Easter Sunday 2016 – And My Mirror Moment

Mar 27, 2016 by

Hoppy Easter Sunday, 2016. 

May you and your family find the rich blessings of our Lord in your world today.

Having A Kid Away At College During Holidays

I re-learned yesterday, when my twin 16-year-old daughters came over for an early Easter lunch, that holidays can be/are far different when you have your eldest 10 hours away at Auburn University. Empty spots at the table take some getting used to. Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 4.46.21 PM

I dressed up for the twins to come–usually I am dressed in a t-shirt and shorts so I don’t mess up clothes while cooking the proverbial fatted calf. Yesterday, it was a white dress shirt and a seasonally-appropriate green self-tied bow-tie with white polka dots. A picture has been included.


So much is in flux in my world as I sit here today sharing a few thoughts.

Sheered Great Pyrenee

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.46.23 AMA week and a half ago now I took Maycee, my 20-month-old Great Pyrenees to the groomers and had her winter coat shaved. Whew. No more hair all over the place, but she’s been needier than ever. Has even been sleeping in the bed with
me and she had stopped doing that about a year ago. Now, when I sit here at the desk trying to work, instead of sitting in the floor next to me, she’s rubbing up against me. In many ways, I feel like I have a two-year-old child with separation anxiety. I will be glad when she regains her self-confidence. I had no idea dogs could feel embarrassed, but it’s clear that’s what’s going on. One of my neighbors said, “You should know better than to mess with a woman’s hair. We take that seriously, you know.”  Lesson learned. But I’m not sure how to avoid it next year.

FileMaker Is Challenging My Left-Brain

I have spent hours upon hours the past few months learning the deeper levels necessary for the development of database projects in FileMaker Pro. By nature, God made me a writer, which means I do most of my work out of my proverbial right-brain. Left-brain work is not something I’ve ever been really good at but I am doing everything I can to use the other side of my smarts–heck, I’m 50, it’s about time, right?  Two significant development projects are underway. (And I just got bumped into by Maycee.)

J. Suzanne Frank

One of the smartest people I’ve ever come to know is J. Suzanne Frank, the director of Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program.

In the past year and a half, I’ve been through all of the early portions of the program and have been under her instruction for at least half of it. Suzanne has written and had published EIGHT books. She knows her stuff and it is reflected by the results of the Writer’s Path program.

Having two completed manuscripts in hand, I’m now taking her special “Gap Year Revising” class where she is encouraging us to put our works through the wringer to get them into shape to be presented to agents and publishing houses in New York in November 2017. (I make mention of the date so as to emphasize to you that writing a book isn’t something one does in the space of a Hollywood movie and it gets sent to the first agent/publishing house, they love it, stop the presses, print it and then it’s on the shelves for everyone in the world to buy at Barnes & Noble in a few weeks.)

Friday, Suzanne circulated a post from another writer on non-rules to follow for budding writers. They’re pretty good and I’ve added the link here.

But last week’s revelation to us was something Suzanne calls “The Mirror Moment,” and her theory, which we’re validating in this week’s homework, is to find the point–typically EXACTLY mid-way through a published work of your choice, where a character is at a point where they can see they must make a change and can see what their life will look like if they don’t make one for the better.

It was a pretty stunning revelation to learn and while I’ve found it hard to find in other works this past week, I am finding it.

Emerging Butterfly

The past few years of my life I’ve been in something of a cocoon. Considerable learning with self-taught programs like Linda.com and several howScreen Shot 2016-03-27 at 9.47.45 AM-to books have vastly improved my skills as a graphic artist, video editor, digital book publisher, and ultimately, has moved me into the field of novel writing.

The agonies of the past few years have been many, but I’m seriously trying to turn a corner–I’m having my own mirror moments–and can see how I don’t want to live the last years of my life.

I won’t go into them now, they’re really still fleshing themselves out. It’d be like taking a butterfly out of its cocoon without letting it do all the exercises necessary for its wings to dry out and strengthen so it can fly on its own. Doing so kills a fledgling butterfly.

But the Mirror Moment is my life epiphany for the week, I suppose. Brought on by the teachings of again, one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. What changes MUST you make in your life to set it off in a better course than you’re heading on now? Words to ponder.

Hoppy Easter to one and all.

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On Auburn’s Sidelines Tonight Watch for Officer Melvin Owens

Jan 10, 2011 by

Aubie, Auburn's popular highly-animated costum...
Image via Wikipedia

UPDATE: The Game Tonight Begins at 8:30 EASTERN/7:30 CENTRAL

One of my favorite people ever to come out of Auburn University has been Major Melvin Owens, the executive director of security and public safety.

When I met him in 1984, he was in the investigations unit of the Auburn University Police Department. Since I spent more time at Auburn actually writing for the Auburn Plainsman than I did going to class, I soon developed a good friendship with Melvin.  Often riding my bike back to the CDV-Extension from the paper, I’d stop by and tap on the window of the detectives room to catch up.

Melvin was always good for a laugh and when I saw him here in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl in 2008, he was just as jovial as ever.


Melvin used to love to go to Auburn basketball games in those days.  We had Chris Morris, Chuck Person, and had just seen Sir Charles Barkley–(We called him The Bread Truck) leave for his career in the NBL.

One particular night, Melvin had arrived at a basketball game before I had and I’d stopped to check in with him.  He was laughing about Auburn’s mascot Aubie. Aubie has a tradition for being just on the sane side of wildly crazy.  He’s played usually by two guys each year.  One typically does the first half of a game, and then spots for the other the second half.  He’s a flirt.  He dresses in crazy attire.  He’s won the national mascot championship for being, well, Aubie.

So that night Melvin was laughing because just before I got there Aubie had been running to jump over a table and he hadn’t made it.  “He just jumped over a table and his foot came off.”

At the Liberty Bowl game that year in Memphis, as usual, Melvin was down on the sidelines with Coach Pat Dye.  He’d told me to come down at some point and he’d try to get me onto the sidelines.  I did, but the Liberty Bowl staff didn’t budge on letting me down.  It’s okay though.  It still means a lot to me today that Melvin at least tried.

Melvin’s Career

Melvin has been through a lot of changes at Auburn since the days when I was there.   He’s seen the police department folded and the law enforcement handed back to the City of Auburn.  He’s seen Coach Dye, Coach Bowden, Coach Tuberville, and now Chizik.  But the one thing that’s remained the same about Auburn sidelines has been Melvin Owen.  Some day the guy should write a book. He was even there the night the Georgia Section got out of hand and Chief Jack Walton turned the sprinklers on them.  Remember the chant the next time?  (Hose em back, Hose em back, Way back!)

But tonight, I can only imagine what all he’ll be thinking about.  All these many years he’s been down there a foot or two behind the coach, and I’m fully expecting to see him there tonight, too.

He’s been on quite a journey and no doubt would be humbled to be mentioned here.  He’s never been about attention for Melvin.  And that’s just another thing that’s made him all that more special.

War Eagle, Melvin.  And congrats on tonight.

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