Friday, December 15, 2017

The Simplest Gift

You know as I get older, my Christmas list gets shorter. And with the exception of a couple of items, I think it gets more meaningful. I look at some gifts from years past and some of the more meaningful ones are the gold chain Emily and Hannah gave me for my St. Andrew medal, the silver chain and pendant Kim got me for our anniversary this past summer, the leather bracelet Hannah brought back from Costa Rica, and the little peanut character that sits on my bookshelf with the caption, “Nuts About My Dad” from Emily about nine years ago. There are many others.

One of the Christmas carols being played on radio this time of season is, Little Drummer Boy. I have to admit that song isn’t even in my top five, but I think the message is important.

It’s about a little shepherd boy. Back then, they were poor folk, simple folk, probably didn’t have much education, since in that time and place, education was reserved for wealthier folks. According to the song, this little boy saw a Baby Jesus in a manger with his Mother and wanted to give Him a gift. I suppose he was a little embarrassed because he didn’t have a shirt or blanket to give. He didn’t have anything at all, except for his drum. He asked for permission to play for the Baby, and it was granted so he did. As best he could. And as the song goes, Mary nodded and Baby Jesus smiled at him.

A Simple Gift. A meaningful one at that because he gave all he could and it came from his heart.

I am continually blown away by my staff- each of you! This month alone, my staff and students collected 6,000+ pounds of food for an American Legion Post to help feed the needy. Every ornament was taken off of the Angel Tree in the staff conference room. Each ornament represented a “wish” from a student or parent for something for Christmas. Lots of money was spent and lots of presents were purchased for them. Yesterday, a staff member sent out an SOS because he and his wife were trying to support a family in need. Staff responded with couches, beds, chairs, kitchen utensils . . . you name it. And all of it in one day!

All of this done for others. All of this done because of compassion. People care above and beyond self.

At a recent staff meeting, I mentioned that sometimes holidays aren’t so happy. Especially this year, there has been so much loss: deaths of parents, of spouses, of loved ones. Staff members battling severe health issues bravely and silently though I am certain they are scared and worried. I am aware of one student who has brain cancer. I am aware that another student’s father is dying of cancer and has three months to live. And there are others. Others.

I can’t imagine any gift that might help any one of them. I mean, one sits down to eat a Christmas or Holiday meal and there sits an empty chair. A chair previously sat in. The laughter and lightness of the season diminished into a cloud of worry, of doubt, of emptiness. Of sadness. Of pain.

One can only hope that a Simple Gift of kindness- a smile, a kind word, a hug- might let someone know you care . . . that we care. That we are there.

So perhaps this season, if not all seasons, each of us- you and I- can give each other (and ourselves) The Simplest Gift. The gift of kindness, which costs absolutely nothing. A kind word. A smile. A hug.

Because if we don’t, it may never happen. If we don’t, that person may never know. And if we don’t take care of ourselves, how is it possible to take care of anyone else? So please, keep giving. Please do so. But perhaps give The Simplest Gift, like in the manner of the Little Drummer Boy. Giving what he could, what he had to offer to the very best of his ability and position. We can too. We should too. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

My fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web will be published by Black Rose Writing in April of 2018. It is currently in the very skilled hands of an editor I especially admire. When she finishes, I fix what’s needed to fix and then I send it to Black Rose. The real work of any writing takes place in the edits, something I both dread and get excited about. I will keep you posted on the progress. I am working with Black Rose on several publicity campaigns so when the “drop” nears, I’ll keep you posted. There will be an opportunity for preordering Caught in a Web, so when the link becomes available, I’ll make sure you know. Unlike my others, this one will be available in bookstores as well as Amazon.

Good News!
I finished the edits on Spiral Into Darkness and I’m working to find an agent for it. It is more of a psychological thriller but with an attitude.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Facebook at:                                        

Amazon at: /                                     

If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction and are looking for something to read over the winter, check out my novels:

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.                  

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.                

Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all.                 

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers.  

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe