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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Short Story

Merry Christmas!

This week I don't have an author interview for you. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all the kind words and actions that you have done for me. As you know, last Saturday Terry and I had the book launch party for Luke's Legacy. We were blessed by the family and friends who came and showed love and support. There were also many who emailed us and sent greetings and well-wishes. That meant so much to us also.

Sometimes Christmas can be a tough time. I know that when I get out the tree and decorations, I think of those who are not with us any more. I have wonderful memories. I am very thankful for that. In my family we are very expressive of love. We hug a lot and tell one another that we love each other. That has been a comfort for me because I know that the ones I love have heard it from my lips.

Terry wanted me to send out the short-story I wrote last year called, "A Job for Christmas". I told him that people could click on the link to my website, but he wanted it to show up on the here it is:

A Job For Christmas

The reception room was crowded as the tenth applicant for the job burst through the door. “Sorry Ma’am I hope I am not late.” He said.

“Put your name on the list. Mr. James will get to you in order.” The hefty middle-aged receptionist answered as if she were a worn out recording.

The young man wrote his name carefully to be sure that it was legible. There was no use being looked over for a job because the interviewer couldn’t read his name. He finished the task and the woman spoke. “Fill these out also.”

“Thank you.” He said. He searched the room for a spot to land on. There were a couple of chairs available but briefcases were in them. The other job seekers in the room looked as depressed and tired as he was. An inner door opened and a middle-aged man came into the crowded room. He was obviously the mail room clerk. He searched each face and his eyes came to rest on the young man who was standing.

“No place to sit?” He asked.

The young man shrugged. “Apparently not.”

“Hey you there, move your stuff and let this kid sit. You know it will be a long wait.”

The man continued reading the latest copy of Forbes magazine as if he had not been addressed. A young woman moved her briefcase from the seat next to her and nodded to the young man.

“Thank you.” He said.

The mailroom clerk crossed the room to the young man. “I am Harold. I have been here since the company was founded.”

“My name is Steve. I feel like I have been looking for work since the day this company was founded.” He smiled.

The man with the Forbes magazine remarked. “They don’t hand out promotions much here or else you don’t have much talent.”

The others in the room chuckled in agreement.

“I hold the best position in the company.” He said. Smiling he peered into Steve’s eyes. “Good luck Steve. Young lady, you have a good heart.”

They watched the man as he went in through the same door he came out of. “Loser!” One man muttered.

“Steve, my name is Marsha. It looks like we are interviewing for the same position.”

Steve nodded. “Every interview is the same. There aren’t a whole lot of positions available.”

“That is true. Tell me about yourself. We apparently have a lot of time to kill.”

His eyes watered. “I have a wife and three kids. Hopefully I can get something going before Thanksgiving so that Christmas won’t be bad for them.”

“Have you been on the job hunt long?” She asked.

He said, “It feels like a long time. Actually, it is when you have a family counting on you. As of today I have been out of work for three months.”

One of the job seekers left his chair in search of the restroom. As he left another man remarked, “How long before they call on another one of us to talk with personnel? This is ridiculous!”

“Hey you, is the man that hires even here yet?” Another man asked the receptionist.

The receptionist shrugged.

“It isn’t her fault.” Marsha answered.

“All I know is that they better look at qualifications when they fill this job.” The Forbes magazine reader said.

“In this economy I am sure they will look at a lot more than qualifications.” Marsha answered. “What is your name?”

“Listen, this isn’t a coffee shop and I am not looking to make friends. We are in competition for the same job.”

“All right then.”She said.

Marsha turned back to Steve. “Tell me about your kids. Are they really young?”

His eyes lit up as he began, “I have two sons. One is twelve and the other is ten. Our little girl is four years old now. My wife is the best. She has been great through all this stress. They are everything to me.” He fumbled with the papers that he had completed.

The receptionist leaned forward. “Marsha Brown.”

“That’s me.” She stood and smoothed out the front of her jacket. “Good luck Steve.”

One of the men in the waiting room muttered. “We might as well go home. They always give the jobs to the chicks.”

Steve contemplated the words. Sometimes it seemed to be true. He thought about his wife and hoped with all his heart that he would come home with good news. Christmas would be brutal if he didn’t land a job soon. They were down to eating beans and cornbread most meals as well as spaghetti and ketchup sauce too. Aimee was a great cook and managed to stretch the pantry to keep them fed. Presents couldn’t happen without a job. Of course the grandparents would send things, but he wanted to provide for his children. He clasped his hands together as he rested his elbows on his knees. This waiting was a killer.

“Steve Clark.” The voice beaconed.

He stood to go and angry voices erupted. “No fair! I have been here twice as long as he has.”

“Do I have to call security and have all of you hauled off?” The receptionist asked.

As Steve entered the interview room he was greeted by Marsha. “Hi Steve, let me look at your application.”

The look of confusion on his face was amusing. She smiled as she looked through the neatly scripted papers. “You can learn a lot about people when they are waiting for a job interview. As far as my authority goes, I would say that you have the job. There will be a nice Christmas bonus and sign on bonus. Sally, my secretary will cut the check today. You can come in first thing tomorrow to start work. Now all we need is for you to speak with the founder of the company. He enjoys meeting each new member of the team and showing them their office.

As she finished speaking the mail room clerk walked into the room. “Follow me. So your name is Steve?”

Steve nodded. “Yes sir.”

They went through a long hallway that opened into a plethora of cubicles. “Your desk will be in the corner at the window until we get settled into our new building. I hope this is ok.”

“Yes, thank you.” Steve said. “You have been so kind. I would like to tell the boss that you are a first-rate man, Harold.”

The middle-aged man stuck out his hand for a handshake. Steve firmly clasped his hand, looked him in the eye and grinned at him. “Steve, I am the boss. My name is H.W. James. I am the founder of this company. We do our hires just a little differently here. We believe in the Bible verse that says, ‘When you have done this to the least of these, you have done it to me.’ You can tell a lot about a person’s character in how they speak to the lowest guy on the totem pole.”

“Thank you for the job Mr. James. I will do my best.”

“Just one thing, Steve, don’t tell anyone about our criteria for hiring.”

“It’s a deal.” Steve could hardly contain his excitement. There would be a family celebration tonight.

Written by

Elaine Littau

Author of Nan’s Journey, Elk’s Resolve, and Luke's Legacy

Chapters 1-6 of Gertie's Grace (I am thinking of changing the title to "The Eyes of a Stranger.) are on the website. Just go to and click on the last item on the list on the left-hand side of the website.

For Home School/Private School/Public School

I have placed Chapter 1 of Nan's Journey on my website along with a Lesson Plan and Reading Comprehension questions.

I am working on completing the work of doing Lesson Plans and questions for all the books I write. The links are free. The books are on the accelerated reading list for Perryton Jr. High School. It is for readers 13 and up. If you are a teacher or parent who needs this, just log in the lesson plans and questions are free.

Between the Books Chapters

For new chapters "Between the Books" go to and click on the tab. I plan to write a new chapter per week (If possible) until Luke's Legacy is in my hands. All the chapters written are available on the website.

No comments:

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)


JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446509396

ISBN-13: 978-0446509398



Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you’ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better day—a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.

I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing won’t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?

I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn’t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn’t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.

In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?

I discovered it wasn’t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasn’t the problem—I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.

Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. I’d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didn’t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers weren’t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.

Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasn’t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadn’t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.

I could not figure out why I wasn’t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.

Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!

Jesus offers us a “new way of living,” and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you’ve allowed to take over? Let’s get started.

Do One Thing at a Time

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything elseówe are the busiest people in the world.


Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].

—Hebrews 12:2

When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. It’s like removing an egg yolk from the egg white—both can be used separately but the result isn’t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.

The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.

Practice living one day at a time; give yourself—your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of you—to the day at hand.

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

1. Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.

Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? It’s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.

The Blog Tour for "Nan's Journey" Begins July 23

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

Nan's Journey

Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)


Littau is a life-long resident of Perryton, TX. She met husband, Terry at the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1974. They married March 1, 1975 and reside on a small acreage near Perryton where they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They raised three sons and now have three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren added to their family. They also enjoy visiting with their extended family located in Perryton, Clear Lake, Laverne, and Amarillo.

Author Elaine Littau is a busy woman who by profession is the church secretary for Harvest Time First Assembly of God Church in Perryton. Among other things she has led women’s groups and taught preschool, and was a mentor for the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. She has been active in Toastmasters and enjoys painting, crafts, and playing piano and organ. She was recently appointed to the Campus Education Improvement Committee for Wright Elementary in Perryton. She belongs to Christian Storytellers and Faith Writers writing groups.

“Nan’s Journey” was written over the course of several years. “A salvation message is at the core of the book.” Littau says. “If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I truly enjoy meeting new people.”

Littau is currently working on two other books that are continuations of “Nan’s Journey.” Book signings and speaking engagements are currently set up for venues in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602478325
ISBN-13: 978-1602478329


Chapter One

It was late. The moon had risen and the night symphony was in full force. Crickets chirped at their rivals, the frogs, and dominated the night chorus. Only one sound in the forest was foreign—a whimper from under the ferns. At the base of the largest pine in the woods was a small form crying, moaning, and whimpering. Black hair, matted and dirty, hung in long ropes down the front of the tiny girl. She had been in this spot for hours. At least that is what it felt like to her. Stretching, she cried out in pain. The blood-covered welts burst open to bleed again. Her back was wet with blood, and her dress was torn and useless.

Why had she dared to speak to the woman that she was obliged to call mother in that way? She knew that talking was not allowed from children before chores were finished. The accusations being made by “Ma” were totally false and she could not let Elmer take the blame for something she herself had forgotten to do. She shut her eyes tight against the memory, but it intruded anyway.

She had just gotten up to take the water off the stove to make up dishwater for the supper dishes. Ma had stepped outside the room to turn down her bed and prepare for sleep. When she reappeared in the kitchen, she realized that the wood supply next to the stove was low. Elmer was standing next to the table gathering the plates for washing. “Elmer, where is the wood you were supposed to bring up to the house?” Before he could answer, a hand had slapped him across his face. Getting back onto his feet and standing as tall as a five year old can stand, he looked her in the eye and said, “Ma, I was sick today, ‘member?”

“So, Elmer, you’re going to play up that headache trick again. Nan, didn’t your good for nothing Mama teach you people how to work, or are you just lazy?”

“Our Mama was good! Don’t you say mean things about her!” Nan yelled as her heart raced at the assault against her real Mama’s character.

“What about it, Elmer, are you like your weakling Mama or what?” Elmer’s eyes became very large and filled with tears. He could barely remember his real Mama, but when he did, he remembered soft kisses and sweet singing and a beautiful face. “I’m sorry; I’ll get the wood now.”

“No, Elmer, don’t. I promised you I’d do it today when your head was hurting, but I forgot. I’ll get it after I do these dishes.”

“Listen here, Nan, I’m the boss around here and Elmer will do what I say, when I say, and you will respect me.”

Nan’s eyes widened.

“Don’t look at me like that, little girl.”

Nan held her breath.

“Well, I guess you will be making a trip to the wood shed…with me!” Ma had grabbed her by the arm and jerked her along behind the shed. The strap was hanging there, waiting. Whippings were becoming more and more frequent. After Ma’s husband left, they had taken on a more cruel form. The last whipping was more like a beating. It took days for the marks to scab over and heal. Little Elmer had come in that night and brought some horse medicine from the barn and applied it to the oozing marks.

The next afternoon when the schoolteacher came over, Ma had already formulated a story. “Mrs. Dewey, we missed Nan and Elmer today at school. Are they sick?” Ma lied the first time in her life and said, “Well Miss Sergeant, since Mr. Dewey is going to be gone for another four weeks, I need more help around here to get things done. I’m holding the kids out until he gets back.” Week after week went by, and Mr. Dewey still hadn’t come home. Everyday Ma grew more and more angry. It became more and more impossible to please her. When she began hitting Elmer, it was too much. Nan had to do something— right or wrong; things couldn’t stay the way they were.

The coolness of the earth had settled into Nan’s bones. She stood silently for a minute and carefully crept up to the farmhouse. As she opened the door, she saw that Elmer was in the pallet at the foot of the stove next to her bedroll. Ma was asleep in her room. The door held open with a rock. Slowly she began peeling off the dress and the dried blood stuck to it. She reached for the old shirt she normally wore over her wounds and under her dress. She had washed it today. It had bloodstains on it, but it would keep her from ruining another dress. She retrieved the old work dress that she wore when chores were messier than usual; it was the only one left. She put it on swiftly and shook Elmer awake with her hand over his mouth. “Baby, we must leave. Do you understand? Stay quiet and I will get some stuff to take with us.”

She found large old handkerchief and began looking for food supplies. There was one sourdough biscuit and about a cup of cold brown beans. She located her tin cup and another rag. She would probably need that. Three matches were in the cup on the stove. She would just take two. Suddenly she heard a sound from Ma’s room. A scampering sound… just a rat. Ma turned over. Her breathing became deep and regular. For once Nan wished that Ma snored. She tied the handkerchief in a knot over the meager food supplies, grabbed their bedrolls, and slowly opened the door.

“Come on, Elmer. Can you carry this food? I’ll get your bedding. That’s a good boy. We must hurry!”

The cold air bit at their faces, but they walked bravely on.

“Elmer, we must go tonight so we can get as far away as we can before Ma wakes up and sees that we are gone.”

For the next half hour the pair walked in silence through the familiar woods past the graves on the hill. In one, a mother dearly loved, in another, an infant who had died the same day as his mother, and the third, a father that only Nan had memory of. Elmer was only two years old when Pa died in the logging accident. Nan snapped out of her reverie and urged Elmer on. Molasses, Pa’s good old workhorse, stood in the pasture. He skidded the logs Pa cut with his axe. His legs hadn’t healed quite right, but Mama hadn’t let Mr. Dewey kill him because he was all she had left of the husband of her youth. Molasses was a faithful friend to Nan and Elmer. He stood there and waited for them to mount him.

“Molasses, take us to…” Nan realized then that they had nowhere to go. Mrs. Dewey had said that they were ungrateful little imps who didn’t realize she and Mr. Dewey were taking care of them out of kindness, and they could easily be put into an orphanage. Nan didn’t know anything about orphanages except what Mrs. Dewey…uh, Ma had told her. “Molasses, just take us out of here.”

Cruise Blunder

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO
Great book signing in Colorado!

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO
Booksigning - Elaine

Elk's Resolve Proof is Here