102 Small Things…

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Always Take THE Shortcut in Life

Let’s get things straight.  No matter what people say, there IS a shortcut to success.  I’m not kidding.  The shortcut is real and its available to everyone.  The problem is that most people don’t see it or don’t want it.  Instead, they choose to invent their own shortcut plan: faking, lying, pretending, cheating and/or waiting with hope for good luck.  These wrong turns don’t shorten the journey.  Rather, they make success harder, slower and farther away.  Always remember this:

“When you work hard, continue learning and play it straight you have the
shortest way to success that there is.  The right way IS the shortcut.”
— CC

Growing Up

A Dream About Tracy’s Dream!

At the end of a very long, hectic autumn day, Tracy skipped dinner and went straight to bed.  What happened later that night was strange.  Imagine a dream with no people and no signs of activity.  Instead the entire dream is two bright yellow words on a dark background. Period!  That’s exactly what happened in Tracy’s dream. The words were, “BE READY”.  Kind of eerie wouldn’t you agree?  Tracy sat up in bed, puzzled and somewhat scared, but after a few minutes of pondering this strange dream, Tracy succumbed to fatigue and fell asleep.

There are people like Tracy who make up their minds to live lives and have careers that can leave the world in a better place.  That’s why Tracy awakened the next morning more curious about than afraid of the strange dream.  As a result, the day went fast and nighttime came soon enough only to be interrupted sometime around midnight.  When Tracy awakened prematurely from a sequel to yesterday’s dream of green words on a dark background there was an expanded message – “BE READY OR ELSE” That would get anyone’s attention!  Shocked by this more threatening message it took almost two hours for Tracy to return to a state of sleep.

Compared to the previous days, the next day was light, giving Tracy the freedom to ponder the meaning of these dreams, where they might be coming from and whether or not there would be another one tonight.  The answer came at 2:15 am.  “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.”  This message was equally strange, but the previous fear had morphed into the “fear of loss.”

While the presence of fear lingered, it was tempered by curiosity and the hint of hope.  Would the dream continue?  Sure enough!  Tracy arose with the sun, inspired by the following expanded message: “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.  PREPARE DILIGENTLY.”  As simple as this dream sounded, Tracy’s curiosity and frustration returned, wondering, “How can anyone prepare for opportunities that come and go like lightning.”

Days 5, 6 and 7 came and went without any strange dreams.  Was the sequence finished or had Tracy’s exhaustion wiped out any new dreams?  Either way, it turned out to be a blessing.  The gap made room for some heavy reflection that would make room for more wisdom.  On the eighth night, Tracy was ready and so the dream continued with new advice.  “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.  PREPARE DILIGENTLY.  FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION”

It’s Day 9. For three days Tracy wondered what goes into a person’s foundation. Realizing that a strong foundation is essential for any successful endeavor, Tracy is eager to discover the remaining pieces in the puzzle.  Like the first 4 days, the dream maker delivered an expanded message of wisdom along with a recommended set of tools.  That message is simply this:

“BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.
PREPARE DILIGENTLY.  FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION OF
LEADERSHIP, EXCELLENCE, ASSOCIATIONS AND PROFESSIONALISM.”

At the end of a very long, hectic autumn day, Tracy skipped dinner and went straight to bed. What happened later that night was strange. Imagine a dream with no people and no signs of activity. Instead the entire dream is two bright yellow words on a dark background. Period! That’s exactly what happened in Tracy’s dream. The words were, “BE READY”. Kind of eerie wouldn’t you agree? Tracy sat up in bed, puzzled and somewhat scared, but after a few minutes of pondering this strange dream, Tracy succumbed to fatigue and fell asleep.

There are people like Tracy who make up their minds to live lives and have careers that can leave the world in a better place. That’s why Tracy awakened the next morning more curious about than afraid of the strange dream. As a result, the day went fast and nighttime came soon enough only to be interrupted sometime around midnight. When Tracy awakened prematurely from a sequel to yesterday’s dream of green words on a dark background there was an expanded message – “BE READY OR ELSE” That would get anyone’s attention! Shocked by this more threatening message it took almost two hours for Tracy to return to a state of sleep.

Compared to the previous days, the next day was light, giving Tracy the freedom to ponder the meaning of these dreams, where they might be coming from and whether or not there would be another one tonight. The answer came at 2:15 am. “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR.” This message was equally strange, but the previous fear had morphed into the “fear of loss.”

While the presence of fear lingered, it was tempered by curiosity and the hint of hope. Would the dream continue? Sure enough! Tracy arose with the sun, inspired by the following expanded message: “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR. PREPARE DILIGENTLY.” As simple as this dream sounded, Tracy’s curiosity and frustration returned, wondering, “How can anyone prepare for opportunities that come and go like lightning.”

Days 5, 6 and 7 came and went without any strange dreams. Was the sequence finished or had Tracy’s exhaustion wiped out any new dreams? Either way, it turned out to be a blessing. The gap made room for some heavy reflection that would make room for more wisdom. On the eighth night, Tracy was ready and so the dream continued with new advice. “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR. PREPARE DILIGENTLY. FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION”

Day 9. For three days Tracy wondered what goes into a person’s foundation. Realizing that a strong foundation is essential for any successful endeavor, Tracy is eager to discover the remaining pieces in the puzzle. Like the first 4 days, the dream maker delivered an expanded message of wisdom along with a recommended set of tools. That message is simply this: “BE READY OR ELSE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES WILL DISAPPEAR. PREPARE DILIGENTLY. FOCUS ON YOUR FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP, EXCELLENCE, ASSOCIATIONS AND PROFESSIONALISM.”

It’s Day 10, or so I thought. The phone had awakened me from my unplanned nap. I was groggy, but happy to see my friend had not left my home. Tracy was pumped up and dying to share so-called “life-changing, foundational information” contained within an online professional development program named “L.E.A.P. OF FAITH.”  Strange as it seems, Tracy was just beginning Lesson 10!

P.S.  Thanks for reading what is perhaps the shortest novel of 2016!

Key Moments of American Freedom

July 4, 1776, the date that marks the historic event when 56 men officially put their necks on the line, declaring American sovereignty and freedom from English rule.

The summer of 1980 I declared my own independence and self-sovereignty. I just claimed it, moved out of the house, and went about my life as an adult.  Mom and Dad let me go without a fight.  America had to work much harder for her independence.

England wasn’t happy nor was she cooperative when the American colonies rebelled.  America had to fight a war to prove its declaration was more than a bluff.  Had we lost, the men who signed the Declaration would have been executed for treason and stripped of their assets as the spoils of war.

America was the underdog with limited resources to fight the Revolutionary War against mighty England.  However, the colonies were well prepared emotionally and strategically.  They believed in a purpose that was just and backed up by Almighty God.  The rest is history!

Even so, America had to fight yet again to prove the first American victory was more than a fluke.  In fact, to this day we have fought many battles to protect our freedom and prove our strength to do so.  The war of 1812 was an attempt by England to take back America.  It was that war’s decisive battle at Fort Henry that inspired an attorney, Francis Scott Key, to write a poem that eventually became our National Anthem.  If England had won that battle, we would not be singing The Star Spangled Banner at events we cherish.

Since then, we have gone to war to protect our vulnerable freedom from external and internal enemies.  Two special American symbols – our National Anthem and our Pledge of Allegiance symbolize freedom and the price we pay to protect it.

I challenge you to fetch a box of tissues and watch these two powerful,  patriotic videos.

The Birth of Our National Anthem  -by Robert Surgenor

The Meaning of Our Pledge of Allegiance – by Comedian Red Skelton