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Sunday, August 7, 2016

An Empty Nest



Growing up out in the country, we had birds everywhere. Of course, it helped that we had a big yard with cherry, pear, and apple trees, along with assorted maple, and elm trees. We had willow trees along the edge of the yard separating us from the river, and a treehouse nestled in amongst three willows at the river’s edge.

Birds? Robins, sparrows, blackbirds, and some starlings. Every now and then, we might see a jay or cardinal, but not often. Rarely, actually.

We had this favorite climbing tree, a big green apple tree. We’d pretend it was a fort or a B-52, whatever we needed it to be. It sat towards the patio, just beyond the cherry tree.

One spring, actually many springs, we’d find a nest. Blue eggs meant robins. Mom and dad would caution us to leave the nest and the eggs alone because if we touched them, sometimes even if we got too close to the nest, the mom and dad birds might not come back to care for the eggs. Most times we would heed the caution, but other times, curiosity got to us. Like most kids, I guess.

I enjoyed watching the feeding of the young birds. Peeps and chirps would announce their hunger, and their beaks would open to receive whatever their parents brought them.

And then, they would eventually develop the size and strength to fly. They would leave their nest, find their own mate, and begin their own families. Maybe in our yard, maybe in someone else’s yard. They would build their nest, lay eggs, feed their young, and the cycle would begin again. Over and over and . . .

This is the time of year when many of us see our kids off to college. Next week, we drive Emily to Greensboro, North Carolina where she’ll compete on the soccer team and begin her studies. The week after, Hannah begins her final stretch with graduation in December and the beginning of grad school in the spring.

Their departure will leave Kim and me with An Empty Nest. (You can picture the frown and you can hear the sigh, I’m sure. It probably mirrors and echoes your own.)

I have to admit that it is a rite of passage, a necessary part of life. But that said, I don’t have to like it. And I don’t. Not at all. Not one bit. Period.

There is pleasure in watching my girls grow into the young, beautiful women they are and will be. I’m more than a little curious as to what will become of them. I hope and pray they will find success and happiness, knowing that there will be bumps and bruises along the way. I hope and pray that each will find someone with whom they might share their life with, knowing that there will likely be heartache before they find “that one guy.”

But . . .

I will miss the laughter around the dinner table. I will miss their stories from the day. I will miss . . . them!

I love Kim. I love being with her. She is my wife and best friend. It’s just that I will miss Emily and Hannah. I like it when we’re all together, especially after losing our son, Wil.

I know that isn’t the way of it, the way of life. I know that life moves forward and onward and that it doesn’t stand still. I want Em and Hannah to grow up and get out on their own, but does it have to happen now? Right now?

It seems like yesterday that I was changing diapers. It seems like last week when they first went to school, played their first soccer game or swam in their first meet. I can remember their homecoming dances, their proms, and their sleepovers. I can remember sitting in the stands cheering them on. And, I remember both of them walking across the stage and receiving their high school diplomas from me.

I remember it all. I accept that it is a part of life. I just don’t have to like it, right? Good, because I don’t. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor



If you like to read thriller/mystery, check out:
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis     

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis     

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
The FBI knows a 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t. With no leads and with nothing to go on, the FBI gambles and sets up the boy and his family as bait in order to catch three dangerous and desperate men with absolutely nothing to lose.

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows



As I’ve written many times, I grew up in a large family. There were ten kids and I was the second youngest. There is a twenty year difference between the oldest, Donna, and the youngest, Jeff. Big families are like that.

I remember that each Sunday, our family would sit on the left for the 9:15 AM mass, usually in one of the first ten pews. All of us, all together. Once a month on a Saturday, dad would drive us to church for confession. Not exactly sure why the frequency, but it was important to dad so we went.

My brothers and sisters and I were the youngest there by light-years. Even my dad would be considered young in comparison to those kneeling in pews or in front of votive candles. I remember mentioning this to my dad. He thought about it in silence for a bit and then mentioned something to the effect that as we get older, we realize better how we erred. We realize that the end is near, and we realize that we need to make amends.

I must have looked up at him with a furrowed brow or at least an unspoken question on my lips, because he smiled and said something like, “When you get older, you’ll understand that you’ll look back on your life, all the mistakes you’ve made, all things you said or did, and you’ll want to say, ‘I’m sorry.’”

Hmmm . . .

I’ve always been a spiritual kind of guy. For most of my life, I’ve been a religious kind of guy. I guess it goes back to being raised in the family I was born into, being taught by nuns from first through eighth grade, and then going to the high school I went to, which was a co-ed boarding school that used to be a seminary.

But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that I had More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows left in me. That’s a sudden and stark realization.

There was no one incident that caused that realization. There is no illness other than a few more aches and pains. I’m in pretty good health. I’m happy. Life is good. Kim and I are faced with being empty nesters in August and neither of us are quite sure what to make of that. So, no, there wasn’t one thing I can point to that caused me to say to myself that I have More Yesterdays Than Tomorrows. Yeah, being sixty-two, I really am on the downhill side of the mountain.

And aside from retirement accounts (in about six years, I figure) and life insurance and such, I have to consider what I’ve left for Kim, for Hannah, and for Emily.

Did I do enough for them? Was I a good example for them? Am I someone they tolerate and kind of ignore or do they like having me around? Was I a good enough dad for Hannah and Emily, and as I interact with Kim, who is my best friend, am I showing Hannah and Emily what a good husband might be?

Knowing that I have made, and will continue to make, mistakes, do I own them or place blame on others? Are my words meaningful and loving or are they careless and hurtful? Do I smile enough, laugh enough? Is my heart full enough and do I freely and lovingly give all that is in my heart away enough? Do I continue to trust even though I might get burned from time to time?

Do I forgive . . . others . . . myself . . . for all that I did do, didn’t do, and did say or didn’t say? Have I used the gifts I was given? Did I share my gifts with others and help bring out the gifts in others?

So many things for me to consider. So many questions to ask myself. And . . . so many things for you to consider and so many questions to ask yourself. Something . . . many things, actually . . . to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

For My Readers:
Please feel free to connect with me at

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor



If you would like to read a recent interview of me and my work, you can find it at http://bit.ly/29yA9IT  

If you like to read thriller/mystery, check out:

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis        

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis       

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
The FBI knows a 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t. With no leads and with nothing to go on, the FBI gambles and sets up the boy and his family as bait in order to catch three dangerous and desperate men with absolutely nothing to lose.

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis

Sunday, July 17, 2016

In Someone Else's Hands



In Someone Else’s Hands

At a recent concert, Keith Urban saw a sign held by a fan and he invited him up on stage. The guy wanted to play guitar. So, Keith Urban handed him his guitar, and then perhaps as a precaution, asked his guitar tech for a guitar. “Any guitar, Chris,” is what he said.

I’ve heard of other artists bringing fans up on stage and having them perform. Bryan Adams brought up a fan for his hit, Cuts Like A Knife, and it didn’t turn out so well. And in this case, Keith Urban handed this kid his own guitar and the song was Sweet Thing, full of vintage guitar riffs. When I watched the video, I was focused more on Keith than I did on the kid, because this was his song, his guitar and this particular performance was In Someone Else’s Hands.

How did it turn out?

“He crushed it!” is what Keith Urban said. And to my untrained ear when I listened to it, it sure sounded like he had crushed it! It really sounded great!

This past week, we took a vacation to Tennessee and it was one of the best we’ve ever had. Peaceful, tranquil, and yet, busy. Horseback riding, Moonshine tasting, Tubing down a river with a couple of small rapids thrown in, a tour of Cades Cove, mini-golf on the side of a mountain, visiting an enormous aquarium where the girls got to pet stingray and jellyfish.

But . . .

Kim, Hannah and Emily wanted to go white water rafting. Hmmm . . .

Now folks, I have to tell you that I’m not competent nor comfortable in water except a hot tub or a bath tub. The thought of the necessity of having to wear a helmet and a lifejacket caused me some anxiety. Okay, I was actually very nervous. I almost chickened out.

It was a forty-five minute trip on the Pigeon River that started just feet from the North Carolina border. We were given instructions:
1.      Don’t stand on the river if you fall out of the boat because most drownings occur when one’s foot gets lodged between rocks and debris on the river floor. Yes, comforting, especially the falling out of the boat and drowning part.
2.      Keep the lifejacket snug because if you do fall overboard, they pull you up by the shoulder straps, not your arms, for fear of dislocating a limb. Oh, great!

Our guide, BP, was a young kid- late twenties or early thirties. Heck, at my age, anyone ten years younger than me is a kid.

He had six years’ rafting experience and was a former Marine (not that I knew that until we were actually on the water). Still, I gave up what little control I had and placed it squarely, if not begrudgingly, In Someone Else’s Hands.

BP was funny, informative, and gave us a wonderful trip. I would go again in a heartbeat, especially if he was our guide.

Still, the thought of placing my life and lives of Kim, Hannah and Emily In Someone Else’s Hands caused me nervousness and anxiety and almost at the end, I almost didn’t go. I almost chickened out.

But I didn’t. I didn’t.

I allowed myself the opportunity to trust someone I didn’t know. I allowed myself to trust that someone, besides me, knows what to do and how to do it. I allowed myself to let go, to go along, and to believe that I cannot, will not, be able to control everything. Nor should I. A big step for me. Perhaps, a big step for each of us. To let go. To place ourselves In Someone Else’s Hands. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
Please feel free to connect with me at

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor



Recent interview of me and my work, you can find it at http://bit.ly/29yA9IT

If you like to read thriller/mystery, check out:

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis       

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis      

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
The FBI knows a 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t. With no leads and with nothing to go on, the FBI gambles and sets up the boy and his family as bait in order to catch three dangerous and desperate men with absolutely nothing to lose.

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis