Category: Good Fridays

Grub Street Reads

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, pop-eyed mosquitoes and bow-legged squirrels, step right up. Cop A Squat is proud to announce that one of our three books has won an award. That’s right, and not just any award …

Grub Street Reads has awarded Life: As Fragile As Dust its coveted gold seal.

Grub Street Reads specializes in reviewing independent published novels and endorses those who meet its quality standards based on the fundamental qualities of good storytelling.  Now my book is prominently displayed on Grub Street Reads shelves.

Here’s what the reviewer had to say, Life: As Fragile As Dust is a very interesting mixture of short stories. I appreciated the wry humor of ‘Doggone’ and ‘Bud’s Life’ and was touched by ‘Grandma’s Secret’ and especially ‘Melted Dreams’. You have a versatile voice, which I think is captured in these wide-ranging stories.  My favorite was ‘Melted Dreams’ which was able to convey a lifetime of anguish and regret in a very tight and minimalist prose.  ‘On the Dotted Line’ was a great final story – fun and wicked…”

I feel so honored to have found a place in Grub Street Reads library. If you want an honest review of your book then you must click on this link:

Grub Street Reads coveted gold seal is a testament of Life: As Fragile As Dust, ability to thrill.  You will laugh out loud.  Be moved to tears.  And you will begin to ponder your own life’s course.

Are you interested? Please step right up, click on the sidebar, get your book and read a short story collection like no other. Our print version will be available next week; it’ll make a good stocking stuffer… And Happy Friday!

For our GOOD FRIDAY, tell every author you know about this vetting service. And as always, keep your head up.

 

 

NEXT

It has been a privilege to work with Random Film Buff on her first film. She runs the best film blog ever. Check her out at RandomFilmBuff.

I tell my children, “Be careful what you eat, it just might be eating you.” When it comes to eating fast food, just about everything they sell eats away at your body.  Fast food causes gout, diabetes, strokes, mood swings, heart disease, tooth decay, and a desire to not exercise. The following short film demonstrates the destructive course of a lifestyle filled with poisonous fast food.

I present to you the best short film on the web.

‘NEXT’

For our GOOD FRIDAY share this helpful post (VEGANS) that leads to a healthier lifestyle and a more meaningful relationship with God.

WHAT’S for DINNER?

I can’t remember how many times my mother had to answer that question. I do remember how hard she worked to bring wholesome meals to our table.

Rarely did she complain and rarely did she have the chance to enjoy a night out on the town.

Here is a Poie from my book, Poies: A New Beginning. It answers that age old question – what’s for dinner? This story is a tribute to all the women who answer this question without fail.

 

If you ask me what’s for dinner tonight

I guarantee you, there’s gonna be a fight

You asked me that last night, and the night before

Ask me again and you’ll be getting off the floor

Two nights ago we had chicken, the night before that, stew.

So don’t ask me what’s for dinner. Let me tell you.

(By AdSence by Unreal)

Tonight we’re going out to dine

So I can relax and have some wine

(Beautiful Nasty)

Later tonight, if you’re nice, I’ll do a little show

As for dinner tomorrow, don’t ask – I’ll let you know.

What’s for dinner on this GOOD FRIDAY? Tell us in the comment section below.

 

HIDING IN THE SHADOWS

Look at the above picture. Do you find it amusing?

What about this one?

And this one?

No? Then you are part of a small minority. There are many who find these pictures hilarious. Why?  The victim is a man.

Why is there so little attention given to this horrible crime compared to the massive attention given when a woman is beaten?

Could it be because a man is perceived to be weak if he becomes a victim of domestic violence? Yes, without a doubt.

Domestic violence against men is under-reported because of the stigma associated with men being abused by their female partners. Most men keep a low profile and do their best to escape the shame.

Consider this story: Susan towered over Dave like a building over a flower. He loved her, she him. They married and before long had a brood of three, a girl and two boys. They were happy.

Without notice their marital bliss came to a screeching halt. Soon Susan began to take out her frustrations on Dave. Daily he endured verbal abuse, before long she began punching him.

Her attacks increased and Dave began making excuses for his many cuts and bruises. One morning after many years of abuse Dave decided to end his suffering.

He waited for Susan to get home. As soon as she entered the house she tore into him with verbal attacks that were quickly escalated into a beating she swore he would not forget. As she slapped him throughout the house, it was into the kitchen that she finally met her match.

From the utensil draw, Dave pulled out a .357 Magnum and fired. The round hit Susan in the chest. She fell and with the last of his strength he dragged her down to the basement and hid her behind the furnace.

The screams of “Daddy!” came from the children upstairs.

Later, Dave stood trial on attempted murder. He lost everything as most victims of abuse often do.

For our GOOD FRIDAY let’s remind friends and family that October is Domestic Violence month for both men and women.

If you know someone who is a victim of domestic violence please share these numbers:

The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men: 877 643-1120 and entering PIN number 0757

For women: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Related post: DYING TO STAY ALIVE AND THE COLOR OF PURPLE.


FORGIVE YOURSELF

(Photo credit Paulette)

We are taught to forgive others, but rarely are we taught to forgive ourselves. No one can force you to forgive yourself; you always have the right to do so.

In our last post SOMEWHERE IN THE DARK, we encountered a flesh- eater. And just like that tiny creature, which slips in and causes damage to our physical body, we let the power of unforgivingness sink deep in our hearts and eat away at us with the same destructive results.

In not forgiving yourself, you stand to lose more than just an extremity. Your entire life is in jeopardy.

Case in point: A woman I knew many years ago led a life of debauchery. She experimented with drugs, had multiple sex partners and most of her seven children had different fathers. After living many years like this, growing older and starting to watch her children become like her, she took her life. Unable to forgive herself and seek the help she so badly needed so she could make the necessary changes, she thought death was the better choice.

We all are damaged. We all make mistakes and do things we regret. Just like that fence post, we have many holes in our lives. And no matter how much wood filler, sanding, and staining that fence post gets, it will always be damaged. So it is with all of us. No matter how much we cover up our flaws, the scars of our painful memories remain. And that’s okay, as long as we can face them, better ourselves the best we can, and then move on from there. We have to forgive ourselves to heal our hurt.

I hope every one of us learns to forgive ourselves and others from the heart. Don’t let your past rob you of the person you are today. On our GOOD FRIDAY, look into the mirror and say, I forgive you. Keep striving, keep hoping, and keep changing for the better. And as always, keep your head up.

DOGGONE

(Photo courtesy of Apertome)

In the last post, I introduced you to my dog Rex, the only dog I ever loved died when I was fourteen. When the story ‘DOGGONE’ came to me, I thought of Rex.

The picture above, although not Rex, reminds me of him. Rex was smart, cool, and he had heart; he didn’t take any mess, not even from me. But he loved me and I him. I like to remember him as a dog on a journey.

 This is for you boy.

 DOGGONE

“Hank, wake up, wake up!”

Hank woke with a start and looked over at the clock.

“Boy, it’s six o’ clock in the morning. What the fu–”

“Spare me the obscenities.”

“Okay, okay, what is it?”

“I’m dying.”

“What? How do you know?”

“Trust me, I know.”

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Thanks, but no. But there is something I want to do for you.”

Hank sat up.

“Take this map and this envelope. Promise me you will follow the map to the letter. And you won’t open the envelope until you hear the sirens, promise?”

“I promise, boy. Hey, Rex, maybe you’re wrong, maybe you’re not dying, maybe–”

Rex hit the floor with a slam.

“Oh, boy. Right again.”

Hank unfolded the hand-written map, which detailed the many places that Rex, during his lifetime, had buried money.

Hank, over the years, the many times money came up missing I was the one who stole it, not the few friends you chased away.

Now that you’re broke and I’m dead, I would like to tell you where I buried a small fortune in several places on our property.

“Why that lousy mutt!”

Hank! Hank! Calm down and listen!

Four feet from the oak tree in the back yard is buried five-thousand dollars. So get your shovel and bury me nearby – then get digging.

Hank buried Rex in two shakes of a dog’s tail, then went sniffing and dug up the money.

“Whoaaaaa, good boy, Rex, good boy.”

All right, all right, let’s keep moving.

Near the back fence under that smelly bush you planted is ten-thousand dollars.

After some digging and cursing, Hank dug up the loot.

“Rex, you were the best dog. Ever. I miss you already.”

Yeah, yeah, let’s keep moving.

Four feet in front of my doghouse you will find fifteen large.

The doghouse was in a sad state of repair. Hank now wished he’d taken better care of Rex.

Three feet down, just as Rex had predicted, lay the dough wrapped in plastic like the others.

“Awwww, boy, how did you ever do this? Thank you, boy, thank youuuu.”

Hank! Get a grip. Onto the last stop.

Near the patio, four feet from that stupid rock you call art is twenty Gs.

Hank found it so.

“Oooh, Rex, I loved you so much, boy. Why did you have to die? Why? Why? Why?”

“Hey, Hank, are you okay?” asked the neighbor.

“No, Phil, as a matter of fact, I’m not! And for your information, Rex died.”

“Good! I never like that mutt, anyway.”

“Why you no good–”

Hank leaped the fence, grabbed Phil and punched him near to death. Phil’s wife came out screaming, and then rushed to call the police.

Within minutes, Hank heard the sirens then he remembered the envelope.

Dear Hank,

I knew one day you would do something stupid. Whatever it is, I hope the fifty helps.

And to quote the best quote you ever stole: ‘May the fleas of a thousand camels invade the crotch of the person that ruins your day. And may their arms be too short to scratch.’ I love you, my friend, take care.

Love and happiness,

Rex

This story is from the LIFE: AS FRAGILE AS DUST COLLECTION. If you enjoyed this story, purchase this short story collection at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

For our GOOD FRIDAY, tell us your most heartwarming story about your four legged friend. And as always, keep your head up.

From Hope Springs Love

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Why have you let the hardships put distance between you? Sitting on the same sofa, you’re light-years from each other. What happened?

How did she become an umbrella tucked in the closet only to be appreciated on rainy days? And sadly for you, he became as a throw pillow that decorated your life.

Are you going to toss away all the years you built together just because you’ve forgotten how to express love? Please think before you answer – how will your response affect the other?

Can you look at her? Can you look at him? Are you going to remain silent and let fear and stubbornness take authority over your lives? Is it worth leaving your precious marriage in ruins?

STOP, PLEASE STOP!

I heard a man pleading with my parents like that many years ago. Unfortunately, they didn’t listen. They didn’t make it.

I want to make it. I want to stay married to my beautiful wife forever and a day.

For our GOOD FRIDAY, my wife and I saw a movie without the kids. To her amazement I wanted to see ‘Hope Springs’.

“You don’t like romantic comedies.”

“I don’t, not really. But I love you and I think it might be funny.”

I won’t spoil the movie, but it was more than just amusing, it was truly a reminder that from hope springs love.

What did you do this week to remind your loved one you only have eyes for them? Leave your reply below.

And remember, you can and will make it if you don’t quit. And as always, keep your head up.

Compassion

You never know where you’re going to be when compassion sneaks up on you and wraps your heart in its warm embrace.

For me, it found me sitting in front of the TV. During the commercials, an ad for Christian Children’s Fund flashed on the screen. As always, it’s difficult seeing so many kids living in extreme poverty. Many times, I watched for a while, and then slowly turned the channel. I turned, not because I didn’t care, but because, “What possible good could an average guy like me do?”

In the spring of 2001, I called the number the next time I saw Christian Children’s Fund flash on the screen (now Child Fund International). It’s proven to be one of the best decisions of my life. Why? I got to know and sponsor Erimias.

After the sponsor package arrived, I saw he was a young boy, age eight. Seeing those bright eyes, his brave stare, I felt honored to be his sponsor.

Many letters later, so many filled with joy and accomplishments, some with filled with sadness; since my sponsorship, Erimias has lost both his parents.

He continues to be an outstanding student and is now age 19.

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Six years later, my family and I were leaving a Christian concert. Near the exit, two women stood at a long table. On the table sat rows of pictures of young children with their bio’s attached. We saw Trishna’s picture right away and said to each other, “She’s the one.”

Over the years I’ve been blessed to receive encouraging letters and as you see, beautiful pictures. As of today Trishna and family are doing well.

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Child Fund International and Compassion International are great ways to help needy children. These charities put the money in the hands of parents and let them purchase what their children need.

It’s been a privilege watching these children grow and being able to contribute in improving their lives in a small way.

How was your GOOD FRIDAY? How do you like to show compassion to others? Leave your stories in the comments below. And as always – keep your head up.

Uniqueness Isn’t Weakness

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After an early morning shampoo you discover your hair has turned bright green. Many shampoos and rinses later, you face the fact that it’s permanent.

Do you go to work that morning? If you do, how would you deal with the stares and the constant question, “What happened to your hair?”

What about the snickering? Or the direct insults? Could you bear under such pressure?

Most adults would find it difficult to go through life with green hair. But why would life under green hair be so hard to manage?

Perspective. Other people’s perspective, that’s why.

For our GOOD FRIDAY this week, we were to watch a movie with our children, a movie that would inspire them to newer heights. The movie I picked was The Boy with Green Hair, made in 1948. In the movie a war orphan, after washing his hair, discovers he will have to spend the rest of his life with green hair. Ostracized and pressured to no end to cut off or dye his bright green hair, he runs away and collapses running through the woods. There he has a revelation in the form of poster war orphans who help him see the purpose of his sudden green hair.

After the movie I asked my son would he be embarrassed to sport bright green hair.

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“Embarrassed? I already have the longest hair than all the guys in my school. If my hair was green too, I would be the coolest kid in school.”

How was your Good Friday? What movie did you decide to watch? Leave your stories in the comments below. And as always – keep your head up.

THE COLOR OF PURPLE

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When writing the post DYING TO STAY ALIVE, I had serious reservations. The young woman’s battered face, the facts surrounding her abuse – all shocking. My heart goes out to her and her family.

Just as shocking is the amount of abuse occurring globally. So much so that President Obama in 2010 proclaimed October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Now every October, purple ribbons abound – “Raising Awareness about Domestic Violence.” Wait, isn’t purple the color symbol for cancer? Yes, and it’s the color for Domestic Violence, too.

Think about it, couldn’t domestic violence be viewed as a cancer? And like a cancer, if ignored, it will fester and grow and one day kills, unless it’s eradicated.

I wanted to bring more awareness to this senseless crime. Are you aware of these staggering facts?

According to the Genesis Women Shelter:

  • 1 in 4 women will know domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • 1 in 3 teenage girls will be physically assaulted by a boyfriend.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15-44 in the U.S. That’s more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Boys who witness domestic violence in their homes are 1,500 times more likely to perpetrate abuse later in life.
  • 50% of girls growing up in an abusive home will go on to be victims of abuse themselves.

For our GOOD FRIDAY, we purchased and donated clothing to the Genesis Women Shelter. 

Do you know the color purple also represents royalty? And women everywhere should be treated like queens, because that’s just what they are.

If you or someone you love may be a victim of domestic violence, Know the Facts and remember Love Is Not Abuse.

SAFETY ALERT: If you are in danger, please call 911, your local hotline, or (in the U.S.) the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224Please review these safety tips.