I ran across this – Reflection

I ran across this nugget today.

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And it prompted these thoughts…

For everything that we did wrong…

For everything that we got right…

For all that we should have done…

For all that we did do…

For all the struggles…

For all the victories…

Through it all – We loved.

We dared to love with all our hearts

All our souls…

AND, we managed to have some fun along the way.

Funny how the holiday season brings nostalgia.

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Reflection

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As I complete another trip around the sun, I am compelled to reflect back on a lot of things in life. I was born into a poor family in Hobbs, New Mexico on August 21, 1951. And that makes me exactly 66 years old.

From all accounts, I was a happy child. I had no idea we were poor until much later in life. My nickname in school was Smiley.

My sister, Linda, was (and is) my best friend in the world. Even at a very young age, I was holding her hand.

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I have a vague memory of the oxygen tanks that were delivered to our house on a regular basis because my Grandfather was dying of some sort of lung disease.

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All of my siblings were born in a tent. I was the only one born in a hospital. Mama and Daddy built the house I grew up in. They didn’t have contractors to come in and do the work. They did all of it and held down full-time jobs. I have a vivid memory of my short round little mama on the roof nailing down shingles.

But, I learned so much from both of them. I learned how to control my emotions from my daddy. He had a terrible temper and many times I dodged flying tools when he worked on one of our old cars. From my mom, I learned how to be strong in the face of adversity and how to never EVER give up.

When I was probably four years old, my mom decided to join a Pentecostal church. Daddy went along with it because he loved her, but I’m not convinced his heart was ever in it. So I was raised in a strict fear-based religion.

And I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and explore the world when I turned eighteen.

Jan 1970's  I had NO idea!

But, when I was nineteen, I met Rick Sikes. And, oh my! How I fell in love. And, so did he. It seemed destined to fail from the beginning. Not only was he sixteen years older than I, but he was a musician and band leader and no stranger to the Texas honky-tonk life. Nothing could be farther from a Pentecostal raising. 🙂

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And then…he was arrested on two counts of armed bank robbery and sentenced to 25 years and 50 years in prison. Not much hope of that love ever surviving.

But, it did and in 1985, we were married. Luke_Darlina_Wedding.JPG

And for the next 25 years, we did a lot of living! I learned how to play guitar and write songs and perform on stage with him.

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And then, his health began to fail. In 2003, he became confined to a wheelchair when he had to have his left leg amputated

Amputation.

But, we didn’t give up. We built a recording studio and recorded lots of our songs. Curious? You can see them all here.

And then on May 1st in 2009, he left me, to travel to the next world. I have so many memories and lots of regrets. There were so many things I could have done differently. But, once today is gone, there is no returning to it.

In 2011, I began the journey of writing our story, Rick’s and mine. It’s been a pretty incredible adventure and I have learned SO much since that first book, Flowers and Stone.

Many times, people ask me if I wrote all of these stories as a tribute to Rick and I quickly reply, “No.”  I wrote them because it was a story that begged to be told. It encompasses everything from passion, music, crime, redemption, second chances, more music, and mortality. My hope from telling these stories is that they might inspire someone else.

It’s been a helluva ride and I’m not getting off the horse just yet. 🙂

Thanks for letting me reflect a little. This poem I wrote many years ago pretty much sums it all up.  (Taken from the Poetry and Art book, DISCOVERY)

Comes the Dawn
After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
You learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security
Eventually, you understand that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
Then you start to accept your defeats
Head up and eyes open wide
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
And learn to build your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
Futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight
After a while, you learn that even sunshine
Burns you if you get too much
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers
And you learn that you can endure
That you really are strong
You truly do have worth
And you learn and learn
With each goodbye – you learn

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Happy Birthday to me! AND, I get a Solar Eclipse for my birthday.

Http-www.jansikes.com

Website     Twitter    Facebook

 

Hate The Sin

Back in another lifetime, I was a songwriter. It was a time I treasure with all my heart, along with the recordings that we managed to preserve our music with.

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We had an outdoor spa building behind our house. One night I was in the hot tub by myself and this song came to me. I wrote it all within twenty minutes. (We kept pad and pen close at all times.)

The result of that late night soak was “Hate The Sin But Don’t Hate The Sinner.

I loved every aspect of this creative mode from jotting an idea down to finishing out verses and chorus and walking into the studio to record.. Do I miss it? Heck yeah, but the writing just simply turned a corner in another direction.

Hope you enjoy!!

Hate The Sin But Don’t Hate The Sinner by Jan Sikes

Purchase Links:

Amazon      CDBaby    Website

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#RRBC Springtime Book and Blog Block Party!

Welcome to the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Springtime Book & Block Party!

This stop is being brought to you from Plano, Texas

What I’m giving away on this stop:

One (1) $5.00 Amazon Gift Card

One (1) $10.00 iTunes Gift Card

Two (2) Copies of Discovery – Poetry and Art eBook

Number of winners for this stop – Four (4)

For a Chance to win, please leave a comment on this post.

And, I’d be thrilled if you’d share it on Social Media.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to bring to you the Poetry and Art book, Discoveryin eBook format! 

First and foremost, I want to thank Jan Hawke for her hard work formatting the artwork and poems to convert to eBook. She did a phenomenal job. The clickable links in the Table of Contents take you directly to a specific poem or piece of artwork.

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This book is unique first of all because it was compiled by Rick Sikes during the fifteen years he was incarcerated in Leavenworth Prison. Secondly, the artwork that accompanies the poetry is what he called pen-and-ink drawings, which I have learned is technically called Pointillism – Artwork made up of millions of tiny dots.

A few bitter years into his imprisonment, Rick Sikes reached a pivotal turning point.

He made the decision to be, think, and act only in a positive manner. This poetry and art project was partially his means of doing just that.

What you’ll find between the covers of this book are expressions of raw emotion…Poems of deep sadness and loss, humorous musings, political wisdom, life observations and tender love from Rick, while Jan lends her own deeply personal poems at the end of the book to round it out.

This partial excerpt from the poem entitled “Discovery” is the first expression of that pivotal point in Rick’s life where he determined he was going to crawl up from the bottom and become a worthwhile human.

Discovery

Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ‘til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused upon a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger, what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same…”

                                                           RICK SIKES

 

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One example of Rick’s Artwork

Comes the Dawn by Jan Sikes

After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul

You learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

And company doesn’t mean security

Eventually, you understand that kisses aren’t contracts

And presents aren’t promises

Then you start to accept your defeats

Head up and eyes open wide

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child

And learn to build your roads on today

Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

Futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight

After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns you if you get too much

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you can endure

That you really are strong

You truly do have worth

And you learn and learn

With each goodbye  –  you learn

I hope you’ll take a peek at the Trailer for Discovery. Click HERE!

I hope I’ve piqued your interest and that you’ll check out this new eBook version of Discovery

Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this post.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome BLOCK PARTY!

For More Stops on this RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB Book and Block Party, click HERE 

Order the eBook  Discovery HERE!

Follow Jan: WEBSITE       FACEBOOK        TWITTER       LINKEDIN       PINTEREST

Patience

Patience is a virtue…or so they say.

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I was born in August under the sign of Leo. When they were handing out buckets of patience, I obviously said, “No, Thank you.”

I’ve always wanted to make everything happen at lightning speed and therefore have worked hard to achieve my goals and dreams, forced round pegs into square holes and swam upstream a large portion of my life.

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Through all of this, I’ve always believed I had Guides and Angels working with me to help me AND have always believed that everything happens in life for a reason and a purpose.

However, I have recently been put in my place, so to speak, and all my beliefs tested.

And, over such a simple thing as a roof over my head.  I won’t bore you with long details, but with my lease ending here at the apartment I currently live in, I went looking for a 55+ community to move into.

Bam! I found one right away that happened to have a vacancy where they normally have a wait list, so I thought I’d stumbled on the perfect solution, a Christmas Miracle.

What I didn’t know is that it would take weeks and weeks to go through the approval process because it is a government subsidized community. It got right down to the wire with only a few short days before I had to be out of this apartment and still no approval. No place to go. No place to live.

So, was everything not kismet? Was it all a farce? I asked myself those questions and more.

I cried. fb_img_1434464549535I prayed. I didn’t want to be homeless at my age in life. Not that I’d ever be out on the streets, but the prospect of moving in with either of my children, even for a short period of time, did not set well. Been there and done that. Even got the t-shirt.

There is a point to this story.

Life is all about lessons. If we are never forced out of our comfort zones, we miss the opportunity to grow and learn. I was handed a huge lesson in patience, belief and trust.

Thankfully, this story does have a happy ending and I’ll soon be moving. What did I learn? That patience is indeed a virtue that I still lack. That we do have Guides and Angels working with us at all time no matter the situation. That we must believe in something and that belief can be the strength we need to make it through tough times.

I’ll be moving in seven days.

Discovery – Post by Linda Broday

Hop on over to Linda Broday’s blog post today for an indepth look at the Poetry and Art Book, DISCOVERY!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a Hardcover copy. Folks, that’s a $24.95 value, so Linda is being very generous today.

http://lindabroday.com/jan-sikes-discovery/

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Made It Into the TOP 5!

What a pleasant surprise to find this video in my Inbox this morning from the Texas Association of Authors! 

I made it into the TOP FIVE Bestselling Authors list.

What is TxAuthors?

Very simply put, it is a non-profit organization created to assist Indie Authors in Texas with the marketing of their books and this is done in a variety of ways.

  • DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas
  • Texas Authors Institute of History (A museum dedicated to preserving Texas Literary History)
  • Lone Star Book Festival
  • Representation to the American Library Association as well as TLA
  • Website and Social Media support
  • A variety of Book Festivals held across the Lonestar state
  • Opportunity for readings in Libraries and Indie Book Stores
  • Writing Contests
  • Virtual Bookstore as well as a traveling Bookstore
  • Dedicated work with Texas Government officials for author recognition
  • BlogTalk Radio Shows

This is simply a brief list of ways that the Texas Association of Authors supports authors who live in the State of Texas, or as the founder of the organization says, whose heart is in Texas.

If you think this organization may be helpful to you, I invite you to take a look and decide for yourself.

In the meantime, I am ecstatic that I made the TOP FIVE list of Bestselling Authors in the organization!

 

HANDS – A #Christmas Story

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A heavy blanket of snow covered the city. tdy_dylan_storm_160125

The commute had been brutal and after finally arriving at my office building, two hours late, I hurried across the street to the front door.

Homeless people are not an uncommon sight in the city. We become immune to them after a while. Why don’t they just get a job like the rest of us?

But, on this frigid morning, I found my attention drawn to a thin man huddled against the wall as if he could somehow draw warmth from the bricks.

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Humph! Well, he made the choice to be out in this blizzard. But then, my attention went to his hands. He wore a coat and hat, but no gloves. As I watched, he drew his coat collar up higher and tugged his hat down, then thrust his hands into his pockets.

I wore expensive leather fur-lined gloves and still  my hands were numb. I couldn’t imagine how his frozen his fingers must burn from the cold. While I watched, he drew them back out of his pockets, blew on them, then quickly thrust them back inside as if to hold that minute bit of heat.

I rushed through the door into the warmth of the building, the man forgotten. After all, as I said, it is a common sight in the city.

At lunch, I dashed outside with two co-workers to the Deli two doors down. Once again, the thin man with no gloves drew my attention. I must be getting soft. Maybe because it’s almost Christmas and we all get sentimental around the holiday.

What was it about him? He didn’t hold a sign and didn’t appear to be begging. He simply appeared to be melting into the side of the building he leaned against. Then he raised his eyes to meet mine and I saw a depth of pain that shook me down to my toes. Once again, I turned my back and darted into the Deli to a bowl of hot soup.

Maybe I should take some to the man. That would ease my conscience. When I checked out, I ordered a bowl to go. After my co-workers headed back inside, I made my way through the drifts across the street to the thin man. Without a word, I approached and held out the sack from the Deli.

He looked away as if embarrassed.

“Here. I got this for you. Maybe it will help warm you.”

His hands trembled when he took the bag. He mumbled. “Thanks, mister.”

“Do you have somewhere you could go to get out of the cold today?”

He shook his head.

“Well, try to stay warm.” I turned and rushed back to work.

That evening, as I pulled on my fur-lined leather gloves, I once again thought of the thin man and his cold hands.

When I stepped out onto the snowy sidewalk, he remained huddled in the same spot that he’d been glued to all day. Once again, I trudged across the street.

“Hey, mister. You’re going to freeze to death out here. You need to go to the Salvation Army or somewhere.”

Tears filled the old man’s eyes when he looked up at me. “She’ll be here any minute.”

“Someone is coming to get you?”

He nodded.

“Well, then the least I can do is give you some gloves to help keep your hands warm while you wait.” I slipped off my expensive gloves and thrust them into the man’s hands.

He gave me a toothless grin and slipped them on. He flexed his fingers, nodded and huddled even closer to the building.

When I turned to walk away, I knew the old man would be dead before morning and he would die with my fur-lined gloves on. I couldn’t stop the tears that filled my eyes.

I plunged my now cold hands deep into my pockets and made my way toward the train for the long journey home. Somehow I felt redeemed by giving the old fellow my gloves.

When I passed by a department store, I ducked inside and bought a new pair for myself.

Cold hands, warm heart. Wasn’t that how the saying went?

Merry Christmas!

“It is better to give than to receive.”

#RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party!

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It’s a PARTY and you’re invited!!

Hi, and WELCOME to the Rave Reviews Book Club Holiday Train “Book Trailer” Block Party at Writing and Music located in McKinney, Texas.

What I’m giving away:

1 set of 10 custom-made charms using your book cover or any design you choose from Dawn Judd Creations. (Shipping cost included on gift certificate.)

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1 – Ebook of Home At Last

1 – AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF “DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES” (B&W EDITION) This book is hot off the press! 

NUMBER OF WINNERS – 3

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN, YOU MUST VISIT THE BOOK TRAILER VIA THE YOUTUBE LINK BELOW AND LEAVE A COMMENT. YOUR NAME WILL THEN BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING FOR THESE COOL PRIZES!

HOME AT LAST

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BOOK TRAILER

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Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

 

As with the other books in this series, Home At Last is a true story based on the lives of Rick and Jan Sikes.

Order on Amazon

OR

Order through my website for an autographed copy and the music CD that accompanies this story!

http://www.jansikes.com

HomeAtLast_BookAnd CD-Text

Book Cover Contest Finalist!

Wow!! I am elated. I had forgotten all about entering this book cover contest with Authorsdb. So, you can imagine my surprise when the email came.

Home At Last

Named Finalist in Authorsdb Book Cover Contest!

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Released from federal prison after fifteen long years, Luke Stone boards a Greyhound bus bound for Texas, for home and the woman who holds his heart. He happily hangs up his neon dreams for a paint brush and hammer. Darlina Flowers has waited her entire adult life to become Mrs. Luke Stone, but will the hardships of starting over with nothing be too much? Their love is tested to the core as the story unfolds.

You can order Home At Last today on Amazon

Or for an autographed copy order through my Website

View the Book Trailer here!