, what are familiar highways except alien paths, journeyed by travelers who once stood at the beginning and wondered how they would ever make it across the ruts and manholes without failing? The greatest amount of courage is always needed at the beginning of things strange to us. Courage is our proverbial compass to charter us through unfamiliar terrain.

And after the beginning comes the journey - a learning and growing process, an attempt to reach a destination, that shapes us as a sculptor would an uncut stone. At first, the chisel hurts us as it chips away dross fragments of ourselves we have lived beneath our whole lives. But then, when the sculptor reveals the finished, chiseled remainder of ourselves, we discover precious stones had been concealed beneath the granite, but we had to take this journey to reveal them.

Finally, we reach the end of our journey, only to find our destination still far away. We look back at the pieces of granite chipped away from us, and wonder how we can go on another journey like the one we have just finished. We wonder how anything more beautiful than the precious stones we discovered can be found within us.

But we begin, just the same.

This time, the journey isn't quite so hard; we've been through it before. And as before, the sculptor patiently chisels and chips away at our newly-found precious stones, convinced, as we are not, that something more beautiful lies beneath. And so, once again, we reach the end of our journey. We look back at the precious stones left behind us on the path, angry that the sculptor would allow something so seemingly beautiful to be left behind.

And then we look at ourselves and see what the sculptor has revealed. We hardly recognize ourselves anymore, for there, instead of the granite, instead of the precious stones - are diamonds. We stand in stunned silence for a moment before looking up to see a new path before us. Our destination is still yet to be revealed.

And so, we begin again.

 (c) 2005 Erica M. Holle

Apr 3, 2010

You are There

In the darkness I cry out,
Your arms are there to reach for me.
When I am in pain, and my heart is broken,
Your words are there to comfort me.
You whisper to me, and I am healed.
When I am lonely, You hold me in Your embrace.
The sweet sound of Your voice, fills my soul with gladness.

I need not be afraid of the darkness,
For in the dark, Your light shines ever brighter.
You are my comfort and my source of strength.
You calm the seas with a word,
Your breath stirs the leaves of trees.
Hold me ever closer, my God,
In Whom I place my trust and joy.
You alone are my God and Friend,
You alone are my comfort.


(c) 2003 Erica M. Holle

Apr 2, 2010


I waste every day,
Looking for a hero,
Looking for someone to love me,

But why can't I see,
That You're right here with me?
I don't understand,
Don't trust what I can't see.
You're waiting here, to take my hand,
And lead me to the Promised Land.

And You love me,
And You have always loved me,

Heroes will come and go,
But You will remain forever.
I reach out to You,
Crying for someone to love me.
You take my hand,
In Your scarred ones,
And lead me to the Promised Land.

I waste every day,
Looking for unfailing love,
But You already died for me.
You know every heartache, and every tear,
Every triumph, and every fear.

Yet You still love me,
And You will always love me,

And now I can see,
That You're right here with me.
You take my hand,
And lead me to the Promised Land.
You have loved me for an eternity,
And You will always love me,


(c) 2005 Erica M. Holle

Apr 1, 2010

More than Blessed

I'll never forget the day I first saw you,
Standing there singing, strumming your guitar.
My heart fluttered, through I tried to ignore,
The feeling that I knew you,
That I'd seen you before.

On the day my car crashed,
And you came to my rescue,
I felt it again,
That I had known you before.

And that's when I knew
That I was more than blessed,
The way you loved me,
Was the way I liked best.
When you looked in my eyes,
And smiled back at me,
Yeah, that's when I knew,
That I was more than blessed.

Well, after four months of wondering,
And four months of praying,
The day finally came, when you asked me to consider
A future together, a future with you.
And that's when God told me,
The reason I knew you.
He had formed our hearts together, to become as one,
Before I met you, before you met me.

And that's when I knew,
That I was more than blessed.
The way you loved me,
Was the way I liked best.
When you looked in my eyes,
And smiled back at me,
Yeah, that's when I knew,
That I was more than blessed.

We've got a long road behind us now,
And a longer one ahead,
But with your arms around me,
And God at our side,
Our love will grow stronger,
As the years go by.

And that's when I'll know,
That I am more than blessed.
The love you give me,
Is the love I like best.
When you look in my eyes,
And smile back at me,
Yeah, that's when I'll know,
That I am more than blessed.


(c) 2008 Erica M. Holle. Written for my wonderful husband, about two months before he asked me to marry him.

Mar 31, 2010

The Cottonwoods

Sounds of childish laughter echo through the forest,
As I make my way to the place I once called home.
The old path is overgrown with clover and clinging vines,
Evidence of the years long passed,
Since my eyes last beheld the cherished place.
Chickadees flutter in the trees above my head,
Their familiar chatter recalling memories,
Glimpses of a childhood spent within the safety of these trees.
My mind tricks me for a moment,
And once again I am aboard the Tempest Chaser,
Wind dancing in my auburn hair,
As I stand below its majestic sails,
Watching the joyful mermaids chase after us.
But the moment soon disappears,
And I see the Tempest Chaser before me,
The broken arm of a beloved cottonwood.
My gaze wanders upward toward the sky,
As tiny bits of white angel feathers float down to me.
But my adult eyes see them for the cotton they really are,
And I brush them gently from my hair.

The stately cottonwoods stand sentry around Carparavel,
Just as they have always done in years past.
But this time I do not scramble into their branches,
To feel their strength beneath my feet.
I have strength within myself now,
An imagination that escapes on paper,
Instead of being played out in the forest of Carparavel,
As it once did in my beloved childhood.
A moment of sadness fills my heart,
As I climb inside my car and look back.
Sadness for the hours of childhood play,
To which I can never return.
Sadness for lost simple lessons of strength,
Found here within these cottonwood trees,
Battered by rains and wind, yet standing strong.
But the sadness passes and is replaced by joy,
Joy of a bright future whose foundation was built here,
Whose lessons of strength in spite of storms,
And the joy of childlike wonder,
Were learned here beneath these trees.
Here, within the walls of my Carparavel.


(C) 2007 Erica M. Holle. This was another college assignment, written about the imaginary fort of my childhood home.

Mar 30, 2010

Dat Road - Blues

Though dat road be hot an' dusty,
Though dat road be hot an' dusty,
Jus' keep yo' feet a'movin' over dat scorched land.

'Cause if you keep a'movin',
'Cause if you keep a'movin',
Ain't no one gonna get you down.

Jus' look at dem rocks an' smile,
Jus' look at dem rocks an' smile,
'Cause God can strike dem rocks an' bring water outta dem.

So when dat road is endin',
So when dat road is endin',
Look ahead an' see da water dis road has led you to.


(c) 2007 Erica M. Holle. This was written for an assignment in college. My honors professor liked it so much that he posted it as an example of blues lyrics in his office for the rest of his classes!

Mar 29, 2010

Painted Glass

The wind batters against my walls.
Its unending attack sends me
Shuddering beneath my shelter.
Something rattles outside,
And I wonder once more
If this will be the wind
To break my house
Of painted glass.

The glass I've so carefully painted
With colorful pictures
To hide the darkness inside.
For fear someone will see
Past the color
To the brokenness beneath.

The plaster smile on my painted face
Cracks in my effort to hide the frown.
I long for the sun to melt this painted glass,
To reach the darkness inside,
And brighten it with the dawn.

The wind batters against my walls,
But a warmth against my painted glass
Fills me with strength to face the attack,
As I look toward the heavens
And see the sun.

(c) 2006 Erica M. Holle. Published in 'Songs of Honour' book by Noble House Publishers, 2006.

Mar 28, 2010


The green grass turns to gold
And the sunlight gives up its sharp rays
To transform into soft twilight.
The shadows deepen
And give way to the tranquil colors of night.
Across the distant mountains
A single thread of golden sunlight
Shines one final goodbye
Before it sinks behind the hill.
And then
The sun's light is gone.
In a few hours
The moon will rise
White and glorious against the dark sky.
And after the moon's work is done
The sun will come back again
Shining brighter than before.

(c) 2005 Erica M. Holle. Published in 'Twilight Musings' book and the International Library of Poetry, 2005.

Mar 7, 2010

Life Lessons from a Funeral Home

It's strange, the things you notice when you're sitting in a funeral home. And the things you try desperately not to notice. Like the way the organ music crackles in the speakers, or how the chairs are colored in cheerful peach floral patterns, as if to make you forget the reason you're sitting there in the first place.

The mind of a child is a fascinating thing. Although my grandfather died when I was five, I don't remember much about his death except being convinced at the funeral that he was only sleeping. My cousin and I took turns walking past the open casket before the service, watching for his eyes to flutter open or his chest to rise in a quick breath. But he never woke up. I remember the ten-gun salute by his grave, commemorating his service to our country in World War II. I still have a few of the bullet shells that I picked up from the grass before we went home that day.

Two years later, when my cousin was killed in a camping accident, I remember walking into my aunt's house and seeing his twin brother sitting at the piano, playing "How Great Thou Art" and crying. I can still hear the sound of my aunt's sobs as my mom hugged her and they cried together, gathering strength from each other as they mourned the loss of a child. I remember wearing a yellow dress to the funeral, because my mom told me that we should be happy that my cousin was in heaven now with Jesus, and I thought it was a cheerful color. I remember the faces of the hundreds of people who attended his funeral. The EMT's who had responded to the 911 call that night had sat at a table by themselves at lunch following the service. I remember the tears in their eyes as members of our family walked up to them one by one and thanked them for trying to save his life.

I remember the first time I went to a funeral home and understood the finality of death. I was ten years old, and my grandmother had died on my birthday a few days earlier. I remember the way my dad put his arm around my mom as they walked into the viewing room together. It frightened me a little to see my mother cry. My mom, the tower of strength in our family, whose response to most occurrences was to shrug and say, "That's life." As I sat in the back of the room and watched her go forward to say goodbye to her mother, I realized for the first time that someday I, too, would have to say goodbye to my mom. And it was that realization, even more than saying goodbye to my grandmother, that made me cry. It was my first real taste of what death really meant.

My perception of death has changed over the years. In my young innocence as a child, I accepted it as part of life, believing with all my heart that I would see my loved ones in Heaven someday. As I grew older, that faith became shaken as I developed the need to see how everything would work out, rather than trusting in the faith that had held me strong as a child. Four more family members died. Two of them were solid Christians and believe firmly in Jesus Christ; I know that someday I will be reunited with them in Heaven. The other two were raised in Christian homes and professed to have faith, but did not walk with God. It was hard for me to accept the fact that I may never see them again. Even harder to think that they may spend the rest of eternity in hell because of the choices they made. But I think the hardest part has been not knowing for sure. It is possible that during the last few moments of their life, they cried out to Jesus and asked Him back into their hearts. It is also possible that their hearts remained hardened until the very end. This is one of the mysteries that I will never know the answer to until I die.

I have come to realize that there is death all around us, but that most people choose to ignore it. There is more than the physical death of a person. Death exists in shattered homes, broken relationships, forgotten dreams, unkind words, ignored hopes . . . things that can cause our souls to die just a little. It is almost just as tragic to ignore this type of death as it is to dwell on it.

The saying goes that people either see the glass as half empty or half full. In fact, this is often a question asked in interviews to determine your personality and whether you are a positive or negative person. The truth is, neither one of these options is great. If you choose to view the glass as half empty, you go through life depressed, ignoring the fact that you still have half a glass of water left. If you choose to view the glass as half full, you ignore the fact that you've already used up half your water and have an unrealistic view of life. In my opinion, it is better to acknowledge the fact that some of your thirst has already been quenched and be grateful for the water you still have, savoring every sip of it. To go through life, ignoring either death or life, isn't really living - it's existing. If we open our eyes to the fact that death is real and affects our life every day, just as life and new birth is also real and impacts our life every day, we can live more fully with the realization of what has been and what could be.

We have a heavy burden to bear. God has placed us here on this earth for a short time and has given each of us a mission that we need to accomplish before He takes us home. It is our choices that determine where we will stand on Judgment Day. If we follow His voice and obey Him, even when things are dark and we can't see the path in front of us, then one day we can stand before Him and hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Or, we can choose to ignore His voice and walk on the well-traveled road that ultimately leads to death.

It's your choice. What will you choose?


"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . . Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16-18

"Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." - Revelation 7:16-17

(c) 2010 Erica M. Holle. All rights reserved.

Feb 24, 2010

The Chimes - Sneak Preview

The chimes on the clock tower clanged three times and stopped. Wind rustled the barren branches of the cottonwood outside the window. An old clock ticked in the hallway. Nora thought she heard voices outside and realized it was only joggers passing by the front gate. Passing by, never stopping.


Air came in ragged gasps as Jenna checked her heart rate monitor and slowed her jog to a walk.

Bryce glanced at her. “Getting tired?”

“Nope. I just like looking at this house.” She motioned to the Victorian architecture. “I imagine the brick must get cold in the winter, but I can’t help loving it.”

“You do realize that this ‘house’ probably has at least seven bedrooms, right?” Hands on hips, he frowned at her. “We can’t afford something this big.”

Jenna shrugged. “I just wonder sometimes about the people who live inside. It looks so lonely.” She peered through the iron bars of the gate. “A huge yard like that should be filled with children climbing up the trees, garden parties, or at least a dog. I never see anyone outside – only that old Chevy parked in the garage. And the same light turns on every night at eight o’clock.”

Tugging at his water bottle, his frown deepened. “You sound like a Peeping Tom. People get arrested for knowing stuff like that about other people’s homes.”

“Just because I know what time the light comes on in a house across the street from our apartment does not make me a creep.” She took one last look at the house. “We’ve lived here for a year and have never met our neighbors. I just sometimes wonder when we became so solitary.”

Bryce rolled his eyes. “If you’re so concerned about our social life, why don’t you go and introduce yourself?”

Jenna could feel her muscles starting to cool. “Come on. We need to finish this last mile before dinner.”


Stay tuned for the conclusion of "The Chimes" - coming soon!

(c) 2010 Erica M. Holle. All Rights Reserved.

Feb 22, 2010

Comfort Zone Wars - Article

My life has been a series of waiting: waiting to grow up, waiting to go to college, waiting to get married, waiting to have children, waiting to discover God’s plan for my life . . . Oftentimes, I have felt like Moses and the Israelites as they wandered through the Desert, waiting for God to lead them to the Promised Land. I felt a little cheated at times, since the Israelites at least knew where God was taking them, whereas I had no idea what God was doing with my life. I simply wanted to know where God was leading me – and all the steps involved in getting there.

Everyone who knows me will tell you that I hate change. I am the type of person who will always use the same stall in the same restroom just because I know exactly how the door latches and that I don’t have to jiggle the toilet handle to make it flush. I always order the same item off the menu at restaurants because I know how it will taste. I take the same route to work every day because I know exactly how many minutes I will be driving, in spite of the fact that other routes may be shorter. You will never see me bungee jumping or sky diving.

Allow me to fill you in on a little secret: God does not operate within the walls of our comfort zones. In fact, He breaks them into tiny pieces until it forces us to step outside the boundaries and discover new territory.

This concept is something with which I have always struggled. I find myself making excuses like, “I’ll wait to pursue my dreams until my life settles down a little bit” or “I’m just not sure where God wants me to minister.” I essentially put my life on hold until I reach whatever goal I am working on at the time. It seems safer to live that way. I keep telling myself that I will be able to make new friends, pursue my dreams, and live life once all of my goals are reached and God tells me where He is leading me. I found verses like Psalms 27:14 that seem to validate my theory on waiting: “Wait on the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Recently, I was reading through Deuteronomy as the Israelites journeyed through the desert. As I read, one verse caught my attention. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.’” [Deut. 2:2-3] I felt God tugging at my heart as I read, telling me that I had been waiting to use the gifts He gave me long enough, and it was time for me to get on my feet and ‘turn north.’

As I read through the passage and tried to convince God that staying in my comfort zone was safer, He responded with: “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” [Deut. 2:7]

It was difficult, but in the end I allowed God to lead me out of my comfort zone and discover new territory. I still don’t know exactly where God is leading me, but I do know that He will be with me all the way. I think sometimes that’s all God wants of us: trust.

(c) 2009 Erica M. Holle. All rights reserved.
For more information about this article and others, please email

No Place Like Home - Short Story Preview

The roof of the old farmhouse was going to collapse at any minute— it was bound to happen. It must happen.

Penelope “Penny” Brewster stood outside her grandparents’ farmhouse, battered suitcase in hand, staring at the gray jumble of boards that must have resembled a house at one time, but now merely looked like someone’s idea of a joke. The once-yellow siding had faded beyond recognition. One side was painted bright red, as if someone had become bored before they finished. The shingled roof had been patched over with boards and tar paper so many times it looked like a child’s playroom scattered with toys.

Frozen in the same spot she had been standing since she stepped out of the cab a few moments before, Penny gaped at the house in disbelief. Surely her parents didn’t actually mean for her to spend Christmas here. The house looked like a prop from a horror movie!

She glanced at the rest of farmyard. A dilapidated building that might possibly have been a barn leaned a few yards from the house, its sagging roof shaped into a strange half-smile. Rusted trucks and cars sprawled over the field with a blanket of snow covering them. It looked as if they had become too tired to run anymore, and decided to take a long nap for the winter.

Penny shook her head, taking a few steps backward.

There was absolutely no way her parents could make her spend a whole week here just so they could have a holiday in the Bahamas. It was bad enough they had shipped her off to crazy Aunt Roberta last year for New Years, but this? This was so much worse.

“I’ll bet they don’t even have indoor plumbing,” muttered Penny under her breath. Realizing too late she had spoken out loud, she turned toward the road, determined to hitchhike all the way back to New York.

“Penelope?” The screen door creaked open, protesting its old hinges. “Is that you, child?”

Briefly eyeing the road for any signs of a passing bus, Penny sighed and slowly turned around.


Herman Brewster sat in his old armchair, nervously tapping his feet on the yellowed linoleum floor. Granddaddy of hammers, it was taking Peaches a long time to bring his grandson inside. Not that Herman could see him once he was inside. His eyes had failed him years ago.

He automatically pulled his pocket-watch out of his vest pocket, and then hastily shoved it back in its compartment, remembering that he couldn’t see the time anyway.

Straightening his Sunday tie, he wondered if Peaches had remembered to check his socks before she cooked breakfast this morning. He’d had several experiences lately where he had gone out in public wearing mismatched socks, and hadn’t found out about it until later.

His alert ears caught the sound of the screen door closing. “Peaches, is that you?” he called, tweaking his white mustache to make sure the ends were curled properly. It simply wouldn’t do to have a crooked mustache on his first meeting with his grandson.

“I’m here, Herman.” A dim form moved to stand in front of him.

“Peaches?” asked another female voice. “I thought your name was Geraldine.”

Herman could hear the grin in his wife’s voice when she explained, “Well, it is. But you see, when we were first introduced, it was at the church picnic and there was noise from the kids playing in the creek, and the three-legged race . . . .” Her voice drifted off, before she caught herself and blinked rapidly. “Anyway, Herman misunderstood the preacher when he introduced us, and thought he’d said my name was Georgia.”

She laughed at the memory. “It took me the longest time to figure out why he kept calling me Peaches. Somehow, though, it kinda stuck.”

Herman tugged at Geraldine’s apron impatiently. “Well, where is he, woman?” he demanded. “Where’s my grandson?”

“Now, Herman,” began Geraldine with exasperation. Herman could almost picture her wrinkled hands going to her hips in the familiar stance she always took whenever they were having an argument. “I told you Penelope was our granddaughter—not our grandson. Now stop saying that – you’re scaring the poor child half to death.”

Herman rolled his eyes. “You said we were going to have our grandson spend the holidays with us. I distinctly remember you saying that.”

“I did not,” she argued, the fire coming into her voice now. “But we’ll just forget about it, because Penelope is here now, and you haven’t even met her yet.”

Herman sulked for a moment. It was bad enough to be nearly blind, but for Peaches to start losing her memory was much worse.

“Hello…Grandpa,” said the young voice, hesitating.

His face brightened. He hadn’t heard himself called by that name in a long while. “Well, howdy, Granddaughter,” Herman beamed, holding out his hand. “It surely is nice to meet you after all these years. How old are you now? Nine? Ten?”

“I’m fifteen.” She sounded slightly offended.


There was a moment’s silence.

Herman wondered what to say next. Maybe he should give her a hug. But then, he couldn’t see her to hug her, so that probably wouldn’t work. And what in the world was that strange burning odor coming from the oven?

“Shouldn’t you check on that pie, Peaches?” he asked hesitantly. “It smells kind of burnt.”

“Land sakes,” she cried. “I forgot all about it!”

Herman waited for the girl to say something after Peaches trotted off to see if the pie could be salvaged, but she just sat down on the chair across from him and was silent.

He sighed. This was going to be a long week.

(c) Erica Holle, 2005. All rights reserved.
Written for Young Adults, ages 8-12
For more information about this story and others, please email

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