Finding Floyd

CHANGE YOUR STARS – PERSEVERANCE

Repost and edited from October 2010. I write because I enjoy it. When I can relate to others with words it brings gratification. Like many labors of love, the payoff is worth the struggle. The process to change your stars takes perseverance.

Sometimes when I write, the words push out of my pen sorta’ like pushing a rope uphill. Other times the words flow from the end of my pen like water from a faucet.

A blank page or screen is available to everyone. What a person does with their thoughts and a blank page or screen can be magical. The world of words is like everything else in life, it’s crowded. There are far more books written every year than get published.

There are scads of wildly gifted writers who’s work will never see the light of day. Being gifted alone will get a person almost zero. A God given gift without perseverance is like trying to see the world by sitting on your couch.

It doesn’t matter what the dream is, without perseverance it’s not going to happen.

I enjoyed the movie “A Knights Tale,” starring the late Heath Ledger. It was a story about a peasant who worked hard to hone the gift of Jousting, a sport restricted to Noblemen. The character William was sent away by his father as a lad to apprentice for a Noblemen. As William was disappearing into the fog his dad shouted after him. “CHANGE YOUR STARS, WILLIAM!”

image courtesy of fan pop.com

When it was discovered during a Jousting match that the grown up William was not of noble but of peasant ancestry, he had a chance to run in order to save his life. He chose to stay and face imprisonment because he believed, and said, “I am a knight”.

Though it’s a fictional story, that is a truth of this life. What you believe defines who you are in all aspects of life.

When a person sets their sights on “Changing Their Stars,” they come in conflict with the rest of the world. Whatever it is we’re trying to change there will be forces trying to prevent it. Just like that story, so it is with the story of real life.

The Noble’s don’t want competition. They want to keep their small world unchanged. The door to their exclusive country club is not open with a tidy welcome mat.

Likewise, the masses want to keep the rest of us equal with them. They don’t want to see someone “Change Their Stars”. Misery loves company. The masses have settled for mediocrity and don’t want to be reminded of that fact by someone getting ahead.

For anyone who has broken through the barriers to “Change Their Stars”, my hats off to them.

If someone has changed their stars due to a gift from God that they’ve coupled with perseverance and desire to accomplish it, I say, “Good for them”. That means it can happen again, it’s not impossible.

I’d be disappointed in myself if I gave up striving, that’s for the masses.

The truth is I just need to persevere to change my stars. Isn’t that the true definition of success?Recognized for it or not, I’ll write…

MAN EATING LADYBUGS

This is a repost from September 2010. I’ve reposted it a few times, because it’s a good memory of Man Eating Ladybugs.

It’s getting close to the time when I plant winter flowers in the pots in our backyard. We all enjoy the sharp color and contrast of the Annuals, especially in a cooling Arizona air.

I can still bribe my little one to hang out with me and help with the outdoor work occasionally. A few years back I bribed her into helping again. While we were flower shopping at the local do-it-yourself-mega-store, we found at the check out line, thin bags of sheer material. Inside those bags were what looked like hundreds of ladybugs. I wondered out loud, “Ladybugs in a bag? What’ll they think of next?”

“Can we get some Dad?” my little one asked.

“Sure, I’m all for them eating whatever it is that’s eating our flowers and shrubs,” I answered. We bought two for good measure.

image courtesy of animals.sandiegozoo.com

When we got home the first thing my daughter wanted to do was to release the ladybugs. No chance. My help and company would have been long gone. First things first. We pulled the old dead flowers from all the pots, then we added water and remixed the mulch as needed.

We quickly developed a system, she handed me the little cubed roots of flowers and I’d secure them into their new more permanent homes. Hours and much work later, it was time to unleash our temporarily jailed aphid eaters.

We weren’t quite sure how to go about releasing them. I opened up the first bag and held it out in front of me… Nothing. These must have been the lazy ladybugs who were easy to catch. I shook the bag a little… Still nothing.

I reached my hand into the bag to gently grab some of the ladybugs and release them into the wonderland they had been born for. As I was reaching in the bag, I stopped, looked wild-eyed at my daughter in terror and yelled, “AAAAHHHHH!!!— THEY’RE EATING MY FLESH!!!—OH NO!!—THEY’RE MAN EATING LADYBUGS!!!—AAAAHHHHH!!!”

My daughter was frozen with fear for a couple of seconds, then she said, “NUH, UH!”. It was as much a question as it was a statement. I still had a wild look in my eyes, but the fun of the moment got the best of me as I started to grin. “THEY ARE NOT DAD!” she declared, having solved the mystery.

We laughed for five minutes straight. She took her turn reaching into the bag and repeated our new found fun. “Ahh! Man Eating Ladybugs!” An instant family classic, the kind that happen out of the blue but define part of a childhood and will be recalled forever.

Since that Sunday afternoon, I’ve never looked upon a ladybug in the same light. I always think of our “Man-Eating-Ladybugs,” and the special time we spent working together to create something more special than just the random occasion.

It seems to always require effort to “create” something of lasting importance, especially fond memories. Even if it’s just the menial tasks of responsibility coupled with the right perspective.

Looking back over my life so far, some of the best memories I have are of things that didn’t come easy, the tasks that required self-discipline and perseverance. I’ve heard it said, “In this life, for everything you get, you have to give up something.”

I recall that day and the simple ladybug memory. Whatever football game was on that day was worth giving up to gain the memories of a child and what a little thing, on a simple Sunday, would mean to her for the rest of her life. I think sometimes God is even bigger in the little things of this life.

Self-sacrifice, however, difficult at the any given time, is the cornerstone of any lasting gratification and a great way to teach a child the possibilities in even the smallest things in life.

The most treasured things gained can rarely be measured using a number. A person can spend time and energy filling their pockets with what can be measured by counting. A life spent measuring happiness by a number, will come up short every time…

I pray my daughter will remember that lesson from her childhood… And, of course, the Man Eating Ladybugs…

LEGALISM OR SUPERSTITION

I broke a rule the other day. It’s a silly rule, but one I follow religiously. It’s not against the law to break the rule, society’s laws anyway, but rules followed earnestly begin to feel like legalism or superstition.

I often write with a pen and paper. I know it’s old fashioned, but I still like it. I won’t use it for writing manuscripts anymore, but I usually still scratch out blogposts and songs like the ancients did.

Blogposts are written on yellow legal sized pads of paper. Considering writing a blogpost on white paper makes my eye twitch.

Songs are written in a small leather binder with white paper. Considering writing a song on yellow paper makes my other eye twitch.

I appreciate pens. The one I use for writing blogposts is chrome with black onyx stripped inlays running parallel with the shaft of the pen. It was a gift from my daughter. I never write with the cap slid over the back of the pen, it messes up the balance. Plus, that would be worse than stepping on sidewalk cracks.

legalism or superstition

The pen I use for song writing is chrome with polished brass accents, including the clip. These are hard and fast rules I go out of my way to follow.

Following rules like these seem pretty silly to a wise or sane person.

Some other rules in society, and especially in churches, really aren’t significantly different.

It’s not as bad as it used to be, but some of the legalism still hangs on like a monkey does a banana with his hand inside a cage.

I don’t even want to go into the list of traditions that have gotten passed off as Biblical doctrine. I’m scared I might roll my ankle stepping on toes.

It’s always a matter of the heart. And none of us can read the heart and soul of another… save God Himself.

I closed and clipped my leather binder and slid it back into my briefcase. Then I screwed the pen cap back onto the chrome and onyx body…

I was fairly shocked at the mishap or mistake. I know it makes no difference in my writing; it’s not the pen that deserves the praise, or the blame in most cases… It’s not the pen. It’s what what’s inside me that spills out onto a piece or paper, a computer screen, or into my daily life via my actions that communicates. The pen is just a vehicle, not so different than my truck.

This is my reminder to myself that following a rule doesn’t make me right – and especially not righteous.

There is no Truth in legalism or superstition.

ANOTHER NEW YEAR

I have Christmas songs still playing in my head. I hate to admit that one of them is Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer… but it is. I also have my annual fresh cuts and bruises on my hands from wrestling the Christmas tree to the ground and tying it like a steer and stuffing it back into the two boxes that are the size of coffins. And I’m contemplating another new year.

365 sunrises and sunsets. Seems like a lot when you think about it like that, but with time that perspective changes. For many of us; we know the reality is that we have less years ahead of us now than we have behind us. That’s life.

In some ways 2017 has been a tough year. There have been family illnesses, close friends fighting for their lives, and the stress of business along with the personal struggles of life. It’s been busy. This is the first time I’ve punched out a new post in about a month.

I met with one of my good friends yesterday. He was recollecting his past, which is eerily like mine, and brought up a name that I hadn’t thought of in years; Malarky’s. Malarky’s was a nightclub in Phoenix that fools like us would frequent. It was the eighties. We were young and, it goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway to remind myself, dumb.

image courtesy of goosehollowfurniture.com

I can’t remember the year, probably ’85, and I was with a buddy of mine and our girlfriends to ring in the New Year at Malarky’s. It was wall to wall young people. That mixed with alcohol is a recipe for disaster.

Two guys went at it in the lobby, one ended up breaking a beer bottle and using it like a multi-knife on the other guys face. That was as much blood as I’ve ever seen.

That was back when a year closed and another New Year opened with a kiss. Most years close and another one starts these days while I’m sawing logs. Although I’m known to throw a firecracker or two if my youngest is around.

I think most of us have done dumb things, I’m still not immune from them. We all have memories, good and bad. We’ve all shared these years, good and bad. We’ve endured hardships, heartaches, and headaches, caused a lot of them ourselves. But we’re blessed to be here and it’s due to the grace of God.

So here we are, celebrating another New Year together at this time in history. I’m honored to have another New Year with you. May your New Year be blessed by God. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

THE REAL GIFTS

Repost and edited from December 2011

It’s supposed to be a happy time of year… As long as I can remember my heart was thrilled at the prospect of Christmas and gifts, but there was another part of my heart that broke for the less fortunate.

My mom and dad reminded us to pray for the less fortunate when I was a kid. I always did, even when on a few occasions we may well have fallen into that category ourselves. It’s heartbreaking to think of kids without presents, much less without the basic necessities of life. We were blessed to not have to fall into that extreme category.

I’m highly doubt that the most fortunate kids are the ones who get everything on their Christmas wish list. In many ways those might be even less fortunate than those with little, I think it all depends on our perspective.

We’re planning to do things for the monetarily less fortunate this year. That means we’re fortunate. Not because we have jackets, but because it’s a gift to be able to give and help, especially when it’s cold outside.

As a kid I was no different than any other kid, I wanted cool stuff for Christmas. Like God’s gift and sacrifice of His son to a lost and dull world, parents give, sometimes with sacrifice to their children in tradition of this season.

Kids don’t grasp the Gift. It can take decades before they gain wisdom to get the true meaning of Christmas. We often take the gift of God’s Son for granted, just like the little ones longing to shred the wrapping paper off another gift.

It isn’t until some time later that kids can look back in hindsight to see the sacrifice of a parent or parents, in a very small way – reminiscent of our Father and His perfect gift. Once grasped, we look back in wonder and awe at the perfect gift of Jesus Christ.

I think when we begin to grasp that, we also grasp the other gifts from God, those gifts that aren’t wrapped sitting under a fake or dying tree; The living gifts of our family and loved ones. The precious memories aren’t the tearing of wrapping paper off a present. The memories are the gifts of time being spent with people who dearly love us; the ones we sacrifice for.

Like a child tearing wrapping paper off of presents, we miss the best part of those gifts. We miss the smiles on the faces of the loved ones who sacrifice, directed by God to care for His little ones.

Often we take for granted God will grant them or us another year. For those of us who live with the reality of another Christmas without the smile of a loved one to share with us, also know that the real gift is life.. Here now, and in eternity later.

image courtesy of familiestogether.org

The thoughts of Christmas still bring mixed emotions to me. I’m thrilled for the time with family and I’m sad for the less fortunate…

There is an area about two inches under my collar bone, just above my heart that gives me slight pain, as I ponder another Christmas without my dad. It certainly helps me understand the true meaning of fortunate.

The fortunate are the ones who realize that the real gifts of Christmas are the gifts of salvation…

And the stocking stuffers I like to call family…