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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

"If you combined the lyricism of Annie Dillard, the vision of Aldo Leopold, and the gentle but tough-minded optimism of Frank McCourt, you might come close to Amy Lou Jenkins.Tom Bissell author of The Father of All Things 

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Featured Author

Cynthia Marie Hamond

Be sure to read her inspiring stories below


Cynthia Marie Hamond has been writing for the last six years. She has had numerous stories published in


 Multnomah's Stories for the Heart series as well as in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Her stories have been printed in major publications including Woman's World magazine. She has received three writing recognitions and her short story, "Goodwill" has become a TV favorite.

Her stories have been translated into many different languages and she receives mail from readers as well as fellow and aspiring writers from all over the world.

Cynthia enjoys speaking for various organizations, church groups and newspaper and radio interviews. She has made presentations and signed books as near as the book store and elementary school down her street to as far away as the island of Molokai, HI.

Cynthia writes to the simplicity of life's truths, believing that simple goodness does prevail. She hopes for the reader to discover themselves in her stories.

Cynthia and her husband, Bruce, have raised their five children in a Minnesota town along the Mississippi River and are now enjoying their grandchildren.

Her credits include:

Chicken Soup for the Soul TV Series

FOX Television Kid's Network
Chicken Soup for the Teenager's Soul II
Call Me

Chicken Soup for the College Soul
Catsup Soup


Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul
To Love Enough
Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul
My Big Solo


Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Tough Stuff
I am Loni, Change,
Friends to the End


Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Collection
Call Me ,I am Loni
Chicken Soup for the Christian Teen's Soul
Louisa's Bouquet,The Mirror
How Sweet the Sound

Stories for the Teen's Heart
How Sweet the Sound
Call Me



Stories for the Faithful Heart
How Sweet the Sound


Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul


Stories for the Extreme Teen's Heart
Friends to the End


Stories for the Grad's Heart
Catsup Soup


Stories for a Teen's Heart II
I am Loni


Stories for the Woman's Heart II
Everything in God's Good Time
Two Scoops



Stories for the Teen's Heart III
The Real Me
How Sweet the Sound
Pax Television
Woman's World Magazine

Guide Magazine

Writer's Digest 2000 Writing Competition Winner/Inspirational Category/
Chocolate Covered Cherries
Reading Writers Winter 2004/ 2nd Place
Air Conditioned Inside

Enjoy Two of her beautiful Stories:

How Sweet the Sound

By Cynthia M. Hamond, S.F.O.

The lead should have been mine. All my friends agreed with me. At least, it shouldn't have been Helen's, that strange new girl. She never had a word to say, always looking down at her feet as if her life was too

 heavy to bear. What's up with that anyway? We've never done anything to her. We think she's just stuck up. Things can't be all that bad for her, not with all the great clothes she wears. She hasn't worn the same thing more then twice in the two months she's been at our school.  But the worst of it was when she showed up at our tryouts and sang for my part. Everyone knew the lead role was meant for me. After all, I had parts in all our high school musicals and this was our senior year.

My friends were waiting for me so I didn't hang around for Helen's audition. The shock came two days later when we hurried to check the drama department's bulletin board for the play postings.
We scanned the sheets looking for my name. When we found it, I burst out in tears. Helen was slated to play the lead! I was to be her mother and her understudy. Understudy? Nobody could believe it.
Rehearsals seemed to go on forever. Helen didn't seem to notice that we were going out of our way to ignore her.

I'll admit it, Helen did have a beautiful voice. She was different on stage somehow. Not so much happy as settled and content.

Opening night had all its jitters. Everyone was quietly bustling around backstage, waiting for the curtain to go up. Everyone but Helen, of course. She seemed contained in her own calm world.
The performance was a hit. Our timing was perfect, our voices blended and soared. Helen and I flowed back and forth, weaving the story between us. I, the ailing mother praying for her wayward daughter and Helen playing the daughter who realizes as her mother dies that there is more to this life than this life.
The final scene reached is dramatic end. I was laying in the darkened bedroom. The prop bed I was on was uncomfortable making it hard to stay still. I was impatient, anxious for Helen's big finish to be over.
She was spotlighted upstage, the grieving daughter beginning to understand the true meaning of the hymn she had been singing as her mother passed away.
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…" Her voice lifted over the pain of her mother's death and the joy of God's promises.

"...that saved a wretch like me…" Something real was happening to me as Helen sang. My impatience left.
"…I once was lost but now I am found…" My heart was touched to tears.
"…was blind but now I see." My spirit began to turn within me and I turned to God. In that moment, I knew His love, His desire for me.

Helen's voice lingered in the prayer of the last note. The curtain dropped.
Complete silence. Not a sound. Helen stood behind the closed curtain, head bowed, gently weeping.
Suddenly applause and cheers erupted and when the curtain parted, Helen saw her standing ovation.

We all made our final bows. My hugs were genuine. My heart had been opened to the Great Love.
Then it was over. The costumes were hung up, make-up tissued off, the lights dimmed. Everyone went off in their usual groupings, congratulating each other.
Everyone but Helen. And everyone but me.

"Helen, your song, it was so real for me." I hesitated, my feelings intense. "You sang me into the heart of God."


Helen gasped. Her eyes met mine.

"That's what my mother said to me the night she died." A tear slipped down her cheek. My heart leapt to hers. "My mother was in such pain. Singing Amazing Grace always comforted her. She said I should always remember that God has promised good to me and that His grace would lead her home."
Her face lit from the inside out, her mother's love shining through. "Just before she died she whispered, 'Sing me into the heart of God, Helen'. That night and tonight, I sang for my mother."


To See You
By Cynthia M. Hamond, S.F.O.

Many say their most painful moments are saying good-bye to those they love. After watching Cheryl, my daughter-in-law, through the six long months her mother suffered towards death, I believe the most painful moments can be in the waiting to say good-bye.

Cheryl made the two-hour trip over and over to be with her mother. They spent the long afternoons  praying, soothing, comforting, and retelling their shared memories.

As her mother's pain intensified and more medication was needed to ease her into sedation, Cheryl sat for hours of silent vigil by her mother's bed. Each time she kissed her mother before leaving, her mother would tear up and say, "I'm sorry you drove so far and sat for so long and I didn't even wake up to talk with you."

Cheryl would tell her not to worry, it didn't matter, still her mother felt she had let her down and apologized at each good-bye until the day Cheryl found a way to give her mother the reassurance her


 mother had given to her so many times.

"Mom, do you remember when I made the high school basketball team?" Cheryl's mother nodded. "You'd drive so far and sit for so long and I never even left the bench to play. You waited for me after every game and each time I felt bad and apologized to you for wasting your time." Cheryl gently took her mother's hand. "Do you remember what you would say to me?"

"I would say I didn't come to see you play, I came to see you."

"And you meant those words, didn't you."

"Yes, I really did."

"Well, now I say the same words to you. I didn't come to see you talk, I came to see you."
Her mother understood and smiled as she floated back into sleep.Their afternoons together passed quietly through the last month, into the last week and then the last day. Their love filled the spaces between their words. They ministered to each other in the stillness, love given and received just by seeing each other. A mother-daughter bond so strong that, even in this deepened silence that followed their last good-bye, Cheryl can still hear her mother's love.