Accepting Editorial Submissions

Ecuador Living Magazine

Ecuador Living Magazine is now accepting editorial submissions for our March 1, 2013, premier issue.

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Our interests include expat personality profiles, entrepreneurship, how-to articles, emerging trends in Ecuador, the hospitality industry, real estate opportunities, unique tourist attractions, photography and more. For a full summary of our interests and submission guidelines click here.

EL is also interested in freelance advertising sales agents with 10 percent commission paid on all advertising agreements. For a full summary of our advertising opportunities click here.

Ecuador Living Magazine, distributed to 25,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, is a subsidiary of Pro Ecuador Marketing located in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. Steve Watkins is editor and publisher. For more information, contact Steve at stevewatkins71@yahoo.com

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Inner-Conflict, Freedom to Fail and Mercy

(Blogger’s note: This post was inspired by a recent series of messages at Fellowship Bible Church. The series was titled: “Enjoying God.” www.fellowshipjonesboro.com)

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“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” ~ William Shakespeare

My obsession with self-examination started long before college, but it was in graduate school that I became fascinated with the science of personality profiles and their applications – especially as they relate to my own dual nature.

On the DISC profile designed to measure how colleagues best communicate with one another in the world of business I’m a “high D.” 100% D on the bar graph, in fact.

In short, that means I’m a no-nonsense, get to the point, let’s do this and move-on-to- the-next-thing kind of guy. A high D has the dubious distinction of pursuing success at just about any cost. He’s hard to get to know, regularly abrupt and not the greatest listener.

Then there’s the Myers-Briggs profile, designed more to measure the emotional characteristics and how we react to certain situations.

On the Myers-Briggs, I’m an ENFJ, an extroverted, intuitive, feeling, judger. The short definition of an ENFJ is one who pursues life with his heart, rather than with his head.

So maybe you see the conflict: I’m a short, abrupt, driven person who flies by the seat of his pants and goes where his heart leads him, common sense be damned.

Talk about a split personality…

It reminds me of a great verse in the book of Romans. I think Paul could relate:

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate… For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7: 15 & 19.

For years, maybe even today to some degree, if you asked me what motivated me in life I would have pointed to a simple fear of failure.

ATYCHIPHOBIA – An extreme, irrational fear, generally keeping one from enjoying many aspects of life. Atychiphobia is one of the most paralyzing phobias, a fear so strong that we subconsciously undermine our own efforts so we don’t have to continue to try.

There have been some mentionable victories in my life. Failures, too.

Three years ago I invested every personal and tangible resource I had in a publishing and business coaching venture. Had a first-class, cutting-edge product, brilliant employees and a vision for huge success. Six months after it launched, I closed it. The failed economy of 2008 contributed a fair amount to the failure, but I also take credit for some poor decisions. When a “high D/ENFJ” falls flat on his face, it’s a devastating thing.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18

The church where I’m a member www.fellowshipjonesboro.com recently completed a series on “Enjoying God.” It’s helped me better deal with my conflict in nature and the never-ending questioning of my own motives.

A message in short from Psalm 32: We have the freedom to fail; on Judgment Day, god won’t ask us for our spiritual resume; we can tear up our transcript; justice has been served.

It’s a freeing thing to feel free and know that mercy abounds despite our most profound of failures.

During drive time on a business trip yesterday I heard a song that captured my attention.

Yes, mercy finds us all…

You can check out today’s post on my secondary blog at http://wp.me/p2tJ80-1O and a summer solstice post on this blog earlier today at http://wp.me/p2bjEC-i4

Summer Solstice Resolutions

Today is summer solstice.

There are 15 hours and 36 minutes of daylight in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

With so many hours in the day, I’ve been thinking, and hereby resolve to:

1. Watch more sunsets.

2. Read more.

3. Write more.

4. Limit the number of blogs I have to at least 10. Too many topics and not enough categories…

5. Keep an eye on the weather and watch for a long weekend of rainy days. That’ll be my next binge writing session.

6. Finish my book by October.

7. Start running again.

8. Set a few rules guidelines for living out the years ahead.

9. STOP and take a picture when I want to take a picture. No more driving by and regretting.

10. Kiss my family members when the urge hits.

11. Question myself a little less.

12. Stop and help people more often.

13. Enjoy freedom.

14. Pursue.

15. Strive to learn to relax.

16. Define success.

17. Remember good things.

18. Right wrongs.

19. Sleep just a few minutes later.

20. Learn more about forgiveness.

Check out today’s post on my secondary blog at http://wp.me/p2tJ80-1O

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Creating a Movement: Ideas to Action

“Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Perhaps the greatest movement maker of all time, Nelson Mandela.

MOVEMENT – The act of moving; change of place or posture; transference, by any means, from one situation to another.

Since first viewing this video five years ago, I’ve never looked at change quite the same. Take a moment to be inspired and know that you can make a difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  ~ Margaret Mead

You can check out my secondary blog at: http://wp.me/2tJ80

Prologue to “Light Wins!”

(Blogger’s Note: The following text is the draft prologue to my first book: “Light Wins! …and the darkness is defeated forever.” This non-fiction work is now about 50% complete. After a two-month book-writing drought, I’m ready to get back on the keyboard and finish the manuscript with a target publishing date of Easter 2013. The book will be printed in hard copy and will also be available electronically on Amazon.com I’d surely welcome your fair comment and criticism.)

PROLOGUE

“The only book that should ever be written is one that flows up from the heart, forced out by the inward pressure. When such a work has gestated within a man, it is almost certain that it will be written. The man who is thus charged with a message will not be turned back by any blase’ consideration. His book will be to him, not only imperative, it will be inevitable.” ~ A.W. Tozier.

Oftentimes, a book is, in fact, judged by its cover. If you saw this cover on a bookstore shelf, would it draw your attention? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

For the moment, this isolated workshop where I write is a place of intentional seclusion.

I’m in self-eclipse mode for the next three days.

And there’s a surprising irony that I’ve done the very thing so many others about whom you’ll read in this book have also done at different points in their lives. I’ve gone away to be alone.

Like them, I have come to this place to tie all the loose ends together. To make sense of it all. To draw conclusions, and to share with you something of benefit. And yes, to shed some light on the places where we all see, feel and perceive the darkness.

This workshop is a special place. The very place where the story begins.

My dad, in one of his finest moments.

Little more than seven weeks ago, this workshop was my dad’s refuge, and it’s now a place where I’m surrounded by his lingering tangible memories.

Sitting now before his desk in a well-cushioned chair, I see his personal handwritten notes on last year’s calendar. His collection of hats on the top shelf now collects dust. There are enough tools in this place to build a fortress. And just beyond reach are the dozens of remaining oxygen inhalers that provided his temporary relief from chronic COPD which ultimately took his life.

The memories are here, but no longer is he. Though he feels close, he is yet just beyond my reach on the other side of a thinly-veiled realm we call Heaven, basking in newfound light.

There was a valuable lesson learned in this place six years ago. On December 5, 2005 I woke up in a panic wondering what I would get dad on his 65th birthday. I wanted it to be something meaningful, and so I sought something that might offer ultimate discernment in his life. Randy Alcorn‘s Heaven, jumped out as I walked down the aisles of a local bookstore. If he could be convinced to read that book, I thought, maybe it would lead to a deeper conversation that I so longed to have with him.

When I found him in this workshop later that morning, he was thankful for the gift and asked me to stay around a while and talk. I shared with him my personal takeaway from Alcorn’s work, and told him how many things it helped me understand.

“I just hope I’ll be able to go there one day,” he said, “but I’ve done so many bad things.”

God didn’t care about the past, I told him. All he wants is for you to ask him into your heart. Don’t make it more complicated than it is, I said. It’s a simple thing.

Dad had a hard time letting go of the past. Alcoholism, bad choices and a sense of self-worthlessness born out of a dysfunctional childhood were things he could never seem to release. When he told me that day that his father actually threatened to kill him on more than one occasion, I could only try to understand.

The “diamond effect” of a solar eclipse, a theme used throughout my book.

Do you believe in Jesus, I asked. And do you believe he was God’s own son who died on the cross for your sins, I went on…

Yes, I do, he said. Well, it’s that simple dad.

That day he prayed with me and asked Jesus to become the lord of his life. We laughed, cried, hugged and two hours later I left so happy. Dad had embraced the light.

I had done it, I thought. What a magnificent thing to share God’s forgiveness with your very own dad. I was so proud. Things would be different now.

But the lesson was yet to be learned.

God showed us all several weeks ago that He is the one who ultimately performs the most magnificent of works. He’s the one who issues the invitation and sheds light into every man’s heart. It’s his perfect timing that created the heavens and the earth, and in his time, he will offer the light of his truth.

Saul had a profound experience along the Damascus road. The light of the truth forever changed him. We all travel down the similar paths Saul experienced. The unknown twists and turns leave us searching for the right way en route to a given destination, when all we need to do is search out the light.

It’s always there. Always has been. Always will be.

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You may check out my secondary blog at: http://wp.me/2tJ80

Secondary Blog

First, to all the friends and followers who periodically stop by and occasionally enjoy this blog, a very heartfelt, “Thank you.” I appreciate your comments, “likes,” and the mere fact that you would read a word or two that comes from my heart.

Over the weekend www.stevenwwatkins.wordpress.com accumulated 5,000 hits in its first four months. In the blogosphere at large, that’s not a big deal, but it’s significant to me.

Weeks ago, I started a secondary blog that chronicles an entirely different aspect of my life, and when I hit the 5,000 mark, I made that blog public.

Maybe you will enjoy some of that work as well. Please feel free to drop by and visit any time.

LatitudeOne can be viewed at: http://wp.me/2tJ80

Until next time,

Vaya con Dios

Move Aside Dos Equis Man: It’s the Most Interesting Best Friend in the World

The Most Interesting Best Friend in the World (to me since the 5th grade), Brady Cornish.

He is a man rich in stories and experiences. The most interesting best friend in the world believes life should be lived – well – interestingly.

  • His scorecard on a round of golf reads simply – 18.
  • And thus, he, himself, coined the phrase – “tee to green.”
  • For every season since its inception, “The Bachelor” has courted his greatness, yet he is consistently otherwise detained.
  • In a game of ping-pong, he scores immediately after “ping.”
  • His pristine Bermuda grass lawn is imported – from Bermuda.
  • He’s been named “Mr. Buffalo Island” for 46 consecutive years.
  • When on a low-carb diet, he actually consumes “negative”carbs.
  • Flip any coin in his expansive collection, and it always comes up “heads.” His head, of course.
  • In a friendly game of black jack, dealers graciously invite him to “triple-down.”
  • As for his 1-a-day vitamin regimen. He’s taken only one vitamin – Ever.
  • Out of respect, Tornado Alley takes a detour around his hometown.
  • His vocabulary exceeds that of Merriam Webster.
  • Few people know this. Very few. Dos Equis called him first to represent their product. He cordially responded with a polite, “Thank you. But no.”
  • He owns a fleet of cocker spaniels to groom HIS golden locks.
  • He was strongly courted to light the torch of the XXX Olympiad, yet fire fears him.

Jonathan Goldsmith portrays Dos Aquis Man, The Most Interesting Man in the World, inspired by Fernando Lamas.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

(Bloggers note: A tribute to my best friend, Brady Cornish. Sitting around thinking up garbage like this is some of the most fun we have together. Seriously, he’s the best friend a man could have. I’d cut my heart out for him if he needed it. )

The Old Farmer’s Prayer

Old farmers never die, they just go to seed.” ~ unknown

My dad, who passed away in February, looking over one of the best cotton crops he ever had in the early 1990s.

A Farmer’s Prayer…

Time just keeps moving on

And many years have come and gone

But I grow old without regret

My hopes are in what may come yet.

On the farm I work each day

This is where I wish to stay

I watch the seeds each season sprout

From the soil as the plants rise out.

I study nature and I learn

To know the earth and feel her turn

I love her dearly in all her seasons

For I have learned her secret reasons.

All that will live in the bosom of the earth

She is the loving mother of all birth

When my body is old and spent

And my soul to Heaven has went.

Please compost and spread me on this plain

So my body Mother Earth can claim

That is where I wish to be

Then nature can nourish new life with me.

A good stand of soybeans at our farm in Monette, Arkansas. This is the first crop my dad hasn’t seen in 31 years.

So do not for me grieve and weep

I didn’t leave, I only sleep

I am with the soil here below

Where I can nourish life of beauty and glow.

Here I can help the falling rain

Grow golden fields of ripened grain

From here I can join the winds that blow

And meet the softly falling snow.

My mom, me and dad in the midst of our livelihood. We never were Farm Family of the Year, but the farm gave us a good life.

Here I can help the sun’s warm light

Grow food for birds of gliding flight

I can be in the beautiful flowers of spring

And in every other living thing.

So do not weep for me and cry,

I am here,

I did not die.