Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 8

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 8

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

Trust With Burdens

 

Today I find myself thinking of Moses. This was a man who literally sat and spoke with God. The thing with him though was from that moment on the burning bush, he was a man who tended to want to explain why he couldn’t.

God told Moses to help his people. Moses gave a list of reasons why he couldn’t. The funny thing is, while it’s one thing to know yourself, would you have any doubt if you knew God wanted you to do something?

For Moses, it was leading the Israelites to the promised land. For others, it might be something else. None of us have the benefit of a burning bush or singing angels these days.

In my mind, the task is to help my family through this ordeal.

What helps me? Faith in Jesus. Seriously, I don’t know how I’m going to pull of half of the things I think I need to. But I know anything is possible through Christ, and I know that if God wants something to happen, it happens.

Previously, I spoke about my sister. I’d mentioned she was struggling to balance her children, her life, and caring for our mother. We spoke on the phone about it.

It’s hard to think about what others feel or think when we’re focused on our labors. I feel this in a lot of areas. It’s easy to think no one is doing anything when no one is helping you. That’s not actually the case. They may indeed not be helping you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have reasons for what they’re doing.  Alternatively, when someone is working on something, it’s easy to forget how hard it is. Have you ever decided not to look at something or worry about something because it wasn’t your job? It’d be nice to think a portion of that is born of the trust one has in the other to do the job, but isn’t it possible that person might just be grateful it’s not something they have to do?

My sister felt the toll of two-and-a-half weeks of care for our mother who has cancer. We spoke about how hard she was working. We spoke about what the rest of the family was doing. As I’d mentioned, my family isn’t prone to supportive action in crisis. But how do I help my sister and keep things from losing focus?

Even in that moment on the phone, I felt nervous. I worried this might be one of those moments where our family complains about one another or lashes out.

Here I was wondering what would have happened differently if Moses had simply said, “Yes, Sir.”

That thought gave me a bit of clarity. I could be mad. I could sympathize with this person or that person. None of that conversation would have resolved the issue. Instead, I put my eyes on what I felt mattered most.

What does my mother need? Sure, that’s easy for me to ask seeing as though I’m pretty powerless to do anything on the other side of the country.  Then again, that didn’t mean I couldn’t be supportive or offer a different viewpoint.

My first need was to put the focus not on who wasn’t doing what and who was, but instead focusing on what needs to be done.

My sister felt responsible for a few complications that came up during the week.  She was tired. She was stressed.

“I’m just one person, and I can only do so much,” she said.

“Lucky for us God is infinite, and he can do anything,” I replied.

We talked about what options were available to ease some of the tension. Once I knew what all the issues were and the obstacles, I offered what help I could: Money. I’m not rich. I’m not even as stable as I was before I published my first book.

“Can I afford it? No, but God will take care of it.”

Low and behold, a few days later the family has a new plan that gives my older sister a break and helps my mom get care and help when she needs it. How much did it cost? Nothing. Of all the plans and things I considered options, the thing that’s happening doesn’t cost my family anything (at least not that I know of).  I’m not sure if the explanation is protected by some sort of agreement, so I can’t offer it here, but that doesn’t matter. The point  is, when you trust in God, things work out.

I don’t think everything’s settled.  For starters, my mom still has cancer. But the more I trust in God, the less I even have to do. It’s kind of ridiculous lately how true that is. A few chapters back, I gave my formula, and I think it still holds true. We mortals have to put in the work. If we do so, and we keep our faith in Christ, it’ll work out. I think it’s all the easier when you’re doing God’s will.

That’s a touchy subject to be honest. For now, I just feel confident that when one is doing God’s will, whatever that may be, it’s pretty simple if you trust that God is with you.

I remember somewhere in 1 Chronicles (also in Kings if I remember correctly), David was threatened by enemies. He asked God, “Should I attack them? Will you deliver them into my hands?”  God replied, “Attack them, and I will deliver them to you.”

Man I’d like to be able to converse with God on that level. I’d do it for pretty much everything. “God, should I have Raisin Brain?”  “No, have Fruit Loops.”  (No intended recommendation is made here. It’s just a metaphor.)

We don’t have that sort of luxury, but every now and again, we feel a moment, a calling. I say when you feel that, go with it.

 


 

Questions and Revelations

Does this mean if something is hard we should stop because it’s not God’s will?

How the heck should I know? I mean, it might be a trial God wants me to learn from. It might be the right thing, but the time might be wrong. Or, I could be going against God’s wishes, and he’s trying to dissuade me. All of these are possibilities. I just don’t know.

I do trust that if God absolutely didn’t want me to do something he’d either stop me by closing that door, or hold me accountable when I do it.

How do you know you’re doing God’s will?

I don’t. I sure hope I am though. In some things, I’ve felt called. On the phone that day, I felt frustrated and angry because of my own powerlessness.  Imagine how my sister felt? We could have lamented on all the things we couldn’t do or couldn’t face. I realized, however, that was an opportunity to praise God for his limitless power. It didn’t obligate him to do anything, but I swear to you all I felt something telling me to stop making it about what we couldn’t do and start driving the conversation toward God and His grace. I’m normally someone who wants to talk about a problem, as if doing so will make the problem regret existing. In this case, I felt a calm I don’t typically feel. It felt right. Praise, don’t fret. Pray, don’t dwell. It’s much easier said than done, but when you do it, it works.

Does that mean you’re never worried?

Oh if only you knew me better. I worry (or at least I’m know to worry) so much. I wonder how many people have noticed a change. I’ll say this much, my boss mentioned it to me. I confessed my feelings aren’t nearly as clear as my actions have been of late, but it felt truly wonderful to have him recognize I’m handling this well.

My mind is constantly working through things. What needs to happen? How difficult is it? What could go wrong? What can I do to prevent this?

If I’m 1,000,000,000 times closer to God than I was when this started, I (and all of us) still have an infinite number of miles to grow. We’ll never approach his grace and virtue. I think each time I accept a situation for what it is and trust God to help me through, I’m a little better.

Like Moses, there’s still a lot to actually do. But if you trust in the Lord to help you through it, the work becomes easier.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading

Matt

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700 Followers! Shout Out To the New Friends!

700 Followers! Shout Out To the New Friends!

Greetings all,

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All stock imagery from Pixabay.

I’m not sure what the recommended rate of growth is, but I feel like I have a ton of momentum, and all of you who follow me and share my posts are to thank for it.

As is usual when I hit a benchmark like this, I’d like to pay it forward by giving a shoutout to my five most-recent followers (as I type this).

 

Amaysn Reads: Tasha’s page is a review page. Gryffindor though she may be (I’m a Slytherin, and I can’t deny it.), Tasha is a pro-and-con reviewer. See below regarding why I like those. This page is unique because it has mashup reviews. These are quick-hitter reviews on multiple books (usually two of the same genre).  So you can scan these reviews and get a few notes on a few books at once to gain perspective. Then, her followers can determine if they want to try a book out or not.

Gerardo Writes: Gerardo is a writer of YA novels. He currently has two book s out.  He also writes review (which is how he grabbed my attention). His review on Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth caught my eye as I’m thinking about reading more of her work. His review was brief, but I like that he gave frank honesty while insisting on offering a positive comment as well. Those sorts of reviews are pretty valuable to me as I tend to want to get a sense of the good and bad of any book I’m thinking of including on my already-too-long TBR.

Books and Mermaids Reviews: Roubeeni’s blog is essentially just another link to her Goodreads page at the moment, but that’s still a solid sort of blog for lovers of words on paper. She’s reviewed 54 books across a variety of genres. Each of her reviews are at least 100 words, so it’s good, in-depth information.

The Curious Chapter: Kim’s blog is great for book lovers. She gives info on cover reveals, new releases and more. She also, of course, does reviews.  She reviews mostly romance-based stories. Even though that’s not my bag at all, I love the depth of her reviews and the number of ways she provides readers to connect with the authors and their books. She just gives so much content for readers.

Randicri.com is a foreign language site. I wanted to him credit as he was my fifth-most-recent follower. It looks like a social media networking site or business networking site. If you read the language (it might be Italian or French maybe), give a look, even if it’s just to tell me what it’s about.

meeting-1019875_960_720Since I couldn’t really tell you much about Randicri, I wanted to give you five descriptions of blogs on which I could speak intelligently.

Eva Newermann: Eva’s a Norwegian artist and writer. She has two books out, but I’m most impressed by her art. She does landscapes with Acrylic paint.  If you like art, check this site out.

I want to thank these six bloggers and all the others who’ve decided to keep some sort of track of my antics. I can’t tell you what a blessing you are. I hope my blog is engaging. Please always feel welcome to comment or ask questions as much as you like.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

Story Review: Eye of the Beholder from Posh Bytes by C. Rose

Story Review: Eye of the Beholder from Posh Bytes by C. Rose

51RWebyS42L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Spoiler Free Summary:  In Eye of the Beholder, from Posh Bytes by C. Rose Lavender is a distraught widow trying to move on in her life. She’s set up on a blind date, but in a world where everyone has access to virtual beauty programs, it’s hard to find real love. When she meets her date, everything clicks until he asks her to see him without his program, revealing a secret that forces her to confront the idea of letting go of the love she’d already lost.

Character:  The scales on how one judges Lavender depend entirely on how readily the reader believes one could be devastated by the loss of a loved one. I, for one, found this situation to be believable. Lavender is trapped between wanting to want to move on, and not being ready to let go. This is her key conflict. She’s not very proactive, but she is sympathetic and competent. As I’ll mention in future reviews of other stories from this book, there are more compelling, more enthralling stories, but Lavender delivers a nice tale that sets up what’s honestly a fascinating anthology based on a singular world and premise.

Exposition: I think this is where there’s the most room to grow. Short stories / novellas have to move quickly, but Rose does tell a more than she shows on occasion. Her gift in other areas offset this issue, and she never dwells in exposition too long.

Worldbuilding: This is where Rose shines! This story sets a scene of a world surrounded by digital beauty and dark, tragic vanity. As each story progresses, the world grows deeper, and there are so many pleasant nuggets that connect one story to another. It gives the anthology as a whole a very Tarantino feel.  This is why Posh Bytes is currently my second-favorite book of 2018 (so far). While it’s a young year, and I have a lot of great books I’m excited to read on my TBR, I really found myself fascinated by the concept of this world and setting.

C.-Rose-276x300Dialogue:  I think this is solid. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much. This means it wasn’t worth remembering or worth stewing over. That usually means I thought it was decent, but not amazing.

Description:  This is another strength for Rose. Her delicate use of adjectives and careful narrative paint a picture that sets the director in my imagination off. She’s better at describing things than people, but when she takes time to describe a person, that individual becomes unique and memorable.

Overall:  Eye of the Beholder is a lead-off story for what’s currently a great anthology. It’s expertly crafted speculative science fiction that does more to force the reader to think than it does to entertain. For me the distinction is in the satisfaction I get while reading the story. Most Spec. SCIFI is enough to get one to think; it’s very rare that one is forced to think without falling out of the story or feeling lectured. I’ll be reviewing each of the stories from this anthology individually as I feel that gives them the full credit they deserve.  This story wasn’t the one that hooked me, but it was the one that showed me C. Rose is an author who truly let’s the concept drive the story.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Preorder Bob’s Greatest Mistake!

Preorder Bob’s Greatest Mistake!

Greetings All,

BobsGreatestMistakeI have a few announcements regarding The Journals of Bob Drifter.

The first is that Bob’s Greatest Mistake, the part of Bob’s story is officially available for preorder for only 99 cents. It will remain at that price from today until May 15. It goes live May 1. Once the sale ends, this book will go to its regular $2.99 price.

Once more I want you all to understand this is not a sequel. If you want Bob’s whole story in one fantastic swoop, just click straight to the first link I gave you above. However, if you’re just looking to try a part of the story, you can always try Part One, or even this part.

Speaking of Part One,  that book will be free from April 26-30 in celebration of Part Two’s upcoming release. So you can essentially get 2/3 of Bob’s story for 99 cents on those days.

I’m excited to get another title live on my digital bookshelf, and getting this story out means I can turn my full attention to Repressed and The Power of Words. Both of those books are very close to being ready, and I’m hard at work to keep everything on schedule.

I hope you’re all as motivated as I am by how things are moving. If you haven’t tried Bob’s story, this is a great opportunity. Bob was my first published book, and he’ll always have a special place in my heart. I hope he earns a place in yours as well.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the March Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the March Book Cover of the Month!

Hello everyone,

We’ve just wrapped up another month. This one was pretty historic.  This month is the second-most voted on month to date. That’s a pretty awesome stat to hand out. I’m thrilled and honored at everyone involved.

We had 6,019 votes this month.

It was a pretty stiff competition between about five books. No one really pulled away, and that made for some exciting matches.

The March Book Cover of the Month is…

 

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Heshayol by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Heshayol received 335 total votes. If this cover and art looks  familiar, it’s because his first book Anaerfell was in the Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round. I also read and reviewed it.

Since April only has 30 days, Metal and Stone by K. Potter and The Past is Never by Tiffany Quay Tyson. will be in next month’s cover bracket because they finished second and third respectively.

But for now, let’s look at this month’s winner!

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Over a millennium ago, at their father’s command, Tyran and Drast sent the Horned God to the Netherworld in hopes of gaining everlasting life. Instead, they sparked a chain of events that led to the near destruction of the Ash Tree and the liberation of the old gods. Now, with the world waning, the two brothers are freed from Anaerfell to travel to the frozen realm of the dead and resurrect their enemy with hopes of restoring balance. Tyran and Drast journey between time and space with limitless magic at their fingertips to face demon legions, forsaken immortals, and the realization that the malevolence of their father is not yet done.

While the first ennead of books in Thrice Nine Legends can be read separate of one another, the following is the chronological reading order for full enjoyment.

Anaerfell, The Blood of Dragons, Book 1

Warden of the Ash Tree

The Highborn Longwalker

Melkorka, The Kaelandur Series, Book 1

When Blood Falls

Dyndaer, The Kaelandur Series, Book 2

The Name of Death

Maharia, The Kaelandur Series, Book 3

Heshayol, The Blood of Dragons, Book 2

(END BLURB)

I’ve added Heshayol to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I buy all the winning covers. I’ve already bought FebruaryJanuary and December’s book.


Feb_Cover_Collage
Here’re Josh’s and JC’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

I’ll try to find out who did that cover. I’m still  behind my interviews, and I’m just not sure how or when I’m going to get back on that. I will try though.

The April Book Cover of the Month is almost set, and that contest will launch May 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 7

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 7

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

The Caretakers

I’m not sure what a normal family is. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know how it should feel. We argue. We judge. We don’t honestly get along. It’s an issue that vexes my mother.

My mother, on the other hand, is the epitome of unselfish love. No matter what stupid stuff we pulled or horrible things we said or did, she’d take us back.

When our grandmother became too ill to truly care for herself or live alone, my mom stepped up. She moved Grandma in and cared for her until the day Grandma passed a little more than a year ago. This was a sacrifice. There were events or trips my mom couldn’t go on. There was the strain of caring for a woman who was honestly in need of fairly consistent assistance in one way or another. Thing is, my mom never complained. I did. My dad did.  But the most my mom would do is mention that she couldn’t do something because she was taking care of my grandmother.

I wondered something during that time. Who would step up when my mom needed that?

You see, if this were one of the fiction books I was writing, I’d be the hero. Fact is I’m not. I’m more than 3,000 miles away. My life hasn’t truly changed in terms of day to day habits and action. I don’t have to get mom to appointments or help her if she’s ill. I don’t have to negotiate my own life around her treatments or the other members of the family who visit and want to spend time with mom.  I’m just a guy reflecting on the process, but I’m not actually a part of it.

My older sister and her family are.

My mom needs to be close to the hospital that treats her. This is why my mom can’t stay in our hometown with her husband and youngest daughter. The fact is there are several people who love my mom, and they’re doing what they can just as I am.  But my older sister stepped up. She moved mom in and she’s coordinating all the visits and appointments.  The fact is, while there are many supporters and helpers, she’s the hero of this story. Amid the handful of people working and doing what they feel is best to help, this woman is the one there for all of it.

I hope these words don’t sound like an accusation to those in my family who aren’t there every minute of every day. The honest truth is they can’t be. Some have jobs. Some are ill themselves. Some are trying to keep my mom’s home in good condition and even make it better.

I am, in fact, doing the least in the family. I’m writing a blog.

But I don’t want the fact that I’m in the worst position to be of use to take away from the fact that my sister and her family are doing an amazing job just because they happen to be in the best position to be of use.  I hope that makes sense. If I’m being frank, some aspects of my relationship with my siblings make us pretty judgmental of one another. Every now and again I get defensive about things because I know my sister has made taking care of our mother her life.  Am I a lesser child because I’m doing less?

I certainly feel that way, but that’s not the message I want to deliver here.  What I want to do is give the credit where it’s due. Should I feel demeaned or humiliated simply because I’m giving proper acknowledgement to she who is doing the most?

I’m on the wrong side of the country to be of use. But each day of this trial, my sister, who, if I’m being honest previously held a reputation for publicly complaining about a great many things, hasn’t complained once. At least not to me. It may be because I’m simply not in a position to do anything about it, but it doesn’t make it less true.

The only thing more humbling than her efforts to help my mom is the growth I’ve seen from here through the process. No look, I can’t say enough times that I’m not there. I have no real idea what’s going on. I call once a week or so to see what’s happening and how things are.

But then there was a text. She asked if I’d be able to make it down one week.  You see, my niece is about to graduate, and she’s got a lot of things to do. My sister needed someone to take the edge off.

At first I said I’d just need word, but would it make sense to see if those closer to home could help. Besides, I imagined a number of them would be around anyway to attend my niece’s graduation.

Prior to all of this, I’d burned up my leave. I came home from Christmas intending to spend a year to 16 months here to save up leave.

However, when my sister sent another text saying she needed help, I did the wrong thing. I balked.

I wasn’t without reasons. My biggest fear was that if I took leave now, and then something horrible happened, I wouldn’t have the leave to support that. I spoke to a number of people about that, including my sister’s husband. I didn’t say no outright. I called my dad to see what was going on. He, my older sister, and my younger sister all got together and worked something out.

At the end, they didn’t need me. I can save my leave for another purpose (hopefully a happy one), and my sister has the help she needs to get my niece off to the next leg of adult life.

Despite the fact that it all worked out, my failure is clear.

My sister called for help.  I should have simply said, “OK,” and figured it out. It would have been hard, and it could have been even more difficult if things don’t go the way I’d like them too, but how often are we called in life?

I don’t think the reasons I hesitated are unreasonable or even wrong. That’s the trap we fall for in life. I wanted to work out something where everyone got what they needed. To be honest, it worked out that way as far as I’m aware.

None of that changes the fact that I was wrong. When someone calls for help, you answer.

You might have to figure some things out. You might put yourself at risk. You might have to change things you had planned for months. None of that matters. When someone calls, you answer.

My mom needed help. My brother-in-law just started a new position at work. My niece is about to graduate. My sister was still relatively new at a job of her own. My nephew is adorable, but he’s a handful. None of that mattered. My mom needed help, and that family stepped up.

For those who may feel even more defensive about it than I am, I implore you to see that this doesn’t have to be about selfish pride.  My ego and feelings are what they are, but I don’t have to let that selfish pride prevent me from testifying how Christian my sister is being right now. She’s stepped up.  She’s followed the example our mother taught us for so many years. For that, she deserves all the blessings I can pray for on her behalf.

That sacrifice allows for the other members of the family to chip in by doing what they can do. My other siblings stop by. As I mentioned above, my baby sister was able to make some tweaks to her schedule to get up there for graduation week. My dad is taking care of the house. My other siblings are helping.  I just wanted to make sure to put the spotlight on someone who’s doing an amazing thing.

I talked to another one of those older siblings about graduation just a few days ago. None of my circumstances have changed. There may be a time when I’m needed, and I’ll stand ready. I wasn’t needed this time. Sure, I made a few phone calls and made sure it would have worked out. Of course I would have gone down and made it work if my other siblings couldn’t.

The wrong in what I did was looking for other ways because I saw other ways. I need those reading this to understand this most of all. We get called so often in life. How many times do we compare what we’re asked to do to what we want to do? It doesn’t make our lives or our dreams meaningless, but it does make us selfish. Even if it didn’t make us selfish, it still makes us unhelpful.

Most of this situation took about a day.  But by the end of my dinner the night of that text I’d told my girlfriend, “I’m doing this wrong. What I should have done, the right thing to do, is say, ‘I’ll be there,’ and figure it out.”

The wrong isn’t in the reasons it would have been difficult. The wrong was in the fact that I thought about my situation first. I thought about my complications and my obstacles before I thought about my mom and what she needed. I thought about my issues before I thought about my sister and all the things she’d already done and sacrificed to be the day-to-day caretaker for our mother.

Don’t follow my example in this case, readers. Don’t fall for the trap that I fell for. I don’t think anyone I talked to (including my older sister) blames me or holds it against me. Again, those reasons are quite valid. But the trap was to think of myself when I should have been thinking about others. I hope you’ll do a better job if you’re called.

 


 

Questions and Revelations

Where do you get off writing this blog after you fail to show up the first time you’re asked?

Frankly, I’m still just doing my best. When I was called, there was never a doubt in my mind that my sister would get the help she needed. My family is huge. I knew it was only a matter of talking to everyone and figuring out who could help.  The wrong was in using convince as the measuring stick. The question was “Who can help my sister without too much interruption.” When what should have happened was, “I got you!”

Also, this blog is (as of now) a real time process. To me, sharing these victories and mistakes are important. I know a lot of people who did things very much like I did. They explained it to their friends (like I did), and those people said something like, “I understand. It’s fair. It’s okay. You had things to figure out.”  Those justifications usually make other people feel great. Each time I heard them, they just felt more accusatory. I’d save readers the same feeling if I could.

So are you going?

No. The issue and need was, “care for my mom,” and that issue was resolved. Once the discussion became about my nieces’ graduation, it was something we’d talked about the year before. My sister has the help she needs, and that was the main issue.

I love my niece, and she knows I’m proud of her. My failure was in not answering a need. Once it became a matter of want or desire, then all involved parties should look at things and do what they feel in their heart are best.

Need = do.

Would like or wants = do if you can.

I still won’t sacrifice my ability to head home in the event of a more unfortunate emergency for an event everyone in my family knew I wouldn’t make it down for since last year.

Wouldn’t someone have helped?

Of course they would have. There are a few things in place, and I work with some amazing, generous people. my pride is a bigger issue here. My mom and I have that in common. Never cause those around you stress because you want. That’s a rule we follow. My mom feels pretty bad right now because she honestly thinks she’s being a bother to my sister and her family.  It’s just how we’re wired. I could be pined under a bus with a comet heading toward me and I still wouldn’t ask someone to help if I thought they were “too busy” or they would be “too inconvenienced.”

Had my baby sister been unable to help, I would have worked things out. My guilt is over the fact that I worked around that.  Fact is, I have no idea what my baby sister already had planned or how her leave situation was. I didn’t occur to me.  She answered the call, and she stepped up.

Why do you feel so guilty then? Everything worked out right?

Well, let’s look at Job.  In Job, after he’d already been suffering greatly. His friends showed up.

They did a lot wrong.  Seriously, they did a LOT wrong. What they did right, however, was show up. I even talked about this the night all this went down. I defensively said, “Well they didn’t have jobs or overworked coworkers.”  Even then I don’t actually know. I haven’t read all of Job. I’ve only heard a few sermons on the book, but that book is special to me already.

I’ve often prided myself on being the guy who helps when it’s needed. So even though I had honest, reasonable explanations for why I might not be the best person to help, I already felt pretty crappy for handling it the way I did.

Guilt is a pretty handy whisper from God. What I recognized is that my defensiveness, and I’d dare to say any defensiveness you might feel, was my soul’s way of telling me I’m in the wrong to begin with.

Try it out.  Have you ever not done something, but then felt the need to explain why you didn’t? Some who read this now might feel angry or defensive simply because I’m speaking so highly of my older sister.

If that’s the case I’d argue why? Is this defensiveness or anger a result of what I said, or is it a result of how what I said makes you feel about yourself? One of the three major points of this chapter was to point the blaming finger straight at myself.  So don’t be like me. Don’t be selfish. Be selfless. When someone asks of you, just help.

I’m not recommending servitude to someone. I’m not saying carry another grown adult through life. Those are all circumstances I can’t predict. In this situation, with actual people who needed actual care, I was wrong. I have said no to others who asked for help and felt zero guilt. Why? Because they had all the ability in the world to help themselves. For many a day, I wish for a burning bush or angel to come down and just tell me what to do.

All I have is my conscience. What I learned from this was to let it be a better guide from now on.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Always an Awesome Time!

Always an Awesome Time!

Greetings all,

AwesomeCon was a few weeks ago, and I always like to talk about how the conventions I attend go.

This con is special to me because it was one of my first ever and certainly the first “big” convention I ever attended. I go every year, and I plan on being there every year God grants me life.

From a business standpoint, I did fairly well. What I mean to say is I sold about what I normally sell at any convention. AwesomeCon is a bit more expensive to get to, but that means I get a lot more exposure too. It’s a weird balance between sales and marketing, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it meant.

I’m hopeful that the new readers I met enjoy the books and maybe drop me a review or two. I also made a few new author friends and linked up with some fans. Look, the fact that I can say with certainty that I have fans is still kind of a wondrously strange thing to me. Getting to say hello to a few loyal readers and maybe meet a few new ones is always a plus.

Another reason I’m such a fan of this event is the fact that I usually have a panel.  This year was no different.  My panel about “The Pitfalls of Unwary Self Publishers” has become a tradition.  I managed to record the event this year so anyone interested in the process (or more importantly the things they shouldn’t do) can just watch the video.

 

Finally, I got to see some cosplay, my favorite was of a young woman who dressed as the new Doctor. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, and she was the first person I’d seen wear the 14th (there were 14.  Count them.  #AllRespecttoJohnHurt) Doctor’s attire.

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These events are always fun, and I can’t express how grateful I am to everyone who comes to see hello, much less listen to me rant about my books and then actually buys one. I’ll always be indebted to those who help keep my dream moving forward.

 

Thanks for reading,

Matt