Five Minute Friday — One

I’m not making an excuse although I forewarned you I might not make a Friday post since I was on the road all day Friday and visiting with Santa earlier today. But, since I do like to participate in the exercise, here we are. After I post, I’ll get together and share with my fellow writers at Kate’s spot on Facebook at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com.

To entice you to check us out, I’ve also been sharing some of the experiences my fellow writers have shared as chronicled in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. This week, I’ll include the words contributed by Sabrina. I hope her words inspire you to join our writing club.

“FMF has made me stop making excuses and just write. Pick a word, realize how it moves me and spend five minutes without letting my fingers come off the keys. Five minutes of clearing my head because all of my focus is on the word. But, most importantly, FMF always aligns with how I am feeling and I feel like it is the universe’s way of telling me to stop or move or breathe. It is the final straw that I finally listen to.”

There you go. The prompt for the week is ONE. The timer is set, so it’s time to GO…

As I was driving Friday thinking about our prompt, I kept coming back to Jesus’ second coming. No, I wasn’t focused on the tribulation, rapture or people being left behind. Instead, I was think about Jesus’ reaction when He graces us with His presence again.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus will wonder why He came in the first place. His simple message, His sole purpose has been twisted, interpreted and diluted, seemingly before His grave was even empty.

In the 2,000 years since, His message continues to erode. New doctrines and practices have replaced older ones. The singular command — love one another — seems to have gotten lost as followers fragment to follow the teaching of apostolic hierarchy, others reformists, others charismatics, others from store-front preachers who often have ordained themselves with titles.

Let’s get one thing straight. There is only one savior, … STOP

Jesus the Christ. There is only one way to heaven, through Jesus the Christ. And yet …

Almost since day one, we’ve been trying to rewrite the laws to fit our needs. We’ve been trying to show the “how” to heaven instead of the “why” and “who”. Read more. Study more. Attend more. Give more.

Jesus didn’t come the first time to give us a lesson plan. He came as a gift and a bridge to bring us sinners back into fellowship with God. Love one another … By this all will know that you are My disciples — the greatest command (John 13:34-35).

Love is a verb, an action. So, don’t tell me you’re a Baptist. Don’t preach about your mainline religions. Don’t dictate your Catholic doctrines. Don’t charismatically talk about the future.

Instead, reflect the light of Jesus. If we call ourselves Christians, followers of the Christ, we must love one another — not just our friends and neighbors, but all we come into contact with from various ethnic, religious or lifestyle backgrounds. Love one another — not by doing things for them or preaching to them, but by showing them our Jesus from our heart, from our soul. As Francis of Assisi said, you might be the only sermon some persons will hear today.

I wonder if Jesus will wonder why His followers are not one in communion with Him and each other. I wonder if Jesus will wonder if denominations are fluff. I wonder if Jesus will wonder how the rigidity of the Law returned so quickly.

I wonder what Jesus will wonder when He returns.

My prayer reflect the words Jesus prayed, that all may be one. And I add, may it start with me.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t gossip. Period.

 

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Retirement … Sweet Retirement

It’s been approximately 16 months since I stopped punching the time clock {actually, I haven’t punched a time clock since the early summer jobs of my youth, but I digress} and stepped into “retirement.” It has been quite an experience — all in a good way. I should have done it, say, 50 years ago.

The best part about “retirement” is you get to pick and choose what activities to get involved in and what events you wish to attend. The hardest part of retirement is adjusting to a fixed income.

I was reflecting on the past 16 months however, and discovered my free spirit never got the memo. I have immersed myself in “me” work and “me” connections that has kept me as busy as I wish to be.

In the community, I became active at Dover-Foxcroft (ME) United Methodist Church, where I was named a co-lay leader and sometimes pulpit supply {something I enjoy doing}. I was also named church representative on the Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard board, dealing with the ever-growing food insecurities in Piscataquis County (https://www.dfafc.com/).

I started attending TIP (Thriving in Place) meetings to deal with local issues of interest t seniors, which morphed into Senior Commons involvement at the newly refurbished Commons at Central Hall (http://www.centralhallcommons.org/). As part of programming at the Senior Commons, I taught my first class, Take the Fear Out of Writing. Although the six week class has ended, we will gather together later this month to compare and conjoin the individual short stories produced by the class.

I have also been a fairly regular fixture at community events such as the weekly community dinner, Community Cafe and AARP Coffee Talk. The food {yes, I don’t have to cook!} is always tasty and the fellowship has led to new friendships in a community I’ve called home for just over a year {actually, it’s three years, but I was an upstate New York to Maine commuter for the first two years}.

I also rejoined Kiwanis International, Dover-Foxcroft Chapter. I was a Kiwanian back in the 70s in Illinois and 90s in New York. In a moment of weakness (?) or because of the 6:30 a.m. meeting time, I agreed to be appointed vice president when the vice president relocated to New Jersey. Of course, vice president means this year I’m president-elect and next year (2019-20) I’ll assume the president’s role.

On a personal note, I published not one, but two books in retirement. The first — a novella, Heaven Shining Through — was published last March and has been met with solid reviews. The second — Wisdom From a Father — will be formally released Sunday (Nov. 18) to coincide with a book launch at 1 p.m. at West Fayette (NY) Presbyterian Church. The book features a series of reflective essays based

Wisdom From a Father is a reflective look at life, love and family, segmented into chapters. The words are updates of posts made on this blog, wisdomfromafather.wordpress.com. All 52 essay chapters are written from the heart, sometimes seriously and sometimes with a touch of humor.

The cover features a photo of Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, ME. The long planks hopefully invite readers to the lighthouse and, in turn, to open the book and choose their own path and pace. The type — Edwardian Script — was chosen to be personal and intimate. The combination blends the illumination, resilience and comfort of the lighthouse with words that hopefully guide, build inner strength and give hope.

Of course, my wanderlust has kept me on the road a bit as well.

Before the ink was dry on the transfer of ownership of Reveille/Between the Lakes, I was on the road for our annual grandchildren gathering. This year, there were 12 of us — myself, my chaperones, grandkids DJ, Timothy, Karly, Ella, Kaydee and Gavin and adopted granddaughter Abbi. We called Circle B Campground in Angola, IN, our almost week-long home. But the adventure included a trip to Albanese Candy in Merrillville (the other side of the state, almost Illinois), the Indiana Dunes, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Fremont and the Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion. Yeah, from my Maine location, that’s about 1,076 miles — stretched a little further because we zig zagged through the back roads of Indiana — each way. Loved every mile!

Then there was the December to Remember. There were so many memories packed into the 25 day, 5,267.3 mile trip to New York, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The blessing for the entire trip was no major incidents … just pure enjoyment with family and friends. Thank you Jesus! While those states are where Angelina and I rested our heads, we also traveled through Canada, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut and New Hampshire before rolling into the parking lot back in Maine. I visited each of my five children; took in two pro {Green Bay} football games {in Cleveland with grandsons and Carolina with oldest and youngest sons}; visited with long-lost cousins in Ohio and Indiana; finally visited the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, IN, and National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY; traveled to Florida to spend some time with my childhood friend, Bernie; spent a spectacular Christmas Eve in Nashville, TN, with my oldest son, taking a walk around Gaylord Opryland Resort (about three hours worth) and the Ice Show (Charlie Brown Christmas) including a turn down the ice tube and capping it off with dinner and Diamond Rio; and spent some time at the Jersey shore {including a visit with Bernie’s mom in Toms River, NJ}. Whew!

After a week of “rest” I was back on the road for a mini reunion in Paterson, NJ, with Don Bosco Tech classmates, Class of ’65.

After Heaven Shining Through was released, I embarked on a May mini book tour, making presentations to the library here in Dover-Foxcroft, and the five libraries in Seneca County, NY. And it was a whirlwind! Six presentations in nine days.

A four day stay in the hospital for a bout with cellulitis disrupted June plans for attending my granddaughter’s graduation, but I made it back to New York for three meet and greets in September in upstate New York.

Retirement? It’s been a blast!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Love people more than they deserve.

 

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Five Minute Friday — Burden

Happy Five Minute Friday.

Five Minute Friday is a discipline where independent writers join together to transform thoughts on a specific prompt word from their minds through their fingers onto the screen for five minutes. Then we get together and share our pearls of wisdom {okay, sometimes they’re swine, but the intention is always good} at Kate’s spot on Facebook at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com.

To entice you to check us out, I’ve also been sharing some of the experiences my fellow writers have shared as chronicled in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. This week, I’ll include the words contributed by Asheritah. I hope her words inspire you to join our writing club.

“I just love the Five Minute Friday community! When I first started blogging, I felt like a lonely voice drowned out in a sea of more important and impressive bloggers. But from the moment I jumped into the first FMF twitter party, these lovely ladies [and men] welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home. And that’s exactly what FMF has been for me — an online home and a community of writers who ceaselessly encourage, cheer, and pray me on in the writing and projects the Lord lays on my heart. I couldn’t have asked for a better sisterhood.”

There you go. The prompt is BURDEN. The timer is set so it’s time to GO…

As humans, we all have our own burdens. We have the burden of getting along with our neighbors. And it is a burden because it’s a responsibility. Without cooperation, without listening and sharing, civilization is chaos.

As Christians, we carry an extra burden. Not only do we have to get along, but we have to reflect a Higher Power. Our actions, our words, our behavior should always reflect the light of the Christ we profess to follow.

Why?

Because we often — myself at the head of the line — don’t reflect the Light. We tend to go our own merry way, talk {or write} before thinking, interact … STOP

in anger, respond in an un-Christian way.

We have a duty shine the Light. We have the obligation to live for others. We have a huge responsibility as Christians. That’s our burden.

Well, that’s what I came up with this week. What’s your take on the word “burden”?

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Look for the good in everyone. Those who make you look the hardest are usually the ones hurting the most.

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New Book … New Look

Just like that. One keystroke. “Publish”. A new book is born.

Wisdom From a Father — the book — is officially a reality. With a gulp and a prayer — actually a lot of prayer — I moved forward minutes ago. I’m still working on the e-book version, although that should be available for pre-release on Amazon.com. The book and e-book will release Nov. 18.

I am accepting pre-orders for the book. Just contact me at wisdomfromafather@gmail and I will make sure to send you a signed copy. Cost of the paperback is $13.99 plus tax. Kindle versions are $3.49. The PayPal account is secure.

I’m also offering a special Christmas promotion — a copy of both Wisdom From a Father and Heaven Shining Through (a $9.99 value) for $20.00 plus tax. Just e-mail me!

Wisdom From a Father is a reflective look at life, segmented into chapters. The words are updates of posts made on this blog, wisdomfromafather.wordpress.com. The 52 essay chapters include reflections on life, love and family. All are written from the heart, sometimes seriously and sometimes with a touch of humor.

The cover features a photo the author took of Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde. The long planks hopefully invite readers to the lighthouse and, in turn, to open the book and choose their own path and pace. The type — Edwardian Script — was chosen to be personal and intimate. The combination blends the illumination, resilience and comfort of the lighthouse with words that hopefully guide, build inner strength and give hope.

I’ve never professed to be a teacher or leader. I’m just that ordinary Joe walking on the path of life … and sharing it with you. There are joys. There are tribulations. There are reflections. There is every day life. In each essay I try to convey a recognition of a greater Power who colors my perspective. My comments are always filtered through the lens of my Judeo-Christian values and largely based on 40 years of marriage raising five children.

A mid-November Facebook Live hard launch has been scheduled at West Fayette (NY) Presbyterian Church Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. with a repeat Dec. 6 at Thompson Free Library, Dover-Foxcroft, for friends and followers from the Pine Tree State, also at 1 p.m. The books are expected to be at the launches as well.

This is my second venture into the world of book publishing. I released a novella, Heaven Shining Through, last March. The novella has been receiving mostly solid 4-5 stars and positive reviews. It remains available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and is listed at GoodReads.

Of course, new ventures result in new challenges with some new looks. I’ve tried to consolidate the “brand” under the wisdomfromafather banner. By that, I mean, my Facebook author page is now at facebook.com/wisdomfromafather. I added the new e-mail account, wisdomfromafather@gmail. I intended to use the same name at Twitter, but it was two characters too long, so that link has been renamed @joesiccardi.

The central body of work will remain right here, but over the next few weeks I’ll be tweaking some design elements with the help of my family and friends. Categories will be consolidated with {hopefully} some new graphics. One new element will be more interaction including a category named Words for the Week.

As many of you know, I send out a weekly Words for the Week to family and friends. It started as a way to spend time praying for my family, friends and faith partners and share with them some nugget of encouragement for the week. Sometimes it’s a sentence. Sometimes a paragraph. Sometimes a story. I’ve discovered each one had a special meaning to some one at some time. The message just resonated with them at just the time they needed it most. I never know who until after the fact. The key element in that description is “as a way to spend time praying for my family, friends and faith partners.” I want to expand that to my blogging family, friends and faith partners.

I’ll keep you posted and explain the rationale as I make the changes.

These are exciting times for me as I refine my words and presentation. I hope they will be exciting times for you as well. I welcome your thoughts and input!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: When people show you who they are, believe them and move that knowledge from your head to your heart.

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Five Minute Friday — Repeat

I’m back for another Five Minute Friday rambling. Five Minute Friday is a discipline where independent writers join together at Kate’s spot on Facebook at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com and encourage our writing neighbors as we visit and see their take on the common prompt.  And, you’re always welcome to join us … either as a visitor or participant.

I’ve also been sharing some of the experiences my fellow writers have shared as chronicled in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. This week, I’ll include the words Julie contributed. I hope her words inspire you to join our writing club.

“This Five Minute Friday community is a gift of encouragement in my life. Even though I haven’t met many of this community in person, they are the ones who encourage me the most on my journey!”

Well, the prompt this week is REPEAT. Let’s see where we go. The timer is set. GO …

Breathe in. Breathe out. Thank God. Repeat.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Thank God. Repeat.

For the most part, that’s called life — although admittedly many of us, myself included, forget that “thank God” part.

While we’re taking those breaths, we multitask. We string the moments together but always with the same pattern — breathe in, breathe out.

There will come a time when we will take that final breath. We’ll probably take a deep breath in and exhale it out — ending up on the other side. For some, unfortunately, it will be too late to say “thank God,” so it might be a good practice to start saying “thank God” after as many exhales as possible.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Thank God! — STOP

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: People can change as drastically as the caterpillar to the butterfly. Don’t continue to call them a caterpillar.

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Wisdom From a Father

Those who know me know I’m a sucker for witty words. The words  that have been haunting me lately have come from Amelia Earhart — “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”

With that mantra in my head, I started working on a new inspirational book. Today, I am a keystroke away from publishing. All the pieces are in place and I await only some final editorial thoughts from my team to make Wisdom From a Father a reality.

I have scheduled a mid-November Facebook Live hard launch at West Fayette (NY) Presbyterian Church Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. and a repeat Dec. 6 at the Thompson Free Library, Dover-Foxcroft, ME, for my friends and followers from the Pine Tree State, also at 1 p.m. You can pre-order by contacting me at revblt@rochester.rr.com or by comment here and I will send you a signed copy when it becomes available. The books are expected to be at the launches as well.

I am in the process of revamping my author pages and will provide the links, hopefully next week.

Wisdom From a Father is a reflective look at life, segmented into chapters. The words are updates of posts made right here on my blog. I’ve chosen 52 so readers can use the book as a weekly devotional if they so choose.

The cover features a photo I took of the Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, ME. The long planks hopefully invite readers to the lighthouse and, in turn, to open the book and choose their own path and pace. The type — Edwardian Script — was chosen to be personal and intimate. The combination blends the illumination, resilience and comfort of the lighthouse with words that hopefully guide, build inner strength and give hope.

I don’t profess to be a teacher or leader — and never have. I’m just that ordinary Joe walking on the path of life … and sharing it with you. There are joys. There are tribulations. There are reflections. There is every day life. In each essay I try to convey a recognition of a greater Power who colors my perspective. My comments are always filtered through the lens of my Judeo-Christian values and largely based on 40 years of marriage raising five children.

This is my second venture into the world of book publishing. I released my first novella, Heaven Shining Through, last March. For a first time venture, the novella has been receiving mostly solid 4-5 stars and positive reviews. It remains available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and is listed at GoodReads.

For those of you who do not know me, I am  the retired owner/publisher of Reveille/Between the Lakes, a weekly newspaper in Seneca County, NY, right smack in the middle of the beautiful Finger Lakes. I’ve worked in the newspaper industry all my life including stops in New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, Washington, DC, Maryland, New York and now Maine. My late wife — my inspiration in life — and I raised five children and currently have 18 grandchildren and three great-granddaughters.

I’m getting excited! I hope you are as well!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness. — Frank Tyger

Posted in anticipation, books, communication, Dover-Foxcroft, entertainment, Faith, family, Friends, God, hope, inspiration, invitation, joy, Life, love, meet and greet, observations, relationships, stories, Thoughts, West Fayette Presbyterian, wisdom from a father, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Minute Friday — Moment

I know it’s Friday. I’m on time for Five Minute Friday exercise. {shock, shock}.

As I’ve said many times, is it’s not the day, but the discipline. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Friday {the chosen date for most}, Saturday {my usual default}, Sunday or the middle of next week. The community responds to carve out five minutes of unscripted writing, post it, link up at Kate’s spot on Facebook at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com and encourage our writing neighbors as we visit and see their take on our common prompt.

Lately, I’ve also been sharing some of those experiences as chronicled in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. This week, I’ll share words from Pamela. I hope her words inspire you to join our writing club.

“FMF has been a sweet, safe space to gather with a community of writers. In moments when I needed to exercise my writing muscle, but was hesitant for any number of reasons, it was the gentle push of encouragement saying, ‘Just write. Don’t worry about how it sounds or what others will think of it. You are a writer. Your thoughts are valid and valuable. Take five minutes of fearless abandon and write on.’ ”

There you go. The word this week is MOMENT. The timer is set for five minutes, so let’s GO…

Missed it.

Oops, too slow.

Missed it again.

Moments are fleeting, an instant in time. Don’t we all get caught up in the moment, only to find ourselves unsatisfied?

Hmmm. But what happens when you string those moments together. They become memories. They become events. They become a part of who we are.

I’m just as guilty as anyone, trying to capture just the right moment — for that photo, for that interaction. Often it’s a split-second too late and instead of seeing the whole picture of the scene, we become disillusioned.

It’s like writers. Individually, the keystrokes are just letters forming words, but when strung together they form a sentence. And the sentence forms a paragraph. And the paragraphs form a scene. And the scenes form a chapter. And the chapters form  a story — our story that traces its ancestry back to a single moment.

Our life … STOP

is a series of stories, too. We weave the moments. We set the scenes. We establish the interactions. We connect the connections. We validate the goals.

Seize this moment … and the next … and the next. Form your sentences. Live your scenes. Write your story.

From this moment  on…

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Do what makes you happy but consider how it will affect those you love.

Posted in anticipation, appreciation, communication, encouragement, family, Five Minute Friday, Friends, Life, love, Memories, moments, potential, relationships, stories, Thoughts, Uncategorized, words, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment