LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “brave”

The Invisible Visible & the Inside Outside

http://eatbigfish.com/type/article/making-the-invisible-visible

We turn the invisible into the visible when we allow what we hold in, what we believe, what we think, what we have faith in, what we trust in, what we hold sacred and true to take action. We communicate our being by the life we make. Our source is us. The outside is the inside. To see outside we must look inside. Our voice and our vision is not created by our seeing and talking, but by thinking and praying. Depth is infinite, but the outward is from the inward. Looking at the reflection in the mirror is the fuel of our behavior. It is what drives us.

Let us not be measured by our quantity, but by our quality.

Be encouraged!

Saw Something Wonderful Today…

http://newvision2012.weebly.com/-10-countries-with-female-soldiers.html

I am traveling today. Which means I was up way before the sun, shaved, showered, downed some quick breakfast, loved on the Gang of 5, kissed Susie goodbye, checked seventy three times to insure I had my passport, drove an hour to the airport, finally convinced myself to pay the extra money to park in the garage, noticed after the nearly three mile trek to check-in that I had once again packed way too much crap, and after taking off various clothing while thinking how absolutely barbaric the whole security thing is, finally made it to my gate with exactly two hours and three minutes before my flight departs.

Now what to do?

One of my favorite pass-times is to watch people and the airport is one of the very best places to do it. This morning I got to gawk at everyone from a twenty something guy wearing a pair of well worn boots, slacker jeans, hoodie, and an International Harvester tractor hat to a woman wearing Chanel haute couture talking to someone on her cell phone about the latest Bulgari fragrance. As I looked around at my fellow travelers, my mind began to wonder what kind of people they were. Were they kind? How do they make a living? What were there thoughts? If we could talk, what would I learn from them?

The call came over the PA system for all first class passengers (which I am not one of) to prepare to board. To be honest my eyes and mind were still in the people oogling mode, but I suddenly became aware of a well tailored gentleman who oozed confidence, style, and power stepping out of the line and making his way toward where I was sitting. He stopped in front of a young black woman who was dressed head to toe in the desert camo uniform of the United States Army. He knelt in front of her extending  his boarding pass and with a silky smooth voice said, “Thank you for your willingness to serve our country. How about you take my first class seat?”

I shed nearly as many tears as she did.

Be encouraged!

Sort of Like Responsibility…PartIV

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/drmarciana/3216269473/

The double doors leading to the factory floor swung open to reveal a world I had no idea existed. I might as well have been transported with Scotty, Bones, Spock, Captain Kirk, and  the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise to another dimension. This was another world…and nothing in the world I knew, had prepared me for this.

Let’s start with the smell, it nearly knocked you down. Think of WD-40 and 3in1 oil mixed together and then injected into nose via a fire hose. The smell wrapped around you like saran wrap and tore into your lungs like Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Later I would learn how it permeates into your skin, so even after bathing with all kinds of girly soaps, and things of my wife that I can’t identify, you still smell exactly like the factory. I’m telling you my wife is a very special kind of woman to put up with that.

Then there was the noise, it was deafening. I’ve been next to tornadoes and this was louder. I have been in the front row of a Guns n’ Roses concert and this was louder. It was like having a blunt instrument pound away at the inside of your brain, right between the eyes.

As I stood there reeling from the total effect of this onslaught I realized the man leading me lips were moving. I yelled out as loud as I could, WHAT?”

He smiled and leaned closer to me, NEVER BEEN IN A FACTORY BEFORE, HUH?”

Well this man was obviously a genius. Surely I had completely camouflaged my shock. It must have been me staggering backwards when he opened the doors and him having to repeat himself four times before I answered him that blew my carefully formulated cover.

“YEAH SHERLOCK, FIRST TIME.”

He motioned for me to follow him. No problem there. I kept as close to him as a newborn kitten afraid of losing his mother. In fact, now that I think about it, that new born kitten analogy is an accurate portrayal of how I felt. Safe in his Mommy’s womb the newborn fur-ball is thrust into a world that is cold, hard, and completely different from anything the little guy has ever experienced. Nothing has prepared him for this; he has to find nourishment a whole different way, suddenly there is a lot more room, and he still can’t see anything…and that was EXACTLY how I felt. If I could have turned around and drove back home to Susie, crawled into bed beside her, and gone back to sleep my world would have been perfect. Except I couldn’t do any of that. We had lost our bookstore business and, although we weren’t destitute, we could certainly see it from where we were standing. Besides Susie and I hadn’t worked all our lives to lose everything, so I was willing to do whatever was necessary to keep us afloat.

But all of that didn’t keep me from being scared. I was shaking in my new steel toed boots.

It took me nearly six months to begin to grasp how things worked. Eventually I got use to the smell, the noise, and the dirty weld fumes that made you blow out black crud when you blew your nose. I got use to women cussing more than any sailor I ever talked with, but I never got accustomed to men showing me their iphone pictures of the women who, as they put it, were “pounding” vagina. However, after a while I did know who they were and I avoided them like the plague.

I quickly moved up the proverbial corporate ladder and off the factory floor, but I’ve never forgotten the men and woman who are still there. Still working in 110 degree heat in the summer and bone chilling cold in the winter. Still breathing in the fumes and still having the noise assault their senses daily. Still working, because they need the benefits and the pay is the best in this region.

Those men and women will be in my memory forever…I miss them…but not so much the guys with the iphones.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #13-Courage

courage.jpg

http://www.productiveflourishing.com/12-ways-to-practice-courage/

I haven’t written a new post in some time. I’ve reblogged several because I felt they were in line with how I think and I wanted to give them as wide an audience as possible. The truth is if I reblogged every post I feel deserves a wider audience I would spend my day hitting the reblog button. Suffice it to say, many of you are incredible writers, capable of moving us readers heart and soul with your written words. My hat is off to all of you.

But now it is time to write about something that close to me heart. Also it is something I have struggled with, in one form or another, for most of my life.

Recently I have had several conversations with a young person who is working through some major changes in her life. She is seeking to know her True-self and also deal with several facets of her life that do not reflect the person she would like to be. In my discussions with her the word courage frequently comes up. And, of course that has gotten me to think about what courage is.

Let me begin by saying I believe there are two types of Courage: There is False Courage which masquerades as the Real Thing, but isn’t, and I’ll show why a little later. Then there is True Courage , which allows us to have the confidence to face (notice I didn’t say overcome, that is for another post) all our fears.

Much of what I see today is False Courage. False Courage looks outward. It is always dependent on external circumstances. False Courage will say, ” There is strength in numbers.” or “My best friend (insert significant other, kids, cow-workers, family members, team mates, you get the idea) and I will get this done (or work on this, or face it, or produce it).”  or “If X happens then I can…” What happens is we shift the focus off of ourselves. The end result is we drift off into acceptance, addictions, fantasies, or we become experts at helping others be courageous.

See if any of these statements ring a bell:

  • The world is filled with idiots.
  • If only I had ______________.
  • He, She, They let me down…again.
  • Circumstances just didn’t line up for me.
  • I will fake it until I make it.
  • God I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face.

This is how we can look like we have Courage. We can throw it out there as a great defense, but it is a lie. It is a cheap imitation. It keeps us from being truly Strong, truly Better, and truly Ready For Whatever.

False Courage spends it’s web by convincing everyone else we have reached a harmonious state of togetherness. But when that carefully constructed bubble gets pierced by an event, or an incident, or a person that provokes our questions and/or fears, then our carefully constructed world falls apart. In essence we lose it. That is when the same old life sucking, soul destroying insecurities raise their little gnarly heads and we are back to mush. It is because we never had the Real Thing. We didn’t have True Courage.

True Courage is an entirely different beast. True Courage is a trust in ourselves and it’s focus is inward.

Look at these qualities and see how different they are:

  • We become inspired by openness.
  • We listen to and obey that still, small voice within us.
  • We are ready to go to stand strong…and accept the consequences.
  • Our faith is increased.
  • We will bend, but we are no longer willing to break.

True Courage gets foundational. By that I mean it penetrates into the roots of who you are. True Courage is, as they say, a game changer. It can alter your life and your world. You can go deeper, climb higher, and most importantly, be more you.

Susie and I live in a log home, up a lane from a road that is only 1 1/2 miles long. We have a few acres and our home sits on a hillside in the middle of those acres. We have a small wood stove in the kitchen/dining area and a large fireplace in the living room. We enjoy the added warmth of a wood fire, so throughout the cooler colder portions of the year we usually have a fire going in at least one of them. To start a fire we take a small piece of split wood and using a hatchet we hone off a few fine, curly shavings. Those little wispy pieces bare faint resemblance to the log we sawed up and split earlier in the season. We roll the shavings up into a loose ball and lay it on the fire grate, then we add several twigs, finishing it off with several small branches slightly larger than a couple of fingers. As we light the shavings, we blow ever so gently on their soft glow until a small flame erupts. Shortly the kindling ignites and we begin to place larger pieces of split wood on the grate until we have a roaring fire.

http://www.thechimneydoctors.com/

What you have at this moment is a few fine shavings with the fire starter applied. What I want you to do in the form of life-actions, is work gently with this kindling until a small flame erupts, Nurse and nourish that flame by adding the right size material until a roaring and consuming fire develops. Don’t add more than your fire is ready for. Too big of a log will extinguish the flame because there isn’t enough heat intensity to catch the lager piece a blaze. Take on more than your ready for and the fie burning within you will struggle. Be patient, let time work for you. Choose your battles and be wise, but always, always, always feed your fire.

Be encouraged!

All the Same

While you, dear reader, may not be able to tell, I usually spend considerable time thinking, researching, and sharing my ideas with Susie, before I sit down to write. I’ve found, for the most part, this keeps me from running off on some half-wit tangent. Susie says this also makes it easier for her to converse with her friends, because she doesn’t have to spend hours defending my posts.

I think she means it as a compliment.

This post is somewhat different, because while I have given it a lot of thought, I haven’t done much research and I’ve kept my comments to Susie to a minimum. So I hope this post doesn’t cause much distress the next time her friends and her get together. This one comes more from the gut.

Let me start with a story.

Several years ago I was asked by a friend’s wife if I would be interested in mentoring at risk and behaviorally challenged children in the public school system. Although they were wanting to reach children of all ages, I would be working specifically with elementary students. After she answered several questions for me I thought the idea had merit and agreed to become a mentor to twins of a single mother. The twins had a slew of issues and while I am no trained child psychologist my biggest contribution would be as an in-room monitor who would work with each of them to keep them focused during the school day.

I enjoyed the work and kept meticulous notes as to what worked and what didn’t during various situations. I shared these notes with others who were involved in the program. The program became a company and the company started to grow. New mentors where hired. Programming directors, financial analysts, therapists, and others were added to the payroll. Strict rules were put into place. The roll with what is happening and go with the flow was eliminated. Structure and order became the only way. Owners and management began to dream about earning substantial money. They began to curry political and corporate favor. The ideas others and I had become part of a program that was touted as having an incredible success rate. Metrics were put in place. We were all coached on how to write our reports so Medicare would pay. Students graduated from the program reportedly cured of their issues.

Except there was only one problem.

The kids weren’t healed. They were better. They were making progress. They could function for longer periods of time without having a physical outburst, but they were a long way from being what anyone would call healed. It wasn’t that they were bad kids. Or even that they were mentally deficient. They simply had been born into horrible situations. Their only guidance in life had been through the TV they were set in front of from birth, because the changing patterns on the screen kept them from crying or they imitated what they saw when they left the living room for the streets. They yelled, screamed, cussed, and fought just like they saw the gangs do, except they were in the third grade.

But it didn’t matter. In order to keep the money flowing in they were diagnosed with a DSM Code by a staff child psychologist, then pronounced healed when they got near the end of time that federal funding would pay for their care.  One size fit all, except we weren’t talking about clothing, we were talking about children with feelings, emotions, and in need of real, true, honest love.

I bent and broke all the rules. I went home with the kids I worked with and talked to their parents, when I could find them, and whoever else I could find when the parents weren’t anywhere around. I prayed with my kids. I took them places like museums, libraries, art galleries, backstage at theaters, and anywhere else I could think of, to expose them to a bigger world. I paid for everything out of my own pocket.

Then I got caught. I was warned. I didn’t change I kept on doing everything. I got caught again. I was told to change. I said no. They said my services were no longer warranted. They sent two large men to escort me out of the school. They told the principal I was under investigation for wrong doing.

When we find something that works, people want to turn it into a program. They want to monetize it. They want to streamline it. They want one size to fit all. They want to make it all the same.

Well I don’t want to. My experiences with the children is only one example. In my life, and in yours, there are hundreds of examples. This is one of the reasons why I love the blog world. Each blog is different. The content is our own. We aren’t constrained in what we say and how we say it. I’m not given to using lots of provocative or foul language, but I’ll always defend your right to, even if I am hoping you won’t.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, it isn’t well researched, nor have the words been carefully chosen, they just rolled out of my heart, and hopefully into yours.

Be encouraged!

My Political Thought

Banksy.jpg

http://dystopia-11engadv.wikispaces.com/

I read a post by Lisa at http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com/ entitled Dear President Obama. She didn’t write it, but felt it was a good summation of how she and possibly many more are feeling. The original post was written by Maggie at http://somethingfathappened.wordpress.com. I don’t know Maggie, but since I started this blog Lisa and I have become good enough friends that we have actually entertained our families getting together for a meal sometime when we all can find the time.

Lisa is not someone who goes off on political tangents. She isn’t the kind of person that would pigeon-hole you in a corner for over an hour while she rants on about big government and how the apocalypse is upon us. However, if I were you I would steer clear of talking about a certain cashier at the local diner where she has breakfast every morning, but other than that Lisa strikes me as being fairly level-headed, compassionate, intelligent, extremely witty, and someone who truly cares about the quality of life for others.

So she worried about posting something political. She didn’t want to have to wade through reading a bunch of hate mail that questioned her mental stability, gender identity, social status, and/or whether she was an enemy mole feverishly working the inner ropes of the blogging community. She just wanted to post something that reflected how she felt…end of story.

She inspired me.

Like Lisa I am posting something that someone else created (although I wish I had the talent and the spray paint). So with my tongue planted firmly within my cheek the above is my political statement. I should acknowledge this is my statement and my statement alone, it does not necessarily reflect the thoughts of Susie my wife, Jake the Wonder Dog, Callie the Sleek Dog, OC the World’s Tiniest Cat, Zip the Pet Me or Die Cat, or Annie Now Called Andy Because My Stupid Parents Can’t Recognize Sex Parts on a Kitten.

I am Stephen Edwards and I support the contents of this blog.

Be encouraged!

Beliefs & Behavior

A friend of mine Susan Vannice, who is the Pastor of Tree of Life Fellowship, posted this on Facebook.

I write and talk a lot about beliefs, but it is important to remember if we do not put those beliefs into action then they are little more than window dressing to impress our family, friends, and co-workers.

But I’m also curious about another aspect of this…can our behavior be independent of our beliefs? If our behavior falls short of what we believe, then do we really believe? Or is this a place where that tension exists that I wrote about in a reply to someone a few days ago? The tension I am referring to isn’t related to stress. This is the tension that exists in how we live our lives. If we lean too far one way then we tend to run off track, same results if we get too carried away going the opposite direction. The ideal sweet spot is when we are able to occupy the middle way.

I know what I believe…and I am comfortable with that. But I also know my behavior falls far short at times of optimizing how I think. In fact, most of my life I have known one way, but lived something far removed from it. Only over the last two decades have made a considerable effort to close the gap.

But there is still a gap.

So maybe this is what grace is all about. When we and those around us fall short of our stated beliefs, then perhaps this is an opportunity for us to exercise forgiveness and compassion. Realizing that none of us are perfect and all we really need to do in life is get up one more time than we fall down.

Today let us try to exercise some grace.

Be encouraged!

Honor and Courage

http://philosophy.sean.tripod.com/id17.htm

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor”

-Aristotle-

I was wondering how much different our world would be if we were to live our lives according to a few simple ideas. None of them would require advanced degrees or an internship, although there is nothing wrong with either. We wouldn’t have to get financing or alter our work schedules. It wouldn’t cut into our private time, nor alter our choices of hobbies.

But it would require some honor and courage.

Be encouraged!

Another Gem

http://ihearttosweat.blogspot.com/2012/07/6-super-simple-ways-to-clean-up-your.html

Most of you reading this post are already aware of the type of person I am. I tend to lead toward the simple. I don’t like to get too complex. I feel life can get away from us easy enough without me adding some convoluted writing to the process. Plus, if the truth be told, I’m just not that smart, so simple comes rather easy and natural to me.

Today I was turned onto another blog site called MysteryCoach and can this woman write…check out http://mysterycoachdsi.com/hoping-this-guy-is-it/ for some straight forward, no-nonsense, honest soulful writing about trying to find your true love. Awesome piece. Well I decided to follow her. So almost immediately she returns the favor by following me…which is impressive…I love folks who live on their computers like I do.  Then I decided to see if I could find something out about who she is so I went to her ~Welcome~ page. While scrolling down the page I found this gem and fell in love (not that kind, Susie is still the only one, but you know what I mean) all over again:

Give this woman’s blog a look at…I promise you won’t be disappointed…then follower her…I suspect this a very deep well.

Be encouraged!

Politics

I am not one who enjoys proclaiming his political views. I know there are those who find it fascinating and God bless them, but I am not of their ilk. I have my opinions and for the most part I prefer to keep them to myself. Airing my thoughts in public I find to be counter-productive to what I hope to accomplish in bringing people together in peace. Politicians no longer (if they ever did) speak for me I don’t find comfort in either the right or the left. There are elements of both I like and a good deal more that I don’t.

But while I was playing catch up  after a weekend of interviewing acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, glass eaters, contortionists, unicyclists, trapeze artists,  and a couple of other unique performers (trust me this is a whole series of posts in and of itself) I came across Terri’s blog at http://terri0729.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/mondays-military-honors/. The snapshot above was one of many about those who serve in the military for our country. My official disclaimer is I am somewhat biased in my opinion regarding the military. In my youth I was a hippie and not inclined to be supportive of those who served, but life often has ways of turning a person’s thinking around. Our youngest son is career Army and there is not a prouder parent in the United States than this old hippie.

Take a moment to think about this information. Perhaps there are some things that should drive us into the streets, waving our placards again.

Be encouraged!

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