Yes, I’m a book junkie and was in a “book house” feeding my addiction to hold, caress, and smell a print book. Even in the age of Kindle and ebooks, I love the feel and aroma of a print book, even an old book. I’ll never forget the wonderment I felt when I first saw my name on the spine of a print book.
On Monday I walked six miles with other aging walkers at my local climate controlled shopping mall. I am walking five to six miles a day since my retirement the end of August. I guess I have earned the title of mall walker.
It was fun watching the mature and motherly do their daily workout. They seemed to be the only two groups walking at the mall. I bet you can guess which group I belonged to.
Yes, I know walking is a lot of work. It took me two hours and twenty-five minutes to walk what I could run in thirty-six minutes only forty-one years ago when I was a US Army officer jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. When I gazed at my feet I thought of the nearly one-thousand dollar investment I had in my custom made prescription orthotics from the podiatrist that was inside my SAS walking shoes.
As I write working on a nonfiction and fiction book daily I know I already have more to do each day than there are hours in the day. Exercising was an afterthought. After a scare with my heart and by my cardiologist in July and August that was underlined by a recent survive I completed for author Joanna Penn on writers and the writer’s health, I am making exercise a major priority in my life.
The Apostle Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (The Living Bible), “May the God of peace himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again.” I’ve often imagined Jesus and his disciple talking and laughing as they walked along the dusty roads of Israel. I can see the disciples shaking their head trying to understand and Jesus laughing with a contagious laugh when they did not understand the master teacher’s parable and were begging for clarification.
I’m sure their walking helped them to relax and have a clear mind. My walking is doing the same for me. Yet, like the disciples, I sometimes have to ask for the Father to help me understand the teaching found in his holy word, the Bible.
Are you making time to exercise? As the verse says we need to keep our spirit, soul, and body strong. Exercise will help. And with a strong spirit, soul, and body you will have the clarity of thought to write and maybe one day see your name on the spine of a print book.
Ten Thoughts I Use to Encourage Others:
Over the years I have noticed people who have the ability and skill to do a task or assignment often lack the confidence to tackle the job before them. If they are a writer they may fear putting words on paper. If an analyst, they may hesitate or question themselves before solving a problem or recommending a solution.
I have found that a little encouragement helps them achieve their goals and do their job. Here are ten thoughts on how I encourage other.
1. Show real interest in the person.
- Listen to what they are saying.
- Be interested in what is happening in their life, the challenge they are facing.
- Let them know you care.
2. Concede what’s important to them.
- When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you offer a form of verification and support about who they are and what they’re doing.
- A good technique I use is simply to restate their question or challenge and then allow them to talk it through,
3. Say “congratulations.”
- These magical “Words of Encouragement” at the right time can make all the difference between “keep going” and “give up.”
- Congratulate them on a job or task well done.
4. Be there for them.
- Sometimes the “ministry of your presence” is all they need.
- Just being there for them is encouraging.
- Many times all they need is a listening ear to talk through the issue or task.
5. Say “Thank You.”
- Saying thank you is common courtesy.
- It is good manners.
- People like a little reward for hard work.
- I have done it for years.
- A simple thank you will make others aware that you know what they have done worthwhile and find it meaningful to you.
6. Return the favor.
- If someone does something nice for you, an excellent way to show your appreciation is simply to return the favor.
- It will both shock and encourage them.
- Note: don’t ever do something expecting someone to return the favor for you.
7. Answer with something unexpected.
- I have a phrase I have used for years … love them from where they are to where they need to be!
- Even when others let me down or they know I know they “dropped the ball” I don’t tell them so, I usually pick the ball up for them.
- It is amazing the long-term results this can have in encouraging someone.
8. Be a “good finder.”
- A good finder is a person who looks for the good, not the bad in a person or a situation.
- An example would be if a person is always late to meetings, but makes in on time to your meeting instead of saying “About time you attended a meeting on time” say “I really appreciate the extra effort you made to get here on time” without any reference to their normal tardiness.
- Have you ever experienced the magic of a simple smile?
- Have you ever noticed how when you smile at someone they smile back?
- Share an encouraging smile.
10. Offer to lend a hand.
- You can offer to lend a hand.
- Sometimes a person feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and no one cares.
- Show them you really care.
- You can be there for them.
- If a person gives me an excessive workload I usually ask them if there is anything else I can do for them when I finish the job. I do not complain about the amount of work.
What are some ways you encourage others? Please share your suggestions in the comments.
Photo Source: Pixaby
“The world stands aside,” said David Jordan, “to let anyone pass who knows where he is going.” Having a goal or dream applies to those, who learn where they are going late in life as well as for the young.
At age 40, James Michener published his first book. He authored more than 50 titles – 26 historical fiction novels, 31 nonfiction books, and 13 of his works were adapted into TV miniseries or made into movies.
At age 53, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister.
At age 60, Jimmie Aaron Kepler published his first book. This was 33 years after his first professional writing sale of a magazine article.
At age 65, Winston Churchill became British prime minister for the first time and started the epic struggle against Hitler. Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 at age 79 for his many published works, especially his six-volume set The Second World War. He wrote the six volume set when he was in his 70s without any assistance or ghost writers. I love his comment, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” He then wrote the definitive history of World War II. It was kind to him. The photo is of Sir Winston Churchill.
At age 69, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States. He served two terms. He was 77 years old when he completed his second term in office.
At age 70, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. He is the oldest person to be elected to the office for a first term.
At age 70, 80 and again at 90, former President of the USA George H.W. Bush parachuted out of an airplane.
At age 72, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.
At age 75, Ed Delano of California bicycled 3100 miles in 33 days to attend his 50th college reunion in Worcester, Massachusetts.
At age 77, United States Senator John Glenn became the oldest man to fly in space on STS-46, the Space Shuttle. The flight was 36 years after his original flight as a Mercury Astronaut.
At age 80, Grandma Moses, who had started painting in her late 70s, had her first one-woman exhibit.
At age 80, Winston Churchill returned to the House of Commons as a member of parliament and also exhibited 62 of his paintings.
At age 81, Benjamin Franklin skillfully mediated between disagreeing factions at the U. S. Constitutional Convention.
At age 82, Christopher Plummer became the oldest Oscar winner in any acting category for his performance in Beginners
At age 85, Emmanuelle Riva became the oldest Oscar nominee ever for her role in Amour. She was nominated in the Best Actress category.
At age 96, George C. Selbach scored a 110-yard hole-in-one at Indian River, Michigan.
On his 100th birthday, ragtime pianist Eubie Blake exclaimed, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
How about you? Have you slowed down, packed it in, given up, and checked out? If I know the Heavenly Father, I know that He has something wonderful still in store for you! It’s never too late. Why don’t you call God up and ask Him what that might be? His number is found in The Bible in Jeremiah 33:3. It reads, “Call upon Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know!”
Picture Source: Churchill V sign HU 55521.jpg This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain. This is because it is one of the following: 1) It is a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government and taken prior to 1 June 1957, or 2) It was commercially published prior to 1961, or 3) It is an artistic work other than a photograph or engraving (e.g. a painting) which was created by the United Kingdom Government prior to 1961.
One week from today I retire from my day job. The next day I begin retirement and my “retirement” job.
What will I be doing you ask?
I’ll answer that two ways. First, here’s what I won’t be doing.
- I will not be getting up early.
- I will not be driving in rush hour traffic.
- I will not be on-call or be serving computer servers and applications.
- I will not go to Starbucks every day.
- I will not be looking forward to retirement; I’ll be retired.
Second, here is what I will be doing.
- I’ll have a cup of coffee and bowl of oatmeal at home for breakfast.
- I’ll read the Bible in my recliner.
- I hope to go a new coffee group on Monday mornings where I’ll enjoy some of Miss Benita’s former coworker’s company.
- On Friday mornings I plan on returning to the Men’s Bible Study at Prestonwood Baptist and fellowshipping with friends after the Bible study.
- I’ll walk each morning at either The Shops at Willow Bend (in the climate controlled comfort) or at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.
- Daily I plan on writing for three to four hours in the morning. I hope to write 750 to 1000 words a day Monday – Friday.
- I hope for a leisurely at home lunch most days.
- Twice a month I look forward to lunch with my best guy friend Les and to have coffee with friends living in the Prestonhollow, Lake Highlands, and Richardson area on the days I go to Wednesday evening writer’s group.
- On Monday nights I hope to attend a Men’s Bible study. I also plan on doing the majority of the cooking, laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc at home.
- When Miss Benita is off work during the week I will either spend it with her or if I am too much in her way then retreat to my writer’s life.
- I also plan on an early afternoon nap daily. I then will do an afternoon 30-minute walk at Nebraska Furniture before spending two or three hours a day Monday – Friday doing the business of writing work like networking, blogging, and marketing.
- The first Wednesday evening of each month is First Wednesday services at the church.
- Twice a month I will attend my night writer’s group. I am also planning on reading more, hopefully, a fiction and nonfiction book a week.
- I hope to get more involved with alumni and Corps of Cadet Alumni Council activities at one of my colleges, UT Arlington.
- I am also praying about starting a 401 (c) 3 non-profit ministry.
Retirement doesn’t look boring to me.
Photo source: Pixaby
I am at the Starbucks at Frankfort and Preston this morning. My usual Starbucks Preston next to Barnes and Nobles in Plano, Texas did not open on time as their opener didn’t show. The barista present told me what was going on and that he called the manager.
Besides me, a running club was there. They meet at that location every Tuesday and Friday. The group has twelve to fifteen present most times when they meet.
The next nearest location has been closed for renovation so the morning traffic has really picked up at this location. My estimate would be a loss of at least 30 or 40 sales as once the opener shows they usually take 20 to 30 minutes to get up and going. I know this because my normal location has this happen every few weeks.
I am writing this morning. Today I am working on the religious science fiction book Ouest’s first draft. I’m working on chapter seven,
Here are the first few opening lines from chapter one of Quest.
I woke up howling.
Relax. I must relax. Slow cleansing breathes. Don;’t hyperventilate. I must take slow breaths, I thought.
But I couldn’t relax. My rapidly pounding heart wanted out of my chest. It needed to get out of the room fast.
Well, what do you think? Leave a comment. I’d appreciate your input.
Photo Source: Pixaby
Thunder and Lightning
Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017. I’m sitting at my favorite coffee shop with an iced coffee with vanilla and milk. It is 6:10 a.m. Thunder, lightning, and monsoon like rain greeted me as I left home for the twenty-minute drive to the coffee house. A weather warning with a flood warning is in effect. I am listening to a concert by First Aid Kit. Their song Wolf has my toes tapping.
Collaborative or Group Blog
The writer’s group I belong to met last night. All but one member was present. The group is looking at doing a collaborative or group blog. It has been under discussion since a late April 2017 meeting. I’m not sure anything meaningful was decided. Sitting at the table listening to the discussion my mind wandered back to 1968 and The Paris Peace talks, which opened on May 10. The Paris Peace Talks plagued by procedural questions that impeded any meaningful progress. They discussed for seven months the shape of the table and seating arrangements! In my opinion, the writer’s group is being equally unproductive. Some of the group members read this blog. Hi there. ANd that’s what I think.
Two weeks from today I retire. I am on my final countdown. Here’s an inventory of what I am working on in my writing life –
- Fiction book – Quest: Book Two of the Liberator Series. I am about 25,000 words into writing the first draft. It is religious science fiction.
- Fiction book – writing under a pen name. It is literary fiction. I am 15,000 words into the first draft.
- Non-fiction – working title “Prayers for the Chronically Ill.” The first draft is finished. I have the book proposal with the acquisitions editor of a traditional New York Publisher. Why? I want to see my book in a Barnes and Nobles. If they say no I will self-publish and make more money.
- Non-fiction – I have the first draft completed of a memoir tentatively titled, “The Cold War Kid: Growing up With Sputnik, Castro, Khrushchev, Vietnam and Roock ‘n Roll.”
- Fiction – I am turning my award winning short story “The Praire Dos Have Cold Mining Helmets with Lights into a novel.
Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017. I am sitting at my favorite coffee house. It is a Starbucks without a drive thru window in Plano, Texas. Located in a strip shopping center with a Wholefoods, it is adjacent to a Barnes and Nobles Bookstore. I have been coming to this location for twenty years.
My Starbucks in some ways is like the old television show Cheers theme song. It has a phrase that says “You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, You wanna go where everybody knows your name.” (Where Everybody Knows Your Name Lyrics by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo). That’s the kind of place my favorite coffee house is.
When I come in they greet me by name and ask if I want my usual. It’s nice to be noticed, known and to have a usual. I see a core group of the same people at my favorite coffee house. I know their names. They know mine. I know one is a retired sales executive. Another sells medical equipment. Several lawyers and accountants are regulars. There is a group of school teachers that get their morning caffeine here. Several have become friends. They all know I write and take an interest in what I’m doing. It has become my fortress of solitude from the world. Also, the Muse knows I’m here and visits on a regular basis.
This morning I am working on a literary fiction book I am writing under my pen name. I have a dear friend in my writer’s group who is co-writing the book with me. Collaboration is interesting. I did the book outline, characters, the world, story arc, and she adds the secret sauce. No, you may not know my pen name.
Speaking of writer’s groups, mine meets tonight. It’s a lot like the group I see at my favorite coffee house, except a few have become more extended family. I’ve been hanging with this group for six and one-half years. They are the best.
It is Tuesday morning, August 15, 2017. Those who know me well would agree that I am a disciplined person of habit. I live a fairly structured life. I love order. I love routine. I dislike surprises and emotional roller coaster people leave me confused.
When asked if I am spontaneous, I have to look up the word in the dictionary because I am the least spontaneous man alive. In my mind, spontaneous equals unplanned and disorder. I am a plotter, not a pantser.
Yes, I am an early riser, getting up before 5 AM about 360 days a year, even on weekends. I leave home by 5:30 AM to go to my favorite coffee shop for morning writing. Before I leave, I launched my Scrivener software on my Macintosh at home. It’s my professional writing software. I have the first draft of the book Quest, Book Two of the Liberator Series up and waiting for me.
I have an appointment at the coffee shop at 6 AM with The Muse. The Muse knows where to find me and usually arrives just after I have gotten my morning coffee, taken my seat, and logged on to my Apple Mac via my Google Chromebook using Chrome Remote Desktop. Well, it is time to leave as the drive takes 20 minutes this time of morning.
Well, I’ve completed all the above. It’s time for my morning writing before heading to the day job. I have sixteen days until I retire from the day job and begin writing full-time. By the way, I am working on the first draft of chapter seven this morning.
My First Taste of Writing
I have been writing for over fifty years. Yikes, that means the years are adding up quickly. The first story I remember writing was in 1965. It was a fifteen-minute story we turned into a play. Along with the other military brats in my neighborhood, we performed the little skit to the joy of the other children and our parents.
It was written in November 1965 with the Battle of Ia Drang Valley on the evening news. I was in the seventh grade. What was that play about?
The story written during the battle was about an imaginary rouge B-52 bomber crew flying in to save the day by blowing the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong Communist back to the stone age. The story was set in a B-52 with the crew communicating during its imaginary unauthorized mission to rescue the US Army’s 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 7th Cavalry from the evil Commies. I remember thinking someone has to do something to save those brave soldiers.
I was living in base housing at Biggs Air Force Base (AFB) in El Paso, Texas. Biggs AFB was the home of the 95th Bombardment Wing which flew B-52s. And Biggs AFB was adjacent to the US Army’s Fort Bliss, Texas.
My school mates and I watched US Army basic trainees march to and from the rifle ranges past our school yard almost every day. The military was our family, in our blood and always on our minds.
My First Professional Sale
From 1965 until 1981 I wrote many stories. Some were published in school and community newspapers. Others were published in my part-time job’s newsletter. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I had my first professional writing sale this month in 1981. that Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I had my first professional writing sale this month in 1981.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I had my first professional writing sale this month in 1981. What is a professional sale you ask? It is being paid professional wages for the writing. I sold a magazine article to a religious trade journal.
Since then I’ve sold many magazine and trade journal articles. I have sold book reviews, short stories, and nonfiction articles.
My Regular Writing Routine
For the last twenty-years almost every morning I wake up about 4:45 AM. I get ready for work and head out the door usually by 5:30 AM. I arrive at my favorite coffee shop, a Starbucks, at 6:00 AM. It located halfway between my home and my day job. I order my coffee and write for an hour. I normally write between 250 to 1000 words. That’s one to four pages. This writing routine has produced the first draft of a book every six to nine months. After writing, I head into the office normally arrive between 7:15 and 7:30 AM.
Tomorrow I’ll share what I’m currently working on.
Photo Credit: A U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52D-35-BW Stratofortress (s/n 52-669) dropping bombs over Vietnam. This aircraft was hit by SA-2 surface-to-air missile over North Vietnam during the “Linebacker II” offensive on 31 December 1972 and crashed in in Laos. The crew of six ejected, but only five were rescued. National Museum of the USAF photo 110224-F-XN622-007. The photo is a Public Domain picture.–
Back to Writing
Today is Sunday, August 13, 2017. I am enjoying a Sunday morning tall iced coffee with vanilla and cream at my favorite coffee house as I resume morning writing after a four-day break due to a cardiac catheterization.
Amazing how you can’t type or use a computer when they access your heart through the artery/vein in your right wrist. They run a little tub up through the wrist, arm, through the shoulder and down to the heart. Then they run a second long thin tube called a catheter through the first straw like tube. In my case, it was inserted into an artery/vein in my wrist threaded through my blood vessels to my heart. My test included a coronary angiogram, which checks the coronary arteries, though they are not part of every cardiac catheterization. The purpose of the cardiac catheterization was to check blood flow in the coronary arteries. It looked for blockages. This is pretty cool stuff.
I’m writing for an hour this morning before going to church and Bible fellowship class. I return to the day job tomorrow morning.
I am on the stretch run with my retirement from the day job just two weeks from this Thursday. Then I transition to writing full-time. I’ll be writing about the transition in the days ahead. Why not join me in my adventure?
Photo source: Original photo taken by Jimmie Aaron Kepler