Monday, December 15, 2014

One Young Man at a Book Signing

This past Saturday, I had a book signing for my novel, The River Hideaway. It was a very good day. There were so many highlights in that first hectic two hours, that if I list them I will surely leave people out.

I signed many copies & in some cases below my name, I also signed them as, 'Coach.' Parents, and in one case a sister, bought my book for a Christmas present for men who I once coached in basketball, when they were boys, aged ten to twelve. One of my favorite players, Stephen Wolff, came in with his girl friend. He shared stories with my wife about what he recalls playing ball for me.

There was a lady that my family holds dear in our hearts, for all the love & care she gave to my mom in those last years consumed with dementia. Tiffany, you are an angel and you hold our families deepest thanks always.

My PR angels, Sharon & Wylene, for continually pushing this little story to everyone you can reach. Robbie, for showing up once again & taking pictures of the event as only you can.

My old friend, Gary Barbee, who came from Pinehurst. Thanks for providing the comedic relief. 

A teacher came that taught me typing in the ninth grade. The ninth grade was the first year I was bused to another school to achieve real integration. Several of my classmates of that time came by Saturday.

More times than not the books were purchased by people for Christmas presents. How do I value that? To be a part of Christmas in homes across the region.

I saw people I had not seen in nearly forty years. But there was one sale that day that resonates the deepest. A young man approached  the table & asked me very directly, "Why did you write this book?"

I shared with him my inspirations.

He nodded and said, "I will buy one."

As I was preparing to sign it for him he offered, "I was in the parking lot & I heard two people talking about your book and I just felt like the Lord wanted me to come in here and see you."

He was looking at me eye to eye as he said this. I got goosebumps or as some of us refer to them, God-bumps. We talked a little while longer and I told him that the book has a spiritual theme in it & that it begins with an elderly man having a vision from God.

I thanked him for the encouragement he offered to a no name author, with a small press, struggling to get the word out for this story. I know God is with Julie and I, wherever this goes. But at times I also doubt, worry, & struggle with the things I can't control.

Maybe that is why God reminded me what he could do with one person.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Relections

Yesterday, as I watched a Christmas movie, the tree beautifully decorated by me. Okay, by Julie but I just wanted to see if you were with me. My peaceful, grateful state of mind and heart led me to pick up my phone and send the following text to Julie. Thank you for making Christmas time happy.

Christmas is a mixed bag of emotions isn't it? There have been many lonely, hurting Christmas times for me and probably for all of you. Some are experiencing it right now. The loss of loved ones. Broken relationships, dreams unfulfilled, heartache, & loneliness. All of these seemingly amplified for the season. There were many years that beginning with my birthday in early November I longed for the resources to be able to pack away to a isolated cabin in the mountains & not return till after New Years Day. The Christmas of excitement and anticipation of my youth had transitioned to a time of year I truly hated. Many years I put my energy into trying to persevere for a small child's sake. Some years the darkness of depression was so great that I came up woefully short.

This is a Christmas where two of my biggest dreams come to pass.  This is Julie & my third Christmas together. Our second as husband and wife, and so very much more. I use to dream and wonder will my novel be under someone's Christmas Tree next year. I will wonder no longer. That will happen in many homes. One thing I have understood long before I turned the wheel of my life over to my Father is that I know without question that it is the simple things in life that are truly what matters. It is not the mansion on the hill. It is not gifts of the latest fashion and technology trends.  It is what and who we hold dear in our hearts. My favorite scripture even during the years I rarely picked the Bible up has been and still is, Luke 12:34. For where your heart is... there lies your treasure as well.

Teaching the word is not something I am equipped to do. So forgive my uneducated interpretation of this scripture... Don't get bogged down in the things of this life that are just so much fluff. Hold on to what is dear. Those that you love. Those that you can encourage. Enjoy the simple things of life. They really are more than all things that glitter.

Yesterday, I met an older man at the gym. He shared with me that he was at a diner he often visits for breakfast. There was a young girl who often waits on him. He could tell she was upset and he asked why. He did not share all the details of their conversation but he did tell me that she told him that she has a small child and a husband in prison. He listened and he hugged her and told her he loved her. He showed her real Christianity.

I have a dear friend who has struggled gracefully with cancer this year. He is now cancer free. He was encouraged by many and he shared that being an encourager is the greatest gift of all.

So for many of us this is a great time of year. But many will be going through difficult times. If we truly believe that God resides inside of us, let us find some way to encourage those that are lonely, hurting, lost. Let's don't pass them by in search of the perfect gift that does not really exist.

I share this last thing with you not to brag on myself for a simple text. But I would be willing to wager that in the years to come that my wife might not recall the gifts I gave her this Christmas but I bet you she will remember the text I sent.

Think about it... 

Merry Christmas to all of you. May God bless and comfort you during this season. He really does loves you.