Follow the Red Dirt Road

I find the path
I’ve longed
to capture

Windows through branches
are blue with sky and
framed by draperies of moss

What lies around the bend
still unknown
though anticipated

Limber branches
and leaves among poke berries
beckon me to explore

Time is the crux
and as the wind stills
the beckoning wanes

The forestal adornments
feel my hurried state and
bid me go

Return when the time
is devoted to
adventure and not the mundane

Fresh Start

A fresh start does not necessarily mean something is new to you.  A fresh start can merely mean a new way of doing what is known to you.  And the key word, at least for me, is DOING.

At some point in life we are all doing something that works well for us and then what do we do?  We stop DOING what worked well.  Maybe the process seems slow or possibly laborious.  Becoming mired in a process can take away from the simple goal.

So how do you reach the simple goal?  Work.

You work at your pace, with your tools, with your mind – body – and soul.  You give it a place in the order of your priorities.

Some folks have to shut out everyone and everything in order to do what they do.

Others need to be totally engaged with others and the world around them.

Once you reach the goal, whether alone or with a team, how do you then maintain the goal once it is met?

It goes back to doing.  You can’t stop.  You have to be able to DO when the environment is not friendly to the task at hand.  It’s like the old saying of doing the right thing even when someone is not watching. The goal is not something that rejuvinates on its own.  We have to continue the work that brought us there in order to maintain what we have placed as the goal.

It’s hard to deny our life is a series of hills and valleys. While the terrain changes we do not have to change.  We can continue with the same goals and priorities in mind.  Our mind has to be set to move us beyond the valley, to the hill, and then through another valley.  We can remain constant while people, places, and situations change.

A consistent and constant mindset, however, does not mean we don’t stop along the way to experience life.  Reaching a goal can be enjoyable and not feel like work.  The journey can become the fresh start daily.

Yesterday had mistakes.  Some were mine but some belong to others.  Forgiveness is key.  You can’t move forward without it. Whether given or received, forgive.

Today is here.  You and I have work to do.  Alone or with a team it won’t get done without being present, taking hold of the moments, letting go of yesterday, and preparing for tomorrow.

What will tomorrow hold?  We can only be prepared by the fresh start of today.

Excuse me but your criticism is not constructive

Raise your hand. Who loves criticism? I’m looking over the audience I perceive to be reading this blog. No hands are raised.

Think about this. Do you enjoy constructive criticism? I see a few hands. Maybe, like me, you need a reminder of the difference between criticism and constructive criticism.

I asked Google to refresh my memory. “What is constructive criticism?” Google answered:

Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.

People who are revered for their wisdom are most likely those who give you the upside of the critique and then highlight the areas that need work with solid examples. They are people who come along side you, root for you, and realize your potential. They have made the same mistakes and offer solid advice for learning and overcoming those mistakes. Their only gain is to see you succeed. They are humble in their approach and do not critique to have power or control over you. Again, the goal is your success.

Be selective from whom you seek advice. If I want to plant a garden, and need to know how to balance my soil to suit the vegetables or flowers, I do not take the soil sample to the guy who changes the oil in my car. I find the person who has the successful garden and is willing to share their ups and downs in growing beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables.
Trust your own judgment. The story you are writing, the child you are raising, the product you are selling, the class you are teaching — whatever you are doing is your responsibility. Listen to your gut instinct and weigh it against the constructive criticism or the negative criticism you receive. There is a balance in what you know is innately right for you and what is being suggested by a person you trust or one you do not trust.

Free yourself from the negative critic. Don’t let their negativity foil your progress. Don’t become bitter toward them or the advice. Let it roll and let it go! Continue to seek out the person who is constructive and wants to see you succeed.

…hey it’s good to be back home again

The words of an old John Denver song are in my head this morning. “Hey, it’s good to be back home again.” I’m not living on a farm, as he sings about, but it is good to be home. No matter how great the vacation or visit with family, no matter how comfortable the bed away from home, there’s nothing like that moment when you lie down in your own bed, look at your own ceiling fan (still holding that layer of dust) and exhale. Home.

I’m thinking it would be easy to say I’ll get back to a normal routine on Monday. But if I take off four days it will be wasted time. I’m over wasting time. I can’t recover lost time but I can do my best to make my hours count. I need my minutes to count. So this morning I’ll be back on the walking route breathing in fresh air and using my muscles. Clears my head and keeps a good perspective. When I don’t know what each day may bring, I can count on a walk to bring life into clear focus. Nothing better to keep my head out of the sand and into the reality of what matters in life.

So I’m moving ahead and I’m determined to steer clear of those things that do not take me anywhere — like politics. Those conversations are circuitous and lead to nothing.

I will continue to love God, unabandoned, and my neighbor as myself. These words of Jesus dwell in my heart and mind. They guide me. It’s not easy. I find it easier to put myself first, my ambitions first, my needs and wants first. Simply moving behind his lead is where I need to remain. He leads and guides us on the true path.

I will continue to listen and speak less. My den is empty, the cubs are full grown, and when they speak to me I listen. I answer if they ask. It’s a good rhythm and we all continue to grow. I cherish the moments we have to spend together and keep the memories in my heart.

Home and ready to move ahead. Holding so much in my heart but not too tightly as everything is God’s. He lovingly loans us time, our families, and necessities of life.

Focused and ready to see what today holds. Deep breath, exhale, lace up — off I go!