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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Miss Christmas



In some of my previous posts, I explained that we didn’t have a lot growing up. We were a one income family with ten mouths to feed. We had a roof, we had clothes though probably not the trendiest, we had food to eat though probably not in great abundance, and we had a place to sleep. All in all, I was happy and I love my family.

Christmas and birthdays were happy. We had presents to open, though probably not many. We had the tree and tinsel, lights and ornaments. We’d all line up on the stairs in age order waiting to attack what was under the tree.

As I got older, my wants and needs changed and are still changing.

My daughters, Hannah and Emily, complain that I don’t give them many options. I mean, I’m good with a book or two, a CD or two, and a movie or two. Nothing much.

Honestly, I’d rather Kim and the girls get what they want. I’m good with that.

If I could bottle up happiness, health, and financial stability, that would be even better. Mostly for Kim and the girls. I want them happy and I want them healthy and I want them to be financially stable. I want Hannah and Em to have close, meaningful friendships and to be able to navigate this world and life in a positive, purposeful and meaningful way.

So, how do you wrap that in a box?

Can’t.

I came across a beautiful story about a parent’s gift to her five year old son, and this little guy had his wish fulfilled. Something all parents hope for, right?

Eric Schmitt-Matzen, with a classic long white beard and curled mustache, plays Saint Nick in Knoxville, Tennessee. He’s done it for years, but this year, a couple of months ago, it was special. Perhaps his best and most memorable performance. A nurse at a local hospital called him and said she had a very sick child who wanted to see Santa.

It’s worth the three or so minutes it will take you to watch, and you can find it here:

Here’s Mr. Schmitt-Matzen’s account:

The boy's mother gave him a gift to give the boy, "something he was always wanting," he said, toys from the children's animated series PAW Patrol.

"What's this I hear you're going to be missing Christmas this year?" Schmitt-Matzen said he asked the boy.

That's when the boy told him he heard he was going to die.

"Well, you're not going to miss Christmas, the elves already had your present, we knew you wanted this for a long time," he said he told the boy.

"Really?" the boy asked, according to Schmitt-Matzen.

He then gave the boy his gift "and that put a grin on his face," he said.

Schmitt-Matzen choked up as he told WBIR that he told the boy "When you get up those pearly gates, you just tell them you're Santa's number one elf."

"I am?" the boy asked, perking up, according to Schmitt-Matzen.

"You sure are, I'm sure they'll let you right in," he said.

The boy then gave him a big hug, he said, and "he just looked at me and said, Santa, can you help me?"

"And that's when he passed," Schmitt-Matzen said.

One present and a wish . . . to not Miss Christmas!

A little five year old boy about to die afraid he’d miss Christmas. A nurse determined to not let this happen. A mom with a present. And one good-hearted and kind man playing the part of Santa.

Puts some things in priority, doesn’t it? Kind of helps us make sense out of the sometimes crazy and chaotic world we live in. Kinda makes our own Christmas lists pale in comparison, right? Hopefully, 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

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


If you like Thriller/Mystery fiction, check out what other readers have said about my novels.
Stolen Lives
“Joseph Lewis has created a cast of characters that you grow to care about. Their story is filled with twists and turns that keep you reading. When the book ends you will be left anticipating the next one! This was a story I could not put down!”  “I am really glad I happened to see this Trilogy while looking through my Kindle unlimited series. Great strong characters, especially George and Brett. Looking forward to reading more from this author. Started Taking Lives and immediately turned the pages to get to 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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis        

Shattered Lives
“I couldn’t put it down, a really good book!” “Great book! I can't wait for next one!” “This book is excellent. The whole series is definitely worth your time.” “Expertly written. I ended up buying all the books in the series and am waiting eagerly for the final installment Splintered 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://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis        

Splintered Lives
“Engaging characters you care about. A story that is fast-paced and holds your attention to the point you cannot put it down. Great finish to a great series.”
A 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t know it. Their family vacation turns into a trip to hell. Out gunned and outnumbered, can this boy protect his father and brothers? Without knowing who these men are? Or how many there are? Or when they might come for him? http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis    

Taking Lives
“Great book by Joseph Lewis. Many twists and turns. Fasted paced.”  “Couldn’t put the book down.”  “Great story can't wait to read the next one!” “Great book! I really enjoyed it. Good author!” “Each character is developed thoroughly, igniting the reader's interest and stirring emotions. The frustration of the detective flows to the reader. The young boys are endearing.”
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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis

Friday, December 2, 2016

Like Confetti



Like many in America, my family and I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. To be honest, we aren’t much of a parade family, but it was nice to hear the Broadway songs and watch them dance. It was nice to see some of the pop and country artists perform. I like the big floating balloons the best I think.

As I watched, I noticed confetti floating down at various points and several thoughts occurred to me. Who cleans it up? It can’t just be custodians or maintenance folks, because there has got to be a mountain of it when it is all swept up and pushed to one end. But the bigger question to me is, where did it all come from and who cut it up?

Think about that for a minute . . .

It’s paper (I think) and someone has to take the time to cut up paper into squares and triangles. First of all, that’s a lot of paper, and secondly, that has to take a lot of time. For several, hopefully more than several, people to spend time doing that, I hope they got paid a heck of a lot of money because it had to be mind-numbing work, and my next thought was, who did they annoy and upset enough to be the appointed confetti makers?

For our commencement ceremony, we use confetti sticks. The tube is filled with tiny blue and gold strips of paper and at the end of the ceremony on a count of three, the seniors release them up over their heads. It is an awesome sight and one of my favorite things about the commencement ceremony. I’ve seen pictures from the stands and if there is just a slight or no breeze, there is a beautiful blue and gold cloud that shimmers and shines just above our graduates. Pretty!

I kinda sorta think Chris, our building engineer, isn’t so enamored with it though. He has to take a machine and clean it off the turf field and it is time consuming. Some of it comes right off. I’ve actually seen some kids pick up a few pieces to hang onto. Some of it gets ground into the turf surface. Other bits get blown off somewhere, anywhere the wind or breeze will take it.

Got me thinking . . .

What if we were to spread kindness and compassion Like Confetti?

It is certainly less time consuming than cutting up pieces and bits of paper. There isn’t any clean up that I can think of. There is no effort involved. It doesn’t take any time to smile, to say, “How are you doing?” to someone, to offer a hug or a handshake or a fist bump.

I suppose you could argue that sitting with someone in need, whether it is in silence or actively listening as they pour their heart out takes time. But think about the benefits!

A person in need is comforted. A person feels connected and cared about. A person feels understood. A person no longer feels alone.

And I believe it makes us better people if we extend the effort. We reach out beyond our own little world to let another know we are there, and in turn, many times, often times, it is reciprocated when we need it most.

And Like Confetti, some of it will be collected and remembered. Some of it will go where it goes and no one will know how far it might go. Some of it will remain and be reused in a different way. But wouldn’t our world, everyone’s world, be a little better off if we could do just one or two positive “gives” each day? Wouldn’t our world, everyone’s world, be better by our giving of ourselves, whether it is a touch, a smile, a hug or a handshake? Wouldn’t our world, everyone’s world, be better if we give just a moment or two to someone in need, to lift up, to be there, to say, “Hey, I’m here if you need me?” 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

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


If you like Thriller/Mystery fiction, check out what other readers have said about my novels.
Stolen Lives
“Joseph Lewis has created a cast of characters that you grow to care about. Their story is filled with twists and turns that keep you reading. When the book ends you will be left anticipating the next one! This was a story I could not put down!”  “I am really glad I happened to see this Trilogy while looking through my Kindle unlimited series. Great strong characters, especially George and Brett. Looking forward to reading more from this author. Started Taking Lives and immediately turned the pages to get to 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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis       

Shattered Lives
“I couldn’t put it down, a really good book!” “Great book! I can't wait for next one!” “This book is excellent. The whole series is definitely worth your time.” “Expertly written. I ended up buying all the books in the series and am waiting eagerly for the final installment Splintered 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://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis       

Splintered Lives
“Engaging characters you care about. A story that is fast-paced and holds your attention to the point you cannot put it down. Great finish to a great series.”
A 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t know it. Their family vacation turns into a trip to hell. Out gunned and outnumbered, can this boy protect his father and brothers? Without knowing who these men are? Or how many there are? Or when they might come for him? http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis   

Taking Lives
“Great book by Joseph Lewis. Many twists and turns. Fasted paced.”  “Couldn’t put the book down.”  “Great story can't wait to read the next one!” “Great book! I really enjoyed it. Good author!” “Each character is developed thoroughly, igniting the reader's interest and stirring emotions. The frustration of the detective flows to the reader. The young boys are endearing.”
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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis

Friday, November 18, 2016

Snowflakes



Yes, I know it is a bit early to be speaking of snow and snowflakes. Yet, there are some parts of the country where I’ve noticed snow was in the forecast and after all, it is the middle of November. Yesterday on the news, snow appeared in the forecast for Virginia. I moved from Wisconsin because the cold and the snow were getting to be too much. Bummer!

Back to snow and snowflakes . . .

I had always heard that there are no two snowflakes alike. Not sure how one would know that, but that is what I was told way back when. Did someone actually look at all the various possibilities? Did someone crawl around out there in the snow (and we’re talking about countries of snow, miles and mountains of snow) with a magnifying glass in search of duplicate snowflakes? I kinda think not so much. But it is an interesting concept . . . the uniqueness of a snowflake and that not one has a twin.

I have two daughters, Hannah and Emily, who are four years apart. Same parents, Joe and Kim, though neither look particularly like me (Thank, God!), though each share some of my personality (God, help them, please!). Same family, similar traits, but different and unique in their own way. I coached a set of identical twins, Mark and Matt. One was a shooting guard and the other was a point guard. Different temperaments, different personalities and again, same family, similar traits, but different and unique in their own way.

Much like the kids in your family . . . or classroom . . . or team.

When I coached, I had to select a team. The kids would try out and depending upon how they fit, what their talents were, and how each individual could contribute to the whole, they made the team and were handed a uniform and told, “Go play!” Okay, not that simple, but you get the idea.

In the classroom and sometimes in your own family or team, you can’t be so choosy. You get who you get. No real control. Oh, I suppose you could always kick someone out of the class. But most of the time, those kids are yours for a period of time- sometimes long and sometimes short. They are yours.

Ever try to catch a snowflake on your tongue? Ever try to catch a snowflake on your finger or hand? It lasts for only a second or two before it melts into a drop of water. Fragile, a snowflake is. One second- beautiful, shiny, soft and sparkling. Another second, a drop of water like any other drop of water. The uniqueness turned into similarity and sameness.

Snowflakes and kids. Teams and classrooms. Similarities and differences. All rather unique with some sameness mixed in.

I think kids . . . and we . . . are like snowflakes. Unique and fragile. Not any two of us alike, not even twins. Each child, each of us, comes with talents- some with more, some with less- to put forth and try to do some good. Each child, each of us, comes with similarities and differences that make us unique. Each child, each of us comes with gifts to give as best we can give them. Sometimes, it is up to each of us to discover what gifts and talents the child, each of us, have.

And like the snowflake that is so fragile, unless the child . . . unless we . . . are handled with care, we dissolve and lose that uniqueness, that gift and talent they . . . and we . . . have to give and share. So my question to you this day, each day, is how will you help the child, how will you help each other, discover that talent, that gift within them and us that can make our world better and brighter for all of us? What will you do? Or, what won’t you do? 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

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


If you like Thriller/Mystery fiction, check out what other readers have said about my novels.
Stolen Lives
“Joseph Lewis has created a cast of characters that you grow to care about. Their story is filled with twists and turns that keep you reading. When the book ends you will be left anticipating the next one! This was a story I could not put down!”  “I am really glad I happened to see this Trilogy while looking through my Kindle unlimited series. Great strong characters, especially George and Brett. Looking forward to reading more from this author. Started Taking Lives and immediately turned the pages to get to 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://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis      

Shattered Lives
“I couldn’t put it down, a really good book!” “Great book! I can't wait for next one!” “This book is excellent. The whole series is definitely worth your time.” “Expertly written. I ended up buying all the books in the series and am waiting eagerly for the final installment Splintered 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://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis      

Splintered Lives
“Engaging characters you care about. A story that is fast-paced and holds your attention to the point you cannot put it down. Great finish to a great series.”
A 14 year old boy has a price on his head, but he and his family don’t know it. Their family vacation turns into a trip to hell. Out gunned and outnumbered, can this boy protect his father and brothers? Without knowing who these men are? Or how many there are? Or when they might come for him? http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis  

Taking Lives
“Great book by Joseph Lewis. Many twists and turns. Fasted paced.”  “Couldn’t put the book down.”  “Great story can't wait to read the next one!” “Great book! I really enjoyed it. Good author!” “Each character is developed thoroughly, igniting the reader's interest and stirring emotions. The frustration of the detective flows to the reader. The young boys are endearing.”
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://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis