instigating a life, one story at a time…

Monument Road

ImageThis is a work of fiction set in a real place, which means the author has allowed the maps to be wrong on occasion, the characters were granted permission to turn up where they never did in life, and a girl in 1989 may read a poem from the 13th century no matter when it was translated, screams the disclaimer to songwriter, playwright, blogger, essayist, journalist and now author Charlie Quimby’s debut novel Monument Road. It is a hilarious start to a novel that is anything but that.

Charlie Quimby is a natural and masterful storyteller which comes through in his debut novel, which is a gem of a beauty. It makes reading a pure pleasure as the reader is transported to the world of Leonard Self unwinding his ranch for his tryst with destiny – to take the ashes of his wife, Inetta, up Artists Point and scatter them to the wind. It was a year and a day ago that his wife died of cancer. Before her death she made him promise what he’s planning to do today. And he has made up his mind to take his promise a step further – to throw himself off with her ashes. And that day is today!

Since the day of Inetta’s cremation, Leonard has been making arrangements for this day. He was withdrawn, reclusive, and secluded which was a far cry from the time he was with his beloved wife. Along their life’s journey, they had touched many lives, notable among them being Inetta’s brother Elliot and a young alcoholic called Vaughn with lofty dreams, compelling Leonard to think aloud: “If you did your best and persevered, good things might happen, but goals were better left to kids playing games, where the baskets were nailed down and the posts were buried. In real life, things moved on you.”

Think of yourself as Leonard trying to explain why he’s giving away his dog, you would fumble too. And Inetta’s friend becomes suspicious. Though he has withdrawn into a shell of his own, they deeply cared for him. And think of Leonard snaking down Colorado National Monument, with the ashes of his wife in a ceramic container next to him. And the thoughts going through his mind!

Written in simple but beautiful prose which amplifies the mood of the story, Monument Road with its memorable and unforgettable cast of characters, rich landscape and sweeping storyline delivers a powerful tale that will leave readers clamoring for more. It is a must-read for everyone. If you are planning on reading just one book this month, this should be it. (Click on the book cover to go to Amazon)

Format: Paperback
Pages: 365
Publisher: Torrey House Press
List Price: $16.95
Release Date: November 12, 2013
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937226255
ISBN-13: 978-1937226251

CHARLIE QUIMBY is the author of Monument Road, a debut novel coming in November 2013 from Torrey House Press and is at work on a quasi-sequel. He’s a fourth-generation Coloradan who spent most of his career in Minnesota after studying at Carleton College. Following an early stint as a bookseller and historical playwright, he wrote for the Minneapolis Star, Honeywell and then his own company, where he was an award-winning writer, annual report creative and marketing strategist.

ImageHe is a co-author of Planning to Stay, a guide for how to assess your community and take control of its development. Since 2004, he’s blogged about culture and politics at Across the Great Divide and splits time between his two home states, where he writes fiction and volunteers with the homeless. He can also be found online on Facebook and on Twitter @CharlieQuimby. In the real world he is likely to be near his wife, his computer or his bicycle.

Interesting puzzle

There are 30 books of the Bible in this short piece. Can you find them?

This is a most remarkable puzzle. It was found by a gentleman in an airplane seat pocket, on a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, keeping him occupied for hours. He enjoyed it so much; he passed it on to some friends. One friend from Illinois worked on this while fishing from his john boat. Another friend studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Taylor, a columnist friend, was so intrigued by it she mentioned it in her weekly newspaper column. Another friend judges the job of solving this puzzle so involving; she brews a cup of tea to help her nerves. There will be some names that are really easy to spot. That’s a fact.

Some people, however, will soon find themselves in a jam; especially since the book names are not necessarily capitalized. Truthfully, from answers we get, we are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or scholar to see some of them at the worst.

Research has shown that something in our genes is responsible for the difficulty we have in seeing the books in this paragraph. During a recent fund raising event, which featured this puzzle, the Alpha Delta Phi lemonade booth set a new sales record. The local paper, The Chronicle, surveyed over 200 patrons who reported that this puzzle was one of the most difficult they had ever seen.

As Daniel Humana humbly puts it, “the books are all right there in plain view hidden from sight.” Those able to find all of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to be shown. One revelation that may help is that books like Timothy and Samuel may occur without their numbers; also, keep in mind, that punctuation and spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help you compete really well against those who claim to know the answers.

Remember, there is no need for a mad exodus. There are (really) 30 books of the Bible lurking somewhere in this paragraph waiting to be found.

Seeing and hearing God


May God bless your eyes so you begin to see
everyone and everything redemptively.

May God bless your ears so you’ll only hear
words consistent with His voice and His
song over your life.

May God bless your heart that you may be a
wellspring of life for others…

And may God bless your hands and feet that
you may tend to His business during your time
on earth.

Your life matters deeply to Him.

Rest in that fact.

Taken from Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson,
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group
© 2013. Used by permission.

A walk one winter night

a walk one winter night

Click on cover to go to Amazon

Is it too early for Christmas?

Some would say Christmas lives inside you all throughout the year, and no one cares what time of the year it is if it helps you to rediscover the simple joy of wonder!

And mind you, Christmas is not too far away either!

Al Andrews, the director of Porter’s Call, a non-profit that comes alongside recording artists with counsel, support and encouragement, comes up with a refreshingly different Christmas devotional beautifully called A Walk One Winter Night: A Real Christmas Story. What started for Al as a simple, late night stroll to clear his head from the hassles of the season turned into something that can only be described as surreal, like the Christmas season… And the result?

A Walk One Winter Night is based on a poignant holiday experience of the author. Burnt out on the hustle, bustle, and expectations the holidays can bring, Andrews took a late night stroll and wound up rediscovering his real passion and the true meaning behind the Christmas season. This simple message will help readers rediscover the joy of wonder and what is real in the season.

A Walk One Winter Night is a book that you don’t come across too often as it helps you tell your own. It is thought-provoking, nostalgic and at the same time truly inspiring. It helps you to look deep inside of you. The characters are so real they jumped off the page and you’ll have no difficulty identifying with them.

A delightful read, refreshingly different and so beautifully titled, your Christmas season will no longer be the same once you read A Walk One Winter Night: A Real Christmas Story!

Publisher: Freeman Smith
Format: Hardcover:
Pages: 96
Release Date: September 24, 2013
List Price: $14.99
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605875287
ISBN-13: 978-1605875286

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Al Andrews is a counselor, author, and speaker. He is the director of Porter’s Call, a non-profit offering counsel, support, and encouragement to recording artists and their families. He is founder of Improbable Philanthropy, a charity that aids children in crisis through the sale of his children’s book, The Boy, the Kite, and the Wind. To learn more about Al Andrews visit his website or follow his daily journey on Twitter @itsalandrews.

Al Andrews lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife Nita and their sons Hunter and Brent. He grew up in Montreat, North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Inspiring quotes to live by

69044b25aae8e4bf1e8d5a6b438dce27Let the darkness find you if it must. Throw off the quick and tempting escapes, and seek help only from those who would teach you to grow, feed your soul, embrace your heart, but would not steal away your journey || Jennifer DeLucy

Regardless of the situation, don’t give in…and have no regrets …for all things will work out for your own good || Huithiang

As the winds of the storm fortify the roots of a tree, hardship strengthens your spirit || Martin Suarez

No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse || Randy Pausch

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival || Winston Churchill

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face || Eleanor Roosevelt

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty || Winston Churchill

Let this encourage those of you who belong to Christ: the storm may be tempestuous, but it is only temporary. The clouds that are temporarily rolling over your head will pass, and then you will have fair weather, an eternal sunshine of glory. Can you not watch with Christ for one hour? || Williams Gurnall

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope || Martin Luther King

Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines || Robert Schuller

Life is at its best when everything has fallen out of place, and you decide that you’re going to fight to get them right, not when everything is going your way and everyone is praising you || Thisuri Wanniarachchi

And hard times are good in their own way, too. Because the only way you can achieve true happiness is if you experience true sadness as well. It’s all about light and shade. Balance || Gabrielle Williams

Difficult times show true colors, hard times reveal true friends, and the good will be blessed through the pain…Just let go and let God || Unknown

Faith is why I’m here today and faith is why I made it through || Jonathan Anthony Burkett

We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times || George Washington

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering… The love of God did not protect His own Son… He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process || Elisabeth Elliot

Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called to help in diminishing the pain of others. We must all carry our share of the misery which lies upon the world || Albert Schweitzer

God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them || C.S. Lewis

Never question the clouds, they’re only bringing the life-giving rain || Amber Schamel

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering… The love of God did not protect His own Son… He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process || Elisabeth Elliot

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden that have each of them the dew of heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall at each other’s roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other || John Bunyon

Nothing but encouragement can come to us as we dwell upon the faithful dealing of our Heavenly Father in centuries gone by. Faith in God has not saved people from hardships and trials, but it has enabled them to bear tribulations courageously and to emerge victoriously || Lee Robertson

The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars || Henry Ward Beecher ef83029e44361cdcbe1d5676b540a1f83e93cf4916601c78b3

How would you know?

God said…

If you never felt pain,
Then how would you know that I’m a Healer?

If you never went through difficulties,
How would you know that I’m a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial,
How could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness,
How would you know that I’m a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake,
How would you know that I’m forgiving?

If you knew all,
How would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble,
How would you know that I will come to your rescue?

If you never were broken,
Then how would know that I can make you whole?

If you never had a problem,
How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering,
Then how would you know what Jesus went through?

If you never went through the fire,
Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things,
How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you,
How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power,
Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect,
Then what would you need Me for?

- Author Unknown

I can’t tell a lie

smileA little boy called Sam was playing in the yard behind his house. During his pretended fighting game, he knocked over the outhouse. Sam was worried and scared that he would get into trouble so he ran into the woods. He didn’t come out until after it was totally dark. When he arrived back home, his father was waiting for him. He asked suspiciously, “Son, did you knock over the outhouse this afternoon?”

“No, dad,” Sam lied.

“Well, let me tell you a story,” said the father. “Once, not that long ago, Lincoln received a shiny new axe from his father. Excited, he tried it out on a tree, swiftly cutting it down. But as he looked at the tree, to his horror he realized that it was his mother’s favorite cherry tree.” His father paused, and continued, “Just like you, he ran into the woods. When he returned, his father asked, ‘Abraham, did you cut down the cherry tree?’ Abraham answered, ‘Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did, indeed, chop down the tree.’ Then his father said, ‘Well, since you were honest with me, you are spared from punishment. I hope you have learned your lesson, though.’

Then Sam’s father asked again, “Did you knock down the outhouse?”

“Father, I cannot lie anymore,” said the little boy. “I did, indeed, knock down the outhouse.”

Then his father spanked him red, white, and blue. The boy whimpered, “Dad, I told you the truth! Why did you spank me?”

His father answered, “That’s because Abraham Lincoln’s father wasn’t in the tree when he chopped it down!”

Life’s tug-of-war

Life can seem ungrateful and not always kind…
Life can pull at your heartstrings and play with your mind…

Life can be blissful and happy and free…
Life can put beauty in the things that you see…

Life can place challenges right at your feet…
Life can make good of the hardships we meet…

Life can overwhelm you and make your head spin…
Life can reward those determined to win…

Life can be hurtful and not always fair…
Life can surround you with people who care…

Life clearly does offer its up and its downs…
Life’s days can bring you both smiles and frowns…

Life teaches us to take the good with the bad…
Life is a mixture of happy and sad…


Take the life that you have and give it your best…
Think positive!
Be happy!
Let God do the rest…

Take the challenges that life has laid at your feet…
Take pride and be thankful for each one you meet…

To yourself give forgiveness if you stumble and fall…
Take each day that is dealt you and give it your all…

Take the love that you’re given and return it with care…
Have faith that when needed it will always be there…

Take time to find the beauty in the things that you see…
Take life’s simple pleasures and let them set your heart free…

Things are only meant to be used

A man was polishing his new car as his 4 year-old son was playing around. Soon, his son picked up a stone and made scratches on the side of the car. In anger, the man took the child’s hand and hit it many times; not realizing he was using a wrench.

The son had to be rushed to a hospital. But the child lost all his fingers due to multiple fractures. When the child saw his father – with painful eyes, he asked, “Dad, when will my fingers grow back?”

The man was so hurt and remained speechless. He went to the place where his car was parked and kicked it many times over. Devastated by his own action, and so full of remorse, he looked at the scratches and saw what his son had written: “LOVE YOU, DAD”.

Anger and love have no limits,
choose the latter to have a beautiful, lovely life…..
Things are to be used and people are to be loved,
but the problem in today’s world is that people are used and things are loved…

Be sure to keep this thought in mind:
Things are to be used and people are to be loved….

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits they become character;
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

As a father, I was shaken the first time I read this story. I look at my children and tears started rolling down my cheeks. I said a simple prayer:
Lord, teach me to tame my temper,
help me to control my anger, always,
and be not hasty like the father in this story.
Give me the wisdom to discern what’s right and wrong,
when to discipline and how far I should go.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!

I’m so glad I found this story….

In a way I think it helped me to be a better father. I believe there are many parents out there who will benefit a great deal from this story. When you are through reading this story, please take the time to share it with someone. If you don’t pass this on to anybody, nothing bad will happen; if you do, you will have ministered to someone.

The rancher and the officer

Once a DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas, and talked with an old rancher. He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.” The rancher said, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there”, and he pointed out the location.

The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!”

Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.

“See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish…. on any land! No questions asked or answers given! Have I made myself clear – do you understand?”

The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull.

With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he’d sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.

The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs…

“Your badge, officer, show him your badge!”

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