Gratitude Challenge Day 7

With this final day of the Gratitude Challenge, I wrap up the 7 days of acknowledging the wonderful things in my life I’m grateful for. While not every portion of these posts may have touched your hearts, the main reason I’ve been posting these (aside from taking a break while I focus on wrapping up our fiction anthology release (Arcane Synthesis) is because I figured you might find these inspirational/encouraging—at least a little something in each post—or at least find them interesting.

I’ve been very transparent and while you may not have agreed with everything I’ve said, or cared about everything, I think the posts have given some solid insights into my background, why I am such a positive person, why I’m here, where I and QT Games are heading, etc.

Following this post, I’ll be returning to my regular game design diary and company focused posts, mostly about the Cosmoverse Campaign Setting and Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game, but also about upcoming fiction and why I made the decisions that I did. I’ll also get into some of the design concepts I’ve bandied about, revised, tossed out, and what you can look forward to in upcoming products.

Now then, as I’m already late getting you this final post of this tangent, without further ado, the final day of the challenge! [Most future posts will be much shorter. I hope you stick around for the regular gaming and fiction posts and our occasional tangent about life, the universe and everything. Have a great weekend, all! Cheers!

Gratitude Challenge Day 7:
1. Creativity: I am grateful for my creativity. It has made life a lot more fun. When I’m waiting somewhere and people around me are all using their cell phones, all I really want is a blank notebook and a pen. I love to just sit and create, whether it’s snippets of dialogue for some future skit or play I want to write, an idea for another Cosmoverse story, a sketch of my next cartoon character or creature for my Cosmothea RPG, a new spin on a game mechanic or setting element, or even an idea for another card or board game.

As long as I can think, I can entertain myself for hours on end, and have a blast doing it. I used to pray for red lights so I’d have time while driving to write down ideas. I’ve come up with numerous board game concepts and dozens of stories while driving, none of which I would be able to do without creativity. I have far, far too many cool ideas to ever find time to write them all down or draw them and eventually try to publish them, so until my brain no longer functions properly or I get too old to think, I will have tons of exciting things I can work on! What a wonderful gift that is useful in every area I’m interested in, and I only hope that I will be able to spend a good portion of the rest of my life using my creativity to pursue my dreams and be a blessing to others!

2. Games: I am grateful to have spent the past 35 years working on, playing or expanding upon one version or another of the Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game and the Cosmoverse Campaign Setting. Both have been tremendous fun. I’ve done a lot of things over my life, but none of the hobbies I’ve tried have ever held a candle to tapping my imagination through roleplaying and game design. The game is still not on the market, in large part due to a lack of finances, but I’ve still had a lot of fun with it and still hope to one day get the finances to pursue it commercially.

The Cosmoverse setting, (which for those who don’t know, is a universe I created and filled with imaginary creatures, cultures, magic, science fiction, superheroes and lots of cool ideas), is also not on the market yet, but Lord willing, will be one day. It has been immensely satisfying and it is the backdrop for nearly all of the stories I have written and plan to write for the remainder of my days. I’ve also had the pleasure of designing over two dozen board and card games since I was about 14, and have had so much fun with them (yeah, I’m hoping to publish a few before I pass away, but come what may in life, I’ll never regret the time I invested in exploring my imagination through games!

3. Drive: Call me foolish, naïve, stubborn, and maybe I’m a touch of those things—nobody’s perfect, but the fact is, anyone who knows me, knows I’m a driven person. I’m grateful that I’m no quitter! It doesn’t take a lot to knock me down, but you can be assured that I’ll get right back up and continue down the path I’ve chosen. The reason for this unwillingness to admit defeat, to throw in the towel and lay down my dreams, is that I believe I’ve been given solid reasons to stay the course. I believe I can make it.

Sure, I’m a very positive person, but I know my limitations too. And my dreams are ones that many don’t achieve (prolific, published author and game designer chiefly) and I admit there’s times I feel like giving up, when I don’t know if I can go on. I know the road is hard and know others who have tried and failed, but I continue to do research and work toward my dreams. I have quite a bit of experience and pray daily for wisdom. And I have seen wisdom bubble forth at times when I’ve needed it most and I’ll continue to pray for more and learn from my own mistakes. (I guess I’m not so foolish, nor so naïve after all). Yet after so many trials I still don’t give up.

Stubbornness then? That implies a refusal to change my opinions and direction, despite good advice, but I spend a great deal of time seeking advice, studying the market, doing my homework, and making adjustments to my dream.

Making adjustments isn’t failure, it’s preparing for success! I’m not stubborn for pursuing a hard dream to accomplish. I have solid reasons for why I’m so driven. The reason is simple. I’m not relying on myself to carry the ball. I’m merely bringing the ball to the field and having learned the game, am approaching the goal and am prepared to kick the ball when and where God tells me to.

I’m confident in God’s ability to help me achieve my goals because I believe there’s nothing too difficult for God. He has affirmed again and again that I’m on the right path, and while I still have a long way to go to reach my goals, I’m trusting in him and am doing my job. What makes me so driven is what I’m eternally grateful! ‘Nuff said. ☺

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Gratitude Challenge Day 6

I’m back. Between being sick and apparently not being able to read a calendar, I blew past the last Gratitude Challenge day. Sorry about that! here’s Day 6! We’re bringing this back around to fiction and gaming following next week’s Day 7.

I may start a second blog later for off-topic stuff about life that I hope you find inspirational, but time is too tight currently (as you might have guessed by this late post). Only one “day” left of the challenge and then back to my usual, including some game design diary goodies, updates and more sneek peeks. Here goes . . .

1. Comics: What an impact comics made on my life. Not only have they been a wonderful, healthy, lifelong distraction, causing me to read like mad and learn all sorts of new words (like excelsior), but they inspired me creatively. Jack Kirby in particular got me thinking epic thoughts about wild stories—larger-than-life adventures and strange, new worlds. I have a lot of fun memories and get goose bumps easily when I see some of those old titles from my youth. I doubt I ever would have thought up the Cosmoverse Campaign Setting had it not been for Jack Kirby and for being a voracious comic book reader.

2. Movies:
Star Wars and Indiana Jones were two movie franchises that had the second greatest impact on me. My jaw fell into my lap and stayed there while I watched those first two movies. They, like many that followed, served to motivate me to keep writing my own stories, to keep designing my own games and to keep dreaming! Even today, when I see a great movie, it makes me want to do something great, to write another play or another tale of life in the vast Cosmoverse!

3. My Mom & Dad: They are two very different people, but both impacted me in very different ways. My Mom lives here in town and is my biggest fan. I can’t tell you how wonderful and encouraging she is and how irreplaceable she’s been in shaping my life! She is the one who led me to Christ and is a daily example that inspires and encourages me to keep going and keep trusting in God even when times are very hard. She is sacrificial, and I can always count on her cheering me up when I’m down. She has supported every dream I’ve ever had and has invested so much time and energy and even money in helping my dreams come true. She is always quick to pray for me and see how she can help me in some way. I could never repay her for all she’s done, nor express all she means to me!

I don’t see my Dad very often, but if much time passes without him hearing from me, he calls to check in on my family and I! I didn’t live with him growing up and usually didn’t appreciate when he would try to teach me things. He wanted very much to prepare me for the days ahead and impart practical lessons. It was important to him that I was well rounded, that if I ever had a problem, I’d be able to fix it, or at least have the sense of being able to make sure someone else wasn’t trying to rip me off if they fixed it for me. He tried to teach me all sorts of things. When I was smart, I listened, and then passed his tricks and tips on to my own boys in due time. I love him and am grateful for everything he’s done over the years!

That’s it for this week. Next week is Day 7 and then back to our regular goodies, only with fewer calories and better tasting. Have an awesome week folks. Cheers!

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Gratitude Challenge Day 5

And we’re back for day 5 of the Gratitude Challenge. Never heard of it? It was floating around facebook for awhile (maybe it still is?) Regardless, I took it to another level. So if you’re new to the blog, thanks for visiting! I’m posting one gratitude day each week till we have all 7.

Not your cup of tea? Please return in a few weeks and we’ll be returning to game design and shedding light on our upcoming creative projects at QT Games including our Kickstarted Arcane Synthesis: A Blended-Genre Anthology due out this month!

We take breaks at times and tackle life, the universe and everything, but mostly this is a blog devoted to our campaign setting, the Cosmoverse, our roleplaying game, Cosmothea, fiction, and board and card games at times. ‘Nuff said. Let’s just jump right in…

1. Friends: I can’t list ‘em all here, but a few of my oldest friends that I still hang out with whenever we can find the time, include Robert Duran and Dan Fox. Both are great guys I’ve known since the earliest days of high school, and both have been playing my Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game for decades. Robert was the best man at my wedding 22 years ago and has been playing Cosmothea even longer than Dan (and he’s also on my anthology team). Among my most recent (but still very notable) friends, I’d have to include Dan Davenport, Steven Schend and Darrin Drader. Great guys all, but there are so many others, such as Ken Wilson, Allen Farr and my dear friends at Meadows and in the Philippines. I’m grateful for all of my friends both here and abroad!

2. Extended Family: When you marry someone, you get stuck with all of their family members and when your brother or sister marries, you are again stuck with another set of extended family members. This can get weird in some families, especially if you are like ours – we always try to get as many of us together for every holiday we can as often as we can. Thankfully, my wife has an awesome family and so do my sisters! I’ve loved getting to know each one of them better over the years and they are great people! I love hanging out with all of them and am grateful for every one of them!!

3. Fans: Ok, I admit it—I don’t have a lot of fans. But I do have some, and I’m grateful for each one! This is an interesting group as it’s a mix of total strangers, some of which are Kickstarter backers who tossed money toward my dream of publishing books and games, others are loyal followers of my blog or like my other posts, and pop up at times asking for updates on what I’m going to do next through the Drama Guild, QT Games or one of my other projects.

Many of these fans are people I really don’t know well, but they care about what I’m up to and that’s cool! Others just like my skits and plays and don’t really know me very well, just of me or have seen my face around, yet I hear them saying nice things about me or my work to others, which is encouraging!

Still others are friends and family who have gone the extra mile to back my Kickstarter, play my games, read my stories and help support me in other ways, whether or not they are into the kind of things I do. That’s going above and beyond and that’s cool too! Knowing I have fans out there that want me to succeed, whether what I do is something they are into or not, yeah, I’m very grateful indeed!

Once this gratitude series is done and out of the way, I thought I’d do a series of posts dipping behind the scenes with game design and provide some insights into the game design process as I revamp the latest iteration of all things Cosmoverse and Cosmothea and attempt to make it a game and setting you will want to spend a lot of time with—so a game designer’s diary and also a bit more on the system and setting that have been entertaining my friends and I for over 35 years.

Sound good? I hope so! Time will be tight, so I’ll try to make them fairly short posts.

See you in a week (hopefully! Are you there? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you!) Have a great week!

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Gratitude Challenge Day 4

I hope you are all having a great week! It’s that time again—day 4 of the Gratitude Challenge! Looks like we’ll be back to all things Cosmothea and the Cosmoverse shortly. I’ve been squeezing in time on wrapping up the book, Arcane Synthesis (so close now!), but I’ve been working a lot of hours painting for a mobile games startup and also had to take a break to write a skit that will be performed in the Philippines this Summer, and tackle other things on my plate. So on top of everything else, I’m grateful that I have these 7 “days” of Gratitude to post as a stalling tactic till I can jump back on my regular blog postings! I think you’ll find ’em interesting though, as I’ve said before, so they aren’t really filler.

So if you’ve missed days 1-3, in a nutshell, minus the cool bits:

1) Valley experiences, Mountaintop experiences and yep, even lackluster days (read the post to know why!)
2) My amazing wife and two sons!
3) My incredible, lifesaving, patient, loving God, 3 in 1 awesomeness!

And today’s post? Three huge areas in my life: Drama, Ministries and Missions! Here goes!

1. Drama: I formed the Drama Guild in 2001 to write, produce, direct and act in plays and skits, which is ironic, since I have a poor memory and had some bad experiences acting when I was a lad (I told myself I’d never act again). But I quickly fell in love with writing plays and found I had some talent for acting (and God flat out did a few miracles during some performances that I’ll never forget and was deeply encouraged by), and I’ve been having a blast ever since! I’ve made a lot of great friends through the Drama Guild, and have even been able to help missions teams with their drama projects and even perform at other churches, and special events both here and abroad, for which I’m very grateful!

2. Ministries: Thanks to my wife’s heart for serving others, and to God for opening doors, I’ve been a teacher of every age group except High School, have worked in the nursery, have both hosted bible studies led them, have served as an usher, been a guest speaker at churches, been a part of a church council, assisted with various special events and other ministries I can’t even recall the names of off hand. I am not boasting. I’m grateful for each one of those opportunities and am pointing these out because it has been an honor! (For example, being able to meet so many kids, watch them grow, help to shape them – wow, what a blessing!) I think sometimes people think that serving others is a burden. It’s NOT easy. It’s NOT convenient, but what an honor and blessing it is to serve people! Seriously! Knowing that you are doing the right thing, that you are making life a little easier and maybe a little better for someone else— I feel lucky to be able to do that! Further, I’ve met so many great people while serving, people I might never have gotten to know well otherwise. God promises our labor is not in vain (1 Cor 15:58) and desires to bless us as we serve him. Praise God for the opportunity to serve others!

3. Missions: I’ve only been to the Philippines twice, but they have been two of the most important and wonderful trips of my life! I’m grateful for Wayne Whiteman and many others at Meadows Fellowship and beyond who made it possible for me to be a part of those trips – you are all amazing! Lord willing, I’ll be able to go there again in 2-15, but whether or not that happens, I carry with me wonderful memories of all the incredible people I met and fell in love with there. I also gained a better understanding of just how good we really have it in America, and how much God loves us. Those trips gave me a better perspective on life, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of some great things God’s been doing over there. It was an honor to assist with construction efforts and visit schools, and a blessing to be a part of opportunities to share God’s Good News, pray for and encourage others, and to be encouraged by the amazing people I met there!

If you think Cosmothea, the Cosmoverse or my occasional tangents into life, the universe and everything is something your friends might enjoy. Spread the word and I’ll be eternally grateful! See ya next week for Day 5, folks. Cheers!

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Gratitude Challenge Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of the Gratitude Challenge! This one gets a bit spiritual, so you’ve been warned. On this day, I move the focus away from my direct family, but I don’t stray too far. I consider God part of my family, or rather I’m part of his family, as he has adopted me. The process was far easier than I thought it would be way back in the 80’s. I assumed I’d have to jump through some hoops to make it into heaven—that I’d have to be a really good person and do lots of good works, but he made it clear in the Bible that I didn’t have to. I just had to accept the gift of salvation Jesus offered through his sacrifice on the cross, and love him as my Lord.

Of course if you love your father, you desire to serve and obey him, and so good works is not a requirement, but rather something I do because I love him. Of course living for him isn’t easy, but then neither is the alternative, though it may seem otherwise without close inspection.

There are so many misconceptions about who God is, and how he feels about us (all of us). But I know I’m not perfect, of course. I make mistakes too, so I’m not trying to give anyone a hard time who may have thought something bad or made some harsh statements about him, not taking the time to get to know him better to understand what he’s all about.

If you want a close relationship with your spouse or a friend, you have to spend lots of time with them—invest in them. Without doing that, it’s easy to misunderstand someone, and get the wrong impressions. Anyway, I figured God was worth at least one day of the Challenge! So here goes—three things I’m grateful for today!

  1. God the Father: Not sure how he pulls off three distinct, co-equal, eternal persons all in one, immeasurably powerful, unbelievably patient and amazingly loving being, but nothing is impossible with God! Thanks to his grace, I am saved though faith in Jesus and have him with me 24/7 though the Holy Spirit living in me. Do I fully understand how that’s possible? Nope, but he’s a lot smarter than I am, so that’s understandable. Does it really matter that I don’t have all the answers? Nope! God knows what he’s doing. I’m just glad that he cares so much for me and desires a personal relationship with me. I’m grateful for your grace, Lord. Despite my faults, you never stop loving me! Thanks for putting up with me, Lord!
  2. God the Son, Jesus Christ: God in the flesh. John 14:9 “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus is called “the Word” in John 1 and according to that chapter, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Thanks for making it so clear, God! It goes on to say in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” He clothed himself in a frail, fleshly body, lived his whole life without sinning or worrying about his own needs, sacrificed himself to rescue us from our own sins and returned on the third day just as he said he would, to bring eternal life to all that accept him as their savior. He paid the price so we don’t have to. Yeah, God’s that awesome!
  3. God the Holy Spirit: He dwells in the hearts of those who accept Jesus as their savior—those who devote themselves to him. He is our advocate (John 14:26), he guides us (John 16:13), regenerates/comforts and renews us (Titus 3:5) and reveals God’s will to us (1 Cor 2). He desires to bless us as we live in obedience to him! He never leaves us, nor forsakes us. Talk about a patient, loving, tolerant god, wow!

Ok, so God is really only one being, but I am grateful for all three persons—for the system of order that he’s set up (he is a god of order, setting up the days of the week, and the basic system of government and marriage for our benefit). His commandments weren’t to put a stranglehold on us, but to show us that we need him—that we can’t make it on our own. As a god of wisdom, common sense, logic, love and order, he doesn’t expect us to know everything, do everything, but has created positions and systems so that things get done and we don’t have to tackle it all ourselves or struggle as much through this rollercoaster life. I think God deserves at least one day all to himself, wouldn’t you agree?

That’s all for Day 3. Hope to see you in a week! Take care!!!

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Gratitude Challenge Day 2

Hi folks,

It’s that time again. Day 2 of the Gratitude Challenge! Today’s a new day. You will not get it back. Make it count and see you in seven! I’ll get back to all things Cosmothea and the Cosmoverse following Day 7.

Ok, some days will be more inspiring than others, but as these are all things I’m grateful for, I’m not going to sweep them under the rug just because they may not directly apply to your life or make an interesting movie. I’m not just going to make stuff up for entertainment value, but if this post doesn’t do it for you, come back and I’m sure many of the others will. As always, feedback is welcome. Cheers!

Day 2:

  1. My wife: My amazing wife, Joan! We’ve been married for over 22 years and love each other more than the day we got married. Her sacrificial love and passion encourage me. She’s smart, witty, driven, organized, and is a good example, continually surprising me with her heart for helping others, without worrying about gaining any attention for it. I would not be the man I am without her, and our family would be much less than it was meant to be if not for her incredible strength to press on and look beyond our own walls, and for these things, I am forever grateful.
  2. My oldest son: Haven! He continues to amaze me with his passion, ability to remain calm regardless of his surroundings, his quiet, analytical, creative mind. His hidden depth, ability to focus, his appreciation for things others don’t always notice. He often strives in silence when I would have grown weary in similar circumstances. I’m impressed with his wit, gentleness, extraordinary insights and creativity, and I’m proud to have the honor of being his dad.
  3. My youngest son: Adam! He’s a joy to watch. Full of energy, always pushing himself physically and mentally, eager to meet challenges face on, confidently, and surprising me with his ability to master technology and anything else he puts his mind to. He’s empathic and has the ability to press on when others would have buckled under, to overcome personal and physical challenges and not only survive, but thrive. I’m proud to have the honor of being his dad too.

Okay, you didn’t answer this last time, so I’m going to give ya another shot. What are you grateful for? Writing about what’s actually working in your life—what really matters—the positives you can claim in your life—this is healthy, therapeutic, if you will. I’ve said it before, but even if things aren’t going so great, I’m betting you have it better than you think!


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Gratitude Challenge Day 1

As promised, I’m going to do a series of posts on gratitude and then once that’s done, I’ll return to what most of you came here for, more on all things QT Games, like our Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game, Cosmoverse Campaign Setting, Arcane Synthesis anthology, and other fiction and gaming goodies.

I was challenged on facebook recently to list 3 things every day for 7 days that I’m grateful for. Why should you care? Well, maybe you won’t, but I did more than list them—I tackled these things and put ’em into a headlock! Er, I mean, I searched my heart, not just slapped out easy answers and I think you might find them interesting—at least some of them.

There might even be one or two that you might even find inspirational (or maybe not—you tell me!) At the least, they ought to be good reminders of just how good we’ve got it, even when things aren’t going so grand! I’ll post these once or twice a week, and then post an update on Arcane Synthesis and get back to square one with QT Games. Ready? Here goes!

DAY 1:

  1. Valley experiences: Because when times are hard, we have the greatest opportunity for personal, relational, and spiritual growth, and such experiences enable us to encourage and empathize better with others who are going through similar difficulties.
  2. Mountaintop experiences: Because it is during these highs that we can catch our breath and be refreshed, knowing that we have overcome, been rescued from or are finally through that valley, and can dream again and have hope for an even better tomorrow.
  3. Lackluster days: Because if every day was a valley or a mountaintop, we’d get little rest, being caught up in either concern or rejoicing, when sometimes, as when returning from a long vacation, what we need most is to slip into familiar surroundings, knowing that while we aren’t on the mountain, at least we aren’t in the valley and therefore life isn’t so bad after all.

What are you grateful for? If you haven’t done the 7 Days of Gratefulness challenge yet, I encourage you to try it. You might be surprised that things are actually going better than you thought! Till next time, cheers!

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