Pints With Ray Bradbury

I wasn’t always a dedicated reader. As a child and as a teenager I had little time for books. Around the age of eighteen is when I chose to begin giving books the attention they deserved. I’ve been a consistent reader and lover of literature for around twenty years now.

Controversial books can be some of the most exciting to explore. Any book can be controversial to someone though. I’ve read both the Old Testament and New Testament in the Bible and this particular book of books took me around 16 years to complete. There were parts that I passed over and neglected for the longest time. The Bible can be an inspiring and disturbing read. It might just be a minor miracle that I ever made it all the way through its pages.

I owe a great debt to books because they’ve enriched my life so tremendously. The right books at the right time have read me right back as I’ve read them. As a melancholy boy I imagined a happier life ahead and books helped me to find that life. For this I’ll always be grateful.

Do you have a favorite book or author? What writer would you most like to have a coffee or a pint with? What if they turned out to be boring or not at all like their writings? Would you leave the coffee on the table and walk away?

My favorite author is Ray Bradbury because his writings helped lead me to the love of many more writings. He passed away in 2012. Perhaps in another life I’ll buy him a pint and toast it to him and to eternity. A conversation with Ray Bradbury is one I would not walk away from.

Do you believe that the best books read us right back? Or do you think that reading can save lives? Do you read books once or do you visit the same book many times over?

I’m three books away from having read 700 books throughout my lifetime according to my goodreads page. My lifetime goal is to read over 2,000 books. I’m on my way!

Please join me as a fellow reader. Let’s not walk away from books. Let’s give them the respect and attention they rightfully deserve.

A Kind Word for the Road Ahead

Words spoken with kindness are never wasted on me. Whenever I am given a heartfelt compliment I then proceed to carry it with me all of the rest of my days. I have a great memory when it comes to the good stuff. Our world needs more kindness and words of appreciation. This can start with you and I on any given day at any opportune moment. Let’s start today!

Flattery is false and not worth too much at all. If I am to offer words of flattery, or insincerity, then I would’ve been better off keeping my tongue tied. Compliments are sincere and flattery is the language of the business people. I’m in the business of being a good friend, but I am not in the business of flattering my friends. If I tell you something nice about you it is because I mean my statement without wanting anything good in return. A “Thank you!” is appreciated. Beyond those two words nothing else is desired.

If you are a kind person for the sake of the fact that being kind is the correct way to behave then you are valuing a virtue that not all of us value. Keep up the awesome work! Keep smiling and showing up and being yourself.

Attempting the virtue of authentic kindness is a noble pursuit. I’ve regretted rash words but never kind ones. Today if you or I see something outstanding and good in one of our life travelers let us be bold and offer a word of compliment. I doubt we’ll regret our statements or our courage.

This evening a friend gave me a remarkable and heartfelt compliment. Her words inspired this blog writing and I’ll carry them with me from this day onward. Good words from good hearts belonging to good people make our world a richer and happier place. I wish you a happy road on your life’s journey.

Positive Plot Twists Are All Around Us

Life is good! The things that spring forth from the good in our world always make for a happy life if one has their eyes opened properly. Some good things from my life’s story recently are that I got a new job and my family and I took a vacation to Maine. Life can be a great wonder and one never knows when the next exciting plot twist is going to surprise them.

My new job is with Southern Illinois University Carbondale as a Library Specialist out of Morris Library. I originally tested for this position a number of years ago back in 2008. Since 2009 I’ve worked other jobs with SIUC. Now, nearly halfway through with my working career, I’ve found a home at the place that I originally hoped to work at, the campus library. I’ve been beyond ecstatic about this plot twist! My first month with Morris Library has been a wonderful experience and I am confident that I’ll continue to greatly enjoy my new job.

It was my family’s fourth trip to Maine through the years. And it was our second trip to Boothbay. We love Boothbay! We love the lobster and the beautiful scenery and the cooler weather and the lighthouses and the small towns with their unique shops. On the vacation I got a new orange pen with blue ink and I attained a few wooden bookmarks with cool Maine inspired designs on them. Dad took many pictures and I took quite a few also. A friend of mine, who lives near Maine, even traveled to Boothbay so we could catch up for a day. How outstanding and what an excellent friend! Boothbay, Maine was once again a joyful experience for the Brooks family.

Let’s have our eyes opened properly so we can experience happy lives. The bad in our world will always speak its say, but it need not win the day. Positive plot twists are all around us! Whatever the good news in your life is recently I hope you rejoice in it. Life is good!

Happy Sunday!

A Good Positive Plot Twist

We never know when our lives might possibly change for the better. The world can seem full of disappointments. Heartaches at every corner and devastating news the next block over can seem like the story of our lives at times. The thing about stories, though, is that one never knows when or where the plot twist is going to occur. The reader of the story doesn’t know. Yeah, honestly, I’d say even the author doesn’t always know until they’re jotting it down. I enjoy a good positive plot twist!

My life’s story received a plot twist recently and I’m excited about it. I’m joyful for a new possibility. The news in the papers of our lives isn’t always sad or melancholy. No, there’s a whole lot of good and great and wonderful in our world if we have eyes to gaze upon it. Let’s keep looking up!

Let’s keep gazing upon the gorgeous stuff that life has to offer. Don’t let the world weigh you down. There are a few things that all of us have control over in our lives. Attitude is one of them. I cannot control how others treat me or what exactly they think of me. I can control my attitude and treat everyone with respect and kindness and love. I can turn the other cheek and I can venture that extra mile.

Be on the lookout for your next plot twist in the story of your life ’cause you never know when or where or how it’s going to happen.

The Art of the Extra Mile

The old saying states that showing up is half of life. Another saying I enjoy speaks of going the extra mile. If I don’t show up and go the first mile that I was supposed to journey, then how shall I travel the second mile? Yes, truly, showing up is a large part of life.

Extra miles require extra effort. I always aim to do all things to the best of my ability and to go the extra mile whenever possible. My life’s story would not contain so much beauty if I did not practice the art of the extra mile.

Wholehearted is the greatest way to venture through life. I’ve played the part of the halfhearted before as a boy and that role left me feeling wholly empty inside. In my faith, I aim to love and follow Christ with all of my being. In my work, I aim to accomplish all tasks as quickly as possible and with maximum accuracy. With my friendships, I am all about being the best friend I can be. And with my life’s story, I aspire to live a good one worth reading about.

Let’s show up to our lives and hold nothing back! Be the best you you can be. I’ll be the best me I can be. After we show up, let’s remember to go the extra mile.

A Saluki for Life

Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been the home where I roam since 2006. My times as a student were joyful from 2006 to 2008 and my times as staff have been incredible from 2009 until this present day. It’s interesting how campus looked different when I was an undergraduate student than it does as a staff person. SIUC has been good to me and I’m grateful for its goodness.

I welcome the new class and the returning classes this week with gusto! If their times at the university are anything like mine then they will have the time of their life. I so hope that they make the most of all and any opportunities.

On my first day of classes back in 2006 I recall how my father waited for me across the student bridge I was to cross to get to my Faner Hall destination for my English classes. Dad pointed the way to Faner even though Faner was straight ahead. It was a wonderful thing to do and these fifteen years later it does not seem like so long ago.

I enjoyed all of my creative writing classes in college from poetry to fiction to apocalyptic literature with a professor who is still a tremendous friend to this present day. In 2008 when I graduated, I threw a celebration and invited a plethora of friends and many of them showed up for me. The degree required a lot of hard work and perseverance! I was not to be denied an epic party!

In 2009 I became a doorman and small store cashier out of Lentz Dining Hall. It was such a fun time in my life’s story and I got to be a big man on campus and make many friends. If you are a good doorman then it is simple to make friends and have fun at work! The memories of Lentz Hall will always be incredible.

2014 led me to my current position with SIUC where I work for the campus’ locksmith shop as an Office Support Specialist. I put my heart and my best work into this job and I enjoy working with the key contacts for the varying departments. This office, Key Control, has been good to me as all of my other professions with the university have also been.

I hope to be a man about campus for the rest of my life and I welcome all of the new and returning Salukis!

A Traveling Library

Life itself is a remarkable gift. I’ve lost sight of this fact at times. Times when I’ve felt burdened or sad, life has felt more like a trap. Perhaps trap isn’t the best word to describe exactly how I felt in those situations. Maybe lost is a better word.

Jesus offered salvation as a free gift and the idea of this free gift travels the course of the New Testament Bible. I believe that I am a saved soul. I never earned salvation, but I did fight like heaven to comprehend what salvation meant for my life’s story. If Christ is the hero of the tale then bipolar has proven to be the villain. Mental illness happens. Human beings can and do overcome its effects. Although the beast of bipolar will not be conquered or subdued without a battle.

Is not life itself a battle? Or perhaps the word struggle is a better choice. Enough about struggles and mental health issues; let’s get back to the present. The gift of life should not be squandered. A secret to enjoying life immensely is to constantly flood our lives with the good stuff in the world. I surround myself with good people and good books and positive attitudes and sentimental movies and the list could go on and on.

My favorite item to give away is a book. Books make for excellent presents! I pass the majority of my books along after I’ve finished reading them. Perhaps the gifts go on the shelf for years or maybe they’re read the very same week. That part is really none of my business or concern. The joy is in the giving itself.

If my life’s story was one enormous book then I’d hope at the final page you’d leave feeling happy. It’s not enough for me to hoard the remarkable gift of life. No, I must give it away in every way I can imagine. If we want to make our world a better place then we first must become better places. Throughout the course of this, my one remarkable life, I hope many that I cross paths with think of me with fondness when we’re no longer crossing paths.

The Christian’s job is to follow Christ Jesus. I aim to do my job to the best of my ability. A narrow road is worth walking and worth the struggle to follow.

A Happy Duo

Joy and laughter go together like a heroic duo. In the story of my life thus far there’s no longer time for pity parties where I’m the only guest invited. I aim for a happy life and I attain my goal daily. There isn’t enough laughter in our world. Equally true is that there’s not enough joy either. A secret to enjoying life is to forget about ones self and always look up.

The difficult business of choosing joy over sorrow requires perseverance. One must persevere and fight for the good in a world with a whole lot of bad. We cannot change the behavior of others; all we can do is change our own behavior. I choose a joyful attitude each new day.

I’ve been told before that I have a funny and memorable laugh. I laugh often so I have a lot of practice with the art of laughter. People ought to laugh like no one and everyone is listening. We all should fly our cheerful flags with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm and cheerfulness are contagious.

The heroic duo of laughter and joy has taken me far in life. Let’s look for the good in our world and our lives. If you cannot find a good friend then choose to be a good friend instead. If you are unable to find a kind soul then choose to be the kind soul to others. If you find it hard to discover joy then search even harder because it’s worth the seeking.

Authentic happiness doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth the struggle to attain it. I wish you all of the joy and laughter this day and the next and the one after that your soul can contain.

A Word that Means So Much in So Many Varying Ways

Freedom is a word that means so much in so many varying ways to all sorts of people. So today is the Fourth of July and tomorrow I have the day off of work in honor of today. I do enjoy three day weekends! Fireworks shows are also a good time. Although in the world of holidays I must confess the Fourth of July is not my favorite. No, I’m more of a Christmas dude.

Back to what freedom means to me. I would write about what freedom means to you if I knew I could supply the right answer. Alas, I know I cannot do that because you have your own mind and heart and soul and experiences. When I think of what freedom means to me it is a saving grace from my mistakes throughout my life’s story. It seems that many of us want to be better or feel superior to someone else. I don’t feel this way; the only individual I want to be better than is the man I was yesterday. I long to be more free and this longing is taking a lifetime of poor choices and wise ones.

I’m more free than I was once upon a sad time in my life when I was dealing with melancholy and undiagnosed mental illness. Yet, I long for more freedom still! I want to be free from all that separates me from a good life of Christian charity. The good fight of faith is the only fight for me. Others might think a life of faith rather odd and they might be right. I truly do dance to the beat of a unique drummer and I’ll never feel shame or sorrow for doing so. If I wanted to follow the crowd then I never would’ve chosen to follow the Christ.

Jesus was and is and always will be one controversial dude. It’s hard to follow him and his teachings. Yet I’ve found freedom in the following of the carpenter. Freedom is worth living for and chasing after.

Sometimes life seems like a fireworks show. We are all waiting for the big show to explode in bright colors before our eyes. Then, before any of us are ready for it to be over, it’s over. Afterwards most of us are in a rush to beat the crowd out of the parking lot or fairgrounds. I’m all about not being in a rush and simply relaxing while letting other cars go first and beat me out of the parking lot. Fireworks are set off every new day if we have eyes to see the good in life and in each other.

Cheers to freedom and whatever the word means to you!

The Journal of Adventures

After around thirteen years of travel my travel journal is now half way filled. This journal was a college graduation present from a dear friend back in May of 2008. It’s been to Rome and London and Dublin and Paris and Edinburgh and Tulsa and Boothbay and Destin and many other remarkable places. I love my travel journal!

The most recent destination was Destin, Florida with my parents and brother. We visited Uncle Ron and Ira Kaye and had an excellent time. While in Destin I got to enjoy beach walks with my brother and trips around town with everyone. We dined at the finest restaurants. I got some new Brooks Brothers shirts. Dad attained some new books. Mom and Dad acquired some new luggage. And a sunburn got ahold of me at one point in the trip. Oh, yes, and I even made some new friends in the hot tub and swimming pool area of the condo where we stayed for the week.

I wrote about some of this stuff in the travel journal.

It’s important to live in the present moment. I’m all for reminiscing about the joyful times in life. Although the past is no place to buy a home or take up residence. Equally true is that the future is no place to dwell or set up camp either. Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow isn’t promised. In this present moment I am at peace with myself and I’m reminiscing about my recent fun vacation.

We human beings perhaps do not write stuff down enough. This seems unfortunate because many of us are prone to forgetfulness. One of the aspects of writing that I adore is that it reminds me of where I’ve been and where I might still venture while bringing me great joy in the moment. I like writing because I want to understand myself more fully.

If you get a chance to travel then I hope you buy the train ticket or plane ticket or just hop in your car and hit the road. If you want to document your journey then drop a few dollars and acquire a travel journal. Twenty or thirty years from now I imagine I’ll look back through my journal of adventures and smile.

By the time I’m that age the journal will be all the way filled.