I Stopped

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I Stopped

I stopped looking
I stopped searching
I stopped wandering
I stopped

I stopping fighting
I stopping trying
I stopped tiring
I stopped

I took a moment to breathe
A moment to be
To escape
To getaway
I spent some time alone with myself
I stopped asking others for help
Because they couldn’t save
Me

I stopped looking
I stopped searching
I stopped wandering
I stopped

I stopped fighting
I stopped trying
I stopped tiring
I stopped

I took some time just to think
Of where I wanted to go
Of what I wanted to know
Most importantly,
How I wanted to grow
And I eventually set myself
Free

I stopped wandering
I stopped tiring
I stopped.

© 2017 C. A. Barnes

Rise

bird sketch

Rise

I was not looking to be at your side
I was just looking for a place to hide
When the winter comes, I will rise

Down this road for so long I’ve known
I’ve given up searching for a home
Where the grass is green like jewels
It almost glows

Year after year, I’ve lived the same old way
Surrounded by lies that constantly say
No, no, it won’t do
No, no, what you once thought isn’t true
No, no, let it go, give it up
No, no, what you do, will never be enough

Go home, is what I wanted to say
Just go home, I’m not suppose to be here anyways
Go, I close my eyes
I block my ears
Go, I won’t give in to my fears
Goodbye road, goodbye years
Living the same old way
Down the road I’ve only ever known

I was not looking to be at your side
I was just a coward, looking for a place to hide
And now my time is running dry
When winter comes, that is when I’ll rise

©2017 C.A. Barnes

Go Your Own Way

Vintage Dots

Go Your Own Way

Don’t force to stay
To play their game
Have strength
And leave them behind

You can’t change their mind
They won’t stand behind
You, no way
So leave them today

And choose to be
Completely free
No more pretending
No more befriending
Foes of yesterday

It’s over now
Be you, you must somehow
Don’t listen to what they say
Just go your own way

Don’t try to prove
Your worth in their shoes
They don’t care what you say
So go your own way

And choose to be
Completely free
No more pretending
No more befriending
Foes of yesterday

Live at last
No longer a slave to the past
Live in truth
Be the one with nothing more to prove
Just go your own way
Go your own way
Life is short
Don’t delay
Go your own way

© 2017 C.A. Barnes

Book Review: The Broken Road By Richard Paul Evans

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Blurb:

Chicago celebrity, Charles James can’t shake the nightmare that wakes him each night. He sees himself walking down a long, broken highway the sides of which are lit in flames. Where is he going? Why is he walking? What is the wailing he hears around him?

By day, he wonders why he’s so haunted and unhappy when he has all he ever wanted-fame, fans and fortune and the lavish lifestyle it affords him. Coming from a childhood of poverty and pain, this is what he’s dreamed of. But now, at the pinnacle of his career, he’s started to wonder if he’s wanted the wrong things. His wealth has come legally, but questionably, from the power of his personality, seducing people out of their hard-earned money. When he learns that one of his customers has committed suicide because of financial ruin, Charles is shaken. The cracks in his façade start to break down spurring him to question everything: his choices, his relationships, his future and the type of man he’s become.

Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: a second chance. The question is: What will he do with it?

The Broken Road is the first book in a much-anticipated new trilogy by beloved storyteller Richard Paul Evans. It is an engrossing, contemplative story of redemption and grace and the power of second chances. It is an epic journey you won’t soon forget.

General Thoughts: 

This story was different from the stories I tend to find myself reading. When I purchased the book, I thought it was a completely fictional tale, but upon reading it, realized that it was fiction based loosely on a true story. The story follows the life a man, named Charles James, with him telling the tale of his rise and fall from grace.

As I say this, I loved the story. The author, who was able to write this story by interviewing Charles (which is not the man’s true name, but alias), really brought Charles to life. He was able, in first person, to vividly convey the main character’s thoughts and feelings in a way that made me, as a reader, feel like I was right there with him, having a heartfelt conversation.

Though Charles loses focus, chooses the wrong priorities, and makes what some would see as unforgivable mistakes, he is a sympathetic character. Quite possibility because of knowing about his upbringing in earlier chapters, I couldn’t help but to see him as the good guy who wanted to do the right thing, but easily found himself getting caught up in the ills of modern day life.

If I have to say something that was lacking in this story, I would say it had a sort of incomplete, cliffhanger, ending. Towards the end, Charles, after his fall, sees himself having a second chance, to sort of start all over in life, and possibly mend some severed relationships. But the story ends there, with the idea of him having a second chance and with him questioning himself on what he will do with it. Now seeing that this story was loosely based on a true story—an actual man’s life, he’s not there yet—he’s not at the point where he’s actually pursued that second chance, and the author makes that known in the book. So although it was a disappointment to not know what became of Charles James, it was understandable. If it’s possible for the author to do, it would be nice for him to follow up with the man who is Charles James and see what becomes of his second chance at life.

Recommendation:

Yes, I would recommend this story to those who like character driven stories that can make one think about life, it’s purpose, and what matters.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars. I ended up liking this story despite being sort of incomplete. I believe its strength was the author’s ability to bring the main character to life, make him sympathetic and relatable.

What’s Next

bird sketch

What’s Next

I should have stayed put
I should have believed in you
I should have stopped looking at others
And instead looked at the truth
Now more years have been wasted
Now more time has gone
And though I am not nearly old
I feel my strength is done

What’s next
What should I do
Should I look to the world
Or to the truth
Should I listen to the lies
That’s taken me nowhere
Or do I just stop
And start to prepare…

©2017 C. A. Barnes

Book Review: Deadly Proof By Rachel Dylan

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Blurb:

Standing For What’s Right Could Cost Her Everything

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

General Thoughts:

I have to say this story was more enjoyable than I initially anticipated it would be. Here I was starting the story and reading and reading, thinking I still had a lot left to cover, and before I knew it, I was at the end of the book. I wondered if I actually read the book that fast, which is a good thing, because it tells me that this book is entertaining—it read like a movie. It was a bit suspenseful and realistic. The author really knows how to develop a compelling story from beginning to end.

Another positive to this story was how easy I connected to the main character, Kate Sullivan. I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed this story is I felt I shared the values and personality that Kate possessed. Observing how she dealt with sensitive issues in a no-time, money and status conscious environment, it was nice how the author created a Godly character who was able to draw on her relationship with God to navigate the society she lived in. I especially like the relationship development between Kate and Landon and how Kate was able to share her faith with Landon who was still struggling to understand where he stood in his relationship with God. It all was written authentically and with a sensitivity that I believe many will appreciate.

When I think about the drawbacks of this story, I will say, it’s not as suspenseful as I imagined it to be. The mystery of who was threatening Kate’s life was obvious from the beginning, even if not specific as to whom. I wasn’t surprised to find out who was after Kate—it was really a matter of when they would reveal themself. I believed because the story seemed to be split with its focus on Kate’s and Landon’s relationship and the mystery of who was threatening Kate to back off of the case, that might have been the reason why there was less attention in developing a lot of mystery to the story.

Recommendation:

Yes, I would recommend this story to those who have an interest in law investigative stories with a bit of suspense, as well as stories that focus on character development and growth.

Rating:

3.5 out of 5 stars. The story was a fast and entertaining read and I really felt that the main character was understandable, if not also relatable. However, though I would consider it a suspenseful story, it was obvious who, from a general sense, was after Kate and why, which eliminated the mysterious aspect I was hoping for.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

It’s Okay

 

Rocks or Light

It’s Okay

It’s okay to be
The only one
To be
Left under the sun
It’s okay to go
On this road alone
It’s okay to be lost
Until you find your home

It’s okay to be
The only one
To keep on searching
Until you’re done
It’s okay to feel
Like you’re on your own
It’s okay to try
Try try try
It’s okay to do it again and again
Until you fly

It’s okay to be
Just who you are
Even if what that is
Doesn’t seem to get you far
It’s okay to be
Just who you are
And to keep on believing
On that lucky star

©2017 C.A. Barnes

Guest Post For Wide Open Writing

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Hi everyone 🙂

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest writer for Wide Open Writing, an awesome place that supports writers on their specific goals, by connecting them to resources and others who share their vision. They offer online courses, virtual writing groups, retreats, and so much more that I would like to participate in the future.

Nevertheless, they also run a blog, featuring posts from writers sharing helpful advice or discussing specific writing projects and goals. I really can’t say enough, so I encourage everyone to check out their website to see what I mean.

My post featured is on finding success as a published writer. I wrote this originally a few years ago, but it has since been updated to reflect how I currently feel. I mention four major things that I think are essential to finding and keeping success, whatever success means to you in terms of your writing. But ultimately, I point out what is truly important in being a successful writer and why that must be the foundation in order for success to be possible. I think for those of us who write, we already know what that is.

Here’s the link to the guest post: Finding Success As A Published Writer

Book Review: Fatal Trust By Todd M. Johnson

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Blurb:

A Simple Job. An Unbelievable Payout. But in Risking It All On Blind Trust, He May Just Lose Everything . . .

Ian Wells is a young, ambitious Minneapolis attorney struggling to build up a law practice while caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. As the stress and bills mount, Ian is nearing the breaking point when everything changes with a single new case. All Ian must do, the client demands, is judge whether three men qualify for nine million dollars of trust funds soon to be paid out by determining whether they’ve been involved in any criminal activity for the past twenty years. Ian’s fee for a week’s work: the unfathomable sum of two hundred thousand dollars.

The job seems too good to be true, and Ian wants to turn the offer down, but his needs weigh more heavily. He warily accepts the job–but is quickly dragged deep into a mystery linking the trust money to an illegal enterprise dating back to Prohibition and the greatest unsolved crime in Minnesota history. Ian soon finds himself the target of a swiftly tightening criminal investigation–realizing too late that this so-called simple job has spun out of control and now threatens his career, his future, and his life.

General Thoughts:

This was a different kind of story for me. I tend to gravitate towards character driven stories, well, more specifically, emotion based and personal growth stories, but this one was primarily plot driven. There was a clear problem that the main character, Ian Wells, had to solve. It had a bit of intrigue, mystery, and suspense that kept me turning the pages until the very last.

On a personal note, I thought it was awesome how the setting took place in Minnesota, where I’m from. I enjoyed seeing Ian travel across town and even the state, passing by familiar places I know and even been to. It was fun wondering which where he would travel to next.

The strange thing about this story is I thought it was an easy read, but at the same time, difficult to follow or understand at times. The author’s writing is very good, and I was able to grasp the big picture in terms of what was going on and what Ian had to do, but sometimes the smaller details, such as how some of the characters became involved in the trust and crime (i.e. Callahan, Harry), were unclear. I also would have liked to know what finally happened to the characters who interfered with Ian’s job of figuring out the distribution of the trust money. It would have been nice to know the final sentence of Callahan, McMartin, Maureen, and Liam.

Overall, the story was an easy read. It had enough elements of mystery, suspense, and intrigue to keep the plot going and interesting. However, it was not emotion based, character based, or message based, so for one who enjoys these elements in stories, I felt I was missing that and therefore couldn’t connect with the characters or story in general—even though it takes place in Minnesota 🙂

Recommendation:

The story was well written and interesting. However, I would recommend this story to those who gravitate towards plot driven stories that have mystery and suspense, than character driven, emotion based, and message based stories, which this story had little to none of.

Rating:

3 out of 5 stars. For me, I couldn’t truly connect with the characters or story. I didn’t find any message that I could take away. The story didn’t make me think or learn something from it, which are the stories I tend to read. However, the story had a clear and succinct plot, and was interesting with elements of mystery and suspense. I think readers who love plot driven stories will enjoy this one.

***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***

Turtle

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Turtle

I’m slow, yes I know
I’m a turtle
Always late in every way
You’d think I’d be ashamed
But it’s too hard to explain
I’m okay
And life is great
Being a turtle

I don’t need to be there
By a certain time
I don’t need milestones to reach
At certain ages in life
I don’t care what they do
When or how
Cause I like how things have went
For me and somehow
Life as a turtle sets me free

There’ll be no bucket lists for me
Causing so much anxiety
To have this, to have that
To accomplish things
In no time flat
Oh I don’t care what they say
I love my life, it’s really great
I don’t want for many things
But to live a life of simplicity

There’s no hurdles
In a life of a turtle
So I’m not changing
I’m a turtle
And I’m very glad

© 2017 C.A. Barnes