Collecting Eggs with a Shotgun

“Boom!” went Ol’ Betsy, as I pulled both triggers of the double-barrel 12 gauge shotgun. The rats I was aiming at disappeared into thin air.

“Holy crap! Did you see that?” I asked my sister. “What?!” she yelled back at me. Both of us were a little deaf from the sound of the gun. “Where’d they go?” she asked. “I don’t know, but I don’t think they got away.”

Two rats had been in the corner trying to add to our consternation by increasing their population. We had entered the chicken house at that moment just to gather the eggs, but, well…timing is everything, I guess.

Meanwhile, all the chickens had fled to the other side of the building. They stared at us for a moment and then went back to pecking, cooing, and cackling. The amount of manure had increased slightly in that area for some reason, though.

We stood there for a few moments looking at the gaping hole in the back corner near the floorboards. Finally, I said, “I guess I should go find a piece of wood to nail over that.” “Yeah, probably,” was my sister’s reply. The corner where I had aimed and fired now had a jagged, new opening instead of a rough, closed look to it. We laughed, and then I added, “At least it worked.”

For weeks before that, the rat problem had been getting worse. The last straw came after I had shaken down the feeder and two rats jumped out instead of beautiful, golden chicken feed. That was when I had had enough.

It was one thing for the rats to live under the chicken house and mind their own business. That was fine. But when they started eating up the food that was for our livestock and taking baths in the buckets of water… oh, no… and then to scare us every day on top of that… yep, that was the last straw.

Yes, we had set poison for the rats, but instead of it killing them off, they just seemed to eat it like candy and stand around waiting for us to bring them another bag full.

When I realized that neither the poison nor the traps were working, I did what any 14-year old kid would do out in the country on a farm – I got creative. I started taking different kinds of sticks with me to the chicken house, but they proved to be either too short to reach or too long to swing.

So, I moved on to a bullwhip. That worked sort of okay, but it mostly just made the rats mad instead of taking them out of the picture. Next, my souped-up slingshot worked pretty good, as long as got ‘em square in the head, otherwise the rocks deflected and wound up hitting the chickens instead.

What to do…What to do? After thinking about my options for a while, it finally hit me. I went to the closet and pulled out a shotgun. It was a .410 single bolt action. My aim was good, but the pellets just seemed to bounce off the rats’ hide as they ran and ducked into their holes. And I wasn’t fast enough to unload the empty shell, reload, and get off another shot before they had scattered and run for cover.

That week, I happened to be down at my aunt’s house visiting and told her what was going on. A twinkle appeared in her eyes and an innocent, yet devious, grin spread across her face.

She said, “You could always borrow the 12-gauge if you like. Of course, it’s a bit more powerful than the .410, but if you use it right, it should do the trick.” “Can I?” “Sure. Just be careful.”

She handed it to me, along with a few shells. The smell of oil, use, old leather, and previous hunting trips poured off of the gleaming cylinders of steel and filled my nose. As I carried it home that evening, I decided that “Ol’ Betsy” seemed like a fitting name.

My approach to finding a solution to the rat problem seemed a bit eccentric – according to some other people I told at the time – but they weren’t the ones getting their feet overrun by hungry rats. And, it worked.

We weren’t afraid to go collect eggs anymore, after that. Every afternoon we exited the chicken house victorious with a shotgun in one hand and a basketful of eggs in the other.

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This story was adapted from one of my upcoming books.  To read ones currently published, go to .



Dottedly Connected (poetry)

Dottedly connected,
The small, black circles
Surround the coffee cup
And give contour to it
Beyond just its basic structure.
They wrap around
Form the connection
Between here and out there.
They permeate the unknown
And come back to show me
That there is purpose in this life.

A repeating pattern
Of an interlinking chain,
They work together
To make the forces
And the purposes
And the beauty
All work together.

Painted on and kilned,
They’ve become part of what the cup is –
Not only a holder of all things wonderful
But a thing of beauty, as well.
To become the thing it was meant to,
And to just… be.

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This poem was excerpted from one of Marty’s upcoming books. For currently published books, go to

Positively Impacting Community

Hopefully, part of your agreement with life involves improving parts of your community that need help. One of the best ways to positively impact your community is by showing people (of all ages) how to get involved in it.

By helping them understand how a particular community works, who the key players are, and what the current processes are, they’ll be able to see which parts are effective and which parts aren’t. Understanding those things will help them to see how they can help continue moving the good parts forward and fix the bad ones.

Lead by example, and encourage others to get out into the highways and byways of the community and become an excited part of it. Whether it’s through traditional ways or through creative ways, positively impacting your community is always a good thing.

“Fresh eyes” will see things differently than eyes that have looked at the same situation for a long time. Infusing your community with “new blood” will also invigorate other people to stay involved and improve at multiple levels. It’s true that the people who are involved in the community in one way or another are people who really care. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be involved.

A way to help others care is to help them see a need. At first, you may have to point out some needs to them (but probably not, since many needs are obvious). In time, they’ll see other needs on their own.

Once they see a need and have a desire to do something about it, help them design a plan of action. Action of some sort is necessary to convert their good intentions into positive changes. Their plan of action needs to include both short-range and long-range goals. Then, help them get to work.

Rolling up your sleeves alongside them will help them see that your own desire to positively impact the community is as real as theirs is. Together, your combined efforts will be amazing!

[…adapted from Marty’s book An Agreement with Life]

And check out for more of my books.
Enjoy! – Marty

Worlds of Work and Letting Go

A lot of people go into their little worlds of work and don’t come out again for 40 years. They think what they do is so important that they rarely stop to look at what they’re doing: to see if it really matters or fits well into the rest of the world somehow.

In some cases, their families grow up around them without them noticing until it’s too late: children seemingly change from toddlers to teenagers overnight, and spouses get tired of waiting for time together.

Don’t let yourself become that person who never leaves the office. Your family is more important. They really are – and there IS a way to live a balanced life. Meaning, you CAN provide for your family AND be with them in person 3-dimensionally to laugh, love, cry, hold, and smile.

Your family would rather have you than a picture of you.

Likewise, someone once told me, “Letting go is a good thing. It really creates freedom, and it lets trust grow.” Freedom and trust? Maybe trust is hard for you at times, because people have squashed it. You may have even said, “Forget it.”

If so, talking about it and writing it out can help. It creates a sense of permanence because it’s written down somewhere. It’s refreshing to get the old stuff out.

In time, you’ll be able to trust more, and things will “click”. They will be easier to deal with.

When you feel overwhelmed by people and things, let go, if it helps you feel better. Remember, life’s bark is bigger than its bite, most of the time.

Pray each day for the things that make you excited about life – the ones that make you feel tingly all over, good points in life, and feelings that you cherish. If you focus on them, then as you deal with people and situations, those positives will be there to guide you.

As wise men and women have said throughout the years, “Breathe out doubt; breathe in trust.”

[…adapted from Marty’s book An Agreement with Life]

And check out for more of my books.
Enjoy! – Marty

The Mind Ponders What The Soul Sees

There are times that the mind ponders what the soul sees.  It is usually in the moments of solitude that one can hear the other, thus prompting the reflection that occurs.  Feebly attempting to interfere with the flow that comes from without, other parts of our psyche try to interject themselves between the two.  Instead of succeeding, they simply appear as lost bits of life, cast away from the whole and into the darkness.  Most of what we think we don’t see during the day can easily be captured by our senses and mind,  guaranteeing that nothing will be missed.

Next Book of Poems Being Published

My next book of poems is being published!  Will be released in the next few weeks!  “Geese Will Fly” is an eclectic collection that is heartwarming, intriguing, mind-blowing, inviting, and encouraging!

ISBN-13: 978-1503249240
ISBN-10: 1503249247

More to come shortly!

Books by Marty

Getting Rid of a Box

One of my favorite parts of “Finding Forrester” is where Forrester is walking around the room with scotch in his hand, telling his protégé, “You write the first draft from your heart.  The second draft, you write from your head…PUNCH the keys, for God’s sake! …You’re the man, now.”  He was trying to get his young friend to write from his guts and to write like he meant it.

It’s sort of like when the cartoonist Charles Schulz was starting out.  He had a dream of drawing for the world – to entertain – to amuse – to bring smiles to people’s lives.

Do you have dreams like that?  Do you want to bring smiles to people’s lives?  To ease their pain and sufferings?

Take those ideas out of your box of unfulfilled dreams, and breathe life back into them.  Don’t let that box be an evil box or even an impatient box.  Don’t be ashamed when you look inside of it.  Instead, do something positive about it – big or small, start today.

Emptying that box is powerful, because it does a couple of things.  First, it tells you that you are important in your world.  Some people put others in front of themselves so often that their own dreams and goals get pushed aside and forgotten.  By starting to work toward your dreams again, you will rebuild your self-assurance that is vital in living each day.

Second, it helps you to focus your energy in a positive direction.  Everyone has energy.  Many people have lots of it.  Using that energy daily to achieve your goals is extremely powerful.  Your mind will feel invigorated, and your body will feel the excitement of working toward a finish line.

Your box of unfinished projects or unfulfilled dreams can actually be used as a good thing.  You can use it to catapult yourself into the next realm of abundant living.  When you are making progress, you are getting where you want to go.  And when you are getting where you want to go, your mind will relax – allowing everything to fall into place.

That box may seem like a hindrance, a nag, a bother, something negative – but it can be used for good in your life.  “Think outside the box” in this scenario, and you’ll be amazed at how well all of the pieces will fit together.

Bit by bit, your daily energy and efforts will begin to pay off.  Eventually, you will have taken out all of your unfulfilled dreams and progressed toward fulfilling them.  Then, you’ll be able to get rid of that box.

Enjoy your new-found freedom!

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[…adapted from Marty’s book An Agreement with Life]

Let the Mind Flow

The angst of holding back and not knowing whether or not you’ve done enough. To write. To produce content. To let the mind flow in ways that people would never think that it would go. To imagine where you want to be and to get there.

These are the thoughts that drive people forward, the ideas that propel them into the future with passion, belief and purpose. To drive into the wind and know that you may be knocked down if you lose your focus – or that the wind will change directions and blow the way you’re going to help propel you in your journey.

Don’t have angst anymore. Instead, believe that you will succeed. Work toward your goal, and never quit. Others may quit, but you won’t. You’ll hold fast to your dream and will come through the other side of the storm with your heart and mind intact!

Books by Marty

Finding Peace with the Words

There’s an endless flow of words running through my head. I write them down, but more come to fill the well that I think gets emptied. The words started coming when I was little. Since then, they’ve always been there day after day.

At times they bother me, because they won’t leave me alone until I write them down. But once I write them down, they’re out of me – so they leave me alone, and I’m at peace for a while. But, more words come. Again, I write them down and am at peace. I type and write until tired – pause to see if any more are there and then smile – because of the silence that has finally returned.

I’m grateful for the words that flow. It’s all just a bit much at times. Writing provides an outlet for the ideas that flash through my mind…a way to emit the essence of the thoughts that flow. I write down the words and share them with the world. It will be up to other people to decide what they want to do with them.

In the movie, Finding Forrester, the main character (an author) wrote the words that came to his mind every day. They flooded his brain, his heart, and his body, until they filled his entire being. In the movie, his prize-winning book was an overflowing of those thoughts – in an effort to appease the words that besieged him day in and day out.

His words continued to flow to the point that he locked himself in an apartment – away from humanity and typed day and night. The banging of the keys would cease long enough for him to read, watch a little TV, or go out on occasion. I wonder if he ever thought, “I walk the streets at nighttime to see what people have done, what they leave behind, WHAT they are. I need to walk in daytime if I want to know WHO they are.”

Likewise, are there streets that you walk in aimless wonder?

Forrester also locked himself away because he couldn’t deal with the way people treated each other. He thought he could protect himself if he could hide from the rest of the world, but that didn’t hold true. Even with years “away” from the outside world, he was still captured by the persona of a young man who was struggling to become a writer – to share his own ever-persistent thoughts about the world around him.

Why is it that words and thoughts plague some of us and leave others alone? Or is it that ALL of us are bothered by them, but some just choose to ignore them completely? Is that what happens?

Does it happen to you? Let me know.

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[…adapted from Marty’s book An Agreement with Life]


Your Agreement with Life

Each of us makes an agreement with life. We do so at different times in order to survive, excel, succeed, escape, triumph, love, and experience moments of grace. While we may each do it in slightly different ways, we each still do it.

For the first time, I’ll share another one of my secrets with you: I’ll tell you what my agreement with life is. Also, I’ll ask you some questions about your own agreement with life. Throughout this series of articles, I’ll bring up some ideas that will hopefully inspire you to reach beyond your current agreement (if you’re dissatisfied with it) or to deepen and solidify it (if you already like it).

Here’s my agreement with life:

I write the words that come to me, and then they stop bothering me.


I write them down because otherwise they would never leave me alone. It’s the only way I can find peace with the words.

And you?

So, how about you? What is your agreement with life? How have you agreed to handle the things in life that come at you? How have you agreed to pursue your goals and ambitions? You may be under the impression that you don’t have an agreement, and that’s okay. We can work with that. At some point though, you’ll realize that you live every day within a set of conditions and boundaries that you have chosen to give your life definition and depth. That’s a good thing, as long as you maximize the purposes in your heart and the strength of your mind.

Whatever your agreement is, it must propel you forward in living out your life’s goals. As long as it does that, then it will serve you well. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to make a new agreement! List out your current goals and compare that to the details that comprise your agreement. How many of them line up? Do they match?

By participating in your agreement, you are basically exchanging life, breath, and energy for some sort of return from the universe. In order for you to benefit from the universe, it has to provide you with what you are looking for. Is it doing that for you? If so, great! If not, why not? If you need to change your agreement, then do so. You’ll be glad you did!

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[…adapted from Marty’s book An Agreement with Life]