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14th of May

3 Amazing Summer Reads


These are “lesser known” reads and I hope this makes the Summer that much better for you. There’s something fun about reading books off-the-beaten-literary-trail, and these fit into that description. If you’ve never met me before and are wondering why you should take some stranger’s advice on this trio of books, just do it. I promise I wouldn’t lead you astray, because I know how precious time is and how little there is to go around. Especially during the SUMMER!


Here is the list of 3 Summer Reads you must find and set to take with you to 1.)the beach, 2.)the pool, 3.)Disney World, 4.)Disney Land, 5.)Any and all airports, 6.)cruise boats, and 7.)other places you spend quality time from May-August.

3 Amazing Summer Reads (lesser-known):

1.) “Dog on the Cross: Stories” Aaron Gwyn –


*   Stories that stick with you. The cover is lauded with Tom Franklin praise. I picked this one up randomly and found the stories to be sophisticated and true. It’s the best collection I read yesteryear! And now I wanted to share it with you.

2.) “Broken” Travis Thrasher –


*   This one broke all of the rules for me. Do I read split narratives much? No. Mysteries told from the female point-of-view? Sometimes. Stories that read like screenplays? Nope. Novels likened to Stephen King? Not recently. This little book held all of these elements and still rang true at the end. Last week I was able to speak with the author, Travis Thrasher, and he was kind enough to discuss the formation of this read. It’s subject matter isn’t light, but the author sets a strong example in his style and God-like witness. He’s an author I’ll revisit. (Plus, I’ve been told “Broken” was an earlier work of his. Tight. Tight. Prose.)

3.) “Anna in the Tropics” Nilo Cruz –


*   You might be thinking: Didn’t this win a Pulitzer Prize? Yes. But, it’s for drama. And, I didn’t know if many people read dramas. So, I wanted to share it with you. It’s cigar factories, Cuban heritage, and American immersion all at once. Perfect for you at the beach or wherever. This is amazing!


Here’s to a great Summer 2015 for you. Hope these 3 find their way into your reading satchel this vacation season!

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11th of May

7 Phrases That Will Make Your Life Easier


1. God bless you –

As I write this blog, I realize how much of a role God plays in EVERY thing. Having food, friends, a job, etc. are all results of God’s provision. Family to share life with. There are an infinite amount of reasons this phrase should be uttered more (and, yes, I mean beyond the usage after a person sneezes…although, that IS kind and thoughtful.)

2. Have a great day –

Not like the McDonald’s send-off from the drive-thru window. (Although, I’ve issued quite a few of those myself. And…I don’t miss that green viser at all.) I mean the really genuine use of it. Smile when you see a person, talk with them, and especially when they depart. To care about another person’s day shows them (and yourself) that you really do CARE about the life they’re living.

3. Thank you –

Oh, where has this kind sentiment gone? May it be restored beyond the fake transactions we’ve grown accustomed to. Whether it be at the checkout lane (with a real person) or simply expressing an everyday gratitude via email, be sure to say this one from deep down. It’s overused but never means more than when it’s used with conviction.

4. You’re welcome –

Like ‘Thank you,’ the sentiment of essentially saying ‘You’re worth it’ goes a long way. Chik-fil-A has re-instilled kindness in the fast food industry. They say ‘My pleasure’ when you say ‘Thanks’ to them. It could be an example to all of us. Serving others makes us realize everyone matters.

5. I love you –

Try saying that to people that are closest to you. (Yesterday was Mother’s Day. That’s a good starting point. Mom.) Work out from there to extend to people that you find it a little more taxing to say these words to. (I promise I’m not trying to get anyone arrested here!) But, if you (and I) can say that to our friends on the “fringe,” imagine what we can mean/do/say when we can extend to complete strangers.

6. I forgive you –

We could all write a book about this one. To love someone and say ‘I love you’ essentially trumps (or, goes hand-in-hand) with forgiveness. It’s hard to love someone when you haven’t truly forgiven them. To let the past GO makes loving someone that much easier. (I wrestle a lot with this one.) But, in the moments where I’ve been able to say “it’s forgiven”, I’ve been able to exhale and live life a lot better. Try it. (Hope my ‘let the past go’ comment didn’t send you in the way of FROZEN.)

7. See you soon –

A great way, again, to say you love someone. Thinking of just yesterday, and my mom departing from Chattanooga made me realize how great this common phrase can be, when we really put our heart behind our words. “See you soon” can be “I love you” and “God bless you” all at once, if it’s said from deep, deep, down.


7 Phrases That Will Make Your Life Easier


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6th of May

Favorite verse?


I really dig this one.

Your favorite Bible verse might change like mine does, has, will maybe continue to do.

You might not have a favorite. Might not read the good book at all. That’s okay, too.

But, if you do have a favorite, and you’d like to share it: now’s as good a time as any!

So, we’ll call this Wednesday Verses! (To make it feel extra especial…the Santa Biblia version is fine here, too.)

Let’s share those favorite verses.

Post on here. Post on the Facebook post I post later today. Just POST wherever you are, as long as you share it with others!

What is your verse – today, Wednesday, 5/6/15, that you call favorite?

SPLENDID…….verse that is yours on a level that others don’t know. Only you and God do.

Share that one!


Mine is: Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

There are others, but I love the simplicity (and profoundness) of this one. On a planet where the surface is constantly rotating, and 7+ billion people mill about–some for good and some not–it’s placating for me to know that there’s a constant like this. There’s permanence. Even if an asteroid hit Earth’s surface (think, Michael Bay, cheesy Armageddon movie here) and sent the axis’ rotation out of alignment tonight, these words would still be true and matter to me and hopefully you.

So, now that our sci-fi conversation has been engaged (my apologies), I ask what is your favorite, and what does it mean to you?

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4th of May



I’m 30.

Constantly learning NEW lessons in life.

Isn’t that what we do as humans?

Learn. Grow. Develop (hopefully). Mature. Ripen into good Fruit.

If you’re like me, there are backslides and this process isn’t always chronological.

Some seasons of life are: Learn. Re-learn. Develop. Re-learn. And Re-learn.

But, thankfully there is a format. A “table of contents” to return to.

I think of successes and failures I’ve had recently.

The successes are always so fun to mention. (The failures I love to push behind the couch.)

But, all of them impact me. Every single one of these (+) and (-) marks count.

Example: Dentist appointment today.

I had the opportunity to be a real sour puss. (Never thought I’d say that phrase in my life.) But…I wasn’t. I pre-flossed, sat in the torture chair, and tried to talk around the Beetlejuice contraptions when asked probing life questions. (+)

Example2: Driving from Dentist to workplace.

Maniac driver speeds up rather than acknowledging my merge into traffic. I brake hard. Say a few choice words. Make it to work regardless of said driver. (-)

Example3: Typing this to show you life matters. (+, I hope)

We are faced with “good guy” vs. “bad guy” choices every minute of everyday.

I was watching the re-cap video of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight, and I liked what Mayweather said about it afterwards. He gave credit to Manny, his fighting style, and professionalism as a boxer. But, he also admitted that he was thankful he’d won the bout and could retire at 48-0.

Imagine that kinda record in (+) and (-) thinking about life! If everything falls into the “win” column, we are perfect. Life is perfect. No one can beat us.

Pretty sweet thought, huh?

With enemies (and evil) lurking about, the world doesn’t quite provide the 48-0 option to many of us, or, even some. It’s non-existent in this life, but…thankfully there’s the chance to try at it. Day in-and-Day out. We get to go another round!

While we might not be betting 9 figures on the outcome, or, able to go 12 rounds with the best fighters on the planet, the chance to test our mettle is ever-present.

Someone is always watching. Here’s to the example you set.

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1st of May

Best Memory in Education?


Where to start? Where to start?

What’s your all-time favorite memory inside the hallowed halls of education?

Pick your favorite!

Pick one from elementary, middle, high school, and/or the years beyond.

Let’s reflect together inside this space.

I’m going with a beauty that took place in the formative junior year of high school at Monticello Independent (see When Independent Schools Close blog for more about this great school).

It was a year of double math credits. Don’t ask me how the state placed these requirements on us. I’m still unsure. But the junior year at Monticello provided not 1 but 2 math opportunities for our small class: Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Most of us unlucky souls found ourselves in both classes twice a day. (It should be noted that the math department was great!)

But, on one particular day *ahem* November 9th, 2001, I recall the math lectures being exceptionally amazing. (I remember the date, because it was my birthday.)

Both ever-present math teachers were out that day, for whatever reason. And…a SUBSTITUTE was called up from the minors!

(I won’t name names here, so no worries, if you’re worried.)

The math classes started as they normally would with DOLs on the projector/board. (I don’t even recall what DOL stood for. Is that bad?) Well, we completed them and then discovered that both classes were being taught by the same sub.

She was fiery. She was animated. She was a storyteller through and through. This substitute was.

We answered the math problems, and then she did the unexpected: she presented 2 cakes (1 was a giant cinnamon roll & 1 was a honey bun, I believe) in 2 separate classes, complete with a candle lit and a song provided for my BIRTHDAY!

Talk about taking the substitute roll to the MAX for #17 for me! She knew my birthday.

Well, we sang (or, at least I did on this occasion), and then, she started in on the stories. Somehow relating it all back to mathematics. I recall learning a vivid account of religion from the point-of-view of aliens, spaceships, and how they probably flew around (from this teacher’s estimation) unbeknownst to us during our day-to-day existences here on Earth.

Also, one of the resplendent lectures offered her future idea to ignite all of the billboards spanning north-to-south alongside a popular central Kentucky roadway!

**And Math was still taught and these stories were included. And I think everyone in both classes (for the most part) kept heads up and ears attentive during these travel accounts from the substitute.

It was a most memorable birthday, and others have paled in comparison to this one in 2001. I must say that aliens, vandalism, religion, and math all somehow found their home inside that 2nd floor of the Monticello Independent School system! It brings back an overwhelming sense of excitement about math; a subject I’ve not looked favorably upon since.

It all leads back to this: What’s your favorite moment in education?

Share on here, Facebook, or wherever! We love a good memory that links us to our past, present, and future. Let me know yours!

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