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SocialMiami http://socialnmiami.com Join The Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 12 Strong–The Horse Soldiers Movie http://socialnmiami.com/12-strong-the-horse-soldiers-movie/ Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:52 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/12-strong-the-horse-soldiers-movie/ Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

12 Strong is the true story of the Green Beret Task Force Dagger–the first US Army Special Forces team to go into Afghanistan to hunt down Taliban and al-Qaeda after the 9/11 terrorist attack that brought down the Twin Towers.

 

 

In this dramatization based on the best-selling book Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton, Task Force Dagger is ordered to team up with Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance in the mountains of Afghanistan to open the way through hostile, mountainous territory to Mazur-i-Sharif.

Once the team arrives and makes contact, they find they must proceed on horseback. Oh, yeah . . . And they only have three weeks to do it. Real life team leader Captain Mitch Nelson pretty well sums it up in his famous response to an impatient senior officer awaiting a report: “I am advising a man on how to best employ light infantry and horse cavalry in the attack against Taliban T-55s [tanks], mortars, artillery, personnel carriers and machine guns — a tactic which I think became outdated with the invention of the Gatling gun.”

A Jerry Bruckheimer production, 12 Strong was filmed in New Mexico in and around Albuquerque as well as in caves south of Alamogordo and on White Sands Missile Range. Chris Hemsworth does a great job as Capt. Mitch Nelson, and he’s backed up with excellent performances from Michael Peña, Trevante Rhodes, and Navid Negahban, who play Sam Diller, Ben Milo, and General Dostum, respectively. Both the armaments and the social challenges the team met with in the course of their mission are faithfully portrayed. And speaking of those armaments . . . bring earplugs. LOTS of explosions.

12 Strong is an excellent representation of what US Army Special Forces concentrate on and do best.

As the film accurately portrays, Task Force Dagger did a great job of quickly inserting into a hostile area, meeting up with indigenous forces, and gaining their trust enough to work together to influence the strategic situation in Afghanistan. Such missions are the bread and butter of the US Army Special Forces.

 

First Meeting with General Dostum
Scene from 12 Strong

 

We would only make one critique of the film’s portrayal of Task Force Dagger.

The movie shows these Green Berets being a bit out of their element with the primitive conditions they found in Afghanistan. In real life, US Army Special Forces are always careful to never, ever appear to be surprised by anything or challenged by any environment, whether that environment is geographic, climatic, cultural, or tactical domain. They will be careful to appear to be absolute masters of whatever domain they inhabit. In other words, they would smile and play poker with Satan and pretend to enjoy the warm weather if they found themselves on a mission in Hell.

Unlike many war movies, 12 Strong addresses the impact war has on the warriors’ families.

Families also suffer and sacrifice. According to Holmes, the hardest thing in the life of a warrior with a family is how their children pay a cost that was not of their choosing. It’s hard for them to wake up and find out that dad left at 3:00 a.m. Eventually, the kids figure out dad isn’t on a beach in Maui, and it leads to the unavoidable fact that families bleed, too, in their own way.

 

Attacking on Horseback
Scene from 12 Strong

 

As usual with any movie about military success or heroism on the battlefield, some reviewers who clearly have no experience whatsoever with any battle beyond fighting with their lovers for control of the remote dismiss this movie as “flag waving.” We completely disagree. 12 Strong is an excellent recounting of the true story of a handful of brave men who got the job done.

While we would love to give 12 Strong our highest rating, a .44 Magnum*, for sentimental reasons, we must give it our second highest rating, a .357 Magnum.

That’s because even though it is a solid war movie with excellent production and acting, it is not particularly life-altering. That being said, it is, indeed, a solid war movie with excellent production and acting, and, therefore, worth seeing. We recommend this movie to those who are prepared for a realistic combat movie with one caveat—don’t take the kids. This is not a movie for children.

 

 

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*Bayard & Holmes Movie Ratings

  • Dud Chinese-manufactured ammo: Stay home and do housework. You’ll have more fun.

  • .22 rim fire:  Not worth the big screen, but ok to rent.

  • .380: Go to the matinee if someone else is paying.

  • .38 Special: Worth paying for the matinee yourself.

  • .357 Magnum: Okay to upgrade to prime time if you can stand the crowd.

  • .44 Magnum: Must see this. Life-altering event.

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Piper Bayard is a recovering attorney and an author of espionage nonfiction and international spy thrillers. Jay Holmes is a veteran field operative and a senior member of the intelligence community. Together, Bayard & Holmes are the bestselling authors of THE SPY BRIDE.

Look for their upcoming release, SPYCRAFT: Essentials for Writers, due out this spring.

 

 

To follow Bayard & Holmes, sign up for the Bayard & Holmes Covert Briefing, or find them at their site, Bayard & Holmes. You may contact them in blog comments at their site, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Bayard & Holmes, or by email at BH@bayardandholmes.com.

© 2018 Bayard & Holmes. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

     

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February January Presidential Proclamation Observations http://socialnmiami.com/february-january-presidential-proclamation-observations/ Thu, 01 Feb 2018 01:01:00 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/?p=5525

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Stealing Joy: When Others Know They’re Hurting You and Do It Anyway http://socialnmiami.com/stealing-joy-when-others-know-theyre-hurting-you-and-do-it-anyway/ Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:47:40 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/stealing-joy-when-others-know-theyre-hurting-you-and-do-it-anyway/ SJ

STEALING JOY:  WHEN OTHERS KNOW THEY’RE HURTING YOU AND DO IT ANYWAY

By Vicki Hinze

 

In short:  When Others Feed on Hurting You, Control You

 

We all have our soft underbelly; the one we avoid confrontation with whenever possible.  We’ve been there before, and we know how much it hurts.

Whether we call it someone stabbing us in the back, stepping on our toes or driving nails through our hearts, we get the feeling, and we’ve dealt with the many side-effects.

Joy, like life itself, is a fragile thing.  And it seems we’re all blessed (or cursed) with at least one person in our lives who is hellbent on making sure that they steal ours.  Whenever things are going well, or even when we’re in an unsettled state but we’re cooping well and still finding joy in our lives, in comes that person to steal our joy and make us miserable.

Maybe the thief isn’t getting enough attention.  Maybe s/he’s secretly unhappy and can’t stand the sight of anyone else being joyful in their imperfect life.  Maybe s/he thrives on upset.  Or feels that tearing others down builds them up.  It could be the thief is a control freak and feels threatened by you, so s/he makes it his or her business to not let you be too happy to keep you humble.  Or the thief could just not give a damn.  So what if you’re hurt?  It’s not his or her fault if what s/he wants negatively impacts you.  Or–and this is the worst possible case, of course–the thief takes joy in deliberately hurting you and stealing your joy.

Yes, sad as it is to say, there really are people who thrive and blossom and find happiness in making other people miserable. Particularly people, who for one reason or the other, don’t like them.

When someone steals your joy once, you’re inclined to be forgiving and consider it an accident.  But what if the thief does this over and again?  Always at significant moments, or over events that are significant and meaningful to you?  What do you do then?  How do you cope?

 

OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT.   When you’re on the receiving end of joy stealing, being objective is all but impossible.  Still, we have to do our best or remain a victim.

Try to determine why the thief is stealing your joy.  Only when you grasp their motivation can you deal with the problem constructively.

 

UNDERSTAND THE STAKES.  In these type situations, most often there’s something at risk. Something that puts you between the rock and the hard place.  Whether it’s your job, your reputation, or someone you love.  And you have to understand that cause-and-effect, action-and-reaction is hard at work.

So think through scenarios.  If the thief does this, you do that, where does that leave you?

What do you have at stake and are you willing to lose it?

Sometimes being the victim doesn’t enable you to avoid the penalty.  You’re caught in an emotional blackmail or hostage-type situation.  When the thief does this, anything you do results in the loss of x.  So before you do anything, you need to understand and accept that you well might lose.  Are you willing to live with that loss?

 

CONFRONTATION.  We typically hate it.  Some of us are better at it, more diplomatic, less emotional than others, but normal, healthy and stable people don’t relish confrontation or conflict or the upset both carry along with it.

Yet when our joy is being stolen, we have little choice.  We can step up and deal with the confrontation or allow ourselves to be victims and robbed of joy.

One or the other.  We must choose.  And we must live with our choices.

They’re never easy ones because of what is at stake and the risks of what we can lose.  More often than not, it means a great deal to us or the thief wouldn’t be trying to steal it.  So we must weigh the situation carefully and then choose.

 

CONSEQUENCES.  As unpleasant as confrontation and conflict is, if we’re able to work through it and come out a better place, it’s worth the effort.  Whether or not we’re able to get to that better place isn’t just our choice.  The thief gets a vote, too.  And when s/he weighs in, that vote can take many forms.  Anger, denial, outrage, justification, the false attribution of motives that are supposedly yours that are alien to you–any or all of those reactions are as apt to arise as a peaceful, imperfect solution to the problem or even a resolution with which you can be at peace.

The consequences could be alienation, distance, separation or divorce.  The loss of the job.  The loss of a loved one.

Steep consequences are possible.  Very possible because reason and logic are skewed by emotions in these situations and because our perspectives are a complex network of experiences and events–some of which are related to our interactions with the joy stealer and some that go beyond that relationship and into other areas of our lives.  Things that happened with other people, back when we were kids.  Professional things.  Personal things.

The sum of all our experiences shape our perspective and the lens through which we see the thief and the joy s/he steals.

 

CONTROL.  The bottom line is that we can’t control others’ actions.  We can only control our reactions to their actions.

We can choose to confront or withdraw.  To accept or distance ourselves from the thief.  To try–often for the umpteenth time–to be blunt and honest with the thief, about the pain they’re inflicting in the hope that they will choose not to deliberately hurt us again.  Or we can accept that the thief, regardless of motivation, is going to continue to hurt us and steal our joy and walk away.

In the end, we choose how much control and power over us we give the thief.

It is rarely an easy choice.  Rarely simple or free from many shades of gray.

It is seldom a choice we look forward to making or one we wanted to be placed in the position of having to make.  Yet if we do not, then doing nothing–willingly being the victim–does nothing to resolve the joy-stealing, only adds baggage to it.

So we assess the situation, no matter how much we wish we didn’t have to do it.

We understand the stakes, no matter how much we wish we never had to put things this dear to us at stake.

We endure the confrontation, even if it makes us sick for days or weeks afterward and our hearts yearn for peace.

We steel ourselves and accept the consequences for the course of action we’ve chosen to take, even if enacting it brings certain grief and mourning.

We control ourselves, our actions, making hard choices because we know that while avoiding them would be easier, living with avoiding them would not.

And we endure this, suffer through the upsets and losses we incur stopping the thief because when we look at life, its fragility and brevity–we are here but a moment–we know this truth:

If we are living without joy, we are already dead.

And that penalty is far too costly to pay.  ❧

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WRITING--LIVE!

 

© 2005, 2013, 2018, Vicki Hinze.

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lostinc4Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.

 

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KEEPING THOSE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS http://socialnmiami.com/keeping-those-new-years-resolutions/ Fri, 12 Jan 2018 05:20:39 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/keeping-those-new-years-resolutions/

 

KEEPING THOSE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

BY VICKI HINZE

 

Making Resolutions for the new year is easy. It’s keeping them that’s tough. We start out with good intentions, but along about the second or third week of January, our determination to keep our resolutions wanes. We don’t need to talk to death what to do, we need tools to help–and in this video that’s what is shared:  tools.

You can do it–whatever it is!

Resolve. Discipline. Desire.

****

lostinc4

Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.

 

 

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Social-In Books: Today’s Feature–His One and Only Bride http://socialnmiami.com/social-in-books-todays-feature-his-one-and-only-bride/ Tue, 09 Jan 2018 20:34:41 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/social-in-books-todays-feature-his-one-and-only-bride/ SociNBooksTARA BRIDE

His One and Only Bride

by

Tara Randel

 

 

His One and Only Bride  is a Harlequin Heartwarming release.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

He never thought he’d see her again.

 

After being reported missing, and presumed dead, globe-hopping photojournalist Mitch Simmons never thought he’d see his estranged wife Zoe again. Yet here he is, back in their coastal Florida town where Zoe is mayor. Turns out she isn’t the only one he left behind.

 

Discovering he has a baby son awakens thrilling new emotions in Mitch. And there are his still-powerful feelings for the high school sweetheart he vowed to love and honor forever. Thankfully, they’ll have the chance to find the love that was always there…

 

As an author, I always had this story in the back of my mind, a tale that asks the question, what would happen if you thought your husband had died, only to have him show up again when you least expected it? That’s the dilemma in His One and Only Bride. Zoe is shocked to learn her photojournalist husband, thought killed while on assignment, has returned home. They were estranged before his final assignment and Zoe grieved the fact that they never worked things out. But now she has a second chance. And a surprise for her newly returned husband, they have a child. Suddenly Mitch is thrust into fatherhood and finds out he’s unprepared. Through starts and stops, how does this couple decide to make their marriage work and become a family? That’s the fun part about being a writer, I can take stories just like this and create an entire world around on little question of what if.

 

This is the fifth book in the Business of Wedding Series, which looks at weddings from the industry professional’s point of view. There are so many creative planners, florists, musicians, caterers and photographers in the industry who make a bride’s dream day come true. But like most people, these professionals have private lives and that’s where my stories come into play. Place all these folks in a small town and you never know what can happen!

 

I hope you enjoy reading His One and Only Bride. Life, as Zoe and Mitch discover, is never easy. It’s the journey, the twists and turns, that make life and love all the more precious. In this book, you’ll also meet family and friends that make living in a small town so much fun.

 

 

Get a copy of His One and Only Bride at your favorite bookseller:

Amazon    Harlequin     Barnes & Noble

 

 

 

taraTara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Visit Tara for a listing of all her books and sign up for her newsletter at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TaraRandelBooks .

Tara Randel, Participating ChristiansRead.com Blog Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social in Books logo 2016

 

 

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January Presidential Proclamation Observations http://socialnmiami.com/january-presidential-proclamation-observations/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 22:45:53 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/january-presidential-proclamation-observations/

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Leadership http://socialnmiami.com/leadership/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 18:17:59 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/leadership/ Leadership, Vicki Hinze

 

Leadership

By

Vicki Hinze

 

We want, need and even require leadership. It’s essential in a civilized society, in nations, communities, and homes. As individuals, we can’t be experts on everything. We can’t be all and do all. So we seek direction, guidance, and inspiration in others. Those we deem expert or worthy of being leaders.

Leaders walk a fine line. We expect them to be expert and worthy, and yet we know they are human, full of foibles and quirks and as flawed to the core as the rest of us. That creates a paradox of sorts, and leaves mere mortals in a quandry. What, one wonders, must a body be and do to effectively lead?

Probably not as much as you think. It isn’t perfection the masses seek. It’s sincerity. Probably more than you think, considering some who have been tagged leaders in the past, but we’re talking idealistic realism here. Not what we’ve had, but what we yearn to have in those at the helm.

Some say leaders are born. Others say anyone can become a leader. The truth, as history has proven, is somewhere in the middle. Some people are born leaders. They seem tapped into the psyche of the masses and instinctively know what to say or do in given situations. They assume command naturally, not by force, and others are intuitively drawn to them as leaders.

Far more people, however, are those who are informed, engaged, and aware, and their ability to command draws others to them as a result of those attributes. These people are those who rise to the occasion and lead typically due to necessity. We need a leader, they’re capable (if sometimes reluctant) but do what needs doing because they can do it.

Whether born to lead or rising to the occasion, leaders share common traits that others recognize. It’s the recognition of these traits by others that encourages leaders to emerge. Cliff note version of traits follows:

Leaders lead by example. Others see the leaders’ principles and philosophies—what they believe—in not just what they say (talk is cheap) but in what they do (actions carry consequences). And in how they do it.

Leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They are clear on their vision and their intentions, their goals and objectives. That includes them refusing to disclose their intentions, goals and objectives…when non-disclosure best serves the purpose of achieving and fulfilling their mission.

Leaders do not lie to you. They well may tell you, “I’m not telling you that.” Or, “I’m not telegraphing my plans to the opposition.” But they do not lie.

We understand the wisdom in those kinds of comments and non-disclosures. Beyond that, we’re instilled with confidence in leaders who say these things, because we know by their refusal to disclose that they do have a plan, and the act to not spoil or diminish its success through disclosure has been deemed wise and deliberate.

We’re confident the collective “we won’t be engaging in a bumbling trial-and-error ritual of tossing potential solutions against the proverbial wall to see what sticks” has been avoided. A concrete plan being executed—a sound strategy—always inspires greater confidence than a “We’ll try this and see if it works” approach.

Followers grant leaders this leeway because forethought, mental testing, scenario speculation seated in logic and testing the execution of the plan and its potential outcome—good and bad—have been considered. Had to have been considered or the risks of disclosure and/or non-disclosure would not yet be known. We understand the odds for success and the costs of failure have been weighed.

This projection to us by leadership of preparedness creates an environment for a warm reception from us and that inspires confidence. Confidence is essentional in leaders and required in effective leadership. Speaking, acting with authority and conviction and competence all play a part in encouraging others to place their trust in a leader and to follow that leadership.

It’s a no-brainer that leaders should be honest. Lie once—just once—and a leader’s credibility is shot. Whether justified or not in the leader’s mind, the frgile bond of trust between leader and followers has been violated and broken. Once that breach occurs, then everything—every single thing—a leader has said or done or will say or do is suspect. That unviolated faith in a leader is shattered. It no longer exists.

People understand, “I can’t say. I won’t say.” And they understand, “It’s best for all if I don’t say.” They’ll accept that from a leader if the trust bond is intact. They might grumble and groan, wishing for more information, but they’ll accept it because they trust the leader. If that trust bond has been broken, they will not accept anything but disclosure.

As a leader, there are times and situations where silence and withholding information and actions is required. Mission essential, even. But there is never a time or a situation when honesty is not required.

A couple years ago, the government granted itself the authority to lie to the American people. Propaganda became commonplace. Outright lies, too. Horrific mistake, truly, because what has happened is that now noone trusts anything. Not what they see, what they hear, or what they think. That foolish act violated the trust bond and created a high hurdle that now must be overcome.

A leader living by example, saying what the leader means and meaning what is said who is honest with others fulfills a desire to believe, a yearning to trust in followers, and those qualities inspire naturally. Equally important to the leader, being an honest and trustworthy individual fosters loyalty.

Loyal followers invest in leaders. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. They respect and admire them. They believe in them. They have the leader’s back and trust that the leader has their backs. They believe the leader and his or her actions are driven by a desire to make things better for them. A genuine and not a manufactured desire to make things better for them.

Believing and witnessing these desires being manifested in what leaders say and do, followers then rise up to do what they can do to assist the leader. To fulfill the leader’s needs within the confines of virtues.

Leadership, you see, is a two-way street. And it’s a busy road of communication and working together to achieve mutual goals, and it’s paved with mutal respect. When that respect is given and received, there are fewer potholes, fewer areas of construction, and fewer detours. Respect enables both sides to glide over small imperfections because trust is intact.

The most beloved leaders are those we believe are driven to lead by a desire to improve—people we consider worthy of being followed. And those people, beloved leaders, are always ones driven by principle and virtue. Those foundations rest on rocks not sand. They withstand the tests of time.

Conversely, the absence of those qualities results in the crumbling of those foundations: of institutions and faith in leaders and their leadership. What a mess we have then! But that’s an entirely different subject.

Leaders are not perfect. They’re as tried by life, bear all the flaws and scars as the rest of us. We know this; we are not idealistic children. It is precisely because we are not that we refuse to embrace a leader who lacks integrity, vision and competence, who fails to trust us with the truth. We will never deem a leader as beloved who lacks principles and these virtues.

We might fall for imposters for a time. It happens. But when the truth surfaces—and the truth always does surface—we will soundly reject them. We will process the betrayal and violation of trust, the dishonesty, and be wiser for having been duped. Then we’ll go on, not making the past mistakes in the future. But never again will we embrace the violators.

We’ll be more determined than ever, seeking with vim and vigor, worthy leaders. And we’ll warmly embrace those who espouse the traits we deem essential. Those who prove by their actions and deeds that they respect us as much as we respect them, and who trust us to look beyond the clutter and honest mistakes and judge them fairly.

These leaders, now or later, will be beloved. Because for all our investment in them, they’re investing in us. Not out of necessity, but out of a desire to make lives better.

And that aspiration is worthy of a leader and beautifully encapsulates leadership.

 

 

 

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Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2018, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How-To Calm Your Inner Savage Beast http://socialnmiami.com/how-to-calm-your-inner-savage-beast-2/ Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:28:00 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/how-to-calm-your-inner-savage-beast-2/ Vicki Hinze, How-To Calm Your Inner Savage Beast

How-To Calm Your Inner Savage Beast

by

Vicki Hinze

 

We all have an inner savage beast.  Normally, we keep the beast leashed, our civility intact, our humanity in control, ruling our actions and reactions.  But there are times when life yanks at the leash. Tumultuous times that suppress civility and unleash bitterness and anger.

 

 

If you’ve been awake and not comatose, you’re well aware we’re in one of those uncivil times and you don’t need a news alert or a primer to be advised of it. We’re all seeing a lot of things more clearly, and we’re running into brick walls on sharing and discussing many of them due to crackdowns on such fundamental rights as free speech. We are learning a lot too, about things we need to know but wish we weren’t learning and didn’t need to know. Things about subjects like spirit cooking and human trafficking and corruption on a scale we can scarcely imagine. All of which have been hashtags on social media that are now being suppressed and redacted heavily across a multitude of platforms.

 

 

In times such as these, times that try the soul, it’s important to exercise discipline and retain focus to keep the inner beast leashed. No one can keep up with everything. Everyone has their pets and their peeves, and there are many who, to further their own objectives, rely heavily on blurring the lines for earnest seekers. Fortunately, these fakers and manipulators are easy to spot, particularly if one recognizes the patterns.

 

 

But this article isn’t about those things, though each does deserve a litany of articles on its own. This article is about what we notice, see, become aware of that is unsettling, troubling, worrisome, and downright devastating or frightening—all of which feeds our inner beast—and how-to be aware, informed, and yet remain peaceful, keeping the beast from smothering the good and unleashing the dark.

 

 

In recent years, I’ve discovered that shining light into dark places and retaining peace requires one thing.  Only one thing makes the difference.  That one thing is faith. In self, in others and, for me, in God. That’s been key. Others tag that one key requirement as truth. Not truth relative to something, but simple truth. When all the clutter is cleared, when motives and objectives and agendas are tossed out, the simple truth remains.

 

 

This season produced an avalanche of challenges that try the mind and spirit. It has revealed the worst in us, but it has also revealed the best in us. Those everyday and ordinary people who stepped up and out, willing to risk their lives and all they have for truth, to protect the least and most vulnerable of us. To be messengers, delivering that which is needed to be known to defend and preserve humanity, but also to preserve the humanity inside us. To remove the scales from our eyes and permit us to see that the battle we’re embroiled in is a classic clash of good and evil.

 

 

That truth annoys our inner beast. Why? Because the truth isn’t always easy to hear or see. It isn’t always easy to accept. We are by nature drawn to seeing the best in people, to believing the best. But we have been coerced, manipulated, even directed into seeing the worst, believing the worst—even if it must be manufactured. So much of all that has been and continues to be revealed resides so far outside our normal sphere, we have challenges accepting it as possible.  Yet we discover what we believed was impossible to occur in a civil society is happening. Illusions are shattered. Reality bites us hard. The inner beast is outraged and its roar shakes the foundation upon which we’ve based our lives. Shakes it so hard, it cracks.

 

 

This upset naturally creates anxiety, triggers depression and fear. In some, it ignites a dark void of hopelessness. In observing, we see all those reactions and rage. A deep, irrational but valid rage born and raised in deception and manipulation. But just as experience has taught us in other situations, people of faith have the weapons required to face the truth of what is (versus what we wish it to be) and to react accordingly.  The most powerful weapon in their arsenal is faith. We embrace it and rely on it. We hold tight to it. Because we know that ultimately God remains in control. That He is with us always. We remember His promises, His assertion that His ways are not our ways and that trials and challenges and bad things, he turns and uses for good. Crooked places are made straight.  We hold fast to faith, to truth… and we trust.

 

 

That faith/truth enables us to recall that there is good and bad in each of us, and it is up to each of us to exercise our faith in ourselves and in each other. To face adversity and remain civil. To agree to disagree without rancor. To grant others the grace we will need when we step over the proverbial line. To treat others with respect and to conduct ourselves in a way that warrants and earns respect.

 

 

Even in the best of times, when our inner beast slumbers, there are situations we can’t control. Actions of others we can’t control. But we can control ourselves. We can respect, we can behave with integrity, we can grant those who offend us with the grace we hope to receive when we offend others. We set the tone, the attitude, the proverbial bar. We choose, and we act on our choices.

 

 

And that is how, regardless of what is going on in our world, we claim peace and soothe the inner beast. Faith in ourselves and others, self-respect and respect for others, is the master key to all doors.

 

 

When things are going well, he inner beast is quiet and we focus elsewhere. We believe but take faith for granted. We’ve seen the results of that.  But when times get tough and life gets hard, when our faith in our fellow man, in ourselves, is challenged and what we have believed is cast into doubt, then we draw close and faith becomes the rope that keeps us tethered. Faith sustains us. Faith restores us. It calms the savage beast inside us so that we perceive trials with calm clarity. We seek solutions. We remember that little is perfect, and flaws can be assets. We exercise discipline, faith in others and in ourselves. For in faith, truth, rests our hope, our civility, and our humanity.

 

 

And that truth embraced helps us retain peace and endure tumultuous times. That truth enables us to reclaim our civility and humanity and calms our inner savage beast.

 

 

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Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Fun Christmas Facts http://socialnmiami.com/10-fun-christmas-facts/ Thu, 21 Dec 2017 22:17:20 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/10-fun-christmas-facts/ Vicki Hinze, Christmas Fun Facts

 

10 FUN CHRISTMAS FACTS

By

Vicki Hinze

     

 

Have you ever wondered about some of the things we see and embrace at Christmas? We know that Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. That story is familiar to us all, and embraced by billions around the world.

 

But what about some of the other things—like Christmas trees and stockings and Santa? And just how many people on Earth celebrate Christmas, anyway?

 

Wondering, I took a look and found some fun facts. I’m including the sources so you can read more about them, if you so choose.

 

Here are a few “did you know” kind of things that intrigued me:

1. The French gave the biggest Christmas present ever in 1886. It was the Statue of Liberty, and they gave it to the United States of America. (The French have one too, a smaller one, in Paris.)[1]

 

Photo: canstockphoto.com

2. Santa Claus was a real Saint. He lived in Myra in the 300s. Myra is in what’s now Turkey. The German name for Saint Nicholas is Sankt Niklaus.[2]

 

 

 

 

 

3. The first artificial Christmas Tree wasn’t a tree at all. It was created out of goose feathers that were dyed.[3]

 

 

4. Christmas has many, many names. Do you know some of them—aside from, of course, Christmas? How about? Sheng Tan Kuai Loh (China), or Hauskaa Joulua (Finland), or Joyeux Noel (France)? In Wales, it’s Nadolig Llawen, and in Sweden, God Jul. You can read more names for Christmas at http://www.rochedalss.eq.edu.au/xmas/world1.htm .

 

 

5. That “Xmas” stems from Greece. The Greek “X” is a symbol for Christ.

 

 

6. Riga, Latvia was home to the first decorated Christmas tree. The year was 1510.[4] About 36 million Christmas trees are produced each year on Christmas tree farms.[5]

 

 

Photo: Canstockphoto.com

 

7. The Candy Cane is one of the most familiar symbols of Christmas. It dates back to 1670 in Europe but didn’t appear in the U.S. until the 1800s. The treat we see today, where the shape is Jesus’s hook to shepherd his lambs and the color and stripes hold significance for purity and Christ’s sacrifice, became common in the mid 1900s.[6]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

canstockphoto.com

8. The Christmas Stocking got its start when three unmarried girls did their laundry and hung their stockings on the chimney to dry. They couldn’t marry, they had no dowry. But St. Nicholas, who knew of their plight, put a sack of gold in each stocking and in the morning the girls awoke to discover they had dowry’s. They could marry.[7]

 

 

canstockphoto.com

 

 

9. An estimated 1 of 3 people worldwide celebrate Christmas, including 2.1 Billion Christians. [8] There are about 7,038,044,500 people in the world, so about 23,460,148 celebrate Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. The most popular Christmas Song ever is We Wish You a Merry Christmas.[9] The song can be traced back to England, but its author and composer remains unknown.[10]

 

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 


[2] http://www.oddityjournal.com/2012/12/20-christmas-fun-facts-you-never-knew.html

[10] http://www.christmas-lyrics.org/we-wish-you-a-merry-christmas-lyrics.html

 

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Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

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Power Talk http://socialnmiami.com/power-talk-2/ Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:35:59 +0000 http://socialnmiami.com/power-talk-2/ vicki hinze, power talk  

POWER TALK

By

Vicki Hinze

   

We all know that storytelling is an art. Some are good at it. Some are better. And some are works-in-progress who need a little more training in specific areas of craft, like pacing.

 

There are perks to slowing the pace. Building suspense, fostering anticipation, and making people hang onto every word, eager to hear what happens next. Those are useful tools that can best serve a story.

 

But in today’s climate, we should also be aware that people are moving at a frantic pace, and while they might read to relax and be entertained, they don’t read to be bored by the slow moving pace of a novel.

 

I remember years ago, COLD MOUNTAIN (CM), was released. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of thrillers and suspense. I like action and lots of it in a book. I bought CM because so many raved about it being a wonderful story. I waded, then slogged through the first five or so chapters and gave up. I passed the book on to someone I thought would enjoy it. For me, it didn’t work. The description of every bit of flora and fauna had my eyes rolling back in my head. Well written, well researched, but the pacing was incredibly slow for my tastes.

 

As the book gained momentum and began winning some prestigious awards I respected, I thought, maybe it was my mood at the time I’d tried to read, and so I bought the book again. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen, but again slogged through descriptions to the point I lost focus. I gave up trying to read CM for the second time.

 

And then the movie came out. I watched it… and loved the movie. The plot was twisted and intricate, the characters deep and realistic—it was terrific.

 

Imagine that, I thought. Just imagine that.

 

I’m accustomed to enjoying the book much more than the movie, so this was a welcome surprise.

 

Fast forward a number of years. To just recently, in fact. A dear friend and I were discussing a totally unrelated non-fiction project. This project requires a lot of research, and we mentioned two researchers we respect and admire. Both are meticulous and excellent at what they do, but in relaying their findings and conclusions to others, they’re so slow to get to the point that we both react with similar sentiments. Mine: “Spit it out already.” Hers, by far more diplomatic: “Power Talk it.”

 

Power Talk?

 

Have you ever been to a meeting or a lecture where the speaker talks very slowly and adds so much unrelated and extraneous stuff that the point is lost. You kind of fall into a glazed-eyed mental slumber and just doze with your eyes wide open?

 

That’s the anthesis of—and proves the benefit of—power talk. Get to the point while people are attentive and conscious: Boom! Mess around until they go eye-glazed comatose: Fizzle.

 

Clearly, there are times in a novel when you want to lull people into a false sense of complacency so that when you zing the character, the reader really feels it. But if you dally too long, the zing fades to a fizzle. The power has left the talk.

 

It’s hard to gauge when to speed things up and when to slow them down. Pacing gives a lot of writers and readers fits. We learn the craft aspects of it—when and how to slow and speed up pacing. But in the actual story… determining how much is enough, or too little or too much, is an instinctive reaction to what is being written or read.

 

Sometimes our instincts are on target. Sometimes we miss a little or a lot. And it isn’t only in books, reading or writing, that pacing can help or hinder us.

 

Years ago, I was the director of operations for a corporate chain. The boss had weekly meetings. They were scheduled to last fifteen minutes but always extended. Sometimes to thirty minutes and sometimes to an hour.

 

What needed saying could be said in ten minutes. The rest was just watercooler chat. Everyone hated those meetings but agreed that we needed the ten minutes’ worth. Subtly telling the boss we needed to keep it short did no good. He was an agreeable sort and enjoyed a good chat, which is lovely, but not productive when everyone sat on lengthy to-do lists. So we calculated how much money each meeting was costing the company—per week, per month, per year.

 

We got twenty minute, monthly meetings. Everyone was happier. What changed?

 

Our boss learned to Power Talk.

 

We can apply Power Talk to our lives in so many ways, including in our internal dialogue–the way we speak to ourselves–and even in our prayer lives. In doing so, we find we intensify our focus, become clearer and more precise–more effective in our communications.  That benefits us and all in our circle.

 

And, as I write this, my mind expands on this concept.  Infuse power into your beliefs, your convictions. Strengthen your clarity on your ideas, your projects. Engage in more effective, more productive communications.

Power Talk.

 

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Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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