Based on a true story about an everyday hero you will never forget, The Bricks and Sticks of Life will take you on a voyage filled with emotions, tugging at your heartstrings through each page.
Mentor Mitch Conner has loved, lost, and triumphed more than once. As a builder, Mitch understands how small elements (like bricks, sticks, and nails) create magnificent dwellings. Our lives are no different. Each ordinary moment, event, and encounter come together, making us who we are. Themes unveil emotions like joy, sorrow, despair and hope. These themes demonstrate how relationships and memories mold the concrete that fortifies our foundation and essence, and prove that bonds of love embrace us forever.
Builder Mitch learns the meaning of life through his journey amid both happiness and hardship. In this story, you share his greatest joys, deepest sorrows, genuine faith, and cherished moments.
Reviews for this new release consistently convey feeling immersed in the story, an inability to put it down, and its lingering effects.
Targeted Age Group:: 30-80
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
One day, someone said, "You should write a book; you already have the content in those wonderful letters you've written about 'this' experience." Of course I'm paraphrasing. Initially I shrugged it off, but the seed was planted. That seed sprouted and grew until one day, I picked up my laptop, and started to write about both the wonderful and horrible recent events. At first, it was like journaling. The exercise helped me understand better. Eventually I saw a whole new perspective. I learned that there is both good and bad in every experience. Perception is key. I started to value the lessons in the challenges I’d faced. After discovering the hidden treasure under the mud and muck, I told others about it and realized that most people related to what I'd been through and to what I was saying. A new goal surfaced. I would use my writing to encourage and offer hope to others in similar circumstances. The book became a passion. I cultivated it, studied, took classes and worked until it shined. My husband will be thrilled when I start cooking and cleaning again! Still immersed in my dream, I tweaked, exaggerated, modified, counseled, and in the end, this novel was born. My greatest hope is that philosophies contained in this story do indeed affect, touch and especially inspire those who need it the most.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My main characters are based on real people. Most comprise traits from several individuals. They're also enhanced and exaggerated to fit the story. They are strong and weak, smart and silly. I'm proud of who they've become as this novel came to life.
“Excuse me, excuse me!” Mitch called. “Time for the toast. As the closest thing Ti has to a best man…”
The guests smiled. Jen hugged Ti, who put his arm around her.
“I have a true story.” Mitch cleared his throat. “I prayed to my favorite saint every night to find a special companion for Ti. St. Francis answered many times. As the patron saint of animals, he kept sending canines. Thus, the four Labs!” Mitch swung his arm around toward the dogs.
“After adding St. Anthony, per Betty’s suggestion,” he winked toward her, “…behold, an elevator door opened and Jennifer appeared in our lives.” Hearts warmed as chuckles spread around the room.
“These two know what’s important,” Mitch added. “I pray they always remember what matters in life. It’s not about wealth, or things, or what others think about you or your choices. It’s about holding your head high, enjoying the life you’ve been given, and being true persons of integrity, despite the rest of the world.”
He paused as he looked up before continuing. The entire grounds were silent as everyone waited for his next words.
Mitch’s voice was strong. “Royal castles are built from bricks; majestic mansions are constructed with sticks. Everyday moments build a lifetime of love, friendship, and cherished memories.”
He looked to his kids. “Find value in the little things. Don’t forget what matters, what is real, and what is you.”
* * * * * * * * *
“Learning to handle the new boat took time. We practiced, feeling the way she turned as the wheel curved.” Mitch motioned as if he was at the helm. “Our dock was on the windy side of the lake, and the wind coerced her to the right the minute she faced the slip. We did best when we came in quick. Our strategy was to get as close as possible while still ninety degrees off the slip,” Mitch said.
“Huh?” Nate asked.
Mitch motioned with his hands to make a T.
“Oh. Hey, we learned that in math—perpendicular, right Mom?”
Mitch continued, “So we stayed perpendicular until the last minute, but once we turned toward the slip, we had to gun it to get the nose in straight. Once the nose was in, we’d have to hit reverse so we didn’t hit the dock. Tricky, huh?”
“This was your parking solution?” Jen raised her brow.
“One morning, we took Lenny and Camille out for a ride. The sun was shining, and many families were out on the lake. After an hour, we were due back for lunch.”
“Mitch drove,” Ti said. “An elderly lady sat on a milk crate on the far end of the boat dock, crocheting and watching her family water ski.”
Jen put her palm to her forehead. Oh, this is about to get messy.
“Mitch followed our process. He approached the dock, gave it gas with a quick jerk, but forgot to switch into reverse. Nervous, he hit more gas and put the nose of the boat—”
“—And then some,” Mitch interjected.
Ti corrected, “Put the entire front end of the boat up on the dock, shook the whole pier, and knocked the old woman, knitting needles and all, into the water!”
“Oh my gosh!” Jen gasped, despite her foresight.
“Boy, did we get an earful that day!” Mitch said.
Nate giggled so hard, he held his middle. “You should’ve got a video!”
“Nate, my boy, our stories are funny, but there’s almost always a lesson.” Mitch sat forward.
“Don’t crochet on a pier?” Jen chuckled.
“Mistakes are gifts of humility, wrapped in black-and-white newspapers. They’re not-so-fancy ways of building character and reminding us that we’re all flawed.” Mitch pat Nate’s back and headed down the hall.
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