We have three Crepe Myrtles in our yard. Two in the back corners and one in the front of the house, but off to the side. Three different colors: white, pink, and red. I was partial to the red one, so we planted it in front of the house, while the white sits in the back right, and the pink on the back left. The two in the back bookend the knockout roses and the Japanese Maple trees. It’s peaceful and almost perfect. Serene. My favorite place to sit is on the lower patio.
The white one grows and blooms the fastest. Perhaps it’s because the tree is in direct sun from sunrise to almost sundown, while the pink one is shielded and shaded from the sun because of the woods behind our house. And the red one is the smallest of all, and we think it is in the shade of our large oak tree. The only sun the red one receives is in the afternoon, when the sun is at its harshest.
All of them receive the same water. We prune them evenly, yet the two in the backyard are the tallest, while the red one is the shortest. And like clockwork, the white one will always bloom first, followed by the red one, and last, the pink one.
Same trees, just different colors and different places in the yard.
For 47 years, I’ve watched kids grow, including three of my own. I’ve watched them grasp concepts- or not, as the case may be. Some caught on quickly and knew how to “play the game” to their advantage, while others struggled and chafed at the bit, as they say. Their “learning” came later, after resisting. Resisting what, I don’t know. General stubbornness, I suppose.
One student comes to mind. I’ll call him Al.
Al was in three of my online learning classes last year. He was a project. Quiet. Likeable. A lot going on. Lived with mom. Month to month, he didn’t know if they could keep the apartment they lived in. Food? He helped put it on the table. Clothes? He kept what little he owned clean. School? Truly an afterthought. Like I said, he had a lot going on.
He started out strong, but as the year progressed, he didn’t. He fell behind despite my encouragement and the encouragement from his counselor. By his own admission, he fell in with a rough crowd. That didn’t help his situation.
Flash forward to the last two weeks of school. He was failing all three of the classes he took with me. All of them. I didn’t think there was any hope of any course being salvaged. Like some kids do, he surprised me.
I’d like to say he finished and passed all three courses. He didn’t. But in three or four days’ time, Al completed and passed one of the classes. That summer, he completed and passed another. This year, he is attending the alternative school and is on track to graduate in December.
My wife and I went to dinner at a local restaurant one evening this past week, and we ran into Al, who worked there. A great smile- he always wore that despite his circumstances. After we were done eating, I called Al over to our table and introduced him to Kim. He told us his story. Not the full of it, but enough of it. I told him how proud I was of him. He beamed. He apologized for being “mean to me” but I never experienced that from him- not one day. Those were his words, but honestly, I would never have used them. Kim remarked he had a wonderful smile.
Al reminded me, like our three crepe myrtles do, that kids, and trees, grow in their own time, and grow in their own way. Some fast. Some slow. Some with ease. Some with struggle. But they grow. And each, in their own way, turn out just fine. We can, and should, supply all we can to them, meet their needs. Treat them with care and kindness. Be gentle with them. Prune them evenly and when necessary. But love and enjoy them. They will grow. Each in their own way. Each in their own time. Something to think about …
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
I was asked, and I accepted a position of Story Writer for Acorn TV. I write short stories or submit my books to them and they decided if they want to develop them into a TV series or movie. My short story, Changes and Secrets, is going into production. They are flying in a crew of fifteen and a production manager to scout out locations, production design, and production schedule, and discuss with me the script, and possible changes. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
This next month, I should receive a preview of the cover for my ninth book, Fan Mail. The publication date is March 30, 2023. If you check out my author website at www.jrlewisauthor.blog/ you will find more about me, my writing, my books, my new gig as Story Writer, and my new book, Fan Mail.
While you wait for Fan Mail to hit, I hope you take the time to enjoy my other work. The last four books have won twelve awards, while my Lives Trilogy has won two.
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: www.jrlewisauthor.blog/
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Amazon at: www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /
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. https://amzn.to/34lNllP
Betrayed: Two Top Shelf Awards: 1st Place Fiction-Mystery; and Runner-Up Fiction-Crime; 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! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
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. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
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. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
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. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
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. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
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. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
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. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
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? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photo Courtesy of Kim and Joe Lewis.