Flash Fiction…inspired by Actual Events …A Soldier’s Reunion

USARAF Soldiers return from Odyssey Dawn, Marc...

Flash Fiction…inspired by actual events…A Soldier’s Reunion

“Bill arrives soon, and I want everything to be perfect.” Lynn released an excited squeal. “Listen to what I’ve done. I’ve mowed the lawn, cleaned the house, and cooked Bill’s favorite meal. Now all I have to do is make myself beautiful.”

“Sounds like you have it under control,” Jan said, a smile in her voice.

“I’m lighting candles as we speak.” Lynn sighed. “I have to finish getting ready. Talk to you soon.”

They said their goodbyes, and Lynn walked to her closet and pulled out her new dress. She was certain this would wow her husband.

One hour later

Bill dragged his luggage in with one hand and a bouquet of flowers with the other hand. He scanned the room. The lights were dim with soft candlelight illuminating every corner of the living space. Music flowed to his ears, reminding him of the day he proposed. A quick glance revealed the table set for two. “Lynn?”

He walked to the bedroom. His wife lay as if posed for a magazine cover. She looked beautiful in a clinging blue dress that flowed gracefully to her knees. Her glossy brown hair and her clear, soft skin glowed to perfection. He gently tapped her shoulder. “Honey, I’m home.”

She slept.

NOTE: Something like this actually happened to my mother. My dad came home on leave during WWII. My mom had worked so hard to make things perfect she was sick the first part of the visit. (o:

Karen Gaus

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker

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Three reasons I love Christmas Eve…

christmas paint

christmas paint (Photo credit: cassie_bedfordgolf)

Three reasons I love Christmas Eve—

Christmas Eve is special to me for a number of reasons—the first one, of course, is because of the celebration of the birth of Jesus who came to save the world. This year one of my thoughts regarding Christmas is the scripture in Luke 2 that says, “Peace on earth—good will toward men.” I think it is so wonderful that one of the first messages surrounding Jesus coming to the world is that God wanted peace and goodness for mankind. By giving His Son, God the Father was achieving this goal.

Another reason Christmas Eve is so special is—it’s my birthday! I used to love hearing my family tell small details about the Christmas that I came unexpectedly one month before I was due. My grandmother told me I was born ten minutes before midnight, barely missing Christmas day. My oldest sister said the doctor had to leave a Christmas Eve party and delivered me while he was still in his tuxedo. She asked, “Why do you have to do everything first class?” (o: My daddy and four older sisters went to my mother’s family to open gifts while Mother and I were in the hospital.

That brings me to another reason Christmas Eve is so extraordinary—the Christmas Eve I turned thirty-four years old, I left the hospital carrying my two-day-old infant daughter in my arms, thinking, “This is amazing. What a special gift for my birthday!” The whole world was doing Christmas that year, but my husband and I were enjoying a new baby.

Yes. Christmas Eve is a very special day for me, and Jesus makes it all deeper, richer, and more amazing than words can convey.

I hope this Christmas, that the Christ of that first Christmas lives in your heart and brings you joy, peace, and goodness.

Merry Christmas!

Karen

Road Rage—Up Close & Personal

TrafficRoad Rage—Up Close & Personal … It was a mistake—I knew it when it happened. But it would save time. I had to change lanes or miss my turn. So I pulled in front of a fast-moving truck and turned the wheel to enter a parking lot, barely missing a collision.

The person blasted his horn, and a quick glance in my rearview mirror told me what I didn’t want to know—he had followed me into the parking lot. When I parked, the driver stopped directly behind my car, blocking the way out.

I stepped out of my vehicle to face a scowling young man in the driver’s seat with a couple of his buddies, all directing fury my way. He shouted, “What do you think you’re doing pulling in front of me like that?”  If rage could be charted, it would be in the red danger zone. My heart pounded in fear, and I was afraid it could turn violent.

Then I remember two lessons I had learned—one was from the Bible. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) The other teaching—“people like to hear a sincere apology.”

So I answered as sweetly and gently as I could, “I apologize. Will you forgive me?”

The response was gruff but positive, “I guess so.” And then he drove off.

Relief coursed through me—my heart slowly resumed its normal pace.

God’s Word and his lessons proved to be the answer against road rage, and wow, am I thankful. (o:

~ Karen Gaus ~

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker

The Dog that Saves the Day

Rover The Dog that Saves the Day …

I’m a cat person. Dogs are okay, but I’ve always been a bit afraid of them. That is, all but one dog. He was special. We adopted him when I was eight years old. He was a stray who followed my three older sisters home from the city swimming pool in our small town of Bartlett, Texas.

My mom fed him the scraps from our table, and the poor thing was so hungry he would lick up tomatoes off the front porch.

I liked him from the beginning. He was ugly but docile and had a sweet personality. His brown fur had black strands mixed through his coat that looked like coarse horse’s hair.

Daddy called him “Rover.” Not a very original name, but we loved him. Humble, lazy Rover didn’t have a mean bone in his body.

One day, after we’d move to Clifton, Texas, my brother, a neighbor friend, and I were riding our scooters outside when two boys we had never met before approached us with three German shepherds walking beside them. The dogs looked lean and fit.

For some reason, the boys took an instant dislike to my brother, John, and one told him he was going to sic their dogs on him.

We froze, not sure what to do.

John stared at the boys but remain silent, looking small in comparison to the bullies the tension mounted.

One of the boys mumbled under his breath, “Attack.” One of the German shepherds started a slow, menacing walk toward John. The front dog bared his teeth, and a low growl came deep from his throat.

Clearly, the dogs intended to attack. What should we do?

It was then that I heard a dog’s low growl from behind me. Rover raced out from between John and me at top speed.

He charged the three dogs like he would fight to the death. His hair stuck up on his back, his teeth showed full force, and he growled like a ferocious mother bear protecting her cubs.

Rover was far from docile—he transformed from a mild-mannered mongrel into Super Dog. Amazing and fantastic.

The three other dogs knew Rover meant business, because they turned and ran the other way. Not far behind, the two bullies followed. Rover pursued them with all his might—I’d never seen him run that fast.

He chased them about half a block, than turned around and loped back to us. His fat belly swayed as he trotted. I never knew a dog could smile, but Rover was smiling broadly—he was so proud of himself, and we were thrilled.

I knelt down and let him run into my arms. I gave him a hug and kept telling him what a wonderful thing he’d done, and he seemed to understand.

Rover remained part of our family for many years and never lost his charm or intelligent insight into being a great friend to our whole family.

~ Karen Gaus ~

Here I am with Rover (right) and our neighbor's dog.

Here I am with Rover (right) and our neighbor’s dog when I was about ten years old. (o:

An Embarassing Moment

An Embarrassing Moment … One of the most embarrassing moments in my life happened in fourth grade. The experience even defied the law of physics…At recess one day I was sitting on a railing ledge in the front entryway to the elementary school I attended. The area had a porch-like area, concrete railing, lined with benches next to it. I was talking to a couple of friends who were also perched on the ledge, and we decided to go ask another friend a question. Everyone took the leap to the bench below, but something strange happened when I tried the same move. Instead of landing deftly on the bench feet first, my foot took an unexplained slip, and in a split second, I found myself upside down, face down, clinging to the ledge. Fortunately, my reflexes worked just fine, and I caught myself from hitting the concrete head first. My body turned into a seesaw—my nose hit the edge of the seat below. I tried to right myself, but my body seesawed again, causing my nose to bang up against the bench once more. The next attempt to right myself worked. I finally stood gawking at my friends wondering why they hadn’t helped me out of my predicament.

“That was weird,” one friend said.

“Yeah. It was,” I agreed. It was bizarre. And don’t you think…it defies the law of physics?

The photo in this blog is the school I attended. Behind the scrubs where the railings, and on the other side of that were the benches.

I dare you to tell about an embarrassing moment you have had.

Karen

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker

 

Six Parenting Tips Every Parent Should Know

Six Parenting Tips Every Parent Should Know … Good parenting has become a lost art. Like many parents I learned the hard way what worked or didn’t work with my children. I hate to think I used my children as a trial run at parenting, but they somehow lived through it. (o: Here is some advice I hope keeps you from making unnecessary mistakes:

  1. Never make a threat you’re not willing to enforce. A threat starts something like, “We’re turning off this TV program if you don’t straighten up”, or “We’re leaving this toy store right now, if you don’t stop hitting your brother.” Sometimes I really wanted those McDonald’s fries or whatever the activity we were doing.  If that was the case, I never used the threat strategy because I wanted it too.
  2. When telling a child “no”, give him some alternative activity to do. For instance, I remember my son and his friend were climbing under tables at the mall and, in general, being out of control. The typical reaction on my part was to yell, “Stop. Don’t do that.” That’s a correct but incomplete response. I needed to tell them what I expected as well. For instance, “Stop climbing under that table, and stand right here in this square,” while pointing to a tile on the floor. It worked!
  3. Don’t overcorrect.  Fit the punishment with the infraction. Kids can be too loud and/or too hyperactive sometimes. That just being a kid. Sometimes just calmly saying, “Kids, you aren’t doing anything wrong, but this is hard on my adult nervous system. Please quiet down.” You’d be amazed. I did this with my children, and they laughed and did what I asked.
  4. Unnecessary discipline is out. This is a trap that easy to fall into. It goes something like this…several adults are standing together talking. Next to them are their children who are also talking.  A movement from the kiddos gets an adult’s attention. A common reaction from one of adults is to start shouting, “Stop, children! Quit. Behave right now!” Wait. They hadn’t talked any louder than the grownups. The question is, are they in danger, or they irritating anyone? It may fall into “don’t overcorrect” category. A calm “be-quieter-and-stand-over-there-so-that-you-aren’t-blocking-anyone” will do.
  5. Don’t give a child something when they are crying. I’m not talking about a hungry baby or helping a child with basic needs. That is okay. Try to discern if this is selfish crying or not. Give a child something just because they cried can get out of control.
  6. Let your no be no. If I told my kids something, I tried hard to stick with my answer. For example, at the grocery store my child asks for candy and I say, “No, you can’t have candy.” The child continues the request until it turns into a full-blown tantrum. If I give in, then it just reinforces to the child. She thinks, “Wow, if I just throw a tantrum, mom gives me what I want.” Giving in a child’s demands only reinforces bad behavior and teaching a child that if I bug Mom long enough, I will get what I want.

I hope this helps. (o:

Leave a comment on a good parenting tip you have.

Karen Gaus, Author & Speaker

Karen Gaus

Myths, Space Aliens, and the Battle of the Sexes

Myths, Space Aliens, and the Battle of the Sexes … Since Adam and Eve, the differences between men and women are what make our existence fascinating. Otherwise, life would be boring. Here are some myths I’ve come up with regarding male/female stereotypes.

Myth one: Women make the worst drivers. Whoever said this, didn’t know my brother-in-law, Walter. I remember one time after he gave me a ride somewhere…we had so many close calls when I got out of the car, I considered kissing the ground. I had survived!

Myth two: When instructed, men know how to buy the right gift for their wife. What is the thing with men who don’t appreciate beautiful things? I have several funny stories I could tell on my husband, but I’ll just tell one. At Christmas one year, I asked for stationery. I thought that would be easy and fun to have some with flowers on it or some interesting design. The request came with some suggestions on how to select something remarkable or at least nice. At gift-exchange time, I did received stationery from him, but guess what? It was plain, white stationery! That’s right…totally blank. Even my mother-in-law was baffled. (o: That’s okay though, my husband is a sweetheart. He tried. Ha!

I have to give some men credit though. At Christmas at Bath and Body Works, the men look about as comfort as a space alien who just beamed into area 51, but they are there working at buying something their wives or girlfriends would appreciate.

Myth three: Men make the scariest bosses. The person who said that didn’t know the female boss I had when I was twenty. When she found an error, she would start shouting then stomp through the office waving the paperwork in her hand, drawing attention from everyone including the customers. There must be a better way to point out a mistake. (o:

Did you know that according to Dennis Rainey, author and speaker, men usually speak about 20,000 words a day and women speak 30,000 to 50,000 words a day with gusts up to 125,000 words? Is that why men don’t want to talk at the end of their day? Have they run out of words?