Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Food for thought.

A big game hunter travelled to Africa in the hope of bagging a lion. After many days in the jungle he came across a large, magnificent male lying under a tree. Instantly the hunter readied his rifle to fire, when suddenly he changed his mind. Instead of shooting the lion with a deadly round, he shot the lion with a tranquilizer and decided to take the lion home with him to train.

Upon returning home he caged the ferocious beast. Every time the hunter came to feed the lion, it snarled, growled and leaped against the bars in an attempt to attack. After some time had passed and the lion began to recognize the hunter, the lion would come up to the front of the cage and purr almost like a house cat. He even allowed the hunter to pet him.

One day the hunter decided to enter the cage. Immediately upon doing so the lion attacked and killed the hunter. The lesson to the story: The hunter went against his instinct and the lion did not.

Instinct is defined as an inborn pattern of behavior often responsive to specific stimuli. To break it down even further, allow me to simplify our instincts as that something inside of us that allows us to know better. Generally things learned over time of course. For example, a child burns his hand by placing it on a hot oven, instinctively that child knows (after the fact) that touching a hot oven can lead to pain. Now if that same child continues to touch a hot oven and gets burnt then we're talking about another set of issues where you may need to get that child some help.

Oftentimes it may seem like we as adults need some help when we repeatedly do things that goes against our instinct. How often do you go against your instinct? How many times have you been in a situation where in hindsight you look back and say, "I should have gone with my first mind. I know better than that." I know I have. Can I get a witness?! It happens to all of us at some point in time. Maybe or should I should hopefully, it wasn't in a life and death situation like the hunter. But, we have been in situations that have greatly and even adversely affected our lives, marriages, relationships, finances, and the list goes on and on. Situations where we go against our instinct.

As adults we should know better and use our instincts better. Better in regards to? That's for you to decide. I simply wanted to give you...cliche forthcoming...food for thought.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Do you know "why?"

A husband of many years walked into the kitchen and noticed that his wife was making corn bread in a frying pan. He asked her why did she make corn bread that way. She responded because her mother did it that way. Curious he went to his mother-in-law and asked her why did she make corn bread in a frying pan. She responded because her mother did it that way. Even more curious he went in search of the grandmother and asked her why she made corn bread in a frying pan and she responded, "Because we didn't have an oven."

Isn't it kind of amusing that we can watch others do things and without even fully understanding why, we may repeat those same habits, beliefs or ideas in our own lives. We simply do it, because that's how it was always done. We don't question the "why" or even if it makes good sense in some cases. If it was good enough for them, then.... But, was it really good enough for them, or did they also fall into the mindset of, "Repeated Generational Behavior."

In the above anecdote, the "why" belonged to the grandmother. She had a good reason for doing what she did and a clear understanding of why she did it. Through observation, the daughter and the mother repeated the behavior without questioning the validity of the behavior. From one watching the other, over time that behavior became one that was repeated from one generation to the next.

Now it would be great if all repeated behavioral patterns were as simple and tasty as corn bread. However in most cases it's not. Many of us go through life repeating behavior that we don't truly understand. You too may be making corn bread in a frying pan. Not that it's anything wrong with doing so, however would it be a bad thing to take the time to find out, "why?" Not all behavioral patterns were meant to be nor should they be repeated.

Doesn't it make sense to know why you take the time and energy to do something other than to simply go through life doing things just because someone else did it that way?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Excerpt from recently released debut novel: Choices

The following is an excerpt from my debut novel: Choices.


The meeting took place in an out-of-the-way nondescript motel so deep in no-man’s land, the ancient woman who checked them in quickly forgot doing so.
“Are you kidding me? Why are we meeting in a dump like this?”
“A place is more than its appearance.”
“Well this place appears to be a dump.”
“You have always failed to appreciate the beauty of what I’ve created.”
“Ha ha. Let’s not forget you also created the flip side where I prosper.”
“There once was a man who threw a gold coin into the air with the intention of allowing the side it landed on determine his fate.”
“What in the…”
“Patience my son.”
Immediately a sense of peace and light filled the dim, dingy lit room.
“My fault, please continue.”
“Momentarily he was distracted and took his eyes off the descending gold coin. It bounced off his outstretched palm and rolled through a crack in the floor, lost forever.”
“So what happened?”
“I don’t know. Someone changed the channel.”
“Oh so you got jokes. And people think you don’t have a sense of humor.”
“Laughter is medicine for the soul, my son.”
“Yes it is. Where I reside we laugh often at how easy our job has become. In days gone by it was a little more difficult to get someone to denounce you; now let them miss the last digit on a lottery ticket after they prayed for a winner and bam. I have a new convert.”
“You have always underestimated the faith of my children.”
“With all due respect, I think you overestimate the faith of your children.”
“An argument for another time. I see you have been quite busy lately.”
“We all have our cross to bear. No pun intended.”
“No offense taken, my son. Now have you considered my faithful servants?”
“Ah, yes the young married couple in Philadelphia. I’ve been keeping track of them for some time, especially since the husband has stopped attending church regularly. I feel that they are ripe for the picking though you have blessed them greatly. However, as I am notorious for saying, remove your hedge of protection from them and they will surely curse you.”
“Behold all they have in is your power. Only do not touch them.”
“Including their relationship?”
“Why am I dealing with them as one?”
“Because what I have put together let no man divide.”
“Consider it done. I will prove to you that the faith you have in your people is far greater than the faith they have in you.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

Living life until the end.

To begin, I would like to take the time to thank everyone that reads this blog and has waited patiently for me to write another. Yes, it has been some time since my last entry. The reason: I was wrapping up the last touches to my debut novel and needless to say, that took up a lot of my time. But I'm very proud to report that as of 27 April 2009, my novel "Choices" has been published and is now available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble. com, etc. I'm also proud to report that I've actually sold a few copies.

That brings me to the topic of this weeks blog. Just five short years ago, I sat down at my computer to write. Nothing came. My life was in shambles. I was greatly depressed and felt like a failure and a fraud. Why you might ask? Because my marriage of eighteen years was over. I was losing my family. My wife informed me that she wasn't happy and didn't want to be married anymore. Nothing I said or did could change her mind. We were over! After months of her planning her new life (without me) her and I sat down with our children and gave them the news. I must admit, after that encounter the rest is a blur. I really don't have great recall over what transpired next as far as time goes. I just know that at some point she moved out and my kids went with her. Shortly thereafter I moved into a room in a friends home with a day bed, tiny microwave and tiny fridge. Not that I couldn't afford better digs, I guess in retrospect, I was punishing myself. Besides did I have the right to live lavishly as a failed husband and a terrible father. I know that I wasn't those things in my heart, but that didn't stop me from feeling that way nonetheless.

You may ask, why am I sharing this with you? Because someone, somewhere will read this. Maybe a man or even a woman and they are sitting just like me in front of a computer screen feeling like they aren't worth two plum nickles because another person stopped loving them. They might feel like a complete failure and a fraud. (Just like I did.) But I'm living proof that all you have to do is keep living and believing in God Almighty and HE will deliver you from the evil. God has a purpose for all of our lives. (Whether you believe it or not.) By staying rooted in faith, even when everything looks fake. I tell you my friends, HE will come through.

Five years later, I sit in front of another computer screen, happier than I've ever been in my entire life. I'm remarried to a woman that loves my dirty socks, I have a great career, recently returned from a trip to India and Dubai (two places I've never visited before) and I've fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a writer. And guess what? My relationship with my kids is rock solid. They don't see me as a failure or a fraud.

Life may not always go as we would like it to. Life will give us success and failure. Life will pick up up and drop us down. Life will wear some of us out. Life may be too short. Regardless of all that and more....keep living, keep loving and live life until the end.