Update: Book Reading, Book Writing

I can’t think of anything in particular to write on that would be enough for a blog. But there are a few things I’m thinking about that, put together, would give you an update of what’s going on with me. Let me first tell you about the books I’m reading. The book I just put down a minute ago is Nikki Haley’s book, With All Due Respect. It will never be a best seller, but I enjoy reading it. I liked her before I started reading it, but now even more. She has a good character and I loved how she stood up to the people at the UN over their disrespect for Israel. I also love how she stood up to Kelly and Tillerson over their divisiveness against President Trump. It was refreshing.

Another book I’m reading is a very large book, The Presidents Fact Book, on all the Presidents and also their wives. It is very interesting and kind of fun to read. It’s a book that I might read again, because it is so loaded with valuable information—a good book of history; and we need to learn history before it is lost, because so many crazy people these days want to destroy our history.

As I refill my coffee cup, let me share my thoughts on a possible next book to write. Actually, I’m just finishing my latest two books: one entitled, After the Rapture: What Happens On Earth and in Heaven After the Rapture; and another book on my life story, which I don’t have a title for yet. I’m presently self-editing them, then I will write an intro for both of them, and then go through the publishing process.

So anyway, I’m already thinking of what my next book project will be. My most enduring thought is to do a book on a book of the bible. I don’t consider myself a biblical scholar, so it wouldn’t be a book of any great depth. My thought is that I need to be more in the word, so I thought that a writing project would help me get there. One thought would be to writing on the book of Revelation. I kind of wanted to write on the Tribulation anyway, so maybe that would be a good option.

Another idea is to delve into a book like Ephesians. I know that would be quite beneficial for me—for my spiritual life. I think I might enjoy getting into the Greek, doing word studies; and also, getting into the history of those times; and just determining what the main themes of the book are. Mostly, I would hope that the writing would bring me closer to Him, and that my thoughts would be constantly on Him and His wonderful words of grace and truth.

I find that since I am more and more retired, and that my painting jobs are fewer, I have more time now to do whatever. I pray that that whatever is well spent. Retirement time can be foolishly wasted. I pray that that won’t be true of me.

My Retirement Years: Work, Writing, Kids

I officially began my retirement in 2015… so I’m five years into it. A few things remain the same, but most things are a little different. I’m intentionally trying to slow things down, relax more and enjoy what is left of my life. I’m still painting, but not as much. I sort of feel like I can work as hard as I always have, but I know I’m getting older, so I made the decision to get rid of all my tall 32 ft. ladders (I recycled them). I just work now with a 20-footer. Besides not doing high work, I have also cut down on my hours. Instead of 8 or 9-hour days, I limit it to six hours; and I also take a 3 or 4-day break between jobs. But I want to tell you that my work is just as good as it always was, maybe even better. Since I’m trying to slow things down, I’m paying more attention to details. I love my work and also my faithful customers; and I will be working just as long as I can hold a brush and do a good job.

As for my writing, I think I am writing more now than ever. I have more time to write and I think I’m even better at it. I guess the more you read and write and experience life, the better you get at it. At present I am just finishing up my book After the Rapture, and I am also almost finished with this book on my life story—although I haven’t thought of a title for it yet. What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure God will nudge me to write something. I have some ideas but nothing solid yet.

Another area of my life that is constantly changing is my relationship with my kids. They are all adults now and their families are multiplying. I already have seven, almost eight grandkids. They came so fast. Justina, the oldest of my children, age 35, is married to Rusty, and they have two kids. They live in Virginia and they both work as nurses. Anthony, age 33, is married to Crystal and they will have two kids in a month. They live in Bloomington, just a half hour drive from me. They also are both working at very good jobs. Joshua, age 31, is single. I keep telling him to remain that way—ha! He also lives fairly close to me and we get together as much as we can. Abigail (Abi) is the youngest, at 29, and she just had her fourth kid. She lives in Texas with her husband Aaron who seem to always have two or three jobs going.

I really love my kids and pray for a them, but I don’t really know them that well. I put the blame mostly on our divorce arrangement, not being able to see them except for two hours a week. But I can’t put all the blame on that. I really could have worked harder to see them more. I could have fought for it, but didn’t. I’m not real sure why. I have sort of a hermit-like nature. I naturally don’t have a great desire to connect with people, not even my own kids. It’s my own selfish nature.

But I still have hope that things will get better. I think we all are working on connecting more—texting and even calling. And I think the more we pray for each other the better it will be. I also want to make regular trips to see my kids and grandkids in Virginia and Texas. That would be good—for them and for me.

My Writing: My Progression, My Ritual

As soon as I had all my topics decided on, the next step in the process of writing my book Prayer A to Z was easy. I just took one topic (a chapter) at a time, did whatever reading and bible study I thought was sufficient for that topic, and went from there. I always highlighted important material as I read, took some notes, and then made an outline.

At first my idea was to make the chapters short—about two typed pages. I was still using the material as an insert in the church bulletin, so I didn’t want it to be too long. Eventually, after about the first ten chapters, I changed my mind about the length. I could see that there was much more I could write on each topic. So, I made a big decision to go back and re-write all that I did before moving on. Now, instead of each chapter taking only a couple days to write, it took sometimes a couple weeks—or more. But it was what I wanted and it looked better. More importantly, I was sure that it was what God wanted; and more and more I regarded the entire project as His.

I remember so clearly those early days of the writing.  I didn’t have a computer yet, so I just used my typewriter, and then I managed to persuade the church secretary to go over it (retype it) using her computer. She didn’t seem to mind, and at the time, it was for the church. After a few years though she was no longer the secretary and I decided I needed to get a computer. What a difference that made.

Most writers spend hours at a time writing. Not me. I had a full-time painting business with employees, and I had to be to work by at least 8 A.M. So, I chose to write early before I went off to work, and for only about 20 minutes at the most. I would usually do my bible reading and prayer first, and then tag on the writing. It worked well that way; and since I rarely missed my morning devotions, I hardly ever missed my writing time. It became my regular morning ritual—or an extension of my devotional time. And though some days it was hard to get into, after each writing session I felt a sense of peace and accomplishment. And it helped to set a good tone for the work day.

I kept that same ritual for as long as it took me to write my first book (20 years), and even a few years after that. Now however, since I am semi-retired, things are a little different.  I still have my quiet time in the morning, but I prefer to do my writing at a separate time. For my more technical writing, it is always easier to be near my computer, because I do so much of the research on the computer. But for the writing I am doing at this present time, which is my own story, I find it easier for me to go to a restraint and write while drinking my coffee. I also—as I am doing at this very moment—like to sit in my truck under the shade of a tree, with a coffee or water. I found a place at a park and ride location where there are several shade trees, and I hear the noise of the highway just 50 yards away. Some may regard that nose as annoying, but I’ve gotten used to it and is even kind of soothing—a good noise for writing.

My Retirement: Life Is Slower These Days

This is the trail I walked on just after I wrote this post.

My retirement. Let’s see. Where to start. Life is a little slower these days. Everything is in small increments. I plan it that way. I am 69 years old. I have been officially retired since I turned 63. Or was it 64? Actually, I’m only semi-retired. I still work a little. I have had a residential painting business since 1981, and I occasionally get calls from faithful clients. I am proud to say that most of them still like me and know I will do a good job for them—so if it’s a small job, I don’t mind doing it. I can always use the money.

It’s Saturday morning and I’m at Perkins, trying to decide if I should get pie. I may not be able to resist—even though I had a great breakfast. Yes, pie would be good. Pie and coffee. Ah, life is good. God is good!

Now that I’m on the subject, I will share my breakfast schedule. I don’t know why, but much of my doings is scheduled these days: my eating, my time, my jobs, my duties—everything. I like to think ahead and know what I’m doing. I guess it makes me feel more secure and in control. But I know that as a Christian I must also leave room for the Holy Spirit to lead me. So I will not be too set to my to do list.

 So my breakfast schedule is this: Saturday is Perkins, Sunday is coffee and doughnuts at church, Monday I will eat at Panera—Coffee and steel cut oatmeal, Tuesday at McDonalds (cheaper), Wednesday I will eat oatmeal with fresh pineapple at home (I make it), Thursday and Friday are a little more flexible, but I usually go back to Panera again. And when I go out to eat, I always stop at my favorite gas station to buy a newspaper, and I usually bring a book too. I do most of my reading when I eat.

I don’t think I mentioned that I am single—divorced. But I’m happy to be single. It gives me more freedom to do what I want to do. I don’t think I’m a selfish person. I like people. But I also enjoy living by myself.  I regard it as a gift of God; and I think He has called me to it.

I was reading this morning from Psalm 139:5, how God has enclosed me behind and before, and He has His hand on me. He not only keeps me safe; He keeps me feeling secure, and I know that He is always near me. He takes me gently through the different phases of life. He knows what I need, and even gives me things (services) that He wants me to do. He keeps me busy doing His work.

Mainly, I think that the service He has given me is writing. For the last 30 years I have been writing as a self-publisher. I also do blogs. I have two other blogs going besides this one. So writing keeps me very busy, and I am glad to be doing it. I don’t make much money on it, but I’m still glad to do it. It’s the Lord’s work and I know that the benefit people will get from it will be my heavenly reward. It is now filling up my heavenly treasure chest. Well, I think this post is finished, and I didn’t even have pie. But I feel fine—very content.

Hobbies: How The Jigsaw Saved Me

This is the puzzle I’m working on: Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

Yes, I remember vividly when doing a jigsaw puzzle saved me from going crazy. It is probably my best hobby. In this post I want to write about my hobbies and the value of hobbies.

I just started this new Personal Blog a few days ago and I have big plans for it—something I’ve been thinking of doing for a while now. A typical blog focuses on one main subject. But this personal blog is much more inclusive. It will cover everything I am interested in and want to write about—that is, everything that I feel will be interesting to my audience—to you. Here is a list of categories I am planning to write on.

  • My Life Story (with ten sub-categories)  
  • My Salvation Story
  • My Work
  • Church life
  • Singleness
  • My Devotional Life
  • My Writing
  • My Hobbies
  • My Books (promotional)
  • Books I’m Reading (short summaries)
  • Political Interests
  • Bible Prophecy (mainly why I am interested it the subject)
  • Sermon Notes
  • Critical Issues (problem issues that are a particulate interest to me)

So far, I have been writing on my writing style and also on my interest in politics. I will probably write more on these topics down the line, but I don’t want to get stuck on any one topic for very long. I will change now to the topic of hobbies…

How the Jigsaw Saved Me

I remember the day well. My wife of six years announced that she wanted a divorce, and she demanded that I leave the house—and our four children. I won’t go into the details, but the memory of it was that I was devastated and almost in shock. I knew we were not communicating, but I really didn’t see divorce coming.

When I moved out, the only thing I took with me was a card table, a chair and my favorite puzzle. I left everything else with her. After all she had the kids. And I knew that I didn’t need stuff. But I had to have something to keep me sane—besides prayer. So, I sat at that card table and prayed and cried, and put together that puzzle. I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to think too hard about my situation, lest I become bitter. So I did the puzzle. God gave it to me to calm me down—to save me from going crazy.

What is a Hobby?

I looked up “hobby” on my computer thesaurus. It gave me these words: diversion, relaxation, pastime, sideline, leisure pursuit. That’s a start, but we can add a lot more to it. It’s something that’s fun for us. As I mentioned above, for me it was something that calmed me down and kept me from overthinking my situation, and from getting bitter and thinking vengeful thoughts. It really helped me to pray. Because when we pray it requires that we say to God, okay I give up. I will leave everything to you. I can’t do anything about it anyway. She had made up her mind and I knew it.

You know, since my divorce (thirty years ago) I have continued to do puzzles. I’m doing one right now, a 2000 piecer (pictured above). I’ve been at it for a long time. I do it a little every day. I try to get at least two or three pieces together a day. Did I tell you it was a hard puzzle?

One of the things a jigsaw puzzle will do for you is give you a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. As you see the puzzle coming together day after day you will actually feel your poor life come together. And this is also true of other hobbies. I like to do wood working. I haven’t done it for a while, but I have been able to make a few pieces of furniture. So much fun. And the joy is in seeing it come together.

I suppose you could also consider watching TV and movies a hobby. But you have to be careful that they don’t become an obsession and a huge waste of time. Anything you do as a hobby (to relax and for fun) has its limits and purpose. We should never allow it to take over our life so that we find that we are using it to escape daily responsibilities. TV I think can especially do that. If we allow it, it can become an idol.

My New Free-Flowing Blogging Style

This is my second article for my new personal blog. Actually, I wrote it a while back but now I’m rewriting it because I thought it would work well for this new blog. I have four other blogs going: a prayer blog which I started I think in 2011, then a few years later I began a bible prophecy blog, and then more recently I began a political blog and also a nature blog. The first two blogs are still going fairly well, but the nature blog and the political blog aren’t doing well at all. So, I have decided to delete those and put this one in its place. It will be freer flowing and easier. The following is the article I wrote a while ago. I think everything is still relevant.

My New Free-Flowing Blogging Style

Up till now, when I’ve blogged, I will usually study a subject, do research, or go off of other sources, especially on the topic of politics and government. I just haven’t felt confident enough, or really smart enough. I have never really been interested in politics or government so I have felt that I need more input. But recently I have been thinking that it would be good for me to think more on my own, to develop my own thoughts. I think it would stretch my mind out a little. And I think it would help me to be able to more freely and confidently express my thoughts—even though most people tend to be quiet on the subject of politics. They are so afraid to talk about it—about Trump. I guess we are afraid of starting a fight and a very tense situation. People where I live—in Minnesota—don’t like that. We are Minnesota nice. We are so polite.

I’m not sure what I will blog about on this subject, whether it will be just rambling, or on a particular topic. I think I should have some direction, some topic. Here are a few political topics I have in mind:

  • How I got more interested in politics
  • How I have been thinking about President Trump
  • The evil democrat party
  • The never Trumpers
  • Why the Dems are so hateful of Donald Trump?
  • What will become of the U.S. if Trump gets re-elected, or if a liberal like Bernie Sanders get elected.

Wow, that sounds scary to think of Bernie Sanders as President. But sadly, I think our country may be headed in that direction…. after Trump.

But maybe we should think more positively. Maybe 2020-2024, with the house and senate as Republican we will see the country being forever set in a new direction, with a godlier government. We should pray that way. We can be a shining light to the world—until the Rapture. After that I think the U.S. will be gone. I mean since so many of our people will be taken to heaven, I’m afraid other countries will sweep us up—like the EU.

Well, these are my new thoughts. Hopefully, the Lord willing, I will be able to continue on this path of freer blogging. Maybe next time I will have something more specific to blog about.