Friday, November 23, 2018

Four Things

This is my favorite holiday of all- Thanksgiving. I think part of it is that it is a family celebration and if taken seriously, a time of reflection, to be "thankful." And we have a great deal to be thankful for, don't we?

* To get up each day and face a new sunrise. With that new day, we get an opportunity to do over, to begin again, and to improve if even just a little.
* To know we have a purpose. I believe adults and kids, educators- all of us with and without a certificate or license- has a purpose to touch lives and make a difference. And we get the opportunity to do this each day, and each minute of each day. It is a powerful thought.

I presented for the Empathy Project that is taking place at my school. I told the students that if they walked out of my presentation and only remembered that Lewis had a son who was shot and killed because of poor choices made by five individuals in a car, then I failed. I wanted more because I believe the story had more. So I challenged them to remember four things. I make the same challenge to each of you. Please don't just remember that I had a son who died, but instead, please remember what his death means to me and to my family.

The Four Things to Remember are these:
1. Respect and Care About One Another, To Be Kind.
Without this, we have nothing and I think I can argue that we are nothing if we don't practice and take to heart these attributes. We need to do this each day, each minute of each day along with teaching exponents, the causes of World War I, photosynthesis, cutting and pasting on a keyboard, how to use a spoon or a microwave. If we aren't teaching to the heart along with the mind, we've lost before we have begun.

2. Live Your Life!
Not my life, not your Mama's life, your brother's or sister's life, but your life. That means to follow and pursue your dreams, your passion. To discover your passion. If you do this, you will find your life that much happier.

3. Make A Positive Difference!
Not just a difference, but a positive difference. If you do this in other's lives, you will find that you've also made a positive difference in your own life. As a parent or a teacher, you hold a child's hopes and dreams in your hand. You can crush them with indifference, with a stroke of a pen, with sarcasm, with "the look" and with a careless word. But . . . if we make a positive difference in the lives of others, you will find that you are making a positive difference in your own life and in the lives of those around you, those close to you. You will find yourself happier and you will in turn, make others happier. It costs nothing to smile, to say hello. Nothing. But it can make a difference in a kid's life, an adult's life, who is down and troubled. Same with a kind, compassionate word.

4. Make Sure Those Who Are Important To You, Know They Are Important To You.
This is the most important, which is why I saved it for last. Moments end and you cannot get them back. Frankly, I was able to tell Wil I loved him the day before he died. Kim was also able to. Maria, his wife, was also able to. The thing is, we never know when there will be an end. Don't waste the time. Don't waste the opportunity. Don't leave anything on the table or give anyone important to you an opportunity to doubt how much you love them. This is so very important.

Please consider these Four Things. Not just on Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or Hanukkah, or on New Year’s Eve when you make that resolution, but remember them each day of each year. Please. The lives of kids . . . our own lives depend upon it. Something to think about . . .

For My Readers:

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My book, Caught in a Web was named as a PenCraft Literary Award Winner for Thriller Fiction! I was nominated by a reviewer and received notification in the last week or so. It is also on the list for “one of the best crime thriller books of the year!” by Best Thrillers. I am both proud and humbled.

Thanks to all who have read Caught in a Web. If you are interested in a copy on either Kindle or in Paperback, you can find it on Amazon  or on Barnes and Noble at

If you do read Caught in a Web or any of my other books, please leave a rating and a review. I would appreciate it. Thanks for this consideration!

Caught in a Web:
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
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.       

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.       

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14 year old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.

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 Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The 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.

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Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

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Photo: Ryan Parker at Unsplash

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