January, 2011


31
Jan 11

FAME: To be, or not to be

Howdy.  Thanks for hanging out with me for a little while today.

I was watching a TV interview this week and somebody said something that made me tilt my head and go… hummmmm?

Side Note: You know when a dog hears a strange or different noise and quizzically cocks its head?  That is what happened to me.

I believe that if we are open and sensitive there are things all around us that will cause pause and allow us to see a bit further down the road or view things from a different vantage point.

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The person on the TV said that there was a difference between fame and greatness.  Even as I typed the phrase I tilted my head again.

I tilt my head not because I didn’t see a difference before, it’s just that, this time when I heard it there seemed to be a weightier and deeper insight awaiting me.  I believe there are times when one is ready for a truth to go deeper in thought and heart.

As mentioned earlier there are things all around that we have seen or heard hundreds of times before.  But although certain truths are always present it only pierces when we are ready to hear.

When we are ready for a greater understanding of truth, and the timing or circumstances angle the familiar truth in a different direction… oh my… it illuminates and we see it in a deeper and more meaningful way.

So I think this is my time to gain a deeper life insight by looking at this fame and greatness thing.

I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great.”

- Ray Charles

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Fame is name recognition and notoriety.  You can be famous for good things and bad things.  People long for, fight for, give themselves for – FAME.

I tend to that believe most people who are famous are not great and most people who are great are not famous.  Did that sound judgmental?  I hope not.

Fame often makes a writer vain, but seldom makes him proud.”

- W.H. Auden

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It’s a curiosity to me why we are so enamored with celebrity.  It’s true.  I remember one time we rented a cabin at a mountain resort and on the table was an album of the cabin’s owner pictured with literally hundreds of celebrities.

Some of the pictures were nicely posed with the celebrity in question but most were pictures where the cabin owners would slip up from behind and get a shot of the celebrity with them in view.

It was funny… but weird.

Side Note: But then again, who am I to define weird.  Some people would say that my collection of 22 versions of the movie of Smokey and the Bandit is weird.  Just kidding, only 12 copies.

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I also know that being enamored with celebrity or fame is not a phenomenon of modern times.  Celebrity and notoriety have always had a mystical appeal.

I do believe that during these modern times we have mastered the craft of being famous through the entertainment industry, technology and social media.  But it has always been there.

One of the things I have learned in life is that there is a natural default to be drawn to the flighty, sparkly stuff of life.    Like a moth to a flame.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with the sparkly stuff.  I personally believe there is a time and place for the trivial, fun, and sparkly things in life.  All you have to do is to look at a child’s eyes light up at a Circus or at Disney.

So what’s the problem?  It’s a problem if we remain one dimensional and we never see beyond the trivial to deeper things.   If not careful glitter fills our eyes and we see nothing else.  Our vision is consumed by the glow and we become intoxicated by the excitement and emotional thrill.

Fame and celebrity are sparkly things, powerful things, exciting things, intoxicating things, and narrow.  The narrowness of fame is that the focus is “self”.

“A celebrity is a person who works hard all of their life to become well known, and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.”

- Fred Allen

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If not careful the glitter of fame causes the unfortunate to end their life journey early.  A journey focused on self is a short trip indeed.  They arrive quickly and all efforts are centered on themselves… because they see fame as the destination.  If fame is the destination one becomes consumed with a self centered life living far below what’s available.

Life has so very much more than we can imagine.  It is so much deeper, lovely, meaningful and whole than anyone can fathom.  But one has to be willing to travel the journey beyond self.

On Thursday I plan to dig into what it means to be great.

I hope you join me.


27
Jan 11

Bad Pain

Hi there, welcome back. 

Yep, you guessed it.  What I thought would be a one blog topic has sloshed over to another entry.  I personally though I had put enough flesh around the painful topic of pain to move on to more pleasurable things. 

But alas… I was wrong.  My wife graciously informed me that there was more.  And the frustrating thing about it is, she’s right.  My mind totally whiffed the ball regarding one aspect of pain that is central to our lives.

I mentioned that there is pain that is intentional and we embrace it because the reward is greater than the cost.  And I talked about the pain we experience that is self inflicted out of ignorance or stupidity. 

“The hard part of being a bartender is figuring out who is drunk and who is just stupid.”

- Richard Braunstein

But what I missed spending time on is the pain that we experience in life that is present because of no fault of our own – not by bad choices nor by intention. 

These are the variety of agonies we face in life that touch the heart (emotions), head (mental), and body… BAD PAIN.

All have (or will) experience pains such as losing a loved one too soon;  the rejection by one you love by no fault of your own; the physical pain one experiences due to a disease or accident; the innocent abused or exploited; you add your own pain point. 

The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not. 

– C.S. Lewis

 

These are pains to which there are no easy answers or solutions and makes life seem so very unfair.  The pains are present… just because.

The interesting thing about this type of pain is that it cannot be ignored.  Its vile presence demands attention and seems to cruelly mock our inability to control all of life’s situations. 

Unfortunately this reality of life begs the question, what do we do when we experience this kind of pain?

I think everyone goes through a myriad of feelings and emotions from raging anger to smothering numbness.  The important question/ issue is, where do you end up?

All go through some cycle of emotion and then eventually work their way to the other side where the pain or pain event becomes part of the mosaic that makes up who you are.

But some never seem to make it through (or it takes much too long) and the pain defines who they are. 

Some angrily pump their fist heavenward and curse God and then allow themselves to gravitate even more deeply in the tangle of anger and end up cozying with its partner… hate

Yes, this partnership of anger and hate provides a convenient outlet for one’s emotions but the deception is that it unknowingly magnifies and perpetuates the pain one resents.

Then there is numbing emotional pain… it aches.  It is not a sharp pain that pierces but a weighty ache that lies below the surface smothering the soul.  The constant press of the ball of hurt inside seeps through the small cracks and emotions tumble out at the slightest opportunity. 

I am not judging the natural course of people’s emotions.   We have all been there to some degree or another.  And I don’t have the answer that makes sense of the why, what, and when of this kind of pain. 

But I do believe that the path through the pain is to look out, not in

If not careful one easily spirals downward in a morass of morbid introspection searching for answers.  The focus is inward with the unending search for why. 

Going and looking “out” is not ignoring the problem.  It is looking at the problem outward vs. inward.  We march forward in life vs. stepping back.

Please forgive me if I sound simplistic in my opinion.  I realize things of this nature are never easy. 

Personally I don’t like the topic of pain.  If gives me the willies. 

But I follow where I believe I am led.  Pain was not on my mental agenda.  But who knows, maybe someone reading this needs what I am writing.

See you Monday.


24
Jan 11

Good Pain

Hi, good to see you again.

I have no idea why I am tackling this topic on a Monday morning.  It just popped into my mind so here I am pecking away talking about… pain.  Of all the things pleasant things in the world, I come up with pain.

I heard an interesting story on the news the other day.  It was about a young boy that didn’t feel any physical pain. 

At first glance I wondered the significance of the condition that warranted a news story.  But oh my!  The boy never knew when he hurt himself.  He would cut himself, step on something, touch a burner on the stove… and never knew it.

The parents would have to routinely examine the child during the day to see if he had injured himself.

This story sparked a quizzical banter in my head.  Scary huh?  Yep, you should have heard all the ruckus as I wrestled with the dynamic and reality of pain.

The amazing thing about pain is that everyone has an opinion because we all have experience with it.  Experience tends to make experts of us all.

The reality of pain creates an interesting paradox.  Pain is both good and bad.  In fact, one can build a larger case for pain than against pain.

I believe that most people think that the presence of pain to some degree in life is a good thing.  But if it is a good thing, why do we avoid it? 

Well, maybe because… it H U R T S !

I don’t know, call me silly, but I don’t like to hurt.  In fact I try to avoid things that are painful, uncomfortable and inconvenient. 

But I also know the value and importance of pain.  In balance the good from pain far exceeds the bad.  As I said earlier, for me pain tends to fall into two camps – good and bad.

Bad pain tends to be that which is self inflicted by poor decisions, selfishness or downright stupidity.  Some can make the argument that one learns from that type of pain.  Yes, I think that is true but I still believe there is some pain that is absolutely unnecessary.

There is also good pain.  In a strange sort of way pain not only lets us know that we are alive but where we are alive.

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.

-         Lord Byron          

 

We are made to feel… feel physically and emotionally.  We are created to feel deeply, powerfully and passionately.  “Feeling” is a good thing.  Yes, you guessed it; feelings get us in trouble too. 

I tend to think that’s where pain comes in.  Pain keeps us calibrated with reality and helps us avoid those excesses that damage.   Pain causes us to back off where it’s dangerous and pinpoints the spots that need tending to.

Then there are times when we invite pain.  We intentionally engage in something that we know is painful. 

It is those unique points of clarity where we decide that the cost of pain is worth the reward that follows.  Pain is part of the process or path that takes us where we want and need to go. 

There has never been a great athlete who died not knowing what pain is.

- Bill Bradley

 

We all could add several examples to Bill Bradley’s list.  But one example that comes immediately to mind is anyone who experiences the joy of a great loving relationship.  To know that level of joy requires the pain of having difficult conversations, addressing hard issues, and being vulnerable. 

I would say that anything worthwhile, powerful, and good in ones life requires times of chosen pain.

A Weird Truth:  Most bad pain in life comes from not being willing to engage in good pain at the right time.

That which is escaped now is pain to come.

- Ancient Proverb

 

Knowing that pain is good for me doesn’t make me like it anymore.  It’s just that this knowledge helps me understand life’s process of getting to those places I want to go and allows me to embrace pain a bit more readily. 

Thanks for hanging out with me.

See you Thursday.


20
Jan 11

Snotty People

Howdy.

You know, people seem so hypersensitive these days.  What brought it to my attention is that I just completed an email and I found myself having to choose my words so carefully as not to offend anyone.  It wasn’t even an issue of consequence.

Personally, I believe I have the responsibility to be attuned to people and situations and work hard at approaching others in the most sensitive and appropriate way possible.

I do this for a couple of reasons.  First, I’m a nice person and I want to be sensitive to other’s needs.  The other reason is that I am lazy.  When dealing with people, particularly in a business setting, part of my goal is to minimize obstacles and resistance.

I found that if I am not sensitive and careful I end up spending extra time removing the obstacle and then the additional energy dealing with tender emotions.

But… the world is getting all screwed up.  What use to be the natural demands of relationships (learning about each other and being sensitive to each person’s particular needs and issues) has become a frustrating hassle.  This is because our society has morphed into a mass of hysterical, hypersensitive, self-centered, pansy butt cry babies.

Humm… that wasn’t very sensitive was it?  I’m embarrassed to say, but I don’t have much patience with such people.

Personally, I can find offense with virtually anything, and I don’t even have to look hard.  This may sound odd but I believe being offended is a choice.

I am of the opinion that most insensitive things are done out of ignorance not intent.  What this means to me is that some people choose to be offended when there was no intent and some people can choose not to be offended where there was intent.

Unfortunately our political environment has led the charge in both hypersensitivity and intent.

Side Note: Whatever your political persuasion you were probably thinking about the other side.  The reality is… both sides of the political spectrum are hypersensitive about silly stuff and both take mean shots.

A good indicator to me about the state of our hypersensitive society is that it is refreshing when I see someone of prominence choosing not to get caught up in the hype and choosing not to perpetuate the silliness.

As I said earlier, I believe most people (excluding politicians) don’t mean to be insensitive.  They are either not attuned or uninformed.

But, unfortunately there are other people in the world who are just outright snotty.  They are cruel and self-centered speaking and acting with the intent to hurt.

I don’t know what it is, but there are some people who feel it is their calling to set people straight.  They see themselves as the purveyor of truth and of course the preferred method of providing truth is a blunt object with the intent not for good but inflicting as much damage as possible.

Just so you know, there is a difference between wheeling truth and speaking truth.

I don’t know about you but I do want truth in my life and finding people who speak truth to you is a gift indeed.  Those who speak truth do so with intent also.  But the intent is to build, heal, support, encourage and challenge.

People who wheel truth use it as a convenient weapon.   People who use truth as a weapon are cowards.  It allows them to lean back with a smirk and brandish the all powerful comeback of, “I was only telling the truth.”

Regardless of the way something was presented we have a choice.  Personally I choose not to be offended.

So what do I need to learn from my ramblings today?

Humm… do you think that I could be hypersensitive to people who are hypersensitive?

See you Monday.


17
Jan 11

Change Anyone?

Hi there. 

I start with a promise today.  I promise no burrito remarks.  My wife thought it might have been a bit over used in the last blog entry.  Frankly I don’t understand the concern.  I think there’s always room for a good burrito comment in any literary effort, don’t you? 

Okay, now to more meaningful endeavors.  As you know I have been talking about this “stirring” thing the past several blog entries.  Being stirred is one thing but what you do with it is another.

Thinking about doing something is easy.  It’s kind of like an emotional double shot of bourbon.  Thinking feels good for the moment and slowly dulls your senses to reality.  And before you know it the stirring has been put in its place and neatly tucked away till next time.

Anytime you embark on a journey that stretches you, it is a journey into the unknown.  But fair warning, the unknown has the power to paralyze. 

For me, I became paralyzed.  Usually the unknown paralyzes people because the natural default is to fill the void with negative scenarios.

I launched this blog January 4, 2010, but I started thinking about it for a good ten to twelve months before hand.  The fact that I was considering something that was so far outside my comfort zone paralyzed me.

You may be the type that throws yourself into new things pretty easily.  I envy you, I guess.  But there is something about venturing into those dangerous areas of life.  If you feel no danger then you may not be stepping out far enough.

If you truly step beyond yourself then failure is a legitimate likelihood.  You step into that realm and you will never be the same. 

            “A mind stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.”

            – Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

This is also true in regards to personal growth.  Stepping into something beyond us changes us.  You will never be the same.

Now this is where it can get really dicey.  When we change, things around us change.  It not because we are trying to change it intentionally but it occur naturally. 

Usually we try to change things by changing other people… this can be very messy.  Let’s face it; we don’t like it when people try to change us. 

I have learned a long time ago and my mantra has been change affects change

I change, things change.  We tend to be consumed with what changes other people need to make.  I believe more and more in the core of my being that I must be open to who and what I am and change where I need to change.

I change because it’s the right thing for the right reasons.  But changers beware.  When you change, people will want to force you back into the box that maintains their normalcy. 

This is where personal resolve of doing what’s right is tested. 

I am sure that I have shared this before but it is worth repeating.  I always heard that marriage required work.

I’m pretty aware and I don’t tend to be selfish so I thought the work will be things like trying to understand her needs or doing my share around the house. 

When things weren’t going smoothly I felt like she needed to change.  Boy was I wrong.  The work required in any marriage is on YOURSELF. 

If both people are working on themselves it makes a wonderful marriage, not perfect, but amazing.

So, if you are willing to step beyond yourself the rewards are magnificent. 

So I encourage you on your journey to step out beyond where you are.  Try something new, something that stretches you.

See you Thursday.  Burrito Boy… signing off.

P.S.  I just couldn’t help myself with the burrito comment.  And yes, I realize it was childish and silly.


13
Jan 11

One Last Kick

Hola.

I had a burrito last night and I guess it effected me more than I thought.  I know, I know… weird.

Oh well, back to the topic at hand.  Just so you know, I am not going to keep hammering away at the issue of being stirred to step toward things beyond us.  What started out as a fairly simple and friendly New Year’s kick in the ass to motivate you probably feels like a full blown kick the crap out of you beating.  I hope not.

I do have just a few more points to cap off some of the thoughts that have been bouncing round from Monday’s blog.

As you can easily see, I am pretty passionate about living my life where it can be vs. where I am.  Please forgive my redundancy but I am not talking about feel good activities that are salve for the doldrums.

I am talking about God gifts just beyond our view and grasp, waiting and available if… IF… we are willing to be open, step out and risk.

Some may think this is a cruel game God plays, like a carrot placed just beyond the reach of a hungry mule as an impetus to provoke progress.  It could not be farther from the truth.  The stretch beyond is part of the gift.

Stepping beyond where we are is NEVER comfortable.  If it were easy it wouldn’t be worthy of the effort.

The exciting thing about this process is that I know I am growing and going in the right direction because of the amazing reality that I am becoming comfortable being uncomfortable.

Just so you know, I am not saying there is anything wrong with being comfortable.  We spend our lives trying to build a better life, have a better home and nicer things.  That’s okay.

But I also know that some of you need to become uncomfortable being comfortable.

There is a time to comfort the afflicted and a time to afflict the comfortable.

- Robert Graham

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But there is a dark side to comfort.  If not careful comfort becomes our focus.  We doggedly pursue comfort and success is measured in those terms.

The feathered nest of comfort over time causes our eyes to drop from beyond the horizon to focus on the petty prickly things that irritate and disrupt.

So YES, I do want to poke at you, to kick you in the ass and cause you to lift your eyes a little higher, beyond the clouds of the here and now and consider the possibility of more.

If you feel poked you may be wondering where to begin.  Well, believe it or not you’ve begun.  The very fact that you feel poked is God’s tap on the shoulder.

Some of you may be wondering how you know this is from God and not the ramblings of a nut case under the influence of a burrito.

Side Note: Let me say that God uses very strange things to get people’s attention.  If He can use a talking mule in the Bible it’s not beyond Him to use Burrito Boy.

I am remarkably humbled if God does decide to use my feeble writings to begin the process of moving you to more.

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Back to the question, how do you know it is from God?  I can get all theological and hyper-spiritual and unfortunately that’s what a lot of you would want.  Most want some tingly confirmation in your Spirit as you tilt your head waiting to hear the booming voice of God.

Uhhh… don’t hold your breath.

We really have a tendency to make “God things” much too complicated.  It is much simpler than that.  Just look at where something takes you.  Look at the trajectory.

Things of Divine origin take us up, beyond ourselves, out not in, and we are better for it.  Things not of Divine origin take us down, feeds our baser nature, spirals us inward and self serving, and we end up worse off.

In the first blog of 2011, I quoted an excerpt from my very first blog (January 4, 2010) so I want to end this New Years kick in the ass with another quote from the same entry.

January 4, 2010 (excerpt)

“I’m getting ready for a journey.  This is not your typical trip with suitcases, tourist brochures and cheesy sunglasses.  The journey is into the unknown, beyond the self I know and this blog is primarily the vehicle.

“The journey is beyond the safe confines of the walled garden of self.  The familiar, safe, cozy world I live in.  But my comfortable world has been disturbed.  Something (or someone) is calling from beyond the wall.  My head is tilted and my curiosity peaked.

“I’m not sure where I’m going.  I’m just going.  All I know is that I’m supposed to go on this walk.  Don’t ask me how I know… I just know.”

Maybe 2011 is your year of journey.  Hopefully, part of your process will be hanging out with me and we can encourage each other along the way.

See you Monday.


10
Jan 11

A Matter of Life or Death

Hi all, sorry for the delay in getting the blog out today.  Yes, I can rationalize that it’s still Monday, but I still don’t feel good about it being so late.

So, are you ready to step into my head today?  Scary thought huh?  Yep, I find it weird at times too… but it can be a bit entertaining on a good day.

For some reason I have had a really tough time with this blog entry today.  I had it half written before today and I continue to find myself in a complete mental log jam.

Those of you who have hung out with me know that I am not a writer.  Words do not flow easily and writing this blog is very difficult for me… in fact, it’s grueling today.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining at all.  I mention it to make a point about the topic at hand.  This blog was the result of a deep stir.  It is a step on a journey… it is not the purpose or the destination.

But, when you are stirred on the deepest of levels and you believe you are to do something specific in regards to the stirring… then you know you must do it or lose out on something momentous.

Like many of you, I have started lots of things that caught my fancy and promptly stopped when I got bored or it required too much work.  These are generally the things in life that one takes on to fill voids or to tickle us when we are feeling down.

I know this stirring of mine is something special because I have not and will not casually toss it aside because things get difficult.

When we become aware and accept the fact that we live far below what God desires and provides for us, something occurs.  That awareness is like moisture to a dormant seed.  It becomes a catalyst that sparks life (remember, all life comes from God).

With the initial spark of life there is nothing of any shape or real substance, but only a microscopic seed that begins to germinate.  You have no idea what this seed is, what it means, or what fruit it will bear.

As the seed grows a quiet movement begins to push from the deep.  It builds and stirs and eventually surfaces to consciousness.

Once we are aware all we must do is to nurse it, feed it and be patient.  To do any more hinders the fullness available.  You must not try to force it or tamper with it.

We tamper with it by trying to figure it out or define what it is and what we want it to be.  In reality, we try to grasp or control it.

KEY LEARNING: We cannot create or spark life but we can kill or maim something.

I believe some sparks of life are to things you may have considered to be long dead.  For me this spark of life from the stirring has lead me into things that I had NO idea I would pursue… this blog for example.  I never in my life considered that writing would the path.

“We long for more but dare not believe that more is possible.”

– Penelope Stokes

So the natural question is why do we not take advantage of the possibilities God has provided?

I think there are several reasons.

  1. We don’t have any idea that they are there (Now that I have told you, number one is out as an excuse)
  2. You don’t believe me
  3. You don’t think they are for you
  4. You don’t think you can do it, that you will fail
  5. It feels beyond your grasp

I understand all of these.  But a specific comment on number five.  Yes it is beyond our grasp.  God always takes us beyond our grasp.  If it were within our grasp there would be no stretch.  No faith would be required.

Some of you may have already recognized some deep stirring, great.  Or this blog has validated something that you have sensed but didn’t know what it was.

Others of you may not feel any stirring what-so-ever.  That’s okay too.  Why, because you can be assured that God wants to gift you the joy of going beyond where they are now.   How do I know that?  God in His great love has created things for all (Christian and non-Christian alike) to enjoy.

I believe that if you aren’t sensing any stirring at this time it is because of one of two things.  Either the timing isn’t right or you may be a bit hardened and can’t detect any stirring.  But if you remain open… you’ll learn the stir.

All I can say is that it’s an amazing journey.  Fun, mysterious, and rewarding.

See you Thursday morning… early.

P.S.  I say early because this is my way of creating forced discipline for myself.


6
Jan 11

Stirred, Not Shaken

Hi, good to see you again.

I am not satisfied with where I left last Monday’s blog so I feel the need to press in on the issue with a bit more vigor.

I’m sure it’s obvious to those who are regular visitors to the site that I feel strongly about the gift of being “stirred”.  Pardon me for getting a bit testy here, but if you think that I’m referring to a cute, feel good, tingle in the leg experience in life that gets you all excited… you are terribly mistaken.  What I am talking about is so much deeper, much much deeper.

The stirring I am talking about is powerful, life changing, and if heeded always, always, ALWAYS expand us and take us far beyond where we are now.  This is a bold statement, but true none-the-less.

Side Note: Hang in there and please stick with me.  Seriously, I am like most of you.  When I read something that is a fluffy feel good quote or philosophical statement I generally go … huh?  Or I want to gag and say, get back to reality

Hopefully, it will make more sense shortly.  All I ask is that you be open enough to consider the possibility of what I am saying.  Because what I am talking about is one of the most real and tangible experiences in life.

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Important Context

Before I begin to unpack the topic I must first provide context to my comments.  I will be making a lot of statements about God and using the term Divine, such as Divine gift.

Don’t worry, this is not preachy stuff.  What I am talking about will apply to both Christians and non-Christians alike.

There are two dimensions of God’s provision – Temporal and Eternal.  I am focusing on the Temporal.  These are God’s blessings that he gifts to all his creation regardless of what we believe.

As you can tell, I also believe there is an Eternal dimension to God’s provision.  This Spiritual reality with eternal implications is something that we all must personally grapple and come to terms with at some point in time.  But as mentioned in the last blog this is not the intent or the purpose of this blog entry.

Side Note: I am pumped that you, my non-Christian friends, are hanging out with me.  I will never preach to you or expect you believe as I.  Your Spiritual journey is between you and God.

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So here is the central point regardless of where you are on the Spiritual continuum.  The reality is… there is more.  There is more available for me (and you) to attain and to enjoy.  There is a treasure trove of amazing things if I am open and willing to explore.

The “more” I am talking about has nothing to do with money, things, luxuries of life, prestige, being liked, getting attention, power or self-promotion.

Nor is it having a deeper appreciation for the planet and becoming one with nature.  And finally, the “more” is NOT an escape from life or a way to avoid the issues or difficulties which were created by our own hand (debt, poor relationships, etc.).

You cannot talk your way out of something you acted yourself into.

- Stephen Covey

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It has everything to do with experiencing the fullness God intends and provides.

His creation is an expression of His love, a gift for the “here and now” for us, the objects of His love.  All of us have the opportunity to step beyond where we are now if we are open, listening, and daring.

We were never created to be static, but moving and dynamic.  And these Divine gifts are designed to stretch us and take us beyond where we are.

Unfortunately what happens to most of us is that we gradually become anesthetized by the droning of daily routine… life.  Or, before we know it, the narrow world that we wrapped securely around us becomes an invisible straight jacket that checks our growth and movement.

Without realizing it we wake up ten years down the road and realize there is more.

Side Note: Just so you know, I am not talking as one who has lived a hallow meaningless life and then all of a sudden saw the light that there are more things in this world to accomplish.

I have lived a very enjoyable, successful, vibrant life.  If I died today I will rejoice because I have had a great life.

With that said, I could decide to settle for where I am.  But I am thrilled and excited with the knowledge that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what is available.

If all I am saying is true, it begs the all important question, why don’t people take advantage of these Divine gifts?

Hummm… good question.  I will tackle that on Monday.  Ciao.

P.S.  As you go through the week, be sensitive to any stirring inside.  We will talk about that some too.


3
Jan 11

A New Year’s Kick in the Ass

Howdy.

What a way to start the New Year… cussing.  As most of you know I am not a cusser, but the reality is we all need an occasional kick in the ass to get us moving.

Side Note: I can read your minds now.  There are some out there reading this and laughing at the notion that saying “ass” is really cussing.  You are probably saying to yourself that this guy is a rank amateur if all he can conjure up is the word “ass.”

There are others who were taken back by the word and I went immediately on your prayer list.  Needless to say, I can always use your prayers but I need them for more important things than saying the “A” word.

OK, back to the kick in the ass.  Yes there are times to encourage, sweet talk, and even cajole each other, but not now.

There is something significant about the beginning of a new year that demands our attention by providing the perfect opportunity for a “new start.”

Now this blog is not focused on the traditional New Year’s resolutions that we all make.  I, like many of you, plan to lose some weight, take better care of myself, etc.  I am not making light of these annual goals but there are things much grander for our taking.  Much, much grander.

Very honestly, today’s blog will probably be meaningless to the majority of you but I really believe that a significant number of you will be challenged on a different level.  If you are feeling stale in your life or if you sense something stirring deep within, this blog is for you.

I am sharing this from experience, a wonderful experience.

In the deepest part of my soul I believe that we live so far below what God has or intends for us.

To my non-Christian friends: Don’t worry, this is not a preachy thing about Jesus and you being saved.  There is no question that it is an important eternal issue that all must examine but this is not the intent or point here.

You will explore that Truth when the right time comes.

Whether you are a Christian or not, God (our Creator) has lavished on His creation wonderful things for us to enjoy and experience.  These are gifts just beyond our conscious grasp.  If we are open and receptive God will begin to stir in our depths.

The stirring forces one of two responses; we either nurture the stirring or we close our ears and harden ourselves because the unknown is too risky.

Breakthroughs always require risk.   They are never without the lurking danger of failure or embarrassment.

But if you are open, the stirring grows and begins to take form into something that is unique to you.

Early in 2009 something started to stir in me.  Now I know it was a “God Thing” going on.

“God’s stirring is His way of letting you know that you’re ready for more.”

- Me

The stirring led me to start this blog.  One year ago tomorrow I launched it.  This may not sound like a big deal… but it was.

Side Note: Interesting facts about my blog (to me anyway).

-          28,206 unique visit blog hits in 2010

-          December was the month with the most visits of nearly 2,800.

-          101 entries

It is important to note that the blog was not the point of the stirring… it was the avenue for growth.  The growth was much more than posting my thoughts.  In my first blog entry (A Bottle In the Ocean) I wrote something that many of you may be able to relate to.

January 4, 2010 (excerpt)

“The stir has been deep.  Something inside wanting out.  Not aggressive… more restless.   Something slowly waking up and beginning to poke at the confines of it’s environment.  Like someone cautiously pushing on a wall in a creepy old house to determine the strength and stability.

“Feeling stirred is a gift.  There is a difference between being stirred and being troubled about something.  Invite the stirring to occur.  Let it grow, let it take shape, let it push and struggle its way to the surface.  It has to come out from within; I cannot get to it from the outside.  All I can do is nurture, invite and remove the obvious barriers that limit.

“All I know is that something is stirring… and that’s a good thing.”

(If you want to read the entire entry you can access it by going to the right of the blog page and click on January 2010 for the archives.)

I do not know where your stirring is leading you.  If you are courageous and are willing to step out the joy that waits is phenomenal.

Here are a couple of points to remember.  First, the avenue of your stirring (for me the blog) is only a step in the path not the destination.  Secondly, it is not easy.  Starting my blog was grueling and maintaining it is a chore.

I am resolved to keep going, try new things, nurture the stir, and rejoice on the ride.

Thanks for hanging out with me.  I have no idea where I am going this year with the blog but it should be fun.

See you Thursday.