Never give up!

What is the difference between a winner and a loser?

I think that this proverb that I have heard says it best.  “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

Have you ever come across a task that seemed impossible?  To illustrate this scenario, I will use the example of two different mountaineers wanting to climb a mountain.

The first mountaineer is determined to climb the mountain.  He makes a little progress and then the mountain starts to get very steep.  He started to get skinned up by the brush.  He bled, fell off the mountain and broke his leg.  Thoroughly discouraged, he left the mountain and gave up.

The second mountaineer looked up at the mountain and smiled.  He thought to himself “This mountain is quite steep.  I may skin myself, bleed, and may even break a leg.  But that doesn’t matter.  I’m climbing this mountain!”  So the second mountaineer grabbed his backpack, hoisted it on his back and began climbing.  He got a few bruises.  A few cuts and a few scratches.  He even broke his leg.  But he continued.  After the leg was well enough to walk on, he tried the mountain again.  He climbed all the way to the top and thrust his flag into the top of the summit.

What did the second mountaineer do differently from the first one?  He didn’t give up.  He didn’t let a fall destroy his dreams.  He let his leg heal and he tried it again.  He never gave up.

In the bible, Romans 8:37, it says that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  God loves us, and he gives us the ability to conquer any of life’s problems.

So the next time you think of giving up, remember the story of the two mountaineers.  Which one are you?  The winner or the loser?  It’s up to you to decide.

Why The Fountain?

The purpose of this blog series is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to encourage people during these dark and difficult times.

If you have never received Christ before, it is not too late to do so.  The truth is we are all sinners and have fallen short of God’s standard.  The good news is that Christ was sent to die for what we all deserved.  In believing that Christ died for you, you receive Christ and become an heir with him, with the promise of eternal life.  All you need to do is confess to him that you’re a sinner, ask him to come into your life and rescue you, and he will send you his Helper to be with you forever.  (John 14:16-17)

At the Fountain, you will always find Living Water.  Refreshing water for these difficult times.

Why you should not focus on results

Have you ever been in a situation where you have given it your all and you have not produced a single result?  You decide to throw a block party and you tell all of your neighbors about it.  You buy food, decorations and set it all up.  You turn on the music.  The salsa, queso, and chip bowl is all sitting there on the table.  The punch bowl is on another table.

The music continues playing.  Cars drive by, but not into your driveway.  Hours go by.  Full of regret, you turn off the music and you start putting away all of the food.  The block party is a disaster.  Or was it?

You through all the trouble in creating a party that no one would attend.  You even invited everyone too!  But no results.  But did you really fail by having no one show up.  Can someone fail by having no results?

For me, the answer to that is no.  The reason is that while you didn’t have anyone show up, you did succeed at throwing that party.  Situations like this happen all the time in life.  You try to produce the intended result, and that result does not happen.  Does no results equal failure?  By no means!  Failure is only if you give up.  The problem with so many of us is that we’re too fixated on the results.  If we stop worrying about the results, we can begin to learn from situations where we have no results.

Jeremiah was a prophet that prophesied to the Isaraelites, but no one listened to him.  Talk about no results?  But was his focus on results?  Not at all!  Jeremiah did his job, even though there was no results.

Sometimes, we have situations where we do things and end up with little or no results.  You go for a fishing trip and catch no fish.  You go bowling and score a low game.  Or that presentation didn’t go as planned.  What really matters in these situations is that you did your job.  You fished.  You bowled.  You gave that presentation.  What can we learn from the results that we produce?  For some, it may be that we’re too fixated on results.  For others, it may be that results don’t matter.  Getting good results can feel good sometimes.  But what if we get bad results?

At the end of the day, all we can do is do our jobs.  To look in the mirror and say that we have tried.  The fact that we did something is a lot more meaningful than not doing that thing at all.  Results are great, but they are not things that we should get hung up on.

Do results matter?  What matters is that I did my job and gave it my 100% effort.

I’m not afraid

Are you?

When we think of fear, it usually has to do with the things that we are unable to control.  Things like the unknown.  Things that we may not have the courage to face.  Things that can very well have the potential to overwhelm us.

The pandemic happened around three and a half months ago, and I’m sure that most of you were afraid when that happened.  Who would not be?  All of us were encountering a situation that we were never in before.  A situation that had us fighting an invisible enemy that we knew nothing about: the novel coronavirus.

But looking at today, who is still afraid?  Paul says in 2 Timothy that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control” (2 Timothy 1:7)

I will be honest.  We are all living in different times.  Trying times that we are not used to at all.  But we all have a decision to make.  Do we give in to fear, or do we overcome it?

I have made my decision.  I’m not afraid.  I’m not afraid of anything that can cause disease.  I am not afraid of the present situation, or what can happen in the future.

Where does fear come from?  It comes from another invisible enemy that we can’t see.  The devil is the enemy that we can’t see, since he’s in the spiritual realm.  He uses lies and fear to control people and weaken them.

But fortunately, we have the LORD to help us in times of trouble.  When fear arises, God can bring an end to it.  He is bigger than our problems.  Bigger than any coronavirus and bigger than anything that can ever happen to us.

And for this reason, I am not afraid.  The only one that I fear is my God.  He provides me with all the courage I need to face any fear that comes along.

So fear, you are not welcome here.  You are a liar and a sworn enemy to peace.  I’m not afraid.

Are you?

 

It begins….

The long and laborious errand of editing over 90,000 words of manuscript.  While I have already edited the first two chapters, I managed to edit the third one tonight.  With there being 28 chapters in this book, this is barely scratching the surface.

I’ll keep you all updated on my editing progress, and maybe even post a couple “samples”.

Until then, stay tuned and stay cozy at the Walker Estate….

One more chapter…..

The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox is nearly finished. The first part of it, at least, as this will be the first part of three.  The second part will focus on Zachary’s school years and the final part will focus on Zachary’s adult years.

With that, I am satisfied with the progress I am making on this story, and I hope to have the first part done soon.

More updates in the future!

A Sample….

Blessings

                Thomas Miller wiped the sweat off his brow, his eyes probing the entire kitchen.  Every cook was busy, preparing the numerous dishes that were asked of them.  On top of this, various new orders filled the kitchen.  The time was 6:24 p.m.  The orders were coming in faster than what they could manage.  It was crunch time.

“You’re all doing good!” Thomas shouted, above the various kitchen sounds.  The sounds of steak sizzling on a hot grill.  The clinging and clanging of various pans as the cooks prepared the other side dishes.  Then there was the noise of the pastry chefs on the other side of the kitchen.  Altogether, it was the sound of business.  A well oiled machine guaranteeing another profitable night.

With nearly 4,000 words and counting, that is all you get.  You will have to wait until I’m finished to get the whole story.

There will be more updates in the future.  Stay tuned!

A second appetizer…..

It’s time that I reveal another clue about my upcoming short story.

Do you like receiving gifts?  How about receiving one everyday?

That is all you get.  In the meantime, just be patient.  It will be done soon enough.

For now, I invite you to help yourself to some hot chocolate.  (You might need your imagination here.)

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An appetizer….

How are you doing today?  What kind of day are you having so far?  These kind of questions serve as a clue regarding what my next short story will be about.

If you’re curious what the next story is going to entail, good.  Like any well written story, I will keep you in suspense.  I will not be disclosing any other information regarding my upcoming story.  The next information you will get will be the entire story.   As the above title implies, this is an appetizer.  So chew on it for a little while and wait for the main course when it’s gone.

Whether your day is bad or good,  I hope that your day is amazing regardless.

Stay tuned for my next short story and keep yourself warm and cozy at the Estate.  To all who are gathered here, I wish you all a terrific Tuesday!

Book Review – Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing

So, are you ready to write that big novel?  I mean, REALLY – no excuses attached.

Now that you’re ready, have you written anything yet?  If the truth was known, you’re probably just staring at a blank screen.  You haven’t even written the first sentence!

The clock ticks and you get up from your seat.  “Oh, I’ll write something after I eat.”  You eat and then you look at the screen again.  “Oh, I’ll write after I do the laundry.”  You do the laundry and the blank screen is there once again, welcoming you.

Before you know it, it is now 10:30 p.m.  You have created a series of productive avoidances, one after another.  As you get into your sleepwear, you are filled with regret.  “Oh, I’ll just write something tomorrow.  Sure, you will.

The next day comes and you suddenly find out that your day is extremely busy.  The truth is, your day is no different than yesterday.  Another day for productive avoidances?  Maybe.

You sit down at the computer and wake it up from the screensaver.  That same blank screen is there from the night before.  “Oh, I don’t have time to write this.  Even if I did, it would be a horrible idea anyway.”

Does this describe you at all?  If it does in any way, then I need you to quit.  Whining won’t solve anything, but reading this book will.  Let me introduce you to Tricia McDonald’s Quit Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing.

Now before you say that this is just another writing book, I will advise you.  This is actually a good one.  On the Acknowledgments page, Tricia tells us a little bit about this book.  It is a collection of everything that she considers to be the best advice that she learned about writing novels.  This is research from many how-to books, a few writing classes, lectures from novelists and shared experiences from writers and non-writers all crammed into this book.  And considering how much it would cost in both time and money, this information is quite valuable.

Getting into the book, Tricia shares with us all of the essentials.  In beginning with an introduction of what a novel is and ending with what you need to sell your novel, Tricia provides a lot of good advice, and provides you the tools you need to make your literary journey a success.

Now we all know what a novel is and we all want to sell ours.  But what’s in the middle?  Tricia covers a variety of topics, including the supplies you need for your journey, finding time to write, productive avoidances, outlining, the three points of view, conflicts and what to do when you hit a wall, to name a few.

If you are looking for applications, there are plenty.  At the end of each chapter, there is an exercise associated with it.  So if you’re struggling with “that elusive writing time”, you can make a writing plan, setting a minimum time of ten minutes per day.  If you’re struggling with productive avoidances, you can make a list to resolve them.  If you’re working on dialogue, then you can write a page of it, using two different characters.  From there, you can fine tune it, reading it aloud to see if if the voices are true to who your characters are.

Considering that there are so many books on writing out there, why should you buy it?  I will begin by saying that this book has been quite helpful in my writing.  Before reading this, I was dead set on creating the perfect third chapter of my fantasy novel.  After reading this book, I realized that perfection can come later.  Make a crappy first draft, and revise when you’re done.  On my new book, I kept writing, refusing to revise anything.  Messes can be cleaned up, and being almost finished with the book, I look forward to cleaning up the messy first draft.

Another thing that sold me was the Character Outline in the “Characters with Character” chapter.  In the past, I have never really used a character profile for any of my characters.  I just always had a general idea of who they were, and what they were like in my head.  But I like the idea of the Character Outline.  It lists everything about the character.  Name and birth date, physical appearance, favorites, habits, family….everything.  I liked the Character Outline so much that I am now using it on my main characters and characters that I will develop in the future.

And how could I forget?  Tricia McDonald has published two other books already, so she has made the literary journey twice.  Thrice if you count this book.  All of her books are self-published, meaning that she doesn’t have to deal with a giant publishing company, where publishing your book is not always guaranteed.

So if you’re whining about anything regarding your book, or even have ideas about it, please stop.  Stop whining and get this book.  Click on the book above, buy it, and be cured of the dreaded writer’s block once and for all.  I give Stop Whining Start Writing: A Novelist’s Guide to Writing a 5 out of 5.

My Next Project….

For those of you who are unaware of what I have been working on lately,  it’s time that I inform all of you.

I have been working on a novel since August, so I feel that the time is long overdue to share with the world my most recent project.

Before I get to the project, perhaps you all would like to know what this story is about.  I’m glad that you asked.  Even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.

To all who ever has undergone the long and perilous journey of parenting, I commend you.  Parenting may be old or new to you, depending on your age.  You may either be a new parent, an older parent, or even someone who hasn’t even thought about parenting yet.

Wherever you are in that journey, or if you are even on that journey at all, most of us can generally agree that parenting can be a very rewarding experience.  This is especially true when they’re all grown up.

With parenting comes the lack of choice.  None of us can choose the kind of kids that we have.  Furthermore, none of us can even decide whether our kid is normal or not.  For the kids that aren’t normal, they have some kind of disability.  Whether it’s a physical one or a mental one, these children are to be loved all the same.  They are the “special” children, and they are to be treated as such.  Not in a condescending way, but in very much the same way that a normal child is treated.

Now whether or not you even have a child, imagine this scenario.  You have just found out that you have a new child.  This child is a boy, and he has a rather unique disability.  Not satisfied?  Too bad.  I’m the one deciding the scenario, not you.

Continuing with the scenario, a lot of you are probably wondering what kind of disability this child has.  With your child having just been born, you’ll have to wait until he gets older.

To make this scenario more interesting, let’s say that your child was born on February 29th.  That would mean that you had this child last year.  In another month, your child will be a year old.

But what about the disability?  That’s the thing.  With your child being nearly a year old, he doesn’t look any older than three months.  Congratulations.  You now have a child with an aging deficiency, and he’s  the only one in the world that has that problem.  This is the premise for my latest project – The Tale of Zachary Willowbrook: A Leap Day Paradox.

The scenario is pretty much what the story is about.  The mother has a baby boy named Zachary.  Over time, she finds out that Zachary is not an ordinary child.  With Zachary being born on February 29th, he doesn’t age as fast as we do.  For every four years that we age, he only ages one year.  Is the date of Zachary’s condition coincidental?  I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

The story is about a family coming to terms with the differences that Zachary has as a person and learning to accept them.  By family, I am referring to the Willowbrook Family.  The mother, the father and Zachary’s two younger siblings, which will remain a surprise for now.

Now Zachary’s condition in the present is pretty minor.  His parents can raise him and support him.  In the future, however, Zachary’s condition will pose some major circumstances.  Zachary will outlive his parents, his siblings, his grandchildren and even his great-grandchildren.

For a preview on this story, I would check out my “Think & Write” titled The Gift of Time. Click there and it will take you to that story.  This is the “Think & Write” that inspired me to write this novel.  I have put a lot of work into it, and I hope to have the first part done soon.  With over 44,000 words, I have discovered that I have a lot to say about Zachary and the wonderful family that he has.

As for the new “Think & Writes”,  I’ll have more up as I’m inspired with new ideas.  For the new ones, don’t expect them to be like the previous edition.  I feel that the first edition was purely experimental and served as a way to express my creative ideas.  Over time, I feel that the form has completely changed from “Think & Write #1”, and is now shifting towards something of greater quality.  I feel that a more polished piece of writing will be a better thing to look at than all of my second-rate drafts.  While they have achieved my purpose, I don’t think they achieve yours.  I also feel that having too many stories will overwhelm any newcomers.

For any of my stuff, just stay tuned.  And I’ll let you know how my Zachary story is doing.

A Little Housekeeping….

For one thing, I will not be leaving that many “Think & Writes” next year.

My reason for this is that I will be focusing more on the quality, rather than the quantity.  There will still be “Think & Writes”, just a lot less of them, since I want to focus on the quality of the material.  I want my writing to be the best that it can be, instead of a bunch of sub-par pieces.

So stay tuned for more updates as they unfold….

Think & Write #136

Solving for X-mas

David entered the office of the math department of Devonport College.  On his desk was a stack of Christmas cards, all addressed to him.

“Nice,” David quietly said, as he began opening them.

All of the ones that he read were very thoughtful.  The last one, though, really caught his eye.  The message read “Merry X-mas, David!”

At this, David smiled.  This card was from Patrick Murphy, head of the math department.  Looking at the card again, David nodded.  Something clearly wasn’t right about the card.

“He forgot to solve for x….” David quietly said.

As David was looking at the card, Mr. Murphy looked down at David.  “Did you like my card?”

David nodded, and gave him a jovial smile.  “Yes, Mr. Murphy,” David told his boss.  “There is, however, one problem.  And we all know this in standard algebra.  You forgot to solve for x.”

Mr. Murphy frowned.  “What do you mean, David?”

David pointed at Mr. Murphy’s message  “Merry X-mas, David!”.  “You did not solve for x.  You left it without a variable.  And I’m pretty sure that you know what that variable is.”

Mr. Murphy nodded.  “Yes David.  I do.  But you see, I am not a Christian, so I don’t feel that we even need to worry about that message.”

David nodded, looking slightly troubled.  “I am very sorry to hear that, Mr. Murphy.  I just found it strange that you would write an ‘x’ where ‘Christ’ should be.”

“Well, religion is for the weak,” Mr. Murphy told him.  “A man like me don’t need religion.  Now if you would excuse me, I have a class to get to, and so do you.  This is the last day before the break, Mr. Silverman.  Let’s not begin it on a bitter note.  You have a good day.”

“Merry Christmas!” David shouted, as he left the room.

David, still having another 15 minutes, looked at the card again.  If Mr. Murphy insisted on keeping it as “X-mas”, he was going to change that.  He decided that he was going to solve for “X-mas”.  David wrote on the card, showing his work.  X = Christ.  After writing that, he wrote “Christmas” underneath “X-mas”.  Putting the card away, David sighed.  “You can’t spell Christmas without Christ,” he quietly muttered.

With that, David left the room, towards his first classroom.   This would be the last day that he would be teaching before Christmas break.  Just a few short days before Christmas.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker

Think & Write #135

Nativity Scene

Emily walked into the living room.  The house was nicely decorated, with a Christmas tree in one corner.  On one of the book cases, her mother was setting up a manger.  There were little figures that her mother was setting up, including one that was a baby.

Emily watched with curiosity as the whole manager got set up.  When she saw the baby, she was confused.  “Who is that little baby?” Emily asked her mother.

The mother turned to her daughter and smiled.  “That little baby is Jesus.  I am setting up the manger because this is what makes Christmas so special.

Emily still looked confused.  “Why?” she asked her.

“Honey,” the mother told her.  “All of these figures are part of a scene in the Nativity Story.  This is an extra special story because this story is about the birth of Jesus.”

“Who are those standing next to baby Jesus?”

“Those are the parents.  The father is Joseph and the mother is Mary.  There is also the three wise men, the shepherds and the angel, Gabriel.  A long long time ago, Jesus was born into the world.”

“Are those like dolls?  Can I play with them?”

The mother shook her head.  “Please don’t play with them.  They are fragile.  This is a very old collection.  This is the real meaning of Christmas, honey.  The birth of Jesus is the best gift that the world has ever received, and it is through him that all of us can be saved from all the bad things that we do.”

Emily smiled, and quietly stared at the manger.  She looked at baby Jesus and smiled.  When she saw her mother talking, she held out her hand.  “Shh!” she whispered.  “He’s sleeping, mommy.  We need to be quiet.”

The mother smiled, as she got the last of the scene set up.  “Okay.  We’ll be quiet around the manger, okay?”

The mother left the room, leaving Emily alone with the manger.

Emily smiled when she saw the baby Jesus figurine.  She then approached the little figurine and began whispering to it.  “When I entered the house yesterday, I forgot to take my shoes off.  I’m sorry, Jesus.”

At this, she left the room.  The Nativity Scene sat there, emitting a faint glow of light.

______

©2012  K. L. Walker