Posted by: Helen Gobble | July 24, 2013

July 2013


Originally uploaded by Helen Gobble

Posted by: Helen Gobble | November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Greetings

Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving, and somewhere along the way take time to think about this little poem:

Thank God For Dirty Dishes

Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry,
We’re eating very well
With home, health, and happiness,
There is no need to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God’s very good to us.
Author Unknown

And now we are coming to Christmas, the biggest holiday of the year, and I would like to go back to the evening I had my book signing at the Bristol Public Library. My daughter Sarah introduced me, and she told my friends who had gathered there about searching several times trying to find the author of a little Christmas poem that she remembered from childhood. She said that she had searched the Internet looking for the poem, but had been unable to find it anywhere. Then, as she began typing my manuscript into her computer, there the familiar poem was, right in front of her! She had not shared this story with me before, and I was thrilled to know that she had remembered and searched for one of my poems.

That poem appears now on page 2 of Bits and Pieces and More. Here is the poem she was searching for:


We find a wondrous story in the pages of God’s Word
I’m sure the oxen wondered at the things they saw and heard.
For it was in a stable a little child was born,
The Light of heaven’s glory a stable did adorn.
And shepherds came and found Him, the Child so sweet and fair.
I’m sure the oxen wondered as the scene unfolded there.
For I was filled with wonder when I was made to know
That God would not have sent Him if He hadn’t loved me so.
Helen Gobble, Bits and Pieces and More

Posted by: Helen Gobble | October 22, 2011

E-book is now available

The e-book edition of Bits and Pieces and More is now available! The best price is at, but it is also on the Apple iTunes store and on Barnes and Noble.

As before, the paperback edition is still available at, Barnes and Noble, and!

Posted by: Helen Gobble | September 8, 2011


In early 2002 I called a friend. I was just flipping through my phone file as I talked to someone else. Her name “stood out,” so I called her. We exchanged greetings and pleasantries for a moment or so and she said, “I’m so glad you called me,” and proceeded to tell me this story:
I got your card. I don’t usually open my personal mail when I get it, I put it in a place beside my bed and leave it until bedtime so I can be alone and savor it — just as I go to bed — in privacy.
My father had died the day before. I was so low. When I opened your card and read it — and the little enclosed tract — the tears just broke like a dam, and I thought they would never stop. It was so unreal, it was so wonderful! There in your card were the very words my father had always used, “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord…” Later, I showed it to my sister, and she asked how did you know — of course you didn’t — but God did. And He knew I would read that card. And the timing was perfect. It was so awesome. You’ll never know just what that meant to me. We rejoiced together. And I still marvel at the gracious provision of my wonderful loving God.
As I hung up the phone thoughts chased each other through my mind. The questions: “What if I hadn’t flipped my phone index. I wouldn’t be rejoicing now. I had not sent her a card or called in a while, so I could have just called — but I sent the card and the tract. I usually ask the Lord to help me choose the exact one that will uplift the recipient — and cards the same way — Then the timing, I probably mailed the card on the day he died — or the day before. It was not a sympathy card, just a “friend” card. I couldn’t have known even if I had seen the obituary, because I never knew her maiden name. And then the postman (thank you, whoever you are) to get it there at that particular time. Is our Heavenly Father the Master choreographer or not? I say He is. If you don’t agree, read the Book of Esther….

Thank you, Nora.

From Bits and Pieces and More by Helen Gobble, p. 81

Posted by: Helen Gobble | August 28, 2011

RuthAnne’s comment reminded me

A comment made by my youngest daughter, RuthAnne, who is now a minister, about the poem “Appalachian Heritage” caused me to remember the poem “She’s Such a Little Girl,” which appears below. But first, this story about the poem:

Ruthie worked then at Joy Ranch. They were almost ready to send out their little booklet, and she called me to see if I would write a poem to be considered for inclusion in the issue. I said I would try. She didn’t offer any suggestions so I was on my own. She called one day and said, “Anything?”

And I said, “Not a thing.”

Then I asked “Girl or boy?” And she replied “either one.”

There were a couple of other calls, and it was close to the deadline. I said a prayer about it that night.

Suddenly it was 3:00 a.m., and I was wide awake with words, words, and more words, so quickly it surprised me. I had learned years ago not to say “I’ll do that in the morning.” Too many mornings had come when I could not remember even one pitiful word of a beautiful arrangement of words.

While writing this poem, I grabbed a handful of words — one phrase was “scampering their place to find,” now a line in another poem titled “Bits and Pieces, which appears on page 195 of my book.

I think I was back in bed in record time after repeating “Lord, I can’t write that fast” a dozen or more times. I had to wait to tell Ruthie, but I said “Thank you, Lord,” and went back to sleep.

Here is the poem:

She’s Such a Little Girl

Lord, she’s just a little girl
Stepping out into my world
With great wide staring wounded eyes
That make her look so worldly wise
And much too old for such a little girl.

She’s such a little girl
Lord, she’s such a frightened girl
Looking out upon my world
A tight-lipped question in her face
Like what am I doing in this place?
Can I go home? I’m such a little girl.
She’s such a little girl.

Lord, she’s such a quiet girl
Never speaking, not a word
I’ve tried but now I’ve turned to You
There must be something You can do.
“I have,” He said,”I sent her to your world.
Now love this little girl.
She’s such a little girl.”

Note: This poem by Helen Gobble was not included in her book.

Posted by: Helen Gobble | August 16, 2011

Comments on the Appalachian heritage

Editor’s note: this post transcribed from audio recording of Helen Gobble, commenting on the previous post.

The Thomas family lived in Pulaski, and we went up to Glade Springs and picked blackberries and just had a big time. And we went up and visited at the grandparents’ house in Pulaski. We had another relative that lived up there in Pulaski. I can’t remember their relation, but they would always visit too, coming back and forth. I am trying to think of a specific event that I remember, but I think I was too little to remember most of it. I was hanging along behind my Mom’s coattail, picking berries along with them, you know. They would come to Bristol sometimes, and they would all have a good time. He drove a truck back and forth to visit.

We had some relatives in Glade Springs, too, and I can’t remember exactly where some of the rest of them lived. But I do have that Appalachian heritage. Actually I would not want to ever leave this area. I would never want to leave this area for any other place they could point out to me in the world. If they’d give me a free ticket to go, I wouldn’t want to leave because I think it is a privilege to be an Appalachian.

My father was in the back-up music with the Carter Family, with the guitars. Of course I don’t know much, I was too little to remember. My brother David had a band. They had a wagon that they had their instruments in, and they went out and played for different places. And his wife Nancy is still singing in the Bristol Senior Choir. Nancy said that she doesn’t know if there’s an instrument anywhere that David can’t play. We told him that he couldn’t play a horn, since he had never tried, but a few minutes after he picked it up, he could play it. He has a keyboard and a large piano. And Nancy said that she has lost count of how many guitars he has. And my brothers George and Billy can sing and play guitar also. They get together once in a while, and play at family reunions.

Posted by: Helen Gobble | August 12, 2011

Appalachian heritage

The Best Part of Me

I’ve walked her deepest valleys, climbed her highest mountains,
Sat by her streams, dreamed her dreams, and sung her songs.
In the cold of her winter I felt her shiver
But the thaws of her springtime warmed my bones.
Oh you could never take her from me, she’s too much a part of me and
My Appalachian heritage is still the best part of me.

Her summer sweat stood on my brow, dripped on her soil behind the plow, And through the years I have become a part of her you see.
And her golden autumn splendor frames a picture to remember and
My Appalachian heritage makes up the best part of me.

I have studied in her classrooms, worked beside her heroes,
Worshiped in her churches, stood in awe of her God.
And if I ever leave my valley I know I’ll carry with me …
My Appalachian heritage still coursing through my veins.
And you can never take her from me, she’s too much a part of me;
My Appalachian heritage is still the best part of me.
From Bits and Pieces and More by Helen Gobble, p. 34

Posted by: Helen Gobble | July 6, 2011

Little Brook

Little Brook

Tell me little brook why are you so happy
Bubbling, rippling, sparkling in the sun
Singing your joyful song
Skipping and tripping the rocks and stones
Reflecting the sky, the Mountains, the trees
Merrily dancing ahead of the breeze
Down to the stream, out to the river
Out to the beautiful deep blue sea
Then into the ocean vast and wide
Far far away, borne with the tide
Will you return I wonder someday
Back to the brook where you used to play?

From Bits and Pieces and More by Helen Gobble, p. 116

Posted by: Helen Gobble | June 8, 2011

Happy Father’s Day

Originally uploaded by Helen Gobble

Double Exposure

I was just a lad but I remember walking through a woodland with my dad.

I tried to put my arms around a tall and stately tree,

But shy half-way was all the reach I had.

I found a grassy spot and stretched myself out on the ground

To gaze at tree-tops tall with scarce a piece of sky around.

“Come on,” I heard my father say; “stay close beside me all the way:

Just look around, what do you see?” I looked, I turned,

I stared in awe, and answered “Trees.”

“That’s right,” he said, “and what’s behind those trees we may not see…

That’s why it’s so important that you keep in sight of me.”

I frolicked here, I scampered there, curious to know

Why fuzzy leaf and prickly weed did so abundant grow …?

But when no answer came I ran to him and slapped his leg — at play.

Then merrily I skipped ahead, and heard him say, “Now don’t go far away.”

But as I said, I was a lad, and curious to see…

My little feet just fairly flew, from leaf to flower, from tree to tree.

A sudden movement caught my eye, a tiny yellow butterfly

He lit (a second) then flew on. I chased him til my strength was gone.

My little legs, they just gave way, and all at once I knew … and said,

“I’ve come too far.” My little heart was filled with dread.

My tear-filled eyes searched everywhere; he was not there — not anywhere!

I strained my little ears to hear, there was no sound of footsteps near.

“Hurry, Dad,” I whispered, “See, I’m just so tired, please carry me.”

Great big tears began to fall, my tiny voice seemed oh so small.

In all that wide expanse of trees … I cried, “I’m here, find me please!

I’m scared and lost, hear me, Dad, I’m really sorry I was bad.”

Then all at once my dad was there and there was sunshine everywhere.

His arms were strong, yet gentle, as he put me on his shoulder with great care.

But trees reached out to scratch my face and so

He slid me down into his arms instead, and in reflection now I know:

He was lost to me, I was never lost to him … he was nearby.

He saw, he knew, he understood, he listened and he heard my cry.

My mind is torn between the present and the past. Remembering I hear

The strong and steady beating of his heart. I’m found, I sleep, I know no fear–

The trees are thinning now, we reverse roles. I am the father — and so…

The memories go back to the place wherever memories go.

My own son, cradled in my aching arms — stirring now — he feels the sun

Warm on his face. Enormous dark eyes meet mine as he says sleepily, “Daddy,

That was fun!” and adds (this I had forgotten until now)

“Put me down. Can we stay?”

Refreshed after his nap he wants to play — soon he will tire again — “Yes,” I say.

And I sit on the rock where my dad probably sat … it seems ages ago.

And only now do I realize and understand just what he wanted me to know.

With his mind and heart a double lens, focused straight and true,

He was developing in my small heart … a photograph of God. Now I know,

And knowing, bow my head and worship the God of my father, who loves me so,

Who goes ahead, walks beside, and follows if I stray — loving me, watching me — as I go.

And I wonder, was my focus just as true? Will the photograph be clear some day?

Will he, my son, perhaps sit here, just as I now do …

And watch his child at play … and worship You? ~~.~~

p. 41, Bits and Pieces and More.

Posted by: Helen Gobble | May 27, 2011

The Rock Eternal

O happy storm that casts the soul upon the Rock Christ Jesus,
O blessed gale that drives the heart to seek a shelter there.
O joyful waves that bear me up where loving arms can reach me,
O faithful winds that press me in and hold me near.
O matchless love that beckons me,
O boundless grace that sets me free,
O wondrous joy that I may be — hid — in the Rock Christ Jesus.
All nature serves the great Creator, washing hapless souls ashore
To find the solid Rock and cling … now and evermore.

Appropriate ending:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee.
(Augustus M. Toplady, 1776; “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me.”)

From Bits and Pieces and More by Helen Gobble, p. 85

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