Top 10 List of all Top 10 Lists

Do we sweat the small stuff?

So many people feel over worked, over stressed and things are are way over complicated! Technology for example is supposed to make our life easier, but it doesn’t. In most cases because just like with many procedures and processes, PEOPLE make it way more complicated than it needs to be. Personally, I like to use the “KISS” method, “Keep It Simple Silly!” It’s just a… wait for it… Common Sense approach to business practices. Or as I call it nowadays, “Rare Sense”. Because common sense isn’t so common anymore! We have to try to remember 100 different log ins and security protocols for everything we need to access, and heaven forbid you have both business and personal accounts! Then there is Google always trying to “remember who you are”, and all of our personal information… Yeesh, give us a break already!

Thinking about the technology driven world we live in now, we seem to be online just about every day. We are always searching, researching, paying bills, and socializing… And when searching just about any topic online, especially on Google, you will notice that so many search results are about “Best”, “Top” and “Lists”. Search engine algorithms tend to like those keywords.

God’s Top 10 List

So like a coffee pot on a Saturday morning, this got my brain percolating! What would be THE Top 10 List of all Top 10 Lists? Google and I would have to agree to disagree on the search results for this topic. For me, there was no question and only one search result came to mind. That’s right, God’s Top 10 List, The Ten Commandments!

Some say there were actually 15 commandments, but one of the tablets fell and broke, and that’s how we ended up with 10. Take it easy, kidding of course, it’s just a joke! But seriously, can you think of any better example of simplicity and common sense? In our over-bloviated society, don’t sweat the small stuff, but do remember and enjoy the simple things that God has bestowed upon us!

And look, we all like stuff! We like to have nice cars, nice houses, a pool… and there’s nothing wrong with that. I believe that God wants us to be happy and enjoy life, to have a sense of humor and laugh. I’m sure that he may question and shake his head sometimes at my sense of humor, but I’d also like to think that I give him a chuckle from time to time. In my opinion, it’s ok to not feel guilty about enjoying those things, as long as we remember that they are just that. Material things. Things for our pleasure, but certainly not the most important things. I think the most important thing that we have is our faith and belief in God. If you didn’t have any of those things, if all those things went away, remember that you can still be rich in Christ.

I say we keep God’s Top 10 List number 1 on our chart, and keep God number 1 in our heart! And hey, I’m no theologian, I’m not even that smart. I’m a “Christian under construction”, because I need God to work on me every day! But I try… I hope you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to share it. Have a blessed day!

Memorial Day – it’s not just about big box stores and mattress sales!

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who lost their life while serving in the United States military.

So thinking about that… There are SO many who have given SO much, and yet have asked for SO little…

These service members from every color, creed, and nationality proudly and courageously stood and fought for the flag, family, and country. They made the ultimate sacrifice!

So as we get to celebrate at a BBQ, maybe share a little extra family time, and just enjoy life in general… all I’m saying is, let’s just remember, and think about (even if only for a moment), why and how we get this luxury. I hope this blog article inspires a little awareness and just gives a shout out and a toast to all service men and women who have served, and who do serve currently in our military. We appreciate you!

At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to give a shout out and a BIG THANK YOU to just a few of my friends who have served in different branches.

Ken King – MS – United States Army

Justin “Flic” Posey – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Greg Marlow – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Thomas Davis – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Dennis Brewer – Brookhaven, MS – United States Army

Brad Pope – Jayess, MS – United States Marine Corps

Tammy Boone – Prescott, AZ – United States Marine Corps

Chris King – Jayess, MS – United States Air Force

Carlos Gallo -Prescott, AZ – United States Air Force

Memorial Day History.

So here’s a little history and what the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs says.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, IL., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866.Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South.

Official Birthplace Declared: In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

Personal Story.

My uncle was like my dad, I mean sure I had a biological father who left when I was really small, and I had a step-father who was a… (Well, we’ll just leave it at that) Anyway, my aunt and uncle were always there for me, and treated me like their own. My uncle, “pops”, was really my only actual father figure and was just “my dad”. Pops was a body man and painter, and worked for various car dealerships around the New Orleans area. Some of the bigger places like Benson, and some small shops too. But Pops was also a Navy Vet who served in Vietnam.

My pops was a strong man, but he never really talked about his time in the military, heck I don’t even know what Navy ship he was on. But I can tell you this, one of the only things that he ever talked about REPEATEDLY to me and my two younger cousins was how he got to see Tina Turner perform in Japan! That… he went on and on about for sure. And hey, we all know that Tina Turner can dance her butt off!

One of our little jokes was that Pops made it through the Vietnam war ok, then he gets home and while riding his Harley, he hit a pothole and shattered his shoulder! But what I didn’t know or even comprehend at that time, especially being a kid, is what some of our military personnel go through just on a daily basis. It wasn’t till much later in life that I found out a couple of tidbits, such as… Can you imagine being on a ship at sea and having to walk by stacks of dead bodies every time you went to the bathroom? Can you? I mean, wow! Think about having that memory.

I then understood why Pops didn’t talk about it. And I also didn’t find out until years later, after he passed away, that he actually had been awarded a Navy Bronze Star.

So why did I tell that very personal story? It’s about awareness and understanding!

There are so many wounded veterans out there who need help and support.

And it’s not always something physical and obvious that you can see. Just to name one organization who helps with that… WoundedWarriorProject.org

You’ve seen the commercials… The Wounded Warrior Project is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded military veterans.

Wounded Warrior Project statistics show “more than 52,000 servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 living with invisible wounds, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experiencing debilitating brain trauma.”

The Wounded Warrior Project can help service members transition back into civilian life, sometimes it can be tougher than you might think. And for every warrior and family member, it can certainly be a different journey and needs to be addressed on an individual basis.

Their focus is on Veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound while serving in the military on or after September 11, 2001.

Another great organization, the VFW!

www.vfw.org

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. The VFW is one of the most respected voices in Washington, D.C., and within local governments across the United States.

The VFW is the largest and oldest war veterans service organization, they have a long and proven history of providing vital assistance and support to America’s military service men and women. The VFW offers a wide range of assistance programs aimed at helping veterans of every generation.

I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention a friend of mine, Mr. Greg Marlow who served in the United States Army and has been involved with this great organization for several years.

Commander Greg Marlow served at VFW Post 2618 in Brookhaven, MS.

Commander Marlow is relentless in his passion to serve the VFW and fights for the rights and support for American Veterans EVERY SINGLE DAY! God Bless him!

In closing…

When and if you can, please consider these two great organizations when donating. (Please remember that the VFW has local places, so check your local listings.)

WoundedWarriorProject.org

www.vfw.org

Thoughts and prayers go out for all of our military personnel who can’t be home right now, and their families. We appreciate you! May God Bless you and keep you safe!

And… Please remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice!

From sea to shining sea… Oorah!

The Marines’ Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.


Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.


Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve.


If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

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Going Postal! With Squirrelly McNut!!

The one thing that I can say for certain about the Post Office is that they always, ALWAYS… make sure that I get my bills on time! HEY, just a little Postal humor!

The Postal Service is one of our oldest federal agencies. And although a lot of us tend to take them for granted, we still rely on them EVERY single day!

And let’s be real, I mean, would you go get into your vehicle and drive somewhere to bring a letter to somebody’s house for $.55 cents?

Probably not, so let’s not complain about the cost of postage stamps going up to 55 cents… Have you shipped anything with UPS and Fedex lately? Yeesh!

And can you imagine way back when transportation such as railroads didn’t even cover the whole country? We had… the Pony Express baby! Those horse mounted Mail Carriers famously sped mail to cover the entire rest of the country. For example like the 1,800 mile route from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in which mail got delivered in just ten days. Now that’s dedication! And… possibly a commercial for preparation H. Butt anyway… (pun intended) Have you heard of this?

National Thank a Mail Carrier Day!

Ok, so how many of you know that February 4th is “National Thank a Mail Carrier Day”?

Wait, let me rephrase that. How many of you that are not Mail Carriers know that February 4th is “National Thank a Mail Carrier Day”? Exactly! I was thinking “why don’t Mail Carriers have a day? Maybe I’ll start one.” I thought that I was about to spearhead and create something special, but nope, after doing some research, I found out that it’s actually already a thing. I had no idea! But I guess that’s actually kinda the point of this blog article dedicated to our US Postal Workers. And we need to use February 4th as a reminder of appreciation that “SOMEONE” makes sure the mail gets through 6 days a week and 52 weeks a year! Bringing us toilet paper from Amazon, and masks, and all of our meds, while we got to stay home, safe in our beds. Because through rain, shine, sleet or snow… even in a pandemic, Mail Carriers are still on the go!

A little Postal history.

The U.S. Postal System was established on July 26th 1775, with non other than Ben Franklin as the first Postmaster General. He put the foundation in place for many aspects of today’s mail system.

During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns.

In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight.

In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.

Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 500,000 career workers. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products.

So let’s show a little love, support, and appreciation to our Postal Workers!

And remember when February 4th rolls around that it is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day!

Because the Post Office gets the mail delivered whether it’s rain, shine, sleet or snow… even in the middle of a pandemic, mail carriers are still on the go!

I hope this blog article brings a little happiness and appreciation to all of you Postal Workers out there for the important jobs that you do. From a humble Christian Author in Mississippi, We appreciate you!

Special thanks to the History Channel and various other sources for their input on this article.

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Press Release – by Christian Faith Publishing.

Dwayne Smith’s newly released “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School” is an enchanting tale of a squirrel who goes to school and learns many things, especially friendship.

“Squirrelly McNut Goes to School” from Christian Faith Publishing author Dwayne Smith is a wonderfully constructed masterpiece about a young squirrel who gains many insights and experiences as he goes to school.

“Squirrelly McNut Goes to School”: a vividly illustrated book about a squirrel whose first day in school becomes a cherished moment filled with companionship and wisdom. “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School” is the creation of published author Dwayne Smith, a graduate of Topeka-Tilton High School in Mississippi who currently resides in Mississippi with his wonderful wife, Lauri, and their eight rescued dogs.

Smith shares, “Meet Squirrelly in ‘Squirrelly McNut Goes to School.’ This is a story that will just make you feel good!”

“It’s the first day of school for our main character. He is excited, nervous, and a little afraid. He discovers that school wasn’t as scary as he thought it was going to be. He learned some lessons, made a friend, and found out how much fun it could actually be to go to school. And really, it’s everyone’s story in a sense; at one time or another, we’ve all been a little scared or nervous about a new school, a new move, or a new job. And for our main character Squirrelly, he soon overcomes his fear and anxiety. He makes friends, has adventures, and just may learn some good values and lessons along the way.”

“When you read this story, I sincerely hope that you feel as good and happy as I feel every time I read it. This is a short, simple, and wholesome bedtime story that hopefully illustrates innocence, morals, and good Christian values.”

Want to post a comment or find out about future titles in the Squirrelly McNut series? Please visit Squirrelly’s website, www.squirrellymcnut.com.

“And if you really, really like the story, then tell everyone! Thank you!”

Published by Christian Faith Publishing, Dwayne Smith’s new book gracefully imparts resounding positive virtues to children that they can surely practice toward others.

Follow the touching adventure of Squirrelly McNut to school where he discerns new things and meets new companions to call friends.

View the video trailer synopsis of “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School” on YouTube and Squirrelly’s website.

Consumers can purchase “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School” at traditional brick and mortar bookstores or online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes store, Books-A-Million, or Barnes and Noble.

For additional information or inquiries about “Squirrelly McNut Goes to School,” contact the Christian Faith Publishing media department at 866-554-0919.

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The Publishing Process… It’s Habbening! – Becoming an author part 3.

The Publishing Process… It’s Habbening!

So at this point by now, you would have researched and found at least a couple of publishing companies that you were interested in. After you make contact, typically by phone, but could be by email or a “contact us” form… The first thing that you are probably going to do is submit your “manuscript” or story to a representative at the publishing company, I emailed mine, emailing the document is more than likely the preferred method, but I’m sure that you could send it in a different way if you’d like. The publishing company will let you know.

As I’ve mentioned on my book’s website ( www.squirrellymcnut.com ) and in previous blog posts “Becoming an Author” articles part 1 & 2, my book publisher is Christian Faith Publishing. So when I sent in my manuscript, it was forwarded to their “Review Board” to see if what I sent in was good enough to be published and if it was something that they might be interested in. This took about a week or two, and I was called and given the good news. And for me, it was an AMAZING phone call, I of course was THRILLED!

And so it begins.

So just to give you an idea of what kind of time frame to possibly expect, I signed the contract / agreement in June 2019, and my book was actually published in January 2020. The paper work from Christian Faith Publishing (CFP) was pretty straight forward and easy enough to understand, even for someone like me who had never done this before. Although I did have questions along the way simply because I didn’t know the terminology and it was my first time going through the process.

I was assigned a Literary Agent / Publication Specialist and CFP also has an online “Author’s Portal” so I was able to logon anytime to check the progress, updates, or for any questions and concerns that may have come up. Although, my Literary Agent always kept me informed and up to date with what was going on. Also, everyone that I worked with at CFP was always quick to respond back to me to answer any question or concern that I may have had.

Everything gets approved by you!

I’m now going to lay out kind of a timeline of the chain of events as the process gets rolling. And, every step of the process had to be approved by me before moving to the next step.

Editorial Review: An editor will thoroughly proof your manuscript for grammatical errors, spelling errors, and redundancy. They will identify any issues with sentence structure, word usage, etc. This process could take a couple of months to complete. The “editing” part is typically considered the most grueling and hardest part of the process for writers. So try to be patient.

Typesetting: A typeset artist will lay out the pages of your book and implement elements of typographical style like for example font, font sizes, line spacing, and page breaks to enhance the style and overall aesthetics of the book. Basically trying to make the final product the best that it can be! Your typeset artist will also properly place any illustrations, photographs, etc as needed. This part of the process typically takes a month after the editing is completed.

Cover Design: After your approval is given for the typesetting phase, an artist will start working on your custom book cover design using your input.

Illustrations: The rest of the illustrations are completed as well. There was a form that I filled out describing each character and every scene in detail, the more details and descriptions that you can give will help the artist doing the illustrations bring what you have in your head to life. This part could take 2-3 months, really depends…

Printing: Once your cover design and illustrations are approved, you are sent a digital file of what your book looks like all assembled and ready for distribution. If everything looks good and you approve, it will then be sent to the printer to make a small first batch. This takes approximately a month.

Your Copies: Once the first small batch is printed, you will be sent copies. The number of copies that you will get depends on if you wanted your book to be paper back or hard cover, it makes a difference (you get less with hard cover). Once you receive your copies, you should inspect every one of them to make sure that they look good. You will need to give your approval that they printed correctly, no grammatical errors, illustrations are correct, no smudges, etc. Once you give your approval, now it goes public and can be purchased!

Hooray, you’re a published author!

You are now a “published author”, congratulations to you! Can you believe it? It was a long road to get here, but you did it. But also, the process isn’t quite over just yet…

Video Book Trailer: Even though the book is actually published, Christian Faith Publishing is still working for you. CFP creates a customized book trailer that will highlight your book’s theme and will add a little visual excitement to your title’s online listing to help increase it’s online advertising potential. The video trailer will be on their YouTube channel, their website, and used in your book’s press release. CFP also creates an “author webpage” for your book on their website as well, which will have your book’s video trailer.

eBook Creation: After your printed books are completed and the video trailer is created, they begin the process of converting your book to the various eBook formats and upload them to online merchants like itunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. You know, for those folks who like to just download a digital copy of books to read on their ipad, Kindle, and other devices.

Press Release: Finally! The final step in the CFP publication process is to issue a press release announcing to the world that your book is now available for sale. It has arrived! I mean, technically it’s maybe been out there for sale around 2-3 months already, but there’s a lot of people who just don’t know it yet! You will get the press release “draft” around a month after the eBook versions are done. And oh yes, you will need to approve the press release before it is actually “released”.

My experience in a “Squirrelly McNut” shell…

So I mentioned earlier that “editing” is typically the most grueling and hardest part of the publishing process for writers, but for me editing was a breeze. Really the only thing that was suggested to be changed during the editing process in my book was going from “present” to “past” tense, which I was fine with. There was one thing concerning peanut butter in this one line though… They thought that I made a grammatical error, but I had to clarify that I really meant “pea-nut butter” and not “peanut butter”. My main character is a squirrel, and he’s from the south, and it’s his favorite snack. I needed it emphasized…

For me, the illustrations proved to be the most challenging. I think because I knew what I wanted in my head, I just had to convey it properly to the artist doing the illustrations. It took a couple of times, but then it was perfect.

Everyone at Christian Faith Publishing has been great to work with, they want to make sure that you are 100% satisfied with the finished product. I look forward to hopefully having a long relationship with them continuing my Squirrelly McNut series.

Also don’t rest on your laurels, or hardies, when your book is “done”. Start creating a buzz about your book while it’s in the process of getting published. And while a lot of times we focus on and equate success with the book launch, yeah you want to have a good launch, but think about long term. Long term is where the sustainability is…

If you want to be successful, you need to market your butt off!

If you liked this or if it was helpful in any way, please share this or any of the other blog articles that you like with friends and family. And for more information about getting published, please visit Christian Faith Publishing. Thank you! And Good Luck!