My Name Is Wonder: A Tale of Adventure
Perfect bound, 172 pages , 5.5" x 8.5"
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About the Book
My Name Is Wonder chronicles the transcendent adventures of a little goat with big dreams. For Wonder, nothing was better than exploring. And the more he learned about the world beyond his barnyard from those there who knew more—and also those who knew less—the more irresistible became his desire to see it for himself.
When his life was saved one day by a wondrous guide who could lead him there, the shape-shifting crow Mac Craack, his future was sealed. For better or worse, it would be the path of adventure for the two travelers, taking Wonder on a journey through scenic landscapes and into new discoveries both around himself and within.
Join them on their trek to the mountains and sea beyond and into the heart of mindful presence. Along the way, you’ll meet an unforgettable cast of characters, each with an important lesson for the wandering goat: Oren, the wisest buck of all; Lydia, who quickened Wonder’s heart with an indescribable communion; Boboso, always a student despite all that he knew; Lady Beryl, queen of a deep and dark domain; Olivia, the key for Wonder to the dream he’d abandoned; and many others.
In the hands of acclaimed author and motivational speaker Ronald Chapman, this inspirational fable weaves his trademark philosophy and gentle humor into a tale destined to be long remembered. And inseparable from it is the reality of the universe Chapman has dedicated his life to sharing: the oneness of everything we can see and know, and the truth of the great sacred spiritual design that links it all with our deepest heart and soul.
From Chapter 2
The Far Mountains
Wonder loved nothing better than to explore. Like all goats, he had the uncanny ability to escape any corral, fence, or paddock. It wasn’t long before he acquired the nickname “Wander.”
Gossip in the barnyard often focused on Wonder’s exploits. Whenever Nanny would hear the hens clucking over his latest scrape or Mr. and Mrs. Mule muttering about his most recent mischief, she quickly corrected them. “Wonder is not mischievous! Why, that would suggest he intends to cause trouble.” With a pleased gleam in her eyes, she would add, “Wonder is simply interested in everything he sees. It’s his nature.”
But in the quiet evenings when Wonder slept, Nanny confided her fears to Willie. Wonder wandered wherever he willed, and one day, she was sure, he would get hurt or lost—or worse. It was a big world, after all, and he was such a little goat.
Nanny, having recounted their son’s latest misadventure, would ask, “Willie, what should we do with him?”
“Nanette,” Willie would reply in his calm, stoic way, “let the boy be.”
Nanny would roll her eyes in exasperation, but try as she might, she could never persuade Willie to take a firmer stance in Wonder’s upbringing. He believed deeply in letting kids be kids. That was how Willie had been raised, as had his pappy before him, and his grandpappy, and all the way back through generations of proud he-goats. When his son came to him with a scraped nose or cockleburs all knotted up in his white hair, Willie would say, “Wonder, that which doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”
Wonder took the lesson to heart. Fearless and curious, he wandered ever farther. Whenever he got into trouble—which happened often—he would quietly whisper to himself, “Well, it didn’t kill me.”
Wonder was especially captivated by the jagged, purple mountains to the west. How far away were they? What did the grass taste like there? And what lay on the other side? Manuel, an older goat brought in from a Spanish herd that had once pastured in their shadows, affectionately called the mountains Las Montañas Grandes, a name that only added to their mystique for Wonder. He sometimes whispered the words to himself as he gazed at the horizon, not knowing that they meant only “big mountains.”
The other goats of the herd were all weary of being pummeled by Wonder’s endless questions. In truth, none of them had any first-hand knowledge of the mountains, yet that did not sway the certainty of their beliefs in the dangers that lurked among the jagged peaks. Legends told of distant, shaggy kin who scaled those rocky slopes, larger and more glorious than any ordinary goat. Some said they were direct descendants of the Gods from which all goats sprang. There were birds the size of barns up there too, and fierce, lithe creatures with sharp teeth and claws.
“It’s no place for a young goat,” the herd would say. “Get your head out of the clouds and keep your hooves on the ground.”
Wonder vowed that someday, he would see those mountains for himself, climbing as far up as his legs would take him.
From Chapter 13
Water of the Others
The following days were much the same as the first. While it was a comfortable routine with much to see, Wonder began to feel restless. Even when the valley opened up at just the right angle to offer a stunning glimpse of the mountains, the goat was surprised—and a little frustrated—that the snowcapped peaks appeared no closer.
Wonder called out to Mac Craack, “How much farther to the mountains?”
“So close. So far. Who knows? RAWWK!”
Despite the restlessness he felt, Wonder could not help but laugh as he replied, “Master Crow, you’re hopeless!”
“It is what it is. Can’t be more. Or less.” The crow’s words faded as he soared away.
As if in response to Wonder’s desire for excitement, a massive line of late afternoon thunderstorms boiled up on the horizon and soon began to pelt them with rain. Mac Craack guided the goat toward higher ground, and Wonder took shelter in the undergrowth beneath an overhang.
He settled in to wait out the storm, but Mac Craack hopped out once he saw the goat was settled, and took to the sky.
It proved to be a long and difficult night. But finally, the dawn arrived. M.C. had not yet returned from his evening roost. Wonder wanted to rush home immediately, but he forced himself to remain calm until his companion returned. When the crow finally arrived, Wonder blurted out that he had dreamed something was wrong with the herd and that Oren was in danger.
Mac Craack flew down and landed on a nearby branch. He cocked his head and looked into the goat’s face with his one eye.
“Resist this resistance,” he said in his gruff, gravelly voice.
“But Mac Craack—”
“GRAWWK! Wonder, breathe! Breathe in now. NOW!”
And Wonder breathed under the unflinching stare of the crow. Each time he tried to speak, the crow would simply utter, “Now is now. Inside is truth. Breathe. Listen. Feel.”
Wonder chuffed in strained amusement. Then he turned and plodded toward the stream, which was running deeper and murkier after the storm. The crow steered him to where the waterway turned sharply north and spread into a broad pool. A sloped and muddy path led to the edge of the water. Mac Craack announced that he must check the route and would return shortly.
Wonder moved slowly to the water’s edge, turned his body slightly upstream where it was less muddied, and bent to drink. The water soothed. His mind no longer raced, but the flood of emotions had left him feeling slightly off balance.
An instant later, a squeal suddenly pierced the air. Before Wonder could look up, his legs were driven from beneath him and he plunged into the stream. The goat floundered for a moment before finding his footing and pulling himself to the shallows. He scanned the stream and bank but saw nothing. Puzzled, he shook himself, and water flew from his coat.
When he opened his eyes, he saw two furry heads peering at him from just above the surface, only a few feet away. Wonder blinked. The pair of eyes on the left blinked back at him. Wonder tilted his head to the side. The head on the right mimicked him.
On the edge of Wonder’s vision, a motion on the bank caught his attention. He turned as a sleek, furry body slid on its back down the muddy trail and splashed into the water. Wonder realized the other two animals had careened down the muddy slide and knocked him into the water—though whether it had been an accident was another matter.
Three sets of eyes studied him. The third and largest creature raised its head clear of the water and began to chatter. Wonder could not understand its speech.
Regardless, the goat spoke politely. “Hello, friends. My name is Wonder.”
The creatures squealed and chattered and gestured, but the unintelligible barrage was interrupted by the gravelly voice of the crow. “CRAACK! Wet goat,” he said ruefully, shaking his head.
Wonder turned toward Mac Craack, “Master Crow, what are they?”
“GRAAWK. Large one Jessie. Little ones kit one and kit two. No names yet. Jimbob nearby.”
The creatures jabbered gaily at the crow, waving their small, furry paws as if inviting him into the stream for a swim.
“Welcome Otter Water. Meet otters,” interpreted the crow.
Otter chatter again filled the air. Wonder grew very quiet, settling into his feelings. A winsome smile came to his face, and he laughed. “Mac Craack, these are the creatures I was warned about. But they’re not dangerous. “Waters of the Others” was wrong. It’s Otter Water!”
M.C. chuckled. “Wise goat returns. GAW, GAW, GAW. Dreams flawed, nay?”
The goat looked at the crow sharply. “Do you mean my dream about Oren was wrong?”
The crow did not answer but looked at Wonder intently. “Feel,” he said.
Wonder blocked out the sound of cavorting otters and drew within himself. He quieted, listened, and felt.
A moment later, the young goat sighed. “Oren is fine. I don’t know how I know it, but so it is.”
With a nod, Mac Craack said simply, “Wise goat.”
From Chapter 21
Slowly, Wonder quieted himself. The pain remained intense, but when he extended his leg, there was some relief. He lay on his side, breathing shallowly, and waited for the crow to swoop down and save him once more. As dusk approached, he risked calling out for Mac Craack. When no response came, a kernel of fear grew in him.
Taking a deep breath, he reached deeper inside himself, deeper into the quiet that lay like a placid lake beyond the pain and the fear. My name is Wonder, but I am not that. This will not kill me. It will make me stronger. His resolve grew in response, but the cramp remained. He concentrated more deeply, pulling from a well he did not know existed. My name is Wonder, but I am not that.
Then a surprising thought bubbled up from the well: I may very well die from this, or some other misstep on my trek.
Realization shot through him—his understanding of his father’s mantra was wrong. Wonder was mortal, and even if a hundred scrapes and adventures made him stronger, the hundred-first might kill him. Rather than being disconcerting, the thought brought forth deeper insight. My name is Wonder, but I am not that. Even if the goat dies, I do not. Presence lives as me. Not I! Not I! Not I!
The fear vanished. More peace than he had ever known settled over him. With it, the muscle spasm began to ease. Still, Wonder was exhausted, and night was rapidly approaching. He was able to roll onto his belly, but his hindquarter still ached. And he was terribly thirsty.
He heard a snuffling sound then. As if by magic, a large black bear had appeared from the box end of the canyon. He was sniffing the air, catching Wonder’s scent.
Fearlessly Wonder announced, “My name is Wonder, but I am not that. And I am not afraid.”
The bear’s head swung toward the voice, pinpointing with scent and sound what vision could not. He spoke in a childlike, sing-song voice, and Wonder thought the bear must not be very bright. “Wonder, wonder who?” The bear’s head swung as if choreographed to the words. “Wonder who smells like goat?”
“Some would call me a goat, but I am not that,” Wonder replied.
The bear snuffled some more. “Hmm . . . if not a goat, goat, and not Wonder, Wonder, then what might you be?”
A flash of remembrance shot through Wonder. He recalled when Mac Craack had first appeared, and Oren had underestimated him. Intuition told him there was more to this bear than he imagined.
“So Master Bear, do you have a name I might use to properly address you?”
“Master Bear, hmm, Master Goat? My name is Boboso, and I am that, except when I choose not to be, or when riddling with a goat that is not a goat.”
Wonder laughed with delight. “You are very wise, Master Bear.”
Boboso harrumphed. “Hardly wise but always a student, Master Goat.” The bear raised his nose as if to catch some odor before resuming. “Where do you think you are, Wonder who is not Wonder? And where are you bound?”
“I’m going to the top of the mountain.”
“I see,” said Boboso. “Where are you now?”
“I seem to be at the end of a box canyon, and my guide, Mac Craack Crow, is missing. I do not know the way.”
The bear bobbed his head as he considered this. “Be assured, Mac Craack Crow is not lost. No crow ever is. And neither are you.”
“But there is no path, Boboso.”
“No goat that was not a wonder would blunder here. Certainly, you are on the path.”
“Blunder, Master Bear? That is the word Mac Craack used several times today.”
A toothy smile came to the bear’s face. “Serendipity strikes, Wonder. The eldest of the bear clan, Anthony, the Mellow, says, ‘The path is every step. Lift your vision above the muck.’ And, I would add, blunder is not possible. No way, no how.”
Wonder struggled to his feet, wincing as his stiff limbs stretched. “Then I will keep my eyes on the mountaintop with every step I take.”
Boboso simply nodded his head.
“Master Bear, Boboso, I have always heard a goat should fear a bear. Would I not make a fine meal for you and your kin?”
He harrumphed again. “Anthony, the Mellow says, ‘With sight on high, there can be no harm.’ ”
The bear again raised his snout to the air, sniffed, and turned, noticing some other scent on the breeze. “Go now, Wonder not Wonder.”
“Thank you, Master Bear. I will not forget you.”
From Chapter 34
Wonder resolved to make peace with his life. His path had taken him far from where he intended to go, but if he was destined to be in this place, he would inhabit it as fully as he could for as long as he was there.
All paths lead into the Light, he reminded himself. And since I am here, I might as well be present.
As he thought this, he wondered if something of Serena was rubbing off on him. She was always content no matter what, and while at first, he had thought her incurious or even simple-minded, he now suspected that she was quite wise in her own way. Of course, it was also possible she did not experience as he did, but it really didn’t matter how a creature found peace—only that it did.
As he grew to accept his fate, Wonder also began to embrace his role in the zoo. With quiet dignity, he allowed the children to pat his head and touch his horns. He ate the biscuits they offered, not because he was hungry or because they were particularly tasty, but because it gave the visitors such delight. As for the quiet children, the ones who hung back shyly just beyond the fences, he gave them the time and space and peace to watch him until their fear drained away and they felt brave enough to approach. When they did, he lowered his head solemnly and let them touch his wiry white coat.
To his surprise, Wonder discovered that human children were often inquisitive and delightful. They reminded him of himself when he was a kid. And appreciation came to him, or at least that was what Mac Craack called the warm generous feelings. Before now, his experience with humans had been limited. The man who ran the farm where Wonder grew up was only a shadowy presence in his memory, and the only other men he’d encountered were the ones who’d captured him.
Now he saw hundreds of men and women, as well as their offspring, every day. They were noisy and often smelled like artificial flowers or trees, and they dripped sticky drinks and treats everywhere they went, but they also were curious and filled with laughter. Especially the children. They giggled and squealed like otter kits, always rushing about to see the next thing and then the next.
One day, a petite older girl with a sleek brown bob the color of silt and merry brown eyes approached his paddock. She walked over to Wonder, ignoring the antics of the fainting goats and the three nannies jockeying for position at the fence, and held out her slender hand. When the nannies saw she wasn’t holding a biscuit, they lost interest, but Wonder trotted over, intrigued.
“Hello,” she said brightly. “My name’s Olivia. What’s yours?”
The goat gazed up into her eyes and let out a sigh. “Wonder,” he said, and she smiled as if she understood him. Her eyes sparkled like sunlight on water, and Wonder stared up into them, entranced. He felt a jolt of energy as a connection crackled between them.
“Do I . . . do I know you?” asked Wonder.
The girl smiled again and nodded. “That’s right,” she said, scratching him beneath the chin. “Aren’t you a handsome fellow?”
Olivia stayed by the fence, speaking quietly to Wonder, while all around the peacocks screamed and the burros brayed and the other children ran back and forth squealing in delight. After a while, Mac Craack fluttered down to peer at the girl. She greeted him politely, and to Wonder’s great surprise, the crow bowed his sleek black head and let Olivia stroke his feathers.
“Took you long enough,” the crow muttered, his eyes half closed.
“What a fine bird,” Olivia cooed. She ran a finger lightly through the feathers of his breast. Mac Craack bore this with evident enjoyment for a moment before fluttering a few feet away. He cackled to himself good-naturedly as he put the feathers she’d ruffled back in place.
“M.C., do you know this girl?” Wonder asked.
The bird paused in his grooming to fix one beady eye on Wonder. “Don’t you?”
About the Author
Ron Chapman believes there are no self-made men or women. “All I have and all I am came from people and circumstances for which I cannot claim credit,” he says. “That includes being drawn by something I can’t even name, though one expert calls it magnetic center. While I don’t define myself much anymore as the product of any specific hardship, I have been drawn in ways I could not resist. Had I not been drawn, I could never have succeeded in the face of some daunting life challenges.”
Ron considers his greatest success to be learning to parent his two step-daughters, Natalie and Brianne. He’s delighted that somehow he and these young women were able to choose to stay in father-daughter relationships when he divorced their mother. “That was the hardest practice ever . . . to let love be more important than all those grievances that emerge when a marriage ends.”
Seeing True™ is his signature practice. In short, it is characterized by a moment of epiphany that is so pronounced that ensuing changes or behavior are dramatically altered for the better. He says, “You might call it a profound change of heart.” The purpose of Seeing True™ as a practice in consulting, facilitation, speaking, workshops, and coaching is to produce dramatic improvements. “I’ll use any tool, process, approach, motivation, or information necessary to respond to a need or circumstance.”
Ron has been called motivational and inspirational as well as being labeled a master translator. He shrugs off all identifiers. “Clients and audiences feel an assertiveness and an urgency. I do push. But the best way to assist others is love, kindness, and gentleness with a good mix of stories, examples, and metaphors to help them understand. Attraction is always highly effective.”
These attitudes lay a foundation for a wide range of expertise and successes for Ron, including three enterprises that focus on consulting, facilitation, speaking, workshops, coaching, and other activities to develop people and organizations. His client list speaks of his effectiveness and includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Habitat for Humanity, and Chevron Corporation.
In developing those enterprises, Ron has acquired International Speaking Accreditation through Toastmasters International, a distinction shared by only sixty-seven individuals worldwide in thirty years. He was awarded a Master’s in Social Welfare in 1990 to add to his degree in Business and Finance.
In describing himself, Ron says, “I am a full-time, all-time student of life. And any way I can learn or share the learning is very exciting.” This explains everything from his radio commentary to his multiple content websites as shown below. In September 2016, Ron is experiencing the dream of a lifetime with the release of his new allegorical novel, My Name Is Wonder: A Tale of Adventure, and a second edition of his first novel, A Killer’s Grace, both published by Terra Nova Books.
Simultaneously, his non-fiction publisher, Ozark Mountain Publishing, is offering the first commercial release of his audio set, Seeing True: The Way of Spirit, which adds to his 2015 audio set, Breathing, Releasing, and Breaking Through: Practices for Seeing True.
While Ron is a native Oklahoman and was a long-time resident of New Mexico (where he had his own award-winning radio show), he currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and travels across the U.S. for speaking engagements, workshops, and book events.
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