|Posted by EHancock2 on November 3, 2017 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
Well, you know the year is winding down when the East Texas Rose City Comic Con is in the rearview mirror. I'm both elated by the experience and really sad to have it end for the year. The ETRCCC is truly a family. There are people who are from every walk of life in that group. There are gay, straight, able and disabled, black, white, brown, yellow and red, male and female, married, single, dating, divorced and "complicated". There are Christians like me as well as agnostics, atheists and every other walk of life.
I had a very long conversation with an atheist named John. Great guy. Hard worker. I believe he said he had three jobs. Very creative guy too. Entered the short story contest, though he never came back to my table to tell me how he did. I shall have to ask him next year.
Met a really nice woman, Kacee, and her husband. While not anti-christian by any means, their policial and world views are in rather stark contrast to my own.
But there was none of that at the con. Sure, I met some rude people. Some socially awkward people, who weren't really sure where the boundary was. But overall, it was a family environment, as it always is. I enjoyed seeing my fellow author C.N. Pinckard. She's just about as busy as I am, and she drives to cons I often consider to be out of reach for me currently. I have mad respect for her work ethic, lemme tell you.
Honestly, though, I couldn't have done it without my friend, Jennifer. She kept me sane throughout the whole three days. She is very valuable to my career. As much as she is to my life as a whole. Something in her just sets her apart from much of the world. She is genuinely giving. Selfless. How many of you can say you have a friend in your life that is GENUINELY selfless? I can and I am grateful.
So, now it's on to ShreveCon in December. That will effectively end my 2017 touring season. I have not finalized any 2018 dates yet, but you can bet I'll be in Kilgore for the Geek Fest in May and be back in Tyler next October. I would LIKE to do certain other events, but we'll have to see.
For now, I'm gearing up for the holidays and working steadily on the next Mendez books. There are a couple of things I'm not quite ready to announce there, but there will be another series I'm going to work with that ties into the Mendez Series. It opens up a new market and opportunity for me to experiement with some different types of stories. I believe people will like it.
In the meantime, I hope to see some of you in Shreveport in December! For the rest of you, stick with me. 2018 is going to be a banner year for the Mendez Series!
Till Next Time, This Blog Is Brought To You By The Letters W, E and H...AND By The Number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on October 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM||comments (1)|
Yeah, I know, I'm usually better about my titles, aren't I?
Well, actually, that one is pretty creative too, given the subject matter. I finally got around to updating the website with the NEW covers and information for Mourning Reign and Heart Beatings. All of my books are home again. That is to say, I own the rights to all of them and am fully a self-published author now. After the less than ideal experience in traditional publishing, I am so glad to now say I can control the works. I control release dates, editorial teams and promotional efforts. I control supplementary merchandise such as T-shirts and I control distribution and movie rights or TV rights. I don't have to ask permission to do this or that. I don't have to run anything by a publisher or negotiate through a middle man that doesn't care if I have something to leave behind when I'm gone. I don't have to check with anyone on my work anymore and, honestly, that's a great feeling.
I have written about screenplays in the past. My original vision for the books were a series of big screen movies, with explosions and visual effects and full on movie theater distribution. In the past several months, that vision has changed. A series of dreams has truly pushed me in the direction of pursuing TV or streaming services... i.e. the small screen... as the way to go. I actually see it. I've even dreamed about the intro to said "TV SERIES". (That was actually the first dream I had. A couple years ago. But I ignored it as I pursued the idea of a movie.)
I feel like God is pushing me toward a TV deal. I just feel it. There's no POINT in pursuing a movie deal because TV or streaming services is where I belong. With the success of books like Outlander and Game of Thrones, and the adaptations of things like Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans, TV is becoming a power player in the book adaptation industry.
Yes, you have movies like Twilight and Hunger Games. But you also have the example of the Divergent series. With the third movie being labeled a box office flop, producers are looking to move ahead with some sort of TV movie or I've heard possibly a series based around Tobias. (Just a rumor but I have heard that.) I've heard many things about it. PERSONALLY, I think you made 3 movies. The third was a lead-in to the 4th. It's OKAY that it suffered. Wrap it up with a 4th movie and recoup your losses from the 3rd. That would be my theory. I think it's too late now. They needed to make the movies together and release movie 4 a year after. That way they could have bank-rolled. But they didn't. Oh well.
As for me, I can't announce that I have a TV deal. I wish I could, but that's still a dream at this point. But it is a dream. A SERIES of dreams. Dreams I believe will prove prophetic. I haven't yet dreamed of the actors playing the roles of Lisa or Alex. I can't see their faces or anything. But what a hoot that would be if God gave me that dream, eh?
For now, I'm hard at it. and I have to get back to it. These things won't write themselves and I'm a one-man show now.
I hope you are happy with the series, as I am to bring it to you. I know there's some negative commenting going on. That's okay. Even the greats have their detractors. Ultimately, it's about finding my audience.
At the end of this month is the Tyler Comic Con. That will be fun. ShreveCon in December will be new. I sure hope to see some of you there! In the meantime, I'm hungry and I need to write. So, here's to lunch and hard work!
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on September 25, 2017 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
More people need to watch the shows I grew up on. Or the shows my parents grew up on....The shows I shared with my grandpa in the years prior to his death..... We need to get back to watching Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, Welcome Back Kotter, Dukes of Hazzard, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Archie Bunker/All in the Family, Eight Is Enough, Diff'rent Strokes, A-Team, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Cheers, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider, Three's Company, Perfect Strangers, Punky Brewster, Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Laughin, Brady Bunch, M*A*S*H, The Love Boat, WKRP in Cincinnati, Fantasy Island, Dallas, One Day at a Time, Charlie's Angels, Trapper John M.D., Bonanza, Benson, Mork & Mindy, and who can forget Saturday Morning Cartoons? There are a ton of shows I watched that I haven't listed here. There are probably a ton I didn't watch or maybe never knew existed back in the day.
But we need to get back to that..... Those were family times. We gathered as a family to watch the M*A*S*H finale.... and wept as one. We gathered to watch the Dynasty cliffhanger and we asked that age old question as a nation.... WHO shot J.R.? (Lost a bet to my sister on that one btw.)
You really wanna know why this country is erupting into chaos? We don't do family time anymore. Not as a nation. We don't Universally gather to watch the Walton's Thanksgiving Special or a Dukes Of Hazzard Christmas. We don't gather, in our homes, in a universal "Yes". We don't gather with our kids and our parents and just spend that time NOT absorbed in the politics, religion and he said, she said of the world. I know some of you do. When I was with my second wife, I insisted on family time. I believed then (and I believe now) it was important for us to spend time together and time apart. It was important that my wife and I have time AWAY from my son, to just be us for a little bit AND I believed then (as I believe now) it was important to be at every practice and every game and every scout meeting my son participated in. I believed in He and I having father-son moments with ice cream, homework and The Wiggles or whatever show he was into at the time and I believed it was a great thing when his mother took him on her walks in the evenings. But we had our time. Not a day went by without my son going to bed KNOWING he was richly and deeply loved by both his mother and by me.
He graduated with honors. He is now a United States Marine. Even though my ex and I split when he was 12, and she forbid me to see him after that, I can say unequivocally that I contributed greatly to his current life. I loved him. I guided him, I educated him, I supported him, I disciplined him and I encouraged him. His mom and I had many differences, and she did not like it when I wanted to spend time "away from him". She saw it as more a slam against him than needing to get to know her and experience her and bond with her as something other than his parents. So, we argued about that. But I will never say, in my life, that she didn't love him. That's not in question. She loved him different than I did and it took me a while to figure that out, acclimate to it. But she loved him. And so did I. And no matter how much SHE and I fought, my SON never doubted our love for him. He did ask me once if we were arguing because of him. He even apologized for getting in trouble that day. I told him flat out that no matter what his mom and I didn't agree on, we both agreed that we loved him. On the day that his mother took him away for what turned out to be the last time I would see my boy, I held him as he cried, not wanting to go. And I told him no matter how much time passed, no matter what was said or done. No matter where he was or where I was, I was going to love him until the day I died. And I also told him that I was his dad until he told me otherwise. It took a couple years, but I realized I lied to him that day, unintentionally of course. But I lied just the same. When I told him I was his dad until he told me differently, it was a lie. I am his dad because my heart tells me I am. Even if, at 19 now, he were to tell me he was a man and didn't need me to "play daddy" or whatever, he's my son. And will be till I die.
And I will always have the memories of the family time we shared, just as my parents shared it with me as a child and their parents did likewise with them.
We've lost that. Can we please get it back? Please?
Till THAT time, this blog continues to be brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on September 14, 2017 at 5:20 PM||comments (0)|
Well, I wouldn't call this "More Disciplined" but at least I didn't wait 47 months before my next blog, right?
Anyway, I decided to write this afternoon about a topic that has really been bothering me for years. In a nutshell, it's Amazon's practice of deleting VALID reviews while leaving reviews that contain personal attacks and NOTHING about the product being sold via Amazon's platform.
For years, I've been an outspoken conservative. I do NOT apologize for that. I never have. I never will. Many authors tell me I am alienating part of my audience. I tell them quite bluntly, No, I am DEFINING it.
That aside, many people who disagree with me PERSONALLY, POLITICALLY, RELIGIOUSLY or what have you have spent many hours posting fake reviews on Amazon. One star reviews bashing me as a person, not the book that they never actually read. Over the years, I've managed to get SOME of them taken down, but it's been horribly taxing on me to try and keep up with all the bull. When I was less busy, I had the time to check amazon every single day. Nowadays, not so much. Still, I found something yesterday that caused me to check myself on my book numbers.
As of 2 weeks ago, Mourning Reign had over 70 reviews. Doesn't seem like many, and it's not, compared to authors of greater renown. But, to me, it was phenomenal! I'd passed 50 and was on my way to 100! As of the writing of this blog, I now have 57 reviews showing on Mourning Reign. more than 13 LEGITIMATE reviews, most from strangers I met at book signings, speeches etc, deleted by amazon, because they woke up with a burr in their saddle for ol' Edward Hancock II! And that's not all. When I saw that, I started to check my subsequent books.
Sure enough, they were hit too.
Heart Beatings (released in paperback JUST this year, despite being second in the series) had a whopping 3 reviews. As of this writing, it has ZERO.... ZERO! NOT A SINGLE FREAKING REVIEW!? are you kidding me, Amazon? So now I can't have ANY?
Connection Terminated had just crossed 10 a few days ago. As of this writing, it stands at 6, including one that is, in fact, a valid 3-star review by a reader that just didn't connect with the book. I'm okay with that. Fine. It's a legit review. But, they deleted 4 reviews of 4 and 5 stars that were also LEGITIMATE readers. People I'd met at various book signings and such. So, their reviews are not valid because they bought it from me instead of paying Amazon's exorbitant prices, taxes and shipping fees? Really?
I dunno if they've finished with Target: Mendez, but I had 4 last time I checked. Now I'm down to 3. The one they removed was LITERALLY an amazon VERIFIED PURCHASE! I can't even complain that Amazon is picking on people that bought from me here, because they bought from AMAZON and yet AMAZON deleted a legitimate VERIFIED PURCHASE review? It's like they're drunk at Amazon and are just like throwing darts at a dartboard or something to decide which reviews to remove.
Here's where we really get crazy. Last time I checked, Mendez Genesis had 7 reviews. As of this writing, it still has 7 reviews. But I have tried getting them to remove a review which reads as follows: (Titled "Unfair Review") I am not into this super naturar stuff, so I did not finosh the book. Not a fair review.
Not into "super naturar stuff" and thus didn't "finosh" the book. So, I'm guessing reading is likely not a common hobby of this person, or they just are not concerned with editing their own comment. They just wanted to be heard. One, they SAY they didn't finish it. I'm assuming "finosh" means finish. They say they didn't FINISH it because it was (I assume) supernatural? Yes, and it says that right in the intro and BACK COVER COPY.
The back cover copy of this Two-books-in-one story reads as follows:
SPLINTERED SOULS: Tina Miles is a young girl starting a new chapter in her life. When she encounters Devin Snow, everything changes. Deep down, she believes there is more to Devin than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Det. Lisa Warner is convinced there is more to Tina's story. People are dying. No one has answers. What mysterious force binds these Splintered Souls?
BREATH OF GOD: After a horrible accident leaves him partially paralyzed, it takes the enigmatic power of heaven to bring Lieutenant Alex Mendez back from the dead, unlocking a secret as old as time that may have been hidden inside his four-year-old daughter. To make matters worse, Detective Lisa Mendez, Alex's wife, confronts her own demons, all the while chasing the most unlikely of suspects in connection with multiple homicides. Is it possible a seventeen-year-old boy with Spina Bifida is singlehandedly responsible for the worst crime spree to ever hit the small east Texas community? Lisa Mendez believes it is possible, though a thousand questions remain. As with Alex, the answers to Lisa's questions lay buried deep within the innocent soul of her daughter. While Alex searches himself for strength to battle physical and emotional uncertainties, Lisa must search inside herself, taking charge of courage and faith she never dreamed existed.
Enigmatic Power. Demons. Mysterious Force. Answers buried deep within their innocent child. None of this clues a person in that you MIGHT not be dealing with natural forces? Really? You couldn't read that and put 2 and 2 together that MAYBE you might wanna skip it? And the title of the review is "UNFAIR REVIEW." So why is it Amazon will not delete this UNFAIR REVIEW but will delete LEGITIMATE reviews from VERIFIED FREAKING PURCHASES!?
I'm tired of Goliath taking advantage of all the Indy Davids out there. And I tell you, it's about time we unite and do something. Take note Amazon. Publishers are a dime a dozen. You need us. We can publish and sell our books on Barnes and Noble and untold other websites, including our own. We can do as I do, publish our books and then sell them in person at any number of events. You would do well to let your policy of deleting legitimate reviews die. But, hey, that's for you to decide.
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on September 5, 2017 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Well, we've reached September. In 6 days, we will mark another year since the tragic events of 2001 that saw our country put aside political divides and sing "God Bless America" on the steps of our government's capitol.
Why does it always take a tragedy for Americans to cast aside partisan bickering and just be Americans for once? As seen in the recent Hurricane Harvey, tragic events often bring us out of our political foxholes under a flag of truce in order to rebuild what God, Nature or an outside evil (depending on your perspective) has destroyed or sought to wipe out. Now I'm neither here to bash religion nor wax poetic about God's existence. Fact is God exists. I believe. I don't know if He is behind Harvey or not, because I don't concern myself with that discussion. My point is that it took those tragic events for people to quit worrying about statues and debating which lives mattered to an omnipotent God. (Jesus settled that argument for me. He didn't die for one race or another. Jesus didn't die for this or that race to have forgiveness of sin. He died for the WORLD.... "for God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten son...." Again, that's the end of it for me.
As of this writing, Hurricane Irma is churning and burning, making her way toward an as yet unknown location. Will she hit Texas again? Maybe curve in the gulf and hit Alabama? Maybe she'll punch Florida, lose steam and crash into Texas as a Cat 1. And there you go. Kumbaya in the Senate all over again. Two weeks later, it's more partisan bickering.
Just today, President Trump announced the rescinding of the Executive Order enacting the DACA program. He did so in an effort to encourage congress to make official laws governing the treatment of illegal immigrants and their resulting offspring of an illegal border crossing into America. People are still under feet of water in Houston, but the partisan bickering was loud and proud. Now there are those that will argue that Trump should have waited to do something about DACA. It's an irrelevant argument at this point. It's done. Whether or not he should have waited, he didn't. So now here we are bickering when we should be helping Texas Flood Victims and prepping for Hurricane Irma. Oh we'll sing songs and offer prayers, probably hold Moneythons after Irma does whatever she's going to do. But then we'll be bickering soon enough. Unless a fat Asian idiot in North Korea gets twitchy with that trigger finger, in which case we won't have time to sing songs. We will have to bend over and kiss our butts goodbye.
But therein lies the point maybe. At any moment, we could suffer another 9/11. At any moment, we could be the ones picking ourselves out from under the rubble of an atom bomb, large enough to make the hiroshima bomb look like a bottle rocket. Is that what it's going to take for us to finally get it? Is that what it's going to take for us to finally understand that United We Stand, Divided We Fall?
I read a quote attributed to Napoleon in which he said, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." Years ago, I adapted it to "Never interrupt your enemy when he is tearing himself apart." And let's face it, we are on the verge of doing that very thing. We should worry about North Korea, Iran and Russia, sure. But we should also worry about our capacity to tear ourselves apart. Because, as Abe Lincoln said, If we ever falter, it will be from within. Our greatest strength is our unity.
In the Civil War, many nations considered aiding the Confederacy. Few really aided them on any helpful level, but the fact remains, Nicholas Cage was right (In National Treasure 2) when he states a divided confederacy would have been weaker."
Folks, it's still true today. We are a group of 50 states and multiple territories. We are stronger together. That is our strength. That is not our weakness. We are strong because of our diversity AND in spite of it. Not just one. We literally are strong BECAUSE OF and INSPITE OF our diversity. I know a lot of people won't get that, but it's not something that can really be explained. It simply must be observed.
So get off the computer. Get off facebook or whatever social media platform you are surfing these days. Get off, get out and pull the dang headphones out of your ears. Plug in to life and experience the fullness and richness and depth of America. Because, in the flash of one bomb, she can be gone.
Don't let that happen, okay?
Do your part to make us what we are...The United States of America.
Til next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on July 22, 2017 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
Daniel J. Nations was my 2nd cousin 6 times removed. He was born around 1835 and died in 1863. He died as a prisoner of war, following an attempt to capture a fort in Louisiana during the Civil War. One report has him dying unmarried and childless. (Though another suggests he may have been married and possibly had children.)
Got me to thinking. Many young men have gone off to war in this country. Think about the thousands of 18 and 19 year olds that stormed the beaches of Normandy. Think about the young men that served with my great grandfathers in WW1, including the biological father of his stepson, George Beene. (My great Grandmother's first husband, who died in WW1.)
Some of those young men never returned home. Many of them died unmarried and childless. I want you to think about that. I really want you to think about that. I've made this analogy for Anne Frank before, but it's applicable here too.
Let's use Daniel J. Nations as an example. He died in 1863. Had he survived the war, he would have returned home by 1865. He would have been 30 at the time. Old enough to start a family for sure. So let's say he had 6 children over the next decade or so. Large families were common at this time. The more children you had, the more hands you had in the field picking corn, cotton, peas and wheat. So let's just give him six hypothetical children. His last would be born in 1875. By 1895, 60 year old Daniel would be a grandfather many times over. If he was lucky enough to see 80, 1915 would bring about Daniel's Great Grandchildren. His grandchildren would fight the "Great War" just 2 years later, perhaps leaving behind a wife and children. They return home in 1918, making more babies as often happens. So, between 1918 and 1928, more babies are born. My grandfather (Hancock) was born in 1926. My grandmother in 1928. Both would be in this generation. By 1942, My grandfather and namesake was in training for war, having lied about his age to enter early. But let's say Daniel had descendants in 1941 that are 18 to 20. We now have his great great grandchildren fighting ww2. His Great Great Great grandchildren would have fought (Possibly) in Korea or Vietnam and his Great great great great grandchildren could have possibly been in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Think about that for a second. his 4th greats would have fought in the 1990's Iraq war. His 5th greats could be in Iraq and other theaters of combat today as we speak.
See this is who died, folks. One man did not die in that camp. Generations died in that prison camp. GENERATIONS. Literally hundreds of people died in that camp, much the same as generations died when Little Anne and Margot Frank succumbed to hunger, disease and untold horrors.
I think of the Hatfield and McCoy feud post-Civil War. Tolbert, Alafair, Calvin, Randolph (Bud) Jr., and Pharmer McCoy were killed as a direct result of the fued. They all died between 1870 and 1890. And, with them, Generations of McCoys.
Generations, folks. I cannot let that go. I can't not think about that. When you take a life, whether by war or an Abortion, you are not killing one person. You are killing them, their children, their children's children and so forth.
I believe in fighting for what you want in life. I believe in struggling. I believe, if somebody threatens your life you need to defend your life with everything at your disposal. Even if it means killing them. But I really believe we all need to think about what we're doing. Actions have consequences, folks.
When you eat 19 tacos at lunch, and don't exercise, you're gonna get fat. That acttion has a consequence. When you rape a woman and are caught in the act, you're gonna go to prison for a very long time. If you charge the arresting officer with intent to harm him or her, you're gonna be six feet under. Actions have consequences. But, when you take an innocent life, you take that life and every life they were going to be responsible for. Was Daniel J. Nations an "Innocent" Life? He was, afterall, a soldier. He was fighting in war and those in the opposing army were charged with the task of stopping him and the men with whom he served. I can't really say that Daniel was innocent. I can't say he was not. I can say his death meant the deaths of generations of family members I will never have. For me, that sucks.
till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on July 1, 2017 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
I didn't do a single update in June. Wow! Well, it wasn't from laziness, I can tell you that. Neither was it for lack of trying. There have been a lot of projects going on recently. While that's good, the bad side is it's taken me away from blogging to let people know what's going on.
First, I've decided on my schedule for the rest of the year. I'll update more as it gets closer, but my next event will be scheduled in September. For now, I'll just stick with that.
When not writing, I've been working on my genealogy a lot lately. Not sluffing off, mind you. A couple of new projects have come into being that involve my family history. They'll involve some books that most of you will not be interested in reading, but I suspect some of you might.
I don't know when they'll be written though. There's a lot of confusion, particularly in the Hancock line. For years, I was stuck with my Great Great Great Grandfather, Isaiah Hancock. I had no idea who his father was. I "believed" I knew he had been married twice, first to a woman who bore him three children. Following this marriage, he appears in Texas, where he has a son I have come to know as my Great Great Grandfather. And from there my family line descends.
HOWEVER, some confusion has arisen recently. Perhaps that is why I blog today. to clear up the confusion. See, the first family lists their births in Mississippi, while Isaiah was, himself, born in Alabama. A recent suggestion is that he married his second wife while IN Alabama in 1855. And I know that, from his father's death records, Isaiah was in Sherman, Texas sometime between 1875 and 1879, because the paperwork tells me this. He's listed as an heir, and his location is Sherman, Tx. It is suggested that my Great Great Grandfather was born in 1866 and was born in Gregg County, Texas, which is not far from Sherman in Today's standards, but was a bit of a jaunt back then. Still, not impossible that Baby Hancock was born in 1866 and then Isaiah up and moved the gang to Sherman. It's also entirely possible that he abandoned this family and moved to Sherman on his own. No wife is listed for him among the papers, but no wife is listed for his half brother either.
Here's the weird part. In Isaiah's first suggested family, he had a son named George Washington Hancock, born circa 1845. When George later married, he had a son named George Isaiah. Coincidence or honoring his father? Truth is I just don't know. Letters between my Great Uncle and a descendant of George in the 1980's strongly suggests they were confident Isaiah was George's dad. But, was he? And if he was, how is it there's no divorce from his wife? She was very much alive in 1880.
So, you see, Genealogy is a fun "game" of sorts. I am drawn to the mystery of it all...probably why I write mystery and suspense books. I am drawn to the mystery of it all. Who am I? That whole thing. Too bad so many record were destroyed during the civil war and in various fires. If I could go back in time, I would do so to meet the people from whom I descend. And I would spare the records that perished in the fire.
Would that I could...
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the searching letters W, E and H and by the curious number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on May 17, 2017 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
Recently, I have had several people (mostly strangers) tell me that prayer doesn't work. That it's garbage. That it's just talking to yourself, etc. That prayer is pointless. This is not new. I've heard this my whole life. Over the years, I've responded in many different ways. Most recently, I've noticed a new answer departing my lips, when someone tells me prayer doesn't work or is ineffective. The last several times this has happened, I've said, "No, prayer is ineffective for YOU. Prayer doesn't work FOR YOU. That doesn't make it universally ineffective. Prayer works quite well in my family. My grandmother and grandfather could move storms with their prayers. A 104 degree fever left my body while my mother and grandmother were still on the phone.
Folks, you are talking to a guy that medical science gave up for dead when I was born. I would not live past my 2nd birthday they said. Probably wouldn't even SEE my 2nd birthday. To date, I've seen 43 of them. As a baby, I survived more surgical procedures than even I probably know. I survived at least one serious infection at 8 months old that, by my doctor's own words, should have killed me. I've been in countless car wrecks. At least 4 where I was driving, 3 within a year of each other. I survived a broken back TWICE now. The first one led to a kidney infection which had me in bed to the point I got pressure sores the size of my FISTS on my hips. IF that wasn't bad enough, the sores got infected, the infection went into my blood and to my lungs. I very literally should have died in that moment. I was living in Oklahoma City and that weekend my first wife (now ex) had chosen to strike out to Kansas to meet some guy off the internet and cheat on me.
I've survived multiple suicide attempts, including one attempt at hanging myself from a tree, but the branch broke.
Folks, I should be dead 100 times over, but I'm not. And why? Because, from the day of my birth until the day she left this earth in 2009, my granny was covering me in prayer. From the day of my birth, until he left this earth in 2015, my grandfather was covering me in prayer. From the day of my birth continuing even today, my parents care covering me in prayers, as are my aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and, yes, probably many of you.
Prayer doesn't work? Folks I'm a living example that prayer works. And my LIVING IS the example. I'm not going to sit here and talk about prayers I've prayed. Some of them have come to pass. Some have not. But, on the day of my birth, DOCTORS told my mom and dad to prepare to bury me. And only my granny said no. Only my granny, HOURS away from the hospital in which I was born, had the faith to declare "God has a plan for this boy." And only Granny was right.
If prayer doesn't work for you, all I can say is I'm sorry you haven't seen the miracles I have witnessed in my life. But I have seen the proof. It isn't chance. It isn't accident. It isn't even fate or whatever. It's God's power that has kept me alive. God's mercy and God's Grace and God's will. The same will that takes a 2 year old home to Glory following a Seven-car pileup on the freeway. The same will that allowed my grandfather 100 years of life on this planet -- far more than I believe I will get, but who knows? God's will and faithful prayers.
The Bible says God doesn't change. He is the same today that He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. He is not a man that he should change His mind, nor a son of man that he should lie. Does prayer change his mind? Jesus said if we have faith and tell a mountain to be moved, it will move. So, can God's mind be changed?
When Abraham pleaded for Sodom, he bargained with God. God, for the sake of 50 righteous men will you spare the city? What about 20? What of ten? God agreed. For the sake of an agreed number, He would not destroy Sodom. What would have happened if NOAH had made a similar request and found 10 righteous men? Would the whole of the earth been spared? I dunno. So, I dunno if sparing me was in God's will all along or was He moved by prayer, but I believe it was a little of both to be honest. But who was praying for me when the branch broke? Who was praying when I held the bottle of pills in my hands? I dunno. my point is Prayer Works. I don't understand why it works. I don't really understand the mystery of how, truth be told. But it works. Because this world gave up on me. Too, I gave up on the world. But God....
Two of the most powerful words a believer can ever speak....
I should have died...BUT GOD...
I should not be here...But God...
What is your "But God"? And how does it shape your view of faith and prayer?
Until next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on May 15, 2017 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
This past weekend, I attended Porch Fest in Kilgore. The event was nice. It was the second weekend in a row that I was able to get back out there and sell books since my back injury. The previous weekend, I attended Kilgore Geekend. You talk about a blast! I sold so many books that weekend that I almost didn't have enough for Porch Fest! But it worked out and I had enough. If only just.
I have to say I was a bit surprised that I held out. Yes I was dog tired after Geekend but I held out just the same. I made it. I hurt like the dickens after both events, but I made it. for me, that was progress. I hurt today, but I made it. That is nice. That gives me hope. I don't know if I'll ever get back to full-time touring. But I love it. I love doing it again. For now, that's enough.
It felt good to be back on the road after so long away from the fans. As of today, I don't have any other events scheduled, but that's okay. I've got a lot going on, so I wanna make sure that what I do is not overdo it.
My physical therapy is progressing well. Ending this round of approved sessions soon. I truly hope insurance doesn't deny me further sessions. I feel like I could really benefit and get a lot of my life back that I've lost over the years. So your prayers on that would be appreciated.
Anyway, back to work for now. Promise I'll try to write more often.
Until next time this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on April 29, 2017 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
So, it's been a while since I last wrote. Been busily promoting the re-release of Mourning Reign and the paperback release of Heart Beatings. It's been fun, actually. But it's been busy! Also, I started back to physical therapy for the first time in years. I hurt so bad most days. But I'm using muscles I haven't used in a while, so that's good.
Now, I wanted to discuss something today that makes me curious. As many of you know, if you read my blog, like ever, I'm a Christian. But unlike many Christians, I am NOT afraid to pretend or ask "what if?" In fact, many of those "what ifs" have led to some of my best writing within the Mendez Series. (And some of the most controversial.)
This morning, I thought of something and I wanted to write it down, because it is something that I definitely want to study more deeply.
In short, I want to ask does the Christian religion REALLY not promote reincarnation? I know what you're probably thinking. You're thinking I'm off my rocker, yet again. Just trust me. I'm going somewhere with this.
Let me start here, with a verse taken somewhat out of context.
So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:45
Keep in mind, I state explicitly that this verse is intentionally taken out of context. Because I want to look at it for a minute. Just this message alone. Don't worry. I'll add context in a bit.
Here, we have Christ being referred to as the second Adam. The Last Adam. And given the assignment of the life-giving spirit. Christ WAS made flesh. We know that to be fact. Christ was given a flesh body, in order to become sin and carry sin to the cross to be crucified. But Jesus was NOT flesh. Jesus was spirit. Jesus was God's indwelling. But Adam was created from the dust of the earth, then given life through the literal breath of God. What is the breath of God if NOT God's life force? Breathe in right now. Hold it for a couple seconds. Then breathe out. Inhale. Exhale. You are breathing. Guess what. The only reason you are breathing is because GOD first breathed life into ADAM. And Jesus took your sins and mine to the cross. So, was ADAM the first "indwelling" of God's spirit? In a very real sense, yes.
Now, Adam never healed anyone. When CAIN killed ABEL, Adamn did not bring him back to life. So far as the Bible recounts, Adam never walked on water or fed five thousand people. Adam and Jesus did not share the same purpose. Adam's purpose was to begin mankind. To propogate the species. Jesus' purpose was to save man from Hell, a necessary salvation after Eve gave in to temptation and the pair essentially doomed us to a finite existence and the recipient of the wages of sin. The world of "First Adam" was different than the world of second Adam. Thus their missions and life paths were different. But does that mean they are not the same indwelling of God?
Okay, now for the context of that verse that I promised. You can google the entire chapter if you want, but I'm going to add a good deal of context here:
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall weg bear the image of the heavenly man.
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
1 Corinthians 15:35-50
So God gives the body as HE decides and not all bodies are the same. And we can see that there is a natural body and a heavenly (spiritual) body. They are not the same. So, does this mean that First Adam and Second Adam are not the same or that their fleshly bodies are not the same, but the same God that dwelt within one did also in the second? I am not going to answer or even conjecture, because that's not the point. The point is I don't really know. I know that Jesus is my savior, not Adam. In that sense, they are not the same. But was it merely their purpose that made them different? Not their actual spiritual indwelling?
God is infinite. Humans are finite. And there's also this:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So, God does not change. Jesus Christ does not change. Jesus is and was the Truth, the living Word. He was with God from the very beginning and WAS God from the very beginning. So, was the breath breathed into Adam the very breath that came from God? And does that mean that the spiritual indwelling of Jesus, who is God, was breathed into Adam?
It is believed, by many, that Jesus appeared in the Old Testament, centuries before the flesh and blood Yeshua walked the earth.
Jesus is first seen in the Old Testament as the person who appeared as “the Angel of the Lord” in his sudden confrontation with Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar (Gen 16:7). Thereafter, he continued to appear intermittently throughout the earlier books of the Old Testament. These real occurrences, initiated by God, were characterized by the fact that they were convincing revelations of his person and work, as much as they were also transitory, fleeting, but audible and clearly visible appearances. He came temporally in the form of a human, much before his final incarnation as a babe in Bethlehem, yet this same “Angel of the LORD” is called and is addressed often as “the LORD/Yahweh” himself (Gen 12:7; 17:1; 19:1; etc.).
This “Angel of the LORD” was a title that stood for his office, but it did not describe his nature. The Hebrew word for “angel” (mal’ak) had the basic idea of one who was “sent,” a “messenger.” Of the 214 usages of the Hebrew term used for “angel,” about one third of them refer to what is labeled by theologians as a “Christophany,” a temporary appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. It is certain, however, that this special angel of the Lord is divine, for Hagar “...gave this name to the LORD, who spoke with her [as the Angel of the LORD]: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ as she observed, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Gen 16:13).
Also, It is written that Jacob wrestled with God. This was not a spiritual battle. This was not a battle of wills inside him. The Bible depicts this as a literal physical battle with a flesh manifestation of God. Read it here:
Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. . . . And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”
And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:24–25, 28–30)
Adam walked with God. Abraham followed God. Jacob touched God. Moses spoke with God but could not look upon Him.
But, if all of these were God, why did Jesus come? More to the point, why did Jesus need to die? Well, for that, you'll need to look at Hebrews 10:4 which states, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." Chapter ten continues later, "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . . But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified". (Hebrews 10:10, 12–14)
The others before had their purposes. Adam, as I said before, came to begin man. Many others came to act as a guide, for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For Moses and even for Joshua, Samson's parents, and even Jesus himself appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus.
So, I know this is a lot to take in. A lot to digest. And, yes, it's a bit disorganized. This was a "new" thought, I guess you could say. One that I needed to get down so that I could see it and find out where it makes sense and where it doesn't. Ultimately, what matters is this: Jesus was born, he lived and died for you and me. Jesus is my savior. Jesus, not Adam, not Moses, Not Samson, Abraham, Jacob and not Noah. Jesus' sacrifice perfected forever those of us being sanctified. So, were these other "Angels of the Lord" and Adams the same indwelling? It's an interesting "What if" to ponder, and I will long ponder it. But one thing it won't do is change my faith in God. I am a sinner saved by GRACE. And neither Adam nor any that came after gave me that GRACE, until the Lamb of God took my punishment to the cross.
And that leads me to that moment where I remind you that this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on April 11, 2017 at 4:10 PM||comments (0)|
Last night, I received news that an old high school friend was tragically killed in an automobile accident. As of the writing of this blog, her 5 year old daughter is undergoing what will likely be multiple surguries to repair broken bones and such. If you're a praying person, please keep her in your prayers. I've long wrestled with the right words to say to memorialize my friend, Marion Collins. Ultimately, I posted this on Facebook:
Sickened to learn that my friend Marion Edwards Collins lost her life in a car wreck a few hours ago. It's weird to say, but we did not get along well in school. Too much alike I guess. But in adulthood, she became not only a treasured friend but a valuable part of my sanity. She always asked me about my books. When was my next event. She was a huge encouragement when I failed, floundered or fell.
I know many can say this. So I'll say it for us all. I lost a friend today. A part of me I can never get back.
Thank you for being a part of my life, Marion. It's not goodbye. It's just see ya later.
She was 6 years younger than I am. Not yet 40 years old. A wife. A mother of two. Things like this are so senseless to me. Why does a mother in her 30's die in a car wreck? Why does a 19 year old boy die in war? Why does a 6 month old baby die of an undiagnosed disease? The Bible says, "With long life will I satisfy you." It is the only verse I insisted on being included in my grandfather's funeral when he died in 2015, at the good, old age of 100. With long life did God satisfy him. But why Marion? Why was she only given 37 years? I don't know. I never will, to be honest. But it always makes me angry. Please, if you're a praying person, send prayers to Marion's husband, children and extended family. And maybe toss one in for me, that I will learn to accept this better.
Of course, I've been trying to make a concious effort to blog about more than issues of life and death. With that in mind, I wanted to update folks on the situation with my books. As I reported in an earlier blog, I have obtained the rights to Mourning Reign and Heart Beatings. The first two books in the Mendez Series. They are in the process of being re-released. All I am waiting for is the cover for Mourning Reign, which should come any day now. I'm excited to see these two books finished and re-released. Big plans coming. Getting together with a friend over the weekend to discuss some of them. Hopefully I'll have some good news for you the next time I blog. We'll see. Might take a while. But just now I am steadily working behind the scenes!
And the good news is that, once I get the two books re-issued, I'll be able to get running on the next 3 mendez books, as well as returning to the screenplay... PROVIDED my back holds out. Prayers appreciated there too.
In the meantime, I need to get some non-writery stuff done today. Y'all take care!
As always, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 27, 2017 at 6:35 PM||comments (0)|
The last few blogs of mine have been somewhat dark in tone. Focused on death and on your purpose to live out while you're still alive, etc etc etc. There are many reasons for this -- more than I care to go into -- but the simple fact is it's what's been on my mind.
Today, we switch gears a little to talk about something else that is very near and dear to my heart. Passion. Now, before I go any further, I want to clarify that I'm not talking about lusty, sexual passion between two fictional lovers in a romance novel. Neither am I talking about the idiocy that is 50 shades of crap. Rather, I guess you could say I am talking about a deep, burning desire and love and appreciation, borderline obsession, with a certain thing, person, group, occupation or way of living. Whatever a person is passionate about. Passion in people is attractive to me. If you look at my very best friends, my closest circles, you'll find they're all passionate about something. My friends Jennifer, Becky and Julie are passionate about me. Yes, me. Me, and all of their other friends, family and loved ones. They're passionate about people. About loving people, and making sure people around them know they are loved. My friend, Mary, is this way too. She's exceptionally passionate about her grandkids. It's infectious to the point I enjoy her posts about children I have never even met. Too, Jennifer and Becky are passionate about their children, a son and a daughter, both teenagers now. They do not spoil their children necessarily. But they love their children. And they are raising them to be good people. Because they are good people. Because they are passionate about loving people. (and round and round we go.)
But it's not just personal passion, or people passion, or people that are obsessed with me. A good friend of mine for the last few years, is a man named Phillip Sullivan. Phillip is roundabout my age, give or take a couple years. He's also a former professional wrestler. Now, when I say professional wrestler, I don't mean the backyard, trampoline, back yard, jackass youtube kind of wrestling. I mean he wrestled back in the days when wrestling had legitimate territories. I mean he wrestled with the likes of the Von Erichs and Freebirds. I mean he ran up and down the roads with greats like Skandar Akbar. I mean he was a legitimate professional wrestler for years. These days, he's pretty much hung up his boots and tights for a more relaxed suit and tie look. See, wrestling is in Phillip's blood. It never leaves him. It's what he wakes up thinking on. It's what he goes to bed thinking on. It's the thing that occupies a great majority of his life. And that is why Phillip started the Lucha Pride wrestling organization. Phillip is aligning himself with some of the best talent you can find on the indie circuit. He's got an eye for talent and you really know you've been to a show by the time he's finished entertaining you. And it's a family show. It's the kind of show you can take the 8 year old nephew to. Or the kind of show an 80 year old grandma of 5 will ask him about in a walmart or something. It's not blood, guts, gore and boobs. It's wrestling. It's SPORTS entertainment, not sports ENTERTAINMENT. And there is a difference. If you're in the East Texas area, or in driving distance, you really should check this out. It's a good homage to the days when wrestling was a family show. You can find out about Lucha Pride here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1650244231936791/
Another friend of mine is a friend I've known maybe a couple years. I honestly don't recall exactly how long. But honestly he's an insanely driven person. Like ungodly insanely driven. Like I don't know how he does it, he must be three people in one body kind of driven. His name is Chris Barnes, but I know him as "Boston Chris."
You see, Boston's passion is music. He is one of the central figures behind a group known as "ETX MUSIC". It's hard to really say what ETX Music is. They have a podcast, a facebook page, a youtube channel. And they interview local musical artists and have recently expanded into other genres such as books, when Boston's girlfriend, Louise, interviewed me in an spin-off program known as "Out of the Box with ETX Rocks." Chris is everywhere. He goes to bars, clubs, restaurants, or anywhere a local band is playing. He interviews the band, or the musician or the singer and really gets to more than just "how'd you get your start?" He gets inside their head. He gets inside their heart. Boston Chris really takes it to the next level with his interviews. And, I have to say, he isn't just interviewing "unknown" talent or "indie" folks. He has also had on Country music legends Joe Nichols and Moe Bandy. You can learn more about the ETX Rocks gang here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/662051080641024/?ref=br_rs
Or HERE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCao6fJOfevnE7dkMYz3vnQQ
And here: https://www.facebook.com/etxrocks/
The next person I wanna mention is a good friend and fellow writer. A man by the name of Caleb Pirtle III. Caleb is a bit more low-key than, say, Boston or Phillip. He's a bit more laid back. I don't know if I'd call him SHY, but I do believe that all writers are naturally introverts by nature. But, if there was ever a motivated and extroverted introvert, it is definitely Caleb. He's been around for decades, truth be told. He is the author of more than fifty-five books. He is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He served as sports editor for The Daily Texan and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing.
He began his career in the newspaper business, working with the Plainview Daily Herald and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, winning both the Texas Associated Press and Headliner’s Awards. And those are just the highlights of his accolades. Caleb is an accomplished and recognized person in both the Journalism and Creative Writing fields. And what has he done with those accomplishments? He's given back. Caleb is a friend. Of that, I can truly attest. But he is also a mentor, to myself and just about every writer or aspiring writer in East Texas. If you live in East Texas and do not know Caleb Pirtle III, chances are you haven't been in the field very long. Caleb is everywhere. But so is his website, Venture Galleries. It's hard to really say what Venturer Galleries is. It's a website that helps promote authors, but it's so much more than that, really. Caleb's passion is seeing authors succeed. And he will do just about anything he can to make that success happen. Venture Galleries is his main tool. You can find out more about Venture Galleries here: https://venturegalleries.com/about-venture-galleries/
If I were to talk about all the passionate people I know, we'd be here a long time. But the point is that PASSION drives life. Where there is passion, there IS life. And these people make my life better. Them and the many people I did not have time nor space to mention. Rest assured if you are in my life and did not see your name here, I DO recognize everything about your passion and may just take the time to mention you in a future blog. Passion makes me happy. Passion makes me passionate.
So, what about you? What are YOU passionate about? What wakes you up in the morning? What forbids you sleep at night? What is your burning purpose in life???
What is your passion? And who, in your life, inspires you to be better?
Until next time this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 25, 2017 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
When I created this page, I named my blog "The imperfect blog." I decided that, for the most part, I would not really edit my blogs much, when I posted them. That this would be raw, unfiltered and filled with mistakes. Well, in all honestly, I've changed that somewhat. Oh, mistakes still seep through, but I've noticed that I do tend to get a bit "editorial" with my more recent blogs. (I've made about 12 just typing that. I went back and changed those that I caught before continuing.)
Life has thrown me quite a curveball in the last couple of years. Ever since my grandfather's death in October, 2015 my life seems to be littered with health issues, business failings, familial controversy, etc etc etc.
To some of you reading this, you're probably thinking "Well, that's life, dude. Get over it." And you're right. It is life. My life was not without its tragedies while Grandpa was alive, to be sure. Afterall, Granny died 6 years before he did, leaving a gaping hole in my heart and many others. I didn't think I would recover from that, but I kept on living. Not sure if that's "recovery", but I did keep living. That's something.
That brings me to my point. Are you breathing? Is your heart still beating? Are you able to get up and leave your house? If not, are you able to log on to a computer to touch the world via facebook or other social media? Well, guess what. You're not done yet either. I talk about that a lot, don't I? But it's the truth. And I guess I keep saying it in various ways because people understand things differently. And a message that reaches one group may not reach this or that individual. Conversely, this particular post might inspire one person, just one, while making everyone else think "okay this dude is boring me now."
Folks, I want you to live your potential. Live your destiny. Live God's plan. But let me say this. Do not let anyone's expectations OF you turn into a guiding principle FOR you. You are responsible for your life. For your choices. For your outcome. Your parents' abuse is not responsible for your situation. Your grades in school or your guidance counselor's limiting advice is not responsible for your current situation or past failures. And none of it governs your future. A divorce or even the death of a mentor is not the end. It is not the end for you. If you're still breathing, you shouldn't feel stuck. You should grieve. And then you should get about living for yourself, and for those who no longer live. You should experience things they never did.
Make no mistake, people will judge you. That is why I began this blog the way that I did. To remind my readers that, in fact, I was not trying to create a perfect blog but to admit and acknowledge my failings and flaws. And people have judged me, believe me. But I don't let them dictate my self worth. I am who I am. My grandparents loved me. My friends love me. My family (living family) love me. But that does not mean I haven't known pain. I've known more than my share, believe me. I've also known my share of bullying. And that's really what inspired this blog, I think.
On social media. people love to bully others. So many actually seem to get off on it. Just a few weeks ago, I had a disagreement with this woman who lives just a few short miles from my house. I can't remember her name. Doesn't matter. The point is she read my profile and knew I was a writer. She threatened to essentially attack me in public. To tell the world that I was bullying her, when the truth is quite honestly the opposite. Imagine that. A woman bullying a man? Surely it can't be! Well, yes, it can happen and it did happen and, honestly, DOES happen to me quite a lot. People love to belittle the "poor little crippled boy", not realizing that not one ounce of my self-worth is tied up in them or their opinion of me. It's odd to think that this very fact actually makes them even angrier! They actually make it a MISSION to tear me down. It almost never works. But I must admit something about this particular woman got to me. I didn't admit it to her, to be honest. It was online. Easy to mask. But that's when my friends rushed to my aid. Not only my friends but my readers... My FANS! People I've never even met face to face! People that know me only from facebook or from the books I've written. Yeah. they came to my aid. After that, all worry was gone. I really felt God telling me, "Don't worry, Kiddo. I got this."
I encountered that woman a few days later. Oddly, she posted an agreement on the particular issue I'd commented on that day. I don't know what's up with that. I don't know if she discovered tact, or if she'd forgotten me or if she was legitimately unnerved by the many people who came to my aid in our previous encounter. Whatever it was, I'm grateful that God reminded me that it's much more important what God's word says about me than what some silly facebook troll says about me.
So, get out in the world, my friends. Put yourself out there. Dance like nobody is watching. Make your mistakes. Be silly. Be spontaneous. Be you.
And don't ever rob anyone of the you that is YOU.
Until next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 17, 2017 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
In 1999, I was living in Oklahoma City. I was a newlywed with big plans and bigger dreams, but very little to show for it. I was also a huge history buff. Going back to the 3rd or 4th grade, I have pretty much always been interested in knowing more about my family history. Fast forward to 1999. My dad's uncle contacted me regarding his own genealogy efforts, having talked with my dad about my internet searches. At the time, mine had come up relatively empty. I'd managed to trace back a few lines to the early 1900's or even the mid 1800's, but that was about it.
Thanks to my great uncle, that changed. Soon, I had several of my dad's lines traced back to the 1500's and even earlier. (One originally connected to charlemagne, but that proved to be a false lead. Thus is the nature of internet genealogy where everybody is a genealogist and almost nobody is a researcher.)
Soon, I began to find some actual leads that led me to actual people in my actual family line. And believe me when I say I was actually quite happy to be able to confirm that.
Still, one line had me at a loss. Oddly, it was my namesake line. See, while my Great Uncle John D Hancock had information on lines such as Bouknight and Caffey going back to the 1600s and even 1500's, the Hancock line seemingly just materialized from thin air with the Anakin Skywalker-type birth of my Great Great Great Grandfather, Isaiah Hancock. I knew he was born in Alabama, where he'd left a wife and children. I knew he'd fought in the Civil War and I knew he'd settled in Texas thereafter, because there is where he filed for his civil war pension application. But that is where the information ended. I couldn't even confirm the woman who gave birth to his son, my Great Great Grandfather, Jerry C. Hancock. I could confirm his existence. Jerry was a real person, born in 1866, dying in 1954. I know because my great uncle and great aunt and grandmother professed to meeting him. (My grandfather and namesake died in 1994. I never got a chance to find out if he had met Jerry. But they did name their first born, my uncle, Jerry, so I assume they met him.)
Jerry C's actual birth name was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a mystery himself, but at least I could say he existed. In 2001, when I moved back to Texas, I actually managed to obtain a copy of Jerry's death certificate. Still, it appears that no such certificate existed on Isaiah Hancock. I searched for months. Before you know it, months turned into years. Finally, long about 2006, I gave up my search. In the years between 2006 and 2013, I lost touch with my great uncle. Life happens... Life is what happens when you're busy raising kids.
Then I got the news that he had passed away. He had sent me everything he had on genealogy back in 2000 or 2001. Now, in 2013, I'd essentially failed him. I'd failed to find anything of substance beyond what he had sent me. I'd found nothing to even point me to the possibile name of Isaiah's dad.
Nothing. Not a thing.
Zero. Zip. Zilch.
Fast forward to 2016. In November or December to be exact. I was talking to my friend, John, about genealogy and about Isaiah being a sticking point. He'd helped my fellow author friend find her past, so I asked him to take up the case of Isaiah, if only to see if he could do any better than I had done. He certainly couldn't do any worse, right?
The next morning, I woke to an email. "I think this is the guy."
I clicked the link to a will. I read it. There was mention of a son named Jesse. A daughter and her husband. And then I found it. A son, Isaiah, who lives in Texas.
I read it again and again. I clicked other links he sent me. Some were provable deadends. Things I could unequivically say were not my immediate family. But I had found him... No, JOHN had found him. Isaiah's Dad was a mystery no more. And what's the best part? Isaiah's dad and son shared the same name...JEREMIAH.
I honestly didn't want to believe it. How could it be that I'd searched for the better part of a decade and John had found in a single night what had eluded me all this time? At first I thought, "okay, surely he's joking. Surely this is a prank. He put this information up himself right?"
Nope. The posts were there. Some dating as far back as 2001. Others from after 2006, when I'd quit digging. I had FOUND my 4th Great Grandfather!
As John and I continued to search, we chased down several leads that suggested who his father might be. At one point, we had it traced to an immigrant killed in an indian massacre in the 1620's, but that lead did not pan out as truth.
Still, I had found Isaiah's dad. I had found him. Nearly 20 years after I began the search, but I had found him. The only sad part about it is the fact that J.D. hadn't lived to see his genealogical desires come to fruition. In many ways, I felt like I'd let him down. But, in other ways I began to understand something. Even in 2000 or 2001, he had understood he would not live forever. His brother, my namesake, had passed away in 1994. J.D. knew, as I know, that any day could be his last. So he passed the duty of the search down to me.
Odd, isn't it? As time passes, things are always passed to future generations. You pass down heirlooms like the kitchen table in my house, where once my grandmother sat as a little girl. You pass down jewelry, like the ring that same grandmother passed down to her only granddaughter, my sister. You pass down stories, like the one my dad often tells of riding a horse, or the one where he played baseball, but was a slow runner.
In many families, you pass down a legacy, like the name given to me by my grandfather. But J.D. had passed me something I did not appreciate until a couple years after his passing. He passed me the keys to unlocking the real truth to exactly who I am. Jeremiah the first seems to have been an interesting character. He bought a ton of land in Alabama, only to sell much sof it later on. He was married twice. The first wife being the mother of my Isaiah. She died when Isaiah was a boy. He grew up with his stepmother, a woman named Morning Glory Thomas. I often wonder what his life was like being raised by a woman that was not biologically his mother. He had two half siblings. A sister that shared his mother's name and a brother, Jesse. What must it have been like to have grown up in that house? Was she a good mother to him? Was she the proverbial wicked stepmother? Did she favor her own children over him and was that why he left Alabama for Texas?
These are questions that Ancestry.com cannot answer for me. Frankly, these are questions I guess I'll never answer. Not really. But, now I have a new mission. Now the mission is to find Jeremiah's father. Recent suggestions are a man named Thomas Hancock, born somewhere between 1750 and 1770. Three or four websites suggest Thomas's dad was Josiah Hancock, but one website says Josiah married a woman that already had children and did not father any children with her. That website does not connect to my Jeremiah though.
So, who are my roots? And when exactly was Jeremiah the first born? Was it 1797 or 1782, as FindaGrave suggests? How old was he when he married Isaiah's mom and how old was he when he died, 3 years after Isaiah's older brother? Every discovery leads to ten more questions. But, unlike Dr. Ducky Mallard, the dead do not speak to me.
I'll keep writing about this, I'm sure. Hopefully with more good news to report. In the meantime, may all your genealogy searches lead to a better understanding of the person you are today.
Until next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 8, 2017 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
So, four days ago, I turned 43 years old. I honestly can't believe it. Where did the time go? seriously, where did the time go? Just yesterday, my MOM was hitting the big 4-0. All of the sudden I am turning 43? How does this happen?
I literally blinked and it happened.
This year, I mark 25 years since I graduated high school. I remember when I realized it was 18 years since I was walking across that stage. I laughed because I said I'd been out of school 18 years and was 18 when I graduated. Half my life, it seemed. (Granted I started school at 5, so it wasn't really half my life, but that wasn't the point.)
More than that, It's been nearly 8 years since we lost Granny. It's been 20 plus years since we lost my namesake.
Folks, these are the times when birthdays take on a new meaning. When you're young, birthdays are marked by firsts. First steps, First words, First day of school, First this and first that.
At some point, firsts become lasts. Last christmas with Granny. Last time to see my teacher from sophomore year. Last time to do this and that.
I want you to know that I am not depressed. Honestly, I'm blessed. 43 years ago, a doctor was telling my mom I wouldn't see my second birthday. Now I've marked 43 of them! My point is this. It doesn't matter who you are. At some point, life stops giving you things and starts taking them away. (Credit to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for that one.) But let me tell you this. That does not mean you quit living. Think about all the people who don't get 43 years. Think about all the children dying because of cancer or heart defects. So many do not get the time I've gotten. So, yes, people die. People get sick. Businesses fail. It happens to all of us, young and old. For some reason, it just seems to take on new meaning at a certain point, when you come face to face with your own mortality.
But please don't quit. Folks, I know there are many of you struggling right now. I struggle every single day with a weight problem and the ravages of 43 years of spina bifida. But we cannot quit. None of us. The world needs you and it needs me. You may be depressed, but I hope you will understand that, if you're breathing, there's still hope!
Never surrender, gang. That's my word to you today. I don't have anything more important or definitive than that. Never give up. Never surrender. Never quit. You have a purpose. I can't say what it is. I don't know you. But the world needs you, folks. Please don't quit. If somebody is bullying you or if somebody has left you or somebody has died or a business has failed or you've been stricken with cancer or what have you, you are still here! You're still breathing! You still have a chance.
When you're dead, your life will be displayed as two dates separated by a dash. Make the most of that dash. That dash is still going on, my people! That dash is still at work! You haven't reached that second date yet! So, what can you do today to make the most of that dash? I'll tell you this, you can't spend all day reading this blog!
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on February 15, 2017 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
I want you to take a journey with me for a moment. Don't worry. You don't have to leave your couch or your chair or your desk at work or whatever. But, if you're in your car reading this, please close it out until you are safely home, as I do not want to be responsible for your unsafe driving practices.
Now, with that out of the way, we are going to take a journey in our minds. I want you to imagine yourself in a car. Any car. Your car, somebody else's car. A car that you don't own but would like to. The car itself is immaterial. You're just in a car. You're speeding down a highway. You can be the lone car on this highway, or you can be one of two or you can be one of however many cars you want. Let's focus on you, though. As you travel down this road, you see a friend of yours. An acquaintance, really. Maybe a business associate or a customer. Somebody you know, but not anyone you're actually close to. They're holding a sign warning you to stop now because danger lies ahead. You don't really know the person and you can't really be sure if they're telling the truth or not, so you keep going. a little bit further down the road, you see two old friends with whom you've lost touch through the years. Likewise, they're holding up signs, waving furiously, insisting you stop. But you keep going, maybe waving as you pass by. A little further down this road, you see your work friends, your hang out buddies. People you're close to, but not people who really know the innermost workings of your heart. Like the people you've passed by before, they are feverishly waving for you to stop. They've put barrels in the road, which you dodge. One of them runs out into the road, causing you to swerve. You miss them by millimeters. A little further down the road, you see your siblings or other close relatives. They're also trying to stop you, but they've always stood in your way, you think, so they're just trying to keep you from getting to your destination. They don't want you to prosper. Why should you stop, right?
You put them in your rearview mirror just in time to encounter none other than your best friend in the entire world. This friend has a bullhorn and warns you that there's an obstacle further up the road that is going to kill you if you don't stop your car now. You hear them clearly, but you don't stop. You nod, wave. You're honestly grateful for your best friend and begin to contemplate why they would tell you such a thing. They've never stood in the way of your progress before. Why now? Why are they just now standing in the way of something that you really want? Something that makes you endlessly happy? Must be jealous, right? You're making forward progress. Meanwhile they're standing still, trying to prevent you from being happy. That has to be it, right?
So, you keep going. A little further down the road, you encounter your parents. they are standing on the side of the road, next to the sloping beginnings of a wall built to line either side of the road you've been traveling on for so long. You've literally reached a point of no return. Your parents are red-faced. They are screaming at the top of their lungs. Your father seems almost stereotypically angry, disappointed and worried. Your mother is crying. They're begging you to stop. You know that, once you pass them, there's no U-turn. There'll be no room for you to turn the car around. And you can't back up because you don't know who else is coming down this road.
But you've come this far...............................................................
Sounds foolish, doesn't it? What idiot would actally keep driving down this road when so many trusted friends and loved ones are standing there telling you to stop? Well, the truth is a lot of people keep driving down this very road.
In our little scenario, you keep driving down this road. The further down this road you get, the more narrow the lane gets. It gets darker and darker. So dark, even your headlights won't pierce the night. Pretty soon, you reach the point where your driving is the only thing keeping you from crashing into the side walls. Then you see it...
Your friends were right. Your parents were right. Your pastor was right. Your cousins were right. Your 10th grade science teacher was right. Any number of people waiting on the side of that road was, in fact, right when they tried to warn you to stop before it was too late. But, you didn't listen. Maybe you hit the wall, maybe you don't. Let's be nice and say you don't hit the wall. So, you don't die. We've already established you can't reverse. There might be other cars coming. There's insufficient room for other cars to pass on either side. The darkness makes it unsafe, unlikely that they would see you. So, you get out of the car and pray there's enough room for you to walk and not get hit by any cars approaching this same dangerous wall. You walk back. You walk all the way back. You get back to where your parents were. Your father has died waiting on your return. Your mother is a shell of her former self, having lost her husband and believing you had passed away too. A little further back, you find some of your friends still waiting. Others have given up and gone on to other things. Your life will never be the same again, but you are alive.
Now, let me ask you a question. At any point in that journey would you think any of those people were judging your driving? Possibly. I left that option open, didn't I? But, in reality, that would seem stupid wouldn't it? If they're holding a sign telling you there's a dead end that you're going to crash into, that's not a reflection on your driving. That's a desire to save someone they love, right? If your mom jumps out in front of the car or somebody else puts up an obstacle to stop you from colliding with the dangerous wall, most rational people would be grateful that they did that, I would wager. Sure you might think, as in this scenario, that somebody was jealous. You are moving somewhere. Moving forward. They are standing still, raving like a "mad man." But, common sense, and hindsight, (and the benefit of wisdom hindsight brings) tells us that, in fact, they were trying to stop you from hurting yourself or dying. I think we can all agree on that, right?
So, here's my question. If you call yourself a Christian, but you are not trying to stop someone you love from sinning, are you really doing them a favor? If you have a relative that's homosexual or kleptomaniac or chronic liar, are you doing them a favor by saying "well, I won't judge you. I will just love you and God will work it out"? Conversely, if you are the sinner (and we are ALL sinners who fall short of the Glory of God.... that's biblical) are you doing YOURSELF any favors by angrily ignoring somebody who is trying to keep you from hitting that wall at the end of this road you're on? See, all roads lead to God. One way or the other, all roads lead to God. One day, each man and woman will stand before God Almighty and account for his or her life. You will account for the choices you made and I will account for the decisions that have shaped my life. I will account for every "car" I stood in front of, or tried to stop. And I will account for every "car" I let crash into that wall. The wall in this scenario is a sinful outcome to your life. What does the Bible say? "The wages of sin is death. That "death" of which the Bible speaks is eternal Hell.
If a person stops you from hitting that wall and being a red stain on 6 foot thick steel-reinforced concrete, it's not because they hate you, is it? If a person jumps in front of a bullet to keep you from getting shot, it can't be because they hate you. If a person pulls you off a ledge from which you are trying to jump to your death, the person pulling you back is not your enemy. They are many things. Enemy is not among them.
So, if you call yourself a believing Christian, but you have a sin-filled life, and a brother in Christ is trying to talk you out of that, WHY would you respond "only God can judge me"? It's a given that God judges. Yeah, God will be your final judge. But if that doesn't scare the sin out of you, that doesn't make your Christian brother judgmental. It makes you prideful and desiring to continue down that road, toward that towering concrete death that awaits you.
We are all gonna meet God one day. We are all going to be JUDGED by God one day. And I will not be judged by your lies, your adultery or your homosexuality or your arson or your murder or your whatever. You will not be judged by my sins, past or present. BUT, remember James 5:20 which says, "remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
There's also this verse:
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin
Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
In the interests of space, I'll share a link to this next verse. you can check it out at your leisure. Matthew 7:16-29: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7%3A16-&version=ESV
Folks, sin is sin. It's going to be sin til the LORD calls us all home. We need to stop excusing our sinful choices and stop pushing away loving people in our desires to feed the flesh. Remember the Bible says the Flesh and the Spirit are at war. We need to feed the SPIRIT with what will nourish it. And we need to deny the flesh that which will give it prominence over the SPIRIT. More than that, we need to stop prideful lies from being promulgated. It is not judgment to stand in the way of a loved one headed toward a dangerous eternity. It is not judgment to want the best for our children, our parents, our siblings, our loved ones and friends. It is not judgment to stop a car from speeding into a brick wall and it's not not judgment to toss a life preserver to a poor swimmer about to drown, so how can it be judgment to toss a spiritual life preserver (or to BE one) to a person drowning in sin?
We need to step out of the secular application of sacred principles and apply the Bible without "SON screen." Hey, that's pretty good. I need to write that down.
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the flawed letters W, E and H and by the sinner saved by grace number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on January 31, 2017 at 3:30 PM||comments (0)|
I started to post this as a Facebook post, but I decided it was just too long. I needed its own post. So, as a rare treat in my commitment to blog more often, you actually get TWO blogs today. I could have post-dated it to upload at a later date, but I decided not to do that. So, here it is in its entirety. The very thought that pulled me out of working on my screenplay today.
What follows is an opinion that just occurred to me as I was writing something completely unrelated to what I am about to post.
I was watching news coverage on this whole illegal immigration and executive order thing. It occurred to me that the problem is actually very simple.
The problem is Americans have lost their identity. We're so busy trying to be democrat or republican or white American or African-American (which in and of itself is a misnomer, for anyone NOT ACTUALLY born in Africa) or military vs civilian or gay vs straight or Christian vs. non-Christian that we've lost the one unifying identity that actually makes us the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The fact is We are Americans. We all are Americans. We are not British, We are not Spanish. We are not Iraqi. We are not French. We are not Nigerian. We are not Mexican and we are not Canadian. We are a nation that has seen people come here from all of those places. But, once inside our borders and inside our system of laws and inside our legal citizenry, we are all Americans. Some born here. Some not. But we are all Americans. People born, raised and living in North Korea at this moment are not Americans. People born, raised and living in Iran right this moment are not Americans. People born and raised and living in Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Mexico, Egypt, Yemen, etc are not Americans. They are NOT Americans. They're just not. No one born on German soil (which American Military Bases are not) is eligible to hold office or VOTE in American political elections. No more than we can vote for or against Angela Merkel in their elections. We are not German citizens.
We don't get a say in the politics of Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Bolivia, Equador, China, Japan or Italy. Likewise, they don't get a say in our elections. They don't get a vote. In the cases of Human Rights violations, sure, there's the United Nations Security council. But no citizen of a foreign nation is LEGALLY allowed to vote in our presidential election (though investigations suggest as many as 800,000 to 1 million foreigners may have illegally voted in the last 2 to 3 elections.
If you live in California, you don't pay state tax to Oklahoma. If you live in Oklahoma, You don't pay income taxes to North Dakota. If you live in North Dakota, it doesn't matter that South Dakota doesn't have a state tax. Your state does, and you have to pay it. If you live in Boston, you don't get to vote in the Mayoral election held in Houston, Texas. If you live in Florida, you don't get to pick the senators in California. These things are common sense to most Americans. But, for some reason, it fails to translate from a state to state idea to a country to country idea. It's the same principle. Just on a bigger scale. It's a bowl of water vs. a cup of water. It's a salt lake vs the Pacific Ocean. There's no difference, except the scale.
America is not (insert random country here) and (random country here) is NOT America. The citizens of America are not (from random country inserted here) and the citizens of (random country) are not Americans. It doesn't matter what sovereign nation you put in there. The equation balances. The statement stands true.
Presence in America is a right for anyone born here. It becomes a right for anyone NATURALIZED here. But it is NOT a right of anyone entering here criminally... it is NOT a right of any random man walking the streets of Beijing right this very moment. It is NOT a right of the single mother in South Africa right now. It is NOT a right of the Lithuanian, Botswanan or Brazilian. It is NOT their RIGHT nor OUR obligation. It is, by LAW, a privilege we extend to those we deem worthy of preserving, protecting and defending the policies and procedures and qualities laid out in the Constitution and subsequent immigration reform laws.
I didn't understand why so few Americans understood that. But then it hit me. So few Americans left alive today TRULY know what a glorious honor and privilege it actually IS to be born here under the majesty of the Stars and Stripes and the MERCY of the God over our Great Nation. But now I understand it. If only I knew how to FIX it.
Until NEXT time (which will probably be a few days away) this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on January 31, 2017 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
Given that I had a previous blog called "45", I expect the title of this blog to probably throw some of you off just a tad. Let me go ahead and say the two are not related in the least.
The 45 blog was about the peaceful transition power. This blog is about growing older. In 32 days, I turn 43 years old. Ten years ago, I never thought I'd see 43. 15 years ago, I thought I'd never die. 13 years ago, doctors found a tumor on my pituitary gland.
You don't know what's it's like unless you've been there. Unless you've heard the word "Tumor" spoken by a doctor with a low countenance, you cannot understand the flood of emotions that overcome you.
It was 2004. I'd just hit 30 years old. I was feeling unstoppable. I had the world in the palm of my hands. And then the headaches started. Headaches, neck aches. Whatever was going on, it was an increasing burden on my person.
So I went to my doctor, who ordered a CT of my cervical spine. Bone Spurs, he said, and sent me to a pain management doctor. The pain management doctor wanted a deeper look than a CT could give him, so he ordered an MRI of the head, neck and T-spine.
The bone spurs were real, and they still cause me pain, but he found the source of my headaches. Of course his degree was in pain management, not in brain surgery or neurology. So, I got referred to a neurosurgeon and endocrinologist. Long story short, the pituitary was not having a tremendous effect on my hormones and the Neuro said that there was an 80 percent chance I'd lose vision in one or both of my eyes if they attempted to remove the tumor, as it was sitting on my optic nerve.
I still have a small blind spot in one of my eyes. I don't really even notice it until I get really tired. But the tumor is still there. The headaches are all but gone. As with the blind spot, they seem to only come when I'm overly tired. A friend of mine had a similar tumor, but in a different position, thus less risk in the removal. He opted to have his removed, whereas I opted to let Pete the Pituitary Tumor stick around, knowing I could always change my mind if he decided to start growing again, or causing me major issues.
2010 or 2011 was really the last time I had a major issue with ol' Pete. As I said, I still get headaches here and there, but it's not like it used to be. Stress brings them on. I divorced in 2009. Grieved for a long time. When the grief subsided, the stress lifted and ol' Pete the Pituitary tumor and I agreed to live in relative harmony. Now, I don't wanna blame my ex wife for the headaches. The headaches were due to the tumor. But the relationship was very stressful. The ending of the relationship, while sad in its own way, was ultimately a relief... for both of us, I can say.
I've been single since 2011. (Had a girlfriend after my second divorce.) Honestly, I'm happy. Sure, I have a broken back and other health issues, but I'm not dead and I'm not giving up. I'm prospering, actually.
There is life after divorce. I've learned that twice now. There's life after loss. I can't even count how many times I've learned that. But, perhaps most important of all, I've learned there's life after tumors.
If you're struggling today, I wanna encourage you to keep living. Keep pressing forward. Keep struggling. I've struggled for most of my 43 years of Spina Bifida-having life. My birth was a struggle for both me and my mom. Do not give up! I'm nobody special. If I can beat life at its own game, you can too! I'm rooting for you! Whoever is reading this right now, I am saying a prayer for you. The Bible says "to everything there is a season." Maybe some of your seasons of struggle have been going on a while. Don't quit! Don't stop! Don't give up! You're almost there. I know it may not feel like it right now, but one day you will look back at all you've gone through and be amazed. Remember the Bible also talks about "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."
The thing about that valley is you DO have to go THROUGH it to get to the other side.
Whatever you're going through today, just remember that it's just a valley. And God has promised that you WILL get through it. "Because [God] is with me..."
I turn 43 in March. And my valleys are plentiful and powerful. But I've gone THROUGH many of them. And I swear I'll do my dead level best to go through the rest of em.
Until next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on January 27, 2017 at 2:20 PM||comments (0)|
This week is very tough on me, on a personal level. I imagine if anyone of you reading this is even half the space nut that I am, this week is a week of remembrance for you, as it is for me.
Today marks 50 years since the tragedy of Apollo 1 that claimed the lives of American astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee and Ed White.
Fifty Years! 8 years before I was even born. Yet I feel such a real connection to the deaths of Grissom, White and Chaffee. And, unlike tragedies that would follow, this one happened on the ground, during what was supposed to be a routine test! Tragedies happen every single day. But this was different. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not like this. Pilots don't die on the ground. They may die crashing INTO the ground, but they don't die during what was, most simply put, a systems test!
And yet they did just that. A routine procedure gon awry claimed the lives of three American heroes...on the ground. The investigation that would follow suggested that the three did not die from the fire, but rather from the inhaled smoke and sudden lack of oxygen or the pressure differential created by the fire sucking up the oxygen in the cabin. Whatever they died of, it should not have happened. But, as many astronauts in the early space program would suggest, "Go Fever" got the best of them. And took the best America had to offer from us.
This "Go Fever" was not unlike what would happen decades later, as the first tragedy of the shuttle era would rock America at her very foundation.
Tomorrow, January 28th, marks the anniversary of the 1986 Challenger disaster. Unlike shuttles before or after, Challenger was special in that it was to carry American teacher Christa McAuliffe into space. I don't know that it's ever been stated in this way, but my personal opinion is that the objective of taking a civilian teacher into space was very much a publicity stunt, designed to get children (and the public at large) interested in space once again. Unlike in the 1960's, the space program was purely an Earth Orbit system. There was no moon rocket left. There was talk of going back to the moon, or to Mars, but there was no vehicle readily available for that task. Despite technologies from 20 years prior being sufficient to get us to the moon, we found ourselves in the 1980's locked in what had become (to the public anyway) routine.
So, on the morning of January 28, 1986, Columbia lifted off, teacher in tow, in the hopes of reviving the dreams of John F. Kennedy and those Mercury Astronauts that had paved the way before them.... and then it happened.
The Challenger vehicle exploded little more than a minute into her launch. Investigations blamed the cold weather, the "O-Ring" seals and yes, "Go Fever" among other things. Some people claimed that at least 4 of the 7 astronauts may have survived the initial explosion, only to be killed by the suicidal crash into the ocean. 31 years ago tomorrow, America suffered a second great tragedy. Unlike Apollo 1, I was born by this time. I was, in fact, a 12 year old boy who'd faked being sick that day so that I could stay at home to watch the launch. Perhaps she knew I was faking, but my mother resigned me to my bedroom that day. That is until my dad's cousin called to tell her the shuttle had exploded. At that point, she called me into the living room. She didn't let me watch it launch (I've heard reports that it wasn't carried live anyway, but I wouldn't know for sure.) but she was going to let me watch history. Some parents today would have derided my mother for her decision to let me share in a historic tragedy, but I love my mother for it. I learned something about grief that day. I learned something about NATIONAL grief that day. About grieving as a nation. Something I'd had a glimpse of a few years earlier when John Hinkley made the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life. A nation rose in prayer on that day, and that same nation bowed its head, cried as one on that fateful day in 1986. Child and adult alike. One Nation Under God...Something, in my opinion, I think we've lost amid the political and racial divisions of the last few years. It is my hope that it will not take another tragedy to once again unite this great land.
February 1 marks another tragedy in the space program, as we mark 14 years since the disaster that claimed the lives of 7 more astronauts, when Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart on re-entry. Unlike the Challenger disaster, Columbia had successfully launched into Earth Orbit. However, it was discovered that a piece of FOAM INSULLATION likely broke off during liftoff, causing a hole in the wing that would ultimately spell doom for the unsuspecting crew of seven. Joining 5 Americans were Indian astronaut Kalpana Chawla and Israeli Ilan Ramon.
As this was the first shuttle accident in the Post-9/11 era, suspicion ran wild that terrorists targetting the Israeli astronaut (or even Pakistani terrorists singling out India's Chawla) were behind the events that led to the orbiter's breakup. Those beliefs were squashed relatively quickly with the discovery of the foam piece that had apparently damaged the orbitor in such a way that there was no safe entry possible for the seven doomed astronauts.
Below is a list of some (possibly all?) of the tragedies suffered by both NASA and the Soviet/Russian space program. I guarantee most of you have never heard of most of these.
Space travel carries with it immense risk. As we learned with Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia, those risks include loss of more than machine. They include risks to human lives as well. A round-trip to the moon (By 1960's standards) took about a week or so. A round-trip to Mars will take 6 to 9 months, depending on where they are in relation to one another at the time they are planned. Given current technologies, it might be possible that we can shave a little bit of time off that, speeding up to allow us to reach Mars orbit within 3 to 5 months. But the amount of engineering it will take is, for lack of a better word, astromomical.
But, let's be honest. Gus, Roger, Ed. They wouldn't want us to quit. They understood the risks to human lives. They stood up to be counted and said "I'll go. I'll take that risk." So, too, did the crews of Challenger and Columbia. A teacher, an Indian, An Israeli, an Asian, 2 black men, white men, Women. They went to show that space travel is not an American duty. It is a duty of all the citizens of Planet Earth. Like the plaque Neil Armstrong placed on the moon says, "We came in peace for all mankind." Well, we need to go in peace for all mankind. And ALL mankind needs to go. Everyone from the best America has to offer to the newly-annointed members of the Chinese space program, to JAXA in Japan or the European Space Agency. We all need to go. We all need to go for everybody that can't go. I'm disabled. I have a shunt in my head and a very bad back. I can't go. I'm not healthy enough. I'd never withstand the rigors of space travel. But someone must go. Perhaps someone reading this. Or perhaps your son or daughter will go. If they want to go, let them go. Encourage them to go. Because someone should go. If only to represent those who died in the attempt to go, or those who, like me, will never be able to go.
We went in peace before. We made it to the moon with less technology than you have in your cell phone right now. So why can't we go now? Like the saying goes, "If not us, who? If not now, when?" The ghosts of those who died call to us from the stars. Let us go and touch those stars. Let us reach out with the same American spirit that led us to the moon.
Let nothing stand in our way...
Until next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.
|Posted by EHancock2 on January 26, 2017 at 5:25 PM||comments (0)|
Somebody on my facebook page pointed out that nobody ever leaves a comment on my blogs. I told them that I get quite a few blog READS every single day, but they said they didn't believe it because of stats and irrelevance and blah blah blah and I think I fell asleep when they were trying (and failing) to explain themselves.
The fact is that my blogs do not get comments very often. But, you have to look at my history. Until recently I haven't blogged with any sort of regularity. It takes time to get a really huge following, unless you're already an established name like a J.K. Rowling, Stephen King or the likes. I am not, nor have I claimed to be that famous.
That being said, I only compare myself to one person, and it's a person Matthew McConaughey told me about. I'm paraphrasing, but a few years ago, Matthew stated that there are 3 things he needed every single day. One was someone to look up to. The second is something to look forward to, and the third is "someone to chase."
My someone to look forward to is vast and varied, but it starts with God Almighty. My something to look forward to is a movie deal or TV deal for Mourning Reign. My someone to chase is the man it took Mr. McConaughey for me to meet. It is myself in 10 years.
See more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD2cVhC-63I
I know whether or not I have one blog follower or one million, I have enough and I want more simultaneously. I want to reach the people God puts in my life, folks. But I don't want to meet the people I'm not meant to meet for ten years. I want to meet them in ten years, like God's plan permits. I want to be better than I was at 42 by the time I reach 52. That's what I want. Like he says, I'll never meet that man. Because he's always ten years hence. But I also want the people in my life today, here and now, to be proud of me... today, here and now.
Do I concern myself with the fact that XYZ blogger gets 137 comments and I get zero, one or two? Nope. Because they are not the person I am chasing. I'm not even chasing the person in the mirror, really. I'm chasing the person I'll someday meet in the mirror, long after I've decided to chase the guy ten years beyond that point. Make sense or am I rambling? I'm probably rambling LOL!
When I started this blog, it was with a simple plan. That plan was for you to get to know me. For me to post my thoughts whether it be intimate or not. Whether it be deep and dark or superfluous and irrelevant. Whether you can relate or you can't. I long ago made up my mind to "live out loud". This blog is part of that commitment. So, if you want to comment, great. If you just want to read (as thousands seem to be doing if my stats are correct) and go do something else, I'm okay with that too.
We're in this together, folks. I'm telling you my story. Why not tell me yours?
Till next time, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.