Skip to main content
Touching Lives Across the Globe -- One E-mail at a Time!
Hope and Encouragement For Teenagers!
Author Michael T. Powers
Author Kristi Powers
Inspired Audio
Creation News
The Most Touching, Heartfelt Gift You Can Give -- Guaranteed!
Give the Gift of Inspiration to Others... And Yourself!
Christian Nation?
Inspirational books for sale!
Heroes Among Us
Even writers need inspiration! readers share their hearts on this fateful day
Interviews with some of the best writers on the Internet! Writer's Guidelines
Ways to Help You Honor your Pastors
State Champions
Life Purpose
Site Map
E-Mail Help

Check out our Creation News Section!
Weekly articles, daily Q & A, and a Creation Comic!


{Straight From The Heart}   *Oliver Oasis*  4/19/01


If you enjoy this free daily email service, I encourage you to
spread the word to family and friends that we may bring
inspiration into the lives of many!  If you are not on the list
and this has been passed along to you, join us by sending
a blank email to:

I appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism, so feel free to
write me (Michael T. Powers) and let me know what you think!

Just joined us and want to see all the past stories we've run? 
Visit our inspirational website at:


Oliver Oasis

By Jennifer Oliver

"It is a mistake to look too far ahead.  Only one link of the chain of destiny
can be handled at a time." -- Sir Winston Churchill

Funny.  No matter how hard I try to make things go my way, God intervenes.

"You silly woman," I imagine God saying.  "That's not part of My plan."

"But why?" I whine.

God arches His eyebrows.

"Because I said so," He replies.

"Then why bother praying for something if it's not going to happen?"

"Faith, my child."

"You always have an answer for everything."

"That's the general idea."

This was my frame of mind in 1994 when we had a baby on the way,
shopping bags stuffed full of outstanding bills, Stephen's arm was in a
sling from a fall off a widow-maker ladder, and our first home was a
fixer-upper that anyone in their right mind would have leveled on sight.

We spied potential in this two-story structure out in the country that had
been mistreated by previous owners, motorcycle gangs that used a gutted
van for target practice and tenants who treated part of the upper story as
its landfill for fast-food wrappers and diapers.  Carpet throughout the house
had been a litter box to someone's pets, graffiti graced the upper balcony,
and every inch of the yard was landscaped with mattress skeletons and
endless mounds of broken glass and debris.  The outer wall of the bottom
story was constructed of rocks, and at one time, someone decided to tack
on the second story, using wood siding.  From its pitched roof you can see
the manmade lake, a ten-minute walk through a narrow trail managed by
the Corps of Engineers.

But this was our house.  Our home.

It was decided that Stephen, with his construction experience, would quit
his job to work on the house while we stretched my paycheck in the most
creative ways.  Stephen tackled the project with a vengeance, hauling
away years of abuse.  He pulled out ancient plumbing and hazardous
wiring, exposing rotting 2X4s and black insulation encrusted with
dirt-dauber nests.

Friends and family who were electricians and plumbers helped us
out in exchange for beer, barbecue, and any help that Stephen could
give them on their properties.

Stephen painstakingly replaced the archaeological evidence of wild
parties past in the yard with truckloads of nutrient-rich soil.  Black
gold, he called it.

Soon it was apparent that although the war was far from over, battles
had been won.  Curious neighbors meandered to our end of the world,
our Oliver Oasis, to comment on the astonishing transformation.

"Been years since we've seen flowers in this yard," they'd say,
 renewing our determination.

From the very beginning, we underestimated the magnitude of this
project, both financially and emotionally, and with the pressure of
having a baby on top of all this, our marriage often tap-danced on
thin ice.  It was our dreams, however, on those scraps of paper, the
dimensions of each room carefully detailed in pencil, that fueled us.
Every nuance in this house, from the baseboards to the archways,
was going to be a reflection of us.  Even if it meant washing dishes
with a garden hose in the front yard in the meantime and substituting
a hotplate for a stove, we were not going to let this house, along with
our dreams, die.

And then one day, Alice happened.

"Excuse me, sir," the woman said, approaching my father-in-law,
who had come to help us out for a spell.

"Yes?"  He was in the middle of re-screening a door.

"Do you own this house?"

"No, my son does."

"Oh.  I was wondering if he'd be interested in the lot next door."

"Well, he doesn't have much money."

"I want to give it away."

His jaw dropped.

"Did you just say, 'give it away?'"

"Yes.  My husband has recently passed away, and that lot is my
only link to Texas."

"Where do you hail from?"


"How on earth did you come by this land?"

"My husband and I built this house."

His jaw dropped again.

"Why don't you come in and join me for some tea?  Let's get out of
this sun."

Stephen came home from the store and sat in utter amazement as
 he listened to her story.  Alice and her husband had acquired the
three lots back in 1962 and built the first house in the area with rocks
 they dug up from the land.  It was a simple one-story structure with a
flat roof upon which they spent many evenings with binoculars, quietly
admiring the deer, rabbits, and other wildlife that shared their habitat.
Then when they saw signs of civilization threatening their world in the
form of bulldozers and builders, the young couple sold the house and
 two lots, thinking that eventually they would have some use for the
remaining lot.

"And now all I've done is rack up three years worth of taxes on the darn
property," she said.  "Things just haven't been the same since my
 husband died."

"Well, I'll tell you what," Stephen said.  "I'll pay those taxes.  And I'm
paying for your bus trip home."

"Oh, you don't need to bother with the taxes and the bus fare.  I just
want to get rid of the property."

"There is no such thing in this world as a free lunch, ma'am."

She began to cry softly.

"N-no one--," she hiccuped through her tears, "--no one has ever been
this nice to me, young man.  God bless you."

"Oh, you are such a sweetie," he said, tears welling up in his eyes as
he enveloped her in a hug.

After all the paperwork was completed, Alice boarded the bus,
never to be heard from again.

Every year since we have sent a Christmas card to Alice along with
a newsy letter.  We told her about the fruit trees that Stephen planted
on that lot.  We gave her a progress report on the house.  We told her
about the three boys we've welcomed to the world.  We never heard from
Alice, but we wrote her nonetheless.

With the latest arrival to the world joining our family, a baby girl, we
spread our joy through birth announcements.

The birth announcement to Alice was returned to us.

Scrawled on the outside of the envelope were the words, "No longer
resides here."

Wherever you are, Alice, God Bless you.  God Bless you and the gift
you gave our family.  Our Oliver Oasis is complete because of you. 

And I promise, God, that I will never question Your plan again.

Jennifer Oliver

E-mail Jennifer and let her know what you thought of her story!

Copyright © 2001 by Jennifer Oliver, All rights reserved.

Other real-life vignettes by Heartwarmers Gem Jennifer Oliver, 37, are
waiting for you at and in our SFTH archives.
Jennifer resides in the heart of Texas and has three full-time jobs as a
computer specialist for the government, wife to awesome househubby,
Stephen, and mother to four beautiful kidwarmers, ages 6 months to 6
years.  One of her stories, "Anthony's Wish" appears in the new
Heartwarmers book.

Thought For The Day:

"Home, sweet home -- where each lives for the other, and all live for God."
T. J. Bach

Verse for the Day:

"For none of us lives to himself along and none us dies to himself
alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.
So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:7,8

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"Never ask for anything that costs more than five dollars when your
parents are doing taxes."

Parent's Thought For The Day:

"Every word and deed of a parent is a fiber woven into the
character of a child that ultimately determines how that child fits
into the fabric of society." -- David Wilkerson

Coach's Thought For The Day:

"The daily degree of recovery from injury depends a lot on the
fierce desire of the individual to fight to get well."

Deep Thought For The Day:

"Most books now say our sun is a star. Whew, am I glad it still knows how
to change back into a sun in the daytime."


I hope this finds you and yours very well.  I would like to let you and everyone know that the biopsy results have come back showing my husband to be cancer-free.  I thank each and everyone one of you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers and support. 
It has helped me greatly getting from there to here in peace. 

Having gone through this firsthand, I will now always do my best to pray for those who ask for help.  I believe in the power of prayer and in the strength of numbers.  "Whenever two or more of you are gathered in My name, there I am in your midst."  A biblical term perhaps, for "critical mass"? :)

Through this show of love and support, I'm reminded of one of my favorite poems.  I'd like to share it here.

"I looked for myself and found nothing.
I searched for God, but He eluded me.
I sought out my brother, and found all three."

God bless us one and all.


Just got an email from our son Randy who works for Nortel Networks. He said it looked like a for sure that he will be laid off on Thursday. He said he has other applications in but there is nothing for sure. I told him that I would send this request out. Please help me pray about this. I really appreciate having Christian friends to call upon in this time of unrest.

Love Pat
\_\  /  
/_/  \    "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
\_\/\ \   Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live for the Son
   \_\/   of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 

The copyrights to the stories that appear in SFTH are owned by the
authors and are used with their permission.  We refuse to run stories
without the author's permission and contact info listed after the story.
We also refuse to publish stories listed as "author unknown."
(All of which violates Copyright law and the rights of the authors.)
This e-mail may be forwarded in its entirety, but please do not cut
and paste the stories to be used elsewhere unless you have
contacted and been given permission by the individual writer.
Thank you so much for honoring the rights of those writers who
graciously share their stories with us!
Video Imagery (Michael's Video Production Business.)

"I thought of you first after my family sat down to watch the video we gave
them. They loved it, to say the least!  Within thirty seconds my mom was
crying and my dad did too.  They said it was the best Christmas gift we
could have given them!!  You did such a beautiful job!  They were so
surprised and so touched---they really, really, really loved it.  Thanks
for helping to make it so special to us all.  My mom mentioned how
the songs were perfect for the video too!  Thanks again!"
Kelli-- College Station, TX

Let me make you a video from your pictures or home movies!
Check out the web page for Michael's video production business!

AOL Users click here:   Video Imagery
Would you like to see your story in Straight From the Heart?
Writer's guidelines can be found on our Web site here:

AOL Users click here:  Writer's Guidelines

"I need a daily source of inspiration and encouragement in my life!"

To become a Straight From the Heart Member send a BLANK E-MAIL
or an e-mail with "Subscribe" in the subject line to:

Then get ready to laugh, cry, and be deeply touched by some of the best
stories on the Internet!
"What?  You want to leave us?"
All you have to do is send a BLANK E-MAIL with "Unsubscribe" in the
subject line to:

Give it a day or two to be processed... then try not to think of all the great
stories you will be missing!
Do you feel as if life has no meaning for you?

AOL Users click here:  The Four Spiritual Laws

Transfer your photographs or old home videos over to DVD or MP4 files! Give the gift that will touch your family's heart and soul.

You can join the 15,000 followers on his Facebook Nature Photography by clicking on the link above!

Touching Lives - One E-mail at a Time!
Author Michael T. Powers - HeartTouchers @
Site Powered By
    BizStudio Site Manager
    Online web site design