Work For It

When I was in elementary school I got straight F’s on my report cards. I failed pretty much every class. Ultimately I  failed the sixth grade, almost failed the seventh and was put into special education courses for some subjects in eighth grade. Needless to say I’m not a smart person. If I possess any intellect at all it is because I worked for it. I worked my way out of Special Education, graduated with Honors and by High School was taking all honors courses. I had never been good at math but it didn’t stop me from taking Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry. I was possibly worse in science than math but it didn’t stop me from taking advanced Chemistry. My point here is that everything that I have always done had been with a particular work ethic. I’d never been the kid who could automatically understand, no. If I was to understand anything I had to study it. So I became a nerd because I had to be. Not being a nerd would have resulted in continual failure. By the time I was a junior in High School I was also taking College Courses for College credit. This meant that most of my day was spent at school. I would go to High School in the daytime and then College at night. I graduated High School eleventh in my class and went on to begin the next part of my academic journey. When I look back I notice that I graduated Elementary, High School, and College at the top of my class and with honors.

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The moral of the story is not about the Educational System. Nor is it about me. Like I said, I am not a smart person. Everything I have required work to get. The moral of the story is that when it comes to achievement, of whatever kind, it’s not as mind boggling as some make it. Despite your perfectly outlined plans there really isn’t a silver bullet for how to do something well nor is it about doing something the way others tell you it should be done; it’s just about doing the work. Whether we are talking about Blogging, Self-Publishing or being of service in any capacity it is always about doing the work. As long as you are willing to work then you are willing to be successful. By successful I do not mean making a lot of money. By successful I mean accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Someone who desires to lose weight and takes the steps to get it done and does it is a successful person. There is no special diet he or she can take part in that will help them. There is no special meal either. But there is that persons mind and its willingness to put forth the work necessary to get it done. Yes, Self-Publishing is a challenge in many ways but it is not as overwhelming as it can be. Every time you walk pass an Independent book store there is opportunity. Every time you open your blog and stare at the page there is promotional opportunity. Every time someone reaches out to you as an Author there is opportunity. Every time you walk pass a library there is opportunity. The question then is not whether or not people will buy your books, not whether a book store will house your series, not whether or not you have perfected marketing and promotional plans. All of these things has its part but they are not really the point. The point of it all is always whether or not you are willing to do the work. Are you willing to walk into that bookstore and ask them about housing your book? Are you willing to schedule a FREE book signing at the local library? Are you willing to take advantage of shameless FREE promotion on your own blog? I just use writing as an example but this can apply to every aspect of our lives. It all boils down to one question: are you willing to do the work? If you are not willing to work it doesn’t matter how many doors open, you will always be too lazy to walk through them.

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Ten Seconds to Stand

Painting Copyright ©Tim Okamura
Painting Copyright ©Tim Okamura

You stand an awkward 5’3, and barely 140lbs to this 10ft over 300 lb. monster of a circumstance. Your back is against the rope. Body leaning, and tumbling over an agonizing blow to the face, body, and jaw until finally you topple. Come crashing down a lifeless breath of humiliation and shame. Through bloody and blurred eyes you see the referee coming, a glint of mercy. Here comes the slow count. You have fallen down. You have been defeated. You have been humiliated and you’ve got 10 seconds to stand back on your feet. Yes, only 10. You have been knocked out cold by life and mercy isn’t as tall nor does he appear to be as strong as this circumstance, and yet here he is. This tiny stature of a man, who doesn’t seem to know the taste of the ground or the enticing sound of “Give Up” but he is here. Approaching your situation with iron style arms and a dove for a face. What will be your decision? There’s only ten seconds to make one. Will you stand?

To Move a Mountain

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“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Proverb

So I have a very important writing endeavor coming up and it’s a really big deal. I will be among nine other writers to take part and not everyone’s script is guaranteed to make the final cut. With just a small window available to get it written, it made me think of this quote. A huge job or task only seems impossible because for the most part, we are trying to do it all at once. When I think about projects it’s usually the finished product. I think about how to go about completing the entire project but in truth that just makes it more difficult than it has to be.

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When I was in High School (well technically I had graduated but we were still in the summer months following graduation), I was chosen to take part in this program. The program was called “Paint the Town”, in which a group of former students sacrificed the rest of the summer to get together and perform one final project on behalf of the school. Since we were no longer students and really didn’t need the credit this was a paid job, so you know we were in. Some of us were already working summer jobs and preparing ourselves to start College the next semester. The job was to paint a mural on a concrete wall in the neighborhood. Initially, it seemed overwhelming because we had to complete the entire wall before the end of the program. Not to mention that we were not professional artists, we were former High School students guided only by the school’s Art teacher. Our job was to decide on a theme, draw out a blueprint and decided how to transfer our vision from paper to an outside concrete wall. It was no easy task as we struggled to decide what was important enough to leave its mark on this wall forever, or for as long as the elements didn’t wash it away. However, once we decided to break it down into parts and sections, and delegate those sections to certain individuals or teams, it didn’t seem like such a large mountain to move. We were able to see the possibility of it all coming together and today, I can walk down that same Chicago Street and still see my name carved among those who participated in the program that took place nine years ago.

When you are faced with an important job, try not to take it all in, but see it coming in slow, a little at a time and eventually the whole picture will come together. It is only when we try to move the mountain in one sitting that we overwhelm ourselves. Just take it one stone at a time; you’ll get there eventually if you remain diligent.

Diamond in The Ruff

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I decided to seek strength when pain took it upon herself to become the choir director of humanity

in an anxious quest to play doubt on the strings of our faith she laughs…

coughing up the twisted humor of her bowels you see she knows

that our minds have been twisted by the craftiness of sin still falling from the fingerprints of Eve and  Hiding behind the shame of Adam she knows
The ease to which we are apt to scream we’re not able like the blood of Abel, that at times
our lowliest moments give us in to unbelief like virgins vulnerable to the sensitivity of fleshly skin
Faith giving it up like cracking levees… overflowing with trial & struggle she laughs while you drown in sins pain made you promise to go back to

but you tell pain that we are not bed sheets fitted to the corners of her pride

We are not fools, babbling vain words in her congregation

We are not faithless because of her existence

Tell pain that we wait for her

like crouching tigers with gritted teeth

you tell sorrow that with much wisdom comes much grief

tell her, that we are not children

borne about by every sickness breathed from the viruses she plants in our immune systems 4 we are strong

you tell pain that from her humility is born

like truth when it touched its hands on the insides of Miriam’s womb, the Salvation brought forth from pain

a stake of stabbing wounds
You tell pain that the almighty made sure that everything had its companion

You tell pain…

that Endurance was made for her