A Bit of Trouble Long, Long Ago, In A Middle School Far Away

I’m guest posting at Jon Stolpe Stretched today. Check out “The Kid Stretches Me.”


Long, long ago, in a middle school far away, a minor injury became a major problem.

I cut my finger.

(That is minor. Yes, I agree. So what’s the big deal? Did I say it was a big deal? You said it became a major problem. Let me continue the story. Please do. Thank you.

By the way, you in middle school, that was long, long ago. Sigh!)

Being the careful kid I was, I washed out the wound and dabbed iodine on it. The next day the cut looked very much the same as the previous day, and I cleaned it again and dabbed more iodine on it.

The third day, things didn’t look so hot. I cleaned the cut and dabbed on more iodine.

The fourth day, ugly, hideous, oozing wound. I showed my mother, and she piled me in the car and drove me to the doctor’s office (see how long ago that was).

The doctor looked at the now grossly disfigured finger and said, “What happened?”

“I cut my finger.”

“How did you treat it?”

“I washed it with soap and put iodine on it.”

“Ah, there’s your problem.”


“The iodine. You’re allergic. Stop using iodine and this should clear right up.”

The doctor was right. I stopped using iodine. The festering wound (anyone gagging out there yet?) healed within days.

Lesson learned. Listen to someone who knows what he’s talking about.

Last week on his blog, Richard Burkey shared a wise statement from Charles Spurgeon. “God is too good to be unkind, He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace his hand, I can always trust his heart.”

If you know where to look, you can find gems of wisdom like that all over the place.

Seth Godin writes about innovation.

Michael Hyatt writes about leadership, technology, and the publishing world.

Jeff Goins offers encouragement to writers.

Rachelle Gardner opens the door to a literary agent’s world.

Jamie Clark Chavez opens up the door to an editor’s world.

Steve Harrison gives insight into publicity.

These are folks I follow for their expertise and wisdom within my work world. When they speak, I listen (actually, when they write, I read). Each provides counsel I need to hear. Each in his or her own way makes me a wiser person.

I’m a veritable newbie when it comes to writing and marketing a soon-to-be-released novel. I can learn through trial and error or I can learn through the wisdom others offer. I must practice what they preach, apply their general expertise to my specific circumstances, and do my work. There really are no shortcuts to becoming skilled in a chosen field.

            And it pays to become skilled at what you do. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Proverbs 22:29 ESV).

What does listening to solid counsel do? For one, it keeps minor problems minor. For another, it gives clear direction at a time when I, in ignorance and confusion, would be tempted to get off course.

So how do I find wise counsel?

Basically, for me, finding wise counsel comes down to two things: the recommendation of a person I’ve come to trust or the fact a person has maintained a high degree of skill and integrity over a long period of time.

A trusted recommendation: Jeff Goins, whom I’ve followed long enough to trust, recommended an inexpensive Kindle download that dealt with marketing in the publishing world. At $2.99, I could afford to make a mistake. I didn’t.

A high degree of skill and integrity over a long period of time: If Billy Graham says it, I listen. Why? Because he’s lived a life of integrity and maintained a consistent message for decades. People know what he’s about, and he’s about the Lord’s business. I have yet to read his latest book, Nearing Home, but I will be getting to it soon.

Tony Dungee got my attention because his teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts, played at such a high level every year that he coached them. The fact that his life is dedicated to the cause of Jesus Christ certainly helps matters as well. I poured over his book Quiet Strength and took notes.

Jerry B. Jenkins who co-authored the Left Behind series garners my attention as well. Why? Not because of the series’ success, but because of his many years of experience in publishing and his willingness to share his experience with others.

We could all add to the list of people whose advice we’ve come to value. I would invite you to share your own thoughts.

So I’m curious.

Whom have you come to trust?

Whose advice would you recommend others listen to?

Top 3 posts in the past 7 days:

It Sounded So Simple Until I Got Distracted

What Is Jesus Doing and Where Is He Doing It

Do I Look Good In White?

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About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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8 Responses to A Bit of Trouble Long, Long Ago, In A Middle School Far Away

  1. Jon Stolpe says:

    I have come to trust my dad and my friend, Dave.

  2. Jon Stolpe says:

    Your posting here is a little interesting today. It looks like it merges a post from today with your last post. Am I correct?

    • tnealtarver says:

      If you mean that I re-posted after adding the note, yes. If you don’t mean that, I’m not sure. Thanks, Jon, though for giving me a day to visit as your guest blogger. I am very grateful. God bless you in this day.

  3. I really like the format you used for this blog post. My mind is working on ideas on how to use the format for other topics. Thanks for the unique approach!

  4. Pingback: Does Your Competitive Streak Sometimes Kill the Joy of Community? | A Curious Band of Others

  5. Pingback: A Tale of Two Flight Attendants | A Curious Band of Others

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