A Grateful Heart

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For most of us, Christmas is over by now. The presents have all been unwrapped, the stockings have been emptied, and now we face the task of returning to the day-to-day routine that, for a brief time every year, gets suspended in lieu of the holiday season. Many of us, myself included, have returned to our day jobs, albeit reluctantly, and soon the kids will be returning to school. It’s sad how fast the spirit of love and generosity that is at the heart of the Christmas season fades into the background as daily life begins once again to take over our thoughts and our conscience. But before that warm fuzziness of Christmas gives way to the cold reality of going to work before sunrise in January, I want to take a minute to talk about the difference between “thankful” and “grateful.” Continue reading

When Protecting Free Speech Isn’t Easy, It’s Still Right

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The Constitution of the United States is one of the most truly revolutionary documents of political theory ever penned by mankind. It grants an enormous amount of power, authority, and autonomy to the individual citizen and makes each American a sovereign power unto ourselves. A big part of this empowerment comes from the recognition in the Bill of Rights that there are certain powers, rights, and privileges that are beyond the power of the government. The BoR does not “grant” citizens these rights, it merely recognizes them and places them off-limits to the interference and control of the government. It’s worth pointing out that in the First Amendment, several of these rights are laid out, including the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom to assemble and protest the government. These rights were placed first in the list, grouped together under the umbrellas of the First Amendment because they were considered to be among the most important and necessary to the preservation of freedom and liberty of the individual.

Today at least one of those rights is under a direct assault that is coming from an unlikely source: the newly elected President. Continue reading

Happy Cyber Monday

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I am not a person who typically enjoys being in a large crowd.  There are, of course, exceptions to that rule, but they are few and far between.  I can tolerate large audiences outside at events like concerts, fairs, or the occasional NC State football game, but a lot of that tolerance is dependent on who I’m enjoying these events and venues with.  One crowd that I absolutely refuse to throw myself into is the so-called “Black Friday” shopping craze.  Continue reading

Nov. 9th, 1989

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I sat in my grandparents’ family room, my eyes glued to the television. There were crowds gathered at the base of a concrete wall covered with graffiti in a language I couldn’t read. Camera flashes were going off so much that it looked like the worst lightning storm in the earth’s history. The peoples’ breath fogged in the cold air as they sang songs, wept, and hugged each other.

Some of the men swung sledge hammers, the heavy metal heads bouncing off the concrete face and sending chips flying in all directions. The people around them scrambled on the ground and scooped up fragments and chips wherever they landed. Whenever one of the bw6men grew weary, his arms too heavy to lift the mallet, another stepped in to take his place.

The hammers never stopped swinging.

Continue reading

Book Signing Event!

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I am pleased and very excited to announce my first official event as an author….an upcoming book signing and meet the author event here in Charlotte.  On October 15th I will be at Hyatt Coin and Gun store in Charlotte, NC to sign copies of both installments in the Blackout series as well as get the chance to meet some of my awesome readers and fans.  I love reading the comments and feedback that I have received on Amazon, Goodreads, and other venues, but there’s nothing like getting a good face to face conversation with a reader.  Continue reading

Storm Tide Rising at 6 months…

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Hello faithful readers!!   I realize I have been horribly slack in posting new articles to this page, and for that I sincerely apologize.  This past summer was one for the record books, and things got so crazy that not only did I have to put the website on the back burner, so to speak, but also my book projects.  We took in a stray dog at the end of the spring and were surprised to find a few weeks later that she was pregnant.  Next thing I know we have nine (yes, that’s right…. NINE) puppies to take care of!!

Long story short, between the unexpected puppies and complications with my Rheumatoid Arthritis, this summer was considerably less productive than I had hoped. Continue reading

Vote Your Conscience

As we crawl our way towards November and the inevitable Election Day, there is no shortage of voices from both the left and the right screaming at voters to vote one way or the other. Republicans repeat the mantra of “Any vote not for Trump is a vote for Hillary” and Democrats parrot that sentiment in opposite terms saying that “Any vote not for Hillary is a vote for Trump.” I’ve heard politicians, pundits, and personalities on both radio and television all but screaming these tired lies at the top of their lungs. People are appealing to everything from gender identification to religious fervor to justify why you should swallow your disgust, distaste, and distrust and just vote for one of the two major candidates since one of them is the inevitable, inescapable winner anyway. And, if you can’t do that, then just pick which one you hate the most and vote for the other one. Continue reading

Notes on Kindle Unlimited for Authors

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One of the most common questions I get asked when discussing my books is, “What is the Kindle Unlimited program?” When I answer those questions and mention the word “subscription,” most people will snap their fingers as the light bulb of recognition goes off in their head. They’ve seen the advertisement, they tell me, but never clicked on it. Not surprising, really. I know I skip over subscription services all the time. Then again, I’ve also signed up for a few as well. And the very fact that there are so many different types of subscription services out there speaks to their success.  It seems that everything from razors to underwear and all points in between can be covered by a subscription to a blog, a retailer, or a lifestyle consultation site. Continue reading

Rheumatoid Arthritis: #RASucks

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I dropped the tiny screw for what must have been the fifteenth time. Instead of trying to fumble with my stiff, thick fingers to pick it back up and start the process all over again, I simply stared at it. For nearly twenty minutes I’d been trying to thread a tiny screw into the hole in the drawer rail and attach it to the side of the drawer. This would complete the assembly of the first of six drawers that would eventually go in my new dresser. Sweat was beading on my forehead and my hands had started to shake.

I knew I was fighting a losing battle…..I just didn’t want to admit it. Continue reading