For the Brave

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

For the first time in years, my family and I ventured outside the house for New Year’s Eve. All the way across the driveway to our neighbor’s house.
Several of us from the neighborhood, the neighbor’s plumber, and some who are in recovery, gathered around piles of food to bring in 2018 together. Or at least for the few hours that come before it whispered, “Welcome,” through the door frames.

It was a cautious bunch, keeping the most harmful vices out in respect for those who were beginning again, although new beginnings are anything but safe. They’re scary, and wild in the way a man or woman has to confront their monsters face to face. And the unwelcome vices, having been exposed for the roadblocks they were, were banned from now forward.

A few of us gathered around the fire-pit, its blue flame a perfect circle for us to warm our hands over and watch our kids play together. The best jokes are told in a circle of new friends. Admissions about our imperfections are safe with a little darkness to tuck them away in. Friends to be flawed with.

Throughout the night, we had to scoot closer and closer to the fire as the heat couldn’t keep up with the encroaching cold. I stared at that blue flame and remembered that all of us come to a time where we begin again at something. Maybe it’s a lifetime of starting over. A new attitude, a new faith. Maybe just a single step forward. And like that blue circle of flame, we have the choice to stay low and contained, or to move past the barriers and push back the darkness.

 

A prayer for all who read this–who desire to step forward into 2018 with braver feet. Blessing, my friends.

Advertisements

A Christmas Carol

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I saw Jesus in the gym the other day. An old man—somewhere around 90—walked in with his cane, laid it on a treadmill and walked a good ten minutes before sitting down to rest. He braced himself, hands on knees and pulled in several minutes of oxygen. Then, one by one, he challenged most of the weight machines, setting them to 70 pounds. Biceps, lats, etc., sitting down to catch his breath after each set. Lastly, he cradled a free weight and did sit-ups, then grabbed his cane and left. I believe my jaw was resting on the top of my treadmill by this time. This was two days before Christmas.
A man with Down syndrome pedaled away on one of the exercise bikes while watching a repetitive news station left on from a previous gym-attendee. He said not a word, but just slowly spun his feet around and around. While leaving, he glanced over at me on the noisy treadmill, grabbed his medical helmet and left.
The entire 45 minutes I was there, a man laid on the floor, yoga mat under back, and feet up on an exercise ball. “My back hurts”, he said—”one of those tough days,” while doing random sit-ups and stretches. Sometimes, he stayed still for several minutes at a time, then started again.
I was just trying to get in one more good workout before winter break kept me hair-pulling busy. It’s been a year. Good stuff, busy stuff, stressful stuff. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten so little done with my creative projects. Sometimes I daydream about finishing my book, or dipping my brushes into a tub of paint. I’m not all the way me without it. But my kids needed me more this year, and it’s been a good thing. Family comes before the art, Always, and raising kids is a full time ministry. I saw the fruit of my efforts, however small. But when you’re called to more than one ministry, the activities get a little muddy and as many of you know–exhausting. By the time holiday season rolls around old man fatigue knocks on the door.
But as I observed those champions in the gym that day, I could almost hear Jesus saying, “The amount of reps don’t matter, and the way people see you doesn’t matter, but the perseverance does. Faith does. Success is in the not giving up.”
Were those men my three Christmas ghosts? I don’t know. But I heard the message, and I’m pretty sure Jesus said the message wasn’t just for me.
Maybe this one’s for you today.
Blessings and strength for 2018.

Reading with Annie today

Tags

, , , , ,

Good Tuesday, friends. Are any of you hybrid authors? That’s me (both traditionally and independently published), and with each new book or series, I always wonder which way I should go about publication. There are certainly pros and cons to both, but when a writer chooses to go Indie, it’s more difficult getting people to find your work and to be taken seriously. Think of it this way: when a mom-and-pop restaurant opens with an enticing menu, don’t you want to try it? I do! Chains don’t necessarily mean better (Did you know Beatrix Potter self-published A Tale of Peter Rabbit?)! I tried a few books written by Indie Author, Annie Douglas Lima, and I really enjoyed them. She writes young adult novels that don’t read like every other novel out there, and she manages to tackle serious issues while keeping it clean. Here’s a taste of her newest book, The Student and the Slave, the third book in The Krillonian Chronicles.

A man in a suit and tie walked over to Steene as the train began to move again. “Get up.”

Steene frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

“I said, get up, boy. I need a seat.”

The man was only about Steene’s age, wasn’t carrying anything, and looked to be in perfect health. There were plenty of straps hanging from the ceiling for standing passengers to hold onto, and Steene didn’t see any reason why the man deserved his seat.

“I’m getting out at the next stop,” Steene told him.

“I don’t care where you’re getting out, Collar.” The man’s voice was rising, and other passengers turned to stare. “Obey me, now!”

Out of the corner of his eye, Steene caught sight of the navy blue uniforms of two Watch officers moving in his direction, the crowd of standing passengers parting to let them go by. The officers were frowning — not at the man’s rudeness, but at the slave who wouldn’t give up his seat as ordered.

And Steene was reminded once again that everything worked differently now.


The series is set in an alternate world that is very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

The Collar and the Cavvarach by Annie Douglass Lima
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: 
Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?


Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.


The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass LimaBook 2: The Gladiator and the GuardBensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.



And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

Book 3: The Student and the Slave


Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.

Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?


Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon. 

About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and
later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published fifteen books (three YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her
students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides
writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction),
scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with the Author Online:
Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com
Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon
LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn
Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus


Drum Your Best For Him

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Here are some of my favorite things, Drummer Boy style, because I just came in from the crowd and all the “stuff,” and for once, I’d like all of us to go back to that starry night and ask what good gifts we can bring to our King. By this I mean, how do we reflect his character in our giving? A few examples from the Givers in my life:

Miss Baker # 2: My little daughter hand-stitched this monkey for me after I told her the story of how I had lost my beloved Miss Baker on show and tell day when I was in elementary school. What is the root of this gift? LOVE.


My chandelier t-shirt: I found it at Goodwill while stocking my daughter up on books. Whoever donated it knew it was still in good shape, had good taste in unique fashion, and took the time to give it rather than toss it. Sometimes, all a person has to give is what they already own, and I’m not too proud to wear a second-hand shirt. The root of this gift was GENEROSITY.


My SpiderMan bookmark: My son, knowing how much I love to read, made this for me out of what he loved and treasured most—Spiderman gear and his new writing skills. He was learning how to write, and one of the first sentences he wrote without the prompting of a teacher or parent was, “Mome I lu yoo .” LOVE.


My black-pearl engagement ring: A beloved gift from my husband who was wise enough not to run out and buy this artist a gaudy “status ring.” Knowing our tastes were drastically different, he let me show him what I liked. Just something blue and lovely. LOVE and THOUGHTFULNESS.


The family desk: Passed down from a time far, far away, because it was built to last. GOOD CRAFTMANSHIP.


Encouraging words: from a few of my High School teachers who saw what I couldn’t see. I couldn’t touch the words, re-sell them or throw them away, because like the miracles that come from faith, they made a permanent impact.

 

(Here is a wonderful way to give, from the heart of a country that has too much stuff.)

Our best gifts to give come from the character of our King within us.

Life on the Boat

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

As I walked my dog this frigid morning, I saw a woman sweeping her fall leaves into four separate piles in the middle of the street. Although confused at her road-piles, I commented on her ability to be thorough. She gave me a quick smile and said, “Well, you know…” *turned away* mumble mumble mumble…
I figure she’s sweeping away some worries. Perhaps she’s pushing her burdens far enough away to where the wind will carry them because they’re just too heavy to hold, or maybe she just needs to keep moving.


Because, if you’re anyone who has gone through trials, you understand how sometimes you’ve got to keep moving, because, well, you know…
God knew that when Noah was stuck inside the boat while the world was dying all around him, he had to keep moving. The decks of mouths to feed, the piles of things that needed to be shoveled who-knows-where, back-breaking labor to endure—and you know it had to smell like heck, but he had to move because he was escorting humanity toward survival, and if he stayed still to think about the state of things, he would feel the weight of only what God can carry.
Sometimes, it seems like there’s too much to do—too many errands to run and rooms to clean and mouths to feed—it may be the time to put aside the busy work and rest. But there also comes a season where sweating it out is to purge what we can’t hold. Don’t forget–God’s still steering the boat.

How is your week coming along? May your labor lead to the promised land.

Eschew Obfuscation

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I’m trying to do the near-impossible. I’m trying to teach my kids to be free. Really free, so when my son goes to school with wolverine hair, sweatpants and cowboy boots, I don’t make him change for proprieties sake. I tell him he looks cool. It’s true—he looks like him which to me is the coolest, most awesome boy in the world. I don’t warn him what others may say, because even though somewhere down the road some kid is going to come up to him and say, “you look weird,” I don’t want his first thoughts in the morning to be about other kids’ opinions. I don’t even want him to feel the breath of their stinky words on his face—I just want him to be wildly him. Same for my daughter. As long as their clothes fit (enough), are clean and self-respecting, I want them to throw caution to the wind and set the standard for being free. Free from the thousands of articles, blogs and essays from experts around the world who will all have differing yet authoritative opinions on how kids should dress, and make friends and score high on their SATs.
What defines an expert, really?


I love social media—except the constant flood of criticism: There’s the “Open letter” format in order to publicly humiliate someone, the latest book with the latest formula from the expert *who hasn’t had any real-life experience yet,* the celebrity who thinks being famous makes them an expert on everything, and the piles of articles by mental health experts who pontificate on the psychological effects of wearing cowboy boots and sweatpants together, and lastly, the facebook ranter who is angry and defensive and insecure about all things. Every five minutes.
I’m not as worried as their teachers are when my kids do poorly on a paper or a test. I experienced that in bulk, and I survived. In fact, I credit my parents for never comparing me to anyone and telling me that as long as I did my best and nurtured my in-born talent, my grades were cool with them. Really. That made all the difference.


We all knew I would never be a mathematician and we were ALL cool with that.
I credit my grandparents for boosting my self-esteem by always telling me I was pretty, even in the glasses/braces/pimples stage. My Grandma once pushed aside my report card where I actually (mistakingly?) made the honor roll, to point out and compliment a drawing I had done. She got me. She saw me. My identity was not rooted in my performance for a school who called the arts “just hobbies”, thank the Good Lord. That wise move on Grandma’s part had to have been a God thing, for so many reasons.


As a rule, I don’t like “how to” books, but sometimes I’ll pick one up—just in case. My favorite parenting book of ALL time is Boys Will Be Joys by David Meurer. Want to know why? He doesn’t give the readers a formula to copy, or a finger shaking for making mistakes, he just tells us his raw story of raising his kids, goof-ups and all. And it’s hilarious—there’s your key. If your expert can find joy in the big picture, that’s a good sign, and an authentic source.
Once upon a time, I worked at a boarding school for troubled teens. I had yet to have kids of my own, but after learning a bit about the students’ histories, psychological problems, tendencies toward manipulating their way through life (a sure sign of feelings of unworthiness and fear, and/or sometimes mental illness), I learned that no expert can replace the thing a child needs most: their parents love and acceptance. But even when they get that, sometimes a child has an itch to take a prodigal journey. Adults do it too. And it’s okay that we don’t have all the answers. Sometimes rebellion is a good thing as long as it’s not destructive. But those who were planted in a garden of love and acceptance will have that root to follow back home.


As cliché as it sounds, the world will benefit from more love. How easily someone can get destroyed on social media for one bad—or good—moment. That’s someone’s daughter. Someone’s son. Maybe they’re a mess because there are too many experts telling them things, but not enough people supporting them.
How many people really care what shoes Melania Trump wears? She was there—in the Houston flood zone—that’s what matters, but what made the news? The outrage the public had about her choice of footwear.
Should we tear apart Miley Cyrus for going through a difficult season, or send some love her way?
What’s happening with us? Our one nation, one people, with one God has been torn apart by many false gods called, unworthiness, anger, fear, and rejection.
So it’s time to be free. God made us unique—that’s how it is. Have you read those articles that criticize those who try to be unique? Those articles are based in fear, friends. Being different is God ordained. Something to be celebrated, for He is the great giver of joy and wisdom—the expert above all experts, and He didn’t make us to hate one another or to fit into fallible molds. If you’re following the crowd, please stop and question why. Is it healthy? Because you were made to have your own place in God’s divine plan.

Direct Line to Hope

Tags

, , , , , ,

I found myself waiting over an hour inside the walls of Phoenix Children’s Hospital yesterday. Even though my son no longer has colitis, his Dr. wants to keep him on his meds for now, so while the staff went on a scavenger hunt looking for his RX that had mysteriously gone missing, I looked around. Here is what you’ll see on the inside:
Children hiding bald heads underneath hats of various kinds. Toddlers, unaware of the kind of life that may be awaiting them, laughing and daring their exhausted parents to chase them. Mamas and Daddies using every ounce of energy to put on brave faces for their children. And themselves.


A number of outstanding staff, pulling red wagons around in case kids needed a ride in something other than a wheelchair. They smiled a lot. Their giftings in medicine and with children helped push hopelessness away, allowing for deep breaths in an otherwise heavy atmosphere.


The décor—it was near Disneyland-cheerful the way the colors and cartoons accented the place, although when a family is walking their child to a hospital room, walls are stifling no matter the paint.
What impacted me the most was the desire to pray for every one of them. I know what that walk is like to the testing room. The presence of fear in the waiting room.
But there I was, finally not the one to be escorting my child on a walk of courage, but a person among those who need miracles. I prayed for them, and realized something. God is telling me to pray—that means prayer is going to make a difference in someone’s life today. I may not ever see who or what, but I know from countless personal experiences, Prayer makes a difference.

If the Creator of the Universe nudges you to pray, it’s monumental, friends. It’s never, ever a waste of time. Blessings to you this Tuesday.

Feel welcome to post in the comments if you have a prayer request of your own.

 

*How prayer is beneficial in scientific terms.
*Americans are becoming more critical. (and why we need more prayer)

*Noah’s story

WooOOOOoo

Tags

, , , , , ,

I almost didn’t blog today…I’ve got a busy day ahead, but since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d share a few of my ghost stories. They’re not really stories, but a few webbed occurrences that I can’t explain.

I work part time at a retirement resort. Ghost stories go with the territory, but most of them are explainable. I’ve been there a long time and know that when the air kicks on it can sound like a family of ghouls walking through the dining room. I know that the loud crashes coming from the kitchen are usually the ice machine, or dishes falling/rattling from the equipment vibrations. And sometimes the weird reflections you can see in the mantle over the lobby fireplace are just headlights from the care center that sits on the hill above us.

The spookiest stuff happened a good decade ago. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve dropped down to part time and don’t experience as many incidents as I used to, or the “situation” has left the building. So here we go. People with Alzheimer’s and Dementia—when they hallucinate, is it only hallucinations, or can they see into the other realm? At one time I would laugh at this theory, but not anymore. Here is one reason why: We had a few Dementia sufferers who would see a little girl or boy around the same time period. A little child bouncing a ball. Playing. Sometimes, you could hear old time music play, although that could have been a TV in someone’s room, but the sound was a little off, like weird carousal/clown-vintage-muffled music. One of our beloved residents known for hallucinating all kinds of things often came to the lobby looking for “the little boy. Have you seen that little boy with the ball?,” she would ask.

Maybe it was coincidence. A few of the staff surely blew the idea out of proportion, but when multiple people hallucinate the same thing, it makes you wonder.

My ghost story: While downstairs in our social room, I saw in a glass office door, a reflection of an old man wearing a red flannel shirt pulling an oxygen tank. He looked very much like a resident who had passed away some months earlier, but logic kicked in and I assumed it was someone behind me out for a late night stroll. When I turned to speak to him, no one was there.

Knowing how the mind can play tricks, I looked around for large planter, an odd shaped piece of furniture, or something that would make me think I had seen a ghost. Nothing but large open space.

No chills, no voices, no cold breeze. I looked back at the glass door, but the reflection had gone.

What was it? One of my friends assured me it was a demon. I have forgotten the explanation, but it was a stretch, in my opinion. Do ghosts exist? Possibly. There are a few hints in the Bible, but nothing (that I’ve discovered) that fully confirm or deny, except we know the people of the day believed in them.

When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, and accused him of being a ghost, he didn’t correct them by saying ghosts don’t exist, he just said, “Be still. It is I. You have nothing to fear.” Matthew 14:27.

I guess that’s all we need to know. There is a supernatural realm of some sorts, yes, but all we need to know is that there is Jesus, and he says we have nothing to fear.

Happy Halloween friends. Stay safe and have fun.

Back Porch Sitting

Tags

, , , , , , ,

I’ve got a compression bandage taped to my face, and I’m trusting this old plastic chair to hold me up because the Dr. said to be careful of the stitches in my back—“I only put in two,” she said.
I’ve been ordered to go home and sit still for a day after a slightly complicated morning of skin biopsies. “Watch the stupid TV,” she says with a smile. I love stupid TV. I also love sitting on the patio with my dog, which is what I’m doing now, wondering if this is why dogs are so happy—they relax. A lot.


It’s a bit unsettling for me to be still for a whole day, though, because I’m (as usual) behind on about 10 million projects, which makes it hard to find peace in the sitting, but as I stare at my happy dog and look at her beloved, dirty tennis ball laying a few yards ahead to where she points her nose, I realize that contentedness is in the hopes of what lies ahead, and in the ability to wait for it.

Just a Moment to Relax…Please?

Tags

, , , , , ,

I met Chris Morris when I took a tax class from him at the 2016 Realm Makers Conference. Although I don’t speak Math, I found his class to be surprisingly interesting. Entertaining even. What I didn’t know at that time was the life-altering thing we did have in common–a child with chronic illness. Chris also struggles with a chronic illness of his own, and has written a wonderful book to help those affected by it, and who may even ask, “Where do I find God in all of this?”

Read on as Chris gives us a picture of navigating through life with his daughter’s challenges.

 

Dad…
Tap-tap-tap on the shoulder.
Daaa-aaad…
Here I was, trying to focus on God as we worshipped during small group, and my twelve-year-old son couldn’t even leave me alone here. I just wanted a single, solitary moment free of the kids. Sighing meaningfully, I opened my eyes and prepared to remind him that this was time to learn.
Then I saw the look in his eyes. A mixture of anger, embarrassment and helplessness. Instantly I knew what the problem was. Or rather, who the problem was. Familiar thoughts and worries flew into my mind.
I found myself paralyzed with fear, not wanting to deal with it again. A flush of tears stirred under my eyes. I felt lost. Before I could move past this and put my Father Hat on, my wife followed my son out of the room.
Twenty minutes later, she returned to the room. I caught her eye, and she mouthed to me that Cindy hit another child. Apparently our daughter didn’t get to play the Wii game she wanted to play, so she lost emotional control.

Every parent has been here, in this place. Your child is just not acting like you want them to. Like they should act. It seems they are not capable of behaving in public, so you remain on edge. Wondering when and where you will next have to “learn to manage” your child.
We have another level of challenge, one some of you may relate to. Our daughter is autistic and epileptic, so there are certain aspects of Cindy’s behavior that are beyond her ability (and ours) to “manage”.
So many myths about chronic illness can disrupt Cindy’s life and hold her hostage. Moments like her episode in small group remind my wife and I how vital it is to teach our daughter and her brothers the truth and empower them to live unhindered by these terrible lies.
We are all learning each day to push down the worries and focus on how to ensure our whole family knows the important things in life:
We are loved as we are by God.
We are accepted despite how we may act.
Cindy is not less-than because of her illnesses, and she is not defined by her chronic conditions.
She is more than her epilepsy, greater than her autism.

The last two statements above are very difficult to remember day-in and day-out. Surrounding us are people who do not understand. Who think my wife and I are just bad parents when Cindy is overwhelmed by too many stimuli, too much change. Worse yet, we regularly come across those who tell us we must lack faith since God has not healed our daughter yet.
And my daughter is not ignorant of these accusations. So we talk a lot about how her self-image should not and cannot be informed by others’ opinions.
But it’s hard, and we grow weary. So often we have felt as if we were entirely alone in our struggles. No friends to support us who really understood. Sure, they loved us, but they didn’t understand, couldn’t comprehend, what our daily life was like. This was our daily experience for a long time.
But no longer.
We have finally found a group of people who love our family, no strings attached, no judgment, just acceptance. We have stumbled into a group of people who place no judgment on our daughter, her seizures, her autism, or our parenting. Nothing brings peace to the troubled soul like an accepting community. A safe place.
Beyond community, practical resources are vital too. We spent many hours looking for books or seminars or focus groups to guide us on our journey, and to provide us a way to navigate through the minefield of myths.
We found nothing. So I created one. My book Perfectly Abnormal: Uncovering the Image of God in Chronic Illness walks through myths all sufferers of chronic illness will face. These lies can paralyze us, if we believe them. My book dissects eight of these myths, counteracts them with truth, and offers pointed questions to get us moving again. If you have a chronic illness, or love someone who has a chronic illness, please consider picking this book up. You can find Perfectly Abnormal on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks.

Bio:
Chris Morris writes about redefining normal and building hope in the face of chronic illnesses and special needs. His writing is founded on the belief that circumstances don’t prevent thriving, but create opportunities for God to demonstrate his goodness. By day, he is the founder and managing partner of the creatively named accounting firm Chris Morris CPA, so Chris brings a unique analytic perspective to deeply emotional topics. He writes at his blog, and you can also find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.