As authors and writers, we tend to be sensitive to public opinion about us.  This guest post by Dr. Calvin Metcalf explores the power other people have over us.

AP-CalvinThe power of people to affect us is an interesting phenomenon. We are influenced daily by what people say or do to us. Sometimes it is what they do not say or do not do to us that makes a big difference in our lives. We give other folk a big amount of control over the way we think and act. Our dispositions are often the result of our reactions to the way people have treated us. Our moods are made either better or worse depending on who has been messing with our minds. For some reason we seem to be programmed to let others determine if we are to be happy or sad.

We are incurably addicted to what others think about us. We give away our freedom to be our own person in hopes that we can be liked by other persons. It can be an awkward way to live if we are intimidated continually by the power of people and never find our real identity. The strong influence of other people, however does not need to be a negative factor in our lives. We can be motivated and challenged to do our best because they expect it of us. We can get a better picture of who we are from those who love us enough to share their honest opinions. Continue reading POWER OF PEOPLE

Dolly and the Night Spirits

A re-post from last April and another of my blogs, now closed down, as we fondly remember our girl, Dolly.

Yesterday, at almost 2:30 AM, I was in my office rebooting the modem because we had no Internet.  No; there is no alarm on our system that goes off, waking me up, if the Internet goes down.  No; I have no sixth sense that nudges me from sleep if our connection to the rest of the planet dissolves… in fact I’d have been blissfully unaware of the networking failure were it not for some dog being stuck in non-stop barking mode.

It is warm enough now that we have gone back to sleeping with the bedroom windows open, so we hear more of what goes on outside at night. Marie is able to sleep through such disturbances – I am not. Dolly was trying to sleep and would occasionally go to the window to shout, “Would you PLEASE hush up!” then curl back into her snuggle bed in the corner with a grumble to try and get back to sleep. I am a light sleeper (or so I thought).  Once I am fully awake (for any reason) I will not get back to sleep; I might as well fire up the coffee pot and find something productive to do. Continue reading Dolly and the Night Spirits

Murdering My Children

Guillotine, blog, blogging, closing, cost, benefits
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I recently closed down the Simple Life Prattle blog. This was a painful decision because it was always a fun blog to write and I loved the way it looked.  I must stress that I will continue to Prattle, I simply won’t be doing it on a blog of its own, but here on my personal/author blog.

I have been writing for as many as 6 blogs, plus my magazine articles, plus building web sites, plus working on two books, plus doing my garden and all the maintenance around our property, plus… well, you get the idea.  It was getting overwhelming.  Being overwhelmed was not why we moved to the mountains.  It’s time to simplify. Continue reading Murdering My Children

Book Review: lilabean by K.C. White

Today, Dear Readers,  I welcome children’s author and health blogger Joy O’Hare as she reviews K.C. White’s book lilabean – a storybook about simplicity for grown-up girls.

simplicity, simple living, booklilabean is a truly enchanting story.  It could apply to any of us, struggling to find ourselves among possessions and the struggle of day to day living.  Learning to clear the clutter and find the true meaning of life is a great way to simplify and make life what we want it to be.  Kudos for putting things into perspective!  Hoarders beware.

More Info

You may get more information about lilabean, read a sample chapter and order the print book at www.lilabean.com or buy the eBook from Smashwords

author, childrens book Imagine That!Joy O’Hare lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her cat Libby and is the author of Imagine That!, a collection of short stories for children.  She also blogs about simpler living and returning to nature at Living More Naturally.

Friday Date Night: Destination Space

Destination Space, movie, scifi, classic, 1950sOne of the Simple Pleasures of life that Marie and I enjoy is a standing “date night” where we set time aside specifically to spend it relaxing together doing something we both enjoy.  One of our common interest is 1950’s Sci-Fi movies.  What we call Schlocky Sci-Fi.  We have quite a collection of our own, and we have discovered that we can “rent” others on-line and watch them on our television by patching my notebook computer into the TV with an HDMI cable.  Those we particularly enjoy we will purchase for the collection.

Rentals can be had from Amazon.com, Hulu.com, and Netflix.com.  Pricing generally runs either $1.99 or $2.99 from Amazon (our preferred provider) and both Amazon and Hulu offer some free rentals.

This week’s selection was “Destination Space”.  Details provided with the listing were: Continue reading Friday Date Night: Destination Space


Today is Good Friday so I thought I’d share a piece by my friend and mentor Dr. Calvin Metcalf about why the resurrection of Jesus is important.  For Christians, the events of this weekend are the nail upon which our entire belief swings.  For us it has nothing at all to do with colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, peeps or baskets filled with candy.  All of these came from an ancient Celtic rite of spring worshiping the goddess Esther; the goddess of spring and rebirth.  For us it is the self-sacrifice of Jesus and his rebirth that matter.  If you don’t choose to believe as I do, that’s your choice; peace be with you.

calvin metcalf

The spiritual and emotional energy for Christianity comes from the Resurrection. No other event is as pivotal to the expression of our faith. It is the focus of our theology. We may disagree on the particulars of our faith, but we cling to the Resurrection. Our day of worship coincides with Resurrection day. For most Christians the Sabbath gives way to Sunday simply because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Some of our most optimistic and powerful hymns feature the Resurrection. Gospel sermons resonate with a strong emphasis on the risen Christ. It is an inescapable fact that Christians are an Easter people. We are nurtured in the Resurrection conversation.

Because of the Resurrection we are not worshiping a dead hero, but a risen Savior. Our Lord’s teaching and example were good in and of themselves, but the Resurrection gave impetus to all He said and did. It validated who He was and gave credence to His proclamation. His whole life pointed to this ultimate miracle. Without it His followers could have been disillusioned by seeming defeat. Without it Christianity might not have survived the first century and the memories of those closest to Jesus.

There is a tremendous note of victory produced by the Resurrection.

From the despair of Good Friday the disciples rejoiced in the presence of the risen Christ. Because Jesus survived death, hell and the grave they began to feel it was also possible for them. Because of the Resurrection there is the feeling of eternity about our life in Christ. The future loses some of its mystery because death cannot keep it prey. We began to sense that life is headed somewhere. We are not on a dead-end street identified by a grave marker. We too anticipate a resurrection.

The Resurrection is a strong reminder that evil will not have the last word. Although it seems to prevail in this life, we are moving toward its defeat. People who hate and murder, lie and steal, or cause confusion and discord are not an Easter people because Easter people rejoice in good and not evil. No one deserves it, but everyone is invited to God’s great Easter party. Come, let us celebrate. He has risen. Indeed He has risen.

Dolly Settles In

This article was actually written in 2008, lost in a computer crash, and resurrected when I found it again on a web site – complete with my photos.  So I saved the photos and text back to my hard drive and will post the story here as a Wayback Whensday post.  Especially since Dolly recently passed away and we are focusing on remembering the good times we all shared.  And yes, I am now doing a weekly back-up of my hard drives! 

This weekend we have been officially moving into the new house.  I began facilitating this move on Friday by bringing over a couple truck loads of boxes of stuff from our storage room and stashing it in the big closet that will serve at our storage room in the new place.

We have been mindful of the advice often offered which says that if you have boxes of stuff from your last move that have never been opened, you should just throw them out and not move them again.  But, while we have not (often) opened most of these boxes, we know what’s in them and don’t want to toss (most of) what’s in them. Continue reading Dolly Settles In

Book Review: Torch Ginger by Toby Neal

mystery, crime novel, Hawaii, Toby Neal

Torch Ginger is the second book in the Lei Crime Novels series written by Toby Neal, the first being Blood Orchids.

In this book, main character Leilani Texeira is a police detective who must lead her team in solving serial murders that involve the disappearance of a certain class of tourists and are probably cult related.  These murders occur on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i, which is, as Ms. Neal’s story describes it: “…the last of the Wild West, a jungle paradise of secretive people and strange spiritual forces.”

The first obstacle Detective Texiera encounters is the fact that murders have been occurring for some time and the police have not noticed.  The second comes in the form of the ambitions of others on the police force with whom she serves. And there is the issue of a past love, someone she is desperately trying to leave behind, being assigned to her team. Add in the fact that Lei falls in love with one of the suspects, and throw in a spiritualist who is consulting on the cultic aspect of the case, but seems more interested in Leilani’s personal life.  And there is Leilani’s past; something she doesn’t like to talk about but threatens to interfere with her ability to do her job, and you have the threads that weave the tapestry that is Torch Ginger. Continue reading Book Review: Torch Ginger by Toby Neal


This Spiritual Sunday guest post by Dr. Calvin Metcalf makes some great points about self image, regardless of your spiritual beliefs.

AP-CalvinHave you ever wondered why some people do not like you?  No matter what you do or do not do, they find you rather repulsive.  Since it is a normal tendency to want people to like us, we often grieve when dislike is obvious.  Our frustrations are compounded when, to us, there are no apparent reasons for their rejection.  It hurts to feel the hate of others when, in our hearts, we know it is not our intention to hurt anyone.  If we are people who provoke conflict, then we can expect some “eye for an eye” reactions.  But if, in the sincerity of our souls, we promote peace, then it is strange when others do not respond peaceably to us.

It seems that some folk need a few people toward whom they have an adversarial relationship, and at times we become their victims.  It may be that we remind them of someone who hurt them in the past.  It may be that we did not have the same opinion on some issue, and some people have tender egos when it comes to disagreement.  Perhaps we do not share the same enemies, and that creates problems for folk with hostile attitudes.  Again, it may be that we are perceived as being different and for some, conformity is a “religion.”  There are a variety of ways to analyze the dynamics of people’s dislike of us for no apparent reasons. Continue reading LEARNING TO LIKE OURSELVES

Making Sense of Your Web Site Statistics

We’ve all seen the ballyhoo about how all authors should have a web site to use in promoting their books.  There has been a lot of talk about adding a blog, what to show on your web site, selling from your web site, what kind of content to provide and how often it should be updated.  But one thing that hasn’t been mentioned much is how to determine if the web site is doing you any good. Statistics will tell you this.

Aside from an increase in book sales, it’s hard to know if a web site is helping you.  If you’re trying different types of campaigns which ones work, which ones don’t?  The answers often lay in the traffic reports that are available from your web host.  That usually looks something like this: Continue reading Making Sense of Your Web Site Statistics