Well, I did it. I published another book.

Priceless: Life is a Masterpiece, is now available as a hardcover book on Amazon.

There’s an interesting back-story to this book, which is composed of stories from my childhood, narrated in the format of being on a first date. The back-story is that I wrote this book in 2018, and even went so far as to format it for print years ago. Yet, I never published it.

Between when I decided to pull the trigger and publish the book, about two hours of my time elapsed. Thus, I put off the publishing for over six years with nothing more than two hours of effort standing in the way.


If the painting is a reflection of the artist, then the book is a shadow of the author.

In the case of publishing the book, I put off publishing because I made a plethora of excuses, while feeling like it wasn’t ‘good enough’ to publish. Good enough. Long enough. Polished enough. Interesting enough. The list could go on.

In the case of myself, I’ve battled similar feelings of not being ‘enough’ or somehow ‘too much’ as I am. I’ve often felt like I’m not enough because I’m not independently financially wealthy, drive a six-figure car (Hyundai, these days…) or my most recent Achilles heel; shame that I’m a single Dad and have to exchange custody of my own flesh and blood with his Mom, who probably feels similar.

The Japanese have a practice where they take broken vases and mend them, while filling in the cracks with gold. It’s a beautiful form of artistic expression that has a very powerful theme behind the practice; beauty from brokenness. Treasure from the cracks that others may see as being imperfect, or worth discarding an item on account of.

I haven’t met a single person in my life experience that isn’t full of their own cracks. The difference between those who stand tall versus those who are broken is their choice to mend the cracks with gold, or to discard themselves because they feel like they can’t be fixed.

When I close my eyes and think about the people that I love the most, while seeing them through my heart rather than my eyes – I see shining examples of character, perseverance, loyalty, integrity, happiness, strength and personality. Were I to look at these people through external circumstances, I’d see a bunch of people that others might see as too poor, too ugly, too fat, too weak, too broken or too old.

“Man looks at the outward appearance – but God looks at the heart.”

It wasn’t until I wrote the epilogue of the book that I really saw the book as a reflection of my own journey through feeling like I’m not enough. These days, I feel as if I’m grabbing the bottom rung of the ladder or, taking the first step in a long journey, where no longer feel that way because I’ve exchanged the harsh criticisms I’ve given myself – or those bestowed to me by others – and now view myself as a child of God.

Not because I’m perfect, but because I am His.

I hope that Atlas grows up feeling this way about himself, through the lens of being my son. I hope he never feels like he’s without error/blame, but that he’s perfectly fine, as he is, because I love him unconditionally, and so does his Mom.

When I wrote the book, I was living a much different life than the one I lead now. I was still bitter at the church, thought I could live a life without a relationship with God/Jesus and despised wholeheartedly anything that came from religious institutions. Six years later, I returned to that Life not because I felt like I was somehow better than others, but because I came to realize – of my own accord – what it means to be truly broken and feel the void of God in my life.

I returned to a church not some war veteran covered in medals, but a broken man that wept in the back of the service while battling withdrawal, after deciding to finally put an end one-and-for-all to the decade-long train of substance abuse I thought I was the conductor of – rather than the person tied to the tracks through knots my own hands had tied.

I understood what it meant to be the prodigal son – returning home, and I wasn’t greeted as some outcast that had ruined his life. Rather, I saw the Father see me from afar and He came RUNNING up to me to welcome me back.

I doubt that writing books like Priceless will ever make me rich, given that my royalty on a hardcover book from Amazon is a whopping $1.62 per copy sold. However, I never wrote the book because I wanted to get rich. I wrote it because it was in my heart, and I loved every second I spent while working on it.

Down to the end, I noticed the theme of ‘I’m not good enough’ continue, as I hastily crafted a book cover using royalty-free stock images taken from Unsplash. Looking at the first draft of the cover, something hit me:

“I teach AI classes. Why not generate my own cover?”

Five minutes later, I had the AI-generated photo dropped into my Adobe Photoshop software, where I put my final touches on the cover.

It was perfect.

I chose dandelions because of a song I heard a long time ago, by Five Iron Frenzy.

in a field of yellow flowers
underneath the sun
bluest eyes that spark with lightning
boy with shoes undone
he is young, so full of hope
reveling in tiny dreams
filling up his arms with flowers
right for giving any queen
running to her, beaming bright
while cradling his prize
a flickering of yellow light
within his mother’s eyes
she holds them to her heart
keeping them where they’ll be safe
clasped within her very marrow
dandilions in a vase
she sees love where anyone else would see weeds
all hope is found, here is everything he needs
fathomless Your endless mercy
weight i could not lift
where do i fit in this puzzle?
what good are these gifts?
not a martyr or a saint
scarcley can i struggle through
all that i have ever wanted
was to give my best to You
Lord search my heart
create in me something clean
You see flowers in these weeds
gently lifting hands to heaven
softened by the sweetist hush
a Father sings over His children
loving them so very much
more than words could warrant
deeper than the darkest blue
more than sacrifice could merit
Lord, i give my heart to you
Lord search my heart
create in me something clean
You see flowers in these weeds

I chose an image of a boys hand holding the flowers, because it reminded me of Atlas, offering a ‘bouquet’ of flowers to his Mom, as he’s done on many occasions when we’re together. To her, those dandelions are more valuable than a million roses.

The hand also represents my own, which offers the stories from my childhood as a bouquet of flowers to an unnamed person on a ‘date’ with me in a restaurant, which is subtly narrated in throughout the book.

I read the book about 3-4 times in the last 24 hours, and even though there are several minor typos and grammatical errors, I made a conscious choice to leave the book intact, as it was originally written – shy of a few errors.

Why? Because I didn’t want the book to be perfect. I wanted it to be authentic. I wanted it to feel like a real human being wrote it, without the aid of a whole copywriting/editing team, publishing house and panel of critics. If somebody wants to criticize the book – they’re welcome to, and it won’t offend me in the least.

More than anything, I hope the book serves as a source of joy for those who read it. Some will laugh – others will cry. As a whole, I believe the collection of stories represents a very thin sliver of events that composed my childhood and thus, myself.

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