Posts Tagged: risk


23
Jan 12

Comfortable Tiny World

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It’s a very cold dreary day today and I am making sure I stay warm and toasty.

Call me silly, but I like to be comfortable… physically, emotionally… you name it, I like comfort.

I think wanting to be comfortable is very natural for the most part.  Comfort is NOT a bad thing whatsoever… unless.  Yes, there is an unless.

Although comfort is ok for the most part, there is a dark side.  In fact, there are some aspects of life where comfort is deadly.

You want to know the scary thing?  It’s not a death we see coming.

Comfort gone bad creates a matchbox life lined with cotton.

It’s a comfortable and safe, tiny world.  And it seems to protect us to the sting of the prickly things of life that come from change and real growth.

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What starts out as a natural attempt to make our lives happy, easily becomes a feather pillow for mediocrity.  And if left unchecked we become consumed with feeding our addiction of comfort for self.

Comfort sweetly and quietly lulls us to sleep and then slowly suffocates the person we can be.  And at that point our world has become a cozy little matchbox coffin of “what could have been”.

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In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

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If not aroused out of our cocoon stupor our fate is sealed.   We never realize the fullness life has to offer.

It is important to note that when I talk about fullness of life, I do not necessarily mean needing to experience or taste all that our world offers.  It is not traveling to exotic places and trying new things that make a life fulfilling.

A fulfilled life comes from growth, real vibrant growth.  And growth is not a life of ease nor comfort.   It’s a risky business, and frankly, painful at times.

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Life is known only by those who have found a way to be comfortable with change and the unknown. Given the nature of life, there may be no security, but only adventure.
-Rachel Naomi Remen

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There is bad pain, which I want to avoid, and good pain (a sign of life and growth) which I want to embrace.

God forbid that I choose comfort over growth, or ease over progress in my life.

I don’t know where I will end up… but oh the joy of the adventure of growing as a person… personally, emotionally, intellectually and especially Spiritually.

Well I want to restate a portion of the prior sentence.  I stated that I didn’t know where I would end up on this grand adventure.  That is very very true.  But I do know where I will not end up… in a match box coffin.

I say this a lot, and it cannot be said enough, we live so far below what God wants for His cherished children.

So over time I have learned to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

How cool is that?


6
Oct 11

The Bubble Battle

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Yep… it’s Thursday and I can sense already that your adrenalin is beginning to pump in anticipation of another madcap blog adventure.

Isn’t life grand!

Before I go any further I need to say, if the first sentence describes you… humm… the clue phone is ringing.

I think you may need to venture out of your room a little more often.

I also have a note of caution, be careful when you leave your room.  If my obscure blog gets your adrenalin pumping you can imagine what will happen to you when exposed to life out of your bubble.

Yes, there is risk in unzipping the door to your plastic bubble and stepping out into the wild.

Bubble you ask?  What bubble?

You’re probably thinking that the last few sentences were meant to just be cute and funny (although my wife does think I am cute and funny… well occasionally humorous).

But no, the reality is, we all live in a bubble to some degree.

Yes… that means you too bubble boy.

The scary thing is we don’t realize we are in a bubble world and secondly we are comfortable in our bubble world.

Think about it this way… there are people in New York City that are terrified of the thought of being in the country; and, there are people in the country who are terrified of going to New York City.

Yep… they live in a bubble.  It’s a big bubble, but a bubble none-the-less.

And to beat the point into my own head and yours (since you’re along for the ride) … that means looking at the bubble we live in too.

Let’s face it, it’s safe in our bubble.  We don’t have to deal with the pesky germs of new ideas or the possibility of contamination of the beliefs we have held so long and so close.

It is only the adventurous type who are willing to step beyond their bubble.

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It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.

- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

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Side Note: Doesn’t Antoine De Saint-Exuprey have an eerie resemblance to Mr. Bean?

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Anyway, back to the bubble battle… my goal is to encourage you to pop your bubble and break free.

Hopefully I can move you by encouraging you to take the step… but if you want to sit safely in your bubble world I will find any sharp object available and… you guessed it.

POP YOUR BUBBLE!

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Isn’t that the way we usually get out of our comfort zone, by force.

I think I need to take a closer look at those things that tend to have a sharp point to appropriately move us forward.

If you dare, join me on Monday.


3
Oct 11

Dancing Shoes and a Flamingo Under My Arm

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Howdy… Welcome back.

The title?  Yes, I know… weird… but creating it made my head feel good.   It was sort of like pop rocks for my brain.

I was dry, very dry.  It has been an extremely busy week and I have been in a day long draining meeting.  The thought of trying to write a blog made my head implode from the vaccuum.  There was nothing.

But I leaned back in my chair and said a short prayer and… pow… the randon title.

Frankly, I am kind of weirded out just writing about it.  But at least words are finding their way from “who knows where” through my finger tips on to this page.

It would have been so easy just to blow off this whole blog thing and veg in front of the TV.  Afterall, I deserved the break.

But some journeys in life are not easy.  If we really want to go somewhere exciting the easy route is not an option. 

The easy route… humm, it sounds good when you’re tired… but I couldn’t do it.

Now don’t get all impressed that I pushed through my tiredness and wrote this blog.  I am not sure why this blog is different than most things in my life, but opting out was not an option.

TRUE CONFESSION

If you want to know the truth, I am pretty lazy.  Historically I have, metaphorically speaking,  preferred the lawn chair to a lawn mower most of my life. 

I am not proud of the fact that I mastered  the art of vegging at an early age.  But it is true none-the-less.

But if you are tired of where you are… and willing to open yourself to a different call (other than the call of the couch and nachos) then life will become a bold adventure. 

In the past I would have never pushed through the tiredness and empty headedness and worked on something like a blog. 

But when you become willing to listen to the constant call from just beyond the wall your world begins to change.

It has been a very, very good thing.

How about joining me on Thursday for some more travels.

P.S.  Just because I pushed through the tiredness doesn’t mean I will write a lot.  Anyway… I gotta fix some nachos and grab my lawn chair.

Ciao.


29
Sep 11

On the Road Again

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Hey, good to have you hang out with me for a bit.

As you can tell from the title, I’m hitting the road again on my journey.

Side Note: You may be asking, what journey?  If you’re wondering about this journey thing, you will need to read the first few blog entries.

If interested just go to the right side of the screen and click on January 2010 and scroll down to the first blog.

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Every time I see the title or hear Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again, I am reminded of a funeral I once attended.  Yep… you read correctly… funeral.

I went to the viewing of the father of a friend who passed away.

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Side Note: Humm… passed away… don’t you think that is an odd phrase for death?  It sort sounds like you evaporate or something.

But I digress.

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When we walked into the viewing parlor at the funeral home, Willie’s song was playing away.  I was told it was the father’s favorite song.

I thought… that’s a nice touch.  What I didn’t realize is that the song was on a recording loop and after about the seventy fifth time through the song I was wondering who was better off, the corpse or me.

Let’s just say… it will not be a song I play at my funeral… or anywhere I happen to be.

OK, enough of the funeral talk and back to the blog and hitting the road.

I have felt the itch to start moving toward something.  I don’t know what, but toward something.  The last few blogs have been sort of like camping for the night and telling stories around the campfire.

So, if we are hitting the road… where are we headed?  Where do we want to go?  Important questions.

You see, traveling (or moving forward) needs a purpose.  A why?

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“Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons. Some are actuated by love of adventure, some have the keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden path by the lure of little voices, the mysterious fascination of the unknown.”
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Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic Explorer

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If you don’t know the why then this journey can get pretty frustrating because you may be expecting something the journey wasn’t designed for.

The why can be a defined destination or a purpose more open and ambiguous.   It can be something as simple as for the fun of it, or for me at this point in my life… exploration.

There are times where I am focused on a destination… but what I like most is to explore.

Some people don’t like the unknown.  They fear it and avoid it as much as possible.

The unknown possesses a very odd paradox.  The unknown has the power to paralyze or propel.  For me, it propels.

But the reality is, without the unknown there is no exploration.

Exploring requires that you dig, peek into holes, walk unknown trails.

The heart of an explorer is compelled to look at things that are new, scary, or different.

It demands that you try things that are out of your comfort zone.

So the question again is, do you want to join me on the journey?  I hope so.

We’ll walk further down this road on Monday.  I hope you have your hiking boots laced tightly.

Or we can ride…

ROAD TRIP!

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8
Aug 11

“One small step for man…”

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Howdy… welcome back.

Last Thursday I talked about the difference between “To” and “FROM”.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I encourage you to read the last blog.

If I say so myself, the blog I wrote was a bounty of amazing insight and astounding wit.  They were exquisitely woven together in a well choreographed dance of words that took the reader to another place and left them craving… no, dare I say, demanding for more.

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Side Note: How did I do with my first attempt at self aggrandizement?

Uhhh, not me is it?  It was fun to write but I feel stupid reading it.

OK, please don’t ask where the last couple of paragraphs came from.  I have no idea.  They just popped out my head on to the screen.  Scary huh?

Oh well… back to my humble hole where I peck away at my little blog.   Hopefully there will be some semblance of meaning and thought.

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The purpose of the last blog was to emphasize the importance of knowing what is driving our decisions.

A BOLD PROMISE

Today, I want to focus on the most important aspect of our journey.  It is the thing that WILL transform your life.  I am as serious as I can be and I am not exaggerating.  You will never be the same.

It is the step that changes your life… “your step”.

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“If you don’t take a step you won’t end up somewhere else.”

. . – Me

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You cannot get to where you want to go and stay where you are.  It requires action, a step of some sort.

Whether you are drawn to a higher place or you are pushed out of a lower place, it requires a step.  Albeit small, it still requires a move.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I wished that God would just zap me and miraculously I would be different or be at a different place.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no question in my mind and in my experience that God does some miraculous things.  But it always requires a step… even if it is a step of faith.

Tired of where you are in a certain aspect of your life?  Then get off your ass (My wife suggested something tamer like butt… but it was just a bit too calm for me).  Just feebly standing up is a step.

Now no one guaranteed it would be easy… usually it is not.  For me personally, waking up five years from now and being in the same spot is more horrifying than the fear of the first few steps.

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”
Sir Winston Churchill

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For years I hung out in the same place with little or no growth.  On some level it was easy but the call of “what can be” became a siren song I couldn’t ignore.

It took months for me to wade through the morass of where I was and the thought of writing a blog began to emerge.  Why a blog?  I have no idea, because as most of you know… I am not a writer.  All I knew is that it was the right step for me.

But something was unleashed when I finally took the big step.  That step began to open me on several different levels and has had a broader impact in more ways than I know.

But my big step only came after a desire to be in a different place, a willingness to do something different and a multitude of micro steps.

Are you tired of where you are?  Is there something stirring deep within that is calling you to higher things?

I think you’re ready to give birth to a new phase of your life.

OK, take a deep breath… push… take that step you think you should take.

See you on Thursday.

Ciao.


11
Jul 11

Is it really?

Hi, good to see you again.

In the last blog entry we started tackling the last segment of the quote tattooed on the arm of a girl.

This series of blogs started out as a dissection of a quote but now it is turning into a dissection of the meaning of the last word of the quote – RESISTANCE.

I was intrigued by the choice of the word.  My first impression was that rebellion would be the natural word to use.

In the last blog entry I started talking about the difference between the words rebellion vs. resistance.

Yes, some use the term resistance for those who fight for a cause such as the French Resistance during WWII.

The picture is the French Resistance logo.

Side Note: I just have to say it, French Resistance seems like an oxymoron to me… OK, I know, cheap shot, sorry.  Just so you know, I have never claimed to be perfect.

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But for our discussion I am looking at these words in their purest form.

Rebellion is active and aggressive in nature … a lashing out … an intentional act of retaliation toward something or someone.

Contrary to its counterpart, resistance originates from a totally different center or frame of reference.

Resistance is a refusal to be impacted or influenced.  It is a strength that prevents an opposing force making an impression on who we are and what we do.  Logic demands that when pushed… push back.

It is not strength to necessarily push back but a solid presence that keeps us anchored, immovable and unimpressionable.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

- Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

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In the second blog in this series I talked about the messages and life events that bombard every aspect of our existence.

I said in the June 16, 2011 blog the following…

Messages come from all directions in a multitude of shapes and sizes, subtle to blatant, verbal and non-verbal.

We cannot underestimate the power of messages.  They, in reality, are invisible hands from a variety of sculptors.  These hands shape and form us as people.  This is especially true when we are very young, impressionable and moldable.

In a short period of time the shapes and molds begin to harden us into the people we are… for better… or for worse.

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It takes a strong and discerning person to navigate life’s waters.

First a person needs discernment to determine whether the force trying to mold them is good or bad.

Discernment is exactly the right word to use here.

Let’s face it; there are some forces in life that look unfriendly and hurtful when in reality they are strong hands that are preparing us for life.  These are individuals who are more concerned about our character than our comfort.  They love us enough to endure our displeasure as they help us grow.

Unfortunately the opposite is true.  There are forces that seem to bring freedom and enlightenment while leading us down the yellow brick road of promises that lead to things that trap and injure us.

Strength is the power to withstand the negative and minimize any effects.

As I write this my mind bounces around wondering what I am to learn regarding this powerful word – Resistance.

My immediate thoughts go to the things that I have resisted and I am proud of my firm stands.

Then of course I eventually circle around to the areas of my life where I succumbed to the messages and beliefs that have proven poisonous to me.

What insights strike you when you think about our topic – Resistance.

The resistance I talked about today is where one stands against forces that press us.  On Thursday I will talk about resistance we face that keeps us from moving forward.

Ciao.


27
Jun 11

Trapped by a Belief

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Hello.  It’s good to have you pop in and visit for a while.

In the last blog I touched on one of the most powerful aspects of life… what we believe.  And as most of you know this is a continuation of a discussion about a picture of a quote tattooed to the upper arm of a girl.

One thing I have learned about beliefs is that you can’t learn enough about beliefs.  Beliefs direct our path and define our behaviors. 

Virtually every aspect of our lives is an extension of what we believe.  For example:

  • I sit in a chair because I believe it is going to hold me.
  • I vote a particular way because I believe one person is better than the other to lead the country.
  • I am not comfortable in social chit chat situations because I believe I am boring.
  • I wear old Converse All-Star shoes because I believe they look cool.  They’re also comfortable, I have other sneakers in my closet just as comfortable… but not as cool.

These beliefs I possess, may or may not in reality be true.  But, if I believe them to be true my behaviors follow.

Now here’s the interesting thing.  Some beliefs (probably the majority) are correct or at least ok, based on solid logic or information.  And most beliefs tend to revolve around your daily activities and don’t carry the weight of charting the course of our life.

But the scary thing is this, there are some beliefs we can possess that can be fundamentally in error and totally impact the course and quality of life.

As we talked about in the last blog, the sad reality is that people believe wrong messages… and live their life by those beliefs.

I ran across another quote that I found very interesting  I am not totally sure I believe it, but I find it thought provoking none-the-less.

“It takes a lot more energy to fail than to succeed, since it takes a lot of concentrated energy to hold on to beliefs that don’t work.”

- Jerry Gillies

Not only can beliefs be correct or incorrect, they also impact one another.  One stronger belief can override a lesser belief.

In the last blog I promised to unpack the topic of beliefs a bit more in today’s entry but I have faced a major dilemma – my raw inability to do justice to a topic as complex, important and powerful as the beliefs we hold. 

Side Note:  My head has been screaming, how in the world can I do justice to a topic of such enormity and importance?  What feeble insights can I provide?  Seriously!

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My writing on this topic today is a perfect example of the power of belief and how actions follow beliefs.

Those of you who have hung out with me for a while know that this blog thing is something that I believe I am to do. 

My belief that I am to write this overrides my belief that my insights may be shallow and fall short of a worthy topic.

I have worked hard at being willing to test my beliefs.  I find that if they are based on truth… real truth, they can stand the test of scrutiny.

Testing our beliefs is no easy task.  But hopefully I have heightened your awareness so as to cause you to stop, tilt your head in question, and ponder a belief.

On Thursday I will continue with the last part of the tattooed quote.

Later.


6
Jun 11

Foot on the Neck

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Yep… Monday again.

Mondays seem to come around more often and more quickly these days.

I turn around or look up and all of a sudden it’s Monday.  Most of the time Mondays seem to catch me flat footed and I feel the brunt of its force more so than the other days of the week.

So this morning I am picking myself up off my ass after catching Monday’s blow.  I know some of you are bothered because I used the word ass instead of rear end or bum.

It’s not a word I throw around too often, but ass is so much more descriptive.

Saying Monday knocked me on my bum sounds so gentle and… and… civilized, as if Monday would apologize for the inconvenience.

Monday: “Oh excuse me mate, I didn’t mean to bump into you this week.  I am so sorry.  Please allow me help you up and dust you off.”

But no, this Monday “sucker punched” me, laughed as I went down, and held it’s heel on my neck.  I stayed there a while this morning until I wiggled around and freed myself from under its grimy foot.

So here I am writing away and taking care of the weekly duties and slowly building up momentum to get the week rolling.

I don’t think that I am too different than most of you.  This journey of life we are all on has those times that stimulate and motivate and then times that seem to drain us.

It is my experience that there may be times when there is a definitive reason for a draining day but generally it is a mish mash of stuff that seems to have no rhyme or reason.  It’s just the nature of life.

I found a quote that fits well with the topic.

“Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

.-  Joshua J. Marine

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Imagine a life where there were no difficulties.  Would that be a good thing?

“Struggle” has two amazing positives to consider.

First, it forces us to move beyond where we are, step out, take action.   Unfortunately discomfort of the present tends to be a greater motivator than opportunities of the future.

Secondly, the struggle makes us stronger.  The resistances of life solidify those things that are important.  It also strengthens the internal fiber to stand and pursue the hard path to good things instead of yielding to the easier roads in life.

Although I am a bit bruised from the morning struggle, I am feeling pretty good about this Monday after all.

I guess it is time for me to take my foot off Monday’s neck and let it go about its business.  Watch out… Monday has a few more people on its list to “sucker punch” today.

Hope to see you Thursday.


11
Apr 11

Ooops! That was ugly.

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Have you ever just blown it?  I mean really blown it!

I am not talking about a moral failure but a performance collapse.

Side Note: Uuuh… guys… I am not talking about that kind of performance collapse.  Get your mind back in the game where it belongs.

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Sorry ladies, I just had to take a quick side step to do a little man management.  I needed to make sure they didn’t go down a totally different path of thought.

OK, back to the question.  Has there ever been a time that you completely dropped the ball doing something at which you are considered very good?

You know, one of those times you collapsed like a cheap lawn chair.

I saw this happen yesterday.

Twenty-one year old Rory McIlroy was leading the Master’s golf tournament by two strokes at the beginning of the day.  By the time it was over he shot a +8 for the round and dropped to fifteenth in position.

I wasn’t particularly rooting for him to win but I sure didn’t want him to experience humiliation in front of a hundred million people around the world.

Believe it or not this blog is not about Rory and his collapse.

The truth is we all fail at one time or another.  Fortunately my failures are not as public, nor are yours would be my guess.

The fact that we fail is not the heart of the issue.  The bigger question is what we do with the failure.

I contend that more is revealed about the person who dramatically fails than the one in the winner’s circle.

Unfortunately, sometimes a dramatic failure breaks something.  Something is never the same.  A confidence or swagger is lost that is important for sustained success.

Or the failure reinforces something.  A resolve to learn, improve and come out better on the other side.

Rory when interviewed seemed pretty poised and matter of fact about the collapse.  He sounded mature and appeared to see his set-back in context of the big picture.

I hope so, but only time will tell.

This may sound odd but failure has a powerful presence in success.

Failure is the flame that tempers the steel.  The painful trauma displaces the rigidity and the character of the element is that of flexible strength.

Doesn’t that ring so true in life?

It seems that the people who have weathered the greatest storms possess a quiet strength that transcends the moment.  There is a secure knowledge and confidence that “this too will pass” and good will come from it.

How do you handle failure?  I am not trying to pry… just asking.  I have to ask the same question of myself.

It’s ironically funny in that we spend our entire lives trying to avoid failure, yet it is failure that lays the foundation for success.

See you Thursday.


31
Mar 11

Easy Writer

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Welcome back.

When people find out I write a blog I get a lot of interesting questions or comments.

Usually I get the question, “What kind of blog is it?”

Since I’m not sure what they are expecting I say something like, “I write about my thoughts and observations about life… and stuff.”  And yes, I tend to down play the fact I write a blog because… because… I don’t know why.  That is one of my personal flat spots.

They usually respond with a kind, “That’s nice.” Or “That’s interesting.”

I hear their words but in my mind’s eye I see their head tilt in that inquisitive sort of way and their voice cautiously saying something like,

“Ohhh… kaaaaay, and what makes you believe that you have something to say about life that is worthwhile enough for me to intentionally surf the net, find your site and take time to read it?”

This is along the same line of thinking as a friend of mine.  He openly slams people who write blogs.  He says the only reason people write blogs is because they are narcissistic and ego centric.

Side Note: Humm… maybe I need to redefine the term friend.  Anyway, I digress.

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He blurted out something like, “What makes anyone (only ego centric people obviously- my addition) think that they have something to say significant enough for anyone to read?”

Strangely enough, I ask myself the same question every time I write the blog.

I don’t know, maybe I am narcissistic and ego centric.  I don’t think so.  But then again, maybe his rationale makes me narcissistic.

All of this ties into another question that I am asked periodically, where do you find things to talk about?

Personally, I find it easy to talk about stuff… having something to say meaningful is a different matter.

There are some people who naturally exude substance and wisdom.  Their every word seems to carry a weightiness worthy of examination and meaningful consideration.  I wish I were one.

I, like most, will occasionally (or accidently) articulate a thought deserving deeper reflection.

If I had to guess, my blog is kind of like one of those mystery grab bags where something valuable occasionally shows up.  Hopefully the occasional prize is good enough to warrant the ongoing visits.

Now before you think I am into some sort of masochistic thrashing of myself, I am not.  But with that said, I have no illusions of who or what I am in regards to my writing.

There is actually a point to all of this.

God Alert:  Yes I am going to mention some God stuff.  To my non-believing friends, as you know, I am not trying to make you believe the way I do.

I am providing context as to why I write this blog.

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Apparently there is something in these writings that seem to encourage people, or at least, make them think.

This is an amazing aspect of being a Believer.  It is the fact that God uses ordinary people and simple words to touch and move us.

I don’t feel particularly spiritual when I write.  But I believe by writing I am being obedient to what He wants me to do.  Those of you who read my early blogs know that writing is not my thing.

But that is the way it works in the Spiritual realm.   Simple ordinary things that are touched by God has the power to transform.

And if there is any good that comes from writing this blog… all the credit and glory go to God.  I sure know that I am not (NOT) capable.

That’s why I continue to encourage you.

Step out!  Step into the unknown and enjoy an amazing ride.

See you Monday.