• Life Is A Never Ending Journey: Make it Cheesy!

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    Jodie, is like most folks, her level of enthusiasm for garden work is waning in late August. It’s hot outside. Her lips and cheeks have been soaked in far too much tomato acid. Her arteries are fully clogged from all the fried okra. She has tried no less than a thousand squash and zucchini recipes in an attempt to make it taste like anything but squash or zucchini. Yes, life is a never ending journey in a sense, but it appears at this point, that gardening just may put an end to this phase.

    Then it happens, the garden has not been visited for harvest in three days. How much could possibly have happened in three days? There they are; zucchini the size of baseball bats, squash that look like clubs, and okra so large and tough they warrant weapon status. Jodie frantically clips, pulls and tosses in hopes that a future harvest has not been stunted.

    She sits, exhausted, sweating, and wondering why vegetables can’t be more like cheese. It ripens and gets better with age.

    Jodie is hot, tired and feeling the effects of time herself. Then it occurs to her,” Am I getting better with age? Or am I more like okra?”

    The good news is that she has a choice, as do all of us.

    Some people tend to get tough and tasteless as they age. They let the negative experiences of life scar their hearts. They lose the ability to show compassion to others. Their capacity to sympathize and empathize is reduced. No matter how many different ways others may try to help them or prepare them for the future, they still remain the same, tasteless and maybe even a little bitter. They effectively become like weapons, with their sharp attitude and tongue, stabbing others at every opportunity.

    Others of us manage to age more like some cheeses. Many of the aged cheeses are given their characteristic flavor by inoculating them with specific bacteria that are then left to grow. These bacteria transform the proteins in the cheese, release gasses, and thereby create the variety of flavors we enjoy. The flavor depends on the type of bacteria, how it is applied, and how long it is left to age.

    The possibilities are endless.

    In a similar fashion we can let our experiences in life nurture and transform our actions into those that are kind, sensitive, and send a whiff of encouragement lofting through the air. Each of us offering our own unique flavor. We realize that life is a never ending journey, and we make the best of our time here before moving on.

    As we age, we can choose to let our personal journey make us tough and bitter, or richer and more flavorful.

    Say, “Cheese!”

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  • Life Is Short: Like a Flash, It’s Gone

    Life is short. Like the flash of a lightening bug. But which flash makes all the difference.

    (2 minute read)

    Ever feel like life is flying by? Do days, weeks or even years seem to be but flashes of time? Yes, life is short indeed.
    Life is like the flash of a lightening bug. It’s there and then it’s gone. But somehow there’s more to it than that. It turns out that lightening bugs produce several types of flashes much like the lives of people.

    Here are a few to get you thinking:

    1. The single flash. Classic for those who live in the “glory days” never able to see the great things right in front of them. These are the folks who perceive that they once did something great, something that they will never repeat or outdo. Non-sense.
    2. The series of multi-pulsed flashes. This type is very common in our American culture. These folks live for the “significant” or “fun” things in life. So, you can identify them easily. They live for the weekend, complaining and drudging through five days every week for those two glorious days of weekend. They blabber about what’s in the future, the next vacation, the next holiday, the next ballgame, the next big life event, their next big purchase. For them, the “joys” of life come in pulsating flashes. The problem with this way of life is that there is an awful lot of time wasted in darkness between those brief flashes of light. Not to mention, these types of moments often turn out to be mere flickers, disappointing in their flare at best.
    3. The continuous steady pulse. This type is scarce, but if you ever see one their sparkle is charming. They seem to find the good in everything and everyone. They live for the moment and in the moment, soaking up all it has to offer; savoring the good and learning from the bad. The little things in life bring pleasure. Their emotions run on a flat track rather than a roller coaster. They seem concerned only with something much bigger than themselves.

    So, how do you get your flash of light to be that continuous steady pulse? Easy, life is short so set your life cameras exposure to long!

    Pictures of lightening bugs, like the one shown at the start of this article by Kristian Cevcek, were captured with a long exposure setting. Wow, it’s amazing how much light the little creatures are putting out in that short flash of time when you stop to let it soak in. Their amazing abilities can be better appreciated by a more thorough examination.

    Life is short. Like the flash of a lightening bug. But which flash makes all the difference.
    Life is short, here are some no non-sense tips to help you get more out of every moment life offers:

    • Unplug. No one ever lay on their death bed with regrets that they didn’t watch more TV, or movies. Nor do they wish they had surfed the internet more, or looked at more Facebook posts. Turn off the electronics and take a good long hard look at what is happening right in front of you.
    • Get outdoors. There’s nothing like getting out and looking at nature to bring an awareness and appreciation for our own existence. The closer we are to nature, the more we appreciate the gift of life.
    • Look at your loved ones while they sleep. Sounds geeky I know, but there’s something about seeing your loved one in the peacefulness of sleep that brings an appreciation to your heart.
    • Hug long. Taking ten seconds to hold that squeeze can turn a dry ritual into something much deeper.
    • Spend time thinking. This might sound strange but in case you haven’t noticed, folks don’t seem to be thinking much these days. Rather than sit like a zombie soaking in whatever the media has on the menu for that day, dig deeper. Ask hard questions and then find answers. Revert back to your two year old days and start asking “why” things are the way they are.

    As Jim Elliot once said,

    Wherever you are, be all there.

    Life is short. May your light shine long and bright!
    Want to learn more interesting things about lightening bugs?

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  • Odds are you don't deserve freedom. Here's why.

    Freedom, Odds Are You Don’t Deserve It: Here’s Why.

    Odds are you don't deserve freedom. Here's why.

     (2 minute read)
     
    Ah, freedom! “Give us liberty”, so many shout. It’s the universal cry of the living. 
    Today, we as Americans are celebrating Independence Day, yet I’m wondering, do we deserve freedom?
     
    Many in our world claim all people want to be free. We loathe images of those living in places where dictators constrain the lives of their subjects. When tyrants fall, we celebrate. We remorse the abominable history of human slavery in our own land. The oppression of others brings protests on a regular basis.
     
    Is it true that all people want to be free? Like our beloved pets, there is something innate that longs for freedom to one degree or another in us all. Why so eager to be free; such enthusiasm to seize this great prize? Why so happy to have attained liberty? So worthy of celebration, it seems. Yet, if so esteemed a prize, why surrendered with such ease by those who have it in hand?
     
    The first day we brought our horses’ home to the farm, someone left the gate open leading from a small fenced area to a large open grassy pasture. Watching from inside the house, we noticed the horses fixate their eyes in the direction of the gate. Like a flash, the light bulb went off and they realized freedom was theirs to be had. They rushed the gate, galloping out into the open field elated with their new found liberty; bucking, kicking, and leaping. Freedom was theirs!
     
    In next to no time, they became fearful. Looking for a leader they soon returned to the comfort of their fenced home.
     “With liberty, comes responsibility that is why it is most dreaded of men.” – George Bernard Shaw

    Herein lies the paradox; freedom requires responsibility.

    Like horses, we love the exhilaration and the promise freedom brings. Yet, all too often we disregard and even neglect the responsibility required to reap its benefits. All would love to go jumping and frolicking through the green pastures of life but few are willing to assume the responsibility required to reap such benefits.
     
    For nothing more than lack of effort we are often willing to let freedoms others before us so treasured and sacrificed for slip away. To remain free we must take charge of our lives, care for ourselves, governor our own affairs; being willing and resolute to take the responsibility that brings the full benefits of liberty! We should never have to shout, “Give us liberty”, because we have kept in hand what was given to us.
     
    Let us be sure the gates of our lives remain forever opened wide. May we never hold back, but run from horizon to horizon at liberty, blazing our own trails, controlling our destiny, shouldering the responsibility. Proclaiming as we run through the lush green grass,
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    A free life may not be a simple one in some ways but it is rich beyond measure. Define what freedom means to you.

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  • Thomas Jeffersons Independence Day Advice

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    Independence Day is tomorrow!

    To honor this holiday I was looking for some cool quotes from the founding fathers. Well, it turns out I’m not as much into politics as I am emotional wellness and how it affects relationships, so this quote by Thomas Jefferson hit home:

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