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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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lord Of The Flies



Okay, first off, I want to apologize right from the start to all English teachers out there for what I’m about to write. Please remember that I am a social studies, primarily psychology guy who loves English, reading and writing, and not nearly remotely close to being as good as English teachers are in analyzing literature.

That being said . . .

One of my favorite novels that I find fascinating is the novel Lord Of The Flies. I like the story of and the conflict between the characters Ralph, Piggy, Simon and Jack. An airplane carrying the boys from a military school crash on a deserted island and somehow, they have to survive. Ralph finds a large conch and uses it to call the boys together. Because he is the one who called the boys, he is elected the leader though he is reluctant to accept it.

Piggy, a nickname based upon his girth, is his advisor. He is the source of jokes and the kids make fun of him. He wears glasses, which are used to start and maintain a signal fire. He wants rules and order and is Ralph’s unofficial advisor. Jack, leader of the choir, is the hunter. At first, he works with Ralph, but before long, he, along with a boy, Roger, assume more power and control. Simon, described as a dreamer, is concerned with the protection of the little ones, the younger kids, along with building the fire and huts for sleeping.

It doesn’t take long before things go wrong.

Jack assumes more power. Because he is the leader of the hunters, he and his group are the primary food source. The boys develop a fear of “the beast” and Jack promises to kill it. More and more of the boys come over to Jack’s side, leaving Simon, Piggy and Ralph to fend for themselves. Roger drops a boulder killing Piggy and smashing the conch. Like a crown or scepter, it is a symbol of power, given to the person who wants to address the group. Simon is beaten to death during a frenzied dance during a feast, leaving only Ralph. Eventually there is a hunt- for Ralph- but before he is murdered, they are rescued by a passing ship.

There is a lot more to the story, but for my purposes, this suffices. In terms of theme, taken directly from Wikipedia (yes, I went there, sorry!) “. . . the central theme is the conflicting human impulses toward civilization and social organization—living by rules, peacefully and in harmony—and toward the will to power.” And I might add, taking into account individuality.

Why all this?

I watched the primaries and I watched the election. I was active on social media and glued to the TV. I wanted a particular candidate to win. There were, and are, promises for better wages, for better living conditions. There were, and are, promises to clean up this mess we call government. There was blame placed on this group or that group. Name calling. Mocking. Trash talking. Threats. All of it. I was pretty disgusted, actually. Still am. Decency and niceness went out the window. In the end, voters voted and people chose our next president. That’s the way it works.

To me, the past half-year, maybe longer, along with the whole election reminded me of the Lord Of The Flies. You have Ralph, Simon, Piggy, and Jack. I’ll let you decide who should play which character.

I’m not very happy right now. Sad, really. Probably a bit frightened. Yes, the sun rose the next morning. (Actually, it rained and was cloudy for most of the day.) The sun rose this morning, too. Life goes on and so will we.

But . . .

We have a choice, you and I. For our kids and for each other. Like Lord Of The Flies there are lessons to be learned. There is right and there is wrong and sometimes, especially lately, I feel the line between them is blurred. I yearn for a day when there is tolerance and acceptance. I want very badly for a day when humbleness and kindness and lifting up and reassurance are how we are judged and defined, as a country and as individuals. I long for a day when we are more together and united, rather than divided. I want very much to have open, honest and sincere dialogue rather than shouting down someone because of his or her belief. And, rather than building walls to separate, perhaps we build bridges in order to come together instead. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

I will work to do my part, big or small, as best I can. I owe it to you and I owe it to the kids, but ultimately, I owe it to myself. Can I ask the same of each of you? 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