"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Baby has been born!

Finally, after 13 months, many frustrating nights and days, a whole lot of bad moods, many more all-nighters, close to ten additional pounds due to ice cream, potato chips and chocolate anything.....Being God's: A Single Guy's Walk with God if finally completed and published. All I can say is "whew" and a heck of a big "WAHOO!". My camera is out of batteries, so I can't get a picture posted tonight, but I will in the next day or two, so stay tuned.

Right now, it is only available for purchase through the publisher, Xlibris.com, but in another few weeks it will be on Amazon.com, Borders.com, and other online booksellers. At first, I was too excited to actually hold it in my hand (you were right, Shannon!), but now it is actually sinking in that I have actually published a book and someone, somewhere might actually buy it.

So far, I am scheduling a couple book signings around town and a local writers Guild will be helping me to market it, too. But, otherwise, I'll be tromping around town trying to sell Being God's to locals and other places. The publishers supposedly send the media release to over 200 outlets around Atlanta and 300 additional ones around the country, so hopefully, some library or book store will pick it up.

As for me, I'm a proud papa and am spending this time of euphoria to plan more of a marketing strategy. Any ideas? I'm always glad (and available) to come to your state, church, school, convention, whatever to speak and set up a table.

In all sincerity, if it wasn't for all you people who had faithful read this blog and commented in how it touched you or encouraged you through a difficult time, this book may have never come to pass. For your faithfulness and support, I thank you. However, I especially give thanks to my Father above who has loved me and supported me through the good times and the bad; who has taught me lessons through Murphy, through the trampy guppy (who is STILL popping out the babys), and through things I see most everyday. God is Good all the time and without Him, I would be nothing.

On a lighter note, I have discovered that publishing a book is a lot like getting your first tattoo. It doesn't take long before you find yourself longing for another. So, my notebook and pen are staying close by.

And for today, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

And the Wolf Huffed and Puffed and....Nada

I signed a contract last week to build a new house here in McDonough. I’ve never had the experience of having a house built from the ground up and being able to make changes to basic house plans, pick where your cable and phone plugs go, what your countertops will be and move a closet or window from one place to another. I am fairly free to make whatever changes I want with the exception of the major structural plans.

Another change that will be occurring with this house is that it will bring my mom, brother and me under the same roof for the first time in about 30 years. Some folks have reacted with shock and disbelief that I would willingly give up the freedom of my own house and, more shock, that my family would actually want to have me under the same roof with them.

One recurring theme that we find in the Scriptures is that ‘family takes care of family.’ From birth to death and all stages in between, you find families supporting each other during the good and the difficult times, actually talking out their differences and working out the solutions. I see far too many times where a family will split up over minor disagreements and (in my opinion) over selfish reasons.

There is a time during early adulthood and marriage where it is good to have the separation, but as parents age and may have more needs, it may be time to go home again. The pioneers did this, the American Indians did this, the colonists did this, many foreign cultures do this, why have Americans stopped and tried to ignore our aging parents and loved ones? Maybe you have a rotten childhood, perhaps you had a miserable youth (sorry for my lapse into Julie Andrews), but it does not change the fact that family is family and it does not always have to be your first choice to put them away in a nursing home or some type of “center”.

We know from both Old and New Testaments that generations of families lived together and took care (i.e.; respected) the elders of the family. Unfortunately, we don’t live in biblical times or in the pioneer age, so I know there will be times of major, MAJOR adjustment as our family comes back together.

The other big change is the packing and consolidating of three houses into one. Basically, I want all my stuff; my brother wants all his stuff; and my mother wants all her stuff. When it comes to some of my possessions, I can be quite selfish and feel deserving of keeping them all. However, God has told me in His Word that He promises to take care of me, regardless of how many desktops and laptops, iPods and cameras, DVD and Xbox games I have, and so forth.

Where I live is not important, God will provide for me. What I own is not important; God will take care of my needs. Any differences between my family and myself are not important; God can heal them. And it is not just me, He promises the same for you. Read all about it in the best-selling book of all times.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

My Name is Jimmy

My family has been born, raised and bred in the South for generations. Some were from the city of Atlanta, others from the rural (then) areas of Union City, Fairburn and all around. Being a southerner, there are statements and questions that are asked of young people which only a true southerner can relate to or understand.

Anytime I would bring a girl home, I would at some point receive a quiet whisper in my ear, “Now, honey, just who are her people?” Or, if I were hanging out with some new guys from school, the question would be more, “Now, honey, they just don’t seem like our kind of folk.” At the time, it seemed as if my family did not seem concerned about much besides family names and values. Rather shallow, it seemed at the time.

Another trait of a true southern man is that the one thing, which is next to his family in importance, is his integrity and honor. Your word should be your word and it should be trusted. Without integrity and honor, your life is pretty much, well, nothing. Your name does not carry any weight and people know that you are pretty much, well, worthless. My parents told me when I left home for college to “remember who you are.” Not necessarily meaning my name, but to remember the values and ethics with which I had been raised and to not bring disgrace upon our family name.

Now that I look back on those days and questions, I realize the importance of a good name and reputation. God also tells us in several scriptures how important our name is to be considered. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1 ESV) We are also encouraged that, “A good name is better than a precious ointment.” (Eccl. 7:1 ESV)

At one point in my life, I’m not sure my parents thought my name would not change to “Convict” after a 12th grade jaunt aboard a illegally obtained school bus during fourth period, but that’s a story for another time and place.

Now, where I’m heading with this is that it is never to late to change your name in God’s eyes or in the eyes or those around you. Your name now might be ‘dishonest Denny’, ‘lying Lucy’, ‘gossiping Greta’, or just “mean old Mickey.” Just because you are known as one of the above (names have been changed), God can give you a name of which you and your family can be proud. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “In Christ, all things become new and the old ways are gone forever.”

What does your name say about you?

And for today, my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy