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Swimming the Echo by Brian L. Tucker

Swimming the Echo

by Brian L. Tucker

Giveaway ends September 20, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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5th of December

NEW Project Underway for 2018!


While it’s still very much in its infancy, I’m so excited about an idea I’ve been constructing of late!

It’s still too early to give much away, but suffice it to say it encompasses post-Civil War America. But not the parts in Reconstruction mode we all think about and get sentimental for.

It’s taken more research than I thought I’d put into a book, but hopefully that will pay off in bringing truth to light.

And most importantly, I hope you enjoy it as much as you’ve enjoyed other projects. Baptisms & Dogs, Wheelman, and Swimming the E. were all largely passion projects from personal experience and growth. This one isn’t memory-driven at all, but rather, an overflow of interest regarding a region. There. I’ve said too much.

It’s being composed as a quasi-illustrated novellette. (Say that 5 times really fast.)

And as much as I’d like to share sketches, plot, and a forthcoming title…it’s still too early in the game to do so.

However, my promise is to get these things to you soon. If you promise me, you’ll share the heck out of it once it becomes a real, living breathing thing.

 

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9th of August

The Time Given


Last weekend offered something all of us pray for, whether it’s an audible, breathed prayer or not:

Time with people we love and care for and MISS as the clock pulls us forward

My hometown library hosted a book signing, and Lindsey S. Frantz (a childhood best friend) and I were able to attend, and sign, our newest works. That in itself was a great blessing. To be able to write and share our stories with others. But the best was still yet to come that day.

We had friends and family in attendance, when so many other things were happening in the lake community of Monticello. It meant so much that people chose to stop by and say, “Hello!”

We saw people we hadn’t seen since the days Monticello High School stood three stories high on Cave Street. And that in itself was also like walking into the wonderful past.

I saw teachers I respected and still talk to this day. Vicki York Davis. Carolyn Harris. Betty Hyden. Allyson Upchurch Tucker. Beth Brewerton. And family was there. And best friends. The library gave us a solid 2 hour window. And the reunion saw people staying well beyond that.

Then, the night held more reunions with best friends opening up their home in Somerset and allowing all of us to eat dinner together. And Sunday permitted my wife and I to see my grandparents, for the first time in many years. My brother, sister, and their families were also in town. I was able to see nine-month-old, Henry, for the first time.

Before we left, Mom packed up yellow and green tomatoes from her garden and put them in our car.

We were exhausted arriving in Chattanooga. But the time permitted us to see a microcosm of what I imagine heaven to be. It was worth it.

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30th of January

Gloves Off Gospel


My pastor says things much more eloquently than me. He draws inferences from the Good Book, and I thank the Good Lord for it.

Some times I find myself just wanting to haul off and punch people.

But fortunately, I have people around me who teach biblical truth. A wife who loves first and foremost.

It stops my fist before it leaves the proverbial hangar.

Yesterday, Mark spoke on Revelation and made a connection to loving people I’d never heard in my 32 churchgoing years.

And before you stop reading, let me say right here that it wasn’t another LG,LP message. He didn’t make it about holding hands and skipping or anything.

It’s what I like to call Gloves Off Gospel.

It wasn’t highfaluting wish wash, but something that dug in and hit home.

The question he led with: Do you love as well as you used to? (Taken out of context this could mean anything. But here, for a Christian, it means what it says.)

Revelation 2 instructs every believer to – “do the works you did at first…”

This harps on how love diminishes in everyone who starts on warp speed, with mad love for God, and then, well, fizzles out.

Life, politics, saccharine packets, and bad pizza take their toll on our hearts metaphorically and literally. 1st world sucker punches happen and we think this somehow makes it okay to stop caring. I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with any punch to my gut. From friend or foe.

My stomach hurts just typing this. I want to avoid the lull of carelessness. Forever.

Can we pray for impenetrable faith? Do we need extra compassion injections over time? Are we being the body we’re called to be?

January is cold and nothing can insulate like good works & faith.

Do I love as well as I used to?

 

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14th of November

Home is more than an address


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I think about home a lot.

Especially since moving away.

 

Home –

“the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.”

 

I like this definition better than some of the others online; it includes that one word, the adverb ‘permanently’.

The image seems truer somehow, even if it’s not the reality you (or I) experienced.

If you’re like me, the word home seems more distant now than it ever has.

 

If you’re from southern Kentucky (specifically Wayne County), you know exactly what Monticello-born author, Harriette Simpson Arnow meant when she said this about her mom’s view of home:

… she (Mama) knew most of the families … in Wayne County. If Mama didn’t know at least who their grandparents were, she considered them strangers. Because she’d grown up that way with the Denneys. There was Denney’s Gap and a Denney post office and two Denney graveyards, and Denney’s Store. And she’d grown up surrounded by her Denny kin. I don’t think she ever felt at home after leaving Wayne County and her close relatives.

 

The sentiments ring true for me. They make the world so much smaller. In my head I think, I’m from where she’s from, my grandparents still live in Denney’s Gap, I know where those graveyards are and that store. I feel what she felt.

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Have you connected with a place like that before?

A place that makes the world suddenly smaller, more intimate?

Do you travel home as much as you’d like?

Is it home like you remembered? Or, do you find yourself longing for another home?

Something C.S. Lewis once surmised, saying, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

It clicks in my head and my heart, as I write this blog in Tennessee. The world isn’t too large to make the trip back, but the miles seem endless staring at this electronic screen. The years busier, and the friends older. While I might not be able to stop time and make my hometown exactly as I remember it, I smile when I think of that one word, and the notion of eternity for all of us.

Not here in Chattanooga. Not there in Monticello. But, another world – permanently.

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2nd of November

How to Break Free


Jim Burgen’s, No More Dragons, from Thomas Nelson Books.

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(on shedding decades of gnarly scales)

 

His sermons (while at Southland Christian Church in Kentucky) were instrumental during my college years, and this book has taken it a step further with messaging that centers upon curing a hardened heart.

Jim challenges the reader saying: becoming a dragon is a dangerously sneaky process.

He uses the C.S. Lewis novel, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as a fitting example of a boy becoming a dragon unawares. The boy finds treasure, falls asleep on it, dreams, and awakens as a dragon concerned for his treasure hoard. Upon awakening, he discovers he cannot remove his dragon scales without the help of Aslan the lion, protector of Narnia.

Once the scales have been cleansed from his back, Eustace’s friend says, “You have been – well, un-dragoned.”

This is a status most of us (if we’re honest) would like to reach at some point in life: un-dragoned.

Have you ever felt this freedom?

Free of the past. Hopeful for the future. Very much alive in the present.  When we can look in the mirror and not see a monster staring back, is a good day.

What will get us there?

Is there a moment when you can assuredly say you’ve arrived?

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30th of September

Why Our Work Matters


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“Utterly alone, at the bottom of a fourteen-foot trench filled with water so thick with silt he literally couldn’t see his hand in front of his face, William Walker laid twenty-five thousand bags of concrete, slitting each bag open so the concrete could spread out as it set. He then used 115,000 concrete blocks and 900,000 bricks to shore up the national treasure we know as Winchester Cathedral.

Every morning, five mornings a week, fifty weeks a year, for six years and one month, from 1905 to 1911, Walker would climb into his diver’s suit and wait while his tenders loaded forty-pound stones over his shoulders and placed a fifty-pound metal helmet over his head. Then he would step into eighteen-pound metal shoes and descend into the depths of the trench around Winchester Cathedral to work for three-and-a-half hours.

After an hour for lunch, he would go through the ritual again in order to work another three-and-a-half hours in the pitch dark completely alone.

Incredibly, the majestic structure that thrills people even today with its remarkable architecture had been built on a bog, floating on what Sir Francis Fox called a “raft” of massive beech timbers. As the timbers rotted, the mighty building started to sag.

It isn’t stretching things at all to say William Walker single-handedly saved Winchester Cathedral.

Since the water swirled in and out of sites where bubonic plague victims had been buried centuries earlier, Walker also had to worry about exposure to life-threatening infectious materials and the possibility of encountering floating skeletal remains. His response: “I try not to think too much about that.”

So day in and day out, week in and week out, year in and year out, Walker fought to save a structure built by long-dead humans to honor a still-living God.

In a perfect world where happy endings always happen, William Walker would have lived a long life bathed in the adoration of the English people for his unseen labors. In a perfect world, a famous sculptor would craft a statue to sit in the halls of the Cathedral to honor Walker’s name. In a perfect world, visitors to the tombs of William the Conqueror and Jane Austen would see and remember the face of the man who saved an irreplaceable part of England’s history.

Alas, to use the king’s own English, ’tis not a perfect world we rest in.

William Walker would be one of the millions and millions of people felled by the flu pandemic that swept the world in 1918. When the sculptor sat down to craft the monument to Walker, he used a photo of the wrong man, and the Church of England, embarrassed by its error, refused to correct it for almost 90 years.

But William Walker knew something most of us need to learn or, having once learned it, need to be reminded of again and again and again.

It isn’t adoration or statues or even the satisfaction of a job well done that is God’s gift to His children.

It’s the work itself!

Hard as it is to imagine, even those things we do in the places nobody can see, even when we’re weighed down by heavy trials, even when we don’t have the joy of the company of coworkers, the labor we’re engaged in is God’s gift to us.

Let the coal miner rejoice. Let the bond trader exult. Let firefighters and architects and school teachers glory in their labor, for God in His infinite wisdom has given them the chance to play a role in shoring up the foundations of a creation built to last forever.

One day, when every knee has bowed and every tongue confessed that Jesus is Lord, every dark hour, every tedious task, every ounce of effort given by God’s children to the tending of His cathedral will see the light of day, and we will know and count it as great treasure that God let us be a small part of His big work.”

– from Randy Kilgore’s Made to Matter

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29th of August

Finding Contentment in a Busy Age


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Notes from yesterday were so spot on I had to share them today!

Regarding priorities in 2016:

Journey Church
August 28, 2016
====================================
Welcome to Journey Church, Chattanooga!
Philippians, Part 8
====================================

6 Basic Questions (good no matter what book of the Bible is being studied)
Who is writing the letter?
Who is Paul saying it to?
What is Paul Saying?
Why is Paul saying it?
What is the transferable principle?
How do we apply this principle to our lives today?

Philippians 4:10-20 ESV
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

  • Paul knew how to be content.

 

Contentment is determined by what is most important to you.

  • Paul knew that his relationship with Christ was the greatest prize and his reason for joy rest in a relationship that could never be taken away.

 

Philippians 4:14-20 ESV
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

God designed His community of followers to help take care of each others needs.

Philippians 4:17 ESV
Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

Caring for others is the “fruit” of a life that is focused on following Christ

Philippians 4:21-23 ESV
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

What is the transferable principle?

  • Our satisfaction must be in our relationship with Christ instead of our circumstances.
  • We demonstrate our faith by caring for each other.

How do we apply this principle to our lives, today?

Philippians 4:12 ESV
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

  1. Develop a grateful heart.
  2. Keep your circumstances in perspective.
  3. Develop a discipline of moderation.

Philippians 4:13 ESV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

    4. Trust in God’s grace and the goodness of His will.

Philippians 4:18-19 ESV
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  5. Look for opportunities to meet the needs of others.

Joy is found when we know that our prize is in Christ and we will be with Him for all of eternity.

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Categories:  adventure thankfulness
2nd of June

Life in Prepositions


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In life…

…Beneath covers

Between parents…

…For months, years

Since birth…

…Until milestones

On the road…

…Among friends

Outside the office…

…Beside the ocean

Opposite the love of your life…

…Plus kids

Minus some…

…Without others

With God…

…Versus the devil

Within life…

…Before the end

Above ground…

…Near it all

Like heaven…

…But not really

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Categories:  adventure thankfulness
9th of May

The Truth Hurts


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Tough news hit me right before a wonderful family vacation last week. It came in the form of an email.

Have you ever received unsettling news that way? No voice. No eye contact. It didn’t help that there wasn’t a thing I could do about it at the time…except focus on packing my bags and loading the car for the beach.

We went to St. George Island. It was great weather, warm water. Still the news lingered in the back of my brain. Stinging at times, when I wasn’t enjoying the sun. It was that email. Rereading it over and over again in my head. It came from the CEO of Booktrope, Ken Shear. He regretted to inform writers of the company’s upcoming immediate closure. He wrote:

We are deeply saddened to share the news that Booktrope will be ceasing business effective May 31, 2016. This decision was not reached lightly and we will share as much as we can with the community over the next few weeks…. What you need to know now: Booktrope will remove all published books from sale as of May 31, 2016

May 31st.

Thoughts of What the heck? and How will my book survive this? hit me again and again.

Then, I remembered that WHEELMAN and other titles at Booktrope existed before publication, and they would survive this as well. God is doing great things through the books in the Booktrope imprint, Vox Dei. These stories will continue being told – just in different mediums.

I appreciated the response from Shear and the timely update. It gave me enough foresight to mull this topic over, and I know I need to pray about WHEELMAN (and other books’ futures) as well.

The company’s closing date will mean the removal of WHEELMAN from their roster and printing will cease, as well as the Vox Dei logo going away. However, I am in the process of learning how to get the story back out there in a different way.

As always, I appreciate your faith and prayers in this current situation. Thank you for reading, and if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, this will be the last chance to order for a while. (I believe if WHEELMAN is ordered before 5/31, it will be printed via Vox Dei. Let me know if you have any problems with this.)

May God continue to bless the stories being told. Fellow writer, Niki Krauss does a much better job of describing the process for her thus far and getting her story re-printed.

All told: the beach is still there, the sun is still there, and God still holds it all together. Amen.

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28th of January

T Minus 5 days …


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Dear Readers,

5 days away from LAUNCH time! Hope you are excited!

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