Resurrection from Emphysema

Around Easter we tend to think about new beginnings. For believers this involves the resurrection of Jesus, for others bunnies, chicks and eggs symbolize Spring, revitalization, and a new growing season. For me, Easter of 2015 holds a special meaning.

emphysemaFor an indeterminate number of years now I have been dealing with emphysema – a result of having spent 30 years as a furniture maker, breathing wood dust and lacquer fumes. Five or six years ago I attributed the shortness of breath and fatigue to advancing age. The summer of 2012 brought occasional chest pains. By November 2012 the pain was so constant and pervasive I was fearing congestive heart failure. In December I finally admitted that it wasn’t getting any better, went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with emphysema. Since then I’ve been on inhaled steroids to slow down the degradation, but it’s been just a matter of time as I feel my strength and stamina slipping away and the pain increasing. Medical science says emphysema cannot be cured, just slowed down. I had resigned myself to this. Continue reading “Resurrection from Emphysema”

Umbrellas of Faith

There was a church in a mid-western farming community that had not received rain in a long while.  The crops were withering and the farmers feared economic disaster.

The Pastor of this church announced, “Next Sunday we will have a special prayer service where anyone who wants to can offer a prayer for rain.  Be sure you come prepared.”

Umbrella of failthThe following Sunday, most of the service was given over to allowing members to lead the congregation in prayers for rain.  When all who wanted to had taken a turn, the pastor stood again before them and said, “Those were some mighty fine prayers.  Most were heart-felt, a couple were down right eloquent.  Now, by show of hands, how many of you brought an umbrella to church today?”

No one raised their hand.  Most looked at one another in astonishment over the Pastor’s question.

“That, my friends, is why we don’t have rain. I told you to come prepared.  If you believed your prayers would be heard and answered, you’d have brought an umbrella to get you home in the rain.”

His abbreviated sermon was about acting in faith and asking in faith. If we do not believe it will be granted, what’s the point in praying?  The Holy Spirit, which is the power of God in this world, does amazing things when we ask with a pure heart and an expectant spirit.

Pursue the Dream

dream, expectations
Great Expectations

Do you have a dream? Yes, you do. You may answer in the negative because your dream has become buried under so many layers of life that you’ve lost track of it, but everyone has a dream: an aspiration, a goal of some sort. For some, the dream may be grandiose: “I want to be an NBA superstar”, for others the dream may be simply to have a stable family and a nice home where they can all be content. I have had a number of aspirations during my life; I’ve pursued several careers in different fields but through them all has been the desire – the need – to teach.

Even as a kid, I remember my sister and I setting up a play school and inviting the neighborhood kids to attend. Looking back, it boggles my mind that those youngsters chose to spend their summer vacations – at least an hour of each day – attending a pretend school!  Continue reading “Pursue the Dream”

Inspired Writing

inspiration, writingLast Sunday morning I awoke early.  No, that’s not accurate; I was wrenched from slumber, early in the morning by a pair of conditions.  The second most attention getting condition was a burning sensation in my left shoulder.  Much later I would figure out that this was the spot where the shoulder strap of our brush cutter had pressed for several hours the day before.  As is often the case, it didn’t bother me at all the day of, but the day after is another story.  So I got up and took a BC Powder to deal with that.

The other, even more compelling condition was a string of words running through my mind as though printed on a ticker tape.  These words streamed through my mind and I was compelled to record them. Continue reading “Inspired Writing”

Rainy Days and Fridays

mountain, rainy, weather, Clingman's dome, Marie Bittinger, TennesseeCall me crazy (many do) but I like rainy days.  There is something comforting about the sound of rain drumming on the roof, and sometimes a rainy day provides me with a much needed excuse to take some time off.  I love settling into my comfy chair next to the fire place on a chilly, rainy day and reading a good book.  Or taking a mug of hot tea to my desk and writing. Continue reading “Rainy Days and Fridays”

Be Nice To Nerds Who Don’t Fear Failure

What would you attempt to do if you were guaranteed that you would not fail?

The biggest reason most of do not attempt to do amazing things is that we fear failure.

Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, now with Google, gave this TEDTalk on failure. Her observations about fear of failure and scientific advancement are inspiring, but she also shows new video of some of DARPA’s most ambitious projects and that alone makes it worth watching.  She also reminds us that nearly all major scientific advances are created by nerds.  So, you should be nice to nerds.

What would you attempt to create if you could refuse to fear failure?

(If this does not play for you: View it on YouTube)

As a fan (and hopeful author) of speculative fiction, it is encouraging to me to know that humankind has not stopped testing the limits of possibility.  Although, perhaps “encouraging” is not the best word, as some of what we’re looking at is worrisome, as the interview at the end of the video suggests.  Still, when we open our minds and envision new and wondrous places, machines and societies, we are not engaging in mere fancy, we are pioneering the future.

Getting Sirius About Creativity

My latest guest post is about Creativity and is on the Sirius Press Inc.’s Creative Flux  web site.  My contact there is Terre Britton.

Terre is co-author of The Four Orders, a four-book Sci-Fi/Thriller series that begins with life-altering discoveries and builds momentum towards our society’s self-actualization.  Terre is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and has recently moved into the fields of Video and Motion Graphics. She holds a degree in History in Art with a minor in English and is a published Art Reviewer. We’ve been communication compadre’s for some time now as we help one another promote our books.

Please pop over and read Training Creativity; it’s a short post and I think you’ll find it entertaining and it has earned some accolades:

The Artist’s Road named it a Tweet of the Week
It was also listed as a Wisdom of the Writerdom tip of the week



Can Anyone Be a Novelist?

writing, novelist, imaginationWith a record number of new books being self-published by a burgeoning number of new authors some have come to the conclusion that most anyone can become a novelist.  Is this true?  Here’s what I think.

Let me preface this with the statement that I have no scientific studies nor have I interviewed a million authors and publishing officials, this is largely my own opinion.  But that opinion is based on a half-century’s experience as an avid reader and a somewhat shorter time as a student of publishing.

I will also admit that anyone who can type can string together enough words to fill enough pages to call their story a book.  And with the advent of self-publishing, this word stringer can publish their book and claim to be a published author.  If this book is fiction, they may claim the title of novelist.  But then, I could record myself banging on a collection of wooden blocks and call myself a musician.  Whether or not I actually deserve the title would depend on whether or not I can find a following of people who agree with me.  Continue reading “Can Anyone Be a Novelist?”

The Voice of the Appalachians

I’ll call this Tribute Tuesday, and talk about a powerful writer and local (former) resident who loved this region, it’s people and it’s heritage.

Wilma Dykeman, who passed away at age 86 at her Asheville North Carolina home in December of 2006, has been heralded as “The Voice of Appalachia” for her literary works about the history and people of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Brief Biography

Wilma_Dykeman PHOTO Asheville Citizen-Times
Wilma_Dykeman PHOTO Asheville Citizen-Times

Wilma Dykeman was born on May 20th 1920 to Bonnie Cole Dykeman and Willard Dykeman in the Beaverdam community of Buncombe County, North Carolina, which is now part of Asheville N.C.  Her father was 60 years old when Wilma was born and he passed away when she was 14.  Dykeman would later credit both her parents for instilling a love of reading and her father in particular for arousing in her a love of nature and a curiosity about the world around her.

She attended Biltmore Junior College, graduating in 1938, and Northwestern University, in Chicago where she graduated in 1940 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech.

In August 1940 Dykeman was introduced to her future husband, poet James R. Stokely, Jr. a  Newport, Tennessee resident and a son of the president of Stokely Canning Company which become Stokely-Van Camp Inc. The couple married just two months after they met and produced two sons, Dykeman Stokely and James R. “Rory” Stokely III.  Both sons grew up to become writers as well, co-authoring several books with their mother.  Continue reading “The Voice of the Appalachians”