Here’s life-changing wisdom from Joel Osteen’s “Live to Give” chapter in Your Best Life Now:


I’ve been going about this all wrong—for my entire life actually. I can relax around people now. I never have to be afraid of them again:

I don’t need to be codependent, controlling, advising, rescuing, or fixing them. That doesn’t work anyway, and they don’t like it.

I don’t need to be bitter and cut them off completely when they spout nonsense or are unkind. Hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude or inconsiderate, I can be almost certain that she or he has some unresolved issues inside. The last thing she needs is for me to respond angrily. Evil is never overcome by more evil.

I don’t have to be charming. I don’t have to do anything to prove myself worthy of their friendship or attention. That pressure is gone.

All I have to do is change my mindset: be a compassionate LISTENER. That’s all people really want. So many people have pain bottled up inside them. They have nobody they can talk to; they don’t trust anybody. Our world is crying out and desperate for people with compassion, and to experience the love and compassion of our God. They are looking for a friend, somebody who will be there to listen to their story and genuinely care. If I can open my heart by merely having an ear to listen, I may help lift that heavy burden.

If I feel famished for friends, sow seeds by reaching out to others. Maybe they’re lonely and would love to be invited on an outing. Even if they don’t want to go, they might feel important to be thought about and asked.

Perhaps I feel I have nothing to give. Sure I do! Somebody needs my listening ear. My listening ear is the best thing I have to give.


mount-everest.jpg  UPDATE:  In 2008, I last posted about the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest. Tonight Jaime and I went to the movie Everest  that showed the event. Awesome movie. I’m so glad they made it and did a good job. It wasn’t “glammed up” Hollywood style–it was completely true to Krakauer’s book. Highly recommended. So heroic, so tragic, so sad, so fascinating. Here was my original post:

Lately, I’ve been fascinated by Mount Everest, specifically the people who climb it, and the tragedy of 1996 when twelve people died trying. I’ve read Mountain Madness about Scott Fischer, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, and The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev. You could be the best mountain climber and have reached the summit many times before, but if a storm blows in, or a mistake is made, or you get altitude sickness — nothing can save you. You can’t be rescued because the air is so thin, a helicopter can’t fly. Friends can’t even carry the dead bodies of their friends down from the mountain, because it’s all they can do to save themselves. Climbers simply step around frozen dead bodies and keep pressing upward.

Why do they do it? It’s sheer mental and physical torture to climb the tallest mountain in the world. Krakauer says that mountain climbers are, by their very nature, obsessed and beyond reason. I think part of it is the way it forces them to be in the moment. Every second counts, every step can mean sudden death, and there’s no room for the petty worries of the workaday world. It is a clear, pure experience. That kind of willpower and focus fascinate me.

I know I could never climb mountains. Occasionally when visiting Colorado, I’ll look up at the peaks and think, “I wonder what it would feel like to climb that mountain and be up there?” But Krakauer says after he came down alive from Mount Everest, the simple act of walking barefoot to a warm bathroom made him ecstatic. Yep, I’m content to read about it, not do it.




My To-Be-Reads

99931c2095a59c8ddb1aa8534e78dc89   Oh, come on, autumn! Hurry up! I’m eagerly anticipating new book releases by four of my favorite authors:

On the writing front, Larry Brooks is adding to his excellent how-to’s with STORY FIX: TRANSFORMING YOUR NOVEL FROM BROKEN TO BRILLIANT. I live by his advice from previous books, Story Engineering and Story Physics. He is so helpful and so right.

The newest thriller by Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child is coming out on November 10th– CRIMSON SHORE. It’s the newest novel featuring FBI Special Agent, Aloysius Pendergast, along with his friends, loves, cohorts, and diabolical enemies. Pendy!

Inspirational pastor, Joel Osteen, has a new book, complete with Study Guide: THE POWER OF I AM. His writings lift me up.

And, last but not least, we’ll have a new offering from the Murder, She Wrote series by Donald Bain/Jessica Fletcher. These come out every April and October like clockwork, and I have them all. This one is a Halloween book, THE GHOST AND MRS. FLETCHER.  Is an old house in Cabot Cove haunted? Delightful fun.

Oh, hurry autumn! Come quickly! I just can’t wait!

Best Bookstore Pickup Lines

imagesFY5T0OVV  “Excuse me, could you point me toward the Self-Help section? I need some advice on how to approach a gorgeous girl in a bookstore without seeming creepy.”

“I don’t know about you, but I found Dave Eggers’ latest effort to be really derivative. Just kidding. I don’t even know what ‘derivative’ means. God, your eyes are pretty.”

“I’ve got a great reading light by my bed.”

“Have you seen a copy of tax tips for billionaires?”

“You’re pretty nicely stacked, too.”

(These were rounded up from the internet for your enjoyment by my friend Melanie Tighe (author Anna Questerly). She owns the Dog-Eared Pages bookstore in Phoenix.)

Don’t Break the Chain

imagesEN139F1FHere’s a present for you for 2015.

It’s a motivational tool developed by Jerry Seinfeld. When he was first starting out, he realized the only way he would make it would be to write new jokes every day and just keep doing it. So he created a calendar called “Don’t Break the Chain” and marked off every day that he wrote. After a while, he just couldn’t bear to break the chain!


Karen Kavett has created a new 2015 calendar that you can use for writing, running, Weight Watchers–anything! Print it out for free at:

Here’s to a happy and productive new year!

Faces from the Past

Hey, history lovers! I found two great web sites with extraordinary photos of real people from the past. Writers, find some new characters!

One is the Pinterest page, “Faces from the Past.”

The other is a blog, “My Daguerrotype Boyfriend.”  (“Where Early Photography Meets Extreme Hotness”)

Here are two of my favorite photos. Enjoy!

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