|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.
|Posted by EHancock2 on January 20, 2017 at 5:15 PM||comments (0)|
January 20th, 2017 is the day our nation experiences a peaceful exchange of powers, from the outgoing president to the incoming president. I'm not going to sit here and compare popularity of this or that, approval ratings, etc. It's all pointless.
The simple fact is Barack Obama now joins the ranks of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and other Former Presidents. Donald J. Trump has been sworn in and is now the literal leader of the free world. It didn't matter if you or I liked Barack Obama and it does not matter if you or I like Donald J. Trump. He is now our president. Yes, yours and mine. Yes, if you live within the American borders and are not here on a visa or illegally, you are a citizen of a nation led by Donald J. Trump. If you are a citizen of America, you are not a citizen of Donald Trump's America.You do not have to like it. You do not even have to accept it. Truth does not require acceptance to be true. It simply is.
When I was born, in 1974, Richard M. Nixon was president of the United States. Just six months later, my first experience with a changing of the guard occured, when Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford assumed the office of the presidency. Just two short years later, Jimmy Carter became the third president to reside over my life.
I don't have memories of Nixon or Ford. I really don't have any recollections of Carter, though I used to when I was younger. The earliest recollection I have is Reagan's first speech and the subsequent release of the Iran Hostages. Then came H.W. Bush, followed by Bill Clinton. W would follow Clinton and we all know that Barack Obama would follow him. My first vote was cast for a democrat. I was 18 when Clinton ran against Bush 41 in 1992. My first time voting, I cast a vote for William Jefferson Clinton to be our nation's president. I am a registered Republican, but that should not be interpretted to mean that I support anything and everything the GOP stands for or attempts to do. I had to pick one, so I picked Republican.
I love America. I love BEING an American more than just about anything else on this planet. As such, I will give President Trump the opportunity he deserves as the incoming president. I will give him the opportunity to do good things. I will give him the opportunity to help our veterans, our elderly and disabled. I will give him the opportunity to help the 94 million people that are out of work. I will give him the opportunity to either sink or swim as the full weight of the office he enters now weighs down upon him.
I hope that anyone that is in my readership will do likewise. Even if you did not vote for him. Even if you did not vote for Hillary Clinton. Even if you did not vote, I HOPE that you will be an American today. And I hope the next 4 years will see necessary changes be made to our VA and other organizations.
Now, I ask you to do me a favor. When Barack Obama assumed the office, his daughters were very little girls. I asked the media and my friends in the Web World to leave them alone. Whatever you may have thought of their father, Sasha and Malia were (and remain) off limits. I ask that same courtesy be afforded to young Barron Trump. He is a child. Don Jr., Eric, Tiffany and Ivanka are adults. I don't support attacking them and I would hope for a classy handling of them, as they are not the president either. However, the quickest way to get my hackles up is to attack a child. Barron Trump is a child. LEAVE HIM ALONE. Let him grow. Let him mature. Let him make his mistakes. Let him get caught sneaking in or out of the white house. Let him get in trouble. Let him do what kids do. Because that is his right.
We all need to be Americans today. We do not need to be Republicans, Democrats or Independents. We do not need to be male or female. We do not need to be young or old. We do not need to be black, white, brown, yellow, red or mixed race. We do not need to be divided. Today, on this day of a peaceful transition of power, we need to be Americans.
Do not wish Trump ill. For all intents and purposes, Donald Trump is the pilot of the Starship America. Wishing him failure is akin to wishing for the country to fail. Let's have more sense than that, okay?
Congratulations President Trump and Vice President Pence. The next 4 years is yours. Make them good years.And God Bless America!
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 10, 2017 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
2017 is here, folks. I haven't blogged in months, due to back injuries, early in 2016 that kept me from sitting at the computer for any length of time. I'm still not 100 percent, but time and a new easy chair is really helping me to tolerate sitting for longer periods.
So, 2015 sucked. 2016 wasn't any better. It sucked. My sales were okay. As a writer, 2015 to 2016 wasn't horrible by any means. However, from the loss of my dad's twin brother in January of 2015 to the loss of my grandpa in October of 2015 to the untimely death of my cousin, Jerry, in June of 2016...and the many losses between and after... I'm just death'ed out. Don't even get me started on the massacre of celebs that 2016 brought to our door.
2017 came in with great promise. To make a long story short, a few days ago, I received an email from the publisher of Mourning Reign and Heart Beatings. After 20 years in the business, he has decided to close up shop. Like most people, my initial reaction was "oh no!" However, my "oh no!" quickly turned to "oh yes!" when it hit me that I will FINALLY have the rights back to the first two books in my series. I really enjoyed working with him on Mourning Reign. He did a great job. And it was his urging that we needed to strike while the iron was hot. Unfortunately, Heart Beatings was never released in paperback. I tried many different avenues to convince the publisher to release the book in paperback format, to no avail. So, even as I toured, I did so with an incomplete set of paperbacks. It was not lost on me, folks. It was NOT lost on me. Put more bluntly, it hurt. My series was incomplete. But, I felt incomplete. If you're not a writer, you'll probably never understand the connection to those two feelings.
So, when he wrote to say he was ending his business, I celebrated. Why? Because I'm getting my books back, folks! I can't express to you the weight that has been lifted off of me. Now my books will be mine again! For the first time in history, Heart Beatings WILL see print! I don't know when yet. It's a waiting game for a couple months, while he closes up shop. But the day he ends his business, the book can legally be put back up on Amazon, completely under my control! As I told a friend who has followed this chain of events closely, I feel like I'm getting my LIFE back! I'll lose 50 to 60 reviews, but I will sacrifice a thousand reviews if it means getting my books back!
So, 2017 is going to be a very busy year for Yours Truly. On top of republishing Mourning Reign and Heart Beatings, I'll likely have to republish Connection Terminated and Target: Mendez, just to keep the series continuity. AND I've got 3 short books that will come out after that. PROBABLY pretty quickly, one after the other. Now, granted, some of that may leak into 2018. Just depends on my health and my touring factors and a few other things.
I'm also working on a couple of things behind the scenes, that I'm not quite ready to discuss yet.
I really need an assistant. One that'll work for a smile and a thank you right now! LOL! But oh well.
I'm so happy right now. Odd numbered years have notoriously sucked for me. For the first time in a LONG time, it looks like an odd numbered year may very well be my best year in a long time!
So, Happy New Year, folks! I promise to try to blog more often! And with more than just "me me me!"
In the meantime, this is me, signing off!
So, 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 August 2, 2016 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
The Hancock men of my generation have grown into men of honor. Granted, none of us started out that way. We all had our issues. But, in adulthood, the three of us in this generation (Yes, there are only 3) each learned to stand for something principled. It wasn't until Jerry's death in June that I realized just how true it was. As I listened to his fellow police officers -- people with whom he'd worked for 20 to 25 years -- it became all too clear that I didn't know him as well as I'd thought. The Jerry I knew was funny at times. Hard at other times. He could be your best friend or he could be your worst enemy but, like the street, you'd better have looked both ways before you crossed him.
In his adult life, he'd lived by the motto, "Character is what you do when you think nobody is looking." A motto I'd seldom heard him use. But one that officer after officer repeated as they referenced "Sergeant Hancock" Or "Jerry" or "The Sarge."
My cousin, Tere, is a man of action rather than words. That's somewhat his motto, I believe. Actions speaks louder than words. Don't talk about what you're gonna do. Go out and do it. That's Tere. If he says he's going to do it, you can bet your sweet bippy he's going to bust hump to get it done...and he'll probably succeed. He generally does.
For me, the mottos include, "You can do anything anyone else can do. You just may have to find a different way." But it also includes, "Discipline is sacrificing what you want now for what you want most." Both are mottos by which I have tried to live.
Still, as we approach the 2nd month since Jerry's passing, I've begun to think about his assessment on Character. It's not a saying I've used often, but it is certainly one I understand.
In my younger days, I suffered from addictions to evil things. Among them, pornography. I won't go into the details. But I can say it wasn't the only thing to which I was addicted. I can say this as well. Character is what you do not when people are not watching. In my life anyway, character was what I did when I THOUGHT no one was watching.
Then I became a father. Now, do I know he witnessed my addictions? No I don't. Do I know he did not? Again, no I do not. What I do know is that my character got a kick in the butt when I realized, even if he wasn't watching my addictions, he was watching ME. And what I did when he was in bed asleep was just as important as what I did when we were in the car driving to the school in the mornings. The type of man I was when he wasn't there was just as important (if not moreso) than the type of man I was in his presence. Because THAT man -- The man i was in his absence -- set the standard for who I would be in his presence.
In 2009, when my ex took him away, it would have been all too easy for me to slip back into the perils and pitfalls of addiction. I was alone. Nobody was around. Nobody was watching. Nobody was gonna watch. Nobody, it seemed, cared to watch anyway. Why not just give in to the monster and embrace my old friend, addiction?
Well, I'll tell you why not. Because I was watching. Because I had worked too hard to beat my addictions and I wasn't about to let anyone or anything have that power over me again. But there was something else too. Around the same time as my second marriage was falling apart (in 2009) my greatest spiritual mentor left this world for her reward in Heaven. My granny had prayed for me on the day of my birth. When Doctors saw Spina Bifida as a death sentence, Granny had declared, "No, God has a plan for this boy."
I'm quite certain that plan did not involve me wasting my life in addiction after addiction.
Now there are some philosophical differences among people as to whether or not a person's soul immediately goes to heaven when they die or do they simply lay dormant in their grave until God comes back to get us all. There are biblical experts far more learned on this subject than I, so I will leave that debate to them.
For me, I've always sort of thought that the soul at least leaves the body, even if it doesn't go right to heaven. Wherever my granny was, after March 16, 2009, she was no longer in this world. I knew she would be watching if it were at all possible for her to do so. And would granny want me to waste her prophecy on addictions? No.
So, I beat it. I'm beating it. I go on beating my addictions, each day I resist. The BIble says, "Resist the Devil and He will flee from you."
Fact is, he does not flee quickly. He does not flee quietly. But eventually he gets less enthusiastic about trying to tempt you when he realizes your resolve holds true.
And when he's taken away everything and everyone for whom you beat the addiction, the Devil is powerless when he finds you in a place of beating the addiction for yourself and on the off chance that your spiritual mentor is watching from the other side.
The Devil tempts me in other ways now. I guess Granny is right to say God has a great purpose for me. Because the devil leaves a lot of people alone. Truthfully, I find he leaves me alone when I get off course...and I still can on occasion, though not to these addictions.
The devil fights hardest against a person that is living God's plan for their lives. He fought me in my youth. He's fought me since the day of my birth. But God has a plan for this boy. And, friends, he has a plan for you to.
All YOU have to do is go find it!
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 April 10, 2016 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
So, it's April. I last blogged in AUGUST? Yikes! My apologies. When trying to build my online presence, I've been paying attention to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram while ignoring my own website! Bad Eddie! Bad Bad boy! Okay I promise to try and do better from here!
As you can see, if you do a simple internet search, I've been very busy building things in my life. I really wish I could reveal everything going on behind the scenes, but there are still a few ducks to get in a row before I can tell you what I am DYING to tell you.
What I can say is that I am now the proud owner of Final Draft 9 software, meaning the process of putting Mourning Reign (and the rest of the MENDEZ SERIES) into screeplay/script format is going to move forward. (This should not be read as I have a movie deal.)
If you're on twitter, please be sure to follow me @EdwardHancockII. I regularly try to tweet relevant things, whether that be writing-related, history or government or even the occasional God thing. Fair Warning, As with my main facebook page, I do not hide my personal beliefs. I put them out there for all the world to see. I know, it's probably a dangerous thing. It's like the comedian said, " I had the right to remain silent. I lacked the ability." LOL!
That being said, I have a project I want to share with you. First, I hope you will follow me on Twitter as I asked above. If you do, you will find a common hashtag.
Anytime I post a tweet related to my writing or my books or the series, I use #MendezSeries to group the text together and make the tweets easier to find.
As more and more people discover the Mendez Series, the hastag is gaining increasing momentum on twitter (and more recently on Instagram.)
Fans, I need you! I need you to show your Mendez Series support! I need you to join the movement and become a part of this growing phenomenon! I need you to tell others about the books and I need you to do it in a very specific way. It's very simple! All you have to do is take a picture of yourself holding a sign like the ones represented above. Just a very simple piece of paper or cardboard or posterboard with #MendezSeries posted on it! It's that simple! Then I will share your pictures to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, together, we will show others what they are missing!
As readers of the Mendez Series, you are a part of the E-Lister Nation! Show your Mendez Pride and take a picture of yourself holding a sign like the one above. It can be handwritten or printed on a computer with fancy fonts and what not. Doesn't really matter, so long as the hashtag is clearly visible (and legible!). You can take pictures at the airport, using your cell phone, or take a trip to a photography studio and include this shot in your package. (Although, let's be honest, that's a tad bit overkill! LOL!) You can do it right in your kitchen or in your car or in your front yard with your dog on your lap! (Hey, I dig dogs!)
Did you get your boss or co-worker to try a Mendez Series book? Hey, take a picture together! (or of each of you. Whatever you choose!) There really are few rules to how this can be done!
Step up, Mendez Family! Rise to the occasion, E-lister Nation!
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 August 4, 2015 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
I haven't blogged since May. It had been my intention to start posting my weekly SUNDAY SERMON posts I do on Facebook, but I ultimately decided against it. I'm not sure why, really. I just really got the feeling that, if nothing else, it wasn't the time.
I think too many people are self-seeking in their dealings/posts about God. I read some of the things they say or watch the video and I wonder "are you glorifying yourself or your God?" Honestly, sometimes I just can't tell.
Me? I don't want to honor myself. Anything GOOD in me is of God, placed there through the influences of Godly people such as my grandparents. I might sit here typing my books or I might go to the book signings or I might physically do this and that, but the GLORY is and will always belong to God.
The Bible says if we pray to be seen, BEING SEEN will be our reward. But if we pray in our secret chamber, we shall have a rich and full life, blessed beyond anything we can imagine.
Of course, I type that and some of you reading this may think I'm talking about diamonds and gold. I'm not.
Let me illustrate it this way.
The Bible ALSO says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven...." right? Seek God first. Seek Heaven's Divine Will. And all of your heart's desires will be added unto you.
But think about what's required for that to happen.
In the flesh, we seek after a new house, new car, better job, more money. Maybe those things get added to us. Maybe they don't. Either way, they are temporary.
If, on the other hand, we FIRST SEEK GOD, our wants and needs change. We start to seek homeless people we can feed. We start to SEEK lost sheep we can shepherd. We start to seek sadness we can bring to joy. We seek our place in the world. We seek the way(s) in which WE can make the world a better place. In short, we seek a lasting legacy. Like a pebble thrown into an ocean. If left undisturbed, those ripples would never end. They would stretch out and out and out and out and out.
In a Christian's life, we are that pebble. I know my granny was. And I am her ripple. I and my cousins in this generation. Our children are likewise her ripple, as we teach future generations about the love of God. And they, in turn, teach their kids. If left undisturbed, this ripple will grow and grow.
Now, if we start with me as the pebble, I have to ask myself what ripples am I leaving in this world? Am I leaving the right ripples. am I GROWING a world for God? Well between blogs like this and my series of books, I truly hope I am reaching lost sheep. People who've spent their whole lives thinking they were not clean enough to come to God.
Friends, come to God as you are. let Him clean you, okay? He does the best job anyway. He does it right.
SEEK God...Seek, and ye shall find Him!
Delight yourself in the ways of the Lord.
And everything in your changed servant's heart shall be yours.
You may not have diamonds and gold, a fancy car or new house, but really.... like the saying goes, you can't take it with you.
Take care, gang!
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 May 14, 2015 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
I'm horrible about blogging. I know I am. That's one of the reasons I started posting my Sunday Sermons from Facebook. Well, that and I enjoy reading them back again and don't really want to scroll through my Facebook feed! LOL!
But, anyway, as I was saying, I know I'm horrible about blogging regularly. Still, I know how important it is to give my most loyal readers something of substance to read while you're waiting on me to release the next book. (Which, by the way, is proceeding much more slowly than I would like!)
The fact is, though, that there's another reason why I need to blog. Like the old saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind." Put in literary terms, "publish or perish." As much as I hate it, it's the truth.
What's really sad is that readers want quality work, but they want it quickly as well. You finish reading a book in a day, not understanding that book likely took us weeks or months to create, edit and publish.
I love my readers. I really do. For the most part, you've all been pretty understanding. Those that haven't been probably won't be sticking around to read my next book anyway, so whatever. I say this simply to say please be patient. I'm trying. Really I am. I tour, I write, I do interviews, I write, I edit, I write, I solicit news media, I write. I blog, I write.... seeing a pattern here?
I also have responsibilities outside of writing. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats. They get sick. They need food. They need outside time. They need attention. I don't generally hang around the house naked, so there is a steady stream of dirty clothes needing to be washed, which includes the towels I used to dry my body after bath and the sheets on which I sleep at night.
Folks, I'm a single guy who happens to be dealing with the ravages of Spina Bifida and my steadily advancing age.
I love my fans. I love my job. I love my life.
But, folks, I get tired. I beg your indulgence. I beg you, dear ones, allow me my human frailties and shortcomings.
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 4, 2015 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
It's gotten to the point a growing number of people eagerly await the things I post under the name "SONday Sermon" or "Sunday Sermon" or whatever. That makes me happy, but it also worries me.
See, God calls certain people to be shepherds of His flock. While I don't feel I fall into the category of Shepherd, I understand that, for some, these weekly posts may be the most "God" some of you are able to get, maybe due to work or, as with me sitting with grandpa, family commitments. Friends, let me say this. It doesn't have to be this way. You don't have to rely on me alone. Number one, you all have a bible. If you're reading this, you have access to a bible. How do I know? Because you have access to websites such as Bible.cc, bible.com and openbible.info.
My little ditties, that often do not cite a bible verse, are not enough. Period. Nor should they be. You need to be in God's word. If you call yourself Christian, you need to read The Word and talk to God.
See, I don't have any specific talent or gift here that I know of. (Outside my ability to write down what God and I talk about.
There's nothing I do that you can't do with the right tools. And I've given you those tools. Prayer and bible reading. I might also add in fellowship with others, but isn't that what we are doing here?
So here is your task. Start your own conversation with God today. Start it in the car on the way to church or work or Aunty's house. Start it in the store as you're trying to decide what to buy. Start the conversation before you get out of bed or before you go to sleep tonight. Quite simply, start the conversation where you are. All I do is ask God one simple question. Something like "what is it you wish me to hear today?" For these messages I ask, "What is it you wish me to say today?"
And then I listen.
Remember the bible says, "you have not because you ask not." Elsewhere, it declares, "ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened."
So, knock knock....
Are you there?
Til next time, have a marvelous SONday.
|Posted by EHancock2 on April 26, 2015 at 8:20 PM||comments (0)|
I'm an author. I'm sure most of you know that, if you've been on my Facebook page longer than a minute. I'm also a Conservative and an unapologetic Christian. So, it should probably come as no surprise that I support any Christian establishment that doesn't wish to make a cake for a gay wedding. Furthermore, I support the gay bakeries called by pastors and speakers like Josh Feuerstein in their beliefs not to make a Westboro Baptist style cake that would read "God hates fags". No, I don't believe God hates sinners, no matter the sin. God is a father afterall. We don't always approve of the actions of our children, but does that stop them from being our children? No. Neither does being gay or being a butthead from Westboro Baptist stop a person from being God's child. God loves sinners like you and me. But he hates and is saddened by sin. Even atheists are God's children. They've just chosen to estrange themselves from Father God. Freedom of choice. Go on with ya atheist self then.
That being said, I believe God's ways are higher than our ways and God created us with the spirit of free will. Some eatery owners choose, through free will, to have "free sundae sunday". My local sonic restaurant has a special on hamburgers every Tuesday while the KFC has a chicken special on Wednesdays I believe. Nobody gripes at this. Why? Because the consumer is GETTING a deal. But what if a restaurant has a ladies night? Ladies drink or eat free, but men pay regular price. Many restaurants do that, but I have never heard a complaint if one's been made. Men are being discriminate d against, but nobody gripes? At dallas comic con, kids under 12 get in for 10 bucks! But if you turn 13, you're paying adult price. Why? You can't drive or vote or drink a beer at 13. Under the law, you're still a kid. Why do they get away with this discrimination but let a person not wanna serve a gay wedding and suddenly we need to have a court case!! Gotta force that amoral cause on people! What's funny is, now they've been ordered to pay $135,000 because "we reserve the right to refuse business to anyone" has been overridden by activist judges spending christophobic bribe money. Because the christophobic definition of "tolerance" means Christians have to tolerate everything, but if you do anything of which we don't much approve, you are going down, son!
That's bad business. As a small business owner, I'm deeply saddened to see my rights infringed upon! I HAVE to sell my books to an atheist? I have to sell my books to a racist that would hate Hispanic Alex being married to Caucasian Lisa and having little "swirl" babies? (Note: swirl is the term my son once coined for himself. He was 9 or 10 at the time and declared he was not biracial or mixed or anything. He was "Swiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrlllll". Save your hate. If a nine year old boy can coin it about himself, it's ok in my book!) Moreover, now I have to sell to the dogmatic Baptist or Methodist or Catholic or Lutheran or Church of Christ or Messianic Jew that, I promise, will find something to dislike, owing to my desire to shun dogma and stick to what the Bible says? Seriously? I have to sell to people I KNOW aren't going to like my books now? Why? When my books have obvious Christian overtones to them? Friends, those are one-star reviews waiting to happen! A one-star review can turn away thousands of potential readers, based on lies and prejudices of the READER, but now you want me not to soft sale my books if I think the person may not be my target market?
Let me be blunt. It is MY business! Those are MY books! They are the product of MY imagination and MY hard work! If I don't want to sell to a person because they are black or because they are able-bodied or because they have blue eyes or because they're gay, atheist, catholic, named William or because it's on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. when they approach, I will do it. This is my reputation on the line and I have not only a legal right, but a God-given right to refuse service. Period!
Are muslim bakeries and delis gonna be forced to make me a BLT now? No. We gotta protect their rights, so we are told. Are gay bakeries being told they have to make a cake that says, "we support traditional marriage"? Nope. Gotta protect their rights. But Christians can't refuse service in a country built on Christian principles? I know many of my friends support that idea. And as much as I love you, you're an idiot and an oppressor. And you need to respect my rights before it ends a relationship or 50. There are thousands of bakeries in America. There are untold numbers of WRITERS in Texas alone. If my books don't suit you, I almost always have at least one booth mate. Often, there's another booth up the aisle. And Amazon has millions of books just waiting for you.
You have the RIGHT to choose another bakery, restaurant, deli, book, or whatever. You do not have the right to force me, at GOVERNMENT GUN POINT, to give up my free will and lay down my individual principles. You do NOT have that right. And to my friends, Christian and not, it is really time you realized that. Josh Feuerstein specifically found gay-friendly and gay-owned bakeries in his experiment. If this random guy with a cell phone and Google can find it, so can you. I have 2 authors on my page that write erotica for straight folks. I have at least one whom I consider a great friend, who writes gay fiction. Folks, I'm not writing erotica. I'm not writing gay fiction. I'm not gonna write a message that says "God hates fags" either, unless I'm trying to show those people what idiots they are!
I'm not gonna be coerced to accept something I believe to be wrong. I'm simply not. Period. I will stand with my gay friends against attacks by muslim terrorists seeking to behead them. I will stand with them against Westboro Baptist. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter who or what they are, but if you think you're gonna force me to accept something against my better judgment, you might wanna pack a lunch and dinner because we are gonna be here a while.
Tolerance is not a word the left can use to systematically remove God from everything. God made everything. And whether God is a particle of matter like science suggests, or God is light as the Bible asserts in Genesis, God is God. And, to me, God is everything. You don't have to agree. But you HAVE to accept it. Period. You HAVE to. And you have to choose another business establishment. To attempt to force millions of Christians to your will? That is to incur the wrath of The Father. And though you may not believe in Him, many of you do believe in karma. Believe me when I say, God is Karma. What you do to His people today will haunt you in the future.
How does the Bible put it? "No weapon formed against you may prosper." "If God be for us, who can stand against us?" "Vengeance is Mine...I shall repay."
We are waking up. And we are going to stand up, folks. Don't start none, won't be none. That's how I always say it.
If there was only one bakery in America, maybe you have a case. But there are thousands. What you have is choice. You can be a grown up or you can act like a spoiled brat that needs a spanking. So let's choose wisely. You want respect? Give it. Because you're poking the bear. And the bear is not gonna sleep forever.
Leave God's children alone. This is not a playground. We are not seven. The time for bullying and Christophobia is over. You can have your cake. You can have your wedding. You can't have my country. You can't kill my God.
Sorry for the angry tone this morning, but it needs saying. I've tried for a solid hour to type something else. Anything else.
This is what needed saying today.
Have a great SONday, peeps!
|Posted by EHancock2 on April 19, 2015 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
Can life get too routine? That question depends on who you ask. If you ask the average housewife and mother of a two year old, she would likely reply, "routine? What's that!?" If you ask a firefighter, chances are they wish the routine would change and today would be a day nothing burned. If you asked a teacher, you'd get as many different replies as teachers you asked. If you ask a pilot, Marine or astronaut, they are likely to tell you routine is dangerous. Routine becomes mundane. Routine becomes robotic. Routine becomes thoughtless action completed in a state of mind that doesn't learn from the task or appreciate what's actually being done. An astronaut losing focus in space is dangerous. Routine can get you killed.
So, too, is it highly dangerous for a Christian to lose focus in their spiritual life. You get up every morning at five. You pray a simple, "thank you, Lord, for another day." Then you're off to work. You work, come home, eat dinner. I wonder do you pray over that McDonald's burger you picked up on the way home.
You settle in to watch some baseball or something. Maybe read. Then it's off to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. Where was God in all that?
"I prayed didn't I?"
Yes, you mouthed the words. But did you stop long enough to FEEL them? Did you really dial in to God? See, I enjoy conversations with my cousin, Angie. We've grown up more like siblings than cousins. She makes me laugh. But, if I'm in my house talking to Angie, how is she supposed to hear me if I don't dial her number? How am I supposed to hear her?
Friend, God hears your every thought. But do we hear Him? Are we appreciating those little phone calls known as prayers? Are we stopping long enough to read a Heavenly Text message found in a chain of events that prevents us from being in that intersection when the big rig comes barreling through after losing its brakes??
Are we reading God's emails for our lives? The ones that tell us "yes, you hurt today. But tomorrow will be better"? "I got this. I got you."
We are plugged in to our TV, laptop and cell phone, but are we plugged in to God?? Or are we so lost in our comfortable spiritual routine that we don't even realize we have totally dropped signal but God is still up in heaven asking, "can you hear Me now?"
Friends, God is calling. This week, break the monotony. This week, step out if the routine. This week, dig deeper. And rediscover your Father who is in Heaven.
Meanwhile, have a great SONday.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 22, 2015 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
At 41 years old, I'm still learning to put my full trust in God. I'm still learning God has a bigger plan. I'm still learning to trust in that "But God..." that keeps cropping up in my life. You'd think I'd have learned by now, huh? Well, it's like I keep saying, "God, I realize this is a test but You need to remember I'm just a C Student."
This weekend, I think God was really trying to raise my average. Sadly, it didn't really work out that way.
It started on Friday. I hadn't been feeling well with my back. But it had come and gone so I figured I'd be well enough to go to my book signing in Hemphill. Friday, I woke up hurting. As the day wore on, my knees swole, my hips began to pulse with pain and my back muscles stiffened and knotted up like I can't even describe. Needless to say, I was forced to cancel my Hemphill appearance the next day. Saturday, I spent much of the day kicking myself. As the day wore on, my pain subsided and I began to feel almost human again. So, having been a prisoner to my own body all day, I decided to trek to Longview to stretch my legs so to speak.
On the way home, it happened. My headlights began to dim. Windshield wipers began to slow their pace. The dash illumination started to dim, though more and more warning lights popped on, making me worry I wouldn't get to a safe spot. Thankfully, I did manage to pull into an Exxon station on the route home. Turning the key off, my first thought was to call for help. Being nearly 10 at night, I didn't want to try my stepdad, as I figured he'd be asleep. So I tried several friends first. Nobody answered. So, reluctantly, I called my stepdad, who got out at 10:00 at night without any thought of himself. Alone, in the dark, I again called several friends, mostly just seeking to ease my nerves, being stuck alone on a dark road, during a dark, rainy night in a very dark world where people are kidnapped and killed at random. Thankfully, my cousin, Bekah answered the phone. Normally, I have a rule about calling before 9 in the morning or after 9 at night. If i call outside of those times, either I didn't look at the clock, the clock was set wrong or I'm having a crisis. Last night, I was having a crisis. My cousin was there for me during my trepidation.
Once my stepdad arrived, I hopped in his car and he took me home. On the way, I began to remember I had been scheduled to be in Hemphill that day. The pain in my hip was gone now. The knees had shrunk and loosened up. The back pain was there, but it was down to something manageable. And there I sat, safe, in my stepdad's vehicle. Bekah had stayed on the phone with me 25 minutes, while I waited for him to arrive. I have little doubt she'd have stayed with me the whole 2 hours if Cooper had been forced to drive to Hemphill to get me. But he wasn't forced to do that. Because God found a way. God kept me home. Now there will be those who will say "God didn't cause you pain. That's cruel!" But think about it. Is it really cruel? I deal with pain daily. God didn't CAUSE my pain. But what the devil means for my destruction, God uses for His Glory. So, yes, folks. GOD used my pain as a means to an end. GOD saw my car failing. God saw my drive to Hemphill and knew I wouldn't make it home. Maybe God saw my death on the side if a hemphill highway and said no. Whether God directly increased my pain or just took His hand off for a moment so that Satan could cause it to increase, I don't know or care. That point is irrelevant. My car broke down in familiar territory. My cousin was my physical guardian. My stepdad was my rescuer. Jesus is my savior. And God is my King.
I'm not alive to write this because of chance. I'm alive because God protected me, got me to somewhere safe. And sent the right people at the right time to help me. I'm alive because the devil had a plan...
Love to you all. Have a great SONday.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 17, 2015 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
So, it's been a few days since my last blog. Long story. Probably better if I don't go into it right now. Let's just say I have not been feeling well, physically anyway.
That being said, there is some really cool news here at the Fortress of Solitude, which is what I call my humble abode. Just this week, my first book, Mourning Reign, received its 50th review on Amazon.com! Now that might not seem like much. Fifty reviews pales in comparison to the 3,000 an author like Dean Koontz might get for one of his books. But, and this is the reality for most of us, I am not Dean Koontz. The simple fact is most books by lesser-known authors seldom reach the milestone of 50 book reviews. That magical mark where Amazon's much talked about algorithm kicks in and starts causing your book to be seen with increasing frequency. I'm not noticing a huge boom in sales since the magic number of 50 has been reached, but I am seeing more requests for interviews and getting more attention to blog posts and mentions by other people on their blogs. Now, if I could just find the magic bullet that would propel me to bigger and better things. But, someday.... someday.
This year, I hope to publish 2 new books in the Mendez Series. One might have to wait until early 2016, but yanno, you just never can tell. I am excited to see these books coming together. I trust my fans will truly be pleased with the next couple of books.
Last, I am sure many of you have seen the "Sunday Sermon" Posts I've been doing here. It's a lot of fun, honestly. It's more than just this spiritual experience. It's not about religion. It's a deep connection to God that I truly can say is fun for me. I have honestly been praying about posting more of these types of things, both on facebook and here. It's all going to be in God's hands, just as it has been from the start. But I've had several people request that they be posted more frequently, so I've begun to pray for God's will in the situation. Maybe it will stay once per week. Perhaps that is what God wants it to be. I don't know. From the very beginning, I have said this thing is His to do with as he pleases. So, y'all be praying with me about it too okay?
Take care folks! I'll catch you on the flip side!
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 March 8, 2015 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
When I started posting the "Sunday Sermon" things on Facebook, I never dreamed it would be so well-received by so many. I never dreamed they'd be picked up by FNTX Radio. I never planned on them being anything other than how I saw them... as ways to look at the areas in my life where I need help. Areas I need to work on, that maybe others might need some help with as well. I never dreamed that...
And that's where I pause for a moment. Notice what I was saying there? I never dreamed... I never thought... I never planned....
Here's where we say those two words again: BUT GOD!
God wanted to see if I'd be obedient. God wanted to know would I take these words He is giving me and keep them His. Or would I try to make this mine. Did the glory belong to Eddie or God?
This question was tested this week in a very real way. You see, when I started doing these things, there was no planning. No preparation. No thought at all went into it. I woke up, I prayed, I asked God, what do you want to say to me today? And I shared that Word.
Earlier this week, I consciously began to think about tge Sunday Sermon. Here we were on like Thursday and I was asking for God's word already. I asked and asked but God was silent. Finally, after I just couldn't stop myself, God gave me a powerful word..."Be still."
Wait, what? That's it, God? Be still? That's your word to the people?
Again, I heard it, as clear as I'd heard the DJ coming through the radio speakers. A voice from deep inside me saying, "Be still..."
Be still, I repeated. Well, okay. I was confused. I'm supposed to tell you be still?
Then I heard it...
Be still, for I Am God.
Now the Bible says "be still and KNOW that I am God."
This was different. This wasn't just God saying "put your trust in Me." This was God saying, "that thing is Mine. Those messages are Me. You are the vessel. I Am the Water that brings life. Be silent. Be still. Be my vessel. Don't worry. Don't fret. Don't get ahead of me. In My time, I will pour Me out of you."
I got silent. I got still. But I also got my message for the week. It was oddly confirmed last night when i was talking on the phone to a friend. We were discussing ministries and how they can be focused on God. Or all about "me...i...myself" Ministries that stay focused on the Water will never be thirsty. But, as I learned this past Thursday, ministries that focus on the vessel will die of a thirst that cannot be quenched through the means of Man.
God may stop this some day. I personally believe these messages have both a reason and a season. But, again, that's an "I". These messages belong to God. And as long as He needs to pour out Living Water, I'm content to be that vessel.
No more planning. No more thinking about it. No fretting. God's got this. And, friends, God's got you too. Are you willing?
Till next time, have a great SONday.
|Posted by EHancock2 on March 1, 2015 at 9:40 PM||comments (0)|
This morning's message is different, I think, than others before. Today, I'm just going to share a Psalm I felt really powerfully last night. I hadn't been reading. I was actually laying in bed, trying to sleep. I kept hearing "Psalm 96" in my head. It took several times, and several failed attempts at distraction for me to realize God might just be trying to tell us all something here. So, without any real comment from me, I give you a word from God.
Psalm 96...in its entirety.
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth
Until next time, have a great SONday....and God bless!