Photo by Mallory

Photo by Mallory


Today is another day on our life's journey.

Perhaps here you can find encouragement

for wherever your journeys may take you.

Welcome to my thinking place where you can

read insightful posts.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Remote Control


Television is the most perfect democracy. You sit there with your remote control and vote.
Aaron Brown

Some years ago, I read a futuristic story (true or not?) about a buried, frozen society from the past. Explorers found the body of a man preserved in a sitting position with legs outstretched and both arms bent at the elbows in right angles. He faced straight ahead as if he had been in a trance when his life ended.

The fingers of his right hand were wrapped around a flat, rectangular object. The explorers couldn’t identify the hand-held object. Finally they decided it had been a form of life-sustaining equipment that the man never parted with.

The story drew no conclusions for the reader. But it’s obvious this body was that of an American of the 1990s, watching TV from a recliner. The object gripped in the right hand? A remote control, of course.


In a typical day, how many times does a remote control make your life a little easier? The TV comes to mind first. A misplaced TV remote control brings instant frustration. We fuss and fume, looking high and low for the remote. In our search, we use more time and effort than it would take to walk to the TV set, turn it on, and sit in our favorite chair.

Of course, remote control can also dictate movement of garage doors from the comfort of a car. I recall my first experience with a remotely controlled garage door. I’d walked through an opened garage, stood at the kitchen door, and pushed the doorbell.

Except what I thought to be the doorbell, was in fact the control for the garage door. Instantly, the garage door responded, starting its downward journey like a secret trap door. At first, I had no clue why the garage had kidnapped me.

Trying to put two and two together, I timidly pressed the same doorbell again. To my relief, the garage door limbered back up to rest where it had been when I entered the garage. I then knocked on the door, happy when no was home.

What dependence remote controls command! As nice as they are, will we allow remote controls to turn us all into some degree of an inactive couch potato? Have we already done so? Would a futuristic story depict the remote control as our life-support system?

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On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.



Monday, September 4, 2017

Practice for War


"Courage is being scared to death—
and saddling up anyway."
—John Wayne

Along with war bonds, ration coupon books, and the first peacetime military draft, World War II brought dreaded air raid drills. In the early 1940s, air raid sirens pierced calm evenings with instant fear: Could this one be for real?

I’d watched my parents adapt to limitations the war thrust upon them. They bought less sugar, meat, butter, and gasoline, using priceless ration coupons to purchase such scarce items.

At the first note from warning sirens, the required black-out window shades were pulled down and all lights were turned off. We’d sit, unmoving and quiet, the sirens wailing like a singer going up and down on music scale.


The airplanes would rumble through the black sky, flying so low their noise closed the darkness tighter around us. They made crisscrossing passes over our town, their crews searching for telltale fingers of lights that might help potential enemies locate bombing targets.

Satisfied they had surveyed every inch of the area, the drone of the airplanes’ propellers would grow faint as they returned to base. Even after they flew beyond earshot, we endured more agonizing time in the dark, waiting for the all-clear short siren blasts before trying to recapture our evening as it had been.

Those air raid drills produced a claustrophobia that manifested itself when denied light. Even now I remain immobile whenever power outages hurl me into darkness.

But, just as fire tempers steel, living with World War II’s limitations helped to fine-tune character. Experiencing the war’s scares, sacrifices, and interruptions taught us about commitment, sincerity, and honesty—valuable lessons for any generation.

Some think another war looms on the horizon in light of the obvious threats from North Korea’s leader. If so, in this nuclear age we probably wouldn’t have to endure air raid practice drills—there wouldn’t be enough time for that. Obliteration would come rapidly, denying the learning of any life lessons.

P.S. Now you know why I’m uncomfortable in the dark! 

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


You can keep up to date with my writing when you sign up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Do You Fear the Dark?


And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament…And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night…and God saw that it was good."
--Genesis 1:14, 16 (KJV)

Where or how did you watch the solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017?

I usually don’t assume anything, but I think I’m safe to assume that you did watch the eclipse from some source, if not the actual event. Reports anticipated a record number would witness the eclipse because of our present technology—TV, computer, tablet, cell phone.


This year’s total eclipse hasn’t occurred over our continent for about 99 years, and won’t do so again for about another 100 years. The eclipse occurs when the moon travels between the earth and the sun. It’s a phenomenon involving the two great lights God made as recorded in the Scripture cited above.

Did the total eclipse cause your area to become dark at mid-day?

In my childhood I was afraid of the dark. I remember as a young child how grateful I was for the glow of one small light bulb to dispell the darkness around me. Even now, I’m uncomfortable in total darkness—two table lamps burn in my home 24/7.

From experience I know that even the light from a tiny birthday candle makes a difference in a dark room. Any light makes its most profound effect in total darkness.

I would probably not be comfortable living in Alaska where I hear the nights are much longer than I'm used to. I’ll be content to stay in my present location where total mid-day darkness only occurs about every 100 years. 

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Do You Talk to Yourself?


Most folks are about as happy as they
make up their minds to be."
—Abraham Lincoln

Do you know people who talk to themselves? Do you talk to yourself? What do you talk about? Do you always enjoy talking to yourself? Would you be embarrassed if someone heard you?

A report from a New York City clinical psychologist says people talk to themselves all the time. He says we did it as kinds and we do it as adults.

The unfortunate thing, he says, is that when people talk to themselves, it’s mostly negative talking: “I’ll never finish this on time.” “I can’t make that speech, I’m too shy.” “I’m not good enough to…” Sound familiar?

If we hear something repeated often enough, we might begin to believe it. In that case, we’d do ourselves a favor by surrounding ourselves with positive remarks. Maybe when all the negative talking begins, we’d be better off changing the topic of conversation.

Remember the stage play/movie, South Pacific? In that movie, the tune “Happy Talk” was such a relief. It seemed every character had some kind of problem—sweethearts were separated, the sailors wanted shore leave, etc. Then, in the middle of all the problems, here’s this bubbly islander singing about happy talk making things better.

So, when talking to oneself sounds more like grumbling, maybe a little “happy talk” would help turn things around toward a more positive outlook.
By the way, this psychologist says as long as you know you’re the one talking to yourself, you can be certain you haven’t gone over the edge. I’ve always heard that people who talk to themselves are okay as long as they don’t answer themselves.

I don’t think I talk to myself. At least I don’t remember any recent conversations. Someday I may start talking to myself. I may even answer myself, as well. But here’s hoping that when I do, I’ll find something happy to talk about.

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.


Monday, July 24, 2017

What's Your Mindset?


Success is getting what you want;
happiness is wanting what you get.”
--Ingrid Bergman, Swedish-born
 actress (1915-1982)


In recent years, I’ve heard our civilization labeled as
the microwave society, meaning that people today want instant gratification. They want no waiting required to fulfill their wishes. 

Regretfully, this mindset puts self above all else.
This is the grown-up version of a child’s temper tantrum: I want this; I want my way; I want it now. Maybe the grown-up version is a quieter event, maybe not. But this mentality always puts self first and foremost.

How did our society develop into a me-first lifestyle? Perhaps because in past decades disciplining children has increasingly become unpopular. One theory I’ve heard over the years is we don’t want to create low self-esteem in a child by unfairly restricting his or her behavior in any way.

But is maintaining boundaries for a child in order to keep the child safe unfairly restricting behavior? Teaching a child to play in his yard instead of in the street is for the good of the child, not to create low self-esteem. This is an elementary example, but all reasonable discipline can be for the child’s advantage and given with love and understanding.

But I digress…I’ll agree that our society has become materialistic—we want things, adult toys, if you will. And the more things we have, we sometimes think the more successful others will perceive us to be. Add to that the attitude that we want our things instantly, and we run a high risk of accumulating a storehouse of things we very soon tire of and then don’t want at all.

The quotation above is spot-on. We’d be better off being happy with what we get, rather than getting many things that with time we no longer are happy to have. All this might boil down to one question—when considering materialism, should we seek success or happiness?

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.



You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Best Medicine?


A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
–Proverbs 17:22 NIV

I read if we would laugh 100 times a day our health would be much improved. Smiling takes fewer muscles than frowning. And consistent frowning does crease and wrinkle the face!

The article I read explained that laughing released chemicals within us that contributed to better overall health. The writer wondered, though, if we could find 100 things a day to be amused about.

We need things every day to laugh about. Or at least things that make us smile.

That’s probably why old movies can be continually rerun on television with such great success. Why are they so universally popular? Could the reason be because most of them have happy endings or, at least, because good usually wins out over bad?


Why do we continue to enjoy old reruns of "The Andy
Griffith Show"? Probably for the same reasons. Most always Andy works everything around all the tangles so that each episode ends on a happy note.

When’s the last time you had a good laugh? A real good, robust belly laugh that tumbles up from within?

Maybe the article I mentioned could motivate us to offset too much seriousness with laughter. Old movies, "The Andy Griffith Show," and being around laughter could be glimmers of hope that all is not beyond repair.

Laughter might help to keep us forever hopeful in a cynical world. Might even help to make us healthier in the long run. It’s worth a try. What have we got to lose except a few unwanted wrinkles?

Maybe we could all start trying to find 100 times a day we could laugh—or at least smile. So what if you only find 20 times a day; or 10; or 1? That’s better than none, don’t you think? We might discover that laughter is the best medicine after all.


NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.


On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.


You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Staying Within the Lines


"Obstacles are those frightful things you see
when you take your eyes off your goal."
—Henry Ford

All our lives we’re taught and encouraged to stay within the lines. Many times we’re rewarded for doing so and punished for not obeying the restrictions.

Have you ever watched children mark off boundary lines in the grass, establishing a playing field? 

Children pick out home base in games of Hide and Seek and determine the area for hiding. Then there’s the invisible line between yard and street which parents teach children not to cross.

As little children we not only learn to color inside the lines and how to cut out paper doll clothes along the lines. From hop scotch to marbles, we stay between the lines. Lines seem to govern all our childhood games.

Then, as adults we park our cars between the lines, we drive on our side of the line, we stand behind the line at the post office until it’s our turn. We get in the correct line at the grocery story if we have ten or less items. We have mental lines in personal relationships we know not to push past.

Law enforcement officers monitor road lines; referees monitor game lines; and our conscience monitors lines in the game of life.

In spite of all the restrictions, there’s one line we’re encouraged to cross—the finish line.

I hope we’ll reach for our goals like “The Little Engine That Could.” Even in the face of what looked like an impossible task, the little train engine pulled with all his might. He kept telling himself, “I think I can,” until he’d get over the next hill and the next, until he reached his destination.

But in order to reach his goal, the little engine worked within his boundaries: He kept his wheels on the railroad tracks where he could best do his job. He kept his goal in sight, motivated to finish his task. He succeeded without looking for shortcuts.

May we all work and play within designated boundaries, finding success when we cross our own finish lines and reach our goals.

NOTE: If you received this blog post in an email and you'd like to leave a comment or check out something on the sidebar, please click on the title of this post and it will take you to the website where you can do that.

You can keep up to date with my writing by signing up for my mailing list. You'll receive a free quarterly e-newsletter and timely announcements about happenings of interest. I have a monthly drawing among those who sign up for my mailing list for the first time, and the winner receives a free eBook copy of their choice of one of my books.

On my website, you can read the first chapters of all my novels and novellas.