"While writing these stories, I was again reminded of God’s faithful attendance to me as a treasured child, even before I knew Him."

Award-winning writer Padgett has created twenty-five Christian-themed short stories that are both entertaining and educational. The collection begins with “Can’t Talk to a Numb Tongue,” in which the author sits in a dentist chair recollecting an argument she’d had the day before with a good friend and fellow Christian. The subject was politics, and each woman was assured of the correctness of her position, talking over the other’s objections and leading to regrettable statements. When she gets a powerful injection in the jaw, Padgett realizes she can no longer control her numbed tongue. She begins to contemplate her unruly tongue of the day before and, as soon as she can, calls her friend; they agree to disagree and share a mutual apology and prayer session.

The final yarn, “Fish Tale,” finds inexperienced fisherwoman Padgett landing a big fish and suddenly being pulled into a deep, fast-moving river. As the situation becomes increasingly daunting, the writer’s strength to survive comes from a worldly source. Remembering her husband’s instructions about fishing and her discipline as a student of dance, she plants her feet, steels her body, and holds on seemingly for hours until her help arrives. This brings the revelation that God’s mysterious ways may include intervening by secular means.

Padgett has organized her collection nicely: each story contains a simple, symbolic line drawing by Cordrey; each begins with a relevant biblical quotation; each ends with the author’s reflection notes. The subject matter is imaginative and varied. “Impossible,” for example, depicts a conversation between the author, a dog, and a rabbit at a Wonderland-style tea party. “Last Waltz” embodies a poignant moment when, dressed as Santa’s elf and wondering if she is dishonoring the biblical story of Christmas, the author embraces a child who is enjoying his last earthly Christmas, showing her that God can do His work through any guise. “Waiting on the Pilot” demonstrates the value of holding back when we want to speak out. “The Mortar Man Cometh” offers a vision of an aging face as a roadmap of experience. In the reflection notes following this latter story, Padgett poses the question, “Are you able to look into the mirror and see the beauty God sees in you no matter what your age or stage?”

Padgett believes that she has gained an understanding of the incidents of her life by shining the light of God’s plan upon them. Her principal means of artistic expression seemed at first to come most powerfully through her love of dance. Then she studied writing in graduate school and found that “keys clicking on my computer” provided “other forms of dancing.” The author’s viewpoint is always solidly within a Christian framework, but she openly displays her own failings. This is a crucial addition, as the reader will perceive no sense of being “preached at” in this pleasant and practical collection. The lessons interwoven in the stories could be helpful for those of any faith, even those skeptical of religion. Still, the author’s best audience will likely be those who share Padgett’s spiritual viewpoint. This latest book could provide an engaging, if rather unusual, focus for a Bible study or other religious group activities.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home