A hero of mine, Ray Bradbury, died yesterday

Posted: June 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Videos, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

A hero of mine, Ray Bradbury, died yesterday (1920-2012).

I remember picking up “Something Wicked This Way Comes” for $0.75 from a used book store in Ottawa, Canada the Spring of 2010. Beth was there for business and I tagged along for the day and had time to burn. I opened to the Prologue and read, “First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say.”

That’s all it took.

I devoured it over the next several hours, and many times since. It’s a restaurant I love to visit when I want something divine that melts in my mouth. And if I don’t have time for the full meal, I stop in and grab a paragraph for dessert knowing that wherever my finger lands on the page, it will be the sweetest.

The world is less bright today with him gone.

If you aren’t familiar with Bradbury, he has written such works as “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Martian Chronicles,” and my favorite book of all time, “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” I have read many books, hundreds, and his writing leaves me speechless every time I read it. The way he creates scenes with his words, meaning from his metaphors, and depth of character leaves me in awe.

And none of it is contrived because Bradbury loved.

He loved books and the words that made them. He loved people, butterflies, and even the things that scared him.

And he wrote these things.

Here is an interview with Ray Bradbury that I love to watch. Maybe in hearing him talk about what he loves, he will inspire you,

“Now, remember this: Love is at the center of your life. The things that you do should be things that you love, and things that you love should be things that you do.”


Alan Keyes Speaking at the Rally for Common Sense

Posted: June 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Political, Videos | No Comments »

“The people are leaders here (The United States). We don’t go to the polls to elect leaders, we go to the polls to elect people who will follow our lead!”  (minute 20:57)

Alan Keyes - Loyal To LibertyI rarely write of political happenings on this blog, but I listened to this speech by Alan Keyes (loyaltoliberty.com) today and it reminded me just how much I wish that he was elected President in 2008 (I wrote him in). I am a firm believer in voting for who I believe the best candidate is and not simply for the “better of the two evils” because when that road is taken, all you are left with is evil, and I am left with a clear conscience.


Looking For Time? I found it.

Posted: April 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Writing | 3 Comments »

I keep notebooks; it’s an OCD thing for me. I like to write things down, what can I say. In January, I was looking through a notebook from 2008 and the entry went something like this:

It’s almost December, and I really wanted to have TSDI (a book I was writing) done before the end of the year. I’m only half way. I just can’t seem to find the time.”

Looks like I never did find the time, because four years later it sits unfinished at page 108.

Spending more time with Beth and the kids and exercising are other things that I have not done much about for the past few years. And why not? Again, I could not “find the time.” It was as though some mythological time keeper had stolen the extra hours I needed to write a novel, run a few miles, take my wife out to dinner, or get a couple of credit hours in. If I could but locate them I would be able to do these things.

It’s a lie. A farce. Those extra hours don’t exist, so stop looking. You will NEVER find them. Depressing huh?

A tad, but what is more depressing is the amount of hours I wasted every day. Whether it was TV, just chilling, checking facebook, or fantasy football/baseball, I let these pointless activities rule my life. It’s not that I didn’t want to get up and accomplish something of meaning, it’s just that writing a novel is hard. It takes time and mental focus. It’s, dare I say, w**k.

If you follow me at all, you know that I am spending quality time with Beth, writing, and exercising regularly. Did I find the time gremlin and beat him senseless until he gave me more time? No.

I made time.

I have the same twenty-four hours per day as always, but now I am intentional. My life is measurably better than before. Where I could find no time before for the things of meaning, I now make time for Beth, spend 3-4 hours a week to exercise, and  5-8 hours a week to write. That’s over a twelve hours a week I am more intentional about. Even now, as I write this, the TV is off. The old me reacted to life, the new me takes action and gets things done.

You can do it too! Here are a few tips on making time for the important things YOU want to do. (Please leave any tips you have in the comments!)

1: Turn the dish/cable off. This was huge for me. It used to always be on in the background and before I knew it, I was watching absolutely  nothing of merit. We have Netflix now so we can watch movies now and then, and a few TV series, but it no longer has the control it used to.

2: Be productive on your breaks at work. I get get two fifteen minute breaks at work in an eight hour day. Before I used to surf the internet or walk to the post office, but now I used that time for non-novel writing. Monday and Wednesday I work on posts for this blog. Tuesday and Friday I work on short stories. Thursday I write posts or add new publishers to my writing blog (christianwriterscorner.wordpress.com).

3: Make time for things that matter ten years from now. For me, it’s exercise. I must exercise 3-4 days a week. Why? Because when my kids are teenagers, I want to be able to run around a basketball court or soccer field with them without going into cardiac arrest.

4. Motivate yourself. Find what motivates you and put it in front of your face every day. My motivation is that I want to end the cycle of of being a dreamer in my life so I don’t pass it on to my kids. I want to encourage them to dream huge dreams, but not to stop there. They need to do the work. I don’t want them years for now to start things and not finish because I never did. I want to show them that it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much potential people think you have, if you don’t work hard and finish you won’t get anywhere in life.

5. Do it now. This used to kill me. Beth would tell me something needed to be fixed, and I never found time to do it. My kids wanted to play ball, but something else was going on, so I would put it off until later. Now, if at all possible, I stop, and get it done. I may not have an hour to throw the ball with Jaivin, but he’s never complained about me saying, “Get the gloves, but I only have a few minutes.”

Remember, you’ll never find time for anything. If you want to get it done, you will have to make time.

What are some of the ways you make time for the important things in your life?

——————————

I wanted to leave you not only with a question, but with some quotes that I hope will motivate you the way they have me:

In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.

~ Sir John Lubbock

 

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.

~ Denis Waitley

 

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

~ Steve Jobs

 

Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.

~ Charles Caleb Colton

 

He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out the plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.

~ Victor Hugo

 

For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.

~ Doug Larson

 

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.

~ Napoleon Hill

 

Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

~ M. Scott Peck

 

Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.

~ Kay Lyons

 

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.

~ H. Jackson Brown

 

If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.

~ Lee Iacocca

 


Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted: April 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Writing | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Man with writer's blockI stood on the dock and cast my line for at least the three hundredth time. Hours had past since my last bite and I’d almost lost interest in catching anything. It wasn’t bad to clean my limit of small mouth bass, but to clean just one sounded like work. My mind drifted to the novel I’d been working on for several years but could never quite find the time to write.

As I reeled in the line for the last time, I worked the bait with a slight jig. I felt a tug on the line. It wasn’t the staccato twitch of a nibble, but the slow easy pull of thick weeds. That’s where the monsters are. I saw my “weed fish” slowly surface and creep toward me like a stalking sea dinosaur. Something in it glimmered as the high sun reflected off it. I removed the inanimate beast from my line and extracted a small lamp from its belly. I wiped it clean of sea slime to see if it had any worth, and out came a genie!

“I will grant you one wish!” he proclaimed.

Not one to be without speech or opinion, I answered without hesitation, “I have a book I’ve been working on for years. I wish I could write like the pros!”

“Your wish is my command.” Smoke poured from his hands until it engulfed the entire dock. A hurricane force wind blew me backward. When the smoke cleared I found myself sitting at the desk in my office.

“That’s it? I’m a pro now?” I dried my wet hands on my jeans then placed them on the keyboard of my laptop and began to type. “The sun scorched Ernest through his sweat drenched shirt.” I paused, surprised at how freely the line came to me, then placed my fingers back on the keys.

Nothing.

I glared at the genie. “What’s the problem? I thought you were powerful. Where are the words? Why are they not coming to me?” I stood in disgust and headed for the door but was stopped short by a tug on my leg. I looked down. My leg was shackled to the desk.

“What’s this about? Am I a prisoner in my own home?”

“You wished to write like a pro, and you will. However, there is no magic that can accomplish this. You are bound to this desk every day until you have written for two hours. Only then will your shackles be loosed. Any time you stop writing, the will the clock will stop until all of the required time has been spent writing. And so it will be until you are, as you say, a “pro.”

“Wow. It sounds more like a prison sentence.”

“It was your wish. The good news is that once you are a pro, you will write four to six hours a day with no shackles. If I were you, I’d start writing.”

And with that, he vanished.

———————————————————————————————————-

I am writing a novel, which is more work than anything I have ever done before. This short story was written when I realized what it would take to be a successful author. I hope you enjoyed it, and know that anything worth doing takes work. There is no easy way, even when you love it.

 


Sunrise or Sunset?

Posted: April 3rd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | 3 Comments »

Sunries or Sunset

I took this picture a few months ago, and when I showed it to my daughter Laila she asked, “Is the sun setting or rising?” I replied, “It’s hard to tell, unless you know which direction I’m looking.”

Often, I can’t change my situation. Life throws a bag over my head, spins me around a few times, then lets me go. I’m left standing in a road, staring at the horizon with the sun barely visible. Is this a new day, or are darker times ahead? It’s hard to know unless I have a point of reference to show me which direction I am facing.

That reference point for me is God. If I keep my eyes on Him it doesn’t matter if the sun is setting or rising, I know that He will guide me. He will lead me through beautiful days where everything works out and I go to sleep with a smile on my face. And He will lead me into the dark places of the setting sun.

So, no matter which direction you find yourself facing today, know that if you look to God and let him be your guide, that He will never leave you or forsake you. He is equally with you through the good as He is the bad.

Today, the sun is rising.

Psalm 23

A David Psalm

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.


My Problem

Posted: March 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Writing | 2 Comments »

So, I have been on my laptop writing for awhile tonight and my wife Beth is on the couch watching American Idol and asks, “How’s your writing going?

“I wrote a post for the blog, but didn’t like it, so I deleted it.”

“I thought you were working on your book.”

“Nope, I was writing a post about writing my book, but I thought it was crap, so I deleted it.”

“Baby, why’d you do that? You just wasted all that time (by deleting it), and it was probably great. That’s the problem you know. You critique everything to death and then you end up not doing anything.”

Wow, spot on babe. Really.

Thinking about it now, the blog post was probably OK. It was about 450 words of inspiration and motivation sweetly sewn together with metaphor. But she was right. And I encourage you not to think your way out of your dreams. Don’t over analyze until you make your dream into some impossible quest.

As for me? This post is done, and I’m going to work on the novel now.


Of Poop and Perspective…

Posted: March 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Random | 2 Comments »

Jaivin, my eight year old son, walks up to me yesterday and asks, “Did you read my note yet, Daddy?”

“What note?”

“The one I left in your pocket, where you put your wallet. It’s blue.”

“Nope. I didn’t even know it was there, let me get it.” I return to the couch with a folded piece of blue construction paper and open it.

“Poop?” I ask, laughing. “What’s that all about?”

“Nooo Daddy, it says dude!”

I give him a quizzical look, flip the paper over, and sure enough, “dood.”  We laughed for a good three minutes about it. It taught me something though, about the importance of perspective. Sometimes we look at a situation and see utter and complete crap. If we turn it over and look at it a new way, we may just see it for what it truly is; an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

And heck, maybe you’ll be able to sit back and laugh at the poop in your life, dood.


Christopher Hopper releases The White Lion Chronicles on ebook!

Posted: February 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Book Reviews, My Thoughts, Writing | No Comments »

Rise of the Dibor - The White Lion Chronicles by Christopher HopperAuthor (and friend) Christopher Hopper has released his White Lion Chronicles on ebook! I loved this coming of age story which follows a group of youths chosen to protect their kingdom from impending doom from an evil they never knew existed.  Though written for the young adult audience, the writing and story were on par with any adult Christian fiction you would pick up. I found several spiritual truths along the way, and the presentation was impeccable.

All three books are available, so there’s no waiting a year for the next installment. I for one will be re-reading them on my Kindle.  A few links:

Christopher’s blog, Buy the Kindle version, Buy at Smashwords


I’m At Your Door

Posted: February 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Writing | 5 Comments »

Here’s a little ditty I wrote yesterday. I hope it makes you think.

I’m At Your Door

I’m exhausted and I don’t have a place to call my own. Home is anywhere I can sleep without being run out or chased away. My last warm meal was a week ago. I was downtown and a couple came out of a restaurant laughing, until the woman saw me. Our eyes didn’t meet at first ‘cause I was focused on the doggie bag in her hand. She pulled her companion over and gave me what was left of their dinner.

I don’t like people’s pity, but I hadn’t eaten in a couple days.

And now here I am, on your porch. It’s a desperate move I know, but that’s what I am: Desperate.

You hear me outside your door.

Footsteps. I hope you don’t yell at me like that last guy.

The door opens and you can see the pain and sorrow in my eyes. You tell me to hold on a minute and close the door. I know it’s too much to ask to come in. On returning, you give me a bowl of something that tastes like heaven, and a blanket which I will take out of sight and sleep with.

I leave the blanket and bowl for a moment before passing out for the night and walk up to the door. I give it a scratch, then a polite “meow.” It’s the only thanks I can give, though I’m sure you didn’t hear it.

****

I’m exhausted and I don’t have a place to call my own. Home is anywhere I can sleep without being run out or chased away. My last warm meal was a week ago. I was downtown and a couple came out of a restaurant laughing, until the woman saw me. Our eyes didn’t meet at first ‘cause I was focused on the doggie bag in her hand. She pulled her companion over and gave me what was left of their dinner.

I don’t like people’s pity, but I hadn’t eaten in a couple days.

And now here I am, on your porch. It’s a desperate move I know, but that’s what I am: Desperate.

You hear me outside your door.

Footsteps. I hope you don’t yell at me like that last guy.

The door opens and you can see the pain and sorrow in my eyes.

“Get out of here before I call the cops. Bum!”

“I-I-I just wanted something to eat,” I plea. But I hear you yelling at your kids to go into the other room.

Maybe the next guy will understand. Maybe he will have compassion.

On my way off your porch I see cat sleeping under a bush on a blanket, and an empty bowl at the bottom of the steps.

“Sleep well little buddy,” I say, but he doesn’t wake.


Time for a New World

Posted: February 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | No Comments »

Well, it’s the mark of another year gone by: Time for a new world at the Mooney house. Starting in 2005, every night one of the kids picks a country, and we pray for the people of that country to come to know Christ, and for “the people in cages.” (See my post “The People In Cages“) It’s one way we teach our children that what Jesus did for us affects more than just our town and our county, it affects the world. And in many countries, it’s illegal to even preach the Gospel. We remind them of this so that they never take our right to worship freely for granted.

One day we may not have this privilege, and just maybe they will remember all those times we prayed for persecuted Christians around the world and know that somewhere, in some distant land, in some other language, there are people who don’t know their name, praying that God give them the strength and grace to make it through each day. That in the darkest of dungeons, they can be a shining light that brings glory to God and sets captives free, even while in chains.

We support The Voice of the Martyrs, a group that helps persecuted Christians around the globe (click the map to get to their website). Along with that support comes a newsletter that tells of different people who are currently being jailed, beaten, or otherwise persecuted for their faith. Please consider supporting them.