Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day

My dad rests at Ft. Rosecrans, one of the most beautiful places in Southern California.  He served in the Marines during the Korean War.  He made it home safely but many others did not.  This is the day we remember all who gave their lives for our freedom.  It's a day we comfort those who lost a loved one.  My heart goes out to them.

I know first-hand what it feels like to be a parent of an active duty soldier stationed overseas.  The day our youngest son asked me to place the blue chord on his shoulder at graduation from infantry training and boot camp is one of my most precious moments ever.  I asked him about the significance of his badges.  "This is what soldiers who enlist during wartime wear on their dress blues,"  he answered.  These men and women are special.  They know the dangers lurking in the shadows and they choose this life.  This is how much they love us.  Jesus says this is the greatest love, to be willing to die for others.  I look forward to seeing our son again and giving him a big hug.  For those who must wait to give that hug until the afterlife,  please know your country is holding your hand today.  You have my prayers.  God bless you and God bless all soldiers, past, present and future.  We will never forget you.  Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Navigating the Discomfort Zone

Repeat after me, "you can do this."  It doesn't matter how uncomfortable you feel or how great your fears may be.  What matters is your willingness to take that first step outside your comfort zone.  That first step in any new venture is always the most difficult.

One of my writing mentors, Byron Mettler, taught me how to move forward when you feel stuck.  "Paint your character into a corner and then figure out how to escape," he instructed.  The same is true in real life.  Do you remember being sent to the corner in school?  Your teacher asked you to think about your actions and make changes, right?  Corners are places you go to prepare for the discomfort zone ahead.  Your way out is action.  Action trumps fear.  Uncertainty dissipates when you step out into the unknown.  It's turning on the light switch in a dark room.

If you're in the area on Wednesday, May 27 from 7 to 8pm, stop by the Williamsburg Public Library.  This may be the first step you take to writing your own book.   I'll do my best to help you feel comfortable.  Bring a friend.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

2,000 year-old Caveman Spotted Online

I'm posting a link to the story that made the front page of the Journal Tribune last week.  Thank you, Brian Rathjen, for taking the time to interview me and for posting this story online for readers living outside of Iowa.  If you're near Williamsburg on Wednesday, May 27, from 7 - 8pm, please stop by and say hello at the Williamsburg Library located on the town square.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Financial Independence Day Postponed

My third book, "Break the Chains of Debt Bondage," is tied up in red tape.  The 4th of July target date is not realistic given several recent developments beyond my control.  My adversary is mounting a fierce counter-attack in the closing months of my personal battle against debt.  There is a silver lining in the cloud.  By delaying this book I can come out of my cave and connect with friends and family sooner rather than later.  I'm planning a road trip to the West Coast soon and can't wait to see you.

This is not a white flag of surrender.  It's a time to regroup and spend more quality time with my family.  I'm coming out of my cave to attend weddings and graduations.  I'm going to tiptoe through the tulips and smell the roses.  Thanks for your understanding.  Have a great day.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Your 3 Choices in Life

Which is it going to be?  Give up, give in or give it all you've got?  For me, giving up isn't an option.  That leaves only two choices – give in or give it all you've got.  I don't like the results when you give in because the consequences of giving in are much too high.  You don't get to experience what it feels like to cross the finish line.  I also know the price you pay for giving it all you've got.  You will be misunderstood.  You will be criticized.  You will rejected.  Going all in sometimes makes others who don't share your work ethic feel uncomfortable.  Don't worry.  Do the work anyway.

Take a moment and consider what your greatest challenge in your life is today.  Decide which choice you're going to make regarding your challenge.  When it's all over, send me an email and share your experience.  I would love to hear from you.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Next Door Neighbor Found Out I'm a Writer

Need a bookmark?  Ask and you shall receive.
I don't get out much.  That's what happens when you're a writer and you spend all your free time hidden away in your basement cranking out words like a factory worker on an assembly line.  I really didn't want to come out of my cave until my third book is done but my friends couldn't wait to grab a copy of my first novel so the cat is out of the bag.

"Do you like to read?"  I asked my neighbor last night standing in the driveway.  He nodded yes.  "I have a bookmark for you," I said.  I walked inside and pulled out my first bookmark from the FedEx package that arrived earlier in the day.  My neighbor looked at it with a puzzled look on his face.  "You're a writer?"  he asked.  The follow-up question he asked is the same one I keep hearing.  "How do you find the time to write?"

"Come to the library next Wednesday at 7 pm for the author talk and I'll answer your questions,"  I said.   For those of you reading this, here's what's up.  You can't hide from God.  Remember Adam?  The guy who ate the apple and then tried to hide in the garden?  God called out, "Adam, where are you?"  God wasn't asking this question because he couldn't find Adam, he was asking so Adam could understand God was on his tail.  You see, God doesn't need cell phones or other electronic devices to reach you.  He can go directly into your dreams in the middle of the night and nudge you.  There's no escape.  I'm in.  I'm doing what God asks of me and I've given up hiding the fact that I'm a writer.

Have a great day.  Stay tuned.  I'm setting up more book signings in the future.  And I'll give you a bookmark the next time we meet as long as you don't ask, "how do you find the time to write?"  The answer is you make time to do the important tasks you're assigned to.  That's why I get up extra early every morning.  See you tomorrow at 8:08.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How I Became a Deep Sea Fisher of Men

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? ~ Luke 15:4

You won't find a non-believer inside the church walls.  You won't find him or her in a crowd of Christians holding hands singing kumbaya.  The non-believer prefers to be as far away as the east is from the west.  I wonder if the day will ever come that I give up because my nets are empty day after day, month after month and year after year.  Deep sea fishing is quite different from regular fishing.

I will never forget the first time I tried deep sea fishing with my best friend, his dad, and one of my buddies from my junior college tennis team.  The first day we all took Dramamine to prevent sea sickness.  The captain told us to go home because the seas were too rough.  We returned to our campsite and slept all day.  The next day we tried again.  I fished all day long.  Nothing.  My buddies were having success.  Then it happened.  I caught the big one – a thirty-five pound sea bass.  It took a long time to reel him in because he was so deep.  The joy I felt reminds me about the Bible quote from Luke 15:7, I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  Yep.  It's all about the lost one everyone else gave up on.

I became a deep sea fisher of men because I can relate to the lost soul who doesn't want to be caught.  I know what it feels like to live in the darkness.  I also know what it feels like to take the bait.  It's life-changing.  It motivates me to keep fishing for the one everyone else gave up on.  Have a great day.