It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing

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Benefits of Reading

Posted by mcm0704 on January 4, 2020 |

I always knew that reading is good for the soul, and the creative spirit, and just plain fun, but I didn’t know these other benefits before reading Kristy Woodson Harvey’s Newsletter the other day. She’s the author of a number of wonderful books, and she graciously gave permission for me to share what she found out about how reading is so good for us.

  • Reading reduces stress by up to 68% in just six minutes. That’s even more quickly than a hot cup of tea or listening to music (University of Sussex).
  • Readers are more empathetic. (American Psychological Association)
  • Reading may decrease dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease risk. Readers that read into their old age were found to have up to 30% less memory decline than non-readers. (Journal of Neurology)
  • Want to raise a reader? Be a reader! Children whose parents read to them—and see their parents reading—are much more likely to choose to read for pleasure than those who don’t. (Scholastic)

Okay. I lied. I did know that last one. We are a family of avid readers, always have been. I loved reading to my kids, which is probably why I still enjoy children’s picture books so much. My husband and I were always reading for our own enjoyment, too, and the kids, as they grew older, were very aware of our love affair with books.

Now, all my children read, as do their children.

I’m happy.

And even though that nasty Ramsay Hunt Syndrome took a big bite out of my ability to read in the past 4 years – yes it is 4 years now, starting year 5 – I have managed to read books or listen to them in audio.

In addition to Kristy’s books, here are a few more that I’ve enjoyed very much in the past ten years.

Lippman never disappoints me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful story of a father/son relationship told with heart and humor.

This was one of the first books I’ve read by McKinty, but it won’t be the last. A really good mystery.

That’s it for me for today folks. I was late getting a blog post done today, Friday, as I was actually working on the third book in the Seasons Mystery Series. It felt good to be back in the groove after a few weeks off.

Please do share some of your favorite reads in the comments. By the way, these are not all of mine for the past ten years by any means. Maybe I’ll share more next Friday, so let me know if you’d like to see more book recommendations.

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Welcome 2020

Posted by mcm0704 on January 1, 2020 |

Humorist Slim Randles is with us for another year of fun with the gang at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. Today, the guys are talking about what to look forward to in 2020, including the dreaded taxes. 

Read on and enjoy…

“The highlight of the week before New Year’s,” said Steve, semi solemnly, “is to be able to tell your pals ‘See you next year’.

“Really?” said Dud. “That’s it? How about now that we’re hip deep … almost … in the new year? What do you do now that is encouraging?”

“Well,” Steve said, sipping his coffee and sending a jealous eye to Doc’s sweet roll, “one of my New Year’s resolutions is to figure out what to look forward to the first week of January. I mean … now we have to start worrying about taxes and scoopin’ up all those receipts so the IRS can tell us we can’t use them. Right? And it’s January, so it’s cold, and it gets dark early. And I dare any of you to try to forget it’s winter by watching a football game played in the Midwest in two feet of snow.”

Doc took a bite of sweet roll, being careful to get that pulverized white frosting gently misting down to his necktie. He took a couple of chews and swallowed. It was its usual great sweet roll and deserved a smile.

“Steve,” said Doc, “you need a hobby. When the outside world isn’t interesting enough to keep you optimistic, go find something you enjoy doing, and do it.”

“Like what, Doc? I can’t play guitar or collect stamps. I just can’t.”

“Then you make up your own hobby, Steve, like bull kicking.”

“What?”

“Sure. Walk out in the pasture and kick one of those old bulls in the butt.”

“But he’ll chase me.”

“Of course,” said Doc, “but you can use the exercise.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Brought to you by our radio show, “Home Country with Slim Randles.” Let us know if you like it.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared here with us, as well as the 4 million readers of the newspapers where his columns appear.

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I’m spending time with family to bring in the New Year. What are you doing? Will you have the traditional food that is supposed to bring good luck? Here in Texas black-eyed peas are supposed to do the trick. What is the tradition where you live?

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Do You Resolve?

Posted by mcm0704 on December 30, 2019 |

On Friday, Slim Randles shared some of the New Year’s resolutions from the gang down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. They were typical of the wry sense of humor most of the men have and quite fun to read.

That post prompted me to think of what my resolution might be, and since I couldn’t come up with one – not that I’m perfect and don’t need one, but I’ve been too busy to find time to sort through my shortcomings – I decided to share this excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant & A Paycheck.

Join me in a delicious cup of homemade egg nog, courtesy of homemadehoopla.com

Good with rum or brandy or without spirits.

Enjoy…

As the last days of the year wound down, our thoughts turned to New Year’s Eve parties and the inevitable aftermath on New Year’s Day. I preferred going to someone else’s party as it was a lot easier to bring a snack to share then clean my whole house and prepare a bunch of food.. Plus, I needed time to think about my New Year’s resolution for the year.

Normally, when it came to New Year’s resolutions, I tried not to demand too much of myself, preferring to do something simple like giving up escargot. But one year, in the interest of strengthening my character, I decided it was time to exercise a little self-discipline. I swear it had nothing to do with the strange dream I had the week prior.

In the dream, a cloudy apparition hovered over the foot of my bed and called my name, “Maryann Millerrrrr.”

“Wha … Who me?”

“Yes, you.”

“Who are you? What do you want?”

”I’m the ghost of columns past.”

“Right. And I’m Erma Bombeck.”

“Tis not a moment for levity. You have much to account for this night.”

“Like what?”

“How about your indiscriminate use of poetic license?”

“It’s not indiscriminate. I work very hard at it.”

“Aha! So you admit to lying in your column.”

“Well… not exactly lying. I prefer to call it ‘stretching the truth. ‘”

“And how do you think your family and friends feel about this?”

“They understand.”

“Oh, yeah? What about your friend, Mary? Do you know she was kicked out of the Gingerbread Hall of Fame after you credited her with your fiasco?”

“I didn’t know that was going to happen. But you must admit it was a funny story. Honesty would have been very dull.”

“So. Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You’d do anything for a laugh?”

“Well…almost anything.”

“And you’re going to persist?”

“Of course. I’ve got job security to think about.”

“In that case consider yourself warned. Persisting might not be in your best interests.”

With that, the hazy form disappeared, leaving me with much to ponder. Perhaps it was time to ease up a bit.

So, I made a solemn vow never to poke fun at my friend, Mary, again …

Well, maybe I’d start the week after next. First, I wanted to tell all my readers about the strange punch she used to make.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt, and do let me know if you have formed a resolution or two for the coming New Year. What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Will you be partying? Whatever the plans are, be happy. Be safe. See you next year.

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And I Resolve To…

Posted by mcm0704 on December 27, 2019 |

It’s not Wednesday, but Slim Randles is here as my guest anyway. He and the guys at the Mule Barn truck stop are pointing us in the direction of  New Year’s, and those dreaded New Year Resolutions. Oh how eager we are on January first. 🙂

Grab a glass of bubbly and enjoy…

It was Herb who kicked things off at the world dilemma think tank at the philosophy counter in the Mule Barn truck stop. Herb is like Nature itself. He abhors a vacuum, too.

“Well,” Herb said, “it’s about that time again.”

Three heads swiveled to look at him.

“New Year’s resolutions … you know.”

Three nods.

“So Herb, what are your new resolves for the next year?”

“Glad you asked, Dud. I thought I might lose 15 pounds, take sailing lessons and come up with a good recipe for beef kidneys. How about you, Dud?”

Dud took a sip of coffee. “Going to finish the rewrite of my book, I guess.”

“The Duchess and the Truck Driver?” asked Doc.

“Well, Doc, its actual title is ‘Murder in the Soggy Bottoms.’”

Dud’s struggle with the plot of this novel is well known to most of us in town. (And most of us who keep up with the updates on the blog posts.)

Steve said, “For me, I think I’ll lose some weight, too, and paint the inside walls of the turret up at the cabin.”

“What color, Steve?”

“Burnt orange. You know, something like sunset in winter when the leaves are gone and the trees stand like lacy filigree against the sky.”

“Boys, I think we have a poet amongst us,” said Doc.

“Aw Doc, come on,” Steve said. “What about your resolutions for the coming year?”

Doc thought a minute.

“Fair enough. I have some. In the coming year, I resolve to grow grapes and make some wine for my friends. Then I believe I’ll put in a big effort to catch Ol’ Lunker on a fly down in Lewis Creek. If I have the time, I’ll try to keep my patients healthy, and I’ll top it off with making a concerted effort to locate Chipper.”

“Your imaginary squirrel?”

“Yep.”

“But Doc,” Herb said, “you already do those things now. Did you realize that?”

“Sure,” Doc grinned. “Really makes it easy to keep a resolution that way.”
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Brought to you by Slim’s new book The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List that features 120 “reel” great places to fish in America before you kick it.

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Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared here with us, as well as the 4 million readers of the newspapers where his columns appear.

That’s all for me for the weekend, folks. I’ll be doing more holiday celebrating with family. I hope you have a weekend filled with good times and good cheer. Be safe. Be happy.

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Merry Christmas – Happy Hanukkah – Happy Kwanzaa

Posted by mcm0704 on December 25, 2019 |

My Wednesday’s Guest today is this jolly little snowman who is all dressed up to celebrate this wonderful time of the year. I dare you not to smile at him. 🙂

For years now we’ve all been trying real hard to be politically correct in our Winter Solstice greetings, saying Happy Holidays, lest we offend someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. Besides that, I’m not the least bit offended when I hear Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa.

Those wishes mean something special to the folks who celebrate those holidays, the same way Merry Christmas means something special to me, and it doesn’t take anything away from me for people to express their good wishes the way they want to.

 

If we all spent more time living up to the inherent meaning in all these holidays and expressions of good will, there could be no offense taken at the words used. There wouldn’t be a “we” and “them” mentality that pushes us apart and makes us sensitive and defensive. There would just be “us”. Mankind. Humankind. However you want to label us.

So my hope for all of us is to have a season of peace and a sense of inclusion instead of exclusion. That is the message in my two short stories, as well as what I hold deep in my heart.

I’ll not be online much over the next couple of weeks so I can celebrate Christmas and New Years with family and friends. I hope that all of you have many opportunities to likewise. Share the Holiday cheer, and I’ll see you in the New Year.

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No Room at the Inn

Posted by mcm0704 on December 24, 2019 |

Last Friday, my neighbors invited me to a Posada celebration held at their house. One of the neat things about living here in a primarily Spanish part of Sherman is what I’ve been learning about Spanish culture and some of the beautiful traditions.

Las Posadas, (Spanish: “The Inns”) religious festival celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus.

The event starts with Mary and Joseph being outside, knocking on the door. They are accompanied by others dressed as angels and shepherds. The requests to come in for shelter are sung, with responses from those inside the house also sung.

The requests are on the left.

Even without knowing Spanish, I could follow just a bit, knowing what the Bethlehem story is all about.

To find out more about this tradition, I went to the website LocoGringo, where I found the following.

“At each neighborhood home, the group sings a song in hopes to have a place to stay. They are turned down at each home until eventually a neighbor will invite the group in (this is determined in advance) and the festivities begin. Drinks, food, and a star shaped piñata define this evening fiesta. As the night draws to an end, aguinaldos (small bags filled with treats and candies) are distributed as parting gifts to the guests to help them continue on their “journey.

“The process repeats for eight nights with another home accepting the group for another evening festival. On December 24th, the ninth and final night of the Posada, everyone attends midnight mass. Midnight mass is called Misa de Gallo, Mass of the Rooster. Then the real celebrations begin after mass. Santa Claus does not arrive, Christmas presents are not exchanged, this is not part of the Mexican traditional Christmas. Families go home to a big meal of traditional family delicacies and a joyous exchange of friendship, love and families. Gift giving happens January 6th on Kings Day, not on Christmas Day.”

My neighbor’s house was the one chosen to accept Mary and Joseph last Friday. Their older daughter got to be Mary, with a younger daughter dressed as an angel. She was obviously having a grand time, as evidenced in her posing for the picture-taking. 🙂

Part of the evening was spent in prayer, then fellowship began with refreshments. My neighbors served a Mexican hot chocolate that was amazing. The woman who made it couldn’t tell me how to make it, even though her husband did his best with his limited English to give the recipe and ingredients. He was, however, able to tell me that one secret was some cookies she ground up and put in the drink. It thickened it just a bit and added a new flavor. Normally Mexican hot chocolate is made with milk, bittersweet chocolate, with a touch of cayenne pepper. If you’re interested in a new taste, here’s a recipe for creamy Mexican Hot Chocolate, but I’m going to find out how to make what was served that night.

I don’t know what the food was called. The older daughter tried to tell me the name, but finally gave up and brought me a plate. It had chopped cabbage, lightly seasoned, and two fried sandwiches made from a thick tortilla-type bread filled with what I think was masa, the typical tamale filling. At least that’s what it tasted like to me, and the sandwiches were delicious.

Tonight, Christmas Eve, the Posada will end for another year, and I thought it would be nice to share this tradition on my blog today. I hope you enjoy learning something that you may not have already known. And may your Christmas Eve be one of much happiness and many blessings.

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The Ghost of Christmas Past

Posted by mcm0704 on December 20, 2019 |

The holidays often bring bittersweet memories to the surface of our minds, and this year is no different for me.  We often miss the people who have left big holes in our lives more poignantly as we prepare for celebrations, and I am missing my husband. He loved to give presents in the most dramatic ways, as illustrated in the following, taken from my humorous memoir A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck

Read on and enjoy…

They say – whoever ‘they’ are – that when it comes to gift-giving, it’s the thought that counts. While I don’t always agree with those anonymous ‘they,’ I have to give them this one.

My husband puts a great deal of thought into not only the present but the presentation. It isn’t enough to merely hand over a package for some occasion, he has to somehow turn it into an event and over the years we’ve been together he’s devised numerous, and often complicated, ways of surprising me.

Once he initiated his Christmas charade the week after Thanksgiving. It began with the announcement that this year he was going to be practical about my gift. Perhaps he’d build the bench in the kitchen I’d been wanting. Since I really liked the bench when he finished it, unlike the feelings I had toward the green stool I’d received a few years before that, I was delighted to accept the bench.

A week later, a friend told me that she knew what I was getting for Christmas. I tried to act nonchalant as I explained that I already had my present. She just grinned in response, and I started to wonder if my husband was up to something.

Then another friend mentioned that she, too, knew what I was getting for Christmas. I wondered some more but didn’t know what to even anticipate as I’d not expressed a desire for anything specific. At least not anything within the realm of possibility. There had been a brief mention of emeralds, a new wardrobe, or a cruise, but I knew they were out of the question.

About a week before Christmas, my husband finally admitted that all the excitement was over an electric paint-brush. Knowing there was no such thing, I immediately dismissed his comment, but trying to figure out what he and my friends were so excited about was about to give me ulcers.

Finally, Christmas morning arrived. We opened our gifts and my present turned out to be an electric pencil sharpener. Still suspecting that there might be something else – a pencil sharpener just didn’t measure up to the previous excitement – I waited for my husband to launch the big surprise. We continued with our usual holiday morning routine of breakfast, phone calls to out-of-town relatives, and playing with new toys. Part of me was still on alert for the “big surprise,” but nothing happened.

About mid-afternoon when I’d about decided my friends were nuts to be so excited about an electric pencil sharpener, I went into my office to put the instrument away. There was a large box on my desk. I stood for a moment, stunned, then heard my husband behind me. “Merry Christmas,” he said.

The top of the box had been set loosely over something and I lifted it to see a new typewriter. (Keep in mind that this was a long time ago and you will understand why I was thrilled. I wasn’t too far removed from my old 1940’s vintage manual and this new machine was electric. Plus, it had a correction cartridge!)

I had that typewriter for a long time, keeping it even when I got my first computer and glad that I had it when the computer was down for repairs. When I finally accepted the fact that the old machine needed to go, the parting was wrenching. Not so much for what it was, an object that had served me well for so many years, but for what its presence reminded me of.

Yes, it really is the thought that counts.

 Disclaimer: I miss him for more reasons than just the gifts. 🙂

My wish for you is that you give and receive very thoughtful gifts as you celebrate whatever winter holiday that is special to you. Be happy.

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Giving the Gift of Love

Posted by mcm0704 on December 18, 2019 |

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with one of those Christmas stories that we love so much this time of the year. You know, the ones that tug at our hearts and bring a smile. This one about Mabel and Candice is sure to do both.

And if you want to read more heartwarming holiday stories, check out my two short stories THE GIFT and THE LAST DOLLAR.  Both are free for Kindle Unlimited and a quick read when you take a short break at work or from holiday preparations.

Now, before starting Slim’s story, lets share some holiday cheer. 

I love sugar cookies, but don’t have the stamina to do all the chilling and cutting and decorating, so I found this quick and easy sugar cookie recipe. It will do in a pinch. 🙂 Try one…

Mabel Adams was sitting in the day room at the Rest of Your Life retirement home when the children came in. She smiled and so did all the others in the room except for two who didn’t know what was going on.

The old-timers in the home knew the kids were coming and had put up Christmas decorations around in the day room, and on the doors of their own small apartments, and on themselves. Mabel had been reminded several times by the staff that morning that the kids were coming over, this being necessary as Mabel’s memory isn’t what it used to be. And she put a sprig of imitation holly in her hair and tied a red ribbon on the other side.

The little girl smiled and walked over to Mabel.

“Are you a grandma?” she asked.

“Why, yes dear, I am.”

“I brought you a present, Grandma,” she said, handing a box to Mabel.

The old woman opened it and was delighted at the sandalwood-scented hankies inside. “Why thank you so much, Honey!” she said. “And what is your name?”

“I’m Candice. I’m four.”

“Well, Candice, Merry Christmas to you. Have you been here before?”

“Well … no, I guess. Mom said this is where the grandmas are and we can have fun bringing presents to the grandmas.”

“I see,” Mabel said. “Well, Candice, come over here, dear, and let me give you a hug. There!”

Sometimes, it isn’t the cost of the hankies, or the fun wrapping them up. Sometimes it’s just a child’s smile, and a small taste of love that makes us treasure Christmas.
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Enjoy this column? Good. Give some money to a charity of your choice and wish them a Merry Christmas.

What a great suggestion, Slim. My gift will go to St. Jude’s Hospital.

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Book Review – Santa Claus Bank Robbery by Tui Snider

Posted by mcm0704 on December 15, 2019 |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SANTA CLAUS
BANK ROBBERY
A True-Crime Saga in Texas

by
TUI SNIDER
Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History
Publisher: Castle Azle Press
Date of Publication: December 8, 2019
Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos
Scroll down for Giveaway!

When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running – with loaded guns in hand!

But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress.

This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning!Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion.

Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?

Watch the Trailer on You Tube

I decided I would really love this book from the very opening when the author talked about going to that delightful restaurant that serves family-style meals. She and her husband sat down next to a cowboy who passed them a bowl of fried chicken and told them that they had to try the fried squash, too. “It’s grown fresh by the owners outback.”

One can learn so much about a place by sitting down at a restaurant like that.

When first hearing about this book, I thought it was going to be a farce, or perhaps a fun illustrated children’s book, and what a surprise it was to find out that it’s based on real incidents. The author did extensive research to ferret out the story of the robbery and the attempts to catch the robbers.

More bank robberies occurred during the 1920s than in the era of the Wild West

While the book focuses mainly on one robbery, Santa Claus Bank Robbery has other interesting historical facts about bank robberies in Texas, one of which is the fact that more bank robberies occurred during the 1920s than in the era of the wild West. I did not know that. The legend of Jesse James and his gang  had me believing otherwise.

Scattered throughout the book are images of clippings from newspaper stories about different bank robberies, as well as photographs of key people involved with either one of the gangs or somebody who worked in law enforcement at the time.  These images add another layer of interest, especially for people like me who love to dig through musty old photographs to see the people and places of long ago.

In addition to all the fascinating glimpses into what life was like for the people of the time, was reference to the book by A.C. Greene, written about the robbery and events surrounding it. Tui Snider points out that much of Greene’s accounting was fictionalized, and he failed to include important facts in his recounting of the robbery.

According to documentation that the author found, the Santa Claus Gang was comprised of four men, and the leader wore a costume to look like the Jolly Old Elf when robbing banks. A six-year-old girl and her mother foiled one robbery when they came into the bank and the mother saw what was going on. The mother continued to walk toward the back of the bank, ignoring the shout from one robber to stop. When guns were pulled, the girl cried out, “They’re going to shoot Santa Claus.”

Continuing to ignore the robbers, the mother walked through the bank and out the back door. She told people on the street that the bank was being robbed, and those people ran to get help. Afterward, the little girl told reporters that she knew, “That wasn’t really old Santa Claus, for I saw his pants and they were just like Papa’s.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the Santa Claus Bank Robbery.  It has the history that always interests me, and the added element of looking at a true crime. Readers who enjoy the same elements in a book, will want to grab this one. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway.

Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel.

Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TV, Coast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.

◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER
◆  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  ◆  GOODREADS  ◆
◆  INSTAGRAM◆  YOUTUBE  ◆
—————————— 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
 GRANDPRIZE (US only)
Signed Paperback +$10 Amazon Gift Card
+ Thank You Post Card
2ND PRIZE (US only)Signed Copy + Thank You Post Card
3RD PRIZE (International): Kindle eBook
December 12-22, 2019

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2

Chasing Windmills

Posted by mcm0704 on December 13, 2019 |

Today I’m sharing a column I wrote back in the mid 80s for the Texas Catholic Newspaper where I was a regular columnist. I found this copy when I was digging through some old folders looking for something else, and I was surprised and dismayed to see that much of what I wrote back then applies to current events.

It’s a chilly, foggy day here in my part of the world, so I’m thinking a cup of hot chocolate is in order. Do join me.


Sometimes when it comes to championing causes, I feel a little like Don Quixote chasing windmills. He was a man who acted from his heart, not his mind, and some people thought he was just a silly, idealistic old man. But some people found the message embedded in his story both profound and powerful.

Don Quixote dared to “dream his impossible dream, battle his unbeatable foe, and march into hell for a heavenly cause.”

While some people may think his fiery determination was born of insanity, others, who may share his naive idealism, see it with a clarity that says, “right is always right, never wrong.”

You go the distance, risk it all for a cause you believe in.

Lately, I have been vacillating a lot between this Quixote approach to life and developing a more realistic attitude. Looking for messages that may or may not be there in situations that present themselves, I wonder whether I’m being asked to abandon the dictates of my heart and form new ideas based on intellectual reasoning.

Reasoning tells me that humanity in some respects has sunk to its lowest depths. We live in a very selfish self-centered society, with so many people out there for the good of only themselves, willing to do anything to further that goal. So should I just accept that and take steps to protect myself? Or should I continue to believe in the basic goodness of all people and put myself at risk with each new encounter?

Reasoning tells me that mankind continues to repeat the same mistakes with each new history book that’s written. So do I just accept that as indisputable fact and abandoned my hope that someday it will change? Or do I cling to my belief that we will eventually learn to live in harmony with ourselves, our environment, and each other before it’s too late?

Reasoning tells me that Don Quixote was just a silly old man who didn’t even have the good sense to see how foolish he was. But my heart tells me that wisdom doesn’t always come from the mind. Sometimes wisdom comes from the spirit of people who brave the tide, buck the odds, and “strive with their last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars.”

Maybe the world is ready for a real life Don Quixote. We need heroes like him to inspire us all to greatness now more than ever.

Okay readers, what do you think? Are you an idealist? Do you flair at windmills or are you in the camp of those who reason? No right or wrong answers here, folks. 🙂

That’s all from me for today. My weekend is going to be fairly quiet. Staying home to finish preparing for Christmas. Whatever your plans are, be safe. Be happy.

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