Sunday, January 28, 2018



When I was a kid, my mom and dad would only allow us to go trick or treating at friends’ houses and then only when the porch light was on. It was the way we, and our parents, knew the house was safe and welcoming. Kim and I used this same practice when our kids did their trick or treating. Now that our kids are all grown up, we continue that same practice for all the neighborhood kids who come to our door for their annual treat.

The porch light is a sign of welcome, a greeting of sorts.

So is a smile. And most assuredly, a Hello.

When I was a counselor at a barrio high school in California, there was an English teacher who greeted each student at the door- male or female- with a smile, a handshake and a “Hello.” He was almost a fixture at the top of the list kids selected for Teacher of the Year. Their comments were, “he cares” and “he respects us” and “he’s safe.”

At that same school, another teacher, a math guy, told his students from day one that his classroom was Switzerland. He informed his students that they were there to learn math and leave everything else outside the door. He had to because he had a mix of kids from several rival gangs. As a result, he was also on that list and didn’t have any problems that I remember. He might as well had a porch light on to welcome his students like trick or treaters, right?

The thing about a smile or a Hello is that it disarms and confuses someone wearing a frown. There is a bit of load taken off one’s shoulders when greeted with either. Much like the porch light, it is a welcome. It’s friendly. It’s safe.

Scientists have pointed out for years that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. Not sure if that’s true or not, but it sounds about right I guess. And my mom had always told us that if we frown, our faces might get stuck that way. Okay, maybe not so scientific, but perhaps there is some truth there as well.

You see, if one frowns or sends off the signal of “Leave me alone,” people usually do. There is a feeling of aloneness, loneliness that sets in making you even unhappier and even more alone and lonely. I mean, after all, you send the message “Leave me alone,” that “I am not interested in you or anyone else right now,” people will listen to that- whether it is a verbal or nonverbal message.

Our world, perhaps our nation specifically, has become less welcoming, less friendly. Not sure when. Not sure why. Not sure how. I have my suspicions, but that is for another day, time and post.

I just believe that that there is less tolerance, less caring, less compassion. A whole lot less smiles. Perhaps not enough Hellos.

Wouldn’t it be nice if maybe once or twice this day, maybe once or twice each day this week, we might wear a smile and greet someone with a Hello? How powerful would that be if that someone was unknown to you? We might actually start something. Maybe make our country a bit more gentle, a bit more welcoming. And while we’re at it, maybe we can leave the porch light on every now and then just to let people know that they have a safe place to go to. That we’re safe to be around. Something to think about . . .

To My Readers:

I sent the final edited copy of my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction Caught in a Web to Black Rose Writing. It will drop in April of 2018.  You can check out the cover if you travel to my author page at  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 am actively seeking agent representation for Spiral Into Darkness. 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