Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Around again

One year is ending, with all its joy and sorrow. Another will commence, with hope for tomorrow. Time truly is the fire in which we burn.

We base our lives on the planet's revolutions around the sun. A person's age is determined by how many of these they have lived through. Everything we do takes place in the midst of a solar orbit.

Thus, we decide the importance of a year by what we have done during that time. You take the good and the bad, separate them into individual piles, and then see what kind of year you had.

In one stack are miseries aplenty. There will have been losses and failures, disappointments and defeats. We try not to dwell on these things, like ignoring the black dot on the white piece of paper.

The other stack is full of joy. We think about gains and successes, surprises and victories.  Though seemingly few, they surround all else.

A year is merely another voyage around the sun. It is what we do that gives it relevance. We decide if it will be an arduous journey or a pleasant trip.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Giving of ourselves

I have crossed from hill to coast this night. Through deep fog and pounding rain, I have persevered. It was all for the sake of Christmas.

This is a time to spend with our loved ones. We give and receive, blessing as we have been blessed. No other day so captures the imagination of both young and old.

Oh, the aggravations of the season! And yet, there are few joys greater a child’s when they see all the presents beneath the tree. The frustration almost seems worth it…

There are smiling faces and cheery greetings as you walk down the street. Talk leans toward peace and joy, instead of the daily grind. The grumpy still remain, but good will overpowers them.

It is a time for reflection, and for appreciation. We consider others more than at any other time of the year. This is a season of giving, and we give of ourselves.

Were we to forget, it would slowly fade away. The world would once more become a cold and callous place. It is Christmas that reminds us of what is best: may we never lose the smiles behind the paper and bows.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The bearing of burdens

What is this obsession with bringing others down? The world is not always a happy place, but it is where we live. And even if my life is a misery, there is no reason it should spread.

I am not saying we should not grieve. It is a natural thing, and necessary for healing. However, we should not seek to reduce others  to our emotional state.

That does not mean putting on a happy face. When the pain is great, release comes in the shedding of tears. There is no shame in pouring one's heart out through the eyes.

There are people who live to make others miserable. Their very existence is poisonous. Hopefully, this rancor will result in a shorter lifespan.

Only those who bear their own burdens have the strength to help another. If anyone promises you a rose garden, be prepared to feel the thorns. No one's life is easy: we just struggle with different things.

It is hard enough to stand with the fallen scattered about. Do no harm, and help yourself thereby. Live to build up, and the destroyers will be put to shame.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Artful inspiration

They were about twenty-two pages long and the cover art was superb. The interior artwork was still pretty good, but it was the story that kept me coming back each month. I got some of my best inspiration from comic books.

There were changes over the years: more pages were added, the interior artwork was rendered crisply. Comic books grabbed the attention of my young mind and held it. Whenever I finished one, I would be anxious to read another.

At one point, I had a subscription to over thirty titles. I collected several entire series, and was always looking for more. I was so enamored that I would even buy comics introducing all the characters...

I had to get rid of most of them when I moved. Thankfully, I was now old enough to truly appreciate actual books. But I fondly recall those hours spent reading each issue.

The stories were many and varied, but they mainly told of heroes and the villains they faced. There were so many colorful characters, and the storylines were gritty and dramatic. People's lives were being affected, so it was not always easy to know the right thing to do.

I learned how to make compelling characters, and to build engaging plots. Fun is a priority, and the ending cannot be too predictable. After all, the best story is the one that leaves you wanting more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Infinitely precious

We are just a speck upon a speck in the cosmos. The sun could swallow the earth and it would not feel a thing. In spite of this, our place in the universe is secure.

Our planetary system is one of many in the Milky Way. We can barely even see their stars in the night sky. Still, there is one thing that makes us stand out.

There are stars that dwarf our own. And some systems contain more than one. Yet, something infinitely precious resides here.

Some regions of space contain clusters of stars. Their light is beyond blinding. But we have the one thing without which nothing else matters.

The universe is made up of countless galaxies filled with celestial bodies. It is wondrous to behold, with beauty nigh impossible to fathom. Yet, that is what sets us apart: we can appreciate it.

One person that cares, is worth more than all the stars in the sky. What does it matter if they all went out, if there was no one around to enjoy them? For the night holds no fear, if there are none to greet the day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The value of a day

A day has only the value we give it. So, it is essential that we value some days above others. At these times, we are reminded of what is truly important.

There is very little difference between one twenty-four hour period and the next. Only in the midst of our journey around the sun, do the seasons change. Otherwise, days remain much the same.

We must make time to spend with our loved ones. This will not be given, nor gotten without a fight. And even when we have it, the world will plot to take it away.

Precious things are lost because of indifference. Once something is taken for granted, it tends not to be appreciated. Be wary, there will always be those who will snatch up what you cast away.

The selfish take from those who make. And then wonder why no one will stand up for them. It is better to stand aside and watch them get what they deserve.

A special day should not be spent in the normal way. It should be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest. Wisdom places some days above others, to overcome the monotony that is the every day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holding on

Living is harder than dying. To die, you merely let go; to live, you must keep going. Even when death is sure, the misery is what you must live through before the body finally succumbs.

When I learned I was diabetic, the fear was not in the deadly nature of my condition. Rather, it was the likelihood that my demise would come after much suffering. I was keenly aware, as well, that pieces of me could be lost in the process.

Medical problems stack up like wooden blocks. The higher the tower, the more chances it will come tumbling down. Especially when the table is shaking beneath you...

The medicine helps, but it does not heal. It enables us to go on, in spite of the pain. It treats the symptoms, but not the problem.

There is no use dreading the inevitable. We are still alive, and there is much left to do. Let the storms rage, but we will stand firm.

Life is tough: we must be tougher. Hold on to that which you hold dear. These things are done for those we hold dear, and for ourselves: to cherish each moment, and waste not a one.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Playing the game

Role-playing games exercise the imagination. With a toss of the dice, a character is born. Once the details are written down, you are ready to dive into an adventure.

To truly understand someone, you must walk a mile in their shoes. Playing a character is just that: getting into the heart, soul  and mind of another person. And then, moving about in their world.

If done correctly, they will not sound like you. Each character has their own thoughts and feelings and this should come out in your performance. To do it right, they must be people.

The scenarios are varied and the challenges diverse. The setting can be in any place at any time. The goal is survival, and death is always a possibility.

The mood of these games runs the gamut, as well: excitement, terror, mystery, romance. There is battle with swords, shooting with guns, and even the wielding of eldritch power. You can fight monstrous beasts or evil sorcerers; zombies or vampires; ghosts or dimensional beings.

Just as in any story, characters are the life's blood of the game. If evil wins, all is lost; you must fight to overcome and live to fight again. There is a lesson here: our lives are like the game, and it is not over until all of the hit points are gone.    

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Break time

We all need a break. The cares of this life pile on, until you can barely stand. If not an ordeal, it is a nuisance.

Why are these things so important? Problems do not go away, they merely go into hiding. And you can be sure that, once you begin to feel good, they will rear their ugly heads once more.

We struggle with that which is beyond our power. It is like trying to remove the grains of sand from a beach. If you were to succeed, you would have a big pile of nothing.

There are things that we love to do. Not all are aimless pursuits to pass the time. Some reach deep into our being, drawing forth objects of wonder.

We desire to make things better. And this is a worthy use of our time. Human beings can transcend their mortality by making that which lasts.

Enjoyment is the very purpose of our being. A miserable life is not worth living. Beyond the drudgery of our daily existence, is a land fashioned of love and peopled by imagination.    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fire and ice

It is not just the undead we must contend with. There are wolves among us, as well. These beasts in human form will devour the weak in a desperate attempt to satisfy the gnawing hunger within.

Desire forces these creatures to act. They want power and will do anything to get it. No sacrifice is too great to fulfill their wicked agenda.

If zombies are ice, then wolves would be fire. They sink their teeth into whatever they wish to have. To give in, is to be consumed.

To fight them, you must be alert. Note how they hunt, and learn to evade. There are too many to destroy them all, so keep moving so as not to be overwhelmed.

A wolf may promise you a place in the pack, but understand that your life is forfeit at their whim. Besides, to join them you must become a monster. They have no use for human beings.

Wolves trump zombies because of their desire. It is better to care, but dangerous to want. They will stop at nothing, even if the whole world is engulfed in the conflagration.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Zombie apocalypse

The zombie apocalypse is upon us! No, the undead are not out to consume the living. Rather, there are so many that everything is in danger of grinding to a halt.

A person that does not care is dead while they yet live, hence a zombie. They move and breathe, but nothing is better for it. Instead, things are worse, because they are using up precious resources.

Zombies do not even care for themselves, leading to all kinds of health problems. The stench of death follows them: it is a rotting from within. Yet these things shamble about, taking up space.

All of this is unnecessary. Life is about living and doing and being. If a person is truly alive, a living death cannot claim them.

Indifference will spread until only a husk remains. Not caring is a slippery slope: you stop caring about others, stop caring about yourself, and then the body eventually succumbs. But everyone around you suffers in the meantime.

Live while you still can! Every breath is precious, and not to be wasted. Be the person you were meant to be. Let death be merely the end of a fulfilling life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Predictably unpredictable

People become jaded easily. After awhile, they claim to know all of your tricks. Sometimes you need to throw a few curves just to keep the game interesting.

It is not enough to go left when expected to go right. They will pick up on the pattern. Rather it is best to be predictably unpredictable.

You cannot take someone for granted if you do not know what the grant is for. Keep moving, while they are busy figuring you out. What if the solving of the puzzle reveals yet another layer?

It is necessary to pay attention. Too often, people are anticipating what will be said. As a result, they turn out to be wrong.

You do not need to confound, their short attention spans will be your greatest ally. If a person cares, it will be obvious. Their light will shine like a beacon in the night.

Those that can see, will see. The ones that can hear, will hear. All others will merely trip over their own suppositions.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The beat goes on

Sometimes life hits you like a ton of bricks. The unthinkable transpires and you are left to wonder why. It is hard to stand, but falling can be fatal.

In a world of sink or swim, many go under. Sometimes the burdens are too great. Easier to collapse, than take another step.

Perseverance is like walking into a gale: if you relax in the slightest, it will knock you down. There is no guarantee of survival. Death, on the other hand, is a real possibility.

We keep going, because we must. The alternative is to embrace our doom. But who would want to be trapped in its crushing grip?

To be alive, means death has not won. Sure, it may get you eventually. But it is better to give out, than to give up.

Heart is stronger than flesh: even broken ones can be mended. A heart keeps beating until the very end. Though the pain is great and it vexes us sore, the beat goes on until it can no more.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Simple joys

We all have things we look forward to. It breaks up the monotony of our daily existence. Without these thrills, life becomes an incessant bore.

Some people look forward to hearing a song, or watching a show. Others are excited to read a book or watch a movie. Then, there are those who breathlessly anticipate a certain event. Yet, that which is precious is often lost.

Life drones on and such simple joys get washed away. It does not care what you want. And thus, we are left with only what we need.

Subsistence is mere existence. It is a state of emptiness. Everything becomes hollow, as if mere props for us to enact our daily miseries.

If a person cannot do that which they enjoy, they will not last long. I have seen this happen. Without enjoyment, they just waste away.

Those we love give our lives meaning. The things we enjoy, brighten our outlook. Cherish them now, against the day of their inevitable loss.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The birth of innovation

Desperation gives birth to innovation. You cannot keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. When reason fails, it is time to get crazy.

Creativity does not flourish in captivity. It needs room to run and space to roam free. Fear boxes you in, with crippling results.

It is not sense that must give way, but insensible restrictions. Making things requires a bit of the mad scientist. Take the bubbling contents of those vials, mix them together and see what happens.

To succeed, it is necessary to go beyond. Those who are stuck in one place, can only stare at the finish line. It will forever be kept from them.

Risks are essential, but they must be calculated ones. Know where you are going before you deviate from the path. Or else you could find yourself lost in the field to the left.

Everyone wants to triumph over adversity with their sanity intact. This would be fine, if it were feasible. But the creative process is fraught with insanity from beginning to end... and back again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What could be

There are many things wrong with our world. Creativity is the desire to make it right. Or at least make it better.

Real life is dull. Even our appreciation of the world is filtered through our desire to improve upon it. Nature is not as interesting as we imagine it to be.

The natural order is a relationship of predator and prey. Flight is preferred and fights are avoided unless you have the distinct advantage. If so, then you mercilessly slaughter the weak to get what you need.

Only man can see things as better than they truly are. At its worst, this leads to naivety. At best, it gives us hope.

In imagining, we are inspired to make better. Our creativity is unleashed, and we set our hearts to the task. Art is our blueprint to change the world.

We see what is wrong and set about to fix it. This requires imagination and introspection. It takes vision to see beyond what is to what it could be.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A better way

That which does not adapt does not survive. Change can be painful, but it is necessary. If something is not working, it is foolish to continue doing it.

It is not always easy to know what you should do. Many paths seem like they should lead to your destination. And the shortest route is not always the best.

A better way will prove its superiority. You can discern by the results that your decision was a good one. If you have nothing to show, chances are you have chosen poorly.

Take care not to rush to judgment. The fruits of your labors take time to mature. And a great deal of work will be required.

If you tend the tree and it does not bear fruit, then you cut it down and burn it. Energy is far too precious to waste on wishful thinking. Toss failed notions on the pile and seek out the fresh ones.

Success is a road paved with failure. It does no good to weep for spoiled crops. Save your tears to combine with sweat and blood to make your dreams a reality.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Inspiration in action

We are assaulted constantly with the tedium of everyday existence. Life will never change, but we can change what we do with it. All it takes is imagination.

To imagine is like dreaming while one is awake. It is a creative mind's reaction against the encroachment of boredom. Worlds are born from the seed of discontent.

That which is envisioned, is merely the real world seen in a better light. A place where life is not full of incessant toil. A land where enjoyment thrives.

Why do we watch movies or read books? We are looking for something better. While escapism can be a form of self-delusion, monotony breeds misery and sucks what life we do have into the void.

So many things have become better, because we imagined they could be. And then, we set out to make our dreams a reality. We honestly recognized our limitations, and purposely worked to overcome them.

Imagination is inspiration in action. It is refusing to be shackled to convention, opening the mind to all the possibilities. We are what we are, and have what we have, because we imagined better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hear me out

It is easy to speak, but hard to listen. Yet, by the very nature of conversation, it goes both ways. Words are just funny noises without someone to hear, understand and respond accordingly.

When someone is talking, are you listening or merely waiting to speak? We all have opinions and that is the problem: everyone has an opinion. Typical dialogue consists of two people shouting at one another in a calm tone of voice.

You can never really know a person by assuming what they will say. By listening, you can learn a great deal. That which is spoken originates much deeper.

Thus, individuals can be judged by the  words they speak. A wicked heart gives birth to wickedness. It pours out of the mouth and pollutes the air.

A caring heart will be slow to speak and quick to listen. What a good person says is worth hearing, and even heeding. Their words are not always pleasant, but they are meant for the edification of the listener.

Conversation is not about the stroking of egos. People are responsible for what they say. But only so long as what they said was honestly heard and understood.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spiritual doorways

When you look into a mirror, what do you see? Do you recognize the person staring back at you? It is only in our reflection that we can see as we are seen.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. They can be doorways to heaven or portals to hell. It depends on what is held inside.

Smiles may conceal a wicked heart, but the eyes will tell the secret. That is why evil avoids a searching look. It fears to be seen as it really is.

Kindness may also reside within these orbs. Those who care look out for others. They foresee a fall and issue a warning.

Beauty lives behind twin curtains of flesh. The skin can be smooth and the parts well-proportioned, but if the gaze is sinister the spell is broken. To desire such is to court disaster.

Often what you see is what you get. But there are those few whose waters run deep. To look into their eyes can take awhile, because through the windows there is so much to see.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Secret pains

Life is full of surprises, and not all of them are pleasant ones. Some rip your heart right out. You can go on, but things will never be the same.

With all that our eyes behold, there is so much they cannot see. Secret pains manifest themselves in subtle ways. It takes great awareness to recognize them.

Not all wounds can be healed. Our spirits are able to absorb a lot, but there is that one blow which will take us out.  And we may never rise again.

We cannot change what has happened, but we can learn from it. When someone is crying on the inside, it is not so easy to hear. So, we must train ourselves to listen.

Indifference closes the doors of the heart. Open them, and the world is not so lonely. The worst way to suffer is all alone.

If one person cares, it makes all the difference. Their hugs are magic: they heal the hurting. With all that we face, those who face it with us are a blessing beyond measure.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Taking chances

Opportunity: some reach out to seize it, while others just let it pass by. Without it, we are doomed to the status quo. The shrewd learn to take full advantage.

Some wait to be given a chance, while others make their own. It is not easy to create possibilities. Such a feat takes a lot of ingenuity and even a bit of luck.

Yet, there are opportunities all around us. People tend most to ignore what is right in front of them.  If you keep moving, you are bound to run into something.

It will not necessarily be something big. Chances are that it will be a little thing. But faithfulness in such makes one worthy of greater.

Every day brings the hope of better. But action is required to make dreams come true. And the fruits of your labors may be long in coming.

Contentment is the death of desire. It leaves you with your lot and nothing else. Passion cannot be denied: it will succeed or perish in the trying.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The hard way

It is easy not to care: do nothing and the world will crumble. Effort is required to maintain anything of worth. Doing good does not often feel so good.

There is satisfaction in knowing you have done well. But few escape unscathed from the results of good deeds. You either do it because you care, or you do not.

Those who can will do and the rest will criticize. Never mind having nothing to show for themselves. It is easy to watch, but hard to play.

Ease and sloth are meant for each other. They both eschew the difficulties of life. And they do not like anyone pointing out their inadequacies.

Life is hard, because the world is full of people who do not care. Those who do are wearied and prone to discouragement. It would be easy to leave them all to rot.

To do so would mean becoming them, and everything would grind to a halt. Those with ice in their veins should be wary. It is harder for a heart to keep beating, than it is for it to stop.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weathering the storm

There is an exhaustion which rest cannot relieve and a weariness that goes far beyond the physical. The strain of living in a world so cold will eventually take its toll. To care means to keep the fire burning for one more day.

When people try your patience, it is a trial to be patient. Some embrace the challenge, while others declare it a lost cause. You would think the end had arrived, when really it has been expected for quite some time.

Many give up without ever trying. Life gets harder the further you go. One must be strong within, to withstand the storms that are sure to come.

Calamity strikes like a bolt of lightning, without warning or a chance to prepare. Dismay threatens to drown you in its flood. It’s all you can do to keep your head above water.

Those fit to survive, will overcome adversity. Up springs a gale and the seas will roll. The only way out is through.

When you emerge, there will be damage. The hull may be breached, and you could be taking on water. But the truest test of oneself is to weather the storm, and still remain afloat.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Life and loss

Life is miserable, yet we mourn the loss of it. The death of a loved one saddens us like nothing else. It is also a sobering thought that through another’s mortality we are reminded of our own.

Denial is the first step, for we cannot accept the person has truly left us. We still expect to see them come walking through the door. Our memories are fresh, so the image remains.

It is easy to become angry at your loss and that of others. When a good person dies, the world loses something it can never get back. There is a gaping hole where their smile used to be.

Everyone grieves differently. Some are quick to shed tears no matter who is watching. Others suffer in silence, saving their sorrow for the pillow.

It is hard to be strong when others are falling apart. Some handle grief better. They are the shoulder to cry on and the listening ear.

People come into our lives for a reason. When they leave, part of them is left behind. Memories fade, but the heart will remember what time has forgotten.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A better place

How do you make the world a better place? By being a better person. Just one can make all the difference.

It is easy to allow your reach to exceed your grasp. No one can reasonably expect the impossible. But people become quite nervous when you point out what is well within their capabilities.

Being good is not easy. The envious will desire to take what you have. Others will hate you for making them look as bad as they are.

Why would anyone want that? It easy not to care: you just do nothing. There is a perception of safety in apathy.

But what does it bring? They get as good as they give, leading empty lives filled with deep depression. There is no escaping the nothingness within.

Sometimes it hurts to care, but it also helps. There is a reason our eyes look out and not in. If we close them, our world becomes a dark place indeed.   

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some people

Some people exist to make others miserable. It is as if their soul is a black hole trying to suck all joy into the void. If they got their way, the world would be just as empty as they are.

Here is the true value of a person: would everyone be better or worse off without them? I am not advocating a purge. There are too many and it would take too long.

Some people live to make everything better. They cause the darkest clouds to part and warm the coldest day. These individuals can bring a smile to the saddest face.

Life is hard enough without someone dragging you down. No one was promised a rose garden, but who needs a thornbush?  They only exist to choke the life out of everything that is trying to grow.

The leopard cannot change its spots. Neither can human garbage become more than something to toss out before it stinks up the place. Maybe they could start a colony…

Be the one who lives to care. It will not be easy and even good people can test your resolve. But in this life there are really only two parts to play: part of the solution or part of the problem. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Thick skin

We all have feelings, but they must not rule us. There are those who have nothing better to do than trample on them. The more thin the skin, the easier it is to draw blood.

If something is said to be mean, it has no other meaning. And so, it can be summarily dismissed. Wipe your hands of the vicious, and cleanse your heart of their filth.

But if you simply do not like what was said, train yourself to listen anyway. There are many lessons in life, and few are easy. One must demolish the old to build anew.

Here is the distinction: was the intent to build up or merely to tear down? If the motive was destruction, they will have nothing to offer. If it was construction, they will offer of themselves.

Be leery of those who are quick with advice. They are often slow to provide any meaningful assistance. You will do the work, while they take the credit.

With thick skin and good humor, one can deflect even the nastiest of blows. Do not take yourself too seriously, but do not allow yourself to be abused. They cannot keep you down, when you have risen up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sticks and stones

If man speaks from the abundance of the heart, some hearts must be wicked indeed. There are those who joy in making others miserable. If I could understand such depravity, insanity would follow.

When a person does well, they are treated poorly. Jealousy is always sticking its fingers where they do not belong. And it never learns, though it may draw back a nub.

Those who suffer are pitied, as if they would wish for others to know their sorry state. To be sure, they often encourage people to feel this way. If life is hard, false tears will do nothing to soften it.

Words can be used to help or harm. They can be instructive or destructive. A life lived tearing others down, will swiftly to ruin lead.

They, whose tongues are sharp, cannot cry foul when cut by another. Their very words will come back on their heads. Perhaps they should be granted the mercy they have shown…

Sticks and stones may break one’s bones, but words will wound the heart. Everything without could remain intact. But who can survive a spirit crushed?  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The noise of life

There are so many distractions, but sometimes we need to put our toys away. Too often, they become our lives. And we die for them just a little inside.

If what you make does not turn out well, the tools are not to blame. So, when things do not satisfy, they are not at fault. Satisfaction can only come from within.

To do nothing, is to be nothing. Even the ground we walk on has a purpose. It is a sad state of affairs when dirt is more useful than a person.

Action is required to overcome distraction. Busying oneself is the cure for boredom. Creation reverses stagnation.

Focus until the noise of life dies down. Push the chaos out, and concentrate solely on what you are doing. Clear your mind and the path will be seen.

Let the heart be your driving force. Know the joy of making instead of taking. It is better to stand than sit; better to walk than talk; and when you are living, there is no time to waste.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bells and whistles

If you give people what they want, they will not be happy. If you do not give them what they want, they will go somewhere else. A good salesman convinces you of what you did not know you wanted.

In our society, we can have anything our hearts desire. But people are always searching for more. Things do not satisfy, yet human beings fill their lives with such.

It is not enough to do something well: you must persuade others you have done well. The majority of the struggle is in overcoming their apathy. I believe quality will win in the end, but that may be a long way off.

There are many tricks that can be employed to gain attention. I suggest using whatever works. Focus solely on quality and you will perish in obscurity.

Many are dazzled by bright lights and pretty colors: that is the hook to draw them in. And in they will plunge: hook, line and sinker. It was not the product but the packaging that mattered.

So, be sure to make it appealing. Take the time to give them what they want, or they will find someone else who will. If the outward appearance is not pleasing, they will not bother to look inside.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Without hesitation

We must make our own opportunities in life. Anything that is given can be taken away. But if you create something, it cannot be taken without a fight.

Your eyes should always be on the prize. It is why you work so hard: to achieve a dream. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome through patience, perseverance and perspicacity.

The desire to succeed is not enough. One must employ all their faculties to be successful. If you hold anything back, you have lost already.

He that hesitates has failed. There are too many in the struggle to have a hope of winning without giving your all. And even that may not be enough.

If you can give up, do so now before you spend a great deal of energy for nothing. Do not be the person who wakes up one morning wondering why they ever bothered. Quit while you are behind, and learn to be content.

But if you cannot give up… if you will not relent… if you shall not back down, then fight! Charge into the fray and take no prisoners. Live without fear, love without measure, and wage war without hesitation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Worth doing

I am supremely confident that I do not know how things are going to turn out. So much is out of my hands. Still, I have set my course and will see it through.

Pride believes in many things, and they are all wrong. Honesty admits there are obstacles to be overcome. But the end result remains to be seen.

Dreams keep the mind busy and give the heart a goal. I cannot say it will all amount to nothing. But even if I knew, would it not be worth the doing?

I did not set out to achieve fortune and fame. Nor did I spend countless hours only to consume it all on my own lust. I am doing what I love, and it is my earnest desire that others will love it too.

No matter what you do, pour your heart and soul into it. Quality is better than quantity, and it shows in everything. Whether seen or not, it cannot be denied.

You cannot stop doing what you truly love. It is in every beat of the heart, when you breathe in and out, the beginning and end of your days. When it goes, the soul goes with it. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Know limits

I am diabetic: that is a limitation. There are many things I can do, and others I no longer should. Only by recognizing our limitations can we truly hope to overcome them.

That which does not adapt shall perish. And pride will merely hasten a trip into the earth. But wisdom sees the obstacle and plans accordingly.

One cannot pass through a wall by closing their eyes and stepping forward. Reality has a way of establishing its existence whether or not you wish to see it. The sudden, painful collision is the undeniable proof.
If you cannot go through, you can always go around, over or under. That which obstructs is stationary, thus its inherent weakness is exposed. Even if it moves, it can always be outmaneuvered.

There are things that cannot be overcome, but they are quite few. At heart, there are no limits. But what the spirit wills, the flesh cannot always supply.

I fight against my limitations, yet recognize their existence. Heart and mind must both be employed if success is to be achieved. Yes, there is a wall and it is too wide to go around and the ground is too hard to dig through. It’s time to start climbing.   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Little and much

People doggedly pursue success, and some achieve it. But it is vitally important to ready oneself for what comes next. After all, success is not the end… but the means.

Things do not make one happy.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying them: we work our entire lives to provide ourselves with those brief moments of bliss. But happiness is born within, and all the trappings in the world will merely serve to suffocate a miserable soul.

If you cannot enjoy little, you will not appreciate much. Big things get in the way of simple pleasures. When the eyes are large, the heart is lacking.

Impressing others is a vicious cycle. You must constantly provide wonder, or their interest will cease. Friends do not care about what you have, but who you are.

Think about what you want: why do you desire it? Is there a real purpose, or is it just to gain acceptance? Do you wish to produce something, or consume it on your lusts?

It is easy to be a victim of your own success. There are many who perish in the pursuit of vanity. To truly appreciate a mighty oak, you must never forget that it was once but a seed.  

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Showing is knowing

Confidence is a two-edged sword. If overconfident, pride will lay you low. However, if one lacks assurance, they lack the drive to succeed.

Belief in oneself must always be honest. Lies cannot stand against the billows of scrutiny. At the slightest breeze, it will all fall down.

Those who lie, inevitably lie to themselves. And they start to believe their own press. Soon, they are ensnared in the web meant for others.

Believe only in that which is demonstrated. Show what you can do, and the naysayers will be silenced. Or their words will fall on deaf ears.

Accept constructive criticism. If someone is trying to tear you down, it will be obvious. They will have nothing good to say.

Once you know your abilities, what they say becomes meaningless. Listen to them anyway. Let it stoke the desire to succeed, and leave them behind still grumbling.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Building a future

The future is born of what we do today. No great invention can make one’s life complete. As wondrous as our technology is, it merely provides us tools with which to enrich our existence.

We have advanced so much in such a short period of time. I remember when computers were used as overpriced calculators and electronic typewriters. Games were simple and phones were used only to make calls.

It is easy to get lost in a time like this. The internet has become a substitute for human contact, bringing people together who cannot so easily meet. It is not the technology, but what we do with it, that is the problem.

As much as I love social networking, I make it a point to spend time with people in person. There is something about just sitting down with friends and talking. To break bread with the ones you love is a gift beyond measure.

We lead hectic lives, so it is important to find time to relax. Conversation is becoming a lost art form. Communication is the cornerstone of civilization, and is essential for the functioning of a healthy society.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The past is filled with people who were not so different from us. With their hands, they built our present. With ours, we build the future.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Much to do

It is good to stay busy: you get a lot more done. Everyone has the same amount of time, but there are very few who use it wisely. Those who do, tend to be quite productive.

There are so many things I want to do. There are stories to write, and books to read. I love listening to music and making my own. I watch movies and shows, soaking it all in.

When you stay busy, boredom stays away. You have no time for it. Instead, there is a longing to stop and rest.

Breaks are necessary, and they should be included in your plans. Sometimes we just need to relax. Once refreshed, one can charge back in with a great deal of gusto.

However, sloth should be avoided at all costs. A day without accomplishment is one that is wasted. The smallest achievement will counteract this.

No one has unlimited time, for our days are numbered. If we waste our lives, we will have nothing to show. But imagine what great works can be born in the course of a lifetime. The world will wonder where to put it all…

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Facing fear

Fear reaches us on a primal level. It can turn the toughest person into a gibbering wretch. It takes courage to stare into the void, knowing that something is staring back.

Those who say they have no fear do not know fear. The precariousness of our existence is not real to them. Or they have deluded themselves into thinking that monsters do not really exist.

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Real vampires dress up in suits, sucking the life out of all they touch. Real zombies crave brains, because they have none of their own. Real werewolves are beasts in human form, devouring whatever is in reach.

Beyond the danger of reprobates, are the everyday fears: the loss of one’s livelihood, dread of the powerful, the knowledge that one false move could shatter your fragile dreams. The world is a serious threat to our survival. It is foolish to ignore what you cannot help but see.

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is proceeding forward in spite of it. Bravery is not stupidity. One must survive these perils by using their wits.

These things are too big to be beaten, but they can be overcome. All it takes is courage and caring. And it helps to know you are not alone. There are others waging a silent war against the night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The little things

Our world has problems, and no one person can solve them. However, there is much we can do to make this a better place. It is easy to get caught up in the big things, and neglect the little ones.

Larger matters are beyond the scope of what an individual can do. That is why people get so wrapped up in them. Nobody expects you to succeed, so a mere concern is enough to get esteem.

You cannot make everyone happy, but one can bring cheer to some. Much is accomplished in not being part of the problem. Make the world better by being better and good things will follow.

Do not get discouraged by the indifference of others. Let them wallow in the shadows, while you shine a light in the night.  People cannot help but be drawn to its radiance.

Refuse to be dragged into the misery that is them. Weather the storms of life. Instead of sinking below, rise above.

Others will see this, and be inspired to do the same. By shining, you encourage them to shine. And that is how one little person can make a big difference. In lighting up the darkness, you chase the shadows away.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aiming high

The one thing worth striving for is excellence. It is not something you can decide to be. Hard work will lead you towards the goal, but not necessarily to its attainment.

There are no degrees in this achievement. Something either is of that quality or it is not.  Good does not equal great, no matter what new math is used.

To excel means to go beyond. And many will see this as a threat, instead of a challenge. After all, only one can win.

Competition is healthy: it keeps everything at its best. Feelings cannot trump results. Desire is only good if it motivates you to succeed.

It is a sad fact that some fall by the wayside. Life will never be fair, and no one should expect it to. Ignoring our difficulties means never overcoming them.

Everyone struggles: some more than others. We all have obstacles in our path. Each can be passed, and one can go further to surpass until the sky is not a limit at all.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Last one standing

Survival is all about endurance. How much of a beating can you take and still remain standing? Sometimes life packs quite a wallop, and it takes all you have just to stay in the fight.

To adapt, just means finding a way to endure. It’s all part of the fancy footwork needed to make it through. Reality has a harder time hitting a moving target.

Living takes quite a bit of stamina. When the adversity is greatest, you will find stores of energy you were not even aware of. Use them wisely if you expect to make it to the next round.

Remember, there are no rules. Life has no qualms with hitting below the belt. Take heed, lest it drop you like a sack of potatoes.

There is one way to win: endure. The world does not care if you fall. It will move your carcass to the side and carry on as if you had never even been.

Victory means standing against the onslaught. Fight for all you are worth, putting your very last breath into the struggle. If they have to take you out to take you down, then you have won.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Destruction deconstructed

It is easy to destroy. With the proper tools, even the tallest building can be brought down.  To build however, takes time, effort, and a creative vision.

What is this fascination people have with tearing down what others have made? They have nothing to offer, but will stomp the offerings of others into the ground. Is this born of envy or are they just plain mean?

They are quick to condemn and loath to commend. Their world must be a dark place indeed. And like a black hole, they are constantly trying to suck everyone into their nothingness.

Have you noticed that the least productive have the most advice? Those that can, do; those that can’t, criticize. And when they are gone, the world keeps turning.

We live in a cold place, and it is getting colder. It is because people don’t care. And everything freezes around them.

But there are those who still build, and even better those who build up others. Be one of them: become the warmth in a world of frozen hearts. Be the light that chases the darkness away. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sense of accomplishment

There is a sense of accomplishment in the completion of a work. The feeling becomes stronger when you think about what went into it. Hours of effort in a labor of love were required to produce the finished product.

Take satisfaction in a job well done. When you have done your best, you bear no shame. On the contrary, you are worthy of any accolades others feel fit to bestow.

Their reaction is an unknown. No matter how good your work is, that does not mean it will be appreciated.  However, it also does not mean it will be ignored.

Artists share their visions of beauty with others. They fervently hope what the eye beholds will be akin to what they imagined. Yet, we all see things differently.

Does this mean the work is a failure? No, because there are three sides to every story. The third one being the truth, opinions are set in their proper place.

Never let what a person thinks rob you of satisfaction.  Human beings esteem preferences far beyond their worth. That which is good exists without praise and will not take such vacillating concerns into account.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Trying times

If at first you don’t succeed, just keep trying. Failure is to be expected in any worthwhile pursuit. Too many are vying for the prize to even take notice of those who give up.

You must struggle to achieve a dream. And everything will stand in your way. Ignore the naysayers, and do what they would not.

Better yet, use their negativity as fuel. Let it stoke the fires within, filling you with the desire to achieve. Leave them in the dust, with their bitterness as company.

Many of those who have succeeded will attempt to discourage you. They do not want competition. Their desire is not to be the best, but rather to hold on to some ephemeral perch.

Success is not dependent on someone else’s failure. Shoving others down means there will be no one to pick you up. Light shines and we can always use more of it.

If you try and fail, you have not tried hard enough. You have not fought long enough. Determine where you are, and decide what you need to do to use your stumbling blocks to build a bridge. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life happens

Life is what happens while we are busy making plans. It is a pitcher with a penchant for throwing curves. Those who cannot adapt will not survive.

So, how does one keep up? You must expect the unexpected. Keep your eyes open, always aware of the dangers inherent in every day.

Your decisions will have a significant impact on how things turn out. Regardless of the chaos all around, one needs only a sense of direction to forge ahead. And it is better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness.

It is easy to stumble: there is so much stuff in the way. Start with cleaning your own house. We all have spiritual clutter, which needs to be discarded from time to time.

If you are tripping all over it, then a little spring cleaning is in order. If you are slipping on it, melt the ice and mop up the mess. The chaos without should never find its way in.

Nothing goes according to plan, but that is not an excuse for laziness. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. Rather, once all things are considered, realize the reality will be less of a straight line and more of a struggle to get to the other side. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The audacity of hope

Hope springs eternal. It is really annoying. Even when things are at their worst, there is always that little voice saying it could get better.

I live my life dealing with life. It is easier when you have accepted it will not improve. Hope is a nuisance that gets in the way, compounding the problem with its dreams of tomorrow.

During my short time here, I have seen the world deteriorate rapidly. What once was merry has turned into misery. Yet, hope keeps popping in like an unwanted guest.

I would love to see the world improve, but that is a fantasy. I write such things, but try not to live them. Yet that pesky little hope persists, like a ringing in the ear.

Most people do not care, but there are those that do. And now, I realize where hope comes from: this small group of troublemakers who will not just let it die. If they would just let things be, the curtain would mercifully fall.

Yet, to deny their contribution would not be reality. They make a difference in their own little way. And so, I am convinced the audacity of hope will continue, like a recording that continually skips, promising better days to come.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rainy days

Into every life, a little rain must fall. Some experience a downpour, but rest assured: the sun will come out eventually. Until that time, one must be careful not to crash due to the slippery conditions.

Anger comes easy, and you should be wary of giving in to something that shows up so readily and makes itself at home. The one that suffers only knows they are suffering. But be careful of erupting, for the innocent may be caught in the flow.

If you must vent, it is best to do so in private. That way, no one else gets hurt. The anger dissipates into the air, and you feel better.

A good listener is a blessing beyond measure. Take heed not to abuse them. Speak of your problem, but do not make it theirs.

And be prepared to return the favor. After all, you know what it is like to hurt. Other people are hurting too.

Joy is fleeting, so make it count. Savor each moment, and be sure to pass it on.  The sun will come out and dry up all the rain. And with a smile on your face, you can face the world again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sight unseen

Just because you do not see something, does not mean it is not there. Often things go unnoticed, overlooked and underestimated. The same is true for people:  many rise to prominence from the most humble of beginnings.

Working hard is just the beginning. It is necessary to do so just to keep up. However, the winner will be the one who pushes themselves a little harder. Second place is still a loss.

The only limits are self-imposed. It may require all that you have to gain what you desire. If these aims are petty, then achievement will lead to destruction.

If your desires are pure, then pursue them with your all. There are no obstructions, only obstacles. Leap over these annoyances, and leave them staring after.

Those who saw you every day will suddenly notice you. That which was tossed aside will be sought for in earnest.  The words that fell unheard will be gathered up and cherished.

It is easy to miss the forest for all those trees. Individual drops fill an ocean. Grains of sand make up a beach. And from among the many, will emerge the precious few.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Decisions, decisions...

A person can accomplish only so much in the course of a lifetime. And so, it is inherent that decisions will need to be made. It is important to pick a path and then follow it to the end.

Choosing a direction is never easy. And some choices will be made for you. We must all play the hand we are dealt. To fold is to give up without even trying.

A lot can be accomplished through sheer determination. But the desire must come from within. Dreams are not from the mind; they are born in the heart.

Always take responsibility for your actions. That is the truest mark of adulthood.  If the house of cards falls, then the one who built it is to blame.

The dreams that last are built to last. If they are thrown together, expect them to fall apart.  Without a firm foundation, the greatest tower cannot stand.

Determine what steps will be needed to reach the goal. Envision everything required for the journey. And then go forth, for your path is chosen and the destination is waiting…

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An attitude of gratitude

It is easier to bemoan what we do not have, than to appreciate what we do. I believe the saying goes ‘gratitude not attitude.’ How can anyone expect to receive more, when they do not appreciate what they have?

People tend to obsess over what they want. And will scrimp and save for these things, totally forgetting all the other such prizes collecting dust in the corner. Perhaps it is the having we enjoy more than the using…

And what is given will often be cast aside when the giver is not looking. Not every gift is the most practical thing to receive. But do we truly appreciate the intention, or do we only see it as a road to a very hot place?

If someone gives you a compliment, are you thankful? Or do you merely wish for more? The consumption of praise can often be taken to excess.

When something is done for you, consider how to return the favor. This should not be seen as payment; rather the one good turn always deserves another. Appreciation responds to acts of kindness in kind.

Life is about the pursuit of happiness, but this should not come at another’s expense. If someone bestows a blessing, they should never be at a loss. At the least, they should receive thanks. At the best, their kindness should beget even more.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The endless struggle

Life is an endless struggle to face another day. Some times are harder than others. It is not the challenge that matters, but the heart of the one who refuses to be kept down.

Our blood, sweat and tears are poured into the struggle. And often, we suffer severe beatings for our efforts. There is no guarantee of success, but giving up is the surest sign of failure.

Stubbornness and perseverance are two different things. The stubborn are concerned with being right, while those who persevere have committed themselves to the attainment of a goal. To be right is meaningless. If you jump off a bridge, it means nothing that you were right about the fall.

Desire is not enough… you must fight for your dreams. Refuse to fail: shun it with all your heart. The worst that could happen is to go down swinging.

You will bear the scars of war. People despise those who press on when they have fallen down. If they refuse to rise, you must leave them behind.

We are often surprised at where we find the energy to continue on. It was not seen, nor was there even an awareness of it. But suddenly, you get a second wind. One foot is placed in front of the other, and each step brings you closer to the goal.