The Journey Beyond


1
Oct 12

Hitting the Wall

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Wow… at the end of my last blog entry I said I would see you on Monday.  I had no idea it would be Monday week.  It has been ten days since I posted.

I am not so grandiose to think anyone was pining away wondering what happened to their twice a week dose of Rushing meanderings and nuggets of nonsense.

But for some reason I hit an invisible wall that I can’t explain.  Yes, I had an incredibly busy week… but that never stopped me before.

It’s been weird because I have been very disciplined about posting.  Since January 4, 2010 I have posted 279 entries – two a week.

I posted twice a week as a commitment to myself.  That’s why I always end the blog with a day as a means of personal accountability.

I do this because my history before 2010 was to start grand noble things and then have them fizzle out.  Then they would get shoved into the jam-packed mental closet with all the other discarded initiatives.

Don’t get all smug and self-righteous.  Everyone has one of those mental closets.  You know the one.

It’s the place in your head you avoid but when you are forced to go there to hide things away, you have to slowly and carefully crack the door just enough to shove whatever it is you’re trying to get rid of.

You close the door quickly so nothing tumbles out then hope and pray the door holds to prevent all the crap from tumbling out.

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Everyone has a closet or room like this… its cluttered with stuff we don’t know what to do with but we need to have some place for it so the rest of the house can be relatively neat and tidy.

But writing this blog is one thing I will continue to do.  This will not end up in the closet of fizzled promises.

It’s not because I think any of you will be upset or disappointed.  I don’t believe I have anything to say that will change the world.

But writing this blog… changes my world.

So I am going to persevere.

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Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.
- Victor Hugo

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There may be one day when I decide that writing this blog is over.  That will be ok.

But I will not and must not let it die a slow undignified death.

I don’t know why this week has been weird.  But it has.

The thing I have to be on guard for is my morbid need to understand why this past week disappeared.

I am giving myself permission to let it go.

So, I will see you Thursday.

Ciao.


21
Sep 12

Character or character?

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Howdy… welcome back.

I’m sure that many of you had to look twice at the title and tried to figure out what it meant.

One is a noun and the other is an adjective.  Humm… I’ll make mine the noun.

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Side Note: If any of you knew me in High School you would be shocked that I even alluded to the parts of speech.  Let’s just say that English and dissecting sentences was not my forte.

My wife is probably laughing that I even attempted to use the term noun or adjective.

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I wasn’t planning to talk about the importance of Character until I saw on YouTube a clip from the movie The Bid Kahuna.

Yeah… I know… I didn’t see it either.

But after seeing the clip I definitely want to check it out.

Take a look and we’ll talk more.

YouTube Preview Image

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I can’t think of a much better compliment than for someone to say they trust me.

As you know, trust and character are so much more than just saying things that are factual.  It’s when a person trusts who you are, not just what you say.

There is such safety and comfort knowing that you are dealing with a person of Character.

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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
- Abraham Lincoln
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This may sound odd but there is something sacred about Character.

A person of Character has a depth and a strength that need not be spoken.  It’s just there.  It is exhibited in consistent action not words.

Character is not something you are born with.

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Talent is a gift, character is a choice.

- Larry Brown (Basketball coach)

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It is a choice.  It is developed.

This topic begs questions of myself.

Who am I?  Would people say that I am a person of Character?  Can people trust who I am as a person?

Some of you reading this blog may be known for the adjective character  vs. the Character that is a noun.

But that need not be your identity.  If not careful we can lock ourselves into a lie about ourselves.

The reality is, we have all made mistakes.

There is no question that to rebuild Character takes time and consistency.

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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
- Helen Keller

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As I said earlier, it takes time.  And people may not trust us for a while.  But it is important to remember; we change for us, not others.

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You can’t talk your way out of something you acted yourself into.

- Stephen Covey

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Thanks for checking in.

Ciao… see you Monday.


8
Sep 12

Childlike or Childish?

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How can you go wrong with a picture of a puppy and a kid?

I love the innocence of kids.

They don’t know what they don’t know so they just are.  They don’t know what they can’t do… or say… which we all know can be problematic at times.

Life has no rules or limitations because they don’t know any better.

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“Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn’t music.”

- William Stafford

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There’s no pretense… just candid natural responses.

Take a look at this video as an example.

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YouTube Preview Image

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But then something happens.  Somehow the natural child begins to morph, some earlier than others.

They begin to morph into people.  How unfortunate.

The innocence and natural openness begins to evaporate and their training and upbringing starts to take charge.

The cute childlike behavior becomes childish and self focused.

I reflect back on what William Stafford said in the earlier quote.  He said they dance before they learn there isn’t anything that isn’t music.

Who teaches them differently?

Yes, there are things that kids need to learn as they grow and mature.  And no, I don’t think they should be pampered and coddled from life.

But I do believe we have done them a disservice.

Not intentionally.  We just teach them what we learned and unfortunately we unwittingly impose the limitations we learned.

I know there are things that we should teach kids.

But I want to learn from kids.  Or should I say… UNLEARN!

I have enough self-imposed limitations that I have lived with for years that are a lie.  On one level I know they are a lie but I need to unlearn the stuff.

It is my desire to see things untarnished by my jaded perspective.  I want to experience things fresh and unencumbered.

Some of you are reading this and thinking that this is impossible.  NO… it is not impossible.

It does require effort but it can be done.

I find that I am actually approaching life from a more childlike perspective.  No, I’m not getting old and reverting back to childhood.

I am seeing things differently.  This does not mean I don’t have adult problems and issues that I have to deal with.

Yep, I put on my big boy pants and go about life.  But wearing big boy pants does not mean that we can’t find those precious spots in the day where we can look at things from childlike eyes.

It’s very cool indeed.

I tell people that I know that I will age but I don’t want to grow old.

How about you?

Ciao… see you Monday.


24
Aug 12

The Beauty of Different

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Isn’t this a great picture?

My wife took this shot during a trip to Poland a few years ago.  The picture is of a sculpture in the main market plaza in Krakow, Poland.

I really like things that catch you by surprise.

What grabs my attention most are the things that feel foreign to the surroundings, such as this picture for example.  Here you have two young ladies having lunch with this huge head in the background… very cool.

I must be getting salty or weird as I age.  I used to like nice predictable pictures that were both beautiful and inspiring.

I guess I still like them but I have really gotten into the quirky things that cause you pause when seen.

Take for example this picture of dancer Aesha Ash.

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I love it.

Here you have a ballerina in tutu bowing gracefully in pose on the street next to a street musician.

The stark contrast of the subjects in the picture brings out the exquisiteness not lessens it.

The same ballerina pose on stage surrounded by other dancers would not reveal the same level or dimension of beauty.

The elegant beauty is enhanced by the rawness of the street.

I guess it strikes me so much because we as humans tend to gravitate to sameness.

Side Note: I can hear 99% of you reading this blog saying that in no way you want to be the same as anyone else.

Yep… you’re different just like everyone else.  Stick with me I think you will agree.

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Yes, there is variety in the world with a lot of different people and groups.

But look at your world.  The reality is, we are attracted to likeminded people.

What really amuses me when I see someone who wants to rebel against the conventional establishment and become alternative or Goth or something.

It makes me laugh when they end up looking and being just like the rest of their world.  People get smug because they think they are different.

They are just like the people they associate with.

Even the artsy fartsy elite that has distain, for quote, “average America” all look the same.

That’s why I am enamored by contrast.

You are never different if you are only around people who are the same.

Side Note: Yes, I know.  The last sentence was a B.G.O.

A Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious

A person that is Goth has no distinction with other Goths.

A middle America church goer looks no different than middle America church goers.

The snobby artistic elite are the same with the other artistic elite.

But place any of these in the other person’s world… wow.  That’s when you see the real difference.

I think I will talk about these real differences on Monday.

Ciao.


21
Aug 12

The Nothing Day

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The picture has absolutely nothing to do with the blog.  It was just a picture.

I have nothing to say today.  I’m not kidding.

For some reason my head is dead.

I was supposed to have this blog entry written yesterday morning.  Here it is late in the afternoon and I have a dead head.

So what does a person do when they feel empty and void… share something from their journal.

Yep.  I am very reticent to share my journal, but I am.

Also everyone needs to know that there will be some God talk.

“GOD WARNING”

Just because I am going to talk about God don’t get all weirded out.   Those of you who have been hanging out with me for a while know that I don’t expect you to believe the way I do nor am I trying to make you believe the way I believe.

All I ask is to take it as it is.

Journal Excerpt – July 18, 2009

I feel shallow…

Humiliatingly shallow.

You think you’re about to wrap your mind and heart around a spiritual concept and then God cracks the door… ever so slightly and that whisper of a glimpse reveals the folly of being able to capture even a small piece of God.

You cannot grasp God. He grasps you.

If you let Him.

He lovingly reveals Himself in mysteriously subtle glimpses that slowly unfold and reveal more as we are able to grasp, absorb, and cherish the gift of revelation.

What a gift.  What joy!

There is nothing… absolutely nothing that is so refreshing as His Spirit quickening our hearts with His presence.

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I’m not sure why I decided to share this piece of my life.

It must be for someone.  What I said is very true.

There is nothing… absolutely nothing like sensing and experiencing the Spirit of God.

I futilely attempted to talk about feelings in the last blog.

There are some feelings that are hollow and end up being a dead-end.  Generally these are the feelings we get from the things we use in life to create a cheap buzz to help us escape.

God stuff… no escape there… no cheap buzz.

I hope to see you Thursday.

Ciao.


16
Aug 12

Feelings… nothing more than feelings

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Hi there… welcome.

In the last blog I poked around at the topic of our identity and the things that we think define us as a person.

Toward the end of the blog I made a statement that I fully believe and I would like to unpack a little more.  I said that your feelings will always default to your true identity.

Feelings reveal who we think we are and what we think we want to have or do.

You will note that I did not say that feelings reveal reality.

Feelings are powerful – very, very powerful.  They are powerful because feelings infer reality.

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“I feel, therefore it is”

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If I feel it then it must be real.  And if it’s real then we act on our assumption.

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Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.
-  Samuel Adams

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To add to the complexity our society reinforces the notion that feelings rule.  The entertainment industry and marketing world thrive as purveyors of feelings not facts.

If it feels good do it, if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it.

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God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple.
- Chanakya
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Wow… can you believe he said that “Your feelings are your god.”  According to Chanakya then, you must obey your feelings.  How futile.

Anyway, by the way Chanakya looks by his picture I recommend he find another god.  His feelings don’t seem to be working for him.

OK, Back to the topic.

As we continue looking as society’s influence, have you noticed how everyone in the advertisement is happy, good looking and has money?

They are selling a feel good dream.  You can have this too if you wear their deodorant or drink their beer.

On the other side of the feeling coin is fear or disapproval.  They market these negative feelings to spark action.

There is another side to this feeling trap.

There is so much emphasis on feelings, that the lack of feelings carries as much influence and power as what we feel.

What we don’t feel weighs as heavily as what we feel.

For example, if I no longer feel in love with my wife then I need no longer to be faithful.  Why should I stay in a relationship if I don’t feel like I love her anymore?

Here’s the scariest reality of all.

If I don’t have good feelings about something then I must find the thing that makes me feel good.  The focus is on the FEELING not the need.

Most of the time what we need in life does not feel good.  But focusing on the deeper things in life brings a happiness and contentment that no deodorant or beer buzz could ever provide.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like good feelings as much as the next person.  I want good things.  I like to feel good.

But when tickling your feelings is more important than the foundational things of life… oh boy… are you in for a very rocky road.

We’re going to continue to open this “feelings” box.

It will be interesting to see what we stir up.

I’ll keep writing about this as long as I feel good about it.

See you Monday.


14
Aug 12

Who are you?

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I’m really glad you popped in to visit but… who are you?

If we just met and you thought I was serious with the question you would probably give me your name and basic data.  This would give me some data but no real information.

Who are you?  Probably the more probing question is, what is your identity?

There are things that identify you like the color of your hair, height, etc.

But… what is your identity?

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An un-named song is like an un-named child, it has no identity.
- Robyn Hitchcock
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This is a harder question for some of you than you may think.

Our identity is who we are as a person, not data about us.

There are different levels of identity.  Much of it is wrapped up in things such as our family, culture, likes and dislikes, and an assorted other tidbits of stuff.

But there are deeper, more profound things that are part of our identity that impacts daily how we live out our lives.

Toward the end of the last blog I started raising questions about our identity when I suggested that many people’s identity is tied to something very negative in their life.

Seriously… ask this question – What is my identity?  What is my deeper identity?

What comes to mind?  Does it tend to be something negative or positive?

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I don’t need to worry about identity theft because no one wants to be me.
- Jay London
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I was talking to a guy friend that was sexually molested as a child.  As he got older he started acting out in sexually unhealthy ways.

Somehow, over time, he started to believe that unhealthy sexual behavior defined who he was.

He started living his life around the thing that he felt defined him as a person – his identity.

It’s sad but true that many live their life defined by negative experiences.  Some of these experiences were not of their own choosing and other negative experiences they brought on themselves.

Many of you are probably saying that things like sexual abuse are not part of your life or a part of your identity.

Maybe not, but there are many of you, who when asked, see yourself (your identity, definition) by some other negative thing…

  • I’m a failure
  • Not good enough
  • Not valuable
  • Not talented enough
  • Insert your own negative moniker

The point is, regardless of how you feel, or no matter what you’ve done or what you’ve been told… this is NOT your identity.

You are not trapped by this self-imposed straightjacket of identity.

The first step of shedding this straightjacket is allowing the truth that I am speaking to seep through the cracks of your heart and head.

In times like this you cannot trust how you feel.  Your feelings will always default to the identity you have of yourself.

We will try to make more sense of this as we hike up this mountain.

Ciao… see you Thursday.


3
Aug 12

Bound and high in the sky or Loose and down to the ground?

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I don’t know about you, but I like having my way.  I don’t think I’m that unusual.

Humans are funny like that.  We want what we want when we want it.

We don’t like anything to get between us and where we what to go or have anything hinder us from getting what we want to have.  We don’t want resistance or restriction.

Most people just get irritated because it’s not a big deal.  We don’t tend get to pushy or become too nasty when something stands in our way.

But we can get very angry or nasty!

There are two factors that kick us in the pushy or nasty category.  The two factors that elevate our antagonism or frustration are the level of one’s desire for something plus the level of restriction we feel keeping us from it.

Regardless of the level of restriction, I’m just saying that we would prefer having life without it.

But is having no resistance or restriction what we really want or need?

I think not.

Having resistance is one of the greatest hidden gifts we can receive in life.

Think about it.  Where would your life be today if you never faced any resistance?

What kind of a person would you be?

Resistance is a good thing.  It enhances vs. detracts.  The right restriction or resistance strengthens us as-well-as channels energy to have greatest impact.

For example, the kite would never soar without resistance of the string.

The string allows the kite to catch the air that lifts.  The tether that seemingly restricts is the very thing that allows the kite to fulfill its purpose.

Without something holding the kite back it would never reach its full potential.  It would just drift back to the ground never to fly.

Another example is the balloon.  The helium in the balloon needs the restriction of the rubber to keep its qualities to lift intact.

Reaching the heights would never have been accomplished without the restriction.

It’s so easy to be upset or disgruntled by things that seem to hold us back.  The proper amount of resistance is the very thing that makes us better and creates the success.

When faced with things that seem to hold us back we have one of two choices.  We either channel our energy fighting it, or we channel our energy to align ourselves with the resistance to get the most out of it.

Now I can hear a lot of you yelling at the computer screen with all kinds of examples of where restriction can be a bad thing.

Yes, it’s true.  Too much restriction can be just as bad as too little resistance.

But our natural default is to resist anything that we feel hinders us.  There is much more positive that comes from resistance than negative.

Ciao… see you Monday.


27
Jul 12

I see a reflection!

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You want to know what really bugs me?  Probably not but I will tell you anyway.

Pushy People.

Have you ever been driving along pretty fast and then have someone ride your butt with the intention of pushing you along?

I don’t know about you but it doesn’t motivate me to move along faster.  In fact I want to slow down to show them they can’t control me.

Yes, call me weird or sick.  I probably have some psychological malady about being controlled that surfaces during these events.

But pushy people bug me… and not just in driving.

I dislike it when I am in a line and people get all pushy and try to slip around me trying to get ahead.

If you have ever been trapped at an early bird buffet in Fort Lauderdale you catch my drift.  There is enough pushing, shoving and cane poking to last a lifetime.

In the spirit of full disclosure my wife would say that I would tend to be pushy at times… humpf… not me.

Well, maybe a little – but not much (seriously).

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Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
– Confucius
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One of the things that I’ve learned over time is that the things that quickly irritate us most are things that we tend to do ourselves.

I’ve mentioned this example in an earlier blog but it applies perfectly to the topic today.

When I meet someone new I do the usual chitchat that everyone does to establish relationship.  As you know, at some point the conversation with someone you just met eventually circles around to children.  How many? Ages? Etc.

After I have established a good rapport (and if the circumstances are appropriate) I generally ask which of their lovely children tends to be the greatest challenge for them personally.

Nine times out of ten it’s the child that is most like them.  The parent gets irritated at the child for very things they do.

Yep… we are all guilty of this to some degree.

Allow me to throw a few examples at you and see if any irritate you.  As the old country axiom goes… the dog that yelps was the one hit by the rock.

-        Pushy people dislike things that push them

-        People who have edgy tones in their voices bristle at edgy tones in others

-        Aloof people hate being discounted

-        People with cutting sarcasm detest insensitive cutting people

-        Controlling people hate to be controlled

-        Intolerant people abhor intolerant people

-        Add your own to the list

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I can hear some of you scowling in your head… this guy is making blanket statements and exaggerating the examples.

Oh… did I forget to mention a couple of more things that should be on the above list?

-   People who exaggerate deplore exaggeration

-   People who make blanket statements are bothered by people who make blanket statements

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Frankly, I am sure most of you can punch holes in my logic.  Probably.

But for some of you I hit a nerve.  That’s a good thing.

A hit nerve forces us to take a look at what’s causing the pain.

Ciao… See you Monday.


24
Jul 12

Get up and go!

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Hi… I’m glad you’re visiting.

I have started and stopped this blog several times.  It was my goal to have it posted yesterday morning but here it is mid-morning the day after.

For whatever reason this blog entry has been hard work.

I believe in the importance of work but today I am not in the mood for hard work.  I read a quote like the one below and I feel pretty good about my view of hard work.

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If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.

- Joseph Kirkland (1830 – 1894)

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But as we all know there are two sides of any coin.  I ran across another quote that made me feel pretty crappy.

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Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.
- Sam Ewing

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Oh thanks… way to poke me in my soft spot – Character.  Issues regarding my Character always get my attention.

Well, actually I guess I’m doing sort of ok because I’m not blowing off the blog.  I have rolled up my sleeves (my nose is turned up a little) and I’m actually writing it, albeit late.

As you can see I am in a pooty mood today.  I don’t know why… just am.  I’m pushing through it.

I find that if I give in to the mood it gets worse and drags my whole day down.  There are times when the phrase “push through it” is exactly what we need to do.

I work hard at not being the type of person who needs someone to carry them.  Yes, we all need encouragement but some will suck the life out of you if you let them.

I ran across this poem which I found to be hilarious.  We have all read the poem Footprint in the Sand.  This is a little different take on the topic.

“Butt-Prints in the Sand”

One night I had a wondrous dream.

One set of footprints there was seen.

The footprints of my precious Lord,

but mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared.

I asked the Lord, “What have we here

Those prints are large and round and neat.

But lord they’re too big to be my feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,

“for miles I carried you alone.

I challenged you to walk in faith.

But you refused and you made me wait.

You disobeyed and you would not grow.

The walk of faith you would not know.

So I got tired, I got fed up.

And I dropped you on your butt.

Because in life there come a time,

when one must fight and one must climb,

when one must rise and take a stand,

or leave their butt-prints in the sand.”

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No butt prints for me.  I may need to be dragged for a while but eventually I get going.

Hopefully this speaks to you today to not leave butt-prints.

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Have a productive day.

Ciao.