Tag Archives: Life

An Ode to Old Friends

There have been many dogs in my life. Each brought a different kind of joy to us. Some

Maggie Dog
Maggie Dog (Photo credit: BrainMuffin)

were great companions who loved to go on adventures. Others played with us. Others did tricks. And others stayed by our side to the end.

Jenny was a black poodle. She came to us not long before my dad was sent to Germany by the US Army. We left for Karlsruhe in 1972 and Jenny went to live with my mother’s parents. I don’t remember Jenny at that time. I do remember her when she returned in 1975 with our move to Knoxville, Tennessee.

While in Germany, the last year we had a dog named Whiskers. He was brought up by two GI’s  and his real name was Damnit. He was good fun, though he hated Germans. Quite odd given where he lived. When we moved back to the States, we gave him to another family staying in country.

Back in Tennessee, Jenny was a great dog for 7 year old. She loved to play ball and was the outfield. She would catch the ball and return it to the pitcher. Good luck getting a hit. In 1978 though, she started to go blind and had to eventually be put down.

Buffy though, overlapped with Jenny about a year. A stray that followed my brother home, he became a dog who would protect us from other dogs. When we bred Jenny, he cared for the puppies as if they were his. He did have a wild spirit and we went to live with our grandfather in Ohio in 1979 when we moved to Fort Belvoir. About six months later, he ran off and never returned.

One of our best dogs was Adam. In the summer of 1982 while visiting friends at Fort Belvoir, my mom and I met Adam. They were keeping him for a friend of theirs and were looking for a good home. He was an Irish Setter/Golden Retriever mix and mild of temper. That day, he made the trip back to Fort Ritchie with us and lived with us until he was very old and quite ill. He went with us to Stuttgart, Germany and then to Johnson Bible College. He loved to chase and loved people. At 15, it came his time to leave us and he is buried in the woods on top of the hill at Johnson.

Woofie (sometimes Wolfie) was the first dog my wife and I had. We rescued her from the pound in 1992 at Knoxville. She was a great apartment dog and very smart. We made a donation to the shelter and received free beginner level obedience lessons. She learned to take items from either of us and give to the other. She would bring her water bowl when it was empty and could go off the leash quite well. We rented a house from my parents in 1995 and in 1996 she and Jake got out of the fenced in backyard. He made it back, she did not. We found her on the side of the road and buried her in the side. After all these years, I still miss her.

About a year before we moved out of the apartment, some people we knew at the University of Tennessee had a stray that wanted to find a home for. Jake was a mutt with a purple tongue. We kept him for a few days and eventually gave him to my brother. Jake was a bit of a wild dog, being part chow, and when younger didn’t like to be hemmed in. When my brother took a job in Canton, Ohio and lived in an apartment that allowed no pets, Jake stayed with us in the house. He liked to dig and get out. For a long time, only he got out, but eventually Woofie joined him. I was too slow getting the fence repaired with rebar and Woofie got killed. In late 1997, we moved to Marion, Ohio and Jake went to live with the in-laws in Richmound, Virginia. There he dug big holes, went through the glass panel on a storm door and got into neighbors’ trash. The last few years of his life he was more tame and his best friend was the cat who lived up the street. Poppop buried him in the holes he dug out back.

Maggie. What can be said about Maggie. She was a large, white dog and very gentle. She came to us about a year about Woofie died. When we had children, she let them play with her, climb on her and pull her tail. Many times it seemed she treated them like they were her puppies. Though she looked like a white retriever, she never chased anything not edible. She did not chase sticks, balls, toys, etc. She was very kind to most people, especially women, and loved by many. She lived with us in Knoxville and Marion and our moved to Cincinnati. In mid 2011, her health started to fail. Eventually, she started to eat less, then nothing. The last week of her life was the most painful. Neighbors and friends alike cried when we had to put her down.

Snuggles is yet another stray dog (notice a theme???) who came up to us when we were out doing yard work in October 1995. She was with us when Woofie got killed. She and Jake were around before Maggie and she also went to live with the in-laws in 1997. In Christmas 2003, she came back to us as our son’s dog. She was a bit aggressive for a smaller dog and really loved to chase everything. Fast and nimble, she would chase frisbies, balls, sticks, everything. She would bark when Jake and Woofie would get out. She also loved to snuggle, hence her name. After Maggie was gone, she started to become listless and have less excitement. She obviously missed her friend. In the early spring of 2012, Toby came into our life and Snuggles perked up. Nearing 17, her back became a problem and one night something happened. We are not sure, but the next day she could barely walk and I had to carry her to take her outside. She stopped eating everything, including treats, and shook a great deal. As painful as it was to say goodbye to another friend so shortly after Maggie, it was her time as well.

These friends completed us. They contributed to the value of our lives. As long as we remember them, they live on.

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Three legs, c’est la vie

Structure du pont Corneille
Structure du pont Corneille (Photo credit: zigazou76)

Life. It seems so complicated and multiple faceted. How can it ever be simple? There are so many parts. What do you mean there are only three? Huh?

Nature is a good teacher. Trees that grow too tall for their roots are toppled by the wind. The forest provides shelter and food for many animals. Organisms have exactly what the need, nothing more and nothing less. Life that thrives in nature has structure, community and purpose. The three legs of life in nature is true for the human as well.

Develop Structure

The unstructured life is a mess. Any small addition event is seen as a crisis. There is nothing to support all what goes on from day to day. The person without structure has problems finishing tasks on time, has a harder time learning new skills and ideas, will continue to be late and lacks any semblance of balance.

Structure is what one uses to produce a life full of completion. Structure must exist for one to fulfill their potential, give meaning and provide satisfaction. Without structure, one will continuously miss the mark.

Consider the well tuned athlete. Is it simple genetics? No. It is strict routine. Not for a day. Not for a year. For many days; many years. Everyday is planned to ensure all portions of the workout and nutrition are met. Everyday is planned so that every minute is used and nothing is wasted. Structure is what creates the well tune athlete.

Community is support

In 1624, John Donne wrote Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. The following lines are from Meditation XVII (written in modern English):

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Here Donne illustrates that each of us are better as part of a whole. We feel for one another. We laugh together. We cry together. As part of a community, we have more resources for learning, for teaching, for growing. Being a part of a community gives each of us far more than we have alone.

Community is a key to growth and understanding. Find the community you need to grow the ways you desire. Listen. Learn. Speak. Teach. Grow.

Live a Purpose

Ever wonder why you are? What your purpose in life is? Tired of wondering around in a haze, not knowing where up and down are? The human was designed to have a purpose. You have one.

Purpose gives one’s life direction and dedication. The athlete who has been shaped to run the marathon will never fulfill that goal without purpose. Purpose is what causes the need for structure to appear and the desire to seek community. It is a sense of purpose that keeps one on course when all else has gone by the way. Purpose creates the drive, the desire, the persistence. When one knows and lives their purpose, no obstacle will be seen as too great to overcome. Have purpose. Find purpose.

Use all three legs of your life. You will be complete.

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Passion to Clarity

A 1914 half-sovereign minted in Sydney
A 1914 half-sovereign minted in Sydney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Passion. It keeps you on course. It keeps you moving. It brings action and motivation.

When the going gets tough, passion will keep the you going. Where is it that you are going? What is it you want to do? What does done mean?

Enter clarity.

Clarity is how your target is defined. It allows you to know what you seek, what it feels like, how it smells, how it tastes. Clarity defines what you want.

Knowing what you want in life to such a high level is paramount for success, no matter how you choose to define it. Success has to be personally defined. It cannot be defined by someone else. Success is your goals, your dreams, your aspirations. Know what they are. See them. Feel them. Get very, very clear on them.

Clarity cuts through the fog. It leads to understanding. It guides through the rain. Clarity allows action to be well directed. It pushes passion through all obstacles. While passion is the fuel that drives your engine to success, clarity keeps everything running.

Get crystal clear on your goals. See each step. Fully define what you want. Suppose you want a new car. What model? What color? What options? How much work will you need to do to achieve it? How many calls? How many sales? That is clarity. It is more than just the end goal, it is all the steps in between.

Want to sing at the Apollo theater in Harlem? Don’t settle for performing at the local dinner club. See that goal. See the work. Do the work.

That is what clarity does. It pushes aside all the “can’ts” and “wont’s”. Get clear. See your path. Now go.

You Are Your Brand, Not Your Opportunity

A New Business

It is seen quite often. Someone starts a new on-line business. They are enthusiastic. They are ready to go. Ready to rock. They place ads everywhere. They send e-mails to every list they can find. All of them tout this brand new thing-a-majig. All fail.

Why?

It is the classic misunderstanding of what kind of business they are in. They believe they are in an Internet business. They believe they are in a Marketing business. They believe they are in everything but what they are.

Imagine you have applied to manage a new restaurant opening down the street. It doesn’t mater what kind of restaurant it is. If it help you, suppose it is a McDonald’s. The owner asks you about your experience. They ask what you like about their company. They are quite impressed. They have one more question, “As the manager of this restaurant, what kind of business are you in?” You answer, “the restaurant business.” The owner looks sad. They sigh, shake your hand and thank you for your time.

You leave knowing you did not get the job. You cannot understand why.

Your Actual Business

It doesn’t matter if you are a manager of a restaurant or if you started the latest and smoking hot Internet business. All of these are in the same business.

“Wait!” you exclaim. “They sell food and I see widgets. They are not the same business.”

Yes they are. You are concentrating on the what and not the why. You are not looking at what the course business is. Why you are in business. Why you believe you will be successful. Why is the core, the heart, the very center of your business.

All of these business are in the People business. As a manager, you are mostly in the business of empowering and leading your workers. They in turn are your direct link to the customer. They are the face and the attitude of your business.

As an owner of an Internet business, you are all of those. You are the manager. You are the face. You are the heart. You are your brand. What you are selling is not your brand. What you are selling is not your business. You are your business. And you are in the People Business. Say hello.

Getting With People, Living With People

Life

We go from day-to-day. We see people. We come and go. We arrive. We depart. We get up, eat, go about our business and sleep. Life is a movement. Life is dynamic. Life ebbs and flows. Life pushes forward, no matter what. Life creates. Life spreads. Life is.

Everyday, new life is started. Everyday, old life is over. Everyday a new beginning. Everyday a final end. Everyday.

People

People interact with one another. People buy. People sell. People talk, cry, love, hate, shout, play. People are people. People have feelings. People get depressed. People have joy. People get relaxed.

Business

Putting people and life together brings about change. It brings creativity. It brings destruction.

People and life together create the most wonderful of results. People and life built the great pyramids. People and life built Stonehenge. People and life built Notre Dame.

People and life together create philosophy. People and life together created the best experiment of personal Liberty the world has seen in America. People and life created love.

Life is a people business

Life is about coming along side another for a time, creating something greater than the parts and separating into different paths. Life is about helping people. Life is about knowing people.

Life is a people business.