Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Respect for Your Elders

For as long as I can remember and before that for as much of history as I am aware of, old age has most often been equated with esteem, honor, and integrity.  Until now.

Old is out. We are thought of as useless. If we don’t have something to give them, like money or stuff - and if we don’t have something they can take from us, to the youth of today, we are useless.

I remember a time when showing kindness and courtesy to the previous generation was commonplace and expected. Even if there was a great divide between our interests and theirs, practicing proper manners was what we did. Practicing good manners was reflective of a good upbringing and was a badge of honor we wore proudly.  

What kind of manners did we practice? 1) Not speaking unless spoken to. -2) showing regard for the elderly in offering them a seat, bringing them things, anything really that could be seen as needed and helpful to them at the time. -3) offering them something to eat or drink. -4) always asking permission before using someone’s property – it was considered rude and inconsiderate to help yourself freely to anything that does not belong to you. -5) I remember being taught to not speak out of turn and to hold my tongue, at the risk of saying something stupid or hurtful. -6) I remember always saying “thank you” “please” "yes sir" "no sir" and so on. This was a great part of being polite and we were taught how this sort of thing helped to create warmth and compassion. -7) We would never address a person older than us with anything other than Mr. or Mrs., using their last name, Uncle or Aunt, that sort of thing.

The way you choose to present yourself to the world is a personal choice. Being a genuinely respectful person is a sure fire way to feel good about yourself. But the way you behave, the manners you practice or don’t practice, is a personal choice.

And you know, your reputation matters. People are watching you and wouldn’t your prefer to be known as the nice respectful person? Treating the elderly with the utmost respect will leave a memorable impression on them of you, and a memorable impression on those watching your behavior.

If nothing else, being a respectful person allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing you did the right thing. And, being respectful, just makes the object of your respect feel good, feel important and valuable. It shows that person that you think they are important. And who knows the karma effect this can have.

I don’t get it really. I see so many young adults today who don’t seem to be able to show respect for anybody or anything and that is just sad. I realize now that some people are just no good and would like to use you or see you hurt. I realize that some people will dislike you for no particular reason at all. No amount of kindness will change their minds. I try to be kind to everyone, but that does not mean I can give what I don’t have or make undue personal sacrifices.

I have to ask myself, does this person respect me? When is enough, enough? Eventually what is comes down to is self-respect. You have to have self-respect. If someone disrespects you, let them know. Give them a chance to apologize. They will make things right if they want to. If they don’t then cut them out of your life. After a while you will no longer have to tell people to fuck off, because you will be surrounded only by people who don’t treat you like a doormat. You will be surrounded by happy, healthy, friendly people who know how to treat you with the respect you deserve.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Crisis Management

Suddenly you are faced with a crisis. What do you do? Most importantly you must keep the faith. This is the most vital ingredient of the resilience we need to cope with any personal crisis. Faith fosters hope. Prayer reminds us that there can be a design for our lives that we may not grasp but that we can live up to if we move with events as they evolve. No one has ever suffered more than Job. He was devastated beyond belief, but refused to turn against God. With our faith and our God we have everything we need to move on.

After that, you have to take stock of the situation. You can’t ignore hard facts. Prioritize. Determine what you have to do now and what can wait. Many things can wait. What do you have to do today? You may need to ask for help. Don’t be afraid. They can’t help if they don’t know about it. And then, do what you can. Take some action. It could mean making some changes.

In the blink of an eye everything can change. But no matter what happens your faith can sustain you. You will never be spiritually bankrupt.” Life is troubles” someone said. That is just true. Even the strongest of families will have problems to deal with. But like the strong families you can survive any crisis by focusing on the positive, being skillful in communication, relying on your personal spiritual resources and throw into high gear your tool of adaptability.

Also, learn to think happy. Think of the people and things you love. Turn to those thoughts rather than the ones making you sad and angry.

With Jesus I have no fear. I have no fear of the storm, whatever the storm. I have a divine confidence, confidence in my Lord’s love for me and a confidence rooted in my relationship with my Father in heaven.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


1             12/12/12 is the last of the consecutive type dates for 100 years. This is a once-in-a-century date. The lucky couples who have succeeded in booking 12-12-12 are amongst a very select few in the world with such a memorable wedding anniversary. It is interesting to learn why the number 12 has such deep significance to our lives. The number 12 is a number of perfection and completeness. I thought I would take a minute to discuss the number 12 and the great significance of this number.

2             Do you realize how often we see and use this number? There are 12 eggs in a dozen. There are 12 months in a year. 12 people in a jury.  When you give roses how many do you give - 12 of course. An octave in music has 12 pitches.  A deck of cards has 12 face cards.  Donuts and Sodas come in a group of 12 at the store. Beer, most commonly packaged in a 12 pack. A perfect game in bowling is 12 strikes in a row.  Is it a coincidence that the greatest football player ever wore no. 12? (Roger Staubach)

3             The human body has 12 cranial nerves. And twelve pairs of ribs. Our body has 12 openings. (you have to count the belly button and nipples for those trying to check me on that) The human vertebral column or spine has 24 vertebrae. Counting them is almost like counting the hours in a day. And then of those 24, there are 12 central vertebrae making up the spine.

4             There are twelve signs of the Zodiac - 24 hours in a day, the hours are numbered 1 to 12. The basic units of time, 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours, all units of 12. There are 12 inches in a foot.

5             The number 12 is a most dominant number in the Bible. As you will see, twelve is the perfect number, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

6             Old Testament:

-There were 12 sons of Jacob, whose families formed the 12 tribes of Israel.

-The high priest’s breastplate, used for judgment, had 12 stones representing the 12 tribes.

-The showbread was always on a specially dedicated table in the temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God and consisted of 12 loaves.

-Solomon appointed 12 officers over Israel.

              New Testament

-At age 12, Jesus appeared at the temple.

-Jesus ordained 12 apostles, who were sent with authority to preach the Gospel and to be witnesses of His resurrection.

-The Book of Revelation speaks of the coming of Christ in the last day and we find the number 12 over and over.

            -At Christ return the number of the Sealed will be 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel,         
            totaling 144,000.

            -A second 144,000 are gathered from the earth to serve the Lamb and follow Him.

            -The bride of Christ is pictured with a crown of 12 stars.

            -The New Jerusalem has 12 gates of pearls, 12 angels at the gates and the names of the 12 tribes 
            of Israel over the gates.

            -The wall of the city has 12 foundations of precious stones; in them are the names of the 12 apostles.

            -The wall is 144 cubits high (12 x 12). The city is 12,000 furlongs square.

7             In the beginning, when God created the world, there were 12 steps. The creation story outlines how he carefully created one after the other:
            1. Heavens and Earth
            2. Day
            3. Night
            4. Sky
            5. Land
            6. Sea
            7. Vegetation
            8. Lights in the sky, that would mark sacred times, and days,
            seasons and years.
            9. Every creature of the sea.
           10. Birds of all kinds.
           11. Livestock and animals of all kind.
           12. Mankind in his image and likeness

8             The numbers 1,2 and 3 are all prime numbers and are symbolic of creation through the holy trinity. The number 12 would be reduced in numerology as 1+2=3, which means that the number 12 is also symbolic of the trinity.

9             The number 12 is our Lord’s number of completeness. And with careful analysis you’ll notice that Man, a Divine creature, is linked to Heaven both spiritually and physically, even eternally, through the number 12.

10            And then, there are of course the 12 days of Christmas.

11            All successful endeavors should be crafted around the number 12. If you are writing a book, it should have 12 chapters. If you are releasing a CD, put 12 songs on it. If you are making a documentary, divide it into 12 episodes. If you start a rent-a-car business, start out with 12 cars. Divide a difficult work into 12 phases. If you are forming a committee or board, try to choose twelve members. Everything a group of twelve does will become important. Their activity could even change history, at least within a certain micro-world. If a group of 12 stands up against you, you have to know that it is impossible to break down such a group and you should take their activities very seriously.

12            You will soon discover how much better your life is because you took time to attune yourself to the number 12. You will take great satisfaction in these choices and that all your work emerging from such a start will be much more successful if centered around the number 12. I urge all to think of all the many ways you can start incorporating this great number into your life. If you make a list, make sure that list has 12 items. I made sure this article had 12 paragraphs. The number 12 can be a great great blessing in your life. God used the number over and over because it is significant. We can do the same in our life. And a wedding on the date of 12/12/12 has to have special blessings for sure.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day

2,335 American servicemen and 68 civilians were killed that day. 1,178 were wounded. Of the casualties, 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona perished.

Many men and boys answered the call, enlisted, and served their country in the war. It was a great generation of great men. Like the sailor pictured, I salute them all. God bless you veterans one and all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The day Levi was born

How blessed am I? How grateful am I for the people and things in my life? Have you ever tried the George Bailey Technique?

George Bailey learned to be thankful. He was made to see the great impact he had had on his world. George Bailey, if you recall, is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy who constantly has his dreams thwarted because he’s always looking out for his friends and family. Ever since George was knee high to a grasshopper, he wanted to travel to exotic locales and build big things like skyscrapers and airstrips. Just when it seems he’s about to get started on making his dreams come true, some crisis happens that causes him to put them on the back burner so he can take care of other people.

Things come to a head one Christmas Eve when George’s absent-minded uncle misplaces $8,000 of the Building and Loan’s cash funds. Losing the money would mean bankruptcy for the Bailey Building and Loan and criminal charges for George. At the end of his rope, George decides to commit suicide so his family can cash his $15,000 life insurance policy and pay off the $8,000 debt.

Just before George leaps from a bridge to his icy, watery death, his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, jumps into the river and pretends he’s drowning. George, being the big-hearted guy that he is, saves Clarence. While they’re drying off, Clarence tries to talk George out of killing himself. When George bitterly wishes that he’d never been born, Clarence sees a way to convince him not to commit suicide. Through angelic powers, Clarence is able to show him what his family and Bedford Falls would have been like if George Bailey had never existed.

It’s a hell hole.

George’s younger brother dies because George wasn’t there to save him, quaint Bedford Falls turns into sleazy Pottersville, his mother is a bitter widow, and people are living in slum apartments instead of the nice homes George’s Building and Loan funded. Worst of all, George’s wife is an old maid and none of their beautiful kids exist.

As you can guess, George sees the light and begs to live again. His wish granted, he runs joyously through the streets yelling “Merry Christmas!” to everybody. He arrives home to find the authorities with a warrant in hand for his arrest, but George doesn’t care. He’s just happy to hold and kiss his kids. His wife comes in shortly after, followed by what seems like the entire town. The townsfolk all donate enough money to save George and the Building and Loan, George’s old childhood friend Sam Wainwright (hee haw!) lends George $25,000, and George’s war hero brother arrives to declare George “the richest man in Bedford Falls.”

Among the giant pile of cash, George finds a copy of Tom Sawyer that Clarence carried around with this inscription: ”Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends. P.S. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence.”

It’s at this moment that George realizes what a wonderful life he really has. By seeing what the world would be like without him, he comes to a greater understanding and appreciation for the true richness of his blessings.

I gave the George Bailey technique a try by thinking about the ways in which I might have never met Michelle and what my life would be like if I hadn’t met her and didn’t have her in my life. No Michelle would also mean no Adam, no Audrey, no Travis and no Jenna and Brandon….and no Levi. It goes on and on, a rabbit hole you can get lost in. When you play this “what if” game you quickly come to see the blessings all these people have had on your life.

And today, just hours before Levi is born, I see this day and his birth as one of the great great blessings of my life.

I can’t help but wander what influences he, Levi,  will have in this world. How many lives will be changed and impacted because he was born? It will be many, I’m sure, including mine and Michelle’s. Today I am very emotional. I am amazed and humbled and spiritually brought to my knees for the great blessing being delivered today. God loves me and he once again shows His love for me with one of the greatest blessings he can give. He blesses me and my family, especially Jenna and Brandon and I am amazed. The God I love and serve is the greatest and today I am most thankful for His love and blessings in my life.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What About Me?

Every man must decide whether to walk in the light of love or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

Selfishness perverts the mind. Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking (demanding) others to live as one wishes to live. Give an inch, and it will take a mile. Give a little, and that selfishness will want more and more and more. It is never satisfied.

Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race. It is the exact opposite of Christianity. Your conscience is the only measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Selfishness is the only real atheism. The only thing more important to a con artist than perfecting a con is perfecting a total lack of conscience; so it is with the selfish.

The rising sun can dispel the darkness of night, but it cannot banish the blackness of selfishness from the hearts of people. The world can go to hell as long as they get what they want. Intensely selfish people are always very decided as to what they wish. They do not waste their energies in considering the good of others. They have no feeling that any result which might flow from their actions should concern them. Rules are made to be broken, rules intrude on the sphere of their operations.

This thinking is encouraged in the world today. “You have needs – satisfy them.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. Do whatever makes you happy.

Only Christ can change these hearts. To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature. Godly love is always ready to deny itself, to give, sacrifice, in full measure of sincerity and intensity. Perfect love is perfect self-forgetfulness. Hence where there is love in a home, unselfishness is the law. Each forgets self and lives for others.

Selfishness mars joy. One selfish soul can destroy the sweetness of life in any home. It is like an ugly bush in the midst of a garden of flowers. Much care needs to be taken to guard against this spirit. Selfish people are hard to love because no love comes out of them. It happens often that pride and selfishness are muddled with strength and independence. They are neither equal or similar, but rather polar opposites.

God creates us free, free to be selfish.

But there are only two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Losing 100 Pounds

Have you ever dreamed of losing big? Plenty of us will shed 5-10 pounds, but what does truly significant weight loss feel like? What does it feel like to wake up one day and find yourself 100 pounds lighter? Well, ask Audrey Wise. She did it.

Losing 100 pounds is absolutely incredible. It is life-changing.

Is there anything harder to do? Quitting smoking, quitting drugs and quitting alcohol come to mind. But this certainly ranks right up at the top with the hardest things to do. You have almost everything working against you. You have cravings. You have people around you eating all sorts of yummy stuff, almost tempting you to have what they are having. Advertisements abound everywhere drawing you to their products. Fast food everywhere.

Only the strong can survive all this. The weak cave and give in.

It not only takes strength, it takes character. You set in your heart and in your mind standards and principles. You set rules and guidelines for your life. Then you follow them and live your life with no budging.

Not only character it takes focus and determination. There are plenty of days you will hear a voice that tells you to give it up. But you don’t listen and stick to it, regardless of how hard it is.

It takes perseverance, because it takes time to lose weight.

It takes planning and scheduling. This is not something for the weak my friend.

Audrey Wise is a rock star. She did it. I could not be any more proud.

I am proud, not just because she lost the weight. I am even more proud of the person she became in order to meet all the obstacles. She showed me she has the strength. She showed me she has the character. She showed me she has the focus and determination. And she showed me she has the perseverance. She is in this for the long haul. Audrey has become a person I really like and admire.

Yes, absolutely, Audrey Wise is a rock star. Congratulations on a major life achievement.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

When You are Good at Pool - The World is Your Oyster!

Yes, You can be a Winner!
Few team captains have more tenure than I here in our East Dallas APA league. Right now I can only think of two or three who might have longer tenure than me. That is only to say I have watched a lot of pool, and played many games myself. I am coming up on the 500 mark soon. There is no telling how many I have watched. I have learned a bit along the way. The trick to winning is easier than you may think. With a couple good tips and good habits you will be winning right and left.

Don't Try to be Fancy
One of the most basic tips that can help you is to just keep it simple. We watch those really good pool players and we wish we could make the shots they do, and so we try to do what they do. They have a tendency to make it look easy, so we think we can do the same. But what looks easy for them can be difficult for us. When you have a choice, take the shot that is easy for you. Take the shot you are comfortable with. Save those hard shots until you have had more time to practice them. If you go ahead and try the hard shot, most of the time you will miss, and this can hurt your game by often leaving an easy shot for your opponent. Just keep it simple and don’t be trying to impress anyone. This will bring your odds of winning way up. Don’t line up to shoot a shot you have never made. Others may can make it and so you think you should try it. But don’t. Stay with what you know you can do.

Control the Table
Sometimes the best shot is not to try and make a ball. Sometimes you need to play defense. You should try to leave the cue ball somewhere that makes a really hard shot for your opponent. Ball in hand is always better than a difficult shot, so play defense, hide the cue ball, or somehow leave a hard shot for the opponent and put the burden on the opponent to come up with a brilliant shot. He misses and then you get ball in hand or an easy shot and suddenly you have the advantage. Then you can run a few balls and then try to hide it again. You control the table. And when you successfully control the table more often than not you will be a winner.

Watch Your Opponent
There is more to winning than just making balls. It is about knowing your opponent. Do you play chess? It is sometimes like a game of chess. Pay attention to their strengths and weaknesses. Take notice of their tendencies. When you see them miss side pocket shots, cut shots or miss long full length of the table shots or whatever it is you notice, then take advantage of that knowledge and use it against them. Make them play from their weakness. Your opponent gives away valuable clues and if you take notes it can help you. If they are short, for example, and have a hard time reaching a certain type of shot, keep that in the back of your mind and it just may come in handy for a strong defensive shot. Again, it is that kind of knowledge that gives you a winning advantage. Evaluate their style and then counter to make them struggle and shoot the shots they are most uncomfortable with. It is this kind of knowledge that can put a victory in your pocket. Brains vs. Brawn, as they say. Play smart and you can many times beat the better player.

Practice, Control, Strategy and Confidence
Pick any shot you want and practice it over and over. Then when that shot comes up in the game, you will approach it with confidence because you know you have practiced it over and over. Then pick another shot and practice it over and over. Same thing. Before long, most of the shots you routinely come across in a game are the same shots you have been practicing day after day. You will amaze yourself as you see your basic skills improving each week. You shoot with confidence and this makes all the difference. Practice, table control, strategy and confidence are the secret weapons you need to put a mark for you in the win column. Good luck and good shooting.

"Ric The Beautiful"

Friday, September 14, 2012

On the Edge of Glory

Have you heard the song, by Lady GaGa?
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
I'm on the edge

The song has been stuck in my head all day, since last night really. It got me to thinking.

"Glory" is one of the most common words in scripture. It is used to express importance, honor and majesty. We read of the “glory of the Lord.”

In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, 'Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.

In the gospel of John, Jesus addresses a long prayer to God in which he says:

I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world existed.

The glory of God is the express greatness of his splendor, beauty, excellence, majesty, magnificence and honor. Therefore glorifying God means to acknowledge His greatness, and give Him honor by praising and worshiping Him, primarily because He, and He alone, deserves to be praised, honored and worshipped. God’s glory is the essence of His nature, and we give glory to Him by recognizing that essence.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 4:17

So while the Lord is glorified, the growth and development of a Christian has been described as a process – culminating in Glorification. Glorification is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. This includes developing to that point where we glorify God through our life on earth, to decrease so that He may increase so that as others encounter a living breathing Christian who is walking in Glorification, they encounter Christ and perceive His Glory and His presence.

But it also speaks of afterlife. After the final judgment, all the righteous dead shall arise and their bodies will be perfected and will become a glorified body. Only then can they enter Heaven. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis’s Weight of Glory: "If we were to see them in their glorified forms we would be tempted to bow down and worship them." Many people believe that this body will be very similar to the one Christ had after He rose from the dead, or likened to an angel. That is, a perfect body fit for the needs of eternal life in a new Heaven and new Earth.

What kind of body will it be? All I know is it will not be the kind of body we are familiar with.

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, raised in incorruption, sown in dishonor, raised in glory. Sown in weakness, raised in power. Sown a natural body, raised a Spiritual Body.” 1 Corthinians 15:42

He contrasts the body we now have with what we will have. All I know is that it will be a body on a higher level, and of a higher quality than the one we have now. It will be glorious. It will be strong and spiritual. It will never wear out or corrupt. And it is the kind of body you could enjoy being in paradise in. Isn’t it?

Glory – Sometimes the word is used as a place. The Bible says about Jesus,

“God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1Timothy 3:16

The Apostle Peter identified himself not only as an elder, not only as a witness of the sufferings of Christ, but also a

“partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” 1 Peter 5:1

All of which is to say, that when I hear the song they play a lot today, “on the edge of glory” I can’t help but think of how I am on that edge spiritually. I am almost there. I could be a day away, or a year, or many years, but nevertheless on that edge of glory. I can see the end. I just need to be strong, and stay strong, and don’t let anything or anyone get in my way of my goal. I must resist the temptations of the world and remain spiritual and focused on glory. I must keep this glory in my mind and on my heart. I want this desire for glory to direct my life, my decisions and my choices.

“He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. And her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Revelations 21:10

“partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.” 1 Peter 5:1

I am on the edge of glory, and I can’t wait. On the edge of knowing and seeing the Lord’s glory, having that new glorious body, and going home – received up into glory.

The things of this world, the hard times we have and face, the suffering, poverty, crime, wars etc., impact Christians and non-Christians alike. By remembering that we are “not of this world,” remembering that these things are just for a little while, we can see them in a different light. We are still surrounded by all the horrors and tragedy of this life, but this is not our life. The knowledge that we are not of this world gives us Christians hope even in the darkest times. This messed up world is not where we belong, and it is not where we will stay.

We are here for a while. Meanwhile we wait. I am waiting, knowing I am on the edge of glory.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2Cor4:16-18

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Watching the Olympics started me to thinking about Greatness, but in a different way than thought about in sports. I know many Great people. They are prepared, situated, and ready for their call to Greatness. Whether that call comes or when it will come I don’t know, but I know they are ready.

You see, Greatness comes only to those who have spent a lifetime preparing for it.

The qualities of a great man are integrity, vision, courage, understanding, the skill of articulation and the depth of Character. Mostly Character. Character motivates. In its noblest embodiments, it exemplifies human nature in its highest forms, for it exhibits man at his best.

Men of genuine excellence in every station of life—men of industry, of integrity, of high principle, of sterling honesty of purpose—command the spontaneous homage of mankind. It is natural to believe in such men, to have confidence in them, and to imitate them. All that is good in the world is upheld by them, and without their presence in it the world would not be worth living in.

Character mostly secures respect. Character is the product of heart-power and in the long run it is the heart that rules in life. Men of Character are held up by society in relation to their conscience.

To that list of qualities of greatness, I would add decisiveness. That is, the ability to take command, decide and act. There arrives a moment when soft speaking should be abandoned and a fight to the end undertaken. Any man who hopes to exercise leadership must be ready to meet the requirements face to face when it happens; unless he is ready to fight when necessary, people will begin to ignore him.

The qualities of goodness in a man, I believe include a genuine sympathy for the human condition, that is, and awareness of human weakness and shortcomings and a willingness to be forgiving of them, a sense of responsibility toward others, a genuine modesty combines with a justified self-confidence, a sense of humor, and most of all, a love of life and of people.

Every man can strive to develop the qualities of a good and great man; he needn’t wait for an emergency to spur him into action. For some men, their lives will intersect with a crisis that calls upon the talents and skills they have spent years cultivating, presenting them with an opportunity to serve and lead and become a Great man. No man knows if and when such a chance will arrive.

Whether the chance for a man to lead in a dramatic way ever comes or not, doesn’t matter. The man who spends a life-time cultivating the traits of goodness and greatness enjoys the confidence of being ready for whatever comes and the competence to handle the small emergencies in his day-to-day life. He will be revered for generations by family and loved ones, and if fate requires him to exercise the traits of greatness, will be remembered by history books as well. Either way, he will be able to look back at the end of his life with a satisfaction of knowing it was well-lived.

Personally, I always try to give my best. Whatever the day calls for, I try to give it my best. If I am working for someone, I want them to miss me when I am gone. You may not get the promotion, or even the job, but the true satisfaction is in knowing you did the best you could. If the road traveled seems to be leading to a dead end, if the less than exciting duties seem pointless, put it aside and focus on the work at hand, focus on helping others, and make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in on any given day. It is this attitude, this daily attitude, that prepares you for Greatness.

Thus of all the lessons I have gleaned from life, this has been the most memorable: to work and train hard every day and every year, even when it seems your efforts are fruitless, because you never know when you will be called upon to lead others through a crisis, and when your goodness will get the opportunity to become Greatness.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tootsie is our two year old miniature dachshund. This week she was our hero.

First some background. Michelle (my wife) has been dealing with diabetes for over a year now.  She constantly monitors her blood sugar (blood glucose) level due to how it sometimes gets too low and other times rises too high. 

Michelle takes diabetes pills. These medicines help 1) the blood sugar from getting too high, and 2) take the sugar out of the blood and get it into the body's cells, which makes the level of sugar in the blood go down. But sometimes it's a tricky balancing act and blood sugar levels can get too low.

One danger is that the blood sugar can fall fast enough and low enough to cause unconsciousness. It can get severe enough to cause unconsciousness during sleep. If you lapse into a diabetic coma, you’re alive – but can’t awaken or respond to sights, sounds or other types on stimulation. Left untreated, a diabetic coma can be fatal.

Ok, so Michelle was sleeping.  Suddenly, Tootsie starts licking her face, something she has never done before. Michelle wakes up with Tootsie all in her face, licking her, and trying to wake her up.  As soon as she was awake she realized she was in distress. She knew from past experiences her blood sugar was low.  She got up and pricked her finger to find it was so low it didn’t even register.  She ate some candy and ate an orange. The blood sugar slowly was raised to 51 and then to 57 and finally up to an acceptable level.

We have Tootsie to thank for recognizing the danger Michelle was in and waking her up. Tootise saved her life.

And then, later this week, it happened again.  This time Michelle woke up with Tootsie clawing and scratching her face, again something she never does. Tootsie was determined to get her awake. And she did, in time for Michelle to correct the problem again.

There is an organization called Dogs for Diabetics, in which dogs are trained to alert diabetics of just such. They are trained to identify and act upon subtle scent changes that low blood sugar creates in body chemistry, changes undetectable to humans. 

But our Tootsie wasn’t trained.  She just came by it naturally I guess.  Thank you Lord for sending us Tootsie.  And thank you Tootsie for keeping my baby safe. Tootsie was a hero.