BeWoW

,Character #BeWoW #WritersQuoteWednesday

This is the final day of the Three Day Quote Challenge I was invited to participate in by Meredith.

Today’s quote comes from one of my favorite authors and preachers Charles H. Spurgeon and it deals with character:

  

“May your character not be a writing on the sand, but an inscription upon the rock!” C. H. Spurgeon 

Known today as the prince of preachers, Spurgeon inspired many in his day with his sermons and writings, as he continues to do today.

In my lifetime I have witnessed, in my opinion (on which I am the leading expert), a change in folks’ character in general. When I was young we were raised that a man’s word was his bond and a handshake meant something almost sacred: it meant that two individuals were in agreement on a given issue and they staked something more precious than money as the collateral, their character. Our society places a very high value on many things; I don’t think that character – honesty, integrity, righteousness – is anywhere in the top 25 of their list, probably it’s much lower. I know this is not a universal truth, thankfully, but I fear it is solidly a general fact. Until the collective we once again place value in that which is truly valuable, esteem others higher than ourselves, hold fast to our convictions, we will keep seeing a persistent skewing of our moral compass, a continuation of the epidemic of addictions plaguing our nation, the further crumbling of the family unit, and an apathetic nation of takers walking over anyone between them and their “wants” believing this is normal.

I remember a time when our country was esteemed in the world community, unlike the persona that is and has been attached to us for some time now. I also remember a time when our country was referred to as The United States or The United States of America, not simply as America. I’m not sure exactly when this transition began but I’m fairly certain if one were to research it the timing will correspond with when we started to shift our values from those of our forefathers, the ones they fought so hard and passionately for that a nation was born.

When we begin to value character again, when we begin to love our brothers and sisters again, when we decide to put our houses rightly in order again, then we will begin to be united again. And until we are once again The United States of America we aren’t the country or people that scores of men and women have bled and died for; we are someone/something they wouldn’t recognize. 

This post is linked to both the BeWoW and Writers Quote Wednesday communities; make sure to check out both of them. 

Worry Warts #BeWoW #WritersQuoteWednesday

There are many things I can confidently say I am or am not. There are also many things I can say I’m progressing toward being much better at or less prone to. Then there are things I really wish I could say the above about but can’t – yet at least. I imagine that each of you who reads this will agree with those statements. 

Since this is intended to be a positive post, I’ll not dwell on the latter “things”. Rather, I’d like to share something that falls in the middle, and at times leans toward the former: worrying. 

I’ve come a very long way in this department as I’ve matured both naturally and spiritually. I have never been one to externalize my worries so much, but tended – and still do – to keep them inside, where they have less effect on those around me; you know, the put on a happy face type of guy. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, and hopefully there’s more than one, it’s how true many of the sayings and quotes about worry and anxiety are. One of my favorite passages of Scripture deals with anxiety or worry (the wording varies with the translation):

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And of course the very well known passage from The Gospel of Luke where Christ Jesus teaches on worry, explaining how futile it is. (That passage can be found HERE if you want to read it.) I know that I, personally, have gained much from studying these verses and they have helped me tremendously in becoming less and less of a “worry wart”. (HERE is an article on the terms meaning and origin if you’re interested.)

Another old quote I’ve learned contains so much truth is from a gentleman I’ve not found much information on, but I have found many wise sayings attributed to him. 

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of hard work.”
R. Whitson Seaman

  
As I eluded to above, I can attest to the truth in this one, too!

I’m going to go out in a limb here and say if you’re honest with yourself, you have also come to the revelation that worry gets you no place, makes no difference in the situation, and does drain you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And while it’s much easier said than done, I encourage you to abandon anxiety. As of today, become a reformed-worry wart: it’s one of the most freeing things you’ll ever do for yourself and those you love. 

This post is linked linked to both the BeWoW and Writers Quote Wednesday communities. If you’re not already a part of or familiar with them I highly recommend checking out both!

Random Acts of Kindness #BeWoW #WritersQuoteWesnesday

I’m sure we have all read or heard the stories of anonymous folks paying for other people’s lunches, paying off their layaway sat Christmas, leaving gifts/food on doorsteps, etcetera. I have to admit I’ve not actually had one of these things happen to me. Nor have I been able to do any large random acts of kindness (RAK) but I have had and taken the chance to do smaller ones – and it feels as good to do as it does to receive a RAK. I don’t think the RAK has to be a huge thing, time wise or monetarily to impact someone’s day, maybe even their life.  

This Saturday, 10/24/15, is Random Acts of Kindness Day I saw recently; a Facebook invite to the event brought this to me attention. A little research turned up a website I didn’t know existed dedicated to RAKs, listing resources, links, more dates, and other information for anyone interested in becoming part of RAK, either for a day or daily. 

Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.” I believe he’s 100% right, too. And as I said earlier, it’s not the biggest things that make the biggest differences in a person’s life or day; often a warm smile and kind word will brighten a day that was otherwise glum or dull. And that “brightness” is then easily spread.  

 I used to have a small photo hanging in my office of an open matchbook with the first match on fire, the fire spreading across each match with the quote “Attitudes are contagious; is your’s worth catching?”  A good question to ask ourselves every day I think. 

Start small, start huge, but start

This post is linked to both the BeWoW and Writers Quote Wednesday communities. Make sure to visit both sites for more great quotes, positive inspiration, and talented writer’s work. 

That Bridge: a chained #tanka #OctPoWriMo 

Have you ever done something, been happy with it, fininished it all up, going along your merry way, only to have second thoughts about how you could’ve done it differently for hours? If you’re the creative-type (or OCD a perfectionist) I’m sure you have. 

Well, this has been my dilemma all day since posting my piece for today’s OctPoWriMo prompt. And since this idea is driving me (even more) nutty I have given in to it! So, in my mind’s opinion, I share a better (or at least different) thought on the prompt in a chained tanka.


bridge to tomorrow –
beckoning for me to come
there from yesterday
what I see now as that bridge
is actually today

the past is just that
the future lies out ahead
I stand on today
the bridge we will never cross
because it’s always today

today never ends
tomorrow will never come
yesterday ne’er was
the illusion of that bridge
is just our reality

“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
Bill Keane 

 

This is also linked to the BeWoW and Writers Quote Wednesday communities, both of which you should check out!

How We Treat Others #BeWoW #WritersQuoteWednesday

Last week I came across another unattributed quote that I really identified with; I know, it’s becoming a “thing” with me it seems! But it irks me more than a tad that folks don’t take the time to credit the source (and not just on quotes, but don’t get me started!). So I did a little searching and found the source:

“A word of encouragement after failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Willis Reed 

NBA Hall of Fame member Willis Reed I’m not a sports-buff, let alone a basketball fan, so I didn’t know anything about Mr. Reed. As it turns out he’s a member of the NBA Hall of Fame and an author, too!

Having been many roles in many organizations during my lifetime I’ve seen how very true Mr. Reed’s statement is: the last thing a person (young or old, rookie or veteran) needs after a bad outcome is a vicious lambasting, loud verbal beat-down, sarcastic commentary, snide remarks, and I could go on – and on – but I think the point is clear. In my experience, these things are, or seem to be, the default method of treating a “dropped ball” (yeah, that was a weak attempt at a pun there).

Having been on both sides of the leadership-fence in many different areas, I can tell you those methods just don’t work; spewing that type of poison on a person after they are likely already embarrassed, pushing them toward humiliated, does not motivate them to be better. And whoever teaches (or has taught) that it does work are an ignorant fraud of a leader at best in my opinion. 

We humans have a basic need for encouragement and acceptance; we also have this born-in trait to mess up at times (or oftentimes) making us imperfect beings. If you deny this you are fooling only yourself; no matter how “strong” you think you are, you have these needs and deficiencies. 

My Papaw told me many things that have helped me tremendously in life; I’ve mentioned that before. Often his advice, unbeknownst to me at the time, was Scriptural paraphrasing, like the time he told me, “Son, if you will always put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes when you make a decision and then trear him how you’d want to be treated, you’ll never go wrong.” I’ve always tried to live this way, following Papaw’s paraphrase of The Golden Rule. And you know what? He was right! I’ve done pretty well, not mistake-free mind you, in all of my endeavors and have always earned the respect and loyalty of those around/under me. 

Just think for a moment; how much better would our lives, families, friends, communities, indeed, world be if we would all treat each other how we’d want to be treated, no matter what the situation, rather than (as I’ve seen, still see, it) stepping on top of the other guy to get what we want?

This post is linked to Colleen’s and Ronovan’s weekly posts. Check out both of them for some truly inspiring and thought provoking articles by a variety of authors/bloggers. 

Day by Day #BeWoW

Somewhere this past week I stumbled upon an unattributed quote that I really related to. I thought I’d do a little digging to see if I could find out who had said this and found quite a bit of information. 

 

“The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day.”- Amy Gatliff

Not only did I find the name of the speaker but I also learned she is an author and found her website, too. 

Each of us have seasons in our lives when we struggle. Some folks, those with chronic diseases, illnesses, injuries, etcetera, have extra long seasons to endure. For any of us going through one of those times it truly can be a huge deal – a great act of faith – just to go onto the next day. But as with the seasons of nature, our season of trial will come to an end at some point. We just have to, as an old friend of mine says, “keep on keepin’ on” until that brighter time arrives. 

Linked to both Ronovan Writes BeWoW and Writers Quote Wednesday

Listen and Learn #BeWoW

If you’ve read many of my posts or know me very well then you know that my maternal grandfather, Papaw, was and still is a huge influence in my life. The stories and memories I could share involving him are almost endless. But today I’d like to share one specific story that has helped me my entire life, involving a small piece of advice he gave me. 

An eon or so ago when I decided to change careers and go into the car business I sought Papaw’s advice before actually taking the plunge. Of course, my wife and I had already discussed it at length but I wanted his input before I actually made a move. 

Although he gave me several pieces of good advice that day, after I had explained my position thoroughly to him, there’s one that jumped out in my mind today; that is what I want to share with you today: 

 

The Good Lord have you two ears and one mouth; use them in proportion. – Papaw

(I’m sure he wasn’t the first person to say those words but he was the first person I ever heard say them.)

These words served me well in my days in the car business. And they continue to do so today, long after that career has ended. 

You see, people need to know you care and listening attentively to what folks are saying shows them you do; it demonstrates your care for what they are saying, going through, in a way like none other can. It will help you to be a better spouse, parent, leader, and person-in-general, too. 

In the, in my opinion, extremely self-centered, narcissistic, “all about me” society, I think we would all do better to listen more and speak less. 

(This is my first time participating in Writer’s Quote Wednesday; make sure to check out the many great posts HERE.)

Tune Out the Rhetoric #BeWoW

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away … oh, wait, that’s a different story. What seems like a lifetime ago, all kidding aside, I used to be really into politics. But over the years my priorities have shifted, not saying politics isn’t important, to different issues/things and my interest in it has diminished. In fact, this is probably the first and last thing I’ll post about it – and it’s not even partisan, endorsing, or pandering. But hopefully it will be a little enlightening and thought provoking. 

In the United States we are full-swing into the campaigning season for the 2016 elections. (As a side note, I wish we were like other countries that limited the time candidates can inundate us with their too often untrue and slimey ads – but we don’t have that relief here, so onto my thought.) I am sick of candidates playing on our ignorance, and I use that word in the proper sense, not disparagingly, meaning the lack of knowledge

This is no new tactic; for years “they” have been feeding of the our collective fears of loosing our jobs, Social Security benefits, insurance, and much more. But now they (some anyway) are attempting to use our dislike or the unpopularity of the man who the country has elected president in the last two elections: Barak Obama. 

I know: many people don’t care for his policies or other things, many didn’t vote for him either. I get all that. But he is at his term limit; he can not be re-elected and come January 2016 will no longer be in the White House, no longer President, not longer making policy, etcetera. So why is it so many candidates are still saying in their ads how they’ll stand up to, fight against, or otherwise oppose Obama? Because of ignorance. By the time they are in office he will be out of office! 

Know who you are voting for. Know what they stand in/for and believe. And know who is playing the “ignorance card”. The. decide for yourself just who the ignorant one is: the candidate making these claims or the voter believing them. 

It has been well said that knowledge is power; empower yourself and vote for the candidates that align with your thoughts and beliefs, not out of fear. Tune out the deafening rhetoric and vote your conscience. 

There’s No Santa Clause #BeWoW

It was a warm, sunny day and all was right in my little world. I was five years-old and riding in the car with my Papaw, going where I don’t remember; I was with someone I loved and enjoyed more than almost anything else in the world, what more could I want? Though I don’t remember where we going, I vividly recall where we were when it happened: we were driving down 5th St Hill, about halfway to the bottom (not that many/any of you will know where that is but I include it only to illustrate how well I remember the event).

“There’s no Santa Clause”, he said in the course of whatever we were talking about.

Then a wide-eyed, astonished look overtook his face as he realized what he’d just said – to a five year-old boy!

“You knew that, didn’t you son?”

“Yes, Papaw, I did. If it took Aunt Priss and Uncle James nine hours to fly on a jet from Germany home there’s no way a man in a sleigh can fly all around the world and stop at every house in one night”, I answered.

My uncle had been stationed in Germany for two years but had just been transferred to Fort Knox, KY, so they had flown home for a couple days visit before going on to his new duty station just a few weeks prior to this. I had been pondering this conundrum of how Santa could do what he does so fast when a jet took so long since their flight home. But I didn’t know who to ask about it that I was sure would tell me the truth. My answer had just landed, pun intended, in my lap!

The relief that washed over his face, and entire body, was as evident as the angst that had preceded it, even to me at that age. 

“Well, that’s good”, he almost sighed. 

“Can I ask you something else? You always tell me the truth, don’t you Pop?”

“Yes, son, I do. And I always will; I’ll never lie to you and you never lie to me, okay?”

“Okay!”, I answered, “Santa isn’t magic and there’s not any real magic like they say, is there?

“No, son, he’s not and there isn’t any real magic” he said. 

From that moment on I knew without a doubt I would always have someone I could go to and get honestly from. I learned later on in life that honestly wouldn’t always be what I wanted to hear either – and to this day I respect that more than I can put into words. Anytime I had a tough question or major life decision to make I ran it by Papaw if I wasn’t sure what to do before I did anything. I miss being able to do that more than words can describe, too. 

The Bible teaches us that the things we do and say, as well as those we don’t, are the legacy we leave behind. 

Numbers 14:18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’

Many people misunderstand that verse; God isn’t promising to do bad things to our children and generations to come. He’s telling us our actions have consequences and those can have an effect on the people we leave behind for years; think of the families and relatives of notorious killers, thieves and other bad people and how they were effected by the actions of their ancestors. Those things are their legacy which carried over to their children and beyond. It’s the same way with each of us; what we do, how we act and react, what we say and how we say it, are all things that leave a lasting impression on those we love and are learning, oftentimes unaware, from us, both the bad and the good. 

What kind of legacy are you leaving for your kids, grandkids and beyond? Have you thought about it yet? Start today. Whether it’s for the first time you’ve considered it or if you just want to improve on the foundation you’ve laid. It’s hard, daunting work; I know from my own experience. But anything of value will be. 

Smile: a #BeWoW #Poem

I’ve long been a fan of the little books Leaves of Gold and Apples of Gold, though for reasons that escape me I’ve yet neves them from my Amazon wish list to my cart: go figure. Anyway, today I was perusing the latter whilst I waited on an appointment I had when I found this little poem.  

From the book Apples of Gold

 It’s true: though it costs nothing and is given freely, a smile is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to others- family, friends, and strangers alike.