Faith as small as a tiny pebble in the pond has the power to cause a tsunami...

 

Book 2 of the Road Trip Revival Series, Skipping Stones, follows Jean as she makes her way across the country. Nothing is going according to plan, but then that's usually how it goes--make a plan and discover God's sense of humor.

 

He's been laughing at Jean a lot so far.

 

Louie the cat still thinks Jean is a bit off her rocker, but he keeps his thoughts to himself as he proves to be more than just a companion. As the pair makes its way into snowy terrain and a more frigid reception, Louie becomes an icebreaker! Jean is grateful for her feline friend, though King Louie can be a royal pain at times, especially when he runs away.

 

But little does Jean know, God can use even an arrogant cat for His good and glory.

 

If you like stories about slightly sarcastic "well-seasoned" ladies, then Road Trip Revival series is for you! Biblically truthful and Christian-based, the series is safe for the entire family.

Skipping Stones #2

$6.99Price
  • Chapter 1

     

    MEEYOWW.” Jean arched an eyebrow at the cat, wondering what he was griping about this time. They’d been on the road a whole forty-seven minutes and so far, she’d stopped three times—once because Louie was offering his “I’m hungry” meow, then again because he was thirsty… and of course, the last time was because he needed to relieve himself.

    It didn’t escape Jean’s notice that she recognized his different sounds… she worried she was really becoming a “cat lady.”

    “You know, we could just stop and let you off at the next mile marker,” she drawled. “I’m sure someone would pick you up. Eventually.”

    Louie gave her a look that said, “Yeah, right, human. You can’t live without me and you know it.”

    Jean laughed. Arrogant cat.

     

    “Well, we’re not stopping again. You’ve eaten and had a drink and used the litter box. You’re sitting in a comfy bed with a warm blanket and your favorite canary catnip toy. So, just take a nap and be a good boy, okay? I wanna make at least Fort Stockton today, Lord willing.”

    “Meeyoww.”

    Jean glanced at him and sighed. “I shoulda got a turtle.”

    She knew she really couldn’t complain; the cat had been a pretty good traveler so far. She had no idea what was wrong with him today. Instead of trying to figure it out, she turned the music up on her brand-new satellite radio. Louie gave her a look that made her laugh.

    They passed a sign that read “Las Cruces 26 miles” and Louie meowed yet again, this time loud enough to be heard over the praise music. Jean rolled her eyes as she turned the music down.

    “I swear, you can read, can’t you?” she laughed. For some reason, she knew the cat wanted her to stop yet again. So far, they’d barely driven one hundred miles on this leg of their cross-country trip. At this rate, they were never going to make it around the U.S.

    “Meeyoww.” Louie stood in his bed and stared at her, though he couldn’t go far, not with his harness attached to the seatbelt.

    “I heard ya,” Jean grumbled. “So, I guess we’ll stop yet again because King Louie just has to have his way. Anything you say, your majesty.

    Muttering under her breath, Jean realized her attitude was all wrong. There wasn’t a destination in mind—she wasn’t trying to make it to this or that place by a certain date. The trip itself was the mission. That was the reason she hadn’t made definitive plans for taking a certain route. She was just sort of winging it as she went along, letting the Lord lead. The only thing she was planning to do was keeping to a southern route during the cold months.

    Louie seemed to be placated by her agreement. He promptly sat down and curled into himself and closed his eyes. Jean laughed.

    “So, you just wanted me to say I’d stop, is that it? Just because you want to make sure I know who’s in charge, right? Or are you like Balaam’s donkey… are you trying to tell me there’s an angel blocking the road?”

    Just as she figured, she was ignored.

    “Okay, Lord, I guess You and Louie want me to stop already. I could use a plan here, though… like what exactly am I supposed to do?”

    The Lord wasn’t much more vocal than the cat at that moment.

    Jean took the first exit and started driving through the town. She was pretty amazed by it—she’d always thought Las Cruces was a fairly small town, but it was much larger than she thought. Fast food restaurants and gas stations lined the street, along with car dealerships and furniture sellers.

    A sign towering above all the others caught her eye and Jean laughed as she switched her turn signal on. “Okay, well, I guess there’s always a witnessing opportunity at Walmart.”

    Even though it was after Christmas, the parking lot was busy. Jean drove up and down the rows, looking for a spot to park that wasn’t out in the north forty. After her third time circling, she sighed and realized that the store was likely not where she was supposed to stop.

    “I could use a little direction here, Lord,” she mumbled as she headed toward a parking lot exit on a side street.

    When she stopped behind the line of cars waiting to exit, Louie suddenly stood up and started meowing again. Jean frowned at him and told him to “hush,” but he kept at it.

    “Something wrong with you, buddy?” she asked, suddenly concerned with his odd behavior. “Do you need to see a vet? Got a hairball lodged or something?” He wasn’t acting sick, though, just… agitated.

    The cars in front of her moved up as one car exited and that was when Jean noticed a couple huddled by the stop sign. They were wrapped up in a blanket with a cardboard sign. Jean normally didn’t give to street beggars, not after having seen an exposé on how many con artists dress like they’re poor and actually make a really good “living” scamming people.

    But something about these people called to her. She frowned as she stared at them, and Louie’s howls got louder. As she moved up another car length, she could see that it was a man and a woman, maybe in their late twenties. They weren’t dirty, or even shabby-looking, like most of those she was suspicious of. She wondered what their sign said.

    It took two more cars to leave before she was close enough to read the sign. Stranded—Need to get to Colorado. If you can help, it will be a blessing!

    Jean made a non-committal sound. “Well, Lord, if You want me to help these folks out, then that’s what I’ll do.” She glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw that there was a long line of cars behind her, so she waited until it was her turn to exit, then made a left and found a parking lot to turn around in, then headed back.

    She wasn’t surprised in the least when she found a parking spot near the couple, though she did laugh. The Lord certainly did have a sense of humor.

    After telling Louie to stay put—and she also wasn’t surprised to see that the cat had curled up in his bed again, now that he’d fulfilled his own mission—Jean grabbed her purse and walked toward the couple. She shivered when the icy wind bit through her sweatshirt, once again wondering why it was so cold this far south.

    She didn’t have a whole lot of money on her, since carrying cash wasn’t the smart thing to do nowadays, but she figured she could give the couple at least a couple hundred dollars. Hopefully, that would get them a motel room and a few meals.

    The line of cars had grown even longer at the exit, and Jean couldn’t help but notice that not a single person offered any money to the pair on the corner. It made her frown, but then she remembered her own uncharitable and judgmental thoughts just moments ago. She certainly hadn’t been inclined to help them either, not until the Lord and Louie intervened.

    “Gonna need to ask for forgiveness, Lord,” she muttered as she stepped through the small prickly-looking hedges on the landscaping berm that separated the parking lot from the sidewalk where the couple were huddled. “My heart needs to be more charitable. Lead me in my giving.”

    She navigated the bushes and finally stepped out onto the sidewalk. The couple had the blanket pulled up over their heads and didn’t even see her.

    “Hi there!” Jean called out. The blanket pulled back to reveal not two people, but three. Jean was startled—and disheartened—to see a little girl sitting between the two adults.

    “Hello, ma’am,” the man said, a southern accent obvious in just those two little words.

    “How are you folks doing today?” Jean asked, then internally cringed; they were huddled under a blanket, sitting on a cold, hard sidewalk and forced to beg… obviously, they weren’t doing so good.

    “We’re just fine,” the woman said, smiling. The little girl—who Jean estimated to be around four—just stared up at her with big brown eyes that didn’t hold a speck of trust in them. Jean smiled at her, hoping to alleviate her fears a bit.

    No one said anything else and though it was just a few heartbeats, the silence was uncomfortable. The young woman coughed into her elbow, bringing an end to the silence. Jean cleared her throat and pulled her purse around to her front, opening it.

    “Um, I saw your sign and thought maybe I could help,” she said as reached into her purse to pull her wallet out. She glanced at the couple and noticed the look of relief on the woman’s face, coupled with a look of embarrassment on the man’s.

    He pulled the blanket off his shoulders and stood, then turned to wrap it back around the little girl. He stuck his hand out and Jean let her purse slide back to her side so she could shake.

    “I’m Ronnie Hart,” he said with a smile.

    “Jean Olsen,” she said, returning the smile. Jean took note again that the man looked clean and was dressed in decent clothing. Nothing expensive-looking, but he certainly didn’t look like he was trying to “look poor,” like he was pulling a con or something.

    She had to shake her uncharitable thoughts away again.

    Ronnie motioned to the woman and little girl. “This here is my wife, DeeDee and our little girl, Sammie.” The woman coughed once more, and Jean wondered if she’d caught cold. Sitting outside breathing all the car fumes couldn’t be helping matters either.

    Ronnie turned back to Jean and scratched the back of his neck as he stared at a spot on the ground.

    “We appreciate anything you can do to help,” he said as his cheeks colored. Jean felt instant sympathy for the man… it was clear he hated the situation he was in.

    He seemed to force his eyes back to hers. “We were taking the bus from Alabama to Colorado when our suitcase with most of our money was stolen when we stopped in El Paso.”

    Jean cleared her throat and nodded. “Well, like I said, I can help a little bit with that,” she said as she pulled her purse back around. Before she could pull out her wallet though, loud howling came from the direction of Bob, her Volkswagen Beetle. She and Ronnie both turned toward the direction of the car.

    Sure enough, Louie was standing with his feet on the dash—and Jean wasn’t even sure how he managed that with his harness still attached to the seatbelt—and was giving her a look that said he didn’t much appreciate what she was trying to do. She cocked her head to the side as she watched him throw his own head back and howl loud enough to make a coyote jealous.

    “That your cat?” Ronnie asked with a strange look on his face. Jean felt her own cheeks color.

    “Uh, sorta,” she admitted, still watching the cat with wary eyes. “Though I’m not sure I really want to claim him right now.”

    Ronnie laughed, as did DeeDee, though it made her start coughing again. “Mama, can I see the kitty?” Sammie asked.

    “No, sweetie,” DeeDee told her with a raspy voice. Jean watched as the mother wrapped both arms around the little girl, probably wanting to protect her from the cat that was starting to freak everyone out.

    Jean shook her head a bit and pulled her wallet out. “This isn’t going to go too far,” she said, raising her voice to speak over the cat that had somehow managed to increase his volume even further. Jean had no idea how he was managing such a feat inside a closed car.

    She pulled out the two hundred dollar bills she had and held them out to Ronnie. He paused for a moment, then reluctantly accepted her offering.

    “Thank you, ma’am,” he practically yelled, trying to be heard over the cat, “we really appreciate it.”

    “MEEEEYOWWWW,” Louie screeched then, making Jean flinch. She looked back at him. The darned cat was on the dashboard, pacing back and forth and shooting daggers at her with his eyes. Again, she wondered how he got out of his harness.

    The cat was acting so out of character that it made her pause. Ronnie went back to his family and pulled Sammie up into his arms, then turned her to point out Louie.

    “Hi, kitty!” Sammie called and waved.

    “MEEEEYOWWWW,” Louie responded with a near desperation as he spun back and forth on the narrow dash. Jean laughed, though it was more in embarrassment than anything else.

    The cat kept up his howling and Jean looked back at Ronnie, then at DeeDee. Curiosity had apparently gotten the better of the woman, as she was pushing herself to a stand so she could look over at the cat too.

    An idea popped in Jean’s head then, one that was so outrageous and insane that it just had to be from the Lord.