Good morning campbellsworld visitors.
This morning in the Author’s Corner author Ann Harrison-Barnes has dropped by to share a bit of her book with us.
I always like to have a bit of conversation with the authors who drop in so let’s jump right in with Ann.
Good morning Ann and thanks for dropping by to share a bit of your work.
Can you tell us what about this excerpt inspired you to share it with us?
Hi Patty and readers everywhere. I’m happy to be here and am always glad to share my work with others.
I was answering some questions for another blog interview and talking about how my favorite song inspired this particular scene, before adding a small excerpt from it. That’s when I decided to go ahead and share it with you today. No spoilers, so please don’t ask me to tell you what happened after Mr. Peabody loses his farm.
OK Ann. You’ve got my attention so let’s go straight away to the piece.
Excerpt from Chapter fifteen of A Journey of Faith, A Stepping Stones Mystery
Jim Peabody’s sight wasn’t as good as it used to be but the girl looked familiar to him. “You’re the girl wouldn’t help me out on that there road out of town? What brought you back here to see the likes of me?” Peabody rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
“The Lord did, Sir. He reminded me of how I should bless you with what little I have. It’s not much but everywhere I’ve been along my journey of faith this past week or so I have been taken in as a stranger, fed when I was hungry, given something to drink when I was thirsty, and given shelter when I needed it. I was also given food to take with me during my travels. I just happened to have a bit of extra food left over from my lunch, and I felt inclined to bring it to a needy person like yourself. Unfortunately, I don’t have a drink on hand, but I’m sure this kind officer might be able to find you something if you ask him for it. “Jason stepped away to get the man a cup of strong coffee laced with cream and sugar just the way he liked it.
“Miss Becca, I don’t know how to thank you. Ain’t nobody ever gave me anything but a hard time here lately. I got a story to tell ya, and you might want to set a spell, because it’s gonna take a while.”
“Listen to him my precious daughter. Let me love him through you.” The still small voice that whispered in her soul calmed Becca’s jittery nerves as she pulled up a chair in preparation for the story of this man’s life.
“Does your story have to do with something that happened sixteen years ago?”
“Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. Let me tell you a little about myself, and how I got into this mess. I lost my daughter when she decided she wanted to climb up onto those slippery stepping stones at Sweet Water Park. Do you know the place?”
“I do or at least I did. I haven’t climbed those rocks in years.” Becca began to feel giddy inside. “What is this man telling me? Does he know what happened all those years ago? Would I believe him if he told me now? Help me keep an open mind as he tells me his story Lord.”
“God Help Me!”
“Well, if I’d helped her up those stones, or insisted that she stay off them, she’d still be here today. When I lost Diana, I lost everything. Let me explain how I lost the farm my daddy owned. Well, on second thought, you won’t want me to bore you with my sob story.”
“I want to hear your story if you want to tell it.” Becca’s head said, “No! No! No! You got to go,” but her heart and soul told her to stay and listen. “Lord, I’m afraid. Help me!”
“God help me!”
“Well, all right, here goes but you won’t like it.”
Jim Peabody stood on the edge of his farm land as the banker drove up to his house on a cold, snowy, day. “Hey Jim, you know you owe the bank $700 in property taxes, don’t you?” The banker walked up to where Jim stood leaning on the spade.
“I got $200 of it saved up but I got to buy food for my wife and my boy. We ain’t had the best year with the drought this summer and the crops freezing up during the hard winter snow. Since I’ve lost my daughter, I ain’t been able to get nuttin to grow much here lately. So, what do you expect me to do John?” Jim kicked the dirt in frustration.
“I’ll take the $200 now but you got til Friday to pay me the rest or I’ll take the farm. You hear me, Jim? Friday is your last chance to save your worthless farm.” The banker stormed off and left Jim standing alone on the land he inherited from his father at the age of seventeen. He walked around the fields looking over what once was nice workable farm land, which produced wonderful vegetables, fruits, and corn. His prize corn crop earned him the most money out of all his vegetable crops each year. The drought and the harsh winter frost killed his crops before he could harvest them and take them to market. “Oh Lord, what am I gonna do? I can’t afford to pay the taxes on the farm.”
“I know the thoughts I think toward you my son. Thoughts of peace, not of evil; to give you an expected end. Lo I am with you always, and I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The still small voice of the Holy Spirit calmed him at once.
“Jim, come in and eat some dinner, there’s not much you can do now.” His wife Mary stepped out onto the front porch to get some air. He put his spade away and headed into the house where Mary’s chicken and dumplings waited for him. “What is it, my love?” Mary laid a comforting hand on Jim’s shoulder and led him to his chair.
“John came up to me today demanding that I pay the property taxes on the farm. We have only $200 saved but we still owe them $500 more. He gave me til Friday to pay it off. I don’t know how in the world we’re gonna come up with that kind of money in only five days. Our crops are gone and the money I have saved up was meant to buy food for the three of us until we could get back on our feet. Honey, we could lose the farm that was my daddy’s before me. I don’t know if I can take losing this land on top of losing our little girl. What are we gonna do?”
“All we can do is pray about it and trust in the Lord, He will see us through dear.” Mary spooned some hot chicken and dumplings onto their plates, served up some fresh canned green beans and hot corn bread straight out of the oven. “Lord, thank you for what little we have in these hard times. Please bless this meal so that it may nourish our bodies and keep us warm on this day. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
“Mary darlin,’ I’ve prayed and prayed and even wept until I can pray no more about this farm. I get the feeling that if God wanted us to have this farm, we’d have been more prosperous by now. The drought and the freeze have really hurt us this past year. What is the Lord trying to tell us here I wonder?” Jim flopped down into his chair as he emitted a long-dejected sigh.
“Honey, everybody has hard times. Jesus never said that we’d have it easy, he only promised that he would never leave us nor forsake us. He’s got a plan in all of this I’m sure.” Mary cleaned the kitchen after lunch while Jim went into the den to take a nap in his favorite recliner.
Jim awoke to find a thick blanket of snow covering his farm land, as more snowflakes pelted the earth. “There goes my idea of plowing up the ground to see if I have any good soil at all.” He stretched to his full height. “Hey Mary, I’m goin’ out to talk to the neighbors to see if they have any work, I can do to raise the money to pay off the taxes.” Jim slipped on his heavy fur coat and pulled his wool hood down over his ears.
“In this mess? Baby you’ll freeze out there.” Mary helped him don his gloves.
“Yeah, I know, but we only have til Friday to pay it off, or we’ll lose this place. I can’t stand to lose our home not after God took our little girl away from us. I’ll be back for supper.” He kissed his loving wife before heading out the door.
“All right dear, but if you’re not back I’ll come looking for you.”
“You do that love,” Jim called as he stepped out into the frigid air. “Man, it is cold out here!” He trudged through the snow in the direction of his nearest neighbor’s house. After what seemed like hours, he staggered onto the porch and rang the bell.
Bob saw Jim standing out on his front porch, shaking like a leaf from the intense cold. “Come on in out of that natural ice box Jim. Have a cup of coffee while you get warm by the fire. What can I do ya for my man?”
“Well Bob, I got me a dilemma and I was hoping you could lend me a hand.” Jim shrugged out of his winter wear and sat down with a hot cup of coffee. “John, the banker, came by the farm today and told me that I was late on my property taxes. He only gave me until Friday to pay up or he said he’s going to take the farm away from my family. My daddy willed that farm to me and I got it when he passed away a couple years back. Well Bob, I was hoping you’d have a little work for me to do to earn a little money.”
“Well Jim, I wish I did but with all this snow ain’t nobody doin’ well these days. How much do you owe the bank?” Bob poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down across from Jim.
“Seven hundred dollars. I got a couple hundred but that ain’t gonna cut it.”
Bob whistled through his teeth. “Woo that’s a lot of bread there, Jimbo. I can’t help ya there my friend I’m strapped myself. I’ll be praying’ for ya and Mary but that’s all I can do.”
Jim sighed heavily then took a long drink of his coffee. “I guess I’ll just have to go asking the other fillers around here if they have anything needs doin’ around their places.”
“Ain’t no jobs anywhere round these here parts, man. I’ve already checked with Stewart, Joseph, and Bailey, but they ain’t got nuttin either.”
“What about plowing’ snow? Man, I gotta do somethin. I done lost my sweet Diana, and if I lose this farm o’ mine, then life ain’t worth livin’.”
“Ain’t gonna do ya no good to shovel or plow this here snow, cause more’s just gonna come in and fill up the empty places where you just plowed. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait til it quits spitting’ out there first. Now come hayin’ time, everybody in these here parts is gonna need some help. Besides, gettin’ yourself killed out there in that natural freezer won’t bring Diana back, you know that yourself, Jim.”
“I know, but unfortunately Bob I ain’t got till hayin’ time. I only got a few days and that tax money ain’t just gonna grow on a tree or fall out of the sky like I wish it would.” Jim sighed dejectedly. “It’s ashamed a man can’t keep what’s rightfully his without having to pay an arm and a leg for it, or worse, losing the one you love.” He tried to blink away the tears that stung his eyes.
“Well, why don’t you take your troubles to the Lord, Jim? You know, there are a lot of people havin’ troubles of some kind or other. Why just last month, my brother had to sell off half his livestock to raise the money he needed to get his tractor fixed so he could harvest what little he had. If you have faith in God and tell Him all about your troubles, I’m sure he’ll see you through. He never gives us no more’n we can handle Jim.”
“Well Bob, that’s the thing, it seems as if the Lord ain’t listening to me here lately. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been blessed these past few years with good crops and enough money to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, but here lately, it seems as if I’ve done something wrong, because on top of everything, we were hit hard by the drought. Now this snow’s got us froze up so much we can’t do nothin’ with our land. I gotta tell ya, when it rains, it pours!”
“Listen man; Let me let you in on a little secret. This bad stuff that’s been happenin’ to us all ain’t God’s doin’. I mean he knows all things, but I think the devil is trying to knock us all down after all this time of havin’ good crops the past twenty years or so. This is the time we all should be praisin’ the Lord for what little we have and leanin’ on Him to get us through the hard times. Why just last week I had to put three of my best milk cows down, because they got so badly stuck in one snow drift or another til they either near about froze to death or broke a leg and couldn’t be used any more. I understand where you’re coming from more’n you think I do dear boy.” Bob clapped Jim on the shoulder. “Don’t give up on the Lord, because he’s the only one who’s got your back in these here tough times.”
“I don’t know, Bob. I’ve been prayin’ but I can’t come up with the money and I’m afraid I’m gonna lose the farm.” Jim slumped in his chair.
“Losing the farm ain’t the worst thing that can happen Jim; God may have somethin’ better for you in the long run. You never know.” Bob clapped Jim on the shoulder once again and gave him an encouraging smile.
Jim glanced down at his watch. “I got to head home Bob, if I don’t make it home in time for supper; Mary will come looking for me. Thanks for the coffee Laura, and thanks Bob for letting me bend your ear for a little while.” Jim shrugged into his coat, hat, and gloves and made his way toward the door.
“Any time Jim, if you need to talk again; you just come look me up.”
“Hey Jim, tell Mary if’n she wants some of my homemade strawberry jelly just to give me a call,” Laura called as he stepped out in the snow.
“Will do, y’all take care now, see you later.” Jim trudged through the snow back to his own farmhouse. “Oh Lord, what have I done that I should lose the only home I’ve ever known?”
Jim slipped on a patch of loosely packed snow. “Oh great! This is the last thing I needed to happen. I’m about to lose my home and now I fall in a snow drift. “Oh, God help me! If you’re even listening to me Lord, please bring someone along to rescue me soon or Mary will be looking for me and she’d get lost. If anything were to happen to her or Joshua, I would just want to die! I can’t bear to lose them after watching poor Diana fall off those slick stones. Why me Lord?” Jim sat in the snow drift as tears of guilt and frustration dripped down his cheeks. “What in the world have I gotten myself into now?”
What seemed like hours later, Jim saw a man driving a snow plow in his direction. “Lord, are you really listening to me? Who in the world could that be?” Jim dried his tears on his coat sleeve.
“Sir, are you, all right? Sir, can I help you?” The man stopped and stared for a long moment. “Jim Peabody is that you? What in tar nation are you doin’ out here on such a cold messy day?”
“Hey there, Bill. I was headed home from my visit with Bob and I weren’t payin’ attention to where I was goin’ when I fell down in this here snow drift.”
“Come along with me! I’ll see that you get home in one piece, before Mary gets a search party out huntin’ ya.” The man helped Jim onto the seat of the snow plow and started the engine. “What’s got you out wandering’ in this snow in the first place there Jim? I ain’t trying to be nosy, but if you need to talk, I am a good listener.”
Jim Peabody told Bill his sad tale. Once he had finished his story he said, “Now ya see what kind of bind I’m in now, Bill. I was just askin’ Bob if he had any work or new of any work I could do around here to raise the money to pay off the taxes.”
“When ya gotta have the rest of the money down to the bank?”
“Friday!” Jim sneered at the thought of the new banker steeling his farm.
“That Billy Bad-boy Billings is tough as nails, and doesn’t mind takin’ land what folks can’t pay for. When Connor owned the bank, you could talk to him and he’d work a deal with you, but since he sold the bank to some big fancy company up north, ain’t no wheelin’ and dealin’ goin’ on round here no more. Now it’s pay it or lose it. Hey Jim, why don’t you sell some of your land to pay off your debt?”
“Well Bill, I thought of that, but the more I look at what’s left of my land, the less and less I like the idea, cause ain’t nobody gonna buy up this old dried up, snow drenched land I own. Not only that, I’d like to leave the land in my family if I can, cause it was my daddy’s before me and my pappy owned it before daddy did.”
“I can’t say that I blame you there Jim. Look a yonder, there’s Miss Mary, standin on the back porch wavin a blue towel so you could see it comin’ up the road. I bet she’s worried sick about you. “Hey Miss Mary, I brought your man home safely,” Bill called as he pulled up to the house and helped Jim off the snow plow.
“Well howdy there, Bill, I ain’t seen you in a coon’s age. Jim Peabody, where in tar nation have you been and what took you so long to get back. It’s long past supper time! I was about to come out lookin’ for you.”
“He’s all right, Miss Mary. I found him stuck in a snow drift drowning’ his sorrows in the snow. Now don’t you worry your pretty head none, I brought him home in one piece.” Bill guided Jim to the front door.
“Well I’m glad he’s home safe. I kept supper hot for ya. You go in, get your coat off and sit by the fire; I’ll get your supper in a minute. Hey Bill, why don’t you come in for a bite to eat and a hot cup of coffee?”
“I’d love to Miss Mary, but I got to head on to the house for the misses will have supper waitin’ for me too.” Bill climbed back onto his snow plow.
Well, you tell Miss Lola I said hello and I want her fried apple pie recipe.”
“I sure will do it. Y’all have a good night, ya hear?” Bill pulled away from the house as Mary closed the door behind her.
The next few days passed in a haze for Jim Peabody as snow continued to cover the land. On Friday, the banker swooshed up the driveway in his souped-up snowmobile. “Howdy Jim, I’m here to collect the property taxes on your land.”
“Here’s $200 of it. I have tried to ask for jobs, sell the land or anything to get the rest but nothin doin’ in this snow.” Jim sagged against the door frame. “You might as well come in out of the cold.”
The banker stepped inside the house. “You were supposed to have the money by today. Not next spring, today Peabody.
“Now listen here Mr. Hotshot banker, you try making money off of land that got hit by the drought and is now snowed under til God only knows when and then tell me that you can get blood out of a dried-up turnip. Ain’t you got any heart man?”
“I don’t need blood, just the money you owe me. Ya hear?”
“Now wait just a minute young man, my husband like to froze to death getting stuck in a snow drift a few days ago from goin’ out and looking for any type of work to do just to keep a roof over our heads.” Connor never treated us like no accounts. We worked hard to get where we are today and I don’t appreciate your attitude, Mr. Billings.”
“I don’t give a rip what your husband did or didn’t do young lady. I own this branch of the Mid-South Bank and I aim to get every penny we’re owed from this and other pieces of land in these parts. I’ve looked at Connor’s records when my firm bought this bank and I see now just why the bank couldn’t earn any money, because the previous owner took food and other goods produced by you farmers instead of cold hard cash. I intend to make this bank earn a profit.”
“Well mister big shot, you’ll lose customers and your branch will shut down in a heartbeat because around here, people don’t have all that profit you keep talkin’ about.” Jim stamped his foot in anger.
“You, young man, need to watch your mouth. I’m sure your mama raised you better’n to talk to upstandin folks like us in that manner. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.” Mary clenched her fists at her sides.
“Ma’am, we’re not talking about my mother. We’re talking about my money that your husband owes on this farm. You have 24 hours to come up with the other 500 dollars to pay off the debt you owe or you can pack up your stuff and get out. That’s the bottom line, in a nutshell.” The banker stormed out the door and drove away in his fancy snowmobile.
WOW! OK. I don’t know about everyone else but I’m hooked and want to know what happened to get them to this point in the book and I for sure want to know what happened next.
How about you readers? Are you ready to have a copy of this magnificent book all your own? If so continue reading below…
More about Ann Harrison-Barnes
Welcome to my Media Kit. I am pleased to share the message of God’s love through compelling and entertaining stories.
A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery, written by Ann Harrison
Twenty-eight-year-old Becca Martin witnessed a tragic accident at the age of twelve. Sixteen years later, she embarks upon a journey that she believes has somehow been chosen for her by God. During this journey, she hears a voice in the back of her mind crying, “God help me!”, as memories she didn’t understand as a child begin to resurface in her nightmares and during the journey itself. Was this tragedy a freak accident, or is there more to the incident that meets the eye? The owner of Sweet Water State Park calls Zac Johnson and Jason Miller of the Tensiltown Police to investigate various incidents out on the bike and foot paths. During their investigation, Jason meets Becca along her journey and they both feel strongly drawn to each other. She longs to help the police of this small village investigate these incidents, but in order to do so, she must face her fear of climbing the rocks at Sweet Water Park, while caring for her ailing aunt and helping her uncle to run the diner. Jason vows to stay close beside her every step of the way, but can she fully trust him and the girl in the white robe that seems to pop up out of nowhere when trouble arises? Who is the real bad guy? How does God reveal what happened on that unforgettable day on the rocks with her family? Does the memory of the incident help the police solve this rock-climbing mystery? Find out more as the author pulls you into the first novel in her spine-tingling, heart-warming Stepping Stones mystery series.
In the words of Ann Harrison-Barnes, January 2019
I am the proud single mother of a beautiful daughter, who is often the inspiration for many of my stories featuring children. I have three nieces and a nephew whom I love from the bottom of my heart.
I have found music to be a great source of healing throughout rough and painful times in my life. I also find it to be a great source of inspiration through traditional means and through the world around me.
About my blindness:
Although I was not born prematurely, I was placed in an incubator and given 24 hours of oxygen, when I should have only received eight. This excessive amount of oxygen caused my optic nerves not to develop properly, resulting in my blindness. I have light perception in my left eye, and none in my right. The right eye was removed when I was eighteen months old and I have worn prostheses since then, until recently. I have used a cane since I was about five years old, accept during the period from April 2006 to March 2009, when I worked my one and only guide dog named Star. She was a black lab Golden retriever mix from Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Where I live and work: I currently live in Rochelle, Georgia near my parents and one of my two brothers, when he’s not working on the road. I have worked from home for various freelance clients, while writing my novels. These clients include Mia Bysinger from Rushcube, a web development company and Earnest Dempsey’s Word Matters Blog.
Why I write: First of all, I love creating stories that will entertain my readers. Through these entertaining stories, I also hope to either share the message of God’s love or bring back childhood memories, through my Children’s books. I journal for healing and brainstorming. I am writing non-fiction to help aspiring authors self-publish their own books through Amazon
Hobbies: My hobbies include listening to music and podcasts, reading, crocheting and sitting out on the front porch on a warm day.
Music I enjoy: I love listening to classic country music, instrumental pieces such as classical, new age piano pieces and film scores. I also find that the environment is filled with natural music.
Podcasts I find educational and entertaining: I have a variety of podcasts I listen to on a daily basis. Some of my favorites include: The Author Stories Podcast with Hank Garner, The Creative Penn, I Should be Writing, Ditch Diggers, Eyes On success, how do you Write and Writing Excuses.
My favorite authors and genres: I love to read books by Karen Kingsbury, Janette Oke, Hope Callahan, and I love finding new authors. My favorite genres include: Christian fiction, cozy mystery, sweet romance and Romantic suspense. I’ll also read the occasional memoire.
My Faith: I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to save my soul. In God’s word, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6, KJV)
A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery
Inner Vision: An Electric Eclectic Book
Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure: An Electric Eclectic Book
Stories Outside the Box
Electric Eclectic books website:
Amazon author page:
the December Awthology light volume
Gems of Strength