This is the season of preparation, isn’t it? For us, it began with a Thanksgiving dinner at Hannah’s and Alex’s house. It was their first time hosting it in their new home. The four of us made the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the green bean casserole, sausage stuffing, and rolls. The kitchen was rather small, but that made it all the more fun.
Emily and Q surprised us by coming up for a quick visit yesterday. Alex and Hannah joined us. Kim made white chicken chili, and we had a game night. Lots of laughter, and that’s always good. Laughter is always good.
Then the Christmas decorations appeared. Em and Q disappeared downstairs and up came the plastic bins containing most everything we need to decorate the house. We’re not quite done, but we had a great start.
Alex and Hannah headed back home last evening. Em and Q will leave sometime this afternoon. It will be Kim and me holding down the fort until we all gather together to celebrate Christmas.
Today marks the first Sunday in Advent. This season is celebrated by most Christian churches. Advent marks the preparation for the birth of our Lord. As Christians, we prepare.
There are many things we prepare for, aren’t there? A date. A marriage. The birth of a child. First day of school. First day on a new job. Retirement. We sit down and plan to make everything just right so that in the end, the outcome is what we would hope for.
2020 threw us a curveball, didn’t it? Maybe not even a curveball. Maybe a high and tight fastball pushing us back off the plate or out of the batter’s box. Maybe 2020 is more like the 250-pound linebacker speeding through a hole in the line on a blindside blitz. Like the unsuspecting quarterback, we never saw 2020, that menacing linebacker coming. Yet, it’s here and we’re in the middle of it and for some of us, probably in a heap in the grass a little more bruised than normal.
Things are different.
Hannah and Emily loved to go Black Friday shopping at the mall. I never knew if a “deal” was really a “deal” but the girls enjoyed going out and doing their thing. The crowds. The rush.
This year? I think it’s mostly Cyber-Friday, Cyber-Saturday, Cyber-Every day.
Theaters? Concerts? Hopefully, not things of the past, but instead, things to look forward to. Family get-togethers? Maybe the immediate family- if we’re lucky. Extended family, perhaps not yet. Hopefully soon. There are multiple vaccines and only the distribution needs to be figured out.
Advent. The preparation. For what?
I am an optimist. I am not an alarmist. I am not a defeatist. I don’t believe in rigged elections or in faulty ballots. I don’t believe that evil will overtake good. I’m an optimist.
I believe things will change. I believe things will work out. I believe things will get better. I believe good overcomes evil. These aren’t platitudes or simple hollow meaningless mantras for me. These are deeply held beliefs based upon time and the experiences I’ve been through.
It takes more than belief, however. It takes preparation. It takes an Advent of the heart, of the soul, and of the mind.
This is the perfect time to examine our beliefs. This is a perfect time to prepare for the commemoration of the birth of a child in four or so short weeks. More so than purchasing gifts, wrapping them up with pretty bows. More so than decorating a tree with twinkling lights and family ornaments. More so than decorating a house to make it festive.
We need to look deep within our heart and soul to determine who we are and what we’ve become. As a person. As a family. As a nation. If 2020 showed us anything, this is the time to examine the fruits of our words and actions. It’s never too late to step off of a path we’ve taken in order to backtrack to find the right path. It’s never too late to begin again. It’s never too late to prepare to be different, to prepare to change. Never. Something to think about . . .
Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
My newest book, Betrayed, is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You will find the link for Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but could result in the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy.
Betrayed was featured in a Blog Tour. The idea is each day, a writer/blogger/reviewer would post a review. I was so pleased with the response. Some of the reviews from that tour are:
"Excellent pacing, intriguing characters, and an action-packed plot line. Don't miss this one!" @jessicaxbelmont
"Well written and with real heart and honesty this is a beautiful and moving story about survival and kinship." @ramblingmads
"An action-packed thriller that grabbed my attention from the start. ... I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this book and getting to know all the characters." @ShazzieRimmel
"I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath as I waited for these characters to get through the latest scrape." @MyBookishBliss
"The story whilst it’s a hunt for a missing friend also shines a light on teens who are struggling to find their place in the world." @MachinSharronm1
"Joseph Lewis has tactfully dealt with some difficult themes, and still managed to squeeze a nice amount of action and mystery into this novel." @caathycastling
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
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. 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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at: https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis
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. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis
Six men, each more dangerous than the next, 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. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
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 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. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis
Courtesy of Max Beck and Unsplash.