Five Minute Friday — Secret

You know the drill. I’ll post this Five Minute Friday contribution, link at Kate’s place on Facebook at  http://www.fiveminutefriday.com and scan through the incredible work of my fellow writers. As I always say, you should try it as well — both writing and contributing or at least visiting the sites of this talented crew.

I’ve also been sharing other takes on the value of the exercise, taken from snippets found in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat as an added inducement to join in. Here’s Jennifer’s take.

“I remember the day I stumbled upon the FMF community. While concept of a prompt word certainly wasn’t new to me, the idea of writing in such a short time frame was. But it intrigued me and I jumped right on in. It wasn’t long until some of my favorite blog posts were born from a FMF prompt as I sat down on a whim to pound out a five minute story. A story that was often a little window into my heart.

“Today, FMF is still one of my favorite ways to blog. While the margin in my life is little and I can’t be as involved in the community as I would like, it’s always a joy to be able to  take some time to join in, link up and read all about another writer’s take on the particular word. Just one word. Just five minutes.And beautiful things happen  …”

So, let’s get into this week’s word, SECRET.  The clock starts ticking now …

We all have secrets. Some are personal. Some are business related. Some are dreams or goals. We keep them to ourselves or open them up to a very small circle. Some are damaging. Some are character flaws. Same result. We keep them to ourselves, with these oftentimes allowing the guilt to fester.

We have to keep certain things under wraps. If you’re planning something special, the fewer people involved the better.

Sometimes we keep a secret to protect others … although that never works. Things get worse when the secret comes to light.

We keep secrets because we’re human. It’s part of our sin nature. In a sense, it’s a lack of trust — in ourselves, others and most important, God. But we can never keep a secret from God. He knows the innermost chambers of our heart and soul. Would not God discover this? For He knows the secrets of the heart. — Psalm 44:21 ESV … STOP

… The exercise brought to mind two other Scripture verses. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.— Ecclesiastes 12:14 ESV and For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. — Luke 8:17 ESV

When it comes to secrets, walk in the light.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Being nice doesn’t mean you’re a doormat. Set boundaries or people will take advantage of you.

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In Review

Thompson Free Library, Dover-Foxcroft. ME

I’m finally getting my bearings after a whirlwind trip to upstate New York promoting my book Heaven Shining Through, and making presentations to the library here in Dover-Foxcroft, ME, and the five libraries in Seneca County, NY. And it was a whirlwind! Six presentations in nine days.

But it also was a trip worth taking. I was able to connect with a number of old friends I hadn’t seen in awhile and share the publishing process with a host of new friends. I was able to peddle a few books as well.

Ford Library, Ovid, NY

More important — and one of the reasons I planned the trip — was to get the book into circulation at the local libraries. Hopefully others in the communities will read the novella. I hope they see the what Samantha understood — there was Someone bigger than her, which ultimately led to her own restoration and a deeper relationship with her mother. It is the story of two strong women and one daughter’s self-realization and recognition of the presence of God in an ordinary and sometimes messy life.

Waterloo (NY) Library

I’m tentatively planning a trip to New Jersey, probably in late June. Northern New Jersey and the Jersey shore are the backdrop for the story. While it won’t be as formal, I do intend on presenting the book to the Borough of Totowa Public Library since I grew up in Totowa and the Paterson Free Public Library. If there is interest, I would also make myself available probably two nights in my hotel lobby in northern New Jersey and one night  around the Jersey shore. Details are being worked out and I’ll keep you posted.

Interlaken (NY) Library

There are a couple of take-aways from the first “tour”. I discovered how much my penmanship has deteriorated over the years. I discovered I enjoy sharing my life and experiences. I discovered there is nothing more satisfying than knowing friendships never fade despite time and distance. I discovered how blessed I am.

Heaven Shining Through is available online at Xulon, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or directly from me at revblt@rocheter.rr.com. The book is also available at Chloe’s Collections & Florist, Dover-Foxcroft, and The Mustard Seed Bookstore, Bath, ME.

Mynderse Library, Seneca Falls, NY

Garnsey Delavan Library, Lodi, NY

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You will never love anyone more than your child, and no one will love you back more.

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Five Minute Friday — Include

You know the drill. I’ll post this Five Minute Friday contribution, link at Kate’s place on Facebook at  http://www.fiveminutefriday.com and scan through the incredible work of my fellow writers. As I always say, you should try it as well — both writing and contributing or at least visiting the sites of this talented crew.

I’ve also been sharing other takes on the value of the exercise, taken from snippets found in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat as an added inducement to join in. Here’s Alice’s take.

“Every Thursday night I try to stay up late, because there is a tiny excitement in knowing the FMF prompt! I let  the word sink in my mind as I go to get sleep and let the word bring thoughts, emotions and verses in my mind. It’s a beautiful thing, how a word can trigger so many thoughts! Most times I realize that the verses and passages and memories of the incident were lying waiting for this word to bring itback to life. I look forward to writing five minutes every Friday on a word, just one word, and not just that, but also reading and discovering the thought process of so many other bloggers who have dwelt on that same word!”

So, let’s get into this week’s word, INCLUDE.  The clock starts ticking now …

I actually had two thoughts when I was copied into the prompt. The first was the repetition from Ecclesiastes … There is a time to … and there is a time to … The second was the song, When the Saints Go Marching In.

First Ecclesiastes. My contribution is there is a time to include and there is a time to not include.

Let me explain. We all want to be included, but sometimes — especially after a loss, that inclusion is more an intrusion. We sometimes feel like the fifth wheel, intruding on the company we’re with — part of the group, yet somehow outside the circle. While it’s meant to help through a difficult time, often it has the opposite effect. So there is a time for inclusion … but there is also a time to not include, not because we don’t want the company but because it ultimately becomes awkward.

Now for the song. The only thing I definitely want to be included in at the end of my time on earth is the grand parade into heaven. I definitely DO want to be included with the saints marching  through those pearly gates! … STOP

Wow!  In at five minutes. That must be a first!

Happy Mothers Day!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Society is haphazard and reckless. You must be grounded so you don’t get swept away in the hype.

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Reviews Are In

Heaven Shining Through.

Yes it is!

It’s been about a week and a half since book launch and the reviews are starting to come in. On the up side, they have been generally positive. On the down side, readers are asking for more. I guess that means there might be some more work for me to do this summer.

I am satisfied with the outcome of the book. I like the cover and the flow of the narrative. I like the reception the book has received as I’ve participated in book signings. And I am proud to pay it forward by donating a copy of Heaven Shining Through to libraries for their individual collections. Thus far, the book has been presented to Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft, ME, and in three of the Seneca County libraries in New York, Ford Library, Ovid, Waterloo Library and Interlaken Public Library. I will make additional presentations this weekend to the other two Seneca County libraries, Seneca Falls and Garnsey Delavan in Lodi.

Heaven Shining Through is a story of two strong women and one daughter’s self-realization and recognition of the presence of God in an ordinary and sometimes messy life. Much of the novella takes place as a flashback in her native northern New Jersey, allowing Samantha to see that presence through her life. As her faith increases, she is able to see her mother through new eyes, leading to reconciliation … and she is reminded of that every time she sees Heaven Shining Through.

That’s my pitch. Here is what some others are saying …

I was quickly engrossed in Samantha’s story. Joe does a great job grabbing the reader for this emotional journey. Just wished it was longer! I wasn’t ready for it to be over. — jthompson

Sometimes when we feel hopeless, it is difficult to hear God’s voice. There are times when we need to be quiet and still. We need to hear God speak and give us direction, insights, and thoughts. In the uncertainties of life, God will speak if we will listen. The book is amazing, inspirational, up lifting and heart warming. — Nelliesha

This 64 page novella should have been a novel. The characters lack distinctive development and don’t come to life as real people with inner lives. Why would a middle aged man elect to write in the voice of a woman? This is hard to do convincingly unless you are skilled fiction writer. The plot moves along at warp speed as the decades pass and the characters marry, die, reconcile. They go through a series of events that lack emotional resonance for the reader. There are many missed opportunities for going deeper with descriptions. And too much use of dialogue. This might have been a decent book if the author slowed down, made it 200 pages or more. This just did not work for me. Read like the author had an ending in mind (reconcilation) and raced to get there. — Augusta

Nice inspirational novella. We get a glimpse into the life, loves and challenges of one woman. Engaging and well-written, Siccardi shows us how God can shine through the events of our life, even the difficult ones. — probertson

Enjoyed this book very much. Encouraging to see the hand of God moving and bringing her into His healing and wholeness in the face of perceived rejection, heartache and grief. Enjoyed experiencing the happiness and joy of her earlier life and the warm feeling of seeing that throughout all of life, Heaven really does shine through. Thanks, Joe. Good read. — William

So many tears! [The author has] a way with words and telling a story. — Jennifer

It was well written and I enjoyed it, but hope you will go back and insert the space between losing Chad and losing her mom. – Mary Ruth

I was able to picture it in my mind as I read, and although I am by no means a critic, when you can envision the story in your head just by reading the words, that’s what makes me enjoy a book. Although I wish it was longer, I thought it was great! I look forward to your next project! — Lynne

You captured me … completely different than I expected. Loved being local, I saw a lot of similarities and trying to figure who’s eyes you were looking through. Very nice. — Dave

Heaven Shining Through is available online at Xulon, Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or directly from me at revblt@rocheter.rr.com. The book is also available at Chloe’s Collections & Florist, Dover-Foxcroft, and The Mustard Seed Bookstore, Bath, ME.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Be mindful of friends who say “I told her I wouldn’t tell anyone but…” She’s sharing your secrets too.

 

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Five Minute Friday — Adapt

Here’s this week’s installment of Five Minute Friday, where a group of us tackle the task of writing for five minutes on a specific prompt word from our moderator, Kate Motaung. After writing, we share our thoughts at Kate’s place on Facebook at   http://www.fiveminutefriday.com. Then we get to sit back and read what our fellow writers have posted. It’s always inpriring.

I’ve been including snippets from other writers, taken from Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. Listen to why Elizabeth finds Five Minute Friday so rewarding. Maybe she can convince you to visit or, better yet, give it a try!

“Blogging was a way for me to reconnect to my long lost love of writing. When I lost focus and wasn’t sure how to continue, when I was overwhelmed by life’s busy-ness, when I wasn’t sure I had anything worthwhile left to say, a Five Minute Friday prompt would appear in my inbox and, the next thing you know, I was writing again.”

This week’s prompt is ADAPT. The timer is set, so let’s GO …

One thing I have learned. Life is unpredictable. Just when you think you know where it’s going or think you know what to expect, bam!, along comes a surprise.

For some people, the surprise throws them completely off kilter. It scares them when they don’t know e-x-a-c-t-l-y how things are playing out . They have a hard time adapting to change.

Surprises throw me off as well … the check that doesn’t come until tomorrow … the interview that featured questions I wasn’t quite expecting. But I don’t let them throw me too far off kilter. I adapt. I go to Plan B … or  Plan C … or, well, there are 26 letters in the alphabet and sometimes I have used pretty much of them.

As I’ve aged, I find myself more accepting of the unexpected. I don’t like it, but I just decided when surprises happen, they happen for a reason (often unknown to me by a God who knows way more than I do) and generally lead to other blessings I hadn’t thought of. ... STOP

I guess I’ll chalk it up to FAITH.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Being the only person not to do something either makes you extremely clever or really stupid. — Steven Fox

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Blast Off!

The hype of the book launch for Heaven Shining Through is now a happy memory. It went much better than I had hoped. I would have been happy with about 20 souls in the seats and would have been ecstatic at 25. I can’t find the right word to describe the final tally … 31 joining us at The Mill Cafe in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. It was such an outpouring of support from my neighbors, Kiwanis, church and the community at large.

Even more astounding was the live Facebook feed. My grandson, who did the filming, said there were around a dozen or so live. But the video thus far has been seen by 318 friends literally from coast to coast and even a few names I recognized from outside the USA. If you’re interested, you can view the launch presentation at https://www.facebook.com/joe.siccardi/videos/10211711964459086/

During the shameless promotion of the book Sunday, I chronicled how it came to be, read select passages from the book and what I hoped readers would get from the book — some basic encouragement.

It was so heartwarming to receive that much support and encouragement, especially since  I am a relative newcomer to Dover-Foxcroft. The locals have embraced this “away” guy as much as I have embraced them!

Now the fun begins. I will be presenting copies of the book to Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft Wednesday and at the five libraries in Seneca County, NY over the next two weeks. I will also be signing books at most of those venues. I’m working on presentations in New Jersey in June and will be at the August Maine Authors Day in Guilford.

Heaven Shining Through costs $9.99 and has been receiving good reviews. Your thoughts and reviews are also welcomed.

The book is available at a number of online sites — xulon.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and booksamillion.com. You can also order directly from me at revblt@rochester.rr.com.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Consequences suck, but teach them to your kids young, very young.

 

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Five Minute Friday — Stuck

Another Friday. Another Five Minute Friday post.

I don’t think I’ve ever told you how important these five minute writing exercises are to me {yeah, you’ve heard before … just about every week}. They are. I look forward to getting the prompt word, pondering it, letting the neurons out to roam free, collecting their thoughts, transcribing them and sharing them at Kate’s place on Facebook at   http://www.fiveminutefriday.com. Then I get to sit back and read what my fellow writers have posted. It’s always enlightening and a perfect segue into the weekend and Sunday worship.

That’s my pitch. Lately I’ve been including snippets from other writers, taken from Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. Listen to why Paula finds Five Minute Friday so rewarding. Maybe she can convince you to visit or, better yet, give it a try!

“Five Minute Friday reminded me why I love writing. It’s real, it’s raw  and it’s so much more than a job.”

The prompt this week is STUCK and the timer is set, so it’s time to GO…

When my wife was particularly silly or annoying and I called her on it, she would respond, “Too bad. You’re stuck with me.” When I was particularly silly or annoying — which happened far more frequently — and she called me out, I would simply respond, “Too bad, honey. You’re stuck with me.”

The response was usually enough to diffuse most situations. But it also served as a playful yet powerful reminder of the vows we shared almost 50 years ago … for better or worse … for richer of poorer … in sickness and in health … until death do us part.

You see, we made a commitment on that hot August day that neither of us took lightly. We professed our love before God, family and friends. And it was a commitment we relished through the years … in the good times and bad times … during periods of prosperity and penny scrimping … while healthy and even while not so healthy.

We took that commitment seriously.

There’s another commitment I take seriously. It’s the covenant I made with Jesus Christ, my Lord … STOP

… and Savior. I promised Him almost 60 years ago I would follow Him. And through the years, even though I wasn’t always faithful and even though He didn’t answer my prayers as I expected, He was there. In those moments I might tell Him He was being unfair, unloving, uncaring — fill in your own disappointment — only to have Him tell me, “Too bad, your stuck with Me.”

Back at You, Lord. Back at You. Too bad, You’re stuck with me too!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: People are judgmental. Don’t live your life based off other people’s fickle feelings.

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