Friday, July 19, 2019

Have You Ever Stepped Out On Faith?

I tell people all the time that my son has a tremendous amount of more faith than I do and I can prove it.  Every time I get into a car after he’s been driving it. 

The first thing I always look at when I get into one of our vehicles is the gas gauge.  If it’s right at or below a quarter of a tank the first place I go to is the gas station to get more gas.  I could not tell you how many times I would get in a vehicle behind my son and see the gas gauge setting dead on empty.  Then I’m sweating bullets hoping and praying that I can make it to a gas station before I run out of gas and is stranded by the road. 

I could probably count on one hand how many times in my life I have seen a gas light come on in a vehicle that I had been driving.  I don’t take the chance and I always make sure I’ve got plenty of gas in my vehicle.  One time my wife and I went somewhere and the first thing I did when we got to our destination was I stopped and filled the car up with gas as I didn’t know how much this was going to cost us and I wanted to make sure I had enough gas to get home on. 

If I am the only one that drives a vehicle all week I still look at the gas gauge every morning when I get in it.  Even though I may have filled it up the day before. 

When I decided to go to college after being out of high school about ten years one of the first things we decided was that I needed a good dependable vehicle to go back and forth to work and school on.  I was going to work during the day and then I would leave work and go straight to college close by.  I would leave home about 6 am in the morning and wouldn’t get back home until 10:30 or 11 every night. Monday through Thursday.  

One morning when I was on my way to work I knew I needed to stop and get gas that morning.  My gas gauge was sitting just above the red mark so I knew I had enough to get to the station on.  Suddenly without warning my car stalled and quit.  Thankfully I was at a place I could safely pull off the road out of traffic.  I was about two miles from the nearest gas station and of course this was in the days before cell phones.  I didn’t know what else to do so I struck out walking.  I was already late for work and I had no way of contacting anyone.  When I got to the station I asked the lady if I could call my wife so she could come and get me and to call my job and call the shop to come and pick up my car. 

The mechanics came and picked up my car and towed it back to the shop to figure out what caused it to just quit on me.  I was certain it was something mechanical as it just quit and I couldn’t crank it back up. 

I was already so late for work I decided to go ahead and just take a day off.  To say the least I was frustrated not knowing what was wrong with my car.  My wife and I were worried how much the shop bill was going to be and our worse fear is that it would be something to do with the motor and we would have to get it replaced.  We were afraid it was going to cost us a lot of money, money we didn’t have. A couple of hours later the shop called and said they had my car ready and I could come and pick it up.    

When we got there one of my former classmates that worked at the shop looked at me queerly with a grin on his face.  I’ll never forget what he told me.  “David, you know if you’ll put gas in your car you can go a whole lot farther and you wouldn’t be breaking down beside the road.” 

That day I could have crawled under a rock and hid for a lifetime.  In my ignorance I didn’t know with that type of car that when it hit the red mark the tank was empty.  Every other car or truck I’ve owned prior to that the red mark was the warning mark not the empty mark.   But it was a lesson learned, not only for me but for the shop as well, as they went over every little thing that could have made the car to stop running before they decided to put some gas in the tank and try it. 

Now you know why I don’t wait to get up the road to the next station to see if the gas is a little cheaper anymore like I used to.  And you know why I don’t let it get too much under a quarter of a tank either before I’m finding the first gas station I come to. You also now know why my son has more faith than I do as he'll drive a vehicle until it is dead on empty. 

And as the famous Paul Harvey used to say, “Now, you know the rest of the story.” 

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  (James 2:17 KJV)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Dog That Bites

My wife and I consider ourselves true animal lovers. We have five dogs, three of whom we generally share a bed with every night. A good example of our love for our dogs is when I spend an evening in the office writing and then I decide to go to bed and there’s not any room for me to lay down.

I have to wake the wife up and tell her to take her glasses off, turn over, move over or turn around straight on the bed, tell one of the little dogs to move over, get the big dog to the foot instead of the middle of the bed. Then and only then I can lay down and fight for cover until I’m asleep.

It’s not that way every night but every once in a while. You know what it’s like to try to get an eighty pound dog to move over much less to get cover out from under her when she’s asleep?

Then there’s our other dogs, those two that stay outside. When it’s real hot outside my wife may let them come into the mudroom and lay down for the afternoon to cool off. When its real cold outside in the wintertime and the temperature gets at freezing or below we’ll let them in for the night. They are good dogs, they love to play and they have a lot of energy to burn.

One of them loves to, what we call “roughhouse”, while the other one likes to play fetch. I can throw a ball in the yard and one will go and fetch it while the other tries to keep him from getting to it. Even though their character and their looks are as different as night and day, they stay close by each other. But because of their character they have gotten mad at each other and I’ve had more than my fair share of breaking up fights between them. I’ll keep them separated to give them time to cool off and then by nightfall they’re both whining wanting the other and all is good. People are shocked when we tell them they are brothers born on the same day and came from the same litter. Since they have been together since birth my wife and I both think it would be hard on either of them if we had to separate them permanently.

One cold winter day I got up early to let them out. One of them usually scratches on the door when he’s ready to go out and the other just waits until we open it before he runs out. Well on this particular day neither one of them wanted to go out and I didn’t want them to stay in. I played with them and petted them.  I opened the door to let them out and they both sat down. The sun was shining bright it was warming up and even though the night had gotten below freezing, the day was looking beautiful. When neither of them made a move for the door I would try my best to coerce them out, they still didn’t move. I grabbed one by the collar and he pulled against me. I nudged him out and by the time I was going for the other he was coming back in. I grabbed the other hoping one or the other would take the initiative and the other would follow, but nothing from either one.

It was when I began to be a little more forceful to get them out was when one of them growled at me showing me his teeth. When he done that the other followed suit and did the same thing. Naturally, I didn’t want to get bit by either one of them, or both and I could have gotten real mean and ugly toward them but I didn’t. I sat down on the step and gently called them both over to me. I petted them, played with them a few minutes and left them alone in the mudroom and a couple of hours later I checked on them again to which they both wanted to go outside by then.

Every day I come in from work my dogs are there and are happy to see me, and I am happy to see them. They are a great stress reliever after a hard, aggravating day. They certainly help to take my mind off anything that may have been bothering me.

I often think about that day my dogs almost turned on me. I thought about all those animals that are living in abusive homes or in abusive situations. A dog’s character is a lot like that of humans. They/We can only take so much before they/we turn. Some may leave, some may stay and fight. Either way it’s never good. In the end someone will wound up getting hurt. And that’s the last thing I would want to do is to hurt something that brings me so much joy each and every day or for them to hurt me for that matter.

If we feel that way toward animals how come we can’t feel that way toward others? People always say that so-and-so hurt my feelings so I’m not going to have anything else to do with them. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe you were having a bad day. Maybe something was said out of context without any intentions of hurting anyone. Dogs don’t have to stop and think because they can’t talk, but we do. We should guard our conversation. The bible tell us to let our ‘Yes’ be yes and our ‘No’s’ be no. (Matthew 5:37)

Sometime people are pushed too far, too much. I have seen it way too many times in life and I’m sure you have too of where someone had gotten fed up with someone else’s antics. You can look it up everyday on Youtube or see it on Facebook or some other media outlet of where someone was pushed just a little too far. You hear it on the news. I have seen way too many good, hardworking, honest people leave a company simply because their buttons were pushed one too many times.

You and I both have seen it where a spouse was pushed too much and then they push back or up and leave and then the one who started it plays the victim. That seems the norm for society today.

The bible told us this day was coming. 'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!' (Isaiah 5:20, 21 KJV)

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Word Count, Pages or Chapters?

A writing group I'm associated with had put forth a challenge to us.  They wanted to see how many of us could write a thousand words a day for the month of July.  

I've never been too fond of setting a goal on a number of words to write in a single day.  I've always been afraid that if I concentrated on a number of words to write then I would lose my focus on the story I am writing.  

The goal I've always set for myself was to write a chapter.  It didn't matter if the chapter is three pages or ten pages I've always felt better to write and finish a chapter in a day.  There are a lot of days that I don't quiet make it and I have to put it off until the next day but most of the time when I start writing into a chapter I like to try and finish it.  

To Each His Own. 

As I've studied and researched writing styles, word count and anything from how many pages a chapter should have to how many pages should a good novel have, I also studied how other writers set themselves on a pace to write their books.  

I've learned each one has their own style of writing and very few of them do what we call a "word count".  
I once heard that Stephen King likes to write about ten pages a day, which is about 2,000 words, give or take.
Anne Rice likes to write episodes or an average of about 3,000. 
Jack London was said to write anywhere from 1,000-2,000 words a day. 
Mark Twain once said he averaged about 1,800 words a day.  
I've heard of writers putting an alarm clock in front of them and write until the alarm goes off. 
I've also heard of writers who are like me, they will write a chapter before they quit for the day or evening.  

That's well known writers.  What about those of us that has to juggle a full time job with a home life?  It's hard to think about writing a thousand words a day or more, especially when you've had a tiring or aggravating day and all you want to do is to kick back, relax and read a book or see what's on TV.  

I like the advice that John Grisham gives to inspiring writers, write a page a day.  But he also said to us future best-selling authors, don't make an excuse for not writing at least one page a day.  

I don't concern myself with word count or pages.  To me I like to focus on the plot, the twist, the story in general.  I know where I'm going with it and I know how it ends.  What's inspiring to me is finding all those twist and turn fillers between beginning and end.  

I got to thinking about the challenge with our writers group and I began to study on exactly how many words do I write in a day or week as I've never really kept up with it.  When I do sit down to write I try to write one whole chapter before I quit.  This week I was able to write three chapters.   My chapters are usually between five and seven pages.  Every once in awhile it may be four pages but most of the time it averages about five pages.  I write single space instead of double-space and at an average of about 300-500 words per page that puts me writing anywhere between 1,500-2,500  words a night, when I do write.  Which is a surprise even to me as I've never really given it much thought. 

Since I've had so much going on in my personal life this year I've had to put off a lot of my writing to focus on other issues.  Now that I'm back on track I can put a little more attention to finishing at least one novel this year when I had a goal of three.  

The biggest problem I have is that it's hard to focus on writing just one novel.  I like to tell people that my ADD kicks in and today I may write on this novel and tomorrow I'm writing on that one.  I know all the characters that are going to be in the book, I know the plot, the plan, the layout, so for me it's hard to stay focused on just one book. 

Anybody have any suggestions on that problem? 

So this week and the weeks to come I want to focus all my time and energy to getting one novel finished this year.  

For those of you that haven't started yet or is thinking of getting started writing a book or novel, find your niche and start writing.  But whatever you do, WRITE! 

Love you all and have a Blessed day! 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A New Method To Reading

Recently I came across a new method to reading books and I decided to give it a try. I have always had a hard time reading books. I would get sleepy, tired, bored (especially if the book is boring).  When I was in high school our English/Literature teacher always had a book for us to read. To say the least that is one thing that I always failed at when it came to taking test. Why? First of all I didn't like reading to begin with. Then we had to read these boring classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Dracula and the likes.

As I got older I got into reading more. When I came to the realization that there was absolutely nothing worth watching on television I took up reading. Plus, reading stimulates the brain, or so I've heard. I've always read the bible and I still do.

I remember when I told my wife that I wanted to read more and the first classic book I read when I started was Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. I have since read those books that I was supposed to read in school, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Dracula. And even as an adult I still had a hard time getting through every one of them. I saw my former English teacher in the grocery store one day and I proudly told her that I had finally finished reading that book she wanted us to read thirty years ago. Then I told her it was still boring but I read it.

One thing I can say about the books I write. First of all, I ain't no professional. Never claimed to be. But I do have a story to tell, quite a few to be exact. I only wished I had picked up writing books in my teens and twenty's instead of my forty's and fifty's. I wish I knew some of the secrets to writing that I know now. When I read a book I will read it all the way through. Very few books I will put down and not finish reading. One thing if I am going to give a book an honest review then it's only fair to read it all the way through.

With my own writing that's also the one thing I ask of people about my books. Read it all the way through then give me constructive criticism. I've had people tell me they didn't like my book and wouldn't finish reading it for one reason or another. To me that's like water off a duck's back. Their opinion and criticism don't mean a hill of beans to me. I could care less what their opinion is if they didn't finish reading my book. And I'm very verbal concerning their opinion. I tell them to finish reading the book then tell me what they thought of it. A good writer will welcome what others think of their work. In reality it helps to make one a better writer.

One secret I have I would like to share with you and that's the secret to reading a book. At least it's my secret. My problem has always been that once I start reading a few pages in I would get tired or sleepy. Some nights I would have to push myself to read ten pages. Twenty if I'm not so tired. I have ebooks, like the ones I write and publish, but I also have a lot of paperback and hardback books. One night I decided I was going to set myself on a goal. I decided that I was going to read one hundred pages in a book. If a novel had four hundred or so pages then I could read a book in four days. That would have been a far stretch for me but I was determined to do it.

Next question I had was; how was I going to do it? I decided the best way to do it and to reach my goal was to place my book marker one hundred pages in or to the nearest chapter of a hundred pages. So that's what I did. Low and behold once I set my goal I was determined to reach my goal. Aren't we all determined to reach our goal? People set a goal on losing weight all the time. Actually I was quiet surprised how quickly I did read the one hundred pages. Some nights I set my goal at fifty pages and again I was surprised how quick I got to my goal.

I haven't read two books in one week since I read a series of books by Doctor Seuss when I was little. I was doing good at times past to read one book in a month. Now I'm reading two books in a week. Or at least I done it for one week. I plan to continue to use my plan of placing my book marker ahead of where I want to read to, setting my reading goal. I will continue to do what I've always done when I started reading though. I would read a classic, then a modern day novel, maybe then a western (did I mention that I've got a lot of westerns?) and of course a book in the bible. I've quit counting how many times I've read the bible through but that's another goal I've had and I've done several times over.

So grab a book at a yard sale, flea market or thrift store. It doesn't matter what writer. Just grab one of a writer you've never heard of and read that book. Set yourself on a goal. Use a Post-It note as a book marker that way it'll stick to the page you're reading to and it won't fall out.

Get a book, set a goal and have a very Blessed day.

Monday, December 4, 2017


This time of the year I don’t think there is a state in the union that is more divided than the state of Alabama.  I’m not talking about politics, I’m not talking about a flag or a monument, I’m talking about football.  You are for the right team or you’re rooting for the wrong team.  Now which team that is I’ll let you the reader decide.   I’m sure those of you reading this will be just as divided as everyone else in this great state.

There have been two perennial powerhouse football teams in this state long before I was born.  The rivalry is older than I am and this month I will be a half-a-century old.  There have already been bad blood between fans of the two schools.   I’ve heard the University of Alabama be called the school of convicts and I’ve heard Auburn called a cow college (correct me if I’m wrong but I think that phrase was made famous by none other than Paul “Bear” Bryant himself).

Those of you that are not from this state or may be passing through while on your way to Florida or the Gulf Coast vacationing don’t be surprised that you’ll see more vehicles with an ‘Alabama/Auburn-House Divided’ car tag on the front than one with a rebel flag on it.  Many Alabamians are very proud of their southern heritage but we are just as proud, if not more, of the heritage of our favorite football team whether it's the Alabama Crimson Tide or the Auburn Tigers.

Want to make it worse?  Let both teams have a successful season with championship implications on the line.  That’s like building a fire with wood and then throwing an old rubber tire on top of the blaze.  It can get really hot really fast.  Now that we have that, let’s throw something even worse in the mix, or on the fire if you will.   Let’s add social media.   And that is just like a fire that was started but now you have a hot fire with an old rubber tire on it and now you decide to go ahead and throw gasoline on the flame as well.  Naturally it burns bright.   As a matter of fact it burns so bright everyone in the nation is looking and watching the fire burn.

Oh yea, we have our differences between whether to vote Democrat or Republican but that can be forgiven.  We might fight and fuss over whose young’un started it first but that too can be forgiven. But if you pull for the “wrong” team I’m not so sure that’s forgivable.

Since social media has been added to the mix I have never in my life seen so much animosity toward each other.  I knew it was bad, especially when you have people killing each other and destroying property over a ball game.  But now you have people, friends and family that are deleting and blocking others simply by what the other said.   If I was to keep score I would have the say the devil has one and the football fans have zero.   I’ve read quite a few comments with pictures and I think many of them are funny.  Some of them are toward the team I root for and some against.

To me it’s just a game.  Win, lose, tie or draw it’s just a game.   I don’t like it when my team loses but I take it, congratulate the others and move on.  I don’t dwell on it, I don’t get mad and blow up and tear something up or take it out on someone or something else.  I just move on.  You as an individual, as a friend or family are far, far more important to me than any ball game.   And if I’m your friend, and especially my family, I hope you love me more than a ball game as well.  Poke fun at me if my team loses, I’ll poke fun at you if my team wins.  But at the end of the day you are still more important and I love you more.

I have one question: Do you worship the team you root for?  If it gets to your emotions so much that you wish evil on another, you hate and despise another, you wish harm to another, you end a friendship because of the other then that team has become your god.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15 KJV)

Saturday, November 18, 2017


This is the time of year where everyone starts talking about what they are the most thankful for.  It's sad that it takes a holiday to make us ever mindful of the things we are thankful for all year long.  Is this the only time of the year you make the statement, “I am most thankful for...”?  I see people put comments on Facebook of what they are thankful for each day of the month in November.  Start on January 1, 2018 and start talking about what you are most thankful for and end it on December 31st and then start all over again.

I may not always post it on Facebook or anywhere else for that matter but I give thanks every day. There is not a day that goes by that I don't say what I am thankful for.  Every morning on my way to work the Lord and I have good conversations.  Before the sun peaks the horizon I'm already giving God thanks for the beautiful day, whether it's sunshine and warm or hot or rainy, cold and wet.  I give him thanks because I am glad he is in control and not someone else.  I thank him for my job, my family, my church and my church family, our missionaries.  I ask him to bring them all home safely. That is just a few of the many things I thank the Lord for while I'm getting ready to face my day.

In the evening when I ask the blessing over the food at home I thank the Lord for the wonderful day he has given us.   It may have been a tiring, stressful, aggrevating day but I thank the Lord for it all.   It gives me strength to know that no matter what, I am always thankful.   Just recently I was reminded how much things could be a lot worse, and for that I am thankful.   I am thankful that it wasn't.   I am thankful for the struggles we face.  Why?  Because our struggles are only a test, and test don't last forever.  Anyone remember those old Emergency Broadcast Test?  It would say, “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.  This is only a test.”  I hated those things but there was a reason it was done and it only lasted for a minute.   In the scheme of life these test are only for a minute and for that I am most thankful.

We spend a season celebrating and being thankful, why not spend a year, a lifetime?  Why not spend every day for the rest of your life being thankful?

My prayer is that everyone have a wonderful, safe and a very Blessed Thanksgiving. 

Love you all!

In EVERY THING give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thess. 5:18 KJV)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Our Newest and First Children's Book

Birthday Surprise Bookcover1

We are excited to announce the publication of our first children’s book.  Birthday Surprise can now be purchased through Amazon.  All proceeds go towards the Crenshaw County Animal Society.

You can get your copy by clicking the link below.