Decisions

If only the hands

Of this clock would move slow

More open, it’d be

This frozen window

So brief is the moment

Shall we go left or go right?

Our life is so riddled

Each choice is a plight

We look back with regret

We look forward with hope

We decide every day

How to get through, how to cope

At times we make good

At times we make bad

Our pasts are all gone, now

We all lose what we had

Decisions define us

It’s the harsh truth, you see

And mirrors remind us

Always asking: Is this me?

King in all but Name

Put my whistle to the wind, there’s naught another ‘round

Divided is the road I’m on, my choice shall prove profound

“Go left,” says he, “Go right!” says she

The demons, they’ve misled

I ask “which way?”

“That way!” They say

And so I point my sled

Every choice we make is a decision in our head

A string of choices, such is life, that’s all until we’re dead

When these choices come to you, what ever will you say?

Will you take the high road out or will you run away?

Make the choices that they love, My Lord you’re looking great

Undermine the ones they want and soon you will find hate

Treat the people as you would yourself, and you’ll find fame

They’ll sing your praises, call you King, in everything but name

On the Eve: 10

Queen Jocasta – Sovereign Ruler of the West

Lies.

They plague our souls, causing us to act in ways of which we never believed ourselves capable. Yet we often cling to these falsities; desiring the reality we’ve fabricated over the painful truth that is life. Ignorance is bliss, they say. Perhaps there is some validity to the sentiment. But willful ignorance? There is no greater atrocity.

I have been deceived. All these years, lied to. Ulric, who, as Jordain’s Hand, was only charged with protecting the crown, came to me years ago with that crushing dispatch. News that the love of my life had been unfaithful, and intended to replace me as Queen with the Vice-Regent, Elaine. I believed him.

Last night I was greeted by an emissary who represented my former husband and King. Ulric’s journal, cataloguing his sadistic, manipulative thoughts, was presented to me. I was told Jordain has spent all these years tirelessly searching for anything to clear his name and prove his loyalty to me. After all this time, his efforts finally produced this journal. This, evil, disgusting journal that revealed everything he did was a lie.

Jordain’s actions, in light of this, have illustrated precisely the man I so fiercely loved. The sting of the irony is a dagger in my heart. He never shed his honor. He agreed to let me govern the Western lands. He conceded to my terms those many years ago, rather than waging a war that would cost the lives of thousands. And he did so knowing that my revolt was grounded in deceit. Despite his attempts to convince me otherwise, I refused to believe him. I believed Ulric’s fabricated tale of my husband’s infidelity. The enormity of my regret regarding this is inexplicable.

Tomorrow, we shall ride and face Jordain once again. My armies are not aware of the information this emissary has revealed. Tomorrow, all shall be unveiled.

On the eve of what will become a day fabled for ages, my mind is at ease.

There is no provider of solace equal to that of the unabridged truth.

On the Eve: 8

Antony – Commander of Queen Jocasta’s Army

I am conflicted.

Queen Jocasta has recalled our armies to Clarmont. All of them. Each and every weary, exhausted regiment is to report to this tiny speck of a village in an attempt to regroup and finish what we began. My conflict stems not from my duty to my Queen, but from my fading confidence in victory. I fear our armies are not yet strong enough to launch another assault on King Jordain and the Eastern Lands. Lest the Gods invoke a miracle, I cannot foresee this ending in triumph for my Queen.

Hadrian’s reinforcements from the North shall prove invaluable, to be certain. His armored mares are legendary; their riders even more so. It is my sincere hope that Jocasta utilizes this rare advantage most efficiently. I cannot imagine that Jordain could expect Hadrian to have lent such a force to an army opposing the East, much less that of Jocasta’s. I was under the impress that years ago, the three were quite close to each other. But alas, I shan’t divulge rumors or delve in gossip. The politics behind this campaign are beyond me. My only purpose is to serve my Queen, and to that end I shall uphold my duties with utmost honor.

She is this land’s Radiant Beacon of Benevolence, and to the end of this Earth we shall follow.

The Revolt Returns: 9

“Hey guys! Has anyone seen my jar of annoying whispering wisps?”

Approaching the Lenghornian village’s central meeting area, Dustin the Determined asks his co-workers where his pets might be.

“Oh yeah, we actually threw them out.” Chris the Comical tells him. “They all died. Did you not feed them?”

His quizzical stare slowly fading into a devious smirk, Dustin chuckles under his breath.

“Wait. Those things eat? I thought they were like…spirits or something. Well maybe not spirits. But ghosts. Or demons. Or something like that. Ya know? Like sometimes I wondered if they were even real cause sometimes I think I see things that aren’t there and then I’m like”

“DUSTIN!” The servers collectively shout, ending the rant and refocusing his attention.

“Forget them dude. They’ve joined our fallen comrades in peaceful slumber beyond the veil,” Chris assures him.

“Huh. Imagine that.” Dustin dismissively says, shrugging his shoulders. “Sucks to be them! Stupid wisps.”

“Right.” Chris says with a subtle laugh, putting his arm around Dustin’s shoulder to usher him into the meeting that was already taking place. “Johnny, please continue,” he says, looking toward the slightly introverted, usually soft spoken Giver of Speeches.

“Anyway,” Johnny the Jovial shouts to the villagers, “here is the plan. Our Barfly Gnat scouts have caught wind of Spam’s battle plans. We must break this wind! Let me tell you, faithful companions, these are sinister plans indeed. For Spam intends to secretly use her brainless Chilian soldier-slaves to mount a massive assault on this very village. But this shall be merely be a diversion for her true intention: sending her disgusting, uncontrollably hairy minion Will the Wolf to assassinate our village leadership!”

“GASP!!”

Collectively inhaling with such ferocity that Jade the Painfully Attractive Lade’s server apron almost falls off, the Lenghornians express disbelief of their oppressive manager’s intentions.

Confidently raising his hand, Johnny the Gentleman calms his loyal subjects.

“My friends…” he softly asserts, using his other hand to unsheath a blade so powerful it nearly blinds the crowd, “worry not. For I wield Steakscalibir!! I shall embark on an epic mission along with our brave cohort Dustin the Deft and end this treachery before it has a chance to take root!” He shouts, raising the fabled blade in triumph.

“HUZZAH!!” The Lenghornians cry in excited elation. “All hail Johnny! All hail Dustin!!” They cheer.

Glancing over the crowd to witness Brittany the Beautiful deliver a patron’s Blue Moon well after the beer’s expected arrival time, Johnny returns his gaze down to his fellow servers as he gracefully nods in appreciation of their support. Subtly glancing at Dustin, he slyly winks, smirks, and nods in silent acknowledgemnt of the legendary quest on which they shall soon embark.

A quest, as it were, which will define the future of the Lenghornian village for ages to come.

Brock Keckler: Full Interview

Millennials Making a Difference: Brock Keckler

What is a general description and title of what you do? 

I am the Marketing Director for the Edwards Porter Group Wealth Management. We do financial planning, investment strategies, retirement, 401k plans, life insurance, and estate planning.  My job is to help my firm be the premier financial institution in Wilson County.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Helping people with their financial future. Everyone has to start somewhere and its awesome to make an impact in people’s lives.

What things do you do/have you done to benefit the community?  

I am leading the MJYP [Mt. Juliet Young Professionals]. The Edwards Porter Group is extremely involved with local networking groups and events. We are always open to helping the community in any way.

What made you decide to chair the MJYP?

Joining this firm in my hometown, I wanted to find an additional avenue to help the city. The Young Professional population is growing exponentially in MJ and I want to be someone who gets them connected within the community. MJ is a special place to me and my family, so I want to do my part to help it succeed. As the city gets bigger, this group could be best professionals group in the mid-state.

What events does the MJYP have planned for 2017?

We have speakers lined up for the entire year along with some local tours and social events to promote networking. One thing we are focusing on is getting together at all of the local restaurants for some social time to get to know people outside of the business setting. New people and new connections are the foundation to our city and we look forward to all of the events we have planned for the year!

As always, I like to find out the “why” behind the “what”. Why do you enjoy the aforementioned career choices/extracurricular activities?

I worked for several years for a big corporation and I have seen what it takes to grow a business, and having the opportunity to grow an amazing  local company, in the city I grew up in, is a dream come true. I work with lifelong friendships, to people that just moved here, and I get to share my MJ experience with them. I enjoy playing golf, Basketball in our local rec leagues, and running the trails in providence.  My wife, Michelle, and I are expecting our first son, Carson, in the Spring.  We spend a lot of time at the local events and restaurants. We look forward to raising our family in Mj and helping this community flourish.

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