Living Just A Little: The Conversation

Moments of Disconnection

December 14, 2013
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We live in a day where almost everywhere you go someone is on the phone, an I-pad, or some other kind of digital device chatting it up with someone in the nethersphere.  Just go to the store, a sporting event, the movies, and even church and you will see people are constantly “checking” their devices as if they will probably miss something if they don’t.  I observe students leave their classroom and begin dialing before they reach the end of the doorway.  It seems that everyone is trying to stay connected with everyone…everyone else other than those with whom we share a physical space.

I am neither a technophobe nor a techno-hater.  I enjoy changing technology and revel at the possiblities to accomplish my everyday tasks more efficiently and faster.  Sometimes it is just cool to have the latest and the greatest.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  What I caution is the allowance of technology to be the substitue for true human interaction. There is a commercial for a cell phone service which talks about creating your calling circle.  I have found that these devices make it easy for us to fortify our circle of acquaintances, creating a wall where new possibilities for interaction become difficult. In the novel,

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Ellis has that wall around him.  He doesn’t use the latest gizmo or gadget, he has simply dredged a moat to protect his feelings and emotions from being exercised.  It is clear that with or without technology, we as humans can shut ourselves away from others for so long that our loneliness becomes a way of life. The digital world claims that we are more connected than ever before.  There is evidence that with all of Twitter comments, YouTube videos, and instant news on stars and celebrities, there are many people who find themselves less and less connected to those who can truly make an impact on their lives. Next time you are on the bus, waiting for a train, in line at the grocery store, or any other social setting…take a breath.  Before you grab you phone or pad, say hello to the person next to you.  Enjoy the moment of disconnection from the nethersphere and re-connect by using the original social network…a smile and handshake. As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little? ~GAS~ Got a response in 140 characters or

Enjoy the moment of disconnection from the nethersphere and re-connect by using the original social network…a smile and handshake. As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little? ~GAS~ Got a response in 140 characters or less…@GuySims6 Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little

Living Just A Little is available here

Discount Code:  Devon (Case sensitive)


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The Hole That’s Left Behind

December 8, 2013
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Recently I learned a friend from college passed away.  Immediately, my mind went to a place of memory and melancholy.  In my moment of pause, I reflected on conversations, smiles, questions, and times of utter confusion about the future.  Over the years, with each encounter, our parting words were “I’ll see you later” or “The next time”.  Now, as I stand aside and allow life to continue the path it holds for all of us.  It is a bitter pill to swallow, knowing that our last “next time” was truly…our last.

People come into and out of our lives at a pace we cannot control.  When they come in, our lives are full, rich, and grow with each and every interaction.  When they leave us, there comes a gaping hole in our continuum of our pathway of living.  We make note of what we no longer have, a muting of synergy, the abandonment of a mutual future that will no longer happen.  This hole has the ability to grow and consume our everyday living.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, all of the characters experience a loss of their own; Parents, friends, lovers, and self.  They take their own journey into the holes of life, seeking light, seeking life.  Not everyone finds what they need but they all will eventually find something…what they do with it is up to them.

They call it “passing” because truly, we all are just passing through this world.  We have to make the best and most of the time we have with the people we are with.  And the hole…the hole is now for us to take the best of times…the best of the memories…the best of what we mean to each other…and fill it in…and that is one way for all of us to be whole.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little Pinterest page

Discount Code:  Sylvania (case sensitive)


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Life’s Mystery As Viewed From The Women’s Room

July 6, 2012
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Recently I rushed into a Walmart to use their lavatory…bathroom to the regulars. In my haste, I accidentally walked into the women’s room.  The facility was empty so for a moment; I put no thought in the room, but as I prepared to take care of business, I began to sense that something was “not right.”  For a milli-moment, I stood there, looking around the room and could not piece together why I felt uneasy…why I felt unfamiliar in a space that should be (pardon the pun)…second hand.

Then the elements of the room came into my consciousness.  It was an absence of urinals and the tampon dispenser which jolted me into an embarrassing retreat.  Stepping out of the room I came face to face with a woman who was on her way in to take care of her own business.  As much as I could muster up, I blushed and offered an apology for being where no man should ever tread.  I quickly leaped into the sanctuary I knew well and eventually laughed at the ridiculousness of the event.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Ellis is the man who first unknowingly steps into the women’s room.  He feels that he is living a life that is vaguely defined yet cannot put his finger on why his world is that way.  He has done what others have expected of him, but that has only placed him in an opaque sphere of existence.  Every day he hopes to step out of the fogginess of his daily life and be taken to a place where his sensibilities are embraced and give him purpose.

There are many of us walking every day, wondering why things don’t seem to quite right.  It is as if we are in a familiar place but something just doesn’t sit well with our souls.  As the experience in the women’s room, it takes a time to pause and take inventory of where we are…whether it recognizes the urinals are missing, a satisfying relationship, or a dream we have not dared to come true.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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Dancing For Life

June 24, 2012
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A year ago I attended a homecoming reunion.  At the party, people were having a wonderful time socializing, reminiscing, and reconnecting with friends from days gone by.  The music served as the way-back machine, setting a mood which washed away contemporary day-to-day concerns and cares.

From between the beats, the strobe of the lights, and the refilling of cups, I noticed, alone in a corner, a woman dancing.  Not simply dancing as many others in the room, she seemed to be in a trance.  Her eyes were closed, the expression on her face was solemn instead of celebratory, and her arms, wrapped tightly about herself, served as a means to balance her as she swayed back and forth to an unheard rhythm.

My attention was drawn fully to her as I began to understand her state of mind.  Watching her hypnotic haze I gathered a truth to the enchanted choreography.  There are those who come to homecomings to re-live the past and then there she was, one who returned to recapture the past.  I could clearly see in her face she had abandoned her pains and trials and was now mentally back in the day on campus.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Twist found a way to ease her heart and the club was the place.  Her close friend Sylvania could not understand why she allowed herself such abandon, to set her spirit free on the dance floor. No one could guess that her dance was not for joy or festivity but for her very life.

We all seek moments of escape from the daily grind…allowing for moments to responsibility-free…days and moments of unrestricted pleasure.  When that desires descends upon you…wherever you are…just dance.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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Fortress of the Lost

June 7, 2012
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LOST (Adjective). 1. having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.: lost children. 2. not used to good purpose, as opportunities, time, or labor; wasted: a lost advantage. 3. The definition of Ellis’ brothers.

There is a duality of experience of being lost.  For some, the act of being lost is extremely scary.  Not knowing where you are or how to get back to safety produces anxiety and terror.  The same goes for those who have a friend or loved one who has gone missing or astray.  Unfortunately, the saddest situation is someone who doesn’t realize or care they are lost.  Those individuals are the hardest to be found even if they are in our daily presence.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Ellis’s brothers are lost in wildernesses of their own. Crime, drugs, anger, and hate are the fortresses that bind them being from true freedom.  The fortress they exist within is deceptive, offering them unsatisfying pleasures and twisted understanding.  Sadly, as much as Ellis’ mother tries, there are no keys to release the locks…so they remain lost, shut away from life, from love.

Sometimes it takes a call in the dark. Sometimes it is a small light.  Sometimes it is a marker on a path.  There’s always a way to bring someone back to the safety and comfort of family and friendship.  There’s always a way to return someone to the open door of community. There’s always a way to guide a lost ship ashore…only…if they want to be found.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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Eyes of the Weary Warrior

June 4, 2012
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Several days ago I stepped into a small restaurant to grab a bite to eat.  While I waited for my order, I noticed a man with his two children huddled around him.  At first, I thought they were trying to decide what to order but I heard a shakiness in his voice as he wrung his hands nervously.  He spoke softly to his children, apologizing with every two or three sentences.  I tried not to intrude upon his space but as a father myself, I was drawn to see how the interaction would conclude so I turned my face just enough to catch a glimpse of his eyes.  I could see there was a sadness…an uncertainty…but all of that shown in his eyes were masked by his words that things would be better.  He then gave his kids a tight hug, they exited the restaurant, and then gone.

Being a parent comes with the requirement of wearing an armor to protect you and loved ones from the weapons of the world.  The challenges of work, raising children, relationships, ghosts of the past, and visions for the future hack away and bludgeon the armor.  Each day, as parents we find ways to patch the holes, dents, and punctures so that we can stand tall for another day.  There are times our armor shines, indicating strength and confidence.  Other times, our armor is worn, rusted, and barely holding together.  It is in that moment we need to seek rejuvenation from someone other than ourselves.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Carl’s armor has worn thin.  The battles he was able to withstand before now have pummeled him to a point of being vanquished.  The vim and vigor of his old spirit has fallen away like the  strong breastplate that once protected his heart.  Once the warrior, Carl has become a weary shell of a man.  Instead of seeking the love and care from others, he feels there is one last stand to take.

I will never know what the man said to his children that night.  I don’t know what reservoir of strength he could draw from to attempt to make things right.  As I thought about him, I prayed he knew the words to an old gospel song…

When I’m tired and so weary but I must travel on

till the Lord comes call me away…

…There’ll be peace in the valley for me, someday

There’ll be peace in the valley for me

There’ll be no sadness or sorrow or trouble I see

There will be peace in the valley for me.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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You So Grown

May 29, 2012
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Everybody is fascinated with growth.  School science teachers revel when their student’s science projects show plants moving through their various stages of life.  What business doesn’t want to see a positive trajectory in their revenues?  Parents marvel at children as they mature with time.

For many, growth is a scary thing.  While physical growth is natural, it is the emotional growth that is easily  stunted.  Like all transformations, it requires strength, pain, time and will.  It has been said that life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.  If that is true, there are a lot of zombies walking among us.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Devon wants to grow but doesn’t have the courage to do so.  The prospect of being who he needs to become is scary.  This fear constructs shackles of self-restraint-limiting his ability to revolutionize his soul.  Resulting is  a man living in darkness, wilting away from life…one emotion at a time.

We should strive to plant ourselves in places where we can grow free and strong…to grow into our optimal selves.  More importantly, we must also be supportive of others who seek to change themselves, helping them grow into the people they wish to one day be.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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The Bitter Taste of Truth

May 24, 2012
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“You can’t handle the truth!”  The seminal quote from the film A Few Good Men reveals a human reality.  We often request the truth, especially when it applies to someone else.  For our truths, it is a bitter elixir with a long-lasting after taste.  It is the mirror which reflects our truth with crystal clarity, stripped of flaws and blemishes.  It is a self-portrait absent of facades and ornaments which conceal blight, bruises, and blemishes.  The truth we seek to avoid is a voice which cannot be muted.  Though it may hum quietly in the background of our subconscious, it never grows silent.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Twist has a truth she has been suppressing for a long time.  A crippling truth of which she has given the power to stymie her growth as a person.  Over time, she has become unable and unwilling to extend her arms and embrace the truth which blossoms into a bountiful life.

Truth, as they say, is found when we are free to pursue it.  Unfortunately, we sometimes do not know that we are free.  When we live in the shadows of our lives, we have exiled ourselves from our values and beliefs.  Fortunately, like the prodigal son, we can come home, home from the truth we have avoided.

That’s the truth!

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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Looking for Yourself in the Crowd

May 20, 2012
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Humans, by nature, are social creatures.  We often seek out relationships with others whom we feel share similar ideals and values.  Social groups come and go as we mature or interests change over time.  Friends from elementary and high school sometimes fade, only to be replaced by collegiate and co-workers, another generation of people to be involved with, to share with, to be with.  Albert Schweitzer is noted as saying, in everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Sometimes when the light that Schweitzer speaks of goes out, we seek the next available spark to re-ignite our flame.  Like moths drawn to the bug-zapper, we know what we are looking for but not readily aware of what might be awaiting us.  It may appear that there are those who wish for us to be a part of their circle when in fact; they are waiting to ensnare us, drain us of our strength, and then discard us as a spider would the carcass of a fly.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Sylvania’s mother, Willy, as lived a lonely life and now has found a glimmer of hope in the association of strong and powerful people.  She knows that they look down on her, but she feels their company is worth more than the loneliness she experiences every day.  The harder she works on belonging, the further from herself she descends.

Whether it is with one person or with a group, there should be the mutual experience of giving and taking which eventually benefits all who are involved.  Each person serves as the strength to build the other.  It is hard truth in understanding that there may be times when we must be strong in standing alone rather than finding ourselves deteriorating in the midst of the crowd.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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Mother’s Day Tears

May 15, 2012
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Flowers, church, chocolates, gifts, and long waits at the restaurant are part and parcel of the Mother’s Day experience.  Family from the far corners work their hardest to pick up Mama, visit Mom, and definitely, call Ma on this special day.  Like the beauty of her special hat and the fragrance of the sweet bouquet, Mother’s Day is more than an event; it is a moment that registers deep within the memory of mothers and children alike.  For this twenty-four hours, Mother’s Day is filled with smiles, stories, and tears of joy.

Unfortunately, for some of our moms, there are tears which she sheds deep within the privacy of her heart and soul.  As children, we can go astray, dismissing her words of wisdom as emotional chatter.  We forsake her guidance with the belief that our immature compass holds the only direction.  And when we travel down the darkened road of wrongdoing, we become deaf, feigning not to hear her soul-wrenching plea come home.

In the novel, Living Just A Little, Ellis’ mother, Lynn Parker, grieves for the sons she has lost to the hardened elements of society.  She sojourns through life finding pieces of peace with each step that leads her away from her sons.  She prays for the day when the next tear that falls from her eye will be for their safe return to her loving arms.

To our sons and daughters on drugs, in prison, who have forsaken their children, or simply trapped in life’s whirlpool of trouble, there is a spirit which has never stopped surrounding you.  It only takes the extension of a hand, an open ear, or a whispered word to feel a love that, as described by the poet Helen Rice, A mother’s love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking.

As you look to tomorrow, ask yourself…are you living your life to the fullest or simply living just a little?

~GAS~

Living Just A Little is available here

Take a visual tour of the intersecting lives in Living Just A Little


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