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Stop. Look. Listen.

Before you cross the street, stop, look and listen. This advice was drilled into my head as a child. Before you cross the busy street - which for me was often traffic crammed Ocean Boulevard in the heat of the Summer tourist season in Myrtle Beach, SC - you should stop, look both ways and listen for traffic coming as well as look. Stop. Look. Listen.

One of our kids, at preschool age, learned this phrase incorrectly and would utter "Stop. Look and Licken," when we would prepare to cross a street. In loving and nurturing parental fashion, we never corrected her and soon we all had a new phrase for practicing safe crossings.

There are all kinds of crossings in life.

The saying stays with me. Stop, look and listen. My life is busy. I plan each day for a busy life. I enjoy it. Living is a lot like showing up at the Sunday buffet and having to chose what you are not going to taste. I'm not particularly good at saying no. I want the entire feast!

Last weekend I spent some time in Asheville, NC. I had two wonderful days with nothing planned. I went for a hike in the mountain woods, visited the Folk Art Center, took a long sit at a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook, and tarried for hours in a local coffee shop writing, reading and relaxing. I stopped, slowed down, looked at the world I was in and savored, listened, to the details and nuances of my living - that one day. It was a beautiful day. I think I'll do it some more.

When is the last time you followed the simple direction: Stop, look and listen?

Life missing...

enough beauty
enough stillness
enough laughter
enough creativity
enough nature
enough gentle conversation
enough waves
enough art
enough writing
enough reading
enough walking

Ordinary Man vs Happy Idiot

A few weeks back while mowing the lawn I concluded that everyone should want to be me.

Here's the scene. I'm pushing  the mower across the front lawn in 90+ degree heat, drenched with sweat, listening to some iPod music - exhausted - it occurs to me that I have a modest life. I have a modest home and car both with loans. I'm doing my own lawn work. I'm short, have arthritis, am going bald and I'm over 1/2 a century old. But here's the kicker - I'm deeply happy.

From the outside looking in you might miss it, but I have a wonderful, enjoyable, modest, ordinary life. More of my days are about peace, laughter, satisfaction and joy than not. Yes, I've concluded everyone should want to be me.

Of course, it could be I was permanently affected by the heat and am now just a "happy idiot." I like it.

10 Day Changers - #7

There are things I do and say that make my day great. This 10 day series is about those things.

7. Eat fresh fruit. As simple as it sounds, eating something fresh is a game changer. there is a trick to it, of course. I have to stop everything else and be aware of the moment. If I pay attention to the peeling of the banana and the act of biting and chewing and the fact that I'm taking the time to fuel my body with something healthy  - then, it's a game changer.

10 Day Changers - #4

There are things I do and say that make my day great. This 10 day series is about those things.

4. Use a 'mantra.' I have a small plastic card of positive affirmations that I have memorized, so I often recite (yes, out loud) them as I drive. Recite one of them 10 times and they work. Every time. Every single time. Here are a couple of them: 1. Today I will win. Why? I'll tell you why - because I have faith, courage and enthusiasm. -Tom Hopkins 2. I have the exact tools I need for the exact challenges of this day. I'm well equipped. 3. Today is a gift. I am immensely grateful for it.

Reflections On Yourself

reflect on
can you gaze
in the mirror where
you will find
gazing into

you can

Top Five FAILS You're Doing in Life - Number 5

A quick series of posts on the 5 things that are "DONT'S" in life, in descending order. I know this for a fact. Let's just leave it at that.

5. Playing too Little.

Face it. We don't play enough. We laugh too seldom, run too little, jump over curbs and duck under branches way too infrequently. We need play to be fully alive.

Penitence for this lack of FUN is as follows. Call a friend and make a funny sound over the phone. Yes, THAT sound. Do it and then come back here for more tomorrow.

Say It. Just say It.

The gift of a kind word is known by every human who but ponders the thought. Yet we too often withhold even the simplest of gentle utterances from those who deserve it. Why?

Today, I ask you to join me in speaking kindness to others. Thank someone. Compliment someone sincerely. Be kind in word, today. Say it. Just say it.

All in?


Yes. I'm back from my weekend at the historic Grove Park Inn.

Yes. I saw President Obama as we walked down the hallway.

Yes. I delivered a devotional message to a few hundred Rotarians at the Grove Park Inn.

Yes. I enjoyed the vistas and expanse of the NC mountains.

Yes. I am tired and looking forward to returning to 'normal' starting now.

Gently Walking

Gently Walking

beads of perspiration mark trails down my temples
paths of the journey of necessity, vigilance
arms stretch outward to maintain balance
delicate steps along the precipice of doubt


once more muscles constrict and release the rhythm
of a task that moves me ever forward
mental anguish and withered cravings scream
threats of rebellion and unwillingness


while gentle wisps of liberated mist rise from the earth
once bound to soil and stone now free, rising
swirling forms of supportive hands caress my frame
lifting forever a small piece of life's weighty matter


i stroll on