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Saturday, August 22, 2009


There is a commercial from the early 90s – maybe late 80s – that has been brought to mind lately. As usual, I don’t quite remember the product, but it was some dog treat. There was a Bulldog walking down the sidewalk, with a Chihuahua sidekick. The Bulldog was walking straight and determined, while the little Chihuahua was jumping back and forth over the Bulldog. The Bulldog was either silent or barely speaking while the Chihuahua was chattering away as he bounced. He made the same progress forward as the Bulldog…but just bouncier.

I often feel like the Chihuahua in that commercial. In my life, I have strong, steady and confident people, while I am sometimes just overly excited. I try to be Bulldog-ish and composed, but I often have too much excitement pinging around to stand still. I mean, I have my Bulldog moments (sometimes my rabid wolf moments), but I am a bouncer at heart.

But, when I had extra weight, I couldn’t bounce – physically, emotionally or spiritually. The weight clouded my vision of future possibilities. Every time I ate, I sank lower emotionally because I felt like I didn’t even deserve the right to eat. If I ate a salad, I would imagine what people thought as they watched the fat lady failing to be healthy.

I was so focused on how badly I felt about myself that I couldn’t see anything around me. Weight Watchers helped bring color to my black-and-white world. Everything was exciting again – I experienced joys that had been years removed from my life.

It was gradual and sporadic, though. With each small step I took, I realized I could take more. Over almost 2 years, as the snowball effect began to take place, my steps became more bouncy and I found myself again.

I understand life happens. I’ve experienced pain, loss and anger. I’ve cried great tears and my soul has groaned at times. I understand. I get it, but if we let those times out-weigh who we are, then pain, fear and depression become the theme of our lives. We have to dig our way out of those low times and live out who we truly are.

Who are you? If you're a calm and steady Bulldog, keep going! If you're an excitable and bouncy Chihuahua, then bounce, my friend, bounce!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A 4-Bandaid Owie

My son fell a couple weeks ago while skipping and trying to go up a curb. He scraped up his knee and has lots of bruises that are still healing. It was probably the worst owie he's had in his 5 years of living. He cried a lot and onlookers felt sorry for us. I sat down on the curb with him and positioned his face away from the blood running down his leg.

The daddy hero carried him to the restaurant's bathroom to clean up, then walked to a near-by gas station to buy bandaids. It took 4 of them to cover up the worst of it and contain the bleeding. My heart broke for him. It hurts to watch such pain overcome someone and even more so when he's mine.

While I wiped away tears from his face and blood from his leg, I tried to remember the last time I'd actually fallen. I've tripped tons, of course, but manage to catch myself. Then, I started thinking that I've gotten pretty good at this walking thing. I gotta say, I was feeling good about myself. I've learned something in life.

Today, though, I thought about this a bit more. Is it that I've gotten good at walking - or - because maybe I don't take chances anymore? Sure, I haven't needed those bandaids, but when was the last time I skipped to where I was going?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Michelangelo and David

Michelangelo was 26 years old when he was commissioned to take on creating the statue David, on August 16, 1501. He was the third person who worked on the block of marble that would become David.

Two others had been commissioned to do the work, but they never completed it. They both got as far as roughing out the feet and legs, but then the marble piece sat outside for 35 years before Michelangelo came into the picture. It was exposed to winds, rain, heat, snow, bugs, mold…. for so long, in fact that the marble actually began to shrink.

Wait – is that right? Let’s review the timeline.

  • 1464 – Original contract to begin the work of David
  • 1466 – Second contract with new artist to continue David – then quickly abandoned
  • 1475 – Michelangelo was born
  • 1501 – Michelangelo commissioned to continue David
  • 1504 – David was completed

Michelangelo wasn’t even born when the block of marble was created, shipped and abandoned. It’s almost as if David was Michelangelo’s destiny, as if David were waiting for him to arrive. Other artists were consulted in 1500, including Leonardo da Vinci, but Michelangelo won the opportunity.

What if Michelangelo had followed in the footsteps of the other artists? What if he decided the project was too big or intimidating for his age? What if he was too worried about failure that he never even tried? What if, on day 489, he just got too tired of looking at that same block of marble day-in and day-out?

Did you know there are also critics of David? Yeah, I Googled it and the criticism began almost immediately. They range from he’s not proportionate to the sling is in the wrong hand.

It’s certainly easier to be the critic than to be the artist who submerged himself in the history and mind of a man facing Goliath, for over two years. Or, maybe that’s why he was able to do such an amazing job – Michelangelo was also a young man facing his giants.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” - Michelangelo

So, I’m asking myself two questions today.

  1. What destiny has been waiting for me since before I was born? Do I have the courage to face it day-in and day-out until I set it free?
  2. If even the great Michelangelo has critics, can I also go boldly forward without fear of their opinions?
Let me know if you happen to see a 13' tall piece of marble laying around. I think I have some freeing to do.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Birthday Reflections

My paternal grandparents saved a copy of their local newspaper from the day I was born (August 5, 1976). It’s pretty cool to look at and I love the ads. Can you imagine buying jeans for $8.98? I really like the Black and White TV. It’s described as, “Portable 19-inch Diagonal TV. Front-mounted speaker, U/V antennas. Plastic. $118” I’m sold!

Today, though, as I looked through it again, I actually looked at the news articles too. The number one story on the front page? Swine Flu.

Other front page stories?

Fuel Cost Hike. “…will begin paying $1 more per month as the result of a fuel adjustment increase granted…”

Clean Air Act. “The Senate Thursday rejected attempts to speed the day when auto exhausts are much cleaner.”

Health Insurance Plan. “…health officials are pressing Congress to approve an insurance plan that would open the way for the government’s program to vaccinate all Americans against swine flu.”

Part of the Dream. “There is an urgent need for legislation that would restructure traditional mortgages to make home ownership a part of the America dream again…”

I have to admit, as I was reading these stories, I kept reassuring myself that this was not today’s paper, but one from 33 years ago.

My first thought was that things don’t ever change. We’re still discussing these same issues, arguing over what’s best for the environment, how to best structure our health care, working on the American dream….Yuck! In 33 years has ANYTHING changed? Is there honor is fighting for anything, if in 33 more years, we’re still discussing the same issues?

My answer is Yes!!! We have had progress forward and I could spend a lot of blog space discussing the progress over just my lifetime.

The real thing that hasn’t changed? The news.