In Life Too Often, It’s the Tail Waggin’ the Dog

100_0003 (2)I love the beat of Cody’s tail wagging against the floor, against the door, against the wall, against the bed he is lying on.  I’m not sure whether it will be Cody’s heart that gives out before his tail stops wagging.

Cody’s my 10 year old chocolate lab.  We’re kinda attached at the hips.  He goes to work with me every day.  He goes to work most days, I am out of town on business. I now have a ramp he uses to load up into the back of my SUV.  It is a ceremony.  He’s not fan of the trip up.  I’ve employed what is best to describe as a soft suitcase I wrap him in, to coax him up the ramp.  He’s frantic, so there’s always a treat waiting for him.  Upon arrival, and his descent, he reminds me of an arriving dignitary, including the obligatory pause for photo ops, before his parade trip down the ramp.

Cody knows when it’s time to go to work.  He knows when it is time for his 10 and 4 o’clock walks.  He knows he goes to North Park in the AM and he knows he tours the office park in the afternoon.

Most important he knows when it is time to go home.  Dinner!

If you ask him to change his routine, you meet with the stubbornness of a 100+ lb. dog, who knows who’s in charge.

He knows when the UPS truck arrives.  He knows the drivers.  He knows whether to expect a biscuit or a good rub.  The drivers know him, too.  After all, “What can brown do for you?”

You might say Cody has it made.  Even before you see his beds at home or the leather sofa he spends an increasing amount of time on at the office, but there’s a point to all this dribble. So bear with me.

Cody’s hips are giving in to father time, so he’s getting laser to strengthen his shoulders and flanks.  If it works for him, I’m next in line.

Cody now goes to bed before Terri and I do.  Both of us cracked a smile and laughed the first time he left us to head for bed.  Now we know Cody has more common sense than we do.

A former neighboring business owner had a 10 year old white lab named Jack.  Like Cody, he came to work with his owners each day.  Jack died suddenly.  We were commiserating when Jack’s owner said to me, “give Cody a good back scratch for Jack.”

When I scramble to meet a deadline, decry the political theatre, grouse over a lost order or worry about where the next dollar is coming from, all I have to do is look to my friend.  He’s most often at my feet.

I am reminded.  I have so much to live for, why not make things right in this messed up world?  The solution?

Everyone should get a good tummy rub and a nice back scratch every day.  Cody does.

Wanna Get Away?

Where to turn, And oh, btw, best of luck.

I just read these stirringly emotional and impactful comments, from a nephew of mine on Facebook.  Lesson learned.  You’re never too old to learn.  Of course, I had to share them.

Nick is a courier.  It’s a tough job.

From my nephew Nick, “After an especially difficult day at work that almost meant not coming home, I’m having one of those life reflective sorta evenings.. I suppose it’s good that I’m in a good mood about it all, and glad the mistakes I’ve made have made me understand that most of us never get to walk on easy street and that everyone is a screw up on occasion. That I have a good family that may sometimes think they’re flawed, though they may not realize I prefer it that way.. A group of friends, several close, and a whole bunch far and wide, that I enjoy talking, joking with, and kicking back with.. I couldn’t replace one minute of my strange yet wonderful life!

Nick isn’t wearing a mask.  He is very matter-of-fact.  When the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapsed, he called his dad and said, “I was just over that bridge less than 10 minutes ago.”

I35 bridge collapse

More from Nick. “And to the clueless motorist that ran that light, putting your life in my hands to send that probably unimportant text message and not watching what you were doing, be thankful that I’ve been at this game for years and that the ditch I hit going full speed wasn’t your car and that I was able to keep that rickety work van wheels down and not hit the line of oncoming innocent bystanders on that 2 lane highway there as I regained the reigns.

There are many of us out there that just wanna pay our bills the only way we currently know how, and to make it home when the work day is done.

Please, just pay attention out there. Nothing you can do in the car is important as concentrating on driving and on what’s going on around you.

Nick, in conclusion, “Truth is, I like what I do.. Though it’d be nice if the pay was better, I don’t feel like I need much of a light on me or the work I do.. As for the optimism, I try to stay that way as the only other option doesn’t do anyone any good. Too many people drown in their sorrows these days. I don’t wanna be one of them! Better to enjoy the finer moments and weather the not so great ones, thus the reason I don’t hold a grudge on said motorist from today…

Priceless, yes? A VISA commercial, no; but there’s a Southwest Airlines commercial in here somewhere. Help me out!

Eyes wide open… Reflections

Cody Bear

Cody Bear

In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.  I lie awake and I wonder…

Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?

Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?

Have I spread enough smiles?

Have I shared enough hugs?

Have I planted enough kisses? 

Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?

Have I studied enough history? 

Have I been engaged enough in current affairs? 

Have I earned a degree in knowledge?

Is knowledge a benefit? 

Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?

Have I learned from every victory and every folly? 

If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?

Today, in this world that reports the past in real-time; in time to worry for our future; and I only see and images of life, albeit in real-time, can I relate? 

Have I focused long enough on the anguished faces, I cannot truly see?

Have I listened hard enough to the desperate voices, I truly cannot hear? 

Have I seen enough of their pain, I truly cannot feel? 

Have I felt their hunger, I cannot feed? 

Have I shared in their grief, I cannot quell? 

Have I touched enough people?

Has cuddling become a lost art?

If you learn my darkest secret, will you forgive me? 

Will I forgive myself?

Did I stop smoking soon enough to live forever? 

How much double churned ice cream is too much? 

Will I die and when? 

Will it be too soon!  Of course! 

Would I fight for my life to the very end?  

Out of fear?  

Out of courage; for you? 

Will I let go? 

Can I fall away?

Will you miss me if I’m gone? 

Will you miss me when you are alone? 

Will you miss me when you are amongst friends. 

Will you still be laughing and smiling? 

And for how long?  Don’t tell me.

My dog is asleep at my feet. 

He has all the answers. 

He won’t say, but I finally get it.

It’s not about me. 

So now, I can close my eyes…

Yes We Did! We Built From the Ground Up (Mr. President)!

The oldest living Live Oak in Pinellas County

What does “shovel ready” really mean to a small business owner?  It means building a business from the ground up!

Are you sick of this class warfare?!  Do we want to elect a President that knows more about how to spend OP’s money or one who knows how to cut spending and increase revenues?

Memo to the President: I started my own business over 24 years ago and I built it from the ground up.  My business has gone from a one man band to well… suffice it to say,  we have increased full-time employment (FTEs)  significantly, private sector jobs and without government assistance.

As a community organizer, President Obama certainly can appreciate the value of a grassroots movement.  In other words, contributions made from the ground up can have a very positive effect on the community.  In President Obama’s case, that would pertain to social issues and how he was able to help people who were impoverished and disadvantaged.  Admirable, but the money he raised had to come from somewhere, most likely charitable contributions and local, state and federal government tax revenues which to a significant percentage, come from small businesses.  A vote for conservative principles, capitalism and common sense regulation, is a vote for small business.  So get on our bandwagon!

In my case, contributions to my small business came in the form of personal sacrifices; from my personal savings; taking no salary for some time, taking less salary for some time and mind you, no vacations for many years.  I had to continue to pay my bills, feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.  When my saving ran out I took a second mortgage on my house.

I chose to go it on my own.  I took all my savings, borrowed from family, friends my home and started my own business.  My kids saw me on weekends.

The President refers to Middle American’s like it doesn’t include small business owners.  Most small business owners take a significant portion of what their small business earns and they reinvest in their business. The President knows how small businesses earn income and chooses to ignore it.  Small business people “pay it forward.”  Our income goes back into our business, meaning jobs and if for no other reason, in today’s economy, it’s grow or die! 

I’m offended by the President’s misguided belief that wealthy Americans are the problem in this divide between Republicans and Democrats. 

At the end of the day I’m “bone tired” and the threats of higher taxes, more regulation and Obamacare chill me to the bone.  Most wealthy Americans are hard-working, who have their own plan on how to spread the wealth around.  I have much more faith in free enterprise.

President Obama just doesn’t care.  How could he?  He’s never walked in a small business owner’s shoes.  Mr. President, you will never walk in my shoes or the shoes of millions of small business owners.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Take a huge chance.
  3. Put your own money behind it.
  4. Believe you can do better.
  5. Commit yourself, your family and your friends to get behind you.
  6. Repeat Numbers 1 –5.

As the expression goes, those are pretty big shoes to fill.  Free enterprise and small businesses come from the ground up.  Powerful stuff!

 

From the Ground Up!

The oldest living Live Oak in Pinellas County

What does “shovel ready” really mean to a small business owner?  It means building a business from the ground up!

Are you sick of this class warfare?!  Do we want to elect a President that knows more about how to spend OP’s money or one who knows how to cut spending and increase revenues?

I started my own business over 23 years ago and I built it from the ground up.  My business has gone from a one man band to well… suffice it to say,  we have increased full-time employment (FTEs)  significantly, but not by this President’s standards.      

As a community organizer, President Obama certainly can appreciate the value of a grassroots movement.  In other words, contributions made from the ground up can have a very positive effect on the community.  In Obama’s case, that would pertain to social issues and how he was able to help people who were impoverished and disadvantaged.  Admirable, but the money he raised had to come from somewhere, most likely charitable contributions and local, state and federal government tax revenues which to a significant percentage, come from small businesses.  So get behind us!

In my case, contributions to my small business came in the form of personal sacrifices; from my personal savings; taking no salary for some time, taking less salary for some time and mind you, no vacations for many years.  I had to continue to pay my bills, feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.  When my saving ran out I took a second mortgage on my house.

I chose to go it on my own.  I took all my savings, borrowed from family, friends my home and started my own business.  My kids saw me on weekends.

The President refers to Middle American’s like it doesn’t include small business owners.  I’m a small business owner and a 99%er unless you add what my business earns and reinvests in the business.  The President knows how small businesses earn income and chooses to ignore it.  Small business people “pay it forward.”  Our income goes back into our business, meaning jobs and if for no other reason, in today’s economy, it’s grow or die! 

I’m offended by the President’s misguided belief that wealthy Americans are the problem in this divide between Republicans and Democrats. 

At the end of the day I’m “bone tired” and the threats of higher taxes, more regulation and Obamacare chill me to the bone.  Most wealthy Americans are hard-working, who have their own plan on how to spread the wealth around.  I have much more faith in free enterprise.

President Obama just doesn’t get it!  How could he?  He’s never walked in a small business owner’s shoes.  Mr. President, walk in my shoes and the shoes of millions of small business owners.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Take a huge chance.
  3. Put your own money behind it.
  4. Believe you can do better.
  5. Commit yourself, your family and your friends to get behind you.
  6. Repeat Numbers 1 –5.

Free enterprise comes from the ground up.  Powerful stuff! 

 I think Mitt Romney knows how to cut spending and raise revenues.  Romney-Rubio would be my ticket to defeat Obama.  Say yes to R&R!

 

Getting Religion…

Stating the obvious, we know that wearing religion on your sleeve can be dangerous.  Which brings me to one cogent expression from this one young man’s video below; he professes that “people only know you’re a Christian by your Facebook.”  

I have experienced their religion first-hand.  If you’re running late and you think finding a seat on a Southwest flight is difficult, try getting to a religious service late.  If you have ever been slow to leave after services, you have been run over by the stampede leaving church or cutoff leaving the parking lot.   

I guess it’s still better than being in the Middle East where you could be blown up by a suicide bomber or a roadside bomb.  Thank God no one has been nuked lately. 

Don’t get me wrong.  Many who profess their faith in God are truly genuine.  That is why many of us have become instant fans of the Denver Broncos…well Tim Tebow, anyway.  In fact, there does seem to be the hand of God in some of his touchdown throws.  God help the rest of us!  

To my point, Christians and Muslims have killed millions in the name of God or Allah, but as Jesus was our Savior, He never meant for any of this to happen.  He wasn’t a “Christian” in religious man-made terms.  He was the first Christian,  He was a true gift from God , the Son of God.  His words were meant to heal not to divide.  He sacrificed himself and died on the cross for all humankind. 

I’m not a heretic.  I’m not preaching.  If I was, I’d be preaching to the choir.  This is a lesson.  This is a lesson from the heart.  We need to listen. —> Getting Religion

He says, “Just because you call somebody blind doesn’t mean you have vision.”

We have been warned.  The experts say our next great threat is ourselves, right here in America. It’s now about you and me.  It’s now more important than ever to follow the true meaning of Christ.

We already know we live shoulder to shoulder, possibly arm in arm, with the next domestic terrorist.  Whether he or she is on the side of one religious sect or another, it matters far less than the lives that will be lost.  We just need to stop, listen and learn from Him.

The Greatest Commandment: Love God and Your Neighbor

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Be a Servant to Others

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

So when you’re on the internet, which is a miracle in itself, to think Al Gore invented it; and you come across an amazing YouTube video, it’s no wonder you will find someone you can relate to and another who says, “hmmm.” 

I hope you have labored with me up to this point because if you haven’t seen and heard it, this young man’s poem and video, YouTube Video —->Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word, it has great insight on man-made religion vs. the true love of God.

In his own words, A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it’s core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair.  Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!”  Jefferson Bethke

Let’s see if this young man can keep his perspective, like Tebow, without becoming carried away with his newfound man-made worship and adoration. 

Regardless, his message is compelling.  I have watched and listened to this video several times, not because I am in danger of being left without a seat on a plane or I fear getting run over in a stampede.  I have watched and listened because it has struck a chord… 

Maybe there’s hope for our young people.  Maybe they will navigate their way out of this dust storm they have inherited from us.  Maybe those of us older and portended to be wiser, set in our ways; maybe, just maybe, we will follow.

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Depression – This stretch of road is all behind you now…

I Can’t Do This Anymore!

“When you bust through all the layers of brevity and you have shaken all the hands of hope, you can begin to share the depths of despair depression can bring.”

If you are afflicted by or live with someone with severe depression, you’re no stranger to words of despair.  You try to remain stoic while your insides are churning.  Helpless in the moment. Those suffering from depression, they’re gripped by desperate thoughts. And all you can do is to tell them it is going to be OK. Tell them it isn’t going to last.   Tell them they will get better.   Both of you must endure.

Tears may come easy to some, sometimes for no reason.  Depression can often hide behind a smile.  It’s no cliché.  If you have shared a moment or a lifetime with someone who is severely depressed, the eyes are truly the window to their soul.  Looking into the eyes of someone you love, eyes you have seen filled with joy, mischief, love and wonderment; that are suddenly filled with tears, fear, pain and bewilderment, is gut-wrenching.  The only reprieve is an embrace.

Even those closest to one suffering from depression often react with bewilderment, impatience, aggravation, even divisiveness by someone’s sudden onset and deep dive into depression. The problem is there is more than one reality.

Depression is an alternate reality, a place where all that is burdensome or worrisome is amplified tenfold and more.  Those who are afflicted with depression are rolling down a road to nowhere.

There are millions of clinically depressed people who are not normally self-absorbed, who are living productive lives, who are contributing to society, who are contributing to their friends and families, yet live with a profound sadness and who are depressed.  These are people who are suffering from depression, who love life, who love others and who dread the unwelcome, unanticipated, unprovoked; and most disturbing, suffer undeserved moments of despair.

Moments of despair that often metastasize into hours, days, weeks and beyond. Some severely depressed people never make it back, back to living the productive lives they were meant to live.

Those who live, love, are friends with or have a depressed person in their lives need to embrace that person, even when that person doesn’t know or care if you are there.

You have to hold out for a loved one afflicted with depression, let them know you are there without prejudice, without demands and bring a boatload of patience.  Reach out to them, through the tears.  Find them in your embrace.  Welcome them back.  Cherish every moment.

With depression, there’s always a way back.  The fact is, if you can be a severely depressed person and face a severe episode (incident) of depression with defiance and say, “I won’t take this anymore.”  If you can face the feelings of fear and desperation by surrendering to those feelings, letting go, letting those feelings roll over you and believe in yourself its possible you can endure each successive episode until your psyche has put these feelings behind you.

I wrote “This Stretch of Road Is All Behind Me” because I often find people in places where they never want to be.  I believe this stretch of road for those who live with misery, including depression, that road can be behind you.

This stretch of road is all behind me…

No more rolling down this road called misery.
I’m no saint. No savior wannabe.
I’m not here to take a fall.
I’m just here passing through, that’s all.
Cause that road I was headed down,
Placed a hurt on me… a hurt on me.
People bent, people broken.
People’s names left unspoken.
I’m not headed down that road.
No. No. No more.
So I’m taken a turn for right or wrong.
This stretch in the road is all behind me.
My mind, my bed is already made.
There’s no more yesterday’s in my head.
No more yesterday’s hanging over me. Over me.
All I see is ahead of me. Ahead of me…
People bent, people broken.
People’s names left unspoken.
I’m not headed down that road.
No. No. No more.
Hear me now.
There’s no going back! So just don’t go there.
You hear me?
 
10-31-2011
 

Note to readers: There are many roads to a cure for depression. There are also many forks in the road and dead ends, too. Drug therapy is not an exact science. There are many good self-help books, good therapists, effective drugs and other forms of therapy. If the road you take doesn’t work, don’t give up. There are many roads available. Don’settle.

One of the best sites on Depression.

Express “yourself.” Leave your comments, share or spread the word click on Stumble Upon button below. Subscribe or come back often to visit.

 

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