Sunday, April 3, 2022

Your Compass

I was only in cub scouts for three or four years. My mom was a den mother and my dad was the helper. I enjoyed the Pinewood Derby and the projects we worked on. Dad was a wiz at that kind of stuff. I was in boy scouts for only a year. I don’t remember what merit badges I earned, but it wasn’t more than a handful. Mostly, I was in boy scouts because a couple of my friends were, and I liked the camping.

I lived in California for eleven years, Wyoming for three, Nebraska for two, and now in Virginia for fourteen years and counting. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for most of my life.

When people came to visit us in any of those places, I gladly drove. I could navigate LA, San Diego and parts in between with no problem. Same with Nebraska, Wyoming, and I’m getting used to Virginia. Wisconsin, I can get pretty much anywhere with my eyes closed.

One thing I never mastered was the compass. This is going to sound absurd, but it is the truth. While I can navigate those cities to and from and all the attractions they offer, I cannot, for the life of me, get myself out of parking lots. Seriously.

I drive into a parking lot and I forget which way I came in. I might find the exit, but I forget which direction I’m supposed to go when I leave. Kim just shakes her head.

It has been this way forever! It’s a kind of joke in our family that most of the Lewis clan are anti-directional. Heck, place me in a paper bag and I would struggle to find my way out. At least I’d be with a couple of my brothers and sisters. Paper bags and parking lots, I suppose.

It got me thinking . . .

When I was younger, I had dreams. I wanted to be a football player, and at one time, a singer. I grew older and wanted to teach and coach. My career began in Wyoming at the second smallest school in the state. I loved it. Was recruited to coach college ball. I hated it. Because of my success, I wanted to teach and coach at a larger school, and I did.

I tired of coaching and teaching, and wanted to put my counseling degree to use. My first stint was at a small school, and there were only two counselors. I moved to a much larger school and was part of a counseling team of eight.

I loved counseling, but I thought being an administrator might be fun. (That will be a subject for another post.) My first job was at a school of 3,000. I was one of two associate principals, and there were five vice principals under us. Then, I wanted to be a principal. Started at a small school, went to a bigger school with each move.

Do you see a pattern? From small to big. One part of the country to the next. Always in search of something . . . more, something . . . better. Never satisfied, always thinking, yearning for the next big thing.

Not. Any. More.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I seek the simple things (something I touched on last week in, A Pause, A Reset.) Perhaps it’s because I found my compass. Perhaps I always had a compass, but I never used it.

I want my daughters and Hannah’s husband and Emily’s boyfriend nearby and want to see them more often. I want them happy. If I can take away their worries and troubles, I will. I want to sit with Kim and talk. Or sit with Kim and just know she’s nearby. I want to hang onto my friends. I want to look up friends I had “once upon a time” and see what they’re up to, spend time with them, listen to them. I want to sit in the sun, preferably at a beach, with Kim and my family by my side. When my time is up, throw some of my ashes in the ocean and use the rest to plant a tree. I’m okay with that.

Before that time comes, I want to keep writing. I’m almost done with #9, Fan Mail. I know the edits and revisions will take time, but there is a sense of peace, a sense of satisfaction when the last page is finished. And I’m smart enough to know that a book, any book, is never completed by the author, only the reader. I already have ideas for three others, each competing to come next.

Yes, I think I found my compass. Happy I did. It took some time, but I found it. Maybe it’s time to check your compass. Are you using it? Is it working for you? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference! 

To My Readers:

I was interviewed on a UK radio show this morning about my writing and my newest book, Blaze In, Blaze Out. For those who missed it, they will repeat the show on Sunday, April 24 at 8:30 AM EST. Follow this link: I hope you give it a listen!

If you have read one of my books, I would like to ask a favor. If you could go online and write a review or, at the least, give a rating on the book, it would be of great help. Both a review and a rating would be wonderful. The review could be one or two lines. It doesn’t have to be long. Just let others know you read it and hopefully, enjoyed it. Obviously, 4s and 5s are the best. Thanks for this consideration.

Connect with me on Social Media: 
Author Website
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
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Amazon at: /

Blaze In, Blaze Out: A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!

Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. They care nothing of collateral damage. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die.

Betrayed: A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!

Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback!

A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Greed can be all-consuming, and seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted.

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. So far, he has murdered eight people. 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, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by 

Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback!

They found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. A violent gang, MS-13, controls the drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes 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.  
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 live in separate parts of the country, the lives of 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 Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out.
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
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 will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved.  
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. 
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death?  

Photo Courtesy of Heidi Fin and Unsplash.


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