Wednesday, January 30, 2013


By Lin Cochran

Nobody has ever accused me of being a slow learner until now, but I wasted a lot of time and money learning how to do something I could have learned quickly and for free had I only known about publishing partners.

First, a course exploring self-publishing clarified what I had always suspected—traditional publishers take all the fun out of it. You do all that work writing the book, only to end up hating the title and cover they put on it, because the marketing department has to justify its existence. Two additional courses and every book I paid hard-earned money for were unnecessary.

The majority of books on self-publishing are about how they used to do it. Like most things digital, self-publishing changes every 15 minutes. Nobody told me the books would be obsolete five minutes before I bought them.

As it turns out, the most expedient way to publish your own book, be it print or digital, is to go straight to the source. For print books, that usually means CreateSpace or Lightning Press. I used CreateSpace. Lightning Press expects you to know what you are doing. For e-books, Kindle and Smashwords are the way to go. I used both. CreateSpace, Kindle, and Smashwords act as publishing partners. Your success is their success; therefore, they all provide complete details for formatting books to be published through their venues. For free. And when some detail or other changes, it is announced on their forums or in a blog. They assume we are participating in their forums and reading their blogs. It is a mistake not to; they provide free, up-to-date, accurate, possible-to-follow (if not easy) instructions, and a way to check your work to see if you did it correctly. You will be amazed at how small errors that would go unnoticed on a computer screen become glaring zits on the nose of Miss America once viewed in book form. Just follow the instructions provided by your publishing partner.

To publish a print book, set up an account with CreateSpace and list the working title. Make up the details as you answer the questions asked by CreateSpace. This will force you to think like a publisher. This is not easy for writers, but now you are a writer and a publisher, so learn to think like both. Head straight for the blogs and forums.

Same for an eBook. Download Amazon’s free how-to style books, which walk you through formatting your manuscript for both Kindle and Smashwords. Some details are significantly different, especially when uploading. Again, blogs and forums fill in the blanks, but I only learned this after 18 failed attempts to publish Love of my Lives on Smashwords. Eighteen! before it was accepted into the hallowed Premium Catalog. I feared slow learning had aged into no learning.

Every now and then I have to go look on Amazon to make sure the book is still there. It proves though slow I may be, I’m no sissy.
About the Author

Atlanta native Lin Cochran is author of three non-fiction books on spiritual principles. She lived in Florida for 30 years, where for she wrote newspaper features and columns for a local newspaper, and was a columnist for an international magazine. Now she writes and lives in Salem, South Carolina, with her husband and Lily, a rescued Labradoodle, plus a rescued tabby cat named Silver.

 Love of My Lives is her first novella. It is about reincarnation, romance, and murder.
Learning to self-publish opened the way to becoming an instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) associated with Clemson University, where in March she will be teaching a short adult-education course titled, How to Publish an e-book.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Don't Dismiss the Seemingly Unimportant

By Patti Shene

I think most of us older folks enjoy helping our adult kids out when we can. Sometimes it’s a little financial support every now and again, watching the grandkids when parents need a week-end getaway, or simply offering to do a favor to make their lives a bit easier.

A few years ago, my daughter discovered a problem with her vehicle. Employed full-time and attending school as well, she was unable to get to the dealership in Pueblo, eighty miles away, before the warranty was due to run out. “I’ll take it in for you,” I gladly volunteered.  “It will give me an opportunity to visit my friend Andrea.”

My daughter dropped the Toyota off early on the appointed day on her way to work and left the key on the kitchen table. I embarked on my journey a couple of hours later, assuming most vehicles are similar. After all, I haven’t seen one yet that doesn’t have a motor, steering wheel, gas and brake pedals and four tires, just to mention the basics. Little did I know the monumental differences between a 2004 Ford pick-up and a 2007 Toyota Camry.

I was about five miles down the road when I noticed a light on the dashboard. Since I’m quite nearsighted, it appeared to me nothing more than a small illumination. It wasn’t red like a warning light, so I dismissed it as unimportant. 

The reason the vehicle needed to be taken in for repair was because the motor in the left rear power window had burned out. The cool temperature that cloudy morning had prompted me to keep the windows up, but as my journey progressed, the sun came out and the temperature climbed. When I reached a construction site that forced reduced speed, it was uncomfortably warm, so I opened my driver’s window.

Once I returned to regular speed, I wanted the window shut again. Several attempts to accomplish this were met with failure. Before I knew it, I had all three working windows open and couldn’t figure out how to shut any of them. By the time I figured it out, I had arrived at the dealership.

Andrea met me there and we enjoyed a nice lunch at our favorite restaurant, then killed a couple of hours at the mall. I had been told the project would take about three hours. When we returned to pick up the vehicle, I was informed the wrong part had been delivered and I would need to come back the next day.

I wasn’t happy about the thought of wasting another whole day, but I had committed to get this done for my daughter. When leaving the dealership, I took a closer look at that little light on the dashboard that had remained illuminated for the entire trip. Close scrutiny revealed it was in the shape of a tiny gas tank. I had traveled close to a hundred miles with a warning that I was about out of gas! That would never happen in my pick up that eats a gallon of gas every eighteen miles on a good day if the wind is right.

Finding the closest gas station, I pulled in and began the process of filling the tank. I was stopped short when I realized I didn’t know how to unlock the gas cap. I searched the dashboard, the glove compartment, and every other surface I could think of to try to locate a button, a lever, something that would release that cap. I even resorted to looking up the instructions in the book. I’m sure the information was there somewhere, but it eluded me.

Totally frustrated, I went inside the convenience store and asked for their phone book so I could look up the number of the Toyota dealership. I sheepishly called and explained that I needed instructions on how to open the gas tank. I learned there is a lever on the floor located just in front of the driver’s seat.

I returned the next day and faced the service department attendant with a very red face. He graciously waved my stupidity away.

“Come on,” I told him, “fess up. I know you guys had to take a coffee break to get your laughter under control after that call.”

The attendant smiled. “Actually,” he admitted, “that did provide our chuckle for the day.”

The next time I offer to drive someone else’s vehicle, I’ll be sure to learn the basics first, like how to feed the thing.

Patti Shene is a retired RN, formerly from Long Island, who has resided in Colorado for the past forty years. She serves as Division Manager for YA and Children’s Imprints with Written World Communications (WWC). She also edits Starsongs, a publication of WWC written for kids by kids. As a writer who has entered her senior years, Patti also enjoys supporting, promoting, and encouraging older writers.  Patti is published in two anthologies and local publications.
Visit Patti’s three blogs at her website,, and leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Friday, January 25, 2013


By Ed Crumley


Before the movie "The Bucket List" came out, the term wasn't familiar to me. Oh, I knew what it meant to "kick the bucket", but I never recalled anyone making a list before. Simply put, a bucket list is a list of all the things you want to do before you get too old or die. In the movie, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson deserted hospital beds to romp through a list of things they wanted to do before they . . . you know what.

I've been thinking a lot about my bucket list since using up my three score and ten. But the more I dwell on it, the more I believe I probably started working my list as a young man. We've all known folks who said, "I look forward to retirement so I can do this or that." It's a risky plan because no one knows their own longevity.

Fifty years ago, right out of college, I slaved at a lowly bank job in a small windowless room, phones ringing off the wall, everyone around (including me) smoking, and at a shamefully small salary. I wanted out of there big-time but not just because of the environment. Although I was a bank clerk on the surface, inside me dwelled an artist. I was doubly motivated.

Some would have bowed their heads and meekly succumbed to that high-stress, low-pay cubicle cell without a whimper, hoping that someday, somehow they might be paroled slightly upward to occupy a junior executive desk with a little more pay.

With a high dose of adrenaline, I dove into night college art classes and a correspondence course of commercial art lessons. Meanwhile, my radar sought out any and every commercial art job, no matter how small, I could latch onto.

Providentially, an employment agency sent me to a man who needed a trainee/assistant to help him in his business illustrating house renderings and floor plans for home builders' offices and brochures. When I arrived at his garage studio one late afternoon and saw his work, a fire ignited in my soul.

For me, a forty-four year career in architectural illustration was born. Instead of waiting till retirement for fulfillment, I spent the decades after escaping the bank prison in freedom doing what I loved. My clientele included architects, real estate developers, and major corporations in my city, state, and around the nation.

But what about retirement? In my case I wouldn't be in it if not pushed there by computers doing the illustrations now and the bad economy. Not to worry, though. I'm busier than ever writing fiction, songs, and poetry, oil painting, performing with a gospel band at churches and senior centers, and riding my Harley for fun and charity.

I advised my sons to find their God-given talents, make what they love to do into a career, be the best at it, and they'll be rewarded. They did and don't worry about bucket lists.

About the Author

Radically changing careers after receiving a BBA degree in business administration from Baylor University in 1961, Ed founded Ed Crumley/Architectural Arts in Dallas in 1969 and began a forty-three year career producing architectural illustrations and architectural models for architects, real estate developers, and corporations locally, across Texas and around the nation. Later he wrote, illustrated, and self-published a basic correspondence course on architectural illustration which he marketed through small ads in art publications.
He has also used his writing talents observing modern culture as a freelance movie critic for Preview, a publication of Movie Morality Ministries for which he has detailed the plots and both the redeeming and objectionable material in the latest motion pictures. He has also written human interest pieces for the Christian Pulse.
  Ed’s love of the outdoors has taken him and friends on many backpacking trips into wilderness areas of the Rocky Mountains.  These trips, his long involvement in the arts, his long interest in talk radio as a listener and caller, his study of Scripture, and his concern for people’s inability to find truth in the fog of today’s shallow popular culture, inspired him to began writing fiction as a way of providing readers discernment through entertaining and engrossing stories. 
After attending American Christian Writer’s conferences for several years where he attended many workshops on various phases of writing, Ed completed his first novel, a suspense/thriller, The Host, a novel of life and death on the high desert and has begun a sequel which features the same core characters, adds new ones, and deals with new issues.
 The Host is available from, Barnes &, and Trafford Publishing.

Read an excerpt from The Host at:

Ed Crumley may be contacted at:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Debt Allotment

By T. Lloyd Reilly

Reality and mortality collided that year of Our Lord in a less than agreeable fashion.  As the approach of the annual feasting beyond human capacity approached, he found that there would not be the normal trip to familial environs.  There would not be the apple pie of which there is no equal baked in the magical device owned and operated by his sibling and champion.  The Oatmeal Cookies from the recipe passed down from his progenitor were also to be absent.  There would be no mushrooms in cream sauce, no poorly peeled potatoes of a certain smashed consistency, and no grain based stuffing/ambrosia packed into the unfortunate creature sacrificed for the occasion. 

The trip to the land of origin would not occur as well as the stop along the way to purchase steaming links of smoked sausage.  The culinary delights would be sorely missed and the lamenting had already begun.  Boo Hoo, Boo Hoo.

Life had interceded in the festivities and he knew that staying at home was the better part of selfishness.  There would be other times to enjoy in these pleasures.  That year life had offered to opportunity to test the mettle of any thinking, caring, and compassionate person.  There is a necessary order to life that does not always coordinate itself to one’s appetite, libido, or desire to commune.   Sometimes the best you can do is stay at the house and pray.  That year proved to be just that type of situation.

Shuffling along in the days prior to the gorge fest he wondered how he might salvage some semblance of merriment.  He perused the store of rations and searched for methods to mirror that which he would miss.  No options were made feasible and he was about to give up when, seemingly from nowhere, all the ingredients for the feast appeared on his door.  The mysterious source of this blessing chose to remain anonymous and retained that position in the years to come.

Joyous at the prospect of prospective gluttony, he came to realize that the amount of food was beyond his ability to cook, or ingest in a timely enough manner to avoid salmonella, botulism, and Ptomaine Poisoning.  Additionally he was reminded of his complete lack of acumen where it comes to baking.  The apples were not meant to be crunchy or crusty through the process of improper baking while the oatmeal cookies should most definitely be crunchy and  crusty…not cement like.  The mushrooms (well those he knew how to gather) should not encourage or induce hallucinations.  He resided in a topographical region where stuffing came from a corn field, and the cranberry sauce was natural berry based, and not jellied.  With the exception of retrieving the sacrificial feathered friend from the aviary and placing it in a pan on its way to the oven, he was lost.

Lost as he was, he still retained the perspicacity to realize that with a small amount of original thought, he could solve his dilemma.  While the ideas percolated in him, and differing paradigms occurred, the truth at the core of the plebian definition of Ockham’s razor stood out deafeningly.  If you do not know what to do, go get some help.

He gathered his abundance into his home.  He rested and ruminated further.  Looking at the enormity of the task before him, he first attempted escape by appearing pitiful and lonely enabling him to interject himself into some friends feast.  The dishonesty, sloth, and greed proved more than he could bear.  He drifted off to sleep for a while and had a dream that entailed a beautiful sleeping woman eating a poison apple and a group of very short men.  The dream appeared familiar with the difference of the girl’s name being Mabel, and the dwarves were actually a band of professional wrestlers. The absurdity of the fairy tale in his dreams somehow gave him his answer

Upon awakening the morning of the feast, he decided that he would simply post a sign outside his dwelling inviting whoever read the sign to enter and help cook the meal that would be served that evening.  He then performed what preparation he could (including completely peeling the potatoes), got himself a beer, and sat watching football while he waited for the mystery chef’s to appear.
Astonishingly, he got exactly what he wished.  A knock on his door revealed a reasonably attractive woman who asked to use the bathroom followed by a troupe of dwarves.  As she ran to the bathroom holding her mouth and rear end, the head dwarf explained that she had eaten something that did not agree with her, and they needed to find her some Pepto Bismol.  They were headed to Boca Raton for a match that Saturday night and she was there announcer/driver.

He told them to go and tell her that the pink panacea was in the medicine chest, and offered the rest of them a seat and a beer.  One particularly droopy eyed dwarf came up to him and held the sign for the door up while asking him if he was for real.  Receiving a nod from their host, the dwarves huddled up and, after checking their watches several times, announced that they were what he was looking for. 
Dumbfounded by the scene in his living room, he simply pointed to the kitchen.  The diminutive denizens of the sports entertainment industry disappeared into the depths of the kitchen only to return in a few hours proving themselves chefs extraordinaire.

All was as it would have been if he had made his expected excursion.  The mushrooms were as creamy as they could be, the apple pie delicious, the stuffing moist, and the sacrifice a picture perfect golden brown with white boots on the legs.  After the presentation, the head of the group stood on a chair and, in the guise of slicing it for the meal, deboned the offering enabling ease of storage for the obligatory day after sandwich.

Mabel, after ingesting a complete bottle of the pink panacea, had regained her appetite, and turned out to be a delightfully funny dinner companion.  She looked around the house, later when it was time for bed, and strolled towards my bedroom.  Turning and giving me that look that all men crave from beautiful women, she held her hand up and crooked her finger beckoning me to join her.

The next morning, the troop was dressed and assembled when he got out of bed.  Fresh orange juice, with a complete breakfast waited on the dining room table.  There was a guy, normal sized, added to the group who they introduced as “Dude”.  After breakfast, Mabel came out of the bedroom and gave each of her companions a hug and kiss on the cheek.  The droopy eyed one pointed to a suitcase and told her to call when she could.  With sandwiches packed for all, they departed in a garish van touting the “Smallest Storm in the World Wrestling Company” on the side.

When the left overs ran out, I discovered that I really did not know how to cook, and neither did Mabel.  She got a job at the local IHOP, and I learned how to boil water for ramen noodle soup as well as mac and cheese.  We didn’t starve, and every year since have enjoyed the best feast prepared by the smallest cooks in the world.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Goals After Fifty?

I started to write about memories, but thought it would be to mauldlin. I'm going to start with a question. Can we be productive or achieve goals after fifty? Oh, speaking of after fifty I suppose that could be maudlin, too - but we won't go there.
To answer my question wether we can achieve goals after fifty the answer is "Yes."  Often times our lives don't take the paths we've planned out. There are many twists and turns in the journey of life, but it can be a surprise where God leads us.
I'd always loved to write but never had the chance. When my children got older I took the opportunity to follow a dream I'd had for many years. After a several years and some hard work I'm now a published author of two books. My first one was published when I was fifty-seven. If I let myself think too much on how old I already am then it would be easy to just give up or quit. I don't want to do either. So for now I am looking forward to more goals being accomplished during our "mature" years. Don't give up - we are never too old to accomplish a goal!
A picture of myself and author Patricia Sprinkle when I was just dreaming about writing!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brain Damaged- And Loving It

"Did you get the cheese?"
I opened the bag and stared inside. Shook my head and gave her the 'deer in the headlights' look.
"But you wrote a list." That's my wife, always using logic on me.
"I forgot to look at it." Then I pull out my Free Pass. "Brain damage, darlin'." Oh, yeah. I've had two concussions, both with amnesia, from riding dirt bikes. The first time I was with my kids and... well, I don't remember what happened until I stood there asking questions like, " Where are we?" and "What are we doing here?" while my computer rebooted. The kids thought it was the funniest thing they'd ever seen.
The second time... well, I don't remember either but my friends thought it was a hoot. Insensitive friends. Reminds me of a dirt biker's t-shirt: 'It's funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's hilarious.'
Since those events, I have a built in excuse. My wife overhears me having a conversation with my sister about the grandkids going to the zoo. "Why didn't you tell me?" Brain damage.
But it gives her comfort, because if I didn't have brain damage, I would be an idiot, and she married me. She's off the hook!
I recommend Brain Damage for every man. Not women. Men and women are different. Honest! We men blow things up, set ourselves on fire, and cut ourselves, no big deal. A woman splits a fingernail and the world is going to collapse in on itself. For instance, my dad has never pruned shrubs in his yard without shedding blood. He comes inside and it's: "Hey Dad you cut yourself."
He looks at his arm.
"No. The other one. The one dripping blood on the tile."
"Oh, wow," he says, "I better get a band aid."
"No, you better get stitches. And a blood transfusion."
What I recommend to you men is this: If you haven't had head trauma, find a helmet- football, baseball, motorcycle, doesn't matter. Put it on. Now put your head down and run, full tilt, into the opposite wall, smashing your head into it.* Excellent. Now, you've got a reason for your mistakes. You bought yogurt, but not low fat? Brain damage. Didn't gas the car up when that's the reason you took the car to the gas station? Hey, you're not responsible, just damaged goods. If your spouse is sensitive at all, she'll say, "Oh, honey, I forgot about your condition. I'll go get the yogurt and fuel up the car. Here's the remote. You watch television."
She leaves and you could watch television. But you better put on the tool belt and fix that hole in the wall. 

*Do not run with your head into a wall without first consulting your doctor. Results may vary. Should you attempt to run headfirst into a wall, you may experience the following side effects: Dizziness, temporary or permanent amnesia, unconsciousness, headache, neck, spinal and back injuries, bruising to the head, a vegetative condition, anger and frustration from your wife, or laughter from your children. If you experience any of these side effects, cease running with your head into the wall immediately and see your doctor. Running with your head into the wall should not be taken with alcohol or any other drug. 

Kevin B Parsons is an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker and avid motorcyclist. He’s started and operated nine businesses in six states, and purchased one business.  He’s written a Children’s book, Ken Johnson and Roxi the Rocker, available on Amazon. He’s co authored six anthologies and written numerous articles and stories.
This year he appeared on the cover of American Motorcyclist magazine, along with the feature story he wrote.
Kevin has ridden and raced motorcycles since age thirteen, and is two time Best In The Desert champion. Currently he and his wife Sherri have embarked on a '50 States in 50 Weeks' adventure, riding a motorcycle with a pop- top tent trailer. He blogs every day during his adventure at  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

About Time

By Dr. Jeri Fink

Time. It's not what it used to be.
Old time didn't automatically (atomically) adjust to power failures, time zones and daylight savings. You had to set and wind regularly.
Time changed. One day my son gleefully announced that he was "done" with time. He exchanged a collection of corny birthday and graduation wrist watches for his iPhone. "For now on," he grinned, yanking his phone from his pocket like a switch blade in West Side Story, "I only tell time from my cell."
He invited me to join the next generation. I didn't dare confess that I liked clunky tick-tocks. Me - old fashioned? I stopped wearing watches on my wrist, around my neck, and on pinky rings. Secretly, it felt retro - a return to the ancient days of pocket watches. It reminded me of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date

Low-tech problems with iPhone time-keeping began immediately. I couldn't see tiny digital numbers without glasses. They were blurry lines floating atop wallpaper photos of my grandchildren. There were aps that had larger numbers but I couldn't make out the icons on the home page. The truth was chilling. I needed reading glasses to tell time.
Time became a two-step process: locate the iPhone and whip out the reading glasses. Of course we all know that reading glasses disappear like socks in a washing machine. Where did I leave them? Were they cowering beneath pages from the crazed psychopath in my latest book? Did I abandon them in the refrigerator between untouched low-fat and sugar-free snacks? Or were they among toys scattered by my staggering grandson when he wore my readers and played dizzy?
17-year old Shari intervened.
"A watch," she said sagely, "isn't about time anymore. It's a fashion statement."
That's when I fell off the fashion cliff.
I didn't need glasses to tell time on those "fashionable" old-fashioned faces. There were no buttons to push, dim digital numbers or iPhones to locate. It was real time.
My first "fashion statement" was a large purple device called an "Ice Watch." It came in a plastic cube with endless potential.

I had to have one in pink as well.
"Try Swatch watch," Shari advised. "You can match every outfit."
I took her suggestion. The moment I walked into the Swatch store I was hooked. Who knew I had the soul of a geezer fashionista?
I bought a watch to match every mood as well as every outfit. They came in flavors - Strawberry Jam, Dragon Fruit, Fresh Papaya and Berry Sorbet - all zero calories. What could be better? I began to hum my version of the 80s song:
So many watches, so little time. How can I choose?

I bought a watch case to store my rapidly growing collection. I bought a second watch case. I waved my fashion statements in front of envious eyes, languishing in timely heaven. And I ignored those nasty remarks about Freud and metaphors.
Now I have a new problem. Everyone knows. I'm greeted with glares if I ask an innocent question like what time is it?  
No one will answer me.
Will you?

Dr. Jeri Fink is a proud geezer and the author of hundreds of articles and nineteen published books. Trees Cry For Rain, her latest book, is a gripping historical novel where the past crashes ruthlessly into the present. It can be purchased at and

Her new series, Broken, consists of five separate novels that follow dramatic, related paths from the Spanish Inquisition to modern times, including the psychopaths who lived in each era.

Visit Jeri at her website or email her at

It's Cold There

By Liz Flaherty

I’ve lived within 20 miles of the farm where I grew up for the entire 62 years of my life. We moved into our present home over 35 years ago, when our kids were little, and have spent most of that time renovating the house and then remodeling the remodel. Last year, we built a big office-sewing-room in the garage for me, so home is particularly wonderful for me.

But, of course, it’s cold there.

I’m not a fan of the cold, but my husband hates it. So this year is our first time at being snowbirds. We rented a house in Florida, turned everything off we could, created a neighborhood watch program for our home comprised of our kids and nearly everyone else we know, and started south in two packed cars.

And it’s…well, an adventure.

I love that Walmart, a supermarket, and an office supply store are within five miles. I love Florida’s water for washing clothes and dishes. I love the food. Oh, wait, that has nothing to do with the region—I always love food. I love being able to spend time with the family that lives here. I love that it’s going to be 70 degrees today. I love that there are a lot of churches nearby and I’m almost certain I’ll be welcome in whichever one I choose.

Then there are the differences. 

The cost of groceries has me shopping more carefully than I have in years. A woman referred to Yankee women as “pushy” yesterday and I had to swallow hard rather than prove she was right. I told my sister-in-law Lynn—with a sigh—that “None of you ever hurry, do you?” She gave me a blank look and said, “Why would we?”

Why indeed?

In JAR OF DREAMS, my new release from Carina Press, Lucy Dolan comes to a small town—“Welcome to Taft, Indiana. Home of No One Special. Population 1841 counting cats, dogs, and the occasional parakeet.” —from a lifetime in Richmond, Virginia. She finds differences galore, as well as new friends and a livelihood as the part-owner of a tearoom. Maybe, just maybe, when Boone Brennan comes to visit his aunt (and Lucy’s business partner, she’ll find a new kind of adventure, too.
Thanks for stopping by. All the requisite links to buy my books or just come to visit me are below. If you leave a comment (and your email address), and answer the following question, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a teacup and saucer. Where would you like to live if you relocated?

Monday, January 14, 2013

He Said, She Said - The Geezer Version

Two years ago, as my husband and I entered our fifties,
we moved across the street from my parents who are in their seventies,
with our two children who are in their twenties.

Life here is never dull.

One of my chief sources of cheap entertainment
is to call each of my parents and hear the same story from two very different perspectives:

"Hi Dad, is mom feeling any better from the flu today?"
"I was just up at the house and she was pretty busy in the kitchen. She must be improving!"
"Hi Mom, how are you feeling?"
"Terrible! I tried to get myself something for lunch and I was so shaky, I dropped a bowl of leftover stew. It broke and splattered all over the floor. I'm exhausted! I had to clean it up, vacuum, and wash the kitchen floor."

"Hey Dad, what's new today?"
"The dog's very worried about me since I got home from my trip."
"The dog's worried about you?"
"Yes. Every time I go to leave the house now, he makes a big deal about it. I think he's worried I'll go away again."
"Hi Mom, what's up?"
"Oh, your father's driving the dog crazy. Every since he got back from his trip, he can't leave the house without hugging the dog a hundred time and repeating, 'I promise I'll come back,' 'don't worry, don't worry. I'll be back.' It takes him ten minute to say good-bye just to drive down to pick up the mail!"

"Hi Dad, you sound like you don't feel well."
"Your mother messed up my pills. Instead of cutting my water pill in half, she cut my blood pressure pill in half. Good thing I caught her mistake after only three days!"
"Hi Mom, Dad says he had some problem with his medication."
"Oh, that man! He cut his blood pressure pill in half instead of his water pill! It's a good thing I check his meds every few days and caught his mistake this morning."

Last week, I came home from work to find a pile of dishes on the counter from the night before. My daughter and son were studying at the kitchen table.

"Oh, that makes me so angry. Your father said he'd take care of those after dinner last night and they're still here."
My kids looked at one another and laughed.
"What's going on?" I asked.
My daughter answered, "Dad just came through and said that YOU said YOU were going to do them."
"He did?" I asked.
"Yeah," replied my son, "But don't worry. Listening to you two tell the same story two different ways if half the entertainment around here."

Sigh.  He said, she said - the geezer version!

Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians continually late for dinner. She authors the blog, Deeper with Jesus in Rhode Island. She’s seeking a publisher for her speculative Celtic adventure, The Overcomers. Her articles appear in numerous magazines.Back in the dark ages, Lori earned degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies and more recently, a black belt in karate. She’s a wife, mom, crisis counselor, and part-time dragon slayer.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Resolutionist

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."  George Washington Carver

Having nearly attained the sixth decade of my existence or, as the current object of my affection likes to put it, “Pushing the big 6-0” I find myself in a self-reflective state.  It is the advent of yet another year on this journey and this seems as good a time as any to speak of things yet to come.  Open all the closets.  Break out the cleaning and dusting supplies.  Decide which goes and what must be done in the next 365 some of days.  Turn myself into, once more, a hypocrite and sluggard.  Making plans for the change in behavior dictated by the metaphorical scrubbing, vacuuming, and cleansing performed is the plan.  What will, as historically evidenced, occur as a result is not much change and even less actual achievement of intended yet non-existent goals.

The tradition of making resolutions has always brought me to a place where I vow to erase procrastination from my life.  Substantiation of my indolence lies before you in this post.  I have known for months that it was to be written and submitted, and yet, here I am bumping a deadline for the Eleventh and just now getting words on paper while imploring the Lord God and the moderator of this blog to allow that I have made it in time.

Having established the futility of resolution for the New Year, at least in my life, I think I wish to share something that has given me hope for the new future.  I recently experienced a period without the advantage of personal transportation.  I was reliant on friends for rides and assistance performing day to day errands (doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, etc.) and favors.  It created a level of chaos and frustration in my life and the relief from this stress came from, I believe, God.

I meet God in everything that happens in my life.  I particularly enjoy meeting him in unexpected places.  I meet him when I ask for help and this is grace given that I have definite negative feelings about having been reduced to making Blanche Du Bois statements, and accepting what is there.

I did receive, however, an offer of a ride from an unexpected source.

A rather attractive young lady I know came up and offered me rides to the meeting.  She is many years younger than me, and we have a nice friendship derived exclusively from attendance at a local Twelve Step meeting.  She has quite a few years less time in recovery than I do, and I truly respect her for the struggle she has gone through to find the miracle we share.  She is a single mother of her own child and a niece who needed a safe place to live.  This sweet young lady earns a living as a server at a buffet restaurant and works long hours when you factor in the time it takes to parent two children.  She has a boyfriend as well, who desires portions of her time to do boyfriend stuff.  That does not leave much time for her to see to the transportation needs of a grumpy old man.

I told her not to worry about me, that I would find rides and that she should focus on more important things that demand her time.  I thanked her and gave her a hug and told her how much I appreciated her offer.
She quite directly told me to stop acting like a brat.

I laughed at this and reminded her that due to our age difference she might not want to speak to someone old enough to possibly be her grandfather in that tone.  She told me that a brat was a brat no matter what the age.  She smiled at me, told me to call her to get a ride and walked away.

I went about my business and have not had much trouble finding rides.  Sitting in my sanctum one Saturday night, I was enjoying a sumptuous repast of meat loaf and mashed potatoes (I LOVE meat loaf and mashed potatoes) when the phone growled at me.  

“T?  This is _____, how are you?”  I replied that all was well in my world and she liked that.  “I’m just seeing if you need a ride to a meeting.”  I told her of my good fortune that day in making two meetings and thanked her for her concern.  “Well, I WILL pick you up if you need to go to a meeting!”
After once more thanking her, I asked her if she would be at the early meeting the next day, and that my friend is picking me up.  I told her I hoped to see her and hung up.   I had to get off the phone because I found myself fighting back the moisture that seemed to be percolating in my eyes.  This sweet young lady, with two kids, and a boyfriend, took time out of her Saturday night to see if I needed a ride to a meeting that might just save my life.

If that is not looking into the face of God, what is?

Author Bio –

T. Lloyd Reilly is a writer and former school teacher with over twenty five years of writing experience. He has lived what some would consider more than one lifetime and have gained a wide range of knowledge and life experience which he wishes to share through generous application of the written word.  Prior to becoming a full time writer , he has worked as a school teacher,  truck driver, equipment operator, ranch manager , HIV/AIDS counselor, market researcher, short order cook, long order cook, bartender, bouncer, taxi driver, explosives handler, telemarketer, suicide counselor, crisis counselor, Halfway house manager, rock n' roll roadie, dispatcher, convenience store clerk, desktop publisher, office manager, secretary, industrial safety consultant, literacy instructor, industrial trainer, roughneck, construction worker, and, US Army soldier.
He has been published and fervently wishes to publish more.