LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “success”

I Would Go To The Moon & Back For Her

http://all-ontologies-blazing.blogspot.com/2013/01/top-unknown-fringe-theories-5-who-built.html

A few moments ago I was reading a blog (http://soyouthinkyoucanthink.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-worlds-happiest-facts/)  by a Amba, or as her blog says, “Alias – Laughy McLaugherson, Drama queen, Ortho-addict, Neuro-geek, Blogger, Book<3er, Sous chef.” Honestly I only know what a few of those descriptions actually mean, but on the whole I think she is an incredible woman who creates some very awesome posts.

This particular post I was reading is entitled The World’s Happiest Facts. The name alone caught my eye. I’m always up for a “happy fact.” So I was ready to learn something new and possibly add it to my vast repertoire that I use to dazzle my wife and friends, although for the most part they usually just roll their eyes and say, “OMG, will you please stop it!”

So there I was cruising along and then I read this:

Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, wrote his daughter initials there. They’ll last at least 50,000 years.
You don’t need the moon, you don’t need to write someone’s name. You just need to have a name.

Well maybe it was my latest trip out of the country, or a genetic something gone awry, or maybe I’m simply getting a touch daff in my old age, but there I was with tears rolling down my cheeks as I thought of how much I love and cherish my wife.

I’ll never go to the moon. I’ll never climb Everest. In fact, I get pretty excited whenever I just get out of Indiana, but I’ve got a name. OMG, do I ever have a name.

Susie, I love you.

 

If you got someone special in your life, a significant other, family, parents, children, puppies, kittens, the person you see having a rough day…get up, find the phone, type in their email address, do whatever it takes, then just say three words…”I love you.”

They’ll never forget it…and you’ll never regret it.

Be encouraged!

…and Amba thanks for a truly wonderful post, that obviously touched my heart…you made my evening…much love and many blessings to you.

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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!

Counting

http://www.colourbox.com/image/two-ripe-red-apples-and-half-of-apple-image-3946870

My wife, Susie has a saying that I have always found interesting. I’m not exactly sure when she started using it, but I have liked it since the first time I heard it. This is it:

You can count the seeds in an apple, but can’t count the apples in a seed.

I’ve been thinking about this little quote since the first time I heard it and it reminds me of a story.

Most of you who read this blog are aware I have background that includes many unfavorable exposures to the law and those who are charged with enforcing it. It wasn’t that I thought police were pigs, as was the common verbiage back in my hippie days. I was simply breaking the law and I wasn’t interested in getting caught. This put the police and I on different sides of the same issue. Throughout the years I got to know a few of them, like the rest of society, some where honorable and had a good grasp of how to handle the bad guys, while others had no scruples and would have felt right at home in any German WWII concentration camp.  Not all of those who wear the blue are upright, moral, and fair, nor are they all uncaring, racist, and bigoted.

I have been arrested several times in various states, usually on outstanding warrants of one type or another. Those warrants, for the most part, originated in Illinois, so I tried to spend as little time there as possible. It had gotten to the point where local police knew me by first, middle and last name, the types of cars I drove, and the way I walked, so I tried to find other states to call home. When I was arrested in these other states they would run a criminal check on me and discover I was wanted, then offer me spartan accommodations in the nearest county jail, notify my home state that they were hosting me, and arrange for a  state police officer of Illinois to retrieve me. Since there is no posting bail while awaiting extradition, I would have a few days to cool my jets while waiting for a free ride back home.

I’m not sure how this happened but several times I was transported by the same officer. He was nearing retirement age and had been on the force over thirty years and was one of the good cops. The first time he picked me up we had a 3 hour ride back to the county where my warrant had been issued which gave us some time to talk. He spoke about his wife and kids and I described my life of drinking, drugging, and chasing woman without mentioning any names or particulars.

The next time he showed up to provide a ride I was surprised to see him, of course he knew who he was picking up, so all he did upon seeing me was smile, say how nice it was to see me again, and ask I turn around so the handcuffs and leg shackles could be put on.  We fell into talking much like we had the first time as he caught me up on what his two sons and daughter were doing and I updated him on the latest bars and women I had found. But this time the ride back was different.

As we neared the outer edge of the city where he had picked me up, he drove the cruiser to the side of the road. He got out walked to my side, opened the door, and asked me to step out and turn around. Without saying another word he removed the cuffs and shackles and told me to get back in. He returned to the driver’s seat and we proceeded on.

Now this was HUGE. Cops don’t do this. First of all, if anything goes wrong, say like I try to escape, it means at the very least he will face an inner-jurisdiction reprimand, suspension of a couple of weeks without pay, and it will go into his permanent record, at the worst, it means his thirty plus years on the force goes up in smoke, and maybe his retirement as well.

As he edged the patrol car back onto the highway he resumed his conversation as if nothing had happened. A few hours later he said he was going to need some gas and pulled into a station with a McDonald’s attached. He asked, Hey I bet your kind of tired of jail food, what would you like to eat?” I replied something about having some money in the manila envelope he was caring along with my watch and identification, but he just smiled and said, “Naw, I got this one.”

As we neared the county were I would be quickly bonding out, he again pulled to the side of the road, came to my side, opened the door, and said, “Sorry to have to do this to you, but they would skin me alive if I walked you in there without these.” Then he reattached the cuffs and the shackles, but before he eased me back into the car he asked, “Those aren’t too tight are they?”

The third and last time he retrieved me from an unpleasant living situation, he again stopped and removed my restraints, and as before, we stopped for gas and something to eat, but this time I asked if I could go use the restroom. He looked me in the eyes for a moment then said, “Sure, I’ll meet you back at the car.”

Why I am telling you this story?

Because these events happened over thirty years ago and that man was one of the finest human beings I ever met. He trusted some one who was not worthy of any trust. He believed in some one who was not worthy of any belief. But most of all he gave me hope in my self.

You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.

When you plant a seed you have no idea what will happen. How it will grow. What will be the effects. None of this is predictable.

There was nothing in me that inspired trust. I was wild. All I talked about was a life of debauchery. I wore it like a shield of honor.

But when I changed my life, the talks I had with that police officer rang in my head with a clarity that was undiminished by the years.

I write these words while sitting in my office with tears streaming down my face. I remember his face, the tone of his voice, the firm way he moved, his poise and pride. After thirty plus years his words still resonate. He believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. He treated me with a dignity and respect I didn’t deserve…yet he did it.

Truth is we don’t know what good (apples) will come out of our actions (seeds). What smiles, kind words, and a helping hand will do. So when you look around your life at those who might seem a little less deserving than others…remember you just can’t tell…none of us can.

Be encouraged!

Sort of Like Responsibility…Part V

http://www.steliasorthodoxchurch.org/

There are few things in life that split people as quickly as talking about religion. Everyone has an idea, a thought, and/or a conviction. And rare is the individual who will listen to views, other than their own, without certain walls going up. So what I am going to ask may border on the impossible…or at least in the very difficult zone. Yes this post is going to be about what I think about God. But is only my thoughts. I am not writing to sway anyone’s opinion. I’m writing this post with the same intention I have written the prior four posts on responsibility (there is only one more), to share what has happened in my life and to prove to others who have issues, situations, or circumstances in their life that there is hope. Real honest to God, life changing hope.

So, as I usually do, let me start with a story…

The year is 1998 and I have already made significant changes to my life. Although those changes started only four years earlier, I am a completely different person. Not that there weren’t matters that needed attention (and still do). But I was no longer spending every night in a bar, chasing every skirt who happened by, or indulging my considerable desire to steal everything that wasn’t locked down and stowed away. The drug use was history and I had quit drinking. Both were considered minor miracles by those who knew me, because I had been doing a gram of cocaine a day (no worry about pesky nasal hair) and drinking a case of beer and a bottle of cognac (nice mix, huh?) a day.

No coincidence, Susie and I had been married for four years as well. Her presence in  my life had opened the eyes that were blind, the ears that were shut, and the heart that was to hard to care. It was like being born again…literally. I was experiencing emotions I didn’t know existed. I would watch the McDonald’s commercial where the little ducklings followed their mother in the rain, and tears would roll down my cheeks. I could talk to people about Susie and choke up ( actually this one still happens). I suddenly found myself loving small children, something that had NEVER happened before.

Susie had introduced me to church, which I thought was about as strange as anything I had ever witnessed, and I had witnessed MANY strange things. I liked it, but it just felt weird. I had never attended church in my life and I was extremely uncomfortable. It was like a secret society. The people were nice enough, but they had there own way of talking. A language I was completely unsure of. It was English all right, but in the world I came from being “washed in the blood,” meant you were probably dead of a gun shot wound or had been bludgeoned to death. Even the individual words were used in a different context. “God” was no longer connected to damn it and “Jesus Christ” now referred to a person/deity as opposed to being an expression of surprise. I also noticed no one used the F word, this was extremely strange, and VERY difficult to get use to. Occasionally I would slip and I was aware this was not a good thing. Susie promised to help me.

In 1998 I met this man……I’m not quite sure why he is holding that sign, but just ignore it. His name is Fr. Stevan Bauman and he is without a doubt the greatest person I have ever met in my life, which is something he would definitely not acknowledge. Knowing him has changed my life from our very first encounter over lunch at a downtown Indianapolis restaurant. I came home and told Susie things were going to change. This was a fairly large statement considering the evidence I have just presented. Over the years Fr. Stevan and I have grown quite close. When I was baptized into the Eastern Orthodox Church he became my godfather. His presence has been like having my own flesh and blood incarnation of God, another statement he wouldn’t be able to disown fast enough.  He is kind and gentle, compassionate and loving, holy and pure, patient and humble. I don’t believe he knows what anger or frustration are.

So what is this post all about?…certainly not just a window into a side of me that I rarely talk about. Well yes and no…I do want you to know about this side of me, I think it will help you understand me and my writing better, but no I’m not trying to convert you or anything remotely like it. I’m not trying to convince you of the presence of God…or of the Truth of Creation.

So what is it?…it’s about being honest, being open, being vulnerable, being authentic, and being real. It is about telling the Truth. My journey through this life has been exciting and painful, thrilling and suicidal, adventurous and paranoid. At one time my living expenses were $33,000 a month and my income far exceeded my expenses. Other times I stood in front of a Coke machine and cried because I didn’t have enough money…and this was when they were only cost 35 cents. I have run across America and stood in front of thousands telling about it and I’ve slept in a dark alley next to a dumpster because I had nowhere else to go. I have known personal pain so severe I didn’t know if I could draw my next breath and happiness so complete I didn’t have words to express it.

I have been delivered…I have been set free…I am alive…and anyone and everyone can do it…no matter where you are at, or what you have done, or what has been done to you…so please…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!

Sort of Like Responsibility…Part III

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wife-Bumper-Sticker-Decal/dp/B001P1PCWY

Most of you who read this blog know that I am deeply in love with my wife, Susie, and she was/is a major contributor to all that is good in my life. Her love, patience, sweetness, and guidance has been the one constant over the eighteen plus years we have been married. While not every moment of those years has been perfect, the sole reason for them not being was/is me.

During the days of my youth and far too long into what I was calling adulthood, I was always drawn to the darker side of life. If there was so scum to rub in, I was there. Nearly everyone who knew me figured I would end up in prison for life or dead. It just seemed like the way I was headed. She literally saved my life.

Susie is a woman of phenomenal intellect, yet able to talk to any one regardless of their age or station in life. I’ve seen her totally enthralled in conversations with:

  • A five year old short-stop on our Grandson’s Little League team.
  • The Metropolitan Bishop of North America and Australia for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
  • The mail lady.
  • A homeless man on the streets of Monterey, California.
  • The lead singer of a death-metal band from Norway.
  • A lady in the nursing home who just wanted her to keep on singing.

She has the type of personality that is rarely flustered or confused and is never mean. Her basic being is happy, compassionate, and above all loving. Even back in the day, my friends would say, “Dude you better quit screwing (okay, actually they used another descriptive word for sexual coupling, but you get the idea) around and marry this one…especially before she realizes what a waste you are.”

She is also, a raging incredible cook, who can make a tasty meal out of nearly nothing. During our early leaner years, I would often look around the kitchen cabinets, pantry, refrigerator, under the bed, and in the glove box and find absolutely nothing…and I mean nothing…no crackers, no bags of chips with only those crunched up little tiny pieces stuck in the bottom corners that nobody ever throws away, no crusty peanut butter jar with the lid stuck tight, nothing, nada, not anything…the great food void.  She would come home and I would ask what we were going to have for dinner, her reply was always the same…”Oh, I don’t know, let me look and see what I can find.” Thirty minutes later she would yell for me to wash up, dinner was served, and it would be this fabulous collection great tasting food, to this day I have no idea how she did it.

During the eleven months and three days it took me to run across the United States, Susie took care of everything. She made contact with our host homes, lined up speaking engagements, coordinated meetings, kept the mileage and rotated each pair of running shoes, doctored my left foot, did the laundry, had the oil changed in our support vehicle, got me breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus multiple snacks each day, dealt with police officers, wrote our newsletter for family, friends, and supporters, gave me a massage at the end of every day, kept track of the total miles I ran, and did all of this without ever once breaking stride. She smiled, giggled and was supportive of my every whim, which I am ashamed to say were numerous.

Susie is the rock that holds her three sisters and their families together. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all celebrated at our home, with Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day all being rotated. The general family consensus seems to be that everyone simply enjoys hanging out at the home Susie created. Family and friends often remark about how peaceful it is…and it is… because of her presence.

She possesses an incredible singing voice which she has used with our local Philharmonic Orchestra for the past seven years. She also plays banjo, guitar, piano, and I long ago gave up trying to get her out of any music store under an hour, because she has to “try” every instrument in the place. She reads and writes music, like the rest of glance through the USA Today…in other words, with ease. She can identify any song ever recorded dating back to the late 40’s.

She writes poetry and music, pursues photography with a passion, paints (oils and acrylics), writes computer code, runs, cycles, swims, is accomplished in all types of crafts, and lately believes she wants to try her hand at composing a rap song about our new start-up company. I have come home from my travels to find her:

  • Installing a new floor in our laundry room (a complete new floor, she had stripped it down to the stringers, or whatever those boards are called that the first layer of plywood gets nailed to).
  • Hanging new doors in our bedroom, guest bedroom, and one of the bathrooms.
  • Teaching our, then three year old, Grandson how to make guacamole.
  • Putting up new insulation in our book barn (large barn w/climate control that holds 70,000 volumes of books).
  • Creating a new garden.
  • Using a leaf blower to usher a 4 1/2 foot long black snake off the back porch.
  • Changing the oil on all our vehicles.
  • Splitting and stacking wood.
  • Bathing our 165 lbs. Husky.
  • Rearranging all the furniture in our living room (actually she has rearranged all the furniture in every room of our home several times).
  • And last, but certainly not least, I have come home to find a note on the dining room table (where we leave all our correspondence  for one other) that read, “Out for a 10 mile run…your dinner is in the frig…glad you’re home…I missed you…I love you…S.”

I married up.

I married WAY up.

Every good thought you have ever had, as a result of reading this blog, is directly related to her presence in my life.

This post is dedicated to her…thank you Honey…you are my everything. Amen.

Be encouraged!

Interesting Award

 

I was nominated for this award by http://loopyloo305.com and I can assure you I am completely unworthy of this honor. It means a lot to me to have those of you who read  this blog to nominate me for awards…although I know there are literally millions of bloggers out there who are more deserving.

Here are the rules:

1.  Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
2.  They must also answer the 11 questions the “tagger” has set for them.
3.  They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4.  They must then choose 11 bloggers and tag them in their post.
5.  These “lucky” bloggers must then be told.
6.  No tag backs.

I’ve never been all that good at following rules so I may alter them slightly, but my heart is still in the right place.

Here are the questions I am supposed to answer:

  1. If you met Paul before he became an apostle, would you tell him he was wrong? Probably notThis guy was a certifiable nut case, who had a penchant for imprisoning people at best and having them executed at worst…and I am not that brave.
  2. Could you forgive Hitler if he stood before you and asked? It is not my place to forgive him…I am not the one he wronged.
  3. If you knew what the future held, and your speaking would change it, would you still speak? Depends on what the future is…
  4. Which person, living now,  will have the greatest impact on the future of the world? I am in hopes it is some little kid, who is now running around the house playing with his/her toys who will grow up to be an unshakable pillar of faith, honesty, and love that others will rally around and change the world into a far better place. 
  5. Would you rather have a library with physical books or a device such as the kindle? As an ex-book shop owner I have a tendency to lean toward the physical books, but just knowing I can carry around literally thousands of books in my briefcase…I choose the Kindle.
  6. If you had to relocate, where would you rather go? Trail, Oregon, population 60 and one of the most peaceful, beautiful places on  earth. 
  7. If you had to have a disability, would you rather be blind or deaf? Deaf, because I need to see to read and I always want to be able to see my wife Susie…and besides she thinks I’m already deaf.
  8. Besides Jesus, who is your favorite person from the Bible? In Mark, chapter 9 beginning in verse 14, Jesus encounters a father whose son is demon possessed.  Jesus tells the father that all things are possible to them that believe and the father responds in verse 24, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Other than Jesus, that father is my favorite person in Scripture, because of his honesty. 
  9. Do you believe in the possibility of life on other planets? Some type of microbe life, yes…like us, no.
  10. What type of music do you like? St. Chrysostom’s Orthodox Doxology…trust me.
  11. Do you prefer the city or the country? I live in the country…and love every second of it. 

My questions for others:

  1. What was your first lie?
  2. Do you believe in “falling” in love or do you believe it is a conscious decision?
  3. What books are you reading…and why?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. What words of wisdom would you like to pass along…now?
  6. If you learn from your mistakes, why do you hate to make mistakes?
  7. In seven words or less, what does happiness mean to you?
  8. Is the death penalty right or wrong?
  9. Do you believe in miracles?
  10. Who has influenced you the most?
  11. I am sooo tempted to ask, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” but I won’t..What is creativity to you?

Now here is a list of some very fine individuals I have learned to not only appreciate, but also trust my heart to:

http://yasniger.wordpress.com

http://willowdot21.wordpress.com

http://toddlohenry.com

http://armouredup.wordpress.com

http://cristimoise.wordpress.com

http://lindawillows.wordpress.com

http://onemoremorning.com

http://ariannasrandomthoughts.com

http://unfetteredbs.com

http://artyself.wordpress.com

http://toughmindedoptimism.wordpress.com

Thanks again to  http://loopyloo305.com for being gracious enough to nominate me for this award…and of course to all of you who take the time out of your lives to read my words…you are appreciated far more than I’ll ever be able to convince you.

Although it is rare we read this expression in the blog world I express it here with all of my heart and soul…

I LOVE YOU!

Be encouraged!

Sort of Like Responsibility…

I’ve got a question…well actually several questions.

Are we in any way responsible for how people interpret what we write?

Do we bear any accountability for the thoughts we post here in wordpress?

For instance, if we advocate violence against a particular group of people, because we have found it to be an effective tool of terror, then someone, after reading our post, attacks and seriously injures an individual, should we shoulder any blame?

Let me pose another situation.

What if we honestly believe that everyone should have sex with whoever they want, as long as all the parties involved in the actual act are of consenting age and agree and we write a post advocating my position. An individual reads our post and decides they ought to engage in a tryst with someone they have been having a flirtatious relationship with. But lets add one more detail. One of the parties is married with a couple of children and a loving spouse. The loving spouse finds out and is completely devastated by the broken trust.

Should we assume any liability?

Lets go a little deeper.

We write several posts detailing our high-flying, decadent, no holes barred, hedonistic life style full of drug and alcohol use, frequent and varied sex partners, a reckless disregard for the norms of society and law, and overall just a I don’t give a damn about anyone or anything attitude. We pick up several “followers,” who over time, actually start imitating our life style. Because of our posts they read, our videos they watch, and our tweets they receive, they begin to act out in their own lives the way we live. They embrace it with gusto…except they start to experience what we never mention…they hurt those who love them, others lose faith in them, and their lives begin a downward spiral.

Now how about this.

We write a blog that displays a hard edge. We are sharp, irreverent, and sometimes vicious, except only in words. We know how to run right up to the edge, but we never go over. We push the envelope of what is acceptable and maybe we lean over it, but we are cautious not to go too far. We are exploring new terrain and we begin to go viral. Thousands begin to read our posts. Jimmy Kimmel quotes us. Hip comedians weave our comments into their acts. Before long we are enjoying the type of success reserved only for a very few. But as time goes by new, more edgy blogs appear. What we once considered outlandish is now considered lame. Our bite is now more like a toothless grin. we are old school and we are not old enough for old school to be cool. Our fans trickle at first, then run away. The next new thing is so far out there that we can’t believe it. They don’t write they spew.

Are we in any way responsible for laying the ground-work for what came next?

Let me ask one more question?

Can we write whatever we want, yet wash our hands (and souls) of any responsibility for how our readers will interpret what we write?

You, no doubt, have noted how I’ve asked several questions without providing any answers. I have my opinions and I will write about them in my next post, but for now, I would like to hear what you think. You have also noticed how the scenarios I constructed are one-dimensional. In real life there would be many more nuances. Life rarely comes without dangling, messy strings. But I know you get the idea.

Let me know what you believe.

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!

Before I Die I Want To______________________.

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Okay this is what’s going on. An artist named Candy Chang wants to change how our cities exist. She wants to make them more emotional. So here is what she did. She started with this rather rough looking abandoned building in New Orleans. Then with the help of some friends she covered it with black boards and stenciled in, “Before I die I want to ___________.” When she was finished it looked like this.

before i die street art project in new orleans on side of abandoned building

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Then she put out some chalk for folks to use.

close up of chalk holder and chalk sticks for before i die project in new orleans

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Then she waited and this was the result

close up of before i die wall with peoples entries

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

Then it spread around the world

before i die goes wordwide and in multiple languages

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/before-i-die-i-want-to-street-art-project-candy-chang/

So here is what I want all of you to do. I am going to write out the statement and I want you to fill in the blank via comments. Let’s open the door and continue the process of creating a better world.

Be encouraged!

BEFORE I DIE I WANT TO ___________________.

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