Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spark Days.

Today is one of those perfect days, a "spark" day, if you will, when everything just seems right. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and a breeze descends from on high. All I can do is smile and nod my head to the music that seems to be coming from everywhere. It's in everything; vibrant and fresh -- a jazzy underscore to my life that I just can't get enough of.
I drove home from work this afternoon with my windows down, cruising along the back roads of North Carolina and feelin' good. I sang to the wind and waved at passing cars, stopped to let a little family cross the road and continued on my merry way. No rush, no care, no problem. When I pulled into my driveway I hopped out of the car, snapping my fingers to an imaginary beat and humming aimlessly. When I entered my sunfilled house I found the windows open and my mama and little sister in the living room chatting away about their day-long shopping excursion. I whipped over to them -- hugged 'em, kissed 'em -- and sauntered into the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal.
Then, downing Honey Graham Oh!s by the spoonful, I went out into the backyard where I tossed a chewed up piece of rawhide to my peppy Chihuahua, Scooter. The sun at my back, I smiled at the simple joys in my life and offered up thanks to my Heavenly Father for everything I've been given. My family, my home, my talents, my testimony, my desire to fill life to the fullest extent possible with good people, good things, and good times. And I absolutely love and cherish good days like these, wherein my spark for life is set afire. These are my spark days.
And as always I am driven to write, to create. I wish to convey these joys in any possible way; to uplift and enlighten, to brighten and inspire. That's what writing is about for me. To allow everyone a chance to feel this bliss, this delight, and love for life. Writing, for me, is providing everyone a chance to feel that spark.

Life is good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reindeer Poop.

Hope it's not too late for a Christmas story!


Mitch jolted awake at 6:24 a.m. He stared at the clock for a moment to make sure he wasn't dreaming and then threw off his covers. Adjusting his tangled pajamas, he hopped out of bed and climbed to the top bunk where his twin brother lay curled beneath his blanket.
"Jimmy!" he shouted in a whisper. "Jimmy, wake up!"
"W-what?" His brother sleepily emerged, eyes half-opened.
"It's Christmas!" Mitch beamed, shaking Jimmy's shoulders.
The other twin shed all semblance of drowsiness with a gasp. "I almost forgot!"
"Hurry!" Mitch cried. "We hafta wake up Emmie and Scott!"
They scampered down the ladder, making as little noise as possible, and ran down the hall to their little sister's room. Giddy with that special excitement that only Christmas can bring, they jumped onto the pink-princess-covered bed and jostled their 4-year-old sister awake.
"Emmie, Emmie! Wake up!" they cried. "It's Christmas!"
Emmie peeped her eyes open, sluggish for only a second before she, too, remembered. It was Christmas, and Santa Claus had come! With a gasp, she stood on her bed and clapped her hands.
"Presents! Presents!" she shouted.
"Shhhhh!" Mitch put a finger to his lips. "You're gonna wake up Mommy and Daddy!"
"Yeah," Jimmy agreed, pulling Emmie down from the bed. "You don't want them to tell us to go back to bed, do you?"
"Oops..." Emmie giggled and covered her mouth with her hands. "I be soft."
"Then c'mon," Mitch said.
They trooped out of the room and across the hall to wake up their big brother Scott. They could hear him snoring from outside his door. Giggling to each other, they pushed it open and crept to his bedside. Emmie tugged on Mitch's arm in the darkness.
"Mitchie, Mitchie! Is it twoo dat Scop doesn't buhweev in Santa Cwaus?"
"Shh!" Mitch turned to her. "Yes. He's a preteen now. He's too 'grown up' to believe in anything magical. He says it's silly and that Santa Claus doesn't exist."
"But Santa does exist, don't he Mitchie?"
"Of course he does." Mitch climbed onto the bed and crouched over his snoring, 12-year-old brother. "Mama says he's just going through a phrase, whatever that is. He just needs something to make him believe again."
"I hope somefing comes, Mitchie." Emmie's voice was earnest and sweet.
"C'mon already!" Jimmy had gotten impatient. "On three."
Jimmy and Emmie joined Mitch on the bed, crouched for action.
"One..." they began to chant in whispers. "Two..... Three!"
They all at once jumped on their snoring big brother, yelping in delight.
"Scott, Scott! Wake up! Let's go see what presents we got!"
Scott groaned and fought against the tugging, the yanking, and the pulling. "Shut up..." he murmured. "Gosh, just let me sleep. It's too early."
"Aw, c'mon, Scott! Let's go! Let's go!" They started to pull away his covers.
"Hey, let go of that!" Scott cried in objection. "Guys, stop, or I'll steal all your toys and...break them or something."
Emmie stopped, registering what exactly her brother had just said. Then with quivering lip she got really close to Scott's face and said: "But Scop... You wouldn't weally do that, would you?"
"I will if you don't stop pulling on me, so cut it out." He buried his head beneath his pillow.
Emmie's voice began to tremble. "But vat would be mean, a-and no one can be mean on Chwismiss... can vey?"
"Scott can," said Jimmy, getting off the bed. "'Cause he's all grown up now. He's no fun anymore."
"C'mon Scott," said Mitch, kneeling on the mattress. "Please? We want to go see what Santa brought us."
"Pwease, pwease, pwease?" Emmie clasped her hands together.

There was a long pause as Scott deliberated. The siblings twitched and fidgeted impatiently until finally he grumbled.

"Okay," he said. "Let's go see the presents Mom and Dad bought us. I hope they got everything on my list."
"Yay!" they whooped with glee.
"Shhh!" Mitch hushed through a smile. "Remember...."
Scott rolled his eyes and led the way out of his room, across the hall, and down the stairs. The twins and Emmie followed close behind, bumping into each other in excitement. As they reached the bottom, the three younger children dashed around the slow-moving Scott.

The hardwood floor was cold beneath their bare feet, but the fire on the hearth in the living room burned bright and warm. The white lights on the Christmas tree glimmered in the dim, fire-lit room, casting a magical glow across the presents carefully arranged beneath the fir boughs. The children ooh-ed and ahh-ed as they knelt down on the rug, seeking out the beautifully wrapped packages that had their names on them.

Scott lumbered across the room, trying to keep his cool. Bending half-heartedly, he glanced around beneath the tree, spotting a few presents that were for him. The others were lifting and feeling as they went, sometimes shaking when the uniform shape of a square box gave no hint nor clue as to what was inside.

Soon, the knit stockings were being sifted through, candy and toys being strewn across the rug.

Their cries of "Oh wow!" and "Look at this!" were enough to awaken their parents above and very soon they made their way down the stairs to ensure no presents were cracked open prematurely.

Clad in bathrobe and fuzzy slippers, their father smiled and approached the tree. In a deep voice he said: "Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, little ones!"

"Daddy, Daddy!" They laughed racously.

"Are you ready to open some presents?"

"Yeah!" The younger children danced around with glee, while Scott smirked and sat on the fireplace.

Father put his arm around Mother as they sat down around the tree to face the pile of presents before them.

The next hour was filled with the tearing of wrapping paper, shouts of excitement and surprise, and the joyful sounds of content children. Their parents sat and watched with gratitude, and the sun outside rose on a white morning.

But not a word was heard from Scott as he indifferently poked through his pile of opened gifts. He had received everything on his list - the newest iPod, a brand new cell phone, the three CDs he'd requested, and a DVD documentary of his favorite band. His parents had even thrown in some new socks and underwear. Yet he didn't understand why his younger siblings were happier with their simple toys - their Legos, Barbies, GI Joes, and plastic cars - than he was with his fancy gadgets.

His parents observed all of this with a close eye, knowing and wise, and when the time was right, Father stood and with a big, overexaggerated sigh announced that it was time to gather the trash and clean up the place so they could get on with their playing. With only some minor objections, they all began to gather the clumps of crinkled wrapping paper that had been tossed to and fro in the merry melee.

"Scottie," Father held out a trash bag to his oldest son. "You can do the honors this year."

"Gee thanks," he said. "I'd love to gather trash."

Father winked at Mother, and together they herded their children in the attempt to clean up.

Soon, with the white trash bag bulging, the floors were clear, except for the toys and goodies. Having fulfilled their duties, the children went back to playing and Scott stood by the back door with the bag. The grey trash bin was across the yard beside the shed, and seemed oh-so-far away.

"D'you want me to help, son?" Father opened the door for him.

"Nah, I got it." Scott moped.

"Hurry back!" Mother called from the kitchen. "We'll start cooking breakfast!"

Scott stepped out onto the patio in his pajama pants and socks, his breath hanging in the air, and made his way along the path that led to the shed. He hung his head and dragged the trash bag behind him. When he reached the bin, he opened the lid and flopped the bag into the stinky chasm, and without bothering to close it, he turned to run back into the house. With a few bounds, he was halfway across the yard, tromping over the frosty grass in his socks until he hoofed right into something warm and wet and squishy.
"Ugh!" He cried, lifting his foot from the brown pile. "What the--"
Poop. Fresh and steamy poop. Huge poop -- but whose poop?! They didn't have a dog, there neighbors didn't have a dog, and there was no possible way any neighborhood mutt could have scaled their 7-foot wooden fence to plop its mess by the shed. The turds were too large to belong to any furry woodland creature that could have dropped a little present from the trees, and nothing big enough to poop such epic proportions could possibly climb their little suburban tree-wannabees.
Scott was stumped. Stumped and disgusted. He held his nose, scraping his foot across the grass, fuming and musing while streaks of brown marred the whiteness of the frost.
This just crowned his whole morning in a halo of glorified waste, and from an unknown animal no less. It was like God had flung it down, like a gift, from the sky meant especially to--
The twelve-year-old boy froze in the yard in mid-scrape.
From the sky...
Visions of a jolly man in red soaring through the sky at the helm of bell-strewn sleigh flashed in his mind. The fat man laughed from deep within, a merry "Ho ho ho", and flicked a black whip over his mush of eight flying reindeer....
Scott shook his slowly, a wry smile appearing on his face. Yet, just as he expressed his disbelief, something on the roof caught his eye. There seemed to be a trail of...tracks that stretched from one end of the ridge to the next, and down the side to the eaves where, perhaps, someone or something, or both...took off. For, the ground below was unblemished, free from any trace of footprint or track.
The boy's mouth hung open as he connected the two -- the poop and the tracks.
Could it possibly be? Could a mush of...of reindeer pulling a sleigh chock-full of presents have really flown over and onto their house? And could one particularly gaseous reindeer have dropped a rather smelly load smack in the middle of their yard as they took off again into the night?
A full-out smile stretched across Scott's face, and he almost laughed out loud.
Forgetting entirely about the unpleasant smear remaining on his sock, he dashed to the back door, calling out to his family: "Guys, you'll never believe it!"
The younger kids , who were still in the living room, eagerly rushed out into the frosty yard to witness the poop-miracle themselves.
"See, Scop!" Emmie hugged his waist as her brothers danced around them. "I told you Santa's weal!"
Scott blushed, while a very satisfied and content smile crept over Emmie's litte face.
"You just had to buhweive..."

Inside the house, sitting at the kitchen table, the childrens' mother and father smiled to one another.
"I told you it'd work," Father said with a wink.
Mother smirked and took her arm from around her husband's shoulders.
"Oh, I never doubted you," she said. "The idea is foolproof. Who'd ever guess there are reindeer farms in Utah?"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the Prose Problem solved.

It seems lately I've been hesitant to write prose--afraid, even--since every time I sit down with my pen and start writing I never like what comes out. Either it doesn't make sense because it's all jumbled into one eternal run-on sentence, or it's empty and has no meaning, or simply is not entertaining...

In short, it's been rather disheartening, since I have always wanted to be an author of fiction. I have countless ideas that I want to pursue, and plan to do so -- yet, for some reason I find myself unable to put pen to paper and like the result.

Perhaps it seems I'm being too critical of myself? Not giving my work a chance to grow, or to be read. But I don't think this is the case. I've felt on numerous, countless occassions the feeling of being "on". When the words flows from my fingers like a rushing tide, unstoppable, at times insatiable. It's a burning, a tingling, if you will, of my writing sense. I know when it's being stimulated, when it's being used. And lately as I've tried to write short snippets of stories I simply haven't felt that tingle, that rush of the writing sense that I know and am so familiar with....

And then yesterday I dusted off the ol' laptop. Not mine, but the families. The model is a few years old (which, in these days, is decades behind in the latest technology). But yesterday afternoon I decided to crack her open. For old time's sake. And to my surprise I found some of my old writing. Some of my old prose. And I liked was I reading (not in a prideful way...but an encouraging way. You know?). My spark was rekindled, and hope for my writing renewed. I can write prose!

Then what has been the issue the past couple weeks?! I haven't been able to put my thumb on it. Until last night as I laid in bed, staring at my brother's top bunk and letting my mind seep into some form of rest. But I was restless! I could not figure this out. Then it hit me.

(I apologize for the suspenseful build up. Perhaps I'm making it too melodramatic than this humble epiphany deserves. But nonetheless -- )

It is often said that each writer is very different from the next. In the way they think, the way they convey their ideas, their styles obviously. But also in the environment in which they work best, and the medium with which they choose to write... Perhaps (and only perhaps), my writing sense is not easily stimulated when I choose to write with a pen. I mean, I can write for hours in my journal, rambling about my thoughts, goals, ideas, challenges, joys, and heartaches. I can sit and puzzle at my desk and write verses of poetry, spending oodles of time just thinking, trying to summon that perfect word, that exact rhyme. I can philosophize and theorize to my heart's content with a pen. But my writing sense just isn't stimulated in the same way when I try to write fiction by hand. My mind seems clouded, and my perspective dull and narrow. Yet as I sit perched at ol' Dusty, my fingers clacking on the keyboard, my mind is clear and focused. And I begin to feel that tingling for prose once again...

*End of Epiphany*

And so, with that pretense, I post some of my old work. The following remains untitled, though I believe I intended it to be the prologue to a story. This is what rekindled my desire and hope to write prose...


The light was dim in the small attic, illuminated by a single bulb that hung from the rafters. It was dusty and old, and the air smelled of musty clothes and candle wax. A wave of nostalgia nearly overwhelmed me as I climbed up into the room. Memories. Long nights spent by candlelight, remembering, recording; writing until my hand cramped and all semblance of a candle had disappeared. It all came back: The window. The desk. The ink. The pen. The yellow tint of the pages.
The notebook.
It had been ages since I’d been up there. But there everything was, exactly as I had left it all those years ago.
And there was the chest.
Nestled in the corner, caked in a layer of dust, it sat. The wood was faded and the metal rungs tarnished. Where had I hidden the key?
The boy timidly peeked out from behind me. He had a youthful glow about his face, and his eyes gleamed with a curiosity that brought me back to when I was a kid.
“It’s alright,” I said, and beckoned him follow me as I crossed the room. He trailed behind me, transfixed. “This is where I used to come to be alone. To think.”
I wiped the dust from the desk.
“See here?” I gestured to the stool. “This is where I sat.”
“What did you do?” the 8-year-old asked.
I shrugged. “Mostly I wrote.”
“About your adventures?” The light in his eyes flared.
I smiled and ran my hand through his hair. “Yes. My ‘adventures’.”
“Aw, c’mon Grandpa!” He tugged on my sleeve. “You promised you’d tell me the story!”
“Oh, I don’t know.”
“Please, please! You promised.”
“What would your mother think?”
“She’ll never know. C’mon! Please.” He looked up at me with his big, little boy eyes. “…please?”
I sighed.
“Alright, alright. You got me!”
He clapped his hands together. “Yay!”
“As long as you think your old enough.” I gave him a stern look.
“Oh, Grandpa, I promise. Last week I helped Dad cut the grass, and he said I was driving all by myself!”
“Oh?” I chuckled. “Well, if you were driving by yourself…”
His hands were folded and he stuck his bottom lip out.
“And you promise you won’t tell your mother?” I winked.
He shook his head solemnly.
“Okay then…” I smiled. “I will tell you the story.”
He whooped and hugged my waist. “Thank you, Grandpa!”
“But first,” I said. “I want to show you something.”
“What is it?” He followed close as I moved to the corner with the chest.
“It’s where I kept all my things.”
“What things, Grandpa?”
“Well, let’s see, shall we?” We knelt on the ground.
The top of the chest was probably two feet off the ground and about double that in length. The grain in the wood was twisted and stained. I reached around the back and felt for the loose board in the floor. With a little bit of prying I pulled it up and slipped my hand into the small space.
There was the key. The metal was cool against my skin as I picked it up.
“Ooh,” the child’s eyes widened as I opened my palm.
It was black and slightly rusted from its long spell in the damp space beneath the floorboards; and small, no longer than two inches.
“Take it,” I offered.
“You mean I can open it?”
I nodded.
Slowly, almost reverently, he took the key in his little hands.
“Where’s it go?” He asked.
“Right here.” The hole was in the center.
It fit. One full turn, and then – click.
He looked up at me, a smile on face.
“Open it!” I, too, smiled.
With some effort, he pushed the lid up on its hinges and rested it on the wall. And we both gazed inside.
Books lay upon books, their bindings clearly worn; and papers, yellowed with age, were stacked and folded, scattered atop the pile and wedged in between pages. In one corner sat an old kerosene lantern with a book of matches. Next to that was a cup filled with pencils and pens.
“Whoa…” the boy marveled. “Look at all this old stuff!”
I shifted some of the books aside, looking for it.
“What’s this?” He held up an old copy of The Alchemist.
I smiled to myself. “Inspiration.”
He paused, giving me a questioning look, but then shrugged and picked up another book. I, too, continued sifting through the contents of the chest.
I knew it was here somewhere. How deep was it buried? Surely I…
Then there it was. I felt it first, beneath a stack of what appeared to be notes, before the sleek red cover caught my eye.
I picked it up.
It felt familiar in my hands; like a friend I’d parted with, only to be reunited after years of growing and learning. Like coming home.
The boy looked up, realizing that I had found what I was looking for.
Slowly, I opened it, feeling the resistance of the binding, stiff with age and neglect. On the inside of the cover, in scratchy handwriting that I very much recognized, were the words:

Ben Aarons

I fanned through the pages, every one of them filled to the edges with words. Words of love and laughter, of joy. Words of feeling, of revelation, discovery; of encounter, of perception, words of reaction and invention – handwritten words. Lasting, indelible. Enduring words.
My words.
I looked down at my young grandson kneeling beside me – as curious as any little boy ought to be – and our eyes locked. All was still in the old, dimly-lit attic. Not a noise, not a stir in the silence.
“Are you ready for the story, lad?”

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the Web.

The following few entries correlate with last night's entry (Dec. 8th) regarding noise, but focus more on its affects on a larger scale -- on the nation, and society as a whole; on youth and adults alike; on the world.

Our society is growing ever-steadily more connected. Advances in technology are linking us in ways philophers of the past perhaps never thought imaginable. It has become so even in the comfort of our own homes.

Picture this: the world is a giant spiderweb of singular beauty, made up of billions of tiny, little, delicate strands of silk not dissimilar to we as people. This Web has been spun since the beginning of time -- since the great Author himself created the void in which the Web was first birthed-- it's design and purpose beautiful. Each delicate strand serves in their own unique function, contributing in small, yet crucial, ways to the Web. For millennia the Web continued to grow outward, spun by the Master, until, quite suddenly, there was no more void in which to expand. Yet the spinning still continues. And as time drives ever on, the Web fast approaching its imminent and predetermined end, these strands begin to become closer and closer together, tighter knit and exceedingly crowded. With the addition of new strands over the centuries, and the necessary losses, the Web has reached a stage in its development where there is no apparent space between the strands. Indeed, they are cramped, and spun one on top of the other. A strand's individual domain in the Web has seemingly been done away with. There is always constant, persistent connection with other strands in the Web due to this sudden "inward" expansion (to wit, the sudden expansion of technology, or the interest of expanding, figuratively, in connection rather than a physical outward expansion).

At first this cluttered and cramped association is frowned upon by the strands, most of them quite displeased in the sudden change of pace and space. Until it becomes the norm, the standard even, and it is widely accepted all throughout the Web. Time still marches on, and the Web becomes ever more and more conjoined. The strands learn to adapt and soon grow to love their current condition -- even crave it, incessantly, insatiably.

That's not to say this inward expansion is entirely a bad thing. For, in truth, the Web was created in the beginning by the Author, definite in design and purpose. Everything that occurs on the Web happens for a very particular and certain reason, and is performed to meet some end, be it minute or tremendous, visibly (to those who observe) directed by His hand.

It is from the choices made by each individual strand that the bad comes forth - for indeed nothing comes from the Author that is not good. It is in the habits and desires of the "adapting" strands that the negative is made apparent. In this case, the inward expansion of the Web which has caused, and will continue to cause, a very constant connection and resulting desire for communication, does hold true purpose amidst the initial and more evident negative affects.

For instance, the most prevalent is that connection denotes unity, and how very true this is. Harmony, oneness, good will, and affinity can naturally spring forth from connection.

Then what is it, you may ask, about the "inward expansion" of the Web that troubles me so?

Suffice it to say, for tonight, that I resent the overbearance of some certain strands (not the Web as a whole) in their persistent communications, as well as their (most likely) blind involvement in the rapid spreading of the most contagious Disease in the world today.


Monday, December 8, 2008


My life is a cacophany of chaotic happenings. A constant press for connection, an incessant barrage of communication. And I can't stand it.

But I cannot escape.

I think this is one HUGE problem with our society today. Peoples' insatiable desire to ALWAYS be talking with SOMEONE It's a disease, really. And the ease of modern technology is merely wind to the flame. They've made it so easy for us to always be connected. From Facebook, to Myspace, to Instant Messenger, all the way to the mobile "conveniences" that are Blackberry's and cell phones. There is always noise. I don't mean audible noise. I mean the frenzied distractions that are thrown our way every minute of the day. Texts, instant messages. Things that detract from our inner peace.

This is outer noise.

And sometimes we need to conciously make an effort to reduce that outer noise - cause to cease, if but for a moment, the frantic pulse of our lives. Some of that Zen stuff, you know? It may sound shrink-ish to some of you, but I highly recommend it.




I wish I could take credit for this concept, but I cannot. The advice was initially issued, through inspiration, by a great and wise man named Tom Cheney. And inspired it is. We all need reminders like these to draw us back to the now, to those who are in our lives now - not someone, somewhere across cyberspace, awaiting our immediate response.

I've had it with this false urgency, this bogus bombardment of space, and desperate, constant, clamorous call for attention. In one, huge, bounding stride, I approach this giant that is Communication - it stands on a hill, much looked upon and praised by the average American teen - and I stare it in the face, and say, my voice resonating throughout the valley of the nation:

"I am here, not there. Now...not then. And nothing, no body, is going to pull me away from it."

And so I resolve to live in the now, to give those who I am with my full attention and respect. Right now, I am going to go watch football with my dad. Right now, I am scratching my dog's ears. Right now, I commence this journey. I set out on this road, but not alone.

Are you with me?

Let us begin - right now.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

tonight, some Poetry.

Leaves fall,
Burnt orange and red,
To mark the passage of time;
Birds call,
Like sirens in my head,
And drive me to this rhyme.

Wind shakes
The branches; they dance
Like children beneath the sky.
Time takes
Their innocence trance;
Their leaves fall off and die.


The Coffee Shop

Warm aromas waft about
And fill my nose.
Hiding crowds from cold without
in winter clothes.

All around me things inspire,
And so I write.
On the hearth a blazing fire
Is burning bright.

Rosy lips are sipping mugs;
cold hands, warm hearts.
Friendly smiles, tender hugs
As music starts.

Foggy windows in their panes,
By candle-light,
Offer views of frosty lanes
And nippy night.

Cozy is this little town;
I'm tucked away.
Dilworth, where I settle down,
Is where I stay.

Here we gather, friend and kin;
From toe to top
We're filled with peace as we are in
The coffee shop.



Thursday, December 4, 2008

the Sandbox.

Do you remember the days when things were simpler? When Hotwheels were the crap and bouncy balls were the best invention since pull-ups? Days when a plastic airplane could entertain you for hours on end, when the sandbox housed your dreams and held no limits.

You could do anything. You could be anything. No one could stop you from going to the moon, or from leaping off your roof in attempt to fly. The world was your playground, and everything a toy especially designed for your enjoyment. It didn't matter that your mother's pantyhouse wasn't intended to be used as a rope in a tug-of-war match. You had fun, and that was all that mattered. Mommy loved you, so she only sent you to time-out for 10 minutes. And then it was back to the toddler drawing board.

What was next? Who knew? The sky was the limit because you didn't care. It was all about the fun, the sheer joy that can be found in the simple, simple things. A smile, a funny face. Sitting in the backyard with the dog as he scratched his ears. Watching mom cook (or better yet, helping her cook - there's a novel idea). Laughter amongst siblings. Funny stories. Shared triumphs.

Life is full of simple moments. I think sometimes we let them pass us by because we're too caught up in whatever else we think is going on. But this is it. These are the things we must live for.

This is my challenge to each of you, regardless of your age, gender, or present circumstance. No one is "too busy"; they just think they are. So be a kid for once. Let's take things back to the sandbox, and enjoy the simple things in life.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008


There once lived a great carpenter who was very skilled in his craft. Indeed, the finest craftsmen in the valley. One day he set about carving a large block of wood from a giant piece of mahogany. After hours of sawing, shaving, and chipping away in his shop, the carpenter began to sand down the rough edges and sides until it was smooth at the touch and one had no fear of getting a sliver. Upon finishing, he stepped back to assess, with pride, his handiwork.
Yet pleased as he was, his work was not finished. The piece itself was complete, yes. And it was beautiful. However, the mahogany block had a foreordained purpose, a destiny set from the start that it must fulfill.
The carpenter leaned into the side of the block and began to push it across the room and out the wide open door of his shop, where he then proceeded down the path that lead through the village and up out of the valley.
As the path grew steeper the carepenter only worked harder, pushing and shoving with all his might. He wedged and wiggled and walked the block up the through the hills, never taking a pause for respite. Finally the path relented and began to plane off. The carepenter then guided the block to the edge of a precipice where he faced a sheer drop into the gorge below. Without hesitation and with one final grunt of exertion, the carpenter pushed the mahagony block over the side of the cliff. It fell through the air rather gracefully, almost deliberately -- only to land on the writer who puzzled beneath the willow tree below.
Satisfied, the carpenter returned home and immediately sought after another piece of mahogany.

Writer's block hurts.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

what it is to Write.


To write. To think and then to write. To write without thinking. To write to impress. To write to express. To write to explore. To write to indulge. To write to dream. To write to imagine. To write to...inspire. To think, and to muse, and to ponder in your mind what exactly is the meaning to...write.

To write...or not to write?

To write.

I am a writer. So I write. I must write. But my impish little shoulder Bryce is always whispering, always talking - and it begs the question: Do I write often enough?

Oh, certainly not... But I will. It is the dawn of a new age. A new sky, with miles to roam free - complete with turbulence, hang time, and that tickling sensation we all love so much. A new page. Blank. Open. Gaping wide open. Waiting, just waiting, with its ivory stillness, its glossy sheen that almost taunts, yet virtually begs to be showered upon with words. Words that fall like rain drops when released; words that flow freely when called upon. And I, the writer - I, the cloud - seek to please the earth with cleansing rain. To refresh the world with this inspirational precipitation.

Lately I've been wandering in that stark land of overcommitment I hear is common among teenagers. My wandering has resulted in a persistent, yet dull, drizzle. The rain has been there, yes, but it has lacked wind to drive it sideways. Been missing that mysterious factor that puts the thrill in the storm. But I officially declare a warning: From here on out, it's hurricane season. Draw the storm shutters. Secure the levies - The flood is coming. The storm approaches. The cloudburst, the downpour. There is rain on the horizon. And it whispers of words.

Words. Writing. To write....



Sunday, August 10, 2008

it's a Happy Ever After after all...

Life is filled with storybook moments - instances that, perhaps, might seem so perfect they rather belong in the age-worn pages of a leather-bound classic, tucked beneath a child's mattress and only mentioned in hushed, revered conversation. But that's what makes these moments so special - the seeming fact that they should be tucked snugly in a fanciful tale read only at bed time leaves you with a surreal feeling of gratitude, that God allows such moments, such experiences, for his Children.

For, indeed, God is the great Author of all things, is He not? The Mastermind behind the world's plan, the ultimate Storyteller. As His children, we are naturally a part of that story. It is, however, up to us as to what part of the story we fall into. Our actions dictate our role in the plot, and the quality of our character, our spiritual (and temporal) bearing, may determine whether we fall in line with the protagonists or the antagonists. Let us not be the latter. For, once caught in the snare of the Adversary, it's a long, hard road to return... But it can be traversed, with effort, with struggle; yes, the blood, sweat, and tears. We all can return, and we need not be afraid.

Our story is our testimony, a manifestation of devotion. Our legacy is obeisance, homage to God who created all things. We are all pieces of a bigger story, making our way along the road that is life's journey, experiencing the bitter and the sweet. And it is in those sweet, "storybook" moments that hope is renewed, our conviction reawakened, our spirits rejuvenated. It is in every burst of joy that swells in your heart, every breathless moment, every wave of that warm, fuzzy feeling deep within your soul that you find a calm assurance that all will turn out as it is meant to be. With a little faith and trust in the Lord, we will see an eternal sky. One that whispers of infinite happiness...and an ultimately happy ever after.


Saturday, August 9, 2008


In this life we all have talents, our own unique set of abilities, and as we grow we hone them. We try to better them, better ourselves.

Learn. Improve. Repeat.
This is our cycle.

It is human nature for us to want to do better, to strive for excellence. And so we do. But very few of us succeed in attaining our goals, in making our dreams a reality. We reach for the stars. We scheme to make it big, plot our fame. Even after excessive measures, the stars can still seem so far away, so distant and otherworldly...

But one must not lose hope. For, in essence, the stars are merely an icon. A sign - a symbol, rather - that represents ideals, aspirations, success to everyone in their own little way. Indeed, one mustn't say that "success" is synonymous to fame. To the world, perhaps, yes, fame is the epitome of success.

Money. Reputation. Material things.


In the round of life, people can get confused as to what really matters, what should be held close to our hearts. Mistakes are made, priorities mix up, and we have a planet full of people who are caught in the wiles of the world.

Atypically, a person abstains from all worldy pleasures and takes pleasure in the joy of family. In the hallowed haven of the home. Where love and talents foster.

As I stated, we all have them, these talents. And as we grow (up and together), they develop into passions. As our knowledge and love for our craft grows, it becomes a part of us, our talents a part of us. Skills we harness, arts we channel into constructive and enlightening venues. Soon they burn like a fire within us, and we thrive off of the natural high we get when we create something great.

Be it literature, music, art, sports, or any other skill or ability - it is an outlet to release our inner selves. To express ourselves. To inspire, and to be inspired. To learn. And to grow.

That is why we must cultivate. Learn. Improve. Repeat. Our passions will fuel our life. So much to learn, so much to do and accomplish - and all this time to do it in! My admonition is to LIVE, and make every day, every hour, minute, second count. It all leads to the ultimate outcome - will we reach the stars?

Always remeber:
Passion is the fuel of life - so light it up and watch it burn.