My sister, Betty, had a New Year tradition that I found funny, if not a bit strange. Each year, she would have a can of sardines open. At the stroke of midnight, in one hand, there would be a sardine on a fork and in the other hand, a dollar bill. I believe there was a third thing, but I can’t recall what it was. She said the sardine represented enough to eat in the coming year. The dollar bill represented enough wealth to get by in the coming year. I believe the third thing dealt with health in the new year. For Betty and her husband, they seemed to have enough food and enough money for them to get by. In her later years, her health failed, and she passed away. This was quite some time ago after she spent time a long time in a hospital. A sad ending to such a funny and kind lady. Someone who could and often did poke fun at herself. I loved, and still love, her much.
Fairly regularly, I’ve made resolutions going into the new year, only to backtrack and then forget the resolutions I’ve made. Lose weight. Get in shape. This. That. Whatever. Like I said, I never finished what I set out to do. I think that is common among most of us.
This year, I would like to offer you a thought on resolutions that are not only painless, but will help both you and others. I’m sure you will be able to come up with others that are meaningful to your life, as well as others that will be meaningful to others in your life.
For me . . .
I will smile more.
Not that I don’t smile already, but I want to be more conscious of smiling more, because smiling, whether you realize it or not, can and will change one’s attitude. A smile is infectious. It spreads faster than Covid-19, and is certainly less painful and uncomfortable. A smile is a doorway for others to approach you, to interact with you. It is a welcome matt that sits in front of your heart and soul that says, “Hey, I’m okay, and you are too. Welcome!”
I will be kind.
I like to think that I am already kind, but I want to be intentional about it. I want to extend kindness to those who are unkind. I want to be kind to anyone without expectation of having kindness return to me. We already live in a world that can be cruel without knowing and is sometimes cruel purposely. We don’t have to be unkind. There are too many people who are suffering, who are fighting battles and demons. We don’t need to add to their tough fight. Be kind.
I will be gentle.
There are times when I can be harsh, sometimes rude. That is not my intention, honestly, but I know that my words will come out wrong sometimes, and I know that my actions can sometimes be perceived as uncaring. I want to be deliberately gentle to those around me, including being gentle with myself. I can be and often am my own worst nightmare when it comes to playing the if-I-could-have-would-have-should-have game. I am quick to focus on my own weaknesses and my own faults, rather than on my strengths and efforts. That needs to change.
I will forgive.
This is the hardest one for me. While I can and often do (sometimes don’t) forgive those who have hurt me, I am relentless with those who hurt my family. I don’t have the patience with them to see that they are hurting, which is sometimes why people act without thinking and hurt those who I love. All I focus on is that my wife or one of my daughters is hurt. I think I need to remember that I can forgive, but I can learn to not forget. That doesn’t mean holding a grudge. It means that perhaps my trust won’t be misplaced again. It means that there is a lesson that was learned that won’t be repeated. I know this will take a great deal of strength and fortitude on my part, but I know I need to forgive.
If along the I can shed a few pounds (and I know I have many to shed), and if I can get off my butt and move more (I have been working at it consciously), all the better. But I think my resolutions for the coming year, for many years after this one, might do me and those whom I love, the most good. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
I am pleased to announce that this past December, Betrayed has won the Literary Titan Silver Book Award one month after its release. I am proud of that accomplishment.
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted.
“The Bottom Line: A stirring and unusual tale of teenage love, adventure and murder. While author Joseph Lewis has filled Betrayed with a large and compelling cast, the story belongs to Brian, one of several characters from Lewis’ excellent crime thriller, Spiral Into Darkness. The relationship between Brian and his family is incredibly well-drawn and often touching. Readers will be rewarded with an explosive adventure.”
- Best Thrillers
This novel is an action-packed thriller that will keep the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of settings and characters are extremely well done, and the pacing is perfect. The ending ties up all the loose ends, yet you feel (and hope) there will be more from these characters in the future. Action and adventure are the words of the day in this thrilling, well-written, page-turner from Joseph Lewis.”
- Sublime Review
“To call Betrayed a thriller alone would be to do it a disservice. It’s a social inspection of Navajo reservation culture and life, and its probe of the roots of love and connection are wonderfully woven into a story of adversity and the struggle to survive on many levels. These elements make Betrayed particularly recommended for readers who look for psychological depth and complexity from a story of violence and evolution.”
- Diane Donovan, Editor; Donovan's Literary Services; Midwest Book Review/Bookwatch; Author of San Francisco Relocated.
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 You can watch the book trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd3YdNv_ayQ
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
Photo Courtesy of Tim Mossholder and Unsplash