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You Can Do More Than You Think

I loved the article “Surprised by Hope” written by Jeff Minick. I lived that “life” for a short time in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s. I’m only 76 years old, but I still think I have some wisdom to share.

I was born in the ’40s just after War World II to a couple who had little, and then after I was only a few months old, the little they had was stolen! They were living in a very modest rental home in a small town in mid-Michigan. That theft may have led them to move back to Florida where my father grew up in a tiny little settlement called Istachatta situated on the side of the Withlacoochee River near the belly button of Florida. Our family lived for two years with my paternal grandparents. Later, we lived in a different place every year: a mine shack, an abandoned school, a house with electricity and running water, etc.

While my father was out on the road selling seeds or long-distance trucking, my mother got fed up with our moving every year. When the school (abandoned) that we lived in was sold and moved out from under us, my mom decided to build us a house on that land. She contacted a nearby contractor, who was also a cousin of my father. He told her what lumber she would need and how much. She purchased raw lumber, nails, and borrowed a handsaw and hammer. With a foundation of cement blocks and no footings, she built a small three-room house, with six windows.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
(Biba Kayewich)

We had two outhouses at the very back border of that land and a well with a hand pump in the front yard. The roof had rolled roofing and often leaked when it rained hard.

All this history is to teach our young people that you can live with less than you think and you can do more than you thought you could!

As an adult, no one owes you a living. Step up to the plate and do the best you can, NOT the least you can!

Vernice Chatfield, Michigan

P.S. I wrote a book “Miracles in the the Tamaracks: A Memoir,” which is available on Amazon if you want to know more.


I would like to tell you if you have ever thought of suicide, don’t do it! The very next day could be the best day of your life.

It was in 1963 and I was the new young mother of a beautiful baby girl, named Tammy. When my daughter was about 6 months old, I would go bowling with my husband and he would take my cousins home after babysitting for her. One day, the police called and told my husband to be down to the station or they would come and get him. I had no idea what was going on but found out that he had molested two of my cousins who babysat for me. I was devastated and thought that marriage was for life, and I also was a Christian. I feared for my own daughter at this point and immediately filed for divorce with the help of my grandmother, who provided the funds.

One night coming home from my mother’s, I was overwhelmed with grief, stress, and wondering how I would take care of my baby girl (feeding, clothing, providing shelter), and with no job and seeing no way out, I thought to myself I would just find the biggest tree I could and drive into it. This way, it would look like an accident. My headlights shone on a huge oak tree and I was going about 80 miles an hour down a dark country road. As I began to turn the steering wheel toward the tree, a very loud called out to me and said, “You have no right to take Tammy.” I was startled and immediately pulled over, and my daughter, Tammy, began to cry. I was so mentally worn out that I hadn’t even realized she was in the car. As I sat there in the car holding my daughter, I cried uncontrollably and asked for God’s forgiveness.

The very next morning, my phone rang and an unidentified voice said to me, “You don’t know me, but I heard what happened to you and that you may need a job, if you come down to the bank building tomorrow, I may have a job opening for you.” I said, “Yes, I will be there.” It turned out to be a one-girl office and an excellent job. I took the job and was able to take care of my daughter and myself. The unidentified voice on the phone that faithful day happened to be a good friend of my husband’s boss who owned his own company. He was an answer to prayer for me.

A few years later, I met and married a wonderful bachelor who adopted my daughter. He adored her and she him. God is faithful, and he has a wonderful plan for your life.

Sincerely yours,

Carol J. Mercer, Michigan 


What advice would you like to give to the younger generations?

We call on all of our readers to share the timeless values that define right and wrong and pass the torch, if you will, through your wisdom and hard-earned experience. We feel that the passing down of this wisdom has diminished over time and that only with a strong moral foundation can future generations thrive.

Send your advice, along with your full name, state, and contact information to NextGeneration@epochtimes.com or mail it to: Next Generation, The Epoch Times, 229 W. 28th St., Floor 7, New York, NY 10001.

Dear Next Generation

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