Friday, December 20, 2013

Standing Tall

It doesn't happen often but at times we just feel tall. Erect we stand, refreshed for the challenges that are about to beset us--we feel prepared, confident and able. There's a certain joy about us, a skip in our step. It may be short lived but even so, it is tremendous when we have that feeling. We believe, we have faith, we stand tall.

Some have trouble with this sometimes. They lose confidence easily. I see people who you can tell have given up, even before that got started. I see it in the pool league often. Somebody steps up to start a match, and you know they have already decided they are going to lose. Or someone goes on a job interview and they have already decided they will not get the job. And it usually works out that way.

Standing Tall is not only about having confidence in ourselves. Part of standing tall is remaining true to convictions. We believe what we believe. It is how we were raised, it is what we believe to be important. It is an issue/idea/concept that we are not going to budge on. Those issues and principles vary from person to person. I may “stand tall” against abortion, and you may “stand tall” against “spanking” a child, while someone else “stands tall” against “drinking.” Some principles we hold near and dear, they are important to us, and for such there will not be any compromise.

The media seeks to move our “moral boundaries.” It has been going on for years. Show after show uses storylines and characters to try to influence us to believe certain things are “ok” and acceptable. I remember when many things were unacceptable. Many were considered shameful. No upstanding citizen would ever consider certain activities. Then the media went to work on us. Slowly they introduced to us the idea of something that was once considered “taboo” , well it might not be so bad. They give us a “likeable” character, show some activity he is involved in, and over time, we might move our “moral boundary.” We “like” the character, so we “learn” to accept his way of life.

And there was a time the “Bible Belt” ruled. Jerry Falwell would pop up on TV and tell everyone that “so and so” was not “all-right.” The Moral Majority had a voice and a strong one. Jessie Jackson would show up on TV and preach to us to hold true to our convictions - Don’t be swayed – Don’t give in. Billy Graham stood for what was right, and was there to remind us less we had been watching TV more than we had been reading our bibles. We had moral leaders. We had those who stood up against this and that, and tried to keep these movements down and from gaining a strong hold in our communities and hearts. There was a battle. It was a war. A bloody war.

Now it seems to me the war is over. TV won.

I’m still over here “standing tall” but sometimes I feel like the Lone Ranger.

Good Morning

I was raised/taught to say "good morning" when you first see someone, very much the same way you say please and thank you.  You don't just ignore someone and not say "good morning."  Hiding behind a shield of not being a  "morning" person is asinine and nothing more than an excuse to be rude.  You can choose to be courteous, and whether you do or don't has absolutely nothing to do with being a ‘morning person’. It has everything to do with how you view yourself, the world, and the people around you. Negative people are much less likely to be courteous. 

It “don’t cost nothing” to say good morning.... As I said, It “don’t cost nothing” to say good morning. 

Each of us represent more than just ourselves as we interact with individuals. We reflect our family. Husbands reflect on their wives, wives reflect on their husbands, children reflect on their parents. And some clearly never learned “good manners.”  Speaking and acknowledging another person’s presence is an expectation. Overlooking one’s habit of not speaking because they are not a “morning person” doesn’t help change the rude behavior. I believe that “courtesy is contagious” and the smile and greeting may be the first friendly gesture another person has experienced that day. Keep on smiling and speaking. 

I don’t expect anyone to go out of their way to INITIATE a greeting with me, but if I pass you in the hall and you ignore me, that is really rude, especially if you do it routinely. Soon, the polite people stop bothering with it and it fosters a culture of not speaking to one another – what a lousy place to work or live! Educated people should know better. And not being a morning person is no excuse for rudeness. What if I’m not an “afternoon person” and I snub you in the afternoons, is that OK?   Ridiculous. 

Are you really going to treat me like a stranger?  You’re walking down the hall and a co-worker is walking toward you. Now, I’m not talking about a bear hug or a kiss. Still, it doesn’t kill anyone to smile and nod to let others know they exist in your world. Too busy for a quick “hi”? No, you’re not.  I am not talking about being perky!!! I am talking about a simple “hi” or a slight nod or smile! The excuse that you are “not a morning person ” doesn’t fly. Decent, respectful people greet each other in the morning…..and that’s all I am going to say on the matter.  It does seem as if some folks have never been held accountable for this. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Time to Walk Away

This is for you, if you are one who has not been lucky in love. I hope I can help. I want to at least. Perhaps you have chosen a partner who did not want what you wanted, did not feel what you felt, and did not want to walk beside you into a future together.

I have really had to sit with this and think deep and hard because I want to help you find the happiness you deserve. Sometimes you find yourself with someone who is not only not-walking with you, but subtly trying to kick your feet out from under you every chance they get.

In the beginning you thought you had found beautiful love and today you find you have a beautiful disaster. Love is a blessing, this we know. Unrequited love is toxic, and it can eat you alive.

Sometimes we fall in love with a person before we have fully come to know them. Othertimes it is not that so much but simply that they changed. They are not the same anymore. One day you are over the moon and the next disillusioned. Something rocked the pedestal. Sometimes we can recover and sometimes we can’t.

Loyalty and commitment teach us that we are not to walk away from people that we love. No one has preached more and stressed more intensely the need for forgiveness. It is important. How can we expect forgiveness from the Lord if we are not forgiving ourselves, especially to the one we made those vows with? But there is another side to that coin. And we need to see the other side of the coin too.

When your relationship is unbalanced and one person is hurting, how much is enough? How many pieces are supposed to break and how damaged can we allow ourselves to get before we accept that this type of love isn’t healthy? Love and relationships require work and responsibility, but at the same time there is a bending point and a breaking point.

Here are some things I do know:

1. If there is a feeling better than love, I have not felt it. Take the risk and dive in with everything you have.

2. Enjoy the good times together as they are happening and be grateful for them. Enjoy, but remember to give thanks.

3. Stay out of the future and in the moment. Now is certain.

4. Protect both your heart and your partner’s. We are human and we deserve kindness. We don’t need to add to the burdens we already carry by hurting others. Trust me, it doesn’t make things better.

5. If your relationship starts to crumble, know when to put it down and let it be. Don’t grind it into dust.

6. You cannot continue to give to another person when you are so broken, so beaten down that you have no energy left. When talking has failed and words no longer have meaning, this is when you know it is over. When you feel like this, you have to do what is best for everyone and wave the white flag to avoid further damage.

7. Some things just won’t work, no matter how badly we wish they would. Sometimes the match that felt so right just isn’t. Please don’t do more damage to your heart by trying to fix something that has past its expiration date. It will leave you raw.

8. It is okay to walk away from something that hurts you. It doesn’t require blame or justification. It just requires you to stop fanning the flames. There is a time to “shake off the dust from your feet.” The Lord knows if you have done your best. And if you can honestly say to yourself that you did your best then I know that later in life when you look back at this time you will not have any regrets because you will feel the peace that comes with knowing you did your best.

You will find love again, and next time it will feel better.

It WILL feel better. Life isn’t easy. Some things build us up and some tear us down. Our hearts expand and break and rebuild—repeatedly. We are constantly learning and changing and growing. When you find yourself in a bad situation, please stop picking at scabs. Nothing good has ever come from this. Stop the cycle. Surround yourself with loving relationships.

I think some don’t believe in their heart that they will ever find true love, and subconsciously chose partners pre-prepared for a challenge ahead. But you don’t need to settle for a challenge. You need not put yourself in a situation where you don’t know where you stand in their life, a place where you feel unsteady and unloved.

My heart truly goes out to the people out there who are in just such a bad place. I know much it hurts. I'm on the other side of that kind of pain and I can tell you and want to say that it will get better, I promise!

You may think you will never be happy again - just not true. There is a day coming where you will be consistently happy, balanced, and more joyful than ever. You will learn from this, learn more about yourself, even the dark side.

You will learn to be more honest, because you have learned how damaging ambivalence, ambiguity and misconceptions can be. You learn to appreciate the day, because you will have learned and become aware that it all can be over tomorrow, or in an hour, even in a moment. It is a poignant feeling, but not really that unpleasant. It makes you truly enjoy every moment you are together and reminds you to keep each day and the rest of your life as vibrant and exciting as possible.

I urge you to take the time needed to fall in love with yourself. Sometimes we place such a high importance on loving someone else, but what about ourselves? Where have you heard “love your neighbor as you love yourself?” We can’t give what we don’t have. We must love and honor ourselves before we can take the next step of loving someone else. We need this foundation. Once in place you are ready to build. Your house needs this solid foundation or you won’t be able to withstand the winds when they come. So take time now and build your foundation. And look forward to a better day, a brighter day and a happier day. It is coming. And it will be awesome, a love just as awesome as you.

Blessing to you, Ric

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


59 and still fine!  toot-toot.

I'm grateful to have lasted so long - In reasonable good health and nearly always good humour - With a fair number of good friends and an astonishingly large crowd of "Family." Still growing too -- we got babies showing up now.

Seems like a good age, I like both the numbers that make up 59, FIVE as well as NINE. I have a fondness for primes and a special fondness for 5 because it's so friendly, so reliable -- like a precisely ticking clock -- its multiplication table so gentle on the nerves that it takes no effort at all to know it.

As for 9! Whoa. It's got quasi-magical qualities, for which reason it is so often at the heart of number-puzzles. Its multiplication table isn't quite as obvious as 5's but it's still very cool. For instance the digits add up to 9 -- you know: 18 (1+8 = 9); 27 (2+7=9) etc. There's a lot of stuff like that connected with nine. My favorite number.

And the other thing I like about 59 is the sense of being on the brink of the abyss ... right John?

Part of my continual excitement about my birthday, every year, is that I never expected to live this long. I honestly didn't think I'd make it past 30. Yet here I am, close to being one year away from DOUBLE THIRTY.

Not quite there yet, but one year away. One measly year.

(and I may not make it. Who knows? There are no guarantees. Except the fact that there are no guarantees).


59. And still Fine.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Secret to Learning How To Forgive

Learning how to forgive others is one of the hardest things to do. Jesus could do it. But can we?

We have all been hurt. Some worse than others. Many more than me. We lack confidence too. Some days we seem to soar with confidence, but all it takes it seems is for one wrong thing to happen and we are ready to give up or fall apart. You see, the problem, I finally figured out, is that we forget who we are.

I am a child of God. God accepted me into his family. I am a son of God. And my value, my worth, comes only from my relationship to Him. Sometimes we forget. My true worth as a person does not come from being so handsome :), and it does not come from my net worth. My value as a person does not depend on the car I drive or the house I live in. It does not come from the family I was born into. It is not connected to being smart, or my job or anything like that. My true worth does not come from who I am married to. When you finally look closely, it boils down to this. I am a child of God. The trouble is that we forget.

We hear the TV talk to us. The TV talks to us constantly, one show after another, day after day after day. It talks to us about revenge, getting even, about being enraged. The TV tells us all the wrong things. The TV tells us to demand certain things from people, like respect and fair play. The TV tells us to seek other’s approval. The TV tells us all the time we should be enraged over this or that and this or that should not be tolerated. The TV lies to us. Not realizing that and taking our eyes off God, his acceptance, His love and His plan for our life and putting our attention elsewhere, we set ourselves up to be hurt.

Sometimes we are insulted. Someone has something ugly to say about us. Sometimes our critics have ulterior motives. An old proverb from India goes, "Some men try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others." They try to make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. You have probably had the experience of being put down by a nasty remark. When that happens, it is easy to forget that others are broken just like us.

Jesus understood that people are broken. No one knows us like He. He forgave the tax collectors. He forgave the prostitutes. And he forgave even Peter for betraying him. On his last day he forgave those who killed him. He knows we all are weak. And he stands ready to forgive us all.

Forgiveness. How do we let it go?

The answer is in trusting God. You trust God for salvation, don’t you? We have to trust him to make things right when we forgive. He will heal our wound so we can move on. We have to depend on Him instead of ourselves.

It is almost against our human nature. But it is the secret of the Christian life, and the secret to forgiving. We just have to trust God. It sometimes can be hard. But is it certainly not complicated. It is the only way to forgive.

I have made mistakes. Some much bigger than others. To all of you who were hurt by my mistakes and chose to forgive me, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To any who still have lingering hurt over somthing I did or said, I am sorry.  I am truly sorry and I hope you can forgive.  If we need to talk about it, I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you face to face and ask your forgiveness.

To all who have hurt me at one time or another, today I forgive you. Today, it is over. All is forgiven. Nothing more needs to be said or done, as far as I am concerned.  I forgive you and that is that.  The slate is clean. Everything I was holding on to, I have let it go, and God took it away, far away, as far as the east is from the west.  May God bless us all.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pool League Sportsmanship

Good sportsmanship is essential in the APA Pool League. I love (as I’m sure you do) and enjoy players who are fun to play with and against, have a positive attitude whether they win or lose, always play by the rules and who go out of their way to make sure everyone has a great time playing in the league. I love players who can win or lose with dignity and respect for their opponent and still visit/party together and enjoy each other’s company. It is such a pleasure to be around those who are fair, courteous and polite day-in and day-out, win or lose.

For most of us, good sportsmanship comes naturally out of respect for others and the game we love, and our behavior is not swayed by our winning or losing. While good sportsmanship may come easy to most of us, sometimes those with a competitive nature need a little practice to put sportsmanship at the top of their game.

We don’t come to APA events to be insulted, offended or disturbed by unsportsmanlike conduct.

The APA (American Poolplayers Association) was founded on the premise of offering amateur pool players the opportunity to get together with friends, family and co-workers to have a fun and relaxing time playing pool. It is intended to be a family friendly event, an event men would not be afraid to invite the wives or kids to watch or join in.

Good manners are imperative and important to the honor of the League. We all appreciate players who boost the morale of players and teams by complementing opponent’s good shots. We appreciate and enjoy those who smile, shake hands, give high-fives and talk friendly to opponents. Tell your opponents "good game!" whether you've won or you've lost.

Recognize and appreciate good performances, especially by the opponent. Applause for an opponent’s good play demonstrates generosity and courtesy and it shows a true awareness of the game and ability.

We see bad examples on TV in the sports world all the time. For many the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost. Some today feel no shame for their awful behavior. While winning at all costs and poor sportsmanship may be condoned and even promoted in professional sports, this does not mean it is acceptable for us normal people to behave this way. We have seen plenty of bad examples. We need good examples. We need leaders. Be the leader, set the example and be everything we expect from Ladies and Gentlemen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

According to Medical Studies

According to medical studies, sloppy handwriting skills of doctors are responsible for over 7000 deaths each year.

According to medical studies, chocolate milk is more beneficial for sportsmen than any other sports drink.

According to medical studies, studies found that women were least attracted to smiling, happy men, preferring those who looked proud and powerful or moody and ashamed.

According to medical studies, eleven well reported medical studies show cigarette smoking actually LOWERS Alzheimers risk.

According to medical studies, humans can theoretically survive on a diet entirely composed of nothing but potatoes and butter.

According to medical studies, 166 cups of Expresso within 24 hours are enough to kill a man.

According to medical studies, cows claim more human lives than sharks.

According to medical studies, mangoes enhance a marijuana high, allowing you to get “higher” more effectively.

According to medical studies, falling in love produces the same high as taking cocaine.

According to medical studies, sugar is the only taste that humans are born craving.

According to medical studies, right-brained people are more creative, while left-brained people are more logical.

According to medical studies, more than 60% of all human illness and disease is caused by stress.

According to medical studies, it takes 4 seconds for silence to become awkward.

According to medical studies, your IQ will be about 10 points higher if you are breast fed as a child.

According to medical studies, heavy use of Facebook is linked to stomach aches, sleeping problems, anxiety, depression and narcissism in teens.

According to medical studies, listening to music an hour a day helps reduce chronic pain by up to 21% and depression by up to 25%.

According to medical studies, 40% of people said that they would ignore and avoid anyone in real life who unfriended them on Facebook.

According to medical studies, eating a small amount of chocolate in the morning can help you easier burn calories and lose weight throughout the day.

According to medical studies, a bacon sandwich can cure a hangover.

According to medical studies, people who laugh a lot are healthier than those who don’t.

According to medical studies, except for identical twins, every person on Earth has a unique smell as unique as their fingerprint.

According to medical studies, in the past 10 years, the median bra size in the U.S. has increased from a 36C to a 36DD.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Are You With Me Or Against Me?

Matt 12: 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad.

The term “Scattereth abroad” - This seems to have been a proverbial form of speech, and may be a metaphor taken from shepherds. He who does not help the true shepherd to gather his flock into the fold is, most likely, one who wishes to scatter them, that he may have the opportunity of stealing and destroying them.

There are two great interests in the world – Right and Wrong.

There is no medium. You have to take a stand for what is right, or stand with and for what is wrong. There is an open war between right and wrong. You can’t be neutral. If you are not on the side of what is right, you are reckoned an enemy. No neutrality is possible. Either you are with me or against me.

In or out? Which is it? It is a fair question that everyone has to answer for himself. Your answer comes from the heart, the only place that counts. Not just words off your lips but silent words from the innermost heart.

You may go back and forth a little, undecided, but finally you have to show your cards.

Where will you stand?

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? Joshua 5:13

Where do you want to stand, with the good guys, or with the bad guys?