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!

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.

And if you enjoyed this blog, please remember to share this or any of the other blog articles that you like with friends and family. Thank you!

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.

Please share this or any of the other blog articles that you like with friends and family. Thank you!

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!

Teacher Appreciation Week!

Hey, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week!

Let’s make sure to thank all the teachers, coaches, and educators who you know that simply TEACH students without having a political “I hate America” agenda, or some other crap!

They seem to be getting rare, but they do exist in schools across the country, and they need our support. Now more than ever!

To all of the teachers doing it right, who truly care about the children and their education, WE THANK AND APPRECIATE YOU!

Reading, Writing & Arithmetic…

I graduated in 1986 from a small humble school out in the country in Jayess, MS. Topeka-Tilton High School (now Topeka Tilton Attendance Center).

We may not have had fancy tech equipment for class, or even computers. But what we did have were teachers, coaches, and overall educators who just taught! Do you know how many of our teachers were Republicans and how many were Democrats? Well I can tell you this, I have no idea! Because that’s not what they were there for. Our teachers were concerned with teaching us things like History, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, etc Life skills like how to balance a check book, home economics, how to use a saw, a welding machine, an acetylene torch, and of course how to make paddles in shop class for them to beat us with… 😀  It was awesome! But oh yes, if you got out of line, then you got a sore behind! It wasn’t like some of this stuff that goes on today, teachers were able to beat your butt. And they should be able to!!! Anyway, we also had a Future Farmers of America program that taught us about Agriculture. Looking at how things have “progressed” in our country, I feel like we were just so lucky and blessed that we had some outstanding teachers and coaches with no political agenda, just a passion for teaching! And I don’t know about you, but I have met people nowadays who are in their 20’s that can’t even tell time if it’s not on a digital device. And they were considered “smart” in their class! I mean, wow…

We Roared!

“Who are who are who are we, we are we are we are THE, L.I.O.N.S. Lions Lions we are best!” That’s right, we were Topeka-Tilton Lions, and WE ROARED! 1985 District Champs – Basketball, just saying…

Our school also had a modest little music program, aka: Band Class. And for a smaller school, our sports teams, both boys and girls, were pretty darn good! And the reason that we were pretty darn good, sure we had some talented athletes, but we also had some talented coaches that were pretty darn good themselves. They taught us, they trained us, and they developed us! And we didn’t have any of that “Politically Correct” garbage back then either, there were no “participation ribbons”, and it wasn’t about your “feelings”… You had to actually earn merit! And if you weren’t good enough, then you practiced and you worked hard to improve yourself to be better. I can only imagine that if some of these kids nowadays were told some of the things that we were told in the locker room, they would be “OFFENDED” and curled up in a fetal position in the corner, needing a safe space and a counselor. Not to mention what would happen to those poor coaches.

Teachers Rights! And Wrongs?

In my opinion, teachers need to have the right to discipline kids again. We need both God and paddles back in school! Teachers, teaching staff, and bus drivers should not be terrorized on a daily basis by people’s bratty undisciplined kids! When you hear “Nobody better not lay a finger on my kid”, the Principal should have the authority and the RIGHT (without frivolous, and frankly BS legalities) to be able to tell those parents to just take their little ‘Angel” somewhere else then. Some teachers really care and fight hard to educate students, and if you have a constant disruption in your class, it’s not fair to the teacher and it is certainly not fair to the rest of the students who are trying to learn.

So what do I consider wrongs? The teachers that seem to have a sole purpose of infiltrating public schools and brainwashing kids to believe that communism is good and America is bad. Think about how long this has been going on, we now have a whole group that has graduated and are now of voting age. All of the sex education and gender crap that is introduced to kids as early as kindergarten. Drag queen story time, some of these guys have even exposed themselves to kids. I just recently saw a video where a stripper is doing… “performance art” on a pole in front of a group of small children. And there is SO much more, it’s just disgusting! The parents, teachers, schools, libraries that are promoting this… Where the hell is CPS? How is this ok? What in the hell is going on???

But this is why we really need to support and appreciate all of the good teachers out there doing the right thing! Just teaching! Teaching kids how to read, write, add & subtract… Or just how to tell time!

Unfortunately it seems like the “bad brainwashing” teachers are the ones who currently have all the rights, meanwhile the “Good Teachers” out there are the ones who get persecuted and assaulted. You see it online, on the news, in the paper… A coach laying on the sidewalk getting kicked by a group of teens, a teacher getting stabbed at school in a classroom. It’s just not right! When I was an officer in law enforcement, I always used to say that if I made it through the day without a brawl… It was a good day! And even though what I went through on a daily basis, I always felt bad for teachers. Because at least I could defend myself, and I signed up for that kind of stuff, they didn’t!

It really makes me angry that good teachers have to be concerned for their safety in some areas! Safety and security should not have to be a daily thought for teachers. How about we enforce and modify the laws, and just get rid of the scum instead? Also, why do teachers (or students) have to pay for school supplies out of their own pocket? Too much tax money goes to “Superintendent” or other “Administrative” things, I would encourage you to actually read some of those “School Bonds” etc when they are proposed, before you vote on them. For example, say NO to millions of dollars going to private bathrooms with showers for administrative staff, say YES to allocating that money to school supplies, lunches, and pay raises for teachers, principals, bus drivers, etc. NOT THE FAT CATS driving around in cadillacs, they can go home and shower!

For all those teachers, coaches and educators doing it right, please continue being that beacon of hope in the dark of night. Be mighty and be just without hesitation, cause we depend on you, from preschool through graduation. As young minds develop and fill with knowledge, teachers instill the tools that are needed for college. I say to you, whether you’ve traveled near or traveled far, think for a minute about who you are… a policeman, a mailman or even a preacher, we all got where we are, because of a teacher!

Dwayne Smith

So once again to all of the teachers out there doing it right, this week and every week, WE THANK YOU!