Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do You Know Where You're Going?

Detours often frustrate me.  I find myself angry each time I  encounter an obstacle blocking me from achieving a goal.  One day I woke up and realized I was on the wrong road.  Anger and frustration are road signs warning you about where you're headed. 

There are road signs for every area of your life.  Pay attention to them and you will be better prepared for your future.

Stress is also a road sign.  If you ignore it, you may become sidelined.  It's your body's way of telling you to change direction or to slow down.

In thirty days, my wife, my youngest son and I will be on the road.  The three of us see the same road signs and we know we are headed in the right direction.  We spent the weekend mapping out a life plan.  We formulated seven key projects we need to develop in order to live our dreams.  The road won't be easy.  It's not supposed to be.  But we will pay careful attention to all the road signs.

How about your road signs?  Do you heed them or ignore them?  Are you satisfied with where you're going.  Leave a comment below if you would like to share about your life's journey.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Living My Faith

When you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. ~ Jeremiah 29:12

The best way I can describe Faith is not with my words but my actions.  Faith is invisible.  Actions are visible.  Words are natural.  God is supernatural.  So are ideas.  And prayer is a way to connect the invisible with the visible.

When I began my formal writing journey almost nine hundred days ago, a tiny whisper ignited a flame within me; I cannot explain how it happened or why the fire consumes every ounce of my being.

I suppose the captives experienced this when they were freed from slavery.  An invisible force guided them into the unknown desert.  Their enemies pursued them to the edge of the Red Sea and they found themselves trapped.  Moses raised his hands high in the air and the sea parted, revealing an escape route.

My friends, I'm on a similar journey today.  The part visible to you is this blog, now connected to Caveman Reflections, Free Lemonade Stories, and my next book.  It's also the link between the visible and the invisible.

What will happen next?  If my past is any indication of my future, you will want to come back regularly and discover it with me and my family.  I rarely write about my family for a reason.  They prefer to be invisible.  The plan God has for me includes a vision for my loved ones; they understand what it means to live their faith.  They witness the Red Sea in our daily lives parting on a regular basis.  It is so natural for my family that we expect the Red Sea to part every time we appear trapped.  God's plans don't end at cul-de-sacs.  They are just mountains meant to be overcome.  I raise my hands to the heavens and ask God to show me the strategy for removing any barriers to His plans.  I can't explain how the mountains move.  It has to do with faith. 

Have you every faced a mountain in your life that you moved?  Leave your comments below.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's Almost Time for the Leap of Faith

Have you ever taken a leap of faith?  Ever done something that defies all logic and common sense, like the salmon that swims upstream when everyone else is comfortable staying right where they are?

My leap of faith begins next month on February 29.  Like an Olympic long jumper, I've been training for many years in preparation for this single jump, a leap into my destiny.  This vault will take me past many state lines and I will land half-way across the country in Iowa with my wife and youngest son at my side.

How about you?  Have you ever taken a leap of faith?  Leave your comment below.  And enjoy the video of top athletes demonstrating their leaping abilities.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Pursuit of Simplicity

Simplicity is often an elusive American dream.  Time-saving devices like cell phones often become obstacles to peace.  Here's a great example of how quickly peace is disrupted by an ill-timed phone call...

How do you respond when your life becomes complicated?  Do you give up on your pursuit of simplicity?  The violinist could have blown up, however, he chose a humorous response that allowed him to stay relaxed.  He let go of any anger he may have felt toward the rude guest.  The pursuit of simplicity also involves letting go.  Here are some simple steps to help you in your pursuit of simplicity:

  • Remain calm when situations get complicated.
  • Let go of low priorities on your "to do" list or delegate them.
  • Avoid arguments and look for common ground when dealing with angry people.
  • Pray.
  • Spend time with nature.
  • Ask for help.
  • Learn to say no to unimportant requests when you know your yes will make your life more complicated.
  • Eat simple foods.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Take care of your most important daily priority first.
Do you have any ideas you would like to share about your pursuit of simplicity?  Comment below.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Becoming Insignificant

He must increase, but I must decrease ~ John 3:30

There is wisdom in surrounding yourself with people more talented than you.  I recall someone telling me that "A's" hire other "A's" while "B's" hire "C's."  A person in charge of hiring who is afraid he may be replaced by the new guy ends up weakening his company and his own value.  The person who hires the best talent available increases value even if he himself becomes insignificant.

This actually happened at my publishing company.  As soon as we launched, I got a call from a competitor interested in joining us.  We were too small to hire her at the time, however, I asked her to keep in touch.  Eventually, we hired her and she quickly became our top sales rep.  Her ability to reach customers outside our established client list earned her a seat at the partner table.  When we needed to trim our payroll, one partner needed to give up his job in order to keep our doors open.  I evaluated the A+ talent all around me and decided I was the one who was least significant.  The only companies who will survive in today's economy are the ones who seek out the best talent.

Want to add value to your company?  Strive to become insignificant, meaning, load your company up with so much top talent that you are no longer the big fish everyone depends on.  You will gain the freedom to pursue your passion and your business will thrive.

I will apply this lesson to all areas of my life, choosing to surround myself with people smarter, more experienced, and better qualified, even if it means they may end up replacing me.  I applied this rule when I found the future Mrs. Mulligan 22+ years ago.  The good news is she promised me she would never trade me in.

How about you?  Do you have an idea you would like to contribute to today's message?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Making the Transition

The first time I dared to look in the mirror and ask God to show me who I am in His eyes was the day I discovered my life would never be the same.  In order to live the dreams God has for me and my family, I must let go of my old life.  God's vision is finally coming into focus.  Although I will remain an investor in the publishing company I co-founded with the best partner team in the country, I already let go of my day-to-day activities and turned over my duties to my partners.  Now it's time to enter the writing and public speaking world full-time.  Pursuing a passion is not easy and there's really never a right time.  This move requires a leap of faith.  That leap takes place on Leap year, February 29th, when my home closes escrow.  My family is ready for a new adventure.  This is what it looks like to be in my boat...

As I look back at the last six months of my life, I see very clearly how God lined up all the details in order for this transition to take place.  I shared the possibility of a relocation with my writers critique group and they unanimously voted to allow me the opportunity to stay connected to the group through cyberspace.  I set up a private blog for members of my critique group and a couple of stories have been successfully edited with this online tool.  I'm thankful they will be able to edit my novel, even if I'm no longer living in the same community.  And I do promise to keep my daily blog writing commitment, no matter how chaotic my life may get in the boat we're sailing in.

It's no coincidence this year's theme is faith.  I really do believe mountains are being moved.  If you or your group is interested in a "caveman talk,"  let's put an event together.  I would love to share my faith journey with you and your group.  If you are participating in a Bible study, you may be interested in my "Caveman Reflections" presentation, an ideal way to connect with your group in a small, intimate setting from the comfort of your home.  Contact me if you are interested.

How about you?  How do you discover God's plans for your life?  Leave a comment below if you would like to share.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dr. John Mulligan Endorses Book

I'm happy to announce my cousin, Dr. John Mulligan, as the first relative to endorse my next book, The Caveman in the Mirror.  While conversing with my cousin, I shared the plot about two crazy people who are the main characters in the novel.  I told my cousin there's only one other relative outside my immediate family publicly following my Caveman Reflections blog; he happens to be John's younger brother, David (You can see David singing with his band in the YouTube video below).  For those of you who read my first book, God's Black Sheep Squadron, you know my dad considered himself the black sheep of the Mulligan family.  After my parents divorced and dad moved away, I felt this void.  A big part of it was missing those weekly Mulligan gatherings with my cool cousins.  John found a way to keep in touch through the dark times my family faced without our dad in the picture.

My cousin told me he has no problem endorsing my work.  As an endorser, John will read the final manuscript before sharing his review on the back cover.  I first became aware of my cousin's gift for healing others when he nursed my damaged knee after a bad fall on Mulligan Mountain in Prescott, Arizona.  We were racing down the mountain while on a grade school break.  John out-paced me by a couple of steps.  I gave it everything I had and tumbled.  The young doctor restored his first patient good as new.  Years later, he tells other family members he wished he could've done something for the brain injury.  Funny, most people think he's serious, especially the ones who know me.

Thank you, cousin, for giving me permission to disclose our blood ties.  I look forward to your review on the back cover.  And tell the rest of the clan it's okay to visit me at the Cyber-bistro.  I will never share any information about my relatives unless permission is granted first.  Thanks for joining me on the planet two months and five days after I was born.  That's a lot of years of swimming, camping, playing tennis, and sharing awesome times together.  And here's another shout out to your kid brother, David, sitting in the front seat with his band buddies.  I thank both of you for supporting my writing efforts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Marine Hit by Drunk Driver Shows Compassion

What would you do if a drunk driver who nearly killed you asked you for forgiveness?  Could you do it?  This is exactly the situation Marine Sergeant David Smith faced when a drunk driver asked him to forgive her at her courtroom sentencing.  There is something inside this brave marine that is really special.  Check out how he responds to the woman's request for forgiveness.

Marine Shows Mercy in Courtroom

Monday, January 23, 2012

Your Last Hour

Photo from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
It's easy to know what someone's priorities are.  Just look at what they're doing right now.  Whatever it is...watching TV, spending time with family, exercising - that's what the priority is.  Suppose you were told this was your last hour.  Would you turn off the TV?  Would your priority change?

Most of us are afraid of that final hour.  We're so busy rushing around to complete our checklists, we overlook what's really important.  Live each hour as if it were your last and you won't be caught by surprise.  Make the hour count.  Every hour.  Say you're sorry.  Phone a friend.  Let go of a grudge.  Make the hour you are living right now your finest and savor it, every precious minute of it.

Would you care to comment?  Share how you would spend your last hour.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Would Jesus Be Your Facebook Friend?

One of my Facebook friends posted how he got "unfriended."  I don't know which hurts more, getting unfriended for your opinions and beliefs, or getting rejected when you ask someone to be your friend and you get the cold cyber-shoulder.

There's this subconscious thing we all do when someone sends us a FB friend request.  We check to see how many friends they have and who they are before answering the friend request.  Maybe this is why Google+ reached a milestone of 90 million users in a matter of months and is forecast to have 400 million subscribers by the end of this year.  Google + allows you to keep your friends private.  We can share personal information in "circles" rather than blasting it all over cyber-space.

So the big question is, would Jesus be your friend on Facebook?

His first friends thought Jesus was only for the chosen ones and would surely want to unfriend Jesus if you or I showed up on His friends list.  That's how different Jesus is - He invites everybody, even people His friends find unworthy.  When Jesus first showed up, everyone wanted to be His friend.  Then they noticed He used no discretion whatsoever with the "add friend" button.  By the time Jesus was put on trial, His entire circle of followers "unfriended" Him.  They didn't understand just how much Jesus wants every one of us on His friends list, no matter what we've done or who is in our circle of friends.

If Jesus sent a friend request to you right now, would you accept?  Or would you rather put Him in your Google + circle so you can keep your relationship private?   After all, the world wants to unfriend Him in our schools and other public places.  Adding Jesus to your friends list is risky.  Just remember, when you are down and out, the world may "unfriend" you, however,  there is one friend you can always count on.  I'm willing to risk being unfriended by others because Jesus is my friend.  How about you?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What's the Meaning of John 3:16?

Why is it all those sign flappers sitting behind the end zone at football games are always flashing their John 3:16 signs?  Quarterback Tim Tebow sports the quote just below his eyes for the world to see while TV networks reject commercials featuring references to it.  Can someone please help me understand what this is all about?

For those who are looking for answers easier to understand than some of Tebow's offensive play schemes, here's a video that may help.  Check it out...


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Friday, January 20, 2012

How to Downsize and Be Happy

Got too much stuff?  It may be getting in the way of your happiness.  If you feel you've got too much clutter in your life, try this:
  • Disconnect your TV once a week.
  • Donate any clothes you haven't worn in a year.
  • Cancel your newspaper subscription.
  • Disconnect your home phone.
  • Shut off your cell phone the first two hours you come home from work.
  • Shut off your social media when a live body is in front of you and keep it off.
  • Don't bring any junk food into your home.
  • If you have young children and they are in a bad mood, tell them, "wave good-bye to the grumpies."  Don't let them stop waving until they're all gone.  My kids still remember this exercise.  The grumpies go away really fast when you do this in public.
  • Make a list of all the things that annoy you.  Read the list one time and then shred it.  It's time you got over being annoyed.
  • Find three things in your home somebody you know can benefit from more than you and downsize.
Anything you want to add to the list?  Leave your comment below.  And be happy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Out on a Limb

There you are, out on a limb.  You're praying your boss won't follow you up the tree and saw off that branch barely supporting you.  Kind of scary, isn't it?  And if it's not your boss you're afraid of, maybe it's one of your creditors wanting to collect on a past due bill.  That house of yours was once a security blanket.  Now the mortgage debt adds so much weight to that limb you're on it appears you could fall at any moment.

The question you ask is "what's the next step?"

You wouldn't be asking this question unless you were outside your comfort zone.  Set your creativity free and go to work on a solution.  Don't be afraid to fall.  Do you trust that the Creator of the universe is watching over you?  This is a good time to work on your prayer life.  Most people only talk to talk when they're out on a limb.  He's waiting for you to have a little faith.  Go ahead.  Talk to him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Human Side of Jesus

Make sure you block out 1hr 38 minutes of your time before you watch this video.  I must warn you, once you start, you won't be able to stop.  When you are done, you will know the human side of Jesus that history has failed to portray.  Enjoy...


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to be a Winner at Sentences

Photo by Mike Mulligan, handcrafted pieces by T. Mazzola.
Sentences are pawns on a chess board.  In the opening, they may advance one square or two.  They are capable of destroying an enemy of greater ability- even take down an entire kingdom.  In the end-game, pawns themselves can magically transform into unstoppable royalty.  An experienced player understands the function of a pawn and how to put him in the right place at the right time, even when the choices are infinite.

I may be new to the sentence chess game, however I've been tinkering with chess since my early grade school days.  Many of my opponents were much older than I, however, my knack for seeing patterns enables me to trap the enemy king and force him to submit.

The most challenging of opponents was my dad.  He was a master with words, studying them fervently in college and earning a degree in journalism.  He made his pawns dance on the pages he penned.  His readers heard dad's music and wished to join him on the dance floor.  But his chess pieces were incapable of singing or dancing when my pawns advanced on them.  Chess was a foreign language for my dad.  It was a language he wanted to learn  so he could dethrone my precious king.  He did what any eager student of the game would do- he secretly purchased How to be a Winner at Chess.  He learned cadences.  He grasped time and space.  And he challenged me with his new knowledge.  My dad's moves became more complicated, forcing me to adapt.  The result didn't change.  Each time, I found a way to corner his king.

The last time we played chess together, he threw his hands up in anger and stormed off to his bedroom.  When he returned, he thrust his worthless book at me in a diagonal direction similar to his powerless bishops.  He said, "maybe you can have better luck with this."

Dad's chess book inspired my bishops and knights to team up in creative, new ways. My castles joined to make walls too strong for any army.  And my pawns, my insignificant pawns, they became the foundation for my future.

Last night at my writers group meeting, Kim offered me a new chess book, written by Professor Brooks Landon, Phd, from the University of Iowa.  I will use it to be a winner at sentences.  I will learn to make my pawns sing and dance just as my dad did.  I will become a master of sentences.  It's my passion.  It was my dad's passion.  And if I position my pawns in the right space at the right time, maybe my readers will hear them singing in a way that inspires them to join the dance floor.

What's your passion?  Do your pawns live up to their potential?  Email me if you would like to know more about the gifts Kim donated to our writer's group last night.  Or fill out a comment below and I will respond.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Way He Moves

I wish I could find words to describe the way God moves.  His ways are beyond human comprehension.  The nonbeliever looks around and sees chaos.  He observes all the world's problems but cannot see any Divine solutions.

Maybe this is the reason God gave us children.  We experience sadness when they are away from us and sorrow when they disobey.  We dance for joy when they return after a long absence.  If we can feel such deep emotions even when we love our children imperfectly, imagine how God feels when He loves us perfectly.  Would you deliberately send your son or daughter away to be killed for the sake of someone you don't even know?  That's how much God loves you.

Do you want to see a miracle today?  Ask God to move your heart.  Maybe you need help forgiving someone who hurt you or loving somebody you can't stand to be around.  Even though we may not understand how God moves, we can feel our own hearts move when we ask God for help.  Give it a try.  Don't worry if you can't figure out how God moves, just enjoy the peace He gives you when He moves your heart.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Answers to a Teenage Prayer

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5

Funny how much better your vision is when you look behind you.  Reflecting back on my teenage prayer for God to give me wisdom, I clearly see how He answered it.  I was so blind I could not see His presence in my life and each day I prayed more fervently for enough wisdom to figure out how to handle life's challenges.  I thought God was saying no, however, He was saying, "Okay, my son, here you go.  Deal with the problem I'm sending you today and you will receive everything you're asking for."

Wisdom can't be acquired without experiencing challenges.  Each prayer request for wisdom led to ever increasing challenges in all areas of my life.

I've heard other people say, "be careful what you ask for because you just might get it."

I'm thankful for the wisdom God blessed me with.  Sometimes it came disguised as a caring friend who offered good advice at just the right moment.  Other times, it was a collision with a set of circumstances I thought would cripple me.  Each time it was exactly what I prayed for....wisdom.

This precious gift I asked for more than thirty years ago really isn't for my personal benefit.  No, it's meant for you.  I'm here to offer you something you cannot see or touch.  Wisdom tells me your life will never be the same if you accept the gift.  It's the one thing separating the believer from the non-believer.  Should you choose to open the gift, I suggest you hold on to it all the days of your life.

Are you ready?  Your gift is standing in front of you right now.  His name is Jesus.  Believe in Him and invite Him to live in your heart.  That's it.  You've just received the gift of faith.  If you truly believe Jesus is real, everything you ask for will be given to you, including wisdom.  Congratulations.  You are now part of God's family.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Unguru Says: Blog it and They Will Come

I laugh when others refer to me as a guru in the blogosphere.  The reality is I'm more of an "Unguru," just like 7-Up was the uncola when it was first introduced.  Remember the commercial?...

This original blog is approaching it's 1,000th day in cyberspace and now has two younger siblings, "Free Lemonade Stories," and "Caveman Reflections."  Thanks to my foray into the world of bloggage, the lessons I learned from penning daily stories enabled me to gain the confidence to launch my first book without needing a traditional publisher.  I laugh because I did all this without any formal training or much technical expertise and my total book publishing expenses were under $99!  As of this date, I have spent a total of ZERO DOLLARS on my three blogs and website.  That's ZERO start-up costs and Zero monthly expenses.  I did hire Alex and Cynthia to freelance for me on the book cover and I plan to bring in some experts for my second book, however, I promised my wife I wouldn't give the gurus money to learn how to blog.  I guess you can call me the unguru of blogs - definitely much nuttier than the other guys.

If any of you reading this blog are thinking about blogging or perhaps writing your own book, I would like to offer my two cents... blog it and they will come.  Your readers may not find you the day you hit the launch button and they may not stay long in the early days.  Do not give up.  Everyone on this planet has a story to tell, a life lesson to pass along.  If you are contemplating getting in the pool with the writers of this world, dive in.  The temperature in the water has never been so inviting.

I may not be a blog guru, however, if you take the time to become a follower and want some pointers, I will be happy to offer you a free e-guide with five easy to follow tips to help you get started.  This free e-guide, "Blog it and They Will Come Starter Kit" is only available to my blog followers.  Once you become a public follower, email me and ask for the free ebook.  Just give me your email address and put "Free Blog Starter Kit, Please" in the subject line and you're on your way.  If you have a friend who is interested in blogging and you want me to send them a free blog starter kit, just share this story with them and before you know it, your friend will be blogging away, the unguru way!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Blog Follower Contest to Celebrate International Readers

Want to win a free collector copy of my next book?  Go to my new blog, Caveman Reflections and become a follower today.  Every month you will get a chance to win.  I also want to recognize blog readers from countries far off.  Just send me an email and tell me the name of your hometown and country after you sign up to be a blog follower.  On Saturday, March 31, I will announce the winner who is the furthest away from Ramona, California.  I will write a story about you and feature your life on this blog. If you prefer to remain anonymous, I will keep your name private and will only publish your hometown.  When my next book is released on 3/17/13, you will get an autographed copy in your own native language.  I will use Google Translate to sign your book.  Free international shipping will be included.

You don't have to live in another country to win a free autographed collector copy.  Anyone who becomes a follower can win.  There is a limit of one prize per blog reader.  Are you feeling lucky?  Follow my new blog, Caveman Reflections, today and get a chance to win a book every month in 2012.  Don't forget to follow this blog, too.  In the future, I will be giving away more prizes to followers of Socalmulligan808.blogspot.com. 

Good luck!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

She Still Loves Me

It was a sad day on Butler Drive.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  My cousins and I were in our front yard playing "Red Rover."  It was the last time I recall being taller than the rest of the clan.  Most of them tipped the 6 foot mark well before high school graduation.  I was still in grade school at the time of the "incident."

On that fateful day, my younger cousin (I will call him Richard to protect his true identity) and I called Red Rover, Red Rover, send Amy right over....(Amy's not her real name either).  She went on the witness protection list after we turned the evidence of our pathetic crime over to her parents.  Some say she lives on the east coast, far away from the troublemakers.

It seemed innocent enough - call over the bravest cousin on the other side and just let go as she daringly challenged our line at a full-speed attack.  That was until she flew right by us and crashed into our VW van parked in the driveway.  It was a bloody scene.

I still remember picking up a fragment of Amy's front tooth and dropping it off with her entourage of helpers who were busy cleaning her up.  Amy's tooth was eventually restored to it's natural state. She now flashes her tooth-paste commercial smile everywhere she goes, brightening up the lives of others.  And she still loves me.  She forgave my cousin Richard, too.  Good thing her mother taught her to love her enemies, even the ones Amy is related to.  I'm really glad she still loves me.  God bless her.  Blood is thicker than water, especially amongst cousins.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Courageous Resolution for Men

Two months ago, I was invited to speak at a Men's Retreat.  Our new deacon, Pat Byrne, a retired federal fighter who now fights full-time for God, encouraged our retreat group to see the movie Courageous.  If you missed it in the theater, click here to get the DVD for your family.

We were so impressed with the resolutions these men made in the movie we decided to put a resolution together for all the men in our retreat group.  Deacon Pat contacted the movie people to get permission and was told there are no copyrights.   These resolutions are meant to be shared with all the husbands and fathers of the world.  I plan to frame the one I signed in November.

Here's a copy for anyone who wants to add some resolutions to their lives that may impact families for generations...


I _______________________________;

WILL resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and
my children.

WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God
as the spiritual leader of my home.

WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay
down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all their hearts,
all their minds, and all of their strength.

WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.

WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and

WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.

WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have

WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as
a man answerable to God.

WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do
His will.

WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this
resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.  "As for me and my house,
we will serve the Lord." ~ Joshua 24:15

___________________________                           ______________________
Signature                                                                 Date

___________________________                           ______________________
Witness                                                                    Date        

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Gift of Today

The YouTube video below comes from one of my childhood friends.  Thanks, Chris, for sharing this.  I encourage you to savor it, then pass it along.  Enjoy your gift of today...

Monday, January 9, 2012

From the Sandbox

It was 9:10 AM on Sunday morning when my wife walked into our bedroom and stared at me with a puzzled look.  I had been writing nonstop for just over four hours and completely lost track of time.  It was New Year's morning and we were supposed to go to our church service in twenty minutes.  I was so engrossed in my writing that I forgot what day it was.  Once I snapped out of my trance and got up, I managed to be in the car four minutes later.  Thankfully, my wife offered me a banana for breakfast as we headed to church.

My daily writing commitment is for a minimum of one hour per session but sometimes it can go for up to six hours.  Part of my time is set aside to pen a love letter to my wife, a ritual that's been going on for over seven years.  Combined, our tally is now over 5,000 love messages.

For me, writing is just like playing in a sandbox.  My wife checks on me to make sure I remember to eat and drink.  When a creative surge hits me, I want to grab onto it and find words to describe the thoughts that fall like raindrops from the sky.  The more I write, the more frequent these creative bursts strike me.

Thanks for visiting my sandbox today.  My sand castle is taking shape and will be fully constructed in time for the March 17, 2013 release date.  For those of you who would like me to share my sandbox experiences in person, be sure to check out Caveman Reflections.  This new blog is designed for followers who want to connect in a small group setting.  It's a chance to get a sneak preview of this writer before The Caveman in the Mirror is published.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Seeking Authenticity

I often wonder why the non-believer is turned off to religion.  Their attitudes about faith may be tainted by past encounters with casual believers who don't take their faith seriously.  It's like going on a date with someone who is just not into you.  To top it off, the steak you ordered for dinner is overcooked.  You will go out of your way to avoid another negative experience like a bad date or a restaurant that serves sub-par meals.

My hope for The Caveman in the Mirror is to create an authentic story that even an atheist will enjoy reading.  I want to take the bad taste out of the non-believer's mouth and offer something palatable for the most discerning of readers.

Authenticity requires hard work.  If my book is going to be served like a gourmet meal, every last detail must be attended to.  The atmosphere must tantalize all five senses; the opening chapters are to be succulent appetizers that entice the reader to read on.  When the reader leaves my restaurant, I want him or her to say, "I've got to tell my friends about my experience.  This book is so authentic."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Little Bit Every Day

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~ Lau Tsu

If you read yesterday's post about savoring the sunsets, did you decide to change the screensaver on your computer?  A small change like this may seem insignificant, however, it's that little bit every day that adds up to milestones in your life.  There are over 200 million blogs in cyberspace.  Many are abandoned after the first day, like most new year's resolutions.  In about four and a half months I will be celebrating 1,000 consecutive days of blog writing.  How did I get to this point?  By writing a little bit every day.

I challenge you to change one small thing in your life, like the screensaver on your computer.  If you don't know how, learn how.  I ask one of my teenagers to help me when I have trouble doing something new on my computer or watch YouTube tutorials if they're not around.  Here is a video demonstrating how to change the wallpaper on your computer for those of you who want to change it...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Savoring the Sunsets

Welcome to day 6 of the New Year.  The regulars at the gym are wondering if you're coming back.  Those little voices in your head are tempting you to abandon all those goals you made when this year started.  Your body is mad at you for skipping out on those empty calories you indulged in last year.  It's crunch time.  What can you do today to keep your resolutions?

Here's an idea that may help you turn this year into a break-out year:  change the screen saver on your computer.  The sunset you see above was shot on the first day of the new year in La Jolla.  I decided to redecorate my laptop with new wallpaper and this image now appears every time it's opened up.  It reminds me to savor the sunsets.  The bird flying in the left side of the photo symbolizes the Holy Spirit.  Every time I look at the bird, it reminds me of the promise I made myself to keep the faith.  My nephew is in the lower right side of the picture, staring at the sun.  He is my reminder to stay close to my family and friends, to keep my eyes on Jesus, the Son of God.

This picture will be my constant reminder to savor every sunset in the New Year and to keep my resolutions about faith, family and friends.  Small changes in your life, like changing your screen saver, can lead to bigger changes.  Feel free to use this picture if you are looking for a way to savor your sunsets.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pass the Mustard Seed, Please

The best gifts in life are the ones that get used.  My all-time favorite is my Webber BBQ grill my dad gave me before he passed away.  For most of my twenty-two years of marriage, I avoided the kitchen like it was some kind of sick ward at a hospital.  All of that changed recently when I handed over my work duties to my business partners due to a slow-down in our business.  In order to keep our business alive in these challenging times, I'm the one who volunteered to move off the company payroll.  I'm fortunate to have the best business partners in the industry and my company is in good hands.  Now, it's time to use my hands to create new recipes.

While I search for the next step God has already prepared for me in this new year, I'm finding my way around the kitchen and learning how to cook.  There is one ingredient in the pantry I plan to sprinkle on every meal I serve my family - the mustard seed.  It's barely visible, even when I look at it using my new reading glasses.

Jesus teaches that if your faith can be the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.  A mustard seed may be the tiniest of seeds, however, it's capable of growing into something so large it attracts onlookers from far off.

The New Year's baby has barely opened his eyes and I already see what a blessing he is in my life.  At last, I have everything I need to do some great cooking, indoors and outdoors.  Yes, faith will be my go-to condiment and I will keep it stocked up.  There's a new cook in the Mulligan household...and if you listen closely, you can hear him saying, "pass the mustard seed, please."

Stay tuned for more updates.  And if you're one of those people like me who is facing change, here's a video to offer you some encouragement...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Caveman Reflections

The Caveman in the Mirror may not be released for another 437 days, however, if you go to Caveman Reflections and become a follower today, you will get twelve chances to win a free collector copy with free domestic shipping.  This is my way of saying thank you to my blog readers.  You can also reserve an autographed collector copy by clicking on the Advance Copy Request button at the top of the blog.

For anyone in San Diego County looking for a Christian writer who speaks, there is a special "Reflections Talk" link on the blog for speaking requests during the first quarter of the new year.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chara is in the House

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. ~ Psalm 16:11

Chara (Χαρα) is the Greek word for joy or happiness.  It is also the root word for charis.  In English, charis means grace or kindness.  When the Greek prefix eu is added, you get eucharist which means thanksgiving.  And when you put all three words together - joy, grace and thanksgiving, you find yourself connected to Jesus at the Lord's Supper.  Here's what Jesus said as He celebrated the Last Supper with His followers...

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." ~ 1 Corinthians 11:23-24

One could argue that I found Chara by accident.  I'm in the middle of my research for my second book.  In order to develop the plot, I need to bring in characters who fit the time period the book is set in.  I wanted my characters to have names with significant meaning.  Chalk this newest character, Chara, up to "Godincidence."  Chara is officially in the house.  She brings joy and grace to her family and plays an important role in the main character development.

I don't want to give too much away of the story.  Let's just say I'm really joyful how everything is coming together.  The foundation for the book is the Bible, although my own research into my family genealogy and historical findings will help make important inferences to fill in gaps. I will also rely on my Christian editors to guide me.  May you have a "chara-filled" day today.

Below is a morphed photo which resembles Chara's Greek facial attributes...

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Shot of Faith

 “For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, "they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

The bartender noticed him as soon as the man walked in through the door.  He recognized the droopy shoulders and the head tipped downwards, telltale signs the stranger needed something special.

"What'll it be?" the bartender asked.

"Anything.  Just make give me a shot."

The bartender placed a shot glass in front of the distraught customer and pulled out what appeared to be an empty bottle with no label on it.

"This one's on the house," the bartender said as he tipped the bottle.

"Is this some kind of joke?"

"It's my specialty.  Drink up."

The shot was tasteless and odorless.  Invisible.  The customer was looking around for the hidden cameras, suspecting he was part of some silly prank.  Playing along, he asked for another shot.

"What am I drinking?"

"It's a shot of faith."


"Yes, faith.  It's a drink they don't teach you about in bartending school.  I discovered it a low point in my life.  Ever since I found it, my life has completely turned around."

As the customer listened to the bartender speak, he felt some kind of tingling sensation flowing through his body.  His head no longer felt so heavy and his posture straightened.

The bartender looked deeply into the man's eyes and asked, "is everything okay?"

Tears welled up inside the man's eyes and he replied, "you gave me what I needed.  You see, I was just laid off from my job and things at home aren't going very well.  I was trying to work up the courage to end my life so my wife and kids could cash in on my life insurance policy.  I came in here to get a couple of drinks so I could finish the job."

Suddenly,  Beethoven's Ode to Joy was blaring from the man's pocket.  The man broke down as he pulled out his cell phone and answered the call from his wife.

"Hi love, like the music?  I reprogrammed your ringtone while you were in the shower this morning to brighten your day, honey.  How is everything?"  his wife asked.

"It's the first time my phone rang all day.  I'll be home soon.  Got some tough news today and we have lots to talk about.  Love you."

"What do I owe you?" the man asked, pulling out his wallet.

"I work for tips," the bartender replied.  "And the best tip you can give me is to tell your friends about this place.  My name is Michael."

"Nice to meet you, Michael.  I'll be bringing my wife in next time.  Her name is Chara.  It's the Greek word for Joy.  Every day she does something to remind me of her.  I know she's gonna love it.  Wow, that faith stuff you gave me is making me feel a whole lot better.  I think I just found my new favorite drink."

The man left a twenty dollar bill on the counter and said good-bye to his new friend.

"Come back soon," the bartender said.

"It's a promise," the customer said as he put his cell phone away and headed for the door while humming the music from his new ringtone...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year ~ 2012

There it is.  An empty canvas...waiting for you begin filling it up with new visions and dreams.  You earned the right to paint a new picture by virtue of all your past experiences.  The dark colors, along with the bright ones are what make your own masterpiece so special and unique.

Will the picture you paint this year be a repeat of what you did last year?  Or will it be about new adventures and experiences?  Avoid the trap of making resolutions you know have no real future and instead look at the blank canvas in front of you and "see" the opportunity.  Resolve to bring that picture to life every day of this new year.  You are the only person capable of turning your dreams into reality.

My top resolution for the New Year is to finish building my sand castle, The Caveman in the Mirror.  There are no distractions at 5:00 AM and I plan to play in my sandbox at least one hour per day until my manuscript is complete.  Each day, my accountability partners check in on my blog to make sure my 8:08 morning post is published.  They are like the Maytag repair man sitting around waiting for the service call.  Make sure your dreams are so durable that a service call isn't necessary.  The only broken dream is one that gets tossed in the dirty laundry and doesn't make it through the full wash cycle.

Surround yourself with Maytag accountability partners and promise them your commitment to painting your own dreams will be steady and reliable.  Then, get busy on your life's work.  In the blink of an eye, this year will be over.  Happy New Year.