Seeking Submissions: Sweet Tea and Southern Sunrises: 100 Stories of Strength and Inspiration


Seeking Submissions: Sweet Tea and Southern Sunrises: 100 Stories of Strength and Inspiration from Southern Women (tentative title)

Are you a Southern woman who has a great story? Are you tired of the way media portrays us? Do you have a story that will inspire others? I’m looking for your true story that emphasizes the good qualities of Southern women—our strength, our resilience, even our stubbornness. I will also consider poetry about Southern women or living in the South.

Stories must be between 500-1200 words. If your story is chosen, you will keep the rights to it. Although you won’t be paid, you will be published in an ebook that I will edit and put together. Your name will be listed among contributors. If there is enough interest, the book might be published in a more traditional manner.

Here are some possible ideas to get you going, but are in no way meant to limit your creative energy!
1. Growing up in the South: the good and bad
2. Facing or encountering stereotypes (either as a woman or as a Southerner)
3. Encountering/conquering racism
4. Breaking cycles of poverty/being the first in your family to get a degree
5. What your mother taught you
6. What you want to teach your daughter
7. Southern ingenuity—making the best of a bad situation or coming up with unique solutions
Email your submissions to

I Know What the Moon Knows


I know what the moon knows

In the frozen night

When the wind mourns through the trees

She holds her secret tight

I know what the moon knows

Behind her clever smile

She fails to hide behind her glow

Within her maiden wiles

I know what the moon knows

Though she will never tell

She thinks her grief perpetual

Behind her tidal swell

I know what the moon knows

Grief is only for the night

For when the sun ignites the sky

She must concede the fight

I know what the moon knows

When the gloaming is anew

Though mourning last a hundred years

Joy will yet break through

The Soil in My Hands


The Soil in My Hands

I hold the soil in my hands

Dampened earth, black as night

Its coarseness scours my fingertips

Like so many words of regret

I hold the soil in my hands

The darkened days of yesteryear

When a smile of a lover was all you needed

To make you feel invincible

I hold the soil in my hands

This Southern soil, stubborn and unyielding

Much like Southern women

I’ve known before and hold dear always

I hold the soil in my hands

It’s a part of me, knit in my DNA

My toes connect with the earth

My sharecropper great-granddaddy worked but never owned

I hold the soil in my hands

The bitterness and stones cold as bones

Twigs and life interrupted

The winter sky is a witness

I hold the soil in my hands

It soaks up the sunlight; a thief stealing joy

Once, part of someone’s memory

That has been long forgotten

I hold the soil in my hands

Scooping up pieces of mortality

Futility, anger, grief, love

For these are a part of the soul

I hold the soil in my hands

Letting it fall through my fingers

Like sand in an hourglass

Too quickly forgotten

I hold the soil in my hands

Finally realizing the fragility of it all

I place it back where it belongs

In my garden of yesterday

Remember Us: For Inge

Each year, fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remain. Even fewer are those like Inge Auerbacher who still travel all over the world to speak and inform of her experience as a young girl in the camps.


Remember us, they whisper

We boarded the trains obediently

To a place that your worst nightmares

Cannot comprehend

Remember us, they whisper

In the freezing dawn of morning

When the blackened smoke of ashes

Settled in yesterday’s wind

 Remember us, they whisper

Our children torn from our arms

The sick ones they shot in front of us

The chilling sound of a mother’s scream

Remember us, they whisper

Our bodies kicked in shallow graves

Strangers on strangers like lovers

Lovers with no choice

Remember us, they whisper

A number tattooed on our arms

The cold a presence in our bones

The starvation in the eyes of our children

Remember us, they whisper

The crying ever present

What sin had we committed

By our love for Yahweh

Remember us, they whisper

Let not our deaths be in vain

When the siren call of power

Seems impossible to ignore

Remember us, they whisper

When the story seems too fantastic

And the pictures seem too distant

In your grandfather’s war

dinner with Inge

Inge and a group of us having dinner together when she visited us in Texas. She’s loving the blooming onion.

Interested in having Inge come speak to your group? You will not be disappointed.

Contact Inge here:

Books by Inge: Photo courtesy of Inge’s website

Inges books

On Boundaries and Knowing My Place

I’ve never been good with boundaries

As a kid, if there was a fence, I’d climb it

If there was a wall, I’d scale it

If there was a space, I’d encroach upon it

If there was a line, I’d cross it

I guess you could say I don’t know my place.

I get so upset when we talk about slavery

As if it is nonexistent—a thing of the past

An embarrassing thing we should hide

Like the Confederate flag (Insert Dixieland here)

Or whispers of ancestors in the KKK (But that’s how he was raised)

Or pictures of segregated water fountains bleached in sepia (See kids, we learned our lesson!)

Slavery dwells among us

As real as terrorism or

Obamacare or


Slavery seeps into our very way of life … and we have allowed it

If you listen, you can hear the cries of the enslaved:

The little girl, only 12

She hasn’t had her first period but she knows men

She ran away from home to escape one kind of bondage

Which she has exchanged for another


The man who risked everything to get his family into this country

And feels desperation and betrayal

As he’s forced to labor sixteen hour days or

His family will be revealed by the very ones he trusted

It’s as American as…

Well…you know

Apple pie, the Super Bowl, Sam’s Club on free sample day

We must listen to the cries of the oppressed

If we do not wish for frogs in our homes

Or blood in our water

When will we stop pretending it doesn’t affect us?
When will we quit ignoring the disturbing stories on the news, as if it wasn’t as relevant as

Jay Leno’s monologue

The War on Terror


The girl on the missing poster

I guess I still don’t know my place.

On Settling and Other Myths

settling 3Concert

I used to worry I was settling

Somehow sacrificing what I could be for who I was

Solving the problem of yearning with inertia

Putting my dreams in the backseat

While I wiped runny noses and composed grocery lists

When time is forever and money is a dream


Sometimes I would feel the regret of choices made

Haphazardly, without really thinking about the consequences

Not really thinking much of anything except

How I was going to get that next can of formula

To feed your hungry bottomless stomach


The guilt of that feeling consumed me

What kind of mother questions motherhood

And its effect on a young woman’s life

As she holds a warm infant close to her breast

In the wee hours of the breaking day


But now I see more clearly the choices made

Not sacrifices at all, not wasted days

My vision is clear now

It’s amazing the clarity that comes  when you have had rest

Rest from the endless cycle of feeding, burping, bathing


I see the young woman you’ve become

As your life unfolds before you and you make choices of your own

Wait, I want to say



I see the young man you’re trying on—

Still deciding which way to go

Left or right, the decision is yours

And oh, it seems as if there’s plenty of time—hours folding upon hours like so many snowflakes

I see the hourglass, quietly reminding me this is not so


I see the husband sleeping next to me

His back raising and falling with dreams

Like the tide rushing in and flowing back

Foamy water that refreshes the weary


I see the home we’ve made, the five of us

The three souls that made us whole

Our little universe in an expansive but terminable piece of eternity


I have no regrets


It was not a sacrifice as I had first thought

But more like a perfect gift of God’s timing

In the small hours of this morning

When all I love is under one roof

Just for the Moment


This pain is excruciating

How am I supposed to breathe through this?

My brow is sweaty, my teeth, gritted

Just one more, they tell me

It will be over soon

It’s just for the moment

A morning hug with my coffee

Her golden brown hair is all messy

As she sits at the table in her Lion King pajamas

She smiles at me, her front teeth are missing

Eating her cereal and humming

It’s just for the moment

She wakes me up early

For a Disney video and hot cocoa

On a frosty winter morning

Nothing to do, nowhere to go

Those days never seem to end

It’s just for the moment

Homework and schedules

Music and mayhem

Endless car pools

And tacos for dinner

Bassoon lessons and boyfriends

It’s just for the moment

A red prom dress and fancy hairdos

A silver locket around her neck

A young man at the door looking nervous

I hold back the tears, she’s just so beautiful

It’s just for the moment

Graduation caps and gowns

Scarlet on white

It must have happened when I closed my eyes

So many emotions all at once

I hug her fiercely, then a teary goodbye

It’s just for the moment

Sticks and Stones


Sticks and stones will break my bones

But words can never hurt me

That’s not the truth I say to you

For words are surely deadly

I can’t forget your words that day

You thought I wasn’t listening

They burn so deep beneath my skin

The wound is never healing

Your words, suspended in midair

In every conversation

So loudly spoken without care

It’s just my observation

Sticks and stones can break my bones

But your words

Your words

Your words

They just might kill me