Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Mayans Made a Calendar

By Keith N Fisher

Today is the last day. At Midnight, 2011 becomes history. 2012 promises to be an unusual year. Depending on who you talk to, and which method you follow, it’s the end of the Mayan calendar, which means the end of the world???? Some people claim the ancient Mayans made a calendar that ends in December of 2012. So naturally it’s a forecast, right?

Okay, each year, I get a new wall calendar with only twelve months. If we follow the above logic, then the world should end each year. Instead, we print a new calendar and get on with our lives. I guess we could assume the calendar maker knows something, and we should crawl into a hole to wait out the destruction.

Yes, I’m being facetious, but when He gave signs and clues about his second coming, Jesus said, “Know man knoweth the hour.” According to scripture, there are dozens of major events that must happen before the end comes. All of those things will take a little time, so maybe the Mayans weren’t predicting anything. Then, again . . .

Also, in 2012, there will be another US Presidential election, how many of you are already getting tired of the posturing? Like with Christmas music, I get so tired of it, by the time the big event comes, I just want it to be over. I get sick of dreaming of a white Christmas. There must be hundreds of different people who sing, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful . . . well, you get the picture.

In 2012, the public accusations will rise to a new low. I’m already sick of politicians who continue to blame the other guy for the state of the country. Each side has an agenda and they try to make us believe the other side won’t work with them. I’m thoroughly fed up with selective memory and apparent hypocrisy. With all the, my way or the highway, maybe the Mayans were right?

So here we sit on the last day of sanity, on the edge of a big year, with financial gurus forecasting devastation. I find it interesting, that it was the financial institutions that got us into the mess we find ourselves in currently.

Now, before you think I’m preaching gloom and doom, let me tell you a story. On New Years Eve 1999 I stood in a discount club warehouse and watched all the people pushing trolleys loaded with canned goods and emergency supplies. I wondered why, if they were worried, they hadn’t prepared sooner. There was a threat that the computers in the world might shut down with the change of the century. Since computer clocks started in the nineteen eighties, the experts wondered how the systems would interpret any date without nineteen hundred something in it.

In the weeks that followed, I saw ads everywhere. People wanted to sell their emergency supplies. The catastrophe didn’t happen and they were trying to recoup their losses.

It’s true that stuff happens. Sometimes it doesn’t, but Jesus said,
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Trust in him. Live your life. Be happy, and be at peace. Connie posted a blog this week and talked about setting her writing goals. I plan to do that, because, hectic or not, 2012 is the year several of my books will see the light of day.

May you accomplish all your writing goals this year and may you find peace. Good luck with your writing---see you next week---unless, of course, the end comes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Holiday Hustle

By Keith N Fisher

I havent filled my list. Well, the truth is I never made one. My wife went out on Black Friday and came up empty handed. She has a new plan for next year, though. She’s going to eat Thanksgiving dinner in the line in front of the store.

She knows what she wants to buy before she shops. Me, on the other hand . . .
My daughter and I went shopping to find her mother a Christmas present the other day. Neither of us could think of a suitable gift. Just goes to show where our minds have been.

I’ve been too caught up in the day to day. The holiday hustle and service, has taken a back seat. Then, there was this guy at work . . .

One of my customers came in talking about the Idaho lottery. He said several of his friends had chipped in, and he was on his way to buy tickets. He asked me what I would do if I won. I told him I don’t gamble, but I remember hearing about the employees of a construction company doing what he was doing. They won big money.

To answer his question, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the money if I won, but the group I’d heard about kept working and used their winnings as a hedge against inflation.

The conversation got me thinking and I surprised myself. I told my friend I would keep working and start a foundation to give anonymous gifts to needy families. I assure you I’m not that service minded, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it would be the right thing to do. I think it’s what Jesus would do.

Then, the thought occurred, that it’s easy to make that kind of decision with a hypothetical winning lottery ticket in hand. The true nature of my thoughts, while holding a stack of cash, might be entirely different. Would I pay off the mortgage? Spoil my daughter? Fix up the house?

Of course, there are many loose ends I need to tie up, but I like to think I would also help others.

After coming to that realization, I thought of all the past Christmas’ when giving was paramount in my mind. Christmas in the mission field comes to mind. The first ten years of marriage does also. There were times in my life when my heart was in the right place. So, where is my heart now?

Losing jobs and reinventing myself while promoting my writing career has left me somewhat, self-centered, I think. With all of that self-promotion, it’s hard to remember others. Yeah, it’s an excuse, but it helps me justify my actions. I missed two opportunities for service this week. I could’ve been there, but I got lost in the holiday hustle.

It’s true, life is simple in retrospect, but I’ve decided to change. I really would love my job to be a choice, instead of a necessity. To be able to help others, and spend quality time with my family. So, I’m taking Jacob’s advice from The Book of Mormon,

17 Think of your "brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that 'they may be rich like unto you.
18 But "before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the 'kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to "do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. Jacob 2:17-19
pasted verbatim

Just think about what would happen if I substituted the words writing success, for the word riches.

I’m posting this on Christmas Eve. Later on, I’ll be working. Like last year, I’ll come home from work, wake my family, and see what Santa left under our tree. Then, before church, I’ll take a short nap and plot my strategy for serving others. In the mean time, here’s a cute little video you might enjoy.

Merry Christmas and good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

a Quick Thought

By Keith N Fisher

Now, just a quick thought.

My friend posted a fun little thing on Facebook the other day. Some of you will get a kick out of it. I found it interesting to note, however, that all of the time and labor saving devices we have today were invented by my generation. Perhaps we are to blame, but would you really want to go back to the old ways?

Roger “B” Heilman posted,

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the disposable kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.