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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Appreciate The Large And The Small



Last night I made a pot of chili. It’s one of my favorite dishes, and my family likes it, too. Generally, it’s spicy and on the hot side, which is just right for Hannah and me, kinda sorta all right for Emily, and too hot for Kim. But honestly, I don’t know how else to make it.

My idea of cooking is to throw stuff in the pot. I never measure any of the ingredients, but rather, just dump. My tendency towards various peppers and spices gets me in trouble with Kim. Sorry about that.

But the best part of the meal, any meal really, is the conversation and the laughter that takes place around the table. A lot of laughter. Even after the meal has been eaten, we sit around amongst the dirty dishes, the used glasses and silverware, and share stories and laugh.

I have to tell you that our youngest, Emily, is kind of a split personality. Don’t be fooled by her! She presents herself as reserved and quiet, actually rather serious. A deep thinker and concentrated observer of the Large And The Small that takes place around her. But, she is the comedian of the family. She takes everything in and spills it out with a catchy comment that makes us burst out laughing. She and Hannah can resemble Laurel and Hardy at times, much to Kim’s and my delight.

And while the conversation and laughter around the dinner table doesn’t seem like much, it has become one of my favorite things in life. Much like as adults, sitting around the living room exchanging stories and jokes and catching up with brothers and sisters, or as a kid, listening to the conversations that took place amongst the older group. All the “Remember when’s” and the “How about the time when . . .” All of that.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to Appreciate The Large And The Small in my life. Mostly The Small.

I love sunrises and sunsets. I love walking in the school cafeteria at lunch listening to the conversations of the kids. Sometimes I join in, other times, I listen as I stroll by. I enjoy music. All kinds, really, except for the type of jazz that has an improbable melody or doesn’t know when to end. I love food and that’s probably why I look the way I do. I like pictures and paintings of quiet forests, of trails and of roads that seem to disappear that make me wonder what lies around the bend. I like the fluffy cotton ball clouds that float in a blue sky. I like rugged mountain scenes forested in green or snow capped.

I like books that take me away to unknown places with characters that become real to me. I like movies that keep me guessing and on the edge of my seat.

I like the peace and quiet of early mornings, sitting alone in the family room doing, well, nothing.

And as I get older and walk along the downward slope of the mountain, I’ve come to Appreciate those individuals who walked into my life and made a difference, who caused me to laugh, who made me think. I’ve come to Appreciate those individuals who have encouraged me to continue, to keep moving forward. I’ve come to Appreciate those individuals who have lent me a hand to lift me up time and time again. I’ve come to Appreciate those individuals who gave me a shoulder to lean on, an ear for listening, and most of all, their presence when I needed to be with and around someone.

Seems like each of us has something to be thankful for. Seems like each of us can find something to Appreciate, Large And Small. We just have to look- not so much with our eyes as much as with our heart. Because I believe it is with the heart that we come to Appreciate The Large And The Small that make up our lives. Something to think about . . .

To My Readers:

My new book, the third and final book of The Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives, is now available on Amazon, free with Kindle Unlimited. The paperback version should be coming shortly.  The synopsis is as follows:

It began on the Navajo Indian Reservation when a fourteen year old boy, George Tokay, witnessed and reported the murder of a Caucasian boy his own age. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents solved that crime, which led to the freedom of thirty boys who were abducted off safe suburban streets and held in captivity, some for more than two years. The FBI thought the boys were safe and so did their parents. After all, arrest warrants were served and members of the human trafficking ring were arrested. That is, except for three dangerous men with absolutely nothing to lose.

These three men arrange for a handsome reward if fourteen year old Brett, one of the boys who had been held captive, is killed. Brett has no idea that he, his younger brother, and his friend, another former captive, are targets. But more than anyone else, these three men vow revenge on George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and go into hiding. What was to be a fun-filled vacation with his newly adopted family, turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Indian Reservation high up on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather.

Outnumbered and out gunned, George is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, but can he protect his father and his brothers from these dangerous men before that happens? Can he save them without knowing who these men are or where they might be? Or when they might attack? Can George trust his friends whom he reaches out to for help? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and possible death?

Splintered Lives can be found at:

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe