My favorite quotes, songs and stories, my writings and thots

Rush

I got around to watching the movie, Rush, last weekend. I enjoyed the story as I knew Niki Lauda from back when I was following Formula 1. Although he was no longer racing at that time, he was often at the tracks and we all knew his history. I personally enjoy true story movies, especially about people I know of.

There is a very interesting element in the movie that goes well beyond the racing and the telling of Niki’s story. It is also the story of two men and their outlook on life. Two men who had entirely different ways of dealing with life and entirely pole different outcomes because of it.

Niki is hard-working to the point of being obsessed. He sees problems and works to fix them. He has long-term goals and fights for those goals. On the other hand, there’s James. He wants the win just as badly, but will do anything to get it. He knows little about the cars he drives and instead pushes those around him to make the decisions needed to make him faster and better. He spends all his free time drinking, sleeping around, and it’s suggested that he takes drugs. His motto is to live by the day and seems entirely happy doing so.

We see Niki in a position where he almost envies James’s lifestyle. James is the first to marry and to a model, no less. He’s popular, while Niki doesn’t make many friends because he’s determined and takes no nonsense. We get the impression that Niki would like to live like James in some areas, but at the same time he understands that as long as he wants to win, he has to act like a winner. He makes plans that he knows will affect the rest of his career and even his life. He eventually marries the woman he loves and continues to race against his greatest rival, James.

Then the unthinkable happens. Niki allows himself to not do what he knows is best. He knows it’s too dangerous to race, but he gives in to those who think they know better and races anyway. It results in an accident that nearly costs his life. At this point, he can choose. Does he accept his fate, does he passively sit back and accept that he’s not meant to do what he set out to do? Instead, he fights. He hurts. He makes himself get back in that car, fear and all, knowing that those he loves are just as scared for him, and he races anyway.

In the end, James does win that one race and he goes on to party like only he can. Niki warns him that if he wants to continue racing, he’s going to have to train, make modifications, and get back in right away. James says he will. Tomorrow. That’s James’ whole way of thinking. Just on the day. He thinks he’s having fun. He thinks life is where he wants it. Instead, he ends up alone. His friends leave him because he finds others to make the money for him. His wife leaves him because he can’t sustain the relationship. He dies young, almost alone, and without much to his name.

I know the feeling of wanting to live each day as if it were the only one. And there is some truth to that. We have to live each day as if it were our last, but at the same time, we also have to plan and fight for our future. I’m so done living passively and expecting that nothing more will come. I hate the expression “what to do?” almost as much as “that’s just life”. Our future is what we make it. I have the choice to just let things happen or to stand up and make a change, hurt as it may.

Sure, some things are “just life” and we have to learn to roll with the punches. But just letting each day go by without even trying to effect change, no matter how small, won’t get us far.

I read an interesting comment today that resonated with me in reference to this movie and what it made me think of. It went like this:

“The only reason why you’re staying where you are instead of doing what makes you happy is because you’re scared.

The only reason you are not doing what you want is because there is still some part of you which doesn’t trust in the part that believes.”

1536432_301348696680866_1884855014_nI’m aware that not everything portrayed in the movie was entirely the way things happened in real life. But for the sake of the way the movie affected me, I’m writing it from the standpoint of the movie, not real events.

 

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about the kids, My favorite quotes, songs and stories

Happy Mother’s Day

I’ve often said I celebrate Mother’s Day differently now that I’m a mother myself. Today, I’m glad I have this amazing piece to feature here, because, let’s face it, intense, constant pain doesn’t go well with writing amazing pieces. At least not for me. So without further ado, here’s a tribute to Mother’s Day from Stephen Larriva:

I was standing in line at the supermarket. Behind me in the line was a mother with her two teenage children: a boy about 13 and a girl maybe 15. The boy was sulking, arguing with his mom about some item that he wanted her to purchase for him. The girl was feverishly texting and at the same time nagging her mother to let her go to a party. Words like a dumb and old-fashioned were being used repeatedly on the poor woman. Everyone who was standing in line became increasingly uncomfortable with the way these two teens were treating their mother. I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned around and looked at them squarely in the eyes and said “This woman (pointing at their mother) at great personal expense,” I paused for affect “Pushed you both out of her vagina. Your arguments are invalid.” There was silence. An elderly gentleman stifled a cough. The cashier cleared his throat. Then laughter started and spontaneous applause. The old man slapped me on the back the tears streaming down his face in laughter. The cashier whispered in awe “Dude, you’re totally like, my hero.”

Then I woke up.

While it is highly unlikely I would ever actually do this in real life. (I admit it is fun to think about) it really got me thinking about how much we take for granted the tricky job of motherhood. Perhaps because women have been doing the difficult job of motherhood for thousands of years with such amazing grace and breathtaking finesse it’s easy to forget how hard it actually is.

For starters, just being a woman difficult – and not just metaphorically or historically, although both of those are very valid point in cases of how difficult it is to be a woman. The just the physical transition that a woman must endure to become a mother is mind bending.

I’m the first to admit that, as a man, I’m about as qualified to discuss this subject as an auto mechanic who has never owned a car. But I have assisted in a few births (and by assisting, I mean watched) and once delivered a baby when the midwife didn’t show up on time. (I’m still extremely proud of myself for not fainting.) I also have attended a Lamaze class as well as having repeatedly viewed all the drawings in the very end of the “144 basic book” during my teen years.

For those of you who may have missed sixth grade Sex Ed – and by missed I am specifically referring all us guys who actually attended the class but at first mention of the word ‘vulva’ started giggling like Japanese school girls in the back of the classroom and never heard another word that the teacher said. You can imagine my shock when I attended my first Lamaze class (which is basically sixth grade Sex Ed while you sit on the floor) where it was all re-explained with the use of flash cards and a video of a birth starring two completely nude and surprisingly hairy individuals. For those of you who may have missed Lamaze class I will do my best to recount what I learned.

First I would like you to take a deep breath, in through the nose and exhaled slowly out your mouth, as we take a moment to talk about the uterus.

The uterus:

The uterus is described in medical textbooks to be the basic size and shape of an inverted pear, a statement that uteruses worldwide resent immensely. In the months that follow conception, this little ball of inter woven muscle will increase its size by about 600%. After nine months the uterus starts to figure that looking like an inverted pear may not be so bad after all. So in a matter of hours it contracts, causing the cervix to dilate and forcibly expelling a fully formed human. Men cannot experience this. And that is a good thing. For if we could, the human race surely would have died out long ago. Here is a link for a video of 2 men who gave it a try. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A44oEcmDn1c . It is interesting to note that these guys simply had electrodes stuck to their stomach muscles so it was the equivalent of a couple hundred sit-ups. Not exactly the same as a disgruntled baby expelling uterus, but I feel they deserve a thumbs up for the noble attempt. While we’re on the subject things that women have that men don’t, let’s take a moment to talk about:

Ovaries:

Ovaries are about the size of your thumb and are considered by the medical community the practical jokesters of the female anatomy. When they are not busy producing copious amounts of estrogen they take turns producing eggs. For reasons that science has yet to explain ovaries somehow have been left with the impression that it is one of their responsibilities to influence the woman’s behavior. For the most part they are fairly well organized. For example, one may take full responsibility for producing the acquiring new shoes hormone, while the other focuses effort on chocolate acquisition. Normally this works fairly well. Until a woman becomes pregnant. This upsets their schedule of egg making and throws the rest of the little ovaries planning totally out the window causing them to rebel and retaliate by making the woman’s feet swell so that she cannot wear shoes and forcing her to crave strange things like Marmite flavored gummy bears or peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.

I could go on and on because as I understand it there is at least a dozen other things that happen in a woman’s body when she becomes pregnant but I can’t remember right now because at some point in the presentation the Lamaze instructor said the word “vulva”.

Here’s the part where it gets really crazy. Pregnancy and birth is the easy part! That’s right the EASY part! Because after you have a baby it becomes your responsibility to actually care for the child.

How mothers do it is a mystery to me. Sleepless nights and poopie diapers, colicky babies and ear aches. Colds and coughs, tummy bugs and projectile vomiting, scraped knees and visits to the emergency room. Potty training and teaching to read. Meals cooked, dishes washed, mountains of laundry folded, of hundreds ouchies bandaged, thousands of tears kissed away…

Sure, there may be a tiny hiccups from time to time. A slip that gives you a glimpse into how difficult her job really is. She may occasionally make the same thing for dinner two nights in a row. Or perhaps skip eating her dinner all together and go straight for a glass of wine. Or for a brief moment forget a child’s name and work through the list of names of all her other children before getting it right. But these inconsistencies are so short and infrequent that if you blink you probably will miss it. And she goes right back to soldiering on, picking right up where she left off in the endless list and duties and responsibilities that she carries so bravely.

To be a mother takes superhuman strength. I have no clue how they do it, but they do. Day in day out with a grace and beauty and elegance that I find impossible to put into words. Watching a mother be a mother I think is kind of like watching a ballet. They make it look so easy, so effortless. And even though in theory we know it must be difficult you never really know for sure unless you actually try it. If you ever curious to give it a try, let me know, I will let you borrow my pink tutu.

My favorite quotes, songs and stories, my writings and thots

Learning to Rest–Again!

Very often, it just happens that something I read or listen to something that just fits in my life perfectly. The recent audio, Find Rest to Your Soul was just one of those—there have been several this month, I just now am taking the time to reflect on this one especially.

Starting afresh has been a juggling act at times. My priority is spending time with my kids, teaching them, nurturing, and caring for them. This has to be put into perspective with supporting them, keeping the flat in livable condition, and studying. There have been days when I felt I just dropped the ball, again and again. If it isn’t one, it’s the other, and something always comes up short in my mind. Not that I have anything to complain about, I have a great support structure in the way of friends who are simply amazing and the kids are thrilled that I have quality time with them. I just let my overly perfectionist ways get the better of me sometimes, wishing I could do it all, and do it now.

Life isn’t like that. Growth is gradual, goals are reached in increments, and life isn’t perfect—ever. It’s all about my reaction to life that makes the difference, though. I’ve been working on being a more positive person, seeing the good, staying praiseful and learning to trust for the rest. It’s not an easy path, but I feel I’m making progress. This audio, though, reminded me of another truth:

Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”1 If you’re meek and lowly, you’ll “find rest unto your souls.” In other words, you don’t try to be more than you are, or more than Jesus is. He’s setting the example. “Just be meek and lowly and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

So if you find out you can’t pull your load today, maybe it means you’re trying to pull too much. All you who labor too much, too hard, and are too heavily laden, relax, be meek and lowly! His burden is light. Don’t try to be too much, and He will give you rest. Don’t try to do more than you can. Don’t try to be more than you are. Stay humble and lowly, and then you’ll find rest to your soul. Keep looking to the Lord—the light—and His burden is light!

“Don’t try to be more than you are, or more than Jesus is.” When did I stop just resting in His arms? When did I start thinking I needed to be more, to try to somehow attain to some level that He’s not even asking of me? If I really search my heart, I know it’s been many, many months since I started on the road to ‘self-perfection’ in some way. I stopped listening to what the Lord told me that He saw me as, and started to listen to those who told me or made me feel that I wasn’t enough in some way. I started to see this some time ago, but it didn’t really sink in until this month.

There is another quote in that audio: “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” and don’t push others to work too hard or do too much or carry too big a load. Share the load! If you’re strong enough, you can help share theirs; and if they’re strong enough, they can help share yours. I think the tendency for those of us who are overachievers, or who are physically able to carry a big load is that we expect the same from everyone else. I’m an overachiever, but I’m not physically able. I tend to look at those who can do so much, who have unending stamina, never get sick, as somehow attaining more than me. It’s only made worse if the expectation is that I should reach that same level.

It’s a lack of maturity to expect life to be fair, to expect everyone to be able to carry the same load, to label those that can’t ‘keep up’ as ‘weak’. It’s equally immature to expect that I can do as much as everyone else, that I need to attain to someone else’s idea of what ‘keeping up’ means. By putting myself into a little ‘guilt’ box every time I needed rest or a break, I took myself out of the Lord’s restful arms and on to the path of stress and burnout.

I don’t think this will be a lesson easily learned for me. There will still be tears when I feel I’ve failed the Lord, my kids, my work, or myself. But because I know it will take time to change, I’m going to give myself time to change. I’m not going to beat myself up about the lacks, but focus on the change. I’m going to focus on staying in that place of rest, counting my blessings, and reminding myself that I am the way He made me, and as such, I will let Him do through me what I can’t do myself.

My favorite quotes, songs and stories, read this

Too Good Not to Share

I know, I know…I’ve been meaning to write, I have a lot to write, it’s piling up inside me, just waiting for the chance to burst out. I will be writing again, I just needed some time to get some clarity make some sense of things so that I can once again make sense to you. I’ve been writing, only not on here, but I’ll get back in the groove soon.

Someone posted this from Paul Coelho’s blog. It blew me away, because it expresses exactly how I feel right now. I could NOT have said it better and I want to share it with you, maybe you feel the same. I’d really like to get more comments, if you have something to say, please, say it!

Looking For a Reason

What is a warrior of light?

Warriors of light keep the spark in their eyes.

They are in the world, are part of other people’s lives, and began their journey without a rucksack and sandals. They are often cowards. They don’t always act right.

Warriors of light suffer over useless things, have some petty attitudes, and at times feel they are incapable of growing. They frequently believe they are unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

Warriors of light are not always sure what they are doing here. Often they stay up all night thinking that their lives have no meaning.

Every warrior of light has felt the fear of joining in battle. Every warrior of light has once lost faith in the future.

Every warrior of light has once trodden a path that was not his/her. Every warrior of light has once felt that he/she was not a warrior of light. Every warrior of light has once failed in his/her spiritual obligations.

That is what makes them warriors of light; because they have has been through all this and have not lost the hope of becoming better.

That is why they are warriors of light.
Because they make mistakes.
Because they wonder.
Because they look for a reason – and they will certainly find one.

My favorite quotes, songs and stories

Quotes of the day

When you choose the praise route, the negative in your life becomes that much more thrilling and exciting. You are no longer bound by the rules and limitations of life, for you are pushing the edge of the envelope by taking that leap and trusting that I will catch you. So you’re free to enjoy life to the full, regardless of the current state of your surroundings.

When you are pulled and stretched to the limit, the bounce back is that much further and better. Praise will release you and send you soaring higher than ever before.

My favorite quotes, songs and stories

Re-post (because I’m sick and can’t write)

Just in case anyone missed it when I posted this on FB…and to those who asked, no, I didn’t write this, not sure who did, I just find it very true!

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back.