Tag Archives: thoughts

Veteran’s Day by John E. Stack

This year my wife and I decided to go out to eat on Veteran’s day. I had the day off work, so we decided to brave the crowds. We took the kids and headed to a restaurant that we wanted to give another try hoping to beat the crowds. Every restaurant we drove past had a line out the door and the one we stopped at was no different. So, we got out and waited with our three small children.

Veterans and their families stood in line for about an hour to be served a free meal. Ages ranged from early 20s to probably late 80s. In order to get everyone seated and fed in a timely manner the single vets were seated together, most not knowing anyone else at their table. They chatted like old friends with the only commonality being that they served to fight and protect our country.

I didn’t feel out of place, because I too am a vet. I entered the Air Force in the summer of 1974 and I married my bride 5 months later. What we know that many realized later is that being in the military is not just a job, but a demanding position that not only affects the military member but the family also. Every assignment I had my family served with me. Every hardship, they endured also. They too made friends from once strangers, who still touch our lives.

We were blessed that I did not see combat even though I did serve in Korea for a year. I went in at the close of the Vietnam war. It was officially over when I entered, so after basic training I was able to stay stateside. I was trained as an Engineering Technician and learned all about construction. I was taught everything from project development, drafting, surveying, soils analysis, and hands on construction. All was in preparation of having to go in after an airfield attack and rebuilding the structures and runway. I did use my skills but never in a combat situation.

After twenty years, in 1994, I retired and started a new career. But, I can still recall hundreds of men and women that I had the opportunity to sit down and eat with. I didn’t know anything about them at first but we became friends with a common bond.

All of this is to say “Thank You” to all who served and the many who gave their lives for this common bond – America. Also, thank you to those who honor soldiers of past and present with these small tokens of gratitude. God bless.

And, I want to wish my grandson, Aaron, a super, Happy Birthday!

***John E. Stack is the author of Cody’s Almost Trip to the Zoo, Cody’s Rescue Adventure at the Zoo, and Olivia’s Sweet Adventure.

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It says so in the bible!

Last week, as a result of my own hugely opinionated big mouth (I know, shocker!), I found myself in the middle of a somewhat heated discussion on social media. The discussion was with a very dear friend and the subject was none other than the hot topic of today – gay marriage.

I ‘shared’ an article written by a young woman who spoke of ‘biblical marriage’ and why it isn’t what you think it is – at least according to the bible. She referenced numerous verses in the scriptures that spoke of relationships that aren’t what most of us think of when we think of “marriage.”  I felt it was a great article and further felt it was something I’d often thought but couldn’t quite put into words.

Well, one thing led to another and before you know it, I’m in the middle of a gay rights debate. My friend composed a post that, in his words, “shredded the author’s lame attempt at knowing the bible.”

Oooh. I was HOT! I yanked out my bible and began to compose a response that was so long, I couldn’t put it all in one post.  It took three.  I cited verse after verse in an attempt to prove my point.  He did the same.  Actually, I think if you look at my Facebook page, most of the bible passages are contained there.

Go take a look. I’ll wait.

Let me be absolutely clear on one thing: I support gay rights.  All of them.  Even the right to be legally joined.  Not only that, but I also believe in my heart that there is nothing wrong with you or your relationship if you happen to be gay.

Let me also say that you’re not going to change my opinion. Ever.  Just like I’m not going to change yours if you believe that homosexuality is an abomination and a sin.  This particular issue causes more heated arguments than pretty much anything else because both sides believe in their heart they are right. And both sides are tremendously passionate.

Let’s just agree to disagree for now.

I know what you’re thinking. The bible says it’s wrong!  Leviticus 18:22.  Pull out your bible, Donna, and have a look.  It’s right there!

You know what? You’re right.  It is written in there.  In black and white.  Neat little print.  Clear as a bell. (Well, as clear as that teeny-tiny print can be.)

And that’s where my confusion begins.

In this social media firestorm, I was simply looking for the answer to a question that no one can seem to answer for me: Why do we take Leviticus 18:22 literally yet, for the most part, do not do the same with other verses? In my humble opinion, if we are going to take verses from the bible literally, we must do it with all of them. We shouldn’t be able to pick and choose which verse withstands the test of time and which one can be tossed aside or disregarded. But it this case, it seems as though we are. To me, at least.

In my Facebook rant (Yes it was a rant), I cited other verses from Leviticus that reference putting a child to death for cursing their mother or father, not planting two types of seeds in your garden, not wearing clothing made from two types of materials, and putting to death those who work on the Sabbath.

In this rant, after I cited these verses I asked the question: Why do we take Leviticus 18:22 literally but none of the others?  Some of the rules laid out there seem a bit harsh (Stoning?  Really?), and others just seem silly.  I happen to love a poly-cotton blend.

My question went unanswered. Instead, I was told was that these verses are taken from the Old Testament and were meant primarily for Jews.  The New Testament is what applies to the Gentiles.

Umm…okay. So if you’re Jewish, you can’t be gay.  But if you’re a Gentile, you can?  And if you’re Jewish, all the laws in the Old Testament apply to you?  I have a Jewish friend and to the best of my recollection, there haven’t been any stonings at her place.  Also, her kids are still alive and I feel certain they’ve cursed her.  She may have even worked on a Sunday….

But I digress.

That didn’t clear it up for me. Why?  Because we are still taking Leviticus 18:22 literally and not doing the same for others and my question wasn’t answered.  In fact, my comments were tossed back to me with such flippancy, all I could was read it with wide eyes and and an open mouth.

Now, I don’t want to get into a whole “Battle of the Scriptures” here because I know I’m not going to change your mind. I’m not going to post something from the bible and change your entire belief system.  Just as you are not going to change mine.  The verse that speaks directly to homosexuality is there!  I know it is! But I hope I’ve at least made you understand why this is confusing to me.

If you have a differing opinion, can you do the same for me? Can you explain how you came to your way of thinking?

What I am asking is for someone to please explain to me why we adhere to this one verse, yet ignore other verses from the same book? The same page of the bible?  How can this make sense?  Surely, when studying the bible, someone asked their pastor this question.

Truly, I just do not understand and I want to. I want to understand how someone whose opinion is the opposite of mine came to their conclusion and didn’t question why certain verses are subject to interpretation, yet others are not.

I’ve read the bible just like you. I’m still recovering from eight years of Catholic School and three years of Catechism.  That’s a lot of time spent with a bible in front of me while wearing a navy blue skirt and vest, white shirt, and hideous brown loafers.  (Hey!  What’s something you’ll never hear at a Catholic School?  Wait for it…. “So, what are you wearing tomorrow?”  Sad, but true.  Trust me, I’ve lived it.)

Anyway, I’ve read the part where it says homosexuality is an abomination. I’ll give you that.  But it says a lot of other things too.

So why? Why do we fall on our sword for this issue?  Why is this verse absolute and unchanging, yet so many others are subject to interpretation?

I don’t want to argue the homosexuality issue.  I just want someone to give me an explanation as to why this verse does not change with the passage of time, yet others do.  I want to understand how you came to this conclusion. What was your thought process? Did you question other verses and why they aren’t enforced? If you did ask those types of questions, how was it explained to you?

We’re not going to change one another’s opinions or thoughts on this very heated issue, but I really want to understand how the other side thinks.

Anyone?

Donna Small is a sinner who resides in Clemmons, North Carolina, where she is at work on her next novel. She has always found it difficult to keep her mouth shut and her opinions to herself.   She is the author of Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water, both available from Second Wind Publishing.  To purchase her books, click here:  http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/#!donna-small/c1ewn

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Why Can’t We See Our Own Mistakes?

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;” John Donne
 
     I’ve been in discussions with other authors about the frustrations we share when we think we have a “perfect” manuscript, then someone points out a missing word, or an extra word, or improper usage, and the mistake becomes a glaring beacon. Evident and obvious. “How could I have missed THAT when I read the manuscript about a million times, out loud, backwards, every which way but loose?”
 
     It boils down to the fact that we can’t always see own mistakes, a fact I have pondered off and on my entire adult life. What am I doing that others think is wrong? What am I saying that another finds insulting or offensive? I do not deliberately set out to offend anyone, but it happens from time to time.
 
     I consider it a sign of caring when someone points out an error I’ve made. Which brings me to the answer of why I think we can’t see our own mistakes: we need others. As John Donne so eloquently wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself.”
 
     How can we correct something we don’t know is wrong, or could be made better? We need others who are willing to point out things we’ve said or done incorrectly, or missed altogether. If we are insulated, others can’t help us.
 
     I am a person who wants the truth. When I ask for an honest opinion, I sincerely expect it. Even when the answer is, “Yes, that dress does make you look fat.” Or, “That’s not a very realistic scenario in your book.” I may feel a little put-out, but it enables me to look at things from a different perspective, and make effective changes.
 
     I strive to be kind to others and tend to make positive–rarely negative–comments. But, when it’s important to point out a needed correction, or someone asks for my candid opinion, I give it. People can accept or reject what I say.
 
     There are people who seem to thrive on pointing out others’ mistakes, or making hurtful comments that crush others. I consider that mean-spirited, perhaps born out of jealousy, or insecurity. Maybe those are the people who consider themselves islands, in and of themselves.
 
     But the rest of us can endeavor to be helpful with our corrections. As John Donne says, “because I am involved in mankind.” And we can be, too.
 

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Thinking Outside the Box: Rejection – It’s Not Just for Writers…

This has been a rough two weeks. First, I was dealing with the deafening sound of crickets in response to the numerous resumes/applications I have sent out over the past six months. Then, this week, my in-box and mail-box have been filled with “…while your credentials are impressive, you have not been selected…” responses. At least the crickets have been silenced.

 

As some readers know, I was displaced from my job in September as a result of a corporate restructuring and massive head-count reduction at the Fortune 100 company where I worked. I know I am in good company. The latest report on the unemployment numbers indicates that there are 13.2 million people out of work in the US. (United States Department of Labor, (2009, April 3). The unemployment situation: March 2009. Bureau of Labor Statistics News. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.)

 

What can a person do to get out of the mountainous pile of resumes received for each opening and in front of a hiring manager? Or, better yet, what can one do to get an interview?

 

All the experts will tell you that the trick to landing a job, especially in this type of job market, is using your network to get in the door at your targeted companies. In addition to networking like crazy, I have decided to get creative.

 

One of the networking groups I belong to sent out a query on behalf of a reporter for personal stories about coping with unemployment. I contacted the reporter and gave an interview, which may be published later this month. I have also registered with a radio station in my home town that is featuring an unemployed listener each week and helping that person promote themselves to prospective employers on the air and on the station’s website.

 

Sort of unusual tactics, and even more unusual when you factor in my introverted nature; this is way outside of my “comfort zone” under any circumstances. My hope is that a prospective employer will see that I am able to “think outside the box” and willing to take a risk. My hope is that a prospective employer will recognize these strengths that can be hard to demonstrate on a resume. My hope is that a prospective employer will realize that they need someone like me in their organization.

 

Will it work? We shall see, but that is the beauty of the successful creative thinking – you never know if it will work until you try.

 

 

Mairead Walpole is the pen name for a somewhat introverted project manager who has 20+ years of business and technical writing under her belt. In her spare time, Mairead reviews books for Crystal Reviews (www.crystalreviews.com) and writes paranormal romance. Her first novel, “A Love Out of Time” is available through Second Wind Publishing (www.secondwindpublishing.com) or Amazon.com.

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NAME RECOGNITION

Claire Collins is the author of  ‘Fate and Destiny’ and ‘Images of Betrayal’

 

The other day, I was a patient waiting patiently for the nurse to call my name. I grabbed the magazine closest to me on the waiting room table and perused the pages. The publication was an interior decorating magazine aimed at people who have six figures to spare. Each of the rooms was decorated with an abundance of top-dollar items designed by well-known names and firms in their circles.

 

I have no idea who they were. 

 

Obviously, I am not in that circle. On one cream colored wall was a framed drawing in a childlike scratch of x’s and o’s. My thought? How sweet, the wealthy homeowners framed artwork created by their child or grandchild.

 

Nope. The artwork, which looked exactly like something one of my kids would have rendered at the age of three, was some kind of a big deal by some famous artist.

 

I can’t remember his name and it really isn’t important to me, however it does make me want to give the kids a pack of crayons and some poster board and see if I can’t get rich selling their scribbles as art since that seems to be all the latest rage.

 

Books are similar. People will buy any book written by an author they have heard of, even if the book itself isn’t any good. There are forums across the internet devoted to authors who have created one good book, and a lot of mediocre books. Readers rave about how many they have read and the plot points of each, and if anyone disagrees with the fanatical ravings, then they are immediately quartered and drawn by the other members of the group.

 

Now, I am off to go find an artists page and let the fanatics there know that if they insist on adorning their walls with a particular style of impressionist artwork, I can get them quality originals for a fraction of the price. All I have to do is build the name recognition.

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