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Friday, October 13, 2017

If the Shirt Doesn't Fit . . .



There are a series of pictures I’ve seen that illustrate the difference between what is fair and what is equal. It can be a difficult concept to grasp, especially in our current climate.

Three kids are standing behind a fence trying to watch a baseball game. The three kids are different sizes ranging from tall, to medium, to short.

The second picture shows the same kids behind the same fence watching the same baseball game, but in this instance, they stand on boxes. The boxes are all the same size, indicating that each kid is getting equal treatment. However, the tall kid and the medium kid see just fine, but because the short kid has a box that isn’t large enough, he still can’t see. Equal, but not necessarily fair.

The third picture shows yet the same kids behind the same fence watching the same baseball game, but this time each kid is given a different size box to stand on. The tall kid receives a box but it is smallest of the three boxes, but he can see just fine. The medium kid receives a slightly larger box than the taller kid, so he sees the game just fine. And the smallest kid receives a large box to stand on so he is at the same height as the tall and medium-sized kids and because of this, he sees the baseball game comfortably. In fact, in this picture, all three are standing at an equal height, so each can watch the same baseball game comfortably without any obstruction. Fair, but not necessarily equal.

Fair and equal.

Each child receives what he or she needs to succeed.

This morning I spent time on the phone with a concerned and frustrated parent because of a decision I made. Not the first time that happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The interpretation the parent wanted was the “letter of the law” because it is written and is black and white with no wiggle room.

Hmmm . . .

I’ve never claimed to be Solomon nor claimed to have his wisdom or brilliance. I’m just a guy and I’m sure if others were in my shoes, perhaps a different decision might have been made. Probably so because there are others a whole lot smarter than I am.

But I don’t see things as black and white. I see black and white with gradations of gray. I live in the world of gray. Always have and I know it can drive some folks a bit crazy. You know, the consistency thing.

I have several favorite psychologists and clinicians I’ve studied and read over the years. One of them, Alfred Adler, was paraphrased by a professor of mine while I was obtaining my first M.S., that one in Counseling. He said, “If the shirt doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.”

Great advice, but what if it’s the only shirt you have?

I think all decisions, big and small, need to be tempered by not only with what is fair and not only with what is equal with mostly with an eye on what is the most loving thing that can be done in any situation.

What is the most loving thing that can be done?

For some, we try to make it as fair as we can and this might mean that we aren’t treating some equally. But if we allow the question: “What is the most loving thing that can be done?” to influence that decision, how can we possibly go wrong? To me, love has a much higher rank than fair or equal. Just because something is written in black and white doesn’t mean it is necessarily right or necessarily fair or necessarily equal. Don’t accept the shirt if it doesn’t fit. Rather, If The Shirt Doesn’t Fit, get a new shirt. Just sayin’. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I have great news!

My fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web will be published by Black Rose Writing in April of 2018. While I complete the necessary edits and wait, I am finishing up my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness. As always, I will keep you posted on the progress of Caught in a Web and Spiral Into Darkness.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                   

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI/                             

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 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 Agent Kelliher and 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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis           

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis          

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis          

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Ride On A Tractor



I began my teaching and coaching career in Wyoming in a ranch community. It was small and rural and I lived in a town that had a post office, a bar and a gas station. That’s it. Oh, and a water tower with the name of the town. I guess they needed a landmark so folks would know we existed.

During the summer, I was “hired” to work on a ranch. Yeah, me.

Folks, I’m a city slicker. Yes, I grew up in the country on a river, but it was close to the city, so it wasn’t country country, if you know what I mean. Where I lived in Wyoming, it was real country!

I had never been on a tractor. Never. Never thought I’d actually ever drive a tractor and looking back, perhaps I shouldn’t have. Yeah, really.

One early summer morning, Sonny drove me out to a field in the middle of nowhere. The crop was corn. My job was to drive the tractor up and down the field and plow it. That’s my best description of what my job was supposed to be.

So, Sonny being Sonny trusted me . . . maybe too much. He and I got on the tractor. He showed me how to sit so I could watch the front and the rear- sort of sitting sideways. Not super comfortable, but doable. He drove up one row and back down another and stopped the tractor. He jumped off and said, “See you at Noon.”

Noon? That was six hours approximately for me to be alone with a tractor with a contraption on the back that dug up dirt. Six hours by myself! And, up one row and down the other was the extent of my education on plowing a field on a tractor. Seriously?

Okay, he trusted me (silly, him!) so I think I can do this.

So, maybe not.

You see, crops grow and the product of my plowing was clearly evident in time. I don’t know in monetary terms how much damage I did to that field, but I have to tell you, there were more gaps than anyone’s grandmother’s teeth.

Sonny was the father of two of my basketball players. Great kids. Gene was with me at the time Sonny and I inspected the field and my work about a month or so later. It wasn’t pretty. Gene of course got quite the kick out of it. I was mortified.

Sonny’s reaction?

He sucked on a toothpick, turned one direction and then another, turned to Gene and asked, “Gene, what moron plowed this field?” Rhetorical, I guess, but the moron was me.

And that was the extent of it. He put me back on a tractor. On a backhoe. I irrigated fields. I drove his new pickup from field to field. I helped brand cattle (though I started a stampede, but that is a story for another time).

No anger. No dress down. No public flogging. I didn’t pay for the damages because he didn’t ask me for it, not that he ever would or that I could afford it.

He moved on. I moved on. I learned from my mistake- at least the mistake involving a tractor with a plow. I made new mistakes and learned from them too. He was patient with me and kept asking me back. His wife invited me to many Sunday dinners. Spent a Christmas morning there once. They took me in, sort of, like a lost puppy and in many respects, perhaps I was. My Ride On A Tractor was much more than that one summer morning and a messed up field. I learned because I was given a second, a third and a fourth chance. Mistakes and all. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am at the tail end of  my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness. I’ve completed more than 81,000+ words and 327 pages into it.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                  

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI/                            

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 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 Agent Kelliher and 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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis          

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis         

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis         

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Need For Joy



There is a wonderful story that has blown up Twitter and other social media, along with the more traditional news outlets.

Deshaun Watson is the rookie starting quarterback for the Houston Texans. He’s having a fairly typical season so far, maybe better than typical. But here is what impressed me.

There are three arena cafeteria workers who feed the players and fans on a daily basis and on game day. Like most blue collar folks, they work quietly in long and hard hours to serve others, mostly without recognition other than, perhaps, a thank you when one picks up a meal. Unknown by most, but evidently known to Watson. He must have recognized their smiles, their friendliness, their presence and mostly, their quiet service.

During Hurricane Harvey, these three cafeteria workers lost most of what they owned and their houses were ruined. Like many Americans during times of tragedy, their lives were changed, altered.

Life doesn’t play favorites. Life can be cruel and sometimes, hurtful.

So in steps Deshaun Watson, the rookie quarterback. He takes his first game check and splits it up among the three cafeteria workers in an effort to help ease their pain. I don’t know what he earns for a season. I don’t know what he earns for each game. But whatever it was, he wanted to give it to these three ladies in hopes of easing the unfairness Harvey unleashed on them. He hoped to ease the pain, the cruelty of how life turned on them.

The reaction of the three was interesting. One smiled and wept. Another was off camera and I didn’t see a clear shot of her reaction. The third stood stunned by the gesture.

What was touching was that this rising star smiled and spoke kindly to each of them. He treated them as one would someone’s mom. He reached out to three workers who toil and serve, who work without fanfare or the recognition someone like he receives. Watson recognized that there is a Need For Joy in this life. Not just for these three nameless workers, but really, for all of us.

Watson’s gesture wasn’t necessarily super huge, although it certainly could have been. I’m sure to those three cafeteria workers, it was like winning the lottery. He cared about someone other than himself. He raised up and brought Joy back to these three.

There is a Need For Joy.

For all of us. Each of us. Each day. Every day.  

I read something that floated by on Twitter and while I can’t remember the exact quote, paraphrasing as best I can it went like this: Joy comes to us when we are grateful for all we have.

I would like to amend that statement to: Joy comes to us when we are grateful for all we have and share it with others.

When I watched Watson present those checks to those three workers, it brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. It was selfless. It was humbling. It was love. And while I didn’t receive any money from him, I shared in the joy he made and the joy he gave and it brought me joy hundreds of miles away. It made life a little easier for those three women and their families, and it made life a little more joyful for all of us. Something we might do for one another, don’t you think? Bring Joy to someone? Anyone? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am busy having fun with my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness, and I’m nearing the end and in the middle of the climax. I’ve completed more than 78,000+ words and 315 pages into it.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                 

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI/                           

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 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 Agent Kelliher and 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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis         

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis        

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis        

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis

Friday, September 22, 2017

In Service



It seems like the earth is not real happy right now! Hurricanes, earthquakes, wild fires, you name it. All of it happening at once is a bit disconcerting, if not downright frightening. And to think there is a second round and perhaps a third round on the way. I ponder that and can only shake my head and murmur a prayer or two.

In my meditation this morning, I read the passage about the washing of feet. Interesting in that the Master, the Leader did the washing and not the other way around.

Think about that for a minute . . .

Back then, there weren’t any fancy Nikes to wear. For men, there weren’t any Corthay Derby Shoes costing $2100 (seriously, who buys those?) or Brooks Brothers costing $175. For women, there weren’t any Manolo Blahnik costing $965. There weren’t even any Chucky Taylors.

Men and women wore sandals. Not Birkenstock sandals, either. Back then, footwear- if there was any and for some, there probably wasn’t any- was cheap and inexpensive.

And then, you have the whole “feet thing.” The dirt and the grime and the sweat. The smell. Not very pleasant no matter who’s they are.

So for the Master, the Leader, the Savior to wash a follower’s feet was something. A lesson for us just in that, I think. Humbling, kneeling before them. Placing oneself lower than another. A whole new meaning to someone considered to be and looked upon as a leader.

So . . .

We’ve read stories about human chains- folks holding hands to reach someone stranded in raging waters. We read stories about folks volunteering their time and their boats to get to Houston or Florida to help rescue people trapped and surrounded by water. We see pictures of men and women carrying others to safety. Children and pets being rescued and saved.

Men and women risking their lives in water or in fire or in rubble. Unknown to each other, but brought together because they care . . . we care. Brought together because we are all human and all connected. Brought together because, well, because next time it could be a family member. One’s mom or dad or grandparent. A child. Next time, it might be you or it might be me.

So today, I want to give silent praise and thanks for all of those who have gone out of their way or are going out of their way to help another soul. To those who put their own lives on hold because there was a need of another, of others- a need more urgent than our own. To those who volunteered or were voluntold to go help. To those who collected money and clothes and food and water, and to those who gave money, clothes, food and water. To those who are working to bring back running water and electricity. To those who are helping to rebuild.

I am humbled and in awe of your sacrifice, your caring and your concern. Your giving. Perhaps those of us who can’t help, if we just don’t hurt, that might be at least something. Wouldn’t it? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am busy having fun with my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness, and I’m more than 72,000+ words and 300 pages into it.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author                                

Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI/                          

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 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 Agent Kelliher and 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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis       

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis       

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis       

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis