Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Home by Laura J. Marshall

Their weight sinks into the carpet then the floorboards beneath, permeating slowly into the concrete and the earth. Footprints of time and memory.
My head turns quickly to catch the shadow of a moment, a laugh, a sigh.

In the softness of home, the memories rock me. Gently floating across my mind and falling in waves that ripple like a rock skidding across a mirrored pond’s surface.

The air holds promises kept and broken. Words spoken long ago or tongues stilled out of respect and wisdom. Home has been privy to solitude, closed doors, deep thoughts, and heart’s cries.

When nowhere else would shelter, when no one else would hear,
When memories were once today’s and tomorrow was still promised.
Home was and is something fleeting, yet always steadfast.

Home is where your head lolls and you fall asleep on the couch after a meal of Thanksgiving.
It’s often Mom or Dad. Or scattered across miles and held tight in a brief visit.
It’s childhood memories, the laughter and the tears.
It’s rainy mornings and a steamy cup of coffee.
It’s snowy afternoons when hands cold from fort-making wrap around a hot mug of cocoa.

Home is said to be where your heart is, but it’s also where you’re given your heart.
Then as we grow, it’s scattered across the country, inside different people. The pieces you’ve given away. Willingly and unwillingly. Wrested over time or given at a glance into the warm brown eyes of a puppy.

Home is inside you and I.
It’s set across years and as we age,
And love and lose, it resides between heaven and earth.
Home is never lost, but rarely whole in one person or place.
But there are moments when the feeling of home is found in one terribly sweet piece of the present.
Grasp it loosely, examine it fully,
For the weight will sink into the carpet then the floorboards beneath, permeating slowly into the concrete and the earth.
Footprints of time and memory.
Of home.

A Psalm

Since I was born, You have watched over me all the days of my life.
You sang goodness and love over me.
You rejoiced when I rejoiced and cried with me through heartbreak.
You comforted me.
You are my rock and my salvation.
A firm foundation in the shifting sands of life.
As temporal loves and distractions drew me away, you waited patiently.
You were kinder to me than I deserved.
Your grace and goodness made me jealous to be in Your presence. It drew me back.
The weight of your love covered me like a lofty down blanket.
In your presence, I long to linger and dwell.
Surely goodness and mercy shall be with me all the days of my life.
I will sing your praise in my innermost being.
Joy overflows and you become my hiding place and shield.
The ground where I walk, you walk.
What I see through my eyes, you see.
My God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit dwell within.
You consecrate me for your name’s sake early in the morning and all day long.
When I seek you, you say, ‘Here I am” and reassure me.
There is no doubt of your love.
You are for me.
Your answer is Yes and Amen.
A perfect love that casts out all fear.
In you, I move and have my being.
The breath from your mouth fills my lungs.
I become as a child again in my trust of You.
You pick me up and carry me.
You swing me around, holding me firm with strong hands, your laughter mingling with my own delight.
And even though I long to share the richness of Your beauty and majesty, part of me covets our closeness.
It is the greatest delight of my life.
The works of man’s hands may distract for a time, but nothing compares to My God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
Three in one.
Three in me.

What Houses are Made of.

Books and nooks.
Paper and pen.
Reading Glasses.
Soft Places to Land.
What Homes are Made of ...
Paws and tails.
Mugs of steamy elixir.
Hands to hold,
even if it’s just our own folded in prayer.
Whispered hopes and dreams.
Simple joys.
and Love.

It's Time

It's Time.

To remember who you were, who you were meant to be.

Do you remember at age 8? The dreams you had lying in your bed at night, thinking about the long path before you and all you would accomplish?

Do you remember your whispered prayers at the tough times in your life, even as a little girl? And when you were trying to figure things out in your teens, or later … when everyone thought you knew what you were doing and things were settled. The years pass quickly.

And now you have a family and maybe a job you love … or hate. Did you deny and bury that hope deep inside of you? The world needs you. The darkness has not overcome the light. You shine brightly still.

Uncover and reveal without subterfuge.

The time is now to remember who you were, who you were meant to be.

Last Night - I Was the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

Last night, I was the most beautiful woman in the world.

I was at a public function and spurned by every woman there. The men looked at me with lust. One in particular strayed close enough to make eye contact. My heart contracted, I loved him yet he was married. As I stood to leave, his mother rebuked me. I ducked my head, trying to walk out with dignity.

Last night, I was walking home at twilight and witnessed a crime.

The angry thief turned to me with a bag in his hand intent on putting it over my head. I stumbled and ran. He didn't follow, but yelled obscenities and threats that he would find me.

Last night, I was a gay man with a broken heart.

I was trying to get home, but being pushed and confronted by an angry muscle of a male who wanted to pummel me because of who I was while his girlfriend screamed at him to leave me alone, that I was a 'human being'.

And when I awoke, I was me. My heart displaced and enlarged at who I had been moments before. I was privileged to be able to relate in some small way to the heart cries of the world.

Jesus came to mind and I wanted to weep.

I don't know if there's anything I can tell you that would convince you He is real. That what He did by dying on the cross and taking the punishment of yours and my sins away, was personal.

Just for you. He wants to heal your broken heart and gather you close. He wants to redeem your time here, for your good and God's.

God's holy. We're sinners. Every last stinking one of us. Jesus is the shed blood, the passover lamb spoken of in the Old Testament, for which the Jewish people had to make sacrifices so that they were "good with God".

While we're still in our mess, Jesus died for it. He knew about it and covered you. Whether you're still in it, trying to walk ahead of it, lonely, scared, rejected by the world, God still loves you. He wants you back, close to Him so He can take care of you.

At the cross, we're all on equal footing. We're the soldiers who hang Him, the women who weep, the accusers, and the robbers who look on mocking and the other accepting Him as the Son of God.

There is only One who is worthy of our love, adoration, every moment's breath and thoughts.

It's not our fancy cars, money in the bank, newest technological gadget, friends on Facebook, or messed up family that will make that little person deep down inside you, who aches and yearns to be loved, feel whole.

There is only One whose love is complete. Unlike the world's, it will fill you up and not leave you empty a few hours later.

Last night, I was the most beautiful woman in the world. I was heartbroken, lonely, rejected, and dirty. I covered my feelings with wine, men, things, my reflection. Yet I was still me inside and I hurt.

John 10:4-14 

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Stark. Barren. Minimalist. The cold of winter calls to me.
While the summer sunshine beats upon the land, drying the grass of the fields and skin of the occupants of earth, winter is but a memory.
The tendrils of ice that held my heart in it’s grip have thawed, now replaced with a much needed steady stream due to the heat.
I escape indoors, pressing my face against glass to mimic frost. The air on cold, chilled despite long sleeves.
Winter is past or … is it just ahead? The countdown has begun, where ladybugs go to die and snowflakes hope for momentary recognition.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

One Thousand Winks - Cape Cod Romances

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When Greg Conrad, a man who reminds her of painful memories, asks Samantha Tanner for a date to the annual Valentine's charity dance, she is resistant. She's just started looking for love at an online Christian dating site. But, Greg and her online love interest have something in common. Can mixed-truths, hidden secrets, and goat-stealing accusations end up in true love match for Sam? A heart-warming tale of finding love, healing, and laughter again on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.


“What’s his screen name?” Cass stood behind me in the cramped space of my cottage music room, glancing over my shoulder for the seventh time in twenty minutes.
“GoatMan.” I looked up. “Just pull up a chair.”
She dragged one across the kitchen linoleum and through the door, pulling it next to my desk.
“GoatMan? Why … just why?” She laughed, grabbing a chip from the bag before me and chewed happily.
I clicked his profile. “He raises goats for a living.”
“Well, at least he doesn’t look like one.
“No, and he winked at me.”
“What does that mean?” She leaned closer to the screen over my right arm.
I tilted my head. His profile stated nonsmoker, favorite food – breakfast for dinner (so me!) and loves hiking. I clicked the save button. GoatMan had potential. “Winking is flirting.”
“Ahh – okay.”
“Oh! I have a message.” A bright red one glowed across the envelope icon on the Sure Fire Christian Dating site.
Cass’s voice raised an octave in her excitement. “Is it from GoatMan?” She took another chip and munched in my ear.
“Let’s see.” A man’s face flashed on the screen. “No. It’s some guy named TinMan10.”
“Who’s he?” Cass scooted her chair close so she was even with me at the desk. In a minute she’d be snatching the mouse from my hand.
“I don’t know. The message says How you doin’?”
Cass giggled and clapped a hand over her mouth. “You totally just said that in a New York accent.”
I laughed, realizing the truth to her statement. Less than a half-hour on the site and I’d gotten several winks and now a message.
“Let’s go see his profile,” Cass prodded.
My knee jiggled a mile a minute under the desk. I clicked on his screen name and flipped through his pictures.
 “He’s got a go-tee … and huge ears!”
“Cass! That’s not nice.”
“Sam, you know you were thinking it.”
“What do I do? Answer him?”
“Um – well, if you find him attractive.” She drew the last word out syllable by syllable.
“Girl, you have a husband.” I pushed my chair back a few inches, breaking the dating game spell.
“That I do, so I have to live vicariously through you.”
“And you know that’s my end goal.” I scrolled down, “This guy is not looking for that.” The words nothing serious glared up from the seeking field.
“That makes it easier.”
I clicked to the home button. The Yes, No, Save for Later icons were center stage along with another profile picture of a handsome man with brown hair.
“He’s hot,” Cass commented, the chip bag now on her lap but forgotten.
“Yes,” I said. I hit save for later and poof, he disappeared off my screen followed by a red head.
“RustyTodd. Mmmm.”
“Cass! Maybe you need to go home to Brian.”
She sighed heavily. “Not nearly as exciting.”
I clicked past two more guys, pausing on ClassicCowboy. “And this is so romantic?”
“Hey, you’ve gotten five more winks and another message!” Cass exclaimed.

View the book on Amazon here.

Check out Laura's other books on her website at

Monday, November 30, 2015

Stormy Towne - Faith & Fame Series

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When help arrives in the form of a spoiled, rich girl from New York City, cowboy Justin Olsen is afraid his burden just got heavier. He’s been working and caring for his aunt Velma on his own.

Stormy is heiress to the Towne family fortune. Living in posh hotels and partying at the hottest New York City night clubs is part of her glamorous life. That is, until her grandmother banishes her to Apple Bottom, Texas with a mandate to aid an old family friend.

God surely hasn’t wrought these two hearts for each other, opposites to their very core. But what’s a vegetarian and a ranch hand to do when the failing town of Apple Bottom and Aunt Velma may need both of their help to survive?

The second book in the Faith & Fame series.
Short and Sweets - Cozy Afternoon Reads. Christian Romance.

Lainey Sparks - Lead Singer of Christian Band, Depth
Stormy Towne - Heiress to the Towne Fortune
Red Walker - Executive Officer of MacKenzie Oil


Willing himself to remain calm, Justin stood, waiting patiently for her to make up her mind. When she made no move, he walked to his side of the truck and slid behind the wheel, starting the engine. To say it purred like a kitten would have been a gross understatement, but it ran and was reliable. A cloud of dark smoke choked from the engine a moment later. He couldn’t help but split a grin when he heard Stormy shriek and rush to get into her side of the truck.
“Yes, ma’am. That’s what we grow here in Texas.” He put the truck in gear and proceeded from the parking spot. In minutes, he was out on route six and headed towards the highway.
“You hungry?” he asked into the silence.
“No,” Stormy said in muffled reply, her chin resting on a delicate hand perched near the window.
“Okay, but dinner might be long in coming, especially if Velma’s lost track of time again. I’m stopping for a burger. You want one?”
“A burger? Um, no. I don’t eat meat.”
Justin’s jaw worked, but no words came out. He glanced at her full on for thirty seconds before the road called his attention back.
“Don’t eat meat? Good Lord, woman. Whatcha goin’ to eat then?”
“Fruit and vegetables.”
“There’s no accounting for taste, I guess.” Justin pulled the truck into the drive through lane. “You want fries?”
Stormy looked at him and wrinkled her nose. “Fried in what kind of oil?”
“Lady, I have no idea. Does it matter?”
“I guess not. I don’t eat fried things. No, thank you.”
Justin placed his order, paid, and collected his food. He swung into an empty parking space and let the truck idle. Rummaging through the bag, he pulled out the double cheeseburger, conscious he was being watched. His eyes slid to Stormy’s. “What’s the matter?”
“I – I just …” she stuttered, “You’re so callous about eating meat. Do you know where that comes from?”
“Yes, ma’am. A cow. We’ll see plenty on the way to Apple Bottom and on the ranch.”
“Ranch?” Her nose wrinkled, which would have been pretty if she wasn’t so full of herself.
Justin looked down at his now unwrapped burger, turning it over in his hand before taking a huge bite. “Double-Y, yes ma’am. Then you’ll really appreciate your meat.”
Stormy shook her head in disgust at him and turned back to the window. Justin finished the burger in two bites and gulped down half of his soda. He jumped from the truck cab and threw the trash away. Within minutes they were back on the road and headed to the highway.
However long this girl was here, it would be too long. How could he cook for someone who didn’t eat meat? He ran the ranch as best he could, and most nights, he was so tired he couldn’t see straight. He didn’t have time to coddle a spoiled brat of a girl who never grew up.
The Good Lord knew how much they’d struggled this year with steer prices down and feed climbing higher and higher. You raised the animals, and they became your food. You didn’t get attached. They had a good life on the farm, in the fields, until it was time to send them for slaughtering. That was the circle of life.
Stormy, she had a strange way of thinking. She must be from a city with so much concrete between her and the dirt, it had affected her brain. 

View the book on Amazon here.
Check out Laura's other books on her website at

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I Was Drawing a Heart

I drew a heart in the sand.

Someone came alongside me and pointed to the outline. "A turtle," he exclaimed.

He called his friend over. The woman looked at the stick drawing, the ocean foam lapping closer to the edges.

"No, it's a dog."

More people gathered...pointing and debating. Despite my protestations, few saw the intended design.

The tide came in and washed the traces of it away.

In relief...and frustration, I sat on the hot sand, staring at where my picture had been.

I was alone.

Was it a snowflake or a cloud? 

"It was a heart," I declared, willing it to return beneath the water.

~  ~  ~
Our intentions are not changed by people's perception of them.  

In the end, I will stand before God. He'll see the curves to the lines, viewing that snapshot among the many in my life. 

He will see the heart.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Love Your Curves

God has been really great about putting strong amazing women in my life lately.

Recently, one remarked how she needs to lose 5-8 pounds to fit in some clothes that are just a bit too tight. "I love my curves," she said.

Wait. What?

"I love my curves."

How often do we hear that? If you're like me, you've been beating yourself up for the better part of 25 years for what you did or didn't eat...every day.

Another woman I have the pleasure of working with is a confident, determined, no-nonsense, powerful lady. She happens to be big and beautiful. Her presence is inspiring. She told me the other day she is trying to lose weight.

"No! Not you too!"

Not only is her presence inspiring, but her present -s. She is always there in our conversations and immediately takes action on whatever we're discussing.

Why do we as women have such a problem embracing our curves? Even the best and brightest of us?

I challenge you this summer to stop hiding, abusing, mistreating, beating yourself up. Love your curves. Isn't 25 years enough. Be healthy, but you in the present. The rest of us already do.