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Living By Faith

by LaNaye Perkins  
4/27/2008 / Short Stories

As the sun topped the horizon, it shed its light upon a man. He knelt in the dirt, head bowed and hands clasped in prayer. He spoke softly to his maker seeking guidance from above, then quietly remained there in silence for a long while. Finally he rose up, placed his hat upon his head and turned to make his way toward the barn.

Joe's face was weathered and bronzed by a lifetime spent outdoors. Deep creases lined his aged face, his black hair replaced long ago with gray. These features framed eyes of deepest brown that sparkled with life. Even in his advanced years he walked upright and proud.

Tessa was a tiny thing with long silver hair, but she was tough as nails. Time had only added to her beauty in Joe's eyes. They'd had three boys together. All were grown and married with children of their own. They had all moved nearby and started homesteads of their own.

On Sundays they'd all gather together bringing foods and have a big family dinner. The grandkids would always beg Joe and Tessa to read stories to them from the old family Bible. They'd brought it with them from back east so many decades before. It was a wild frontier back then. With guidance from their maker and deep faith, they set out to make a new life in this strange land called Kentucky.

Just before reaching the barn, Joe noticed a board pried loose on the chicken pen. "Looks like some varmint was tryin' to get into your business there Ruby!" He spoke to one of his hens as he returned with some tools to secure the board. "No sense lettin' em get a head start tonight."

Joe picked up the tools and went into the barn to put them up. At the work bench, he gathered up all his fencing tools and placed them in the buckboard wagon. Turning toward the stalls to get Betsy and Nelly, he got the two draft horses harnessed up to the wagon. Then he took the wagon out to load wooden posts and split rails from his stock pile.

Hopping up into the seat, he headed out to the lower end of the pasture. There'd been a flash flood late the day before, and he wanted to check the fence for damage before he turned the herd out to graze. "No sense headin' down there without supplies if we need them. Nor letting the herd back out there if the fence is down." He spoke to his hound dog Gus as the wagon ambled down the dirt path.

Twenty-five feet of fence had been pulled down by the flash flood. He cleared the debris off, and then replaced the broken rails and posts. The job took most of the day. Joe only stopped once to eat the lunch Tessa had prepared for them. Finishing up, he turned to Gus and said, "Well, looks like were done Gus! I sure am grateful I called the herd up to the barnyard last night. Must've been some kind of gully washer to take such a big stretch of fence out!" Gus responded by happily wagging his tail and trotting along side as Joe loaded up the wagon and then got up on the seat.

"Get on up girls." With a flip of the reins the team eagerly moved out to get back up the hill to their home.

Joe stopped at the paddock by the barn and opened the gate to let the herd out to graze. Once he reached the barn, he unhitched Betsy and Nelly and gave them their oats, then turned them out to the pasture as well.

With his work done, Joe headed on to the house to clean up for supper. He and Tessa enjoyed a fine dinner. Afterward pleasant conversation could be heard, as they read the Bible to one another. Love flowed from every beam of that humble home as the sun sank closer toward the horizon.

As night settled in, candlelight shone on a man and a woman. They knelt beside a bed, their heads bowed and hands clasped in prayer. They spoke softly to their maker, seeking guidance from above, then quietly remained there in silence for a long while. Finally they rose up and climbed into bed to lay in restful peace as twilight cast its shadow on the land.

From the beginning the Lord let me know I was to share whatever He inspired me to write. Now, over a decade later, I'm still sharing what He's given.
-LaNaye Perkins

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