Sunday, May 31, 2015
Call it serendipity. Bedrock is going brick and mortar today. Friends have been asking where they can buy a paperback copy of my new release, "The Caveman in the Mirror." There's no need to check Bedrock's I.D. Since Bedrock is 2,000 years old, he qualifies as antique status.
"Stop in tomorrow and drop off some copies," Chris urged. Chris Garringer and her daughter, Ashley Dietrich, are the owners of one of the coolest places to shop in Williamsburg. I'm super excited to offer copies at Junked Up Primitives and Antiques, located at 519 Court St on the east side of the town square. If you're in the area, stop in and check out this amazing place. Here's a link. Thank you, Chris and Ashley. Bedrock is happy to have a new home.
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Downgrade or upgrade? It's your destiny. You decide. One will get you mediocrity. The other will open the door to your destiny. I never choose to fix my gaze upon the world as it is. Instead, I choose to see things as they can become with grit and perseverance.
The definition of conviction is a firmly held belief. And I believe that with Jesus all things are possible. The evidence I have to support this claim is my own life. The outside help from the Holy Spirit was like getting new operating software for my soul. It works. The upgrade is free to anyone who asks. Your destiny is worth it. I recommend it. It's the best method I know to answer the question of the day, "What's in Your Destiny?" Try it. Go for the upgrade. Have a great day and a great life.
Friday, May 29, 2015
|Philip Rivera and his son with the caveman at the first book signing.|
Give yourself a pat on the back. Stacey, you ordered five books in support of the fundraiser. Paula, you ordered four books for your family. Jonathon, you read the Kindle version of "The Caveman in the Mirror" and then ordered a paperback copy to double your donation to the children. Many more of you took time out of your busy schedules to get your autographed copy at the Williamsburg Library last Wednesday night. Some of you sent me text messages asking for signed copies. And fourteen of you picked up copies at my day job. Congratulations. The results are in. I'm on my way to drop off a check for $500 for Children's Miracle Network. An anonymous donor is matching that check. Thank you. I'm humbled by your generosity.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Two minutes prior to standing up in front of the crowd at the library last night I asked our oldest son to share the present he gave me for my 50th birthday. My wife was the only person who was aware of the plot ahead of time and she was sworn to secrecy. I knew our son was capable but I didn't want him to lose any sleep over his public speaking appearance. When it was all over, he said, "it's a good thing you didn't warn me in advance, I might have skipped out."
Fear of public speaking ranks right up there with fear of dying. How about the fear of rejection? Does that hold you back? I addressed all of these fears last night in front of an age group from six months to ninety-three. There were no notes to hide behind. My speaking mentor, James Miller, once taught me, "if you give a person a crutch, he'll use it." The best part of the evening was reaching three new aspiring writers. I believe they got the message. Final score, Caveman 1, Fear 0. It was a good night. The poem below demonstrates the best way to overcome your fears. Place it where you can read it every morning when you wake up. It works.
"Our Greatest Fear"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Author: Marianne Williamson
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
It's after hours at the local library tonight. I'm sharing a behind-the-scenes author talk with friends and family. It's an opportunity to reveal what it's like to be a writer. This is the fun part of the journey – connecting with the audience. Mother Nature is granting a one day reprieve from a full week of storms and a beautiful day is unfolding. I'm ready. The show must go on. Stop by if you're in the Williamsburg area from 7 to 8pm. Have a great day.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
You are the reason writers write. Without you the story would have no meaning. It's all about the connection. I believe my most embarrassing stories are the ones that provide the greatest opportunities to deepen our relationship. Tomorrow night I'm sharing my thoughts about the writing experience at the Williamsburg Public Library from 7 to 8pm. Whether the audience is one or one hundred, there will be one thing on my mind – gratitude. Yes, I'm thankful for each and every reader who takes the time to connect. You put a smile on my face. And for those far off, please know I will be thinking of you, too. I'm with you in spirit. You matter to me. Your children and your children's children matter. Thank you for reaching out, even if that connection may be long distance. Have a great day.
Monday, May 25, 2015
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
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
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
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
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
|Need a bookmark? Ask and you shall receive.|
"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
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.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Three years ago I left California to embark on a new adventure in a new land. I never once felt alone because I carried your prayers and your words of encouragement with me. Please know your support makes a world of difference in my life.
One of my friends recently told me, "I'm having trouble finding your blog."
"That was intentional," I responded. "I really didn't want anyone to find it." Blogging for me was a way to answer God's call to publish all the good He does in my life but it was only halfhearted. It's like writing a letter to a loved one but not mailing it. What good is that? The truth is I was afraid of being vulnerable. The best way to overcome any obstacle is to do what you fear and keep doing it until you become comfortable being yourself in front of others. You helped me get to where I am today. Thank you. Have a great day.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
I have a feeling writers aren't the only ones who have conflict issues about tomorrow. Are you with me on this one? Today is the day that Jesus left his followers and disappeared in the clouds. They felt lost and alone. Jesus promised them a gift – the Holy Spirit who would help them overcome their anxiety about the future. This gift is free to anyone who asks. This is my secret weapon for dealing with what's ahead, real or imagined.
Yesterday turned out to be a "ten" for me and for my wife. It didn't start that way. My daughter was graduating from college and I found myself in the middle of a giant traffic jam at the University of Iowa. Thousands of cars were backed up waiting for pedestrians to cross the streets and I wondered, how am I going to find a place to park? Will we be there on time to see our daughter walk? Will we be able to find her when it's over if she's not carrying her cell phone? Will our son find us on time?
My wife picked up on my nervousness. "Calm down," she said. "Everything's going to be fine. We're sitting in section M." I took my seat and scanned the empty seats below to find how the sections were marked. We weren't even close to her section. The clock was ticking. My wife poked me and said, "turn around." There they were. The graduates. I saw spotted our daughter with her white tassel on her cap and watched her descend the stairs to her seat in the first row. She was sitting in the front row!
Storm clouds passed over us during the ceremony. I couldn't resist thinking about how we were going to get drenched on our way back to our car somewhere in the back forty. My daughter looked at me with a big smile on her face. "These clouds make the lighting perfect for photos," she said. I pulled out my cell phone and captured some great shots. We walked back to our car and got in just as the Heavens opened up. I said to myself, God's got this. No more worrying. The exclamation point came from my wife this morning when she shared this quote from the Bible...
Do not be anxious about tomorrow, tomorrow will look after itself. ~ Matthew 6:34
Saturday, May 16, 2015
You've done it. You crossed the finish line. This chapter of your life is over. Congratulations. Celebrate. You earned the right to join the ranks of high achievers all over the world who crossed the finish line. The world is waiting for you to make a difference. I would like to acknowledge family and extended family members from the class of '15, including our daughter, Nicole – the first in our family to graduate from the University of Iowa, our son, Shane, who graduated last month from boot camp and infantry training, our niece, Amy, who graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University, and our high school graduates – Adam, the future tennis pro, Micaela, a finalist in a national cheer competition, and Nico, my godson who will be attending the University of Arizona next year.
I challenge you and the rest of your class to commit yourselves to a lifetime of learning. This chapter is done but it's only a chapter. There are blank pages ahead of you. The choices you make and the opportunities you pursue will affect future generations. This is your time. Seize the day. And if you ever fall down, remember one thing. You have a dad, uncle or godfather who knows how it feels when the best laid plans fall apart. This is where you get a chance to show the world what you're made of. This is where you will learn your most important lessons about character, perseverance and faith. No matter how tough those future chapters may be for you to compose, don't ever give up. Stay in the race. Live your dreams. I'm cheering for you. Congratulations. God bless you.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Optimism. Faith. Hope. Confidence. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. And I love my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sometimes it takes a blind person with 20/20 vision to show you the way. Helen Keller knows what the ingredients are. Be hopeful today. Hold your head high and be confident. You can live your dreams. Consider this post your dose of optimism. Have a great day.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Somebody pinch me. Is this another crazy dream? I walked in to my local Casey's General Store yesterday morning on my way to my day job and my little baby caveman was staring at me from the front page of the Journal Tribune. When Brian, the editor who interviewed me, called to tell me he was publishing the story, he told me it was down-sized to make room for the accident on the I-80 just a few miles from my home. I expected to find the caveman buried deep within the pages of the paper. There he was. Bedrock. The caveman with ice blue eyes, gazing back at me. No. I wasn't dreaming. I snapped a quick photo and put it up on my FaceBook page to share with my friends and family.
Yes, dreams do come true. All it takes is a commitment to do the work daily. There is no substitute. My secret weapon is the Holy Spirit. Like the caveman who haunts me from the other side of the mirror, the Holy Spirit is with me everywhere I go. When I needed help, chapters seemed to fall out of the sky like manna from Heaven. You will have to read the book for the rest of the story. I hope to see you at a book signing. The first one is planned for Wed, May 27, from 7 to 8pm at the Williamsburg Library. Have a great day.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
When I said good-bye to my mother three years ago I told her, "it's going to be a while before I see you again." I really didn't think a while was going to be three years. That's how much time I needed to get my life together. The best lesson I learned in my new hometown is to love what you do. These last three years I've been writing daily and finally everything is coming together.
I can't describe how excited I am to see friends and family again. There is much to share with you. Stay tuned. And don't forget to leave a comment about your answer to the question, do you love what you do?
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The editor of the local newspaper called yesterday. He's doing a story about my book and it will be out tomorrow. I invited Brian to my first author talk and book signing at the Williamsburg Public Library on Wednesday, May 27, from 7 to 8pm and he told me he would try to make it. If you see him, be sure to congratulate him on making it big time with his photo that made national news last week. Brian was on the scene of the accident involving a semi and a bus that caused the I-80 to be shut down last Friday afternoon. His photo appeared in USA Today. By the way, the accident happened on the same interstate near the same mile marker featured in my caveman story. Cue the Twilight Zone music. And keep it playing while you read what Brian has to say about my book. Let's just say there's an Alfred Hitchcock connection, according to Brian.
I set up an event on my author blog to help me get a head count for the Williamsburg book signing. If you would like to stop by, click here and let me know you are coming. As soon as the details are worked out, I'll be posting an invitation for a book signing in California in August.
Have a great day.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Words on a page are powerful. They inspire change. For a long time I was afraid to write those words. They reveal what's inside a writer's mind and soul. That's really what readers want – to go beyond the words and read between the lines. Readers want a connection. It took me a while to discover this. It's like dating. Relationships don't happen over night. They take time to develop.
A book without an autograph is missing something. There's no bond between the author and the reader. An author talk fulfills the need to connect on a deeper level. In the dating process, it's that moment when the reader says, "I want my friends and family to meet you."
My hope is that this blog and my books help you get to know me. I'm planning a series of author talks for those of you who want more out of our relationship. The first author talk is on Wednesday, May 27th at the Williamsburg Public Library from 7pm to 8pm. Bring a friend. I'll have copies of my novel available and I'll answer your questions. Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Today is dedicated to all the mothers in the world including my mom, a kind, loving and generous woman who raised six children. I can't be with her today. The celebration is on hold until August when I see her in person for the first time in three years. I would like to share three lessons my mother taught me.
- Forgive others. There are no exceptions. It doesn't matter how deep the wounds. It's impossible to call yourself a Christian if you don't forgive. Mom didn't teach me this lesson with words – she used actions.
- Hope never ages. I will never forget talking with mom on my 50th birthday. It was one of those memorable heart-to-heart moments that inspired me to get back on the field of life after a series of fumbles and lost opportunities. Mom shared personal stories about the obstacles she faced when she was fifty. Mom understood my trials. "Been there done that," she recounted. "Just don't ever give up hope. You can do this," she assured me. That's what special about moms. They have great timing. They always know what to say when the chips are down.
- Pray continuously. Mom is a prayer warrior. She sees the good in everyone around her. Her secret is simple. She prays to see Jesus in others, especially the people she doesn't necessarily like. It makes even the most challenging relationships become tolerable.
Saturday, May 9, 2015
The public library in my hometown is rolling out the red carpet for my first Iowa author talk and book signing. The event will be held from 7 to 8 pm on Wednesday, May 27. They are staying open after regular hours to accommodate my friends and family members.
If you would like me to autograph your book or you would like to get some pointers for writing your own book, please stop by the library for a visit. I'm excited to chat with you. Thanks for your support.
Friday, May 8, 2015
For those of you looking for the guest post from Stacey Rudge, she will be here soon. She asked me to share Teco's story, a rescue dog who is searching for a forever family. Click here to read about Teco on Stacey's blog, Rescue Dog With a Blog.
Please share this story with your dog-loving friends and help Teco find a loving home. Thank you, Stacey, for sponsoring my Miracle in May fundraiser. I look forward to reading your guest post. Have a great day.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Do you ever feel like you're playing tug-of-war and you don't know how much longer you can hold on to the rope? I'm noticing some blood on my hands from the super tight grip but I refuse to let go and cave in. My debt monster is on the other side of the rope. He is quite the adversary. I know what I have to do to win this game. The quote above inspires to keep pulling. Have a great day.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
There are two reasons people ask questions – to find answers or to challenge. Here are my three questions for believers. You don't need to reveal your answers unless you want to. Here goes:
- What is the most important commandment Jesus gave his followers?
- What is the second most important commandment Jesus gave his followers?
- How are you doing with your answers to question #1 and question #2?
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Please welcome Stacey Mae Rudge, a writer and blogger, to the Cyber-bistro. Stacey is our first official sponsor of the Caveman Miracle Network. I met Stacey when I joined the Ramona Christian Writers Critique Group in Southern California.
Stacey's latest pet project is a rescue blog for dogs. Her site, Rescue Dog With a Blog, will be featuring stories about pets who found their forever families. I'm asking Stacey to appear at the Cyber-bistro on Friday, May 8, to share more about her blog. Please come back on Friday to support our sponsor and check out how she is giving back to the community. You can follow Stacey
The Caveman Reflections Cyber-bistro is a gathering place for readers and writers. During the month of May, all proceeds from book and kindle versions of "The Caveman in the Mirror" are being donated to the Children's Miracle Network. Click here to enter the Cyber-bistro. Remember to come back on Friday to meet Stacey and learn more about her dog rescue blog. Have a great day.
Monday, May 4, 2015
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right. It's all in your head. Ask yourself, "why do others think this situation is impossible?" Or, "why do others believe they're unable?" Then ask yourself, "what do I need to today to solve this challenge?"
Change your mindset and change your world. Have a great day.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ~ Matthew 25:40
This month is dedicated to helping sick kids at the local children's hospital. I've asked my friends and family to please spread the word and I'm donating all proceeds my from latest release, "The Caveman in the Mirror," to the Children's Miracle Network.
Thank you, Stacey, for ordering five books to give to your friends. And thank you, cousin Jo, for answering the call to help spread the word. I'm thankful for the forty-one people who clicked the like button on my FB author page. Unfortunately, FB doesn't like sharing my stories, even among my FB friends, unless I pay to promote them. This means I need help reaching others who may want to help me with the Miracle in May fundraiser.
If you would like to help, please tell your friends about my book and encourage them to purchase a copy during the month of May. Here is the link:
The Caveman in the Mirror
Thanks for helping a sick kid get better. Have a great day.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
My California friends are struggling with an important resource – water. I spent twenty-two years of my life trying to grow green grass before I packed up my bags and moved to the Midwest. No more broken sprinkler heads. No more gophers. What a difference a change of venue makes. It reminds me of my faith. It's impossible to have green grass if you lack faith. You need spiritual water. I found it. It's free to all who seek it. My life will never be the same.
Are you going through drought conditions? Is your life filled with excessive worry? Are you afraid you will never find living water? Stop looking in the wrong places. Trust Jesus. He is the source of everything green in my life. All you have to do is invite Jesus into your home and have a heart-to-heart conversation with him. He makes all things new. Have a great day.
Friday, May 1, 2015
Today's post is in honor of my dear cousin, Jo McElroy Senecal. She dedicated her life to making sick kids smile. Jo worked as a clown doctor with the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit and recently published her NY Times story about being with her dad when he passed away. Click here to check it out.
I asked Jo to help me spread the word about Miracle in May, a thirty-one day project benefiting sick kids at our local children's hospital. If you would like to help, all you have to do is share this story and pick up a copy of my newest release. I'm donating all profits from my novel, The Caveman in the Mirror, to Children's Miracle Network. My boss, who chooses to remain anonymous, is matching all donations, dollar for dollar.
Consider ordering your paperback or kindle version during the month of May and you will become an honorary member of the Caveman Miracle Network. Click here to order your copy. Please share this message with your friends. Thanks for your help. Have a great day.