Abraham Lincoln Said:

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.”

What’s your definition of success? Some believe a fancy car, home, and designer clothes are the ticket. As many definitions of success exist as to the number of people who populate the earth. Fame, money, or fame and money are all fleeting. Sometimes the people we know are also fleeting as our fame or wealth diminish. Was it really what we wanted? Not now.

Nothing guarantees we will be winners or succeed. We need to be true to who we are and what we believe, and we are bound to shine whatever light we have in every nook and cranny of darkness ahead. Speaking our own truths and being who we really are is important; we also need to project our light into the universe out from us. It could be just what someone else out there needs to hear.

Giving of ourselves beyond ourselves is the ultimate in giving. And being a giver is to be successful. Of course, we need to be givers to be good citizens, humans, Christians, and fulfill what God created us for.

I am a volunteer with the VFW, Moving Veterans Forward, Guitars for Vets, 50 Mile Walk, and other organizations. I believe in their purpose, which is to serve our veterans. We send young people to training to fight and we expect them to just fit into life when they come home like they never left, saw the things they’ve seen, or done the things they’ve done. Founder of Moving Veterans Forward, Ron Hernandez, has said, “I wouldn’t leave you on the battlefield and I won’t leave you alone when you get home.”

I am inspired by the generosity I see from these organizations. It also inspires me to see the good they do. It’s what we’re supposed to do for each other. Care. Tend. Lend a hand. What could be more Christian or American than that? It’s the best of what there is on earth. More about our volunteer work later.

I hope you have a warm rest of the weekend, enjoy the big game tomorrow, and know we’ll see each other tomorrow. Thank you.

Comparisons Are Odious.

A man named John Fortesque is credited with saying this. I have to agree with him. How much time have many of us wasted comparing ourselves to others. I used to do that, mainly because of a bad self-image as a young kid. I have an older brother who is very small statured. He is one year older than me. I hated being bigger and taller than he is. I’d pray for a miracle overnight to switch sizes with him. Silly, right? I really wanted that miracle for both of us. He was bullied, and I was compared by other people.

The folks at Madison Avenue marketed skinny young blondes as the ones who “Have more fun.” Although inside every blonde is a smart brunette begging to get out, I couldn’t do anything at the time about hair color or height, I hated the body I lived in. In later years, I accepted myself, and marveled at how I had three beautiful kids. So many pop culture people wished for what I had. A family. I was grateful, even though I wasn’t a skinny blonde.

When I started coloring my hair due to premature graying (at 37!), I never went blonde. It just wasn’t me. Now, it’s silvery and still very thick. Funny, people compliment it all the time. I’m proud I have my dad’s hair. The Hurley/Jewell family all have thick, beautiful hair. It would have been hard to lose it. Luckily, I didn’t need chemo for my cancer, so I didn’t have to endure that. My body betrayed me in several ways, cancer included. Somehow, I always knew I would get it. I don’t know why I thought that, but it did come true. Maybe expecting it made me get through it better. Now I pray it doesn’t return. Twelve years out, I’m blessed.

We cannot win ever comparing ourselves. Not great hair, a big bank account, prestigious friends, or a better wardrobe helps us win anything. Some folks never get it. They chase the Jones’ all their lives. And for what? Many people think the Babe and I should be traveling a lot until we can’t. We thought we would, but the Babe is preferring staying home. I don’t blame him. Should the worst happen, he doesn’t want to be away from his doctors. I can respect that. I’m not going to be upset about that. We make our live together one that is pretty relaxed, and respectful of each other. He applauds me and encourages my writing. He’s told me several times, “You can’t just quit.” That support is worth so much! I’m lucky. We both are.

As I watched over Mom yesterday getting used to her new walker and striking out on the adventure we had yesterday, I realized how I just need to try to get her our once a week. Somehow, somewhere. Until the snow flies. Then she prefers staying home. I’m so relieved she finally listened to the doctor and started using the walker. All that matters is that she does, and it’s so much safer. She was way too wobbly with just a cane. Thank goodness she didn’t break anything!

This craft I’m learning about now, this need I’ve uncovered in myself to write, it something to look forward to as I age. It’s not about the lifelong learning, the hours spent reading and writing, or the number of words I spew out on any given day. It’s about what it can become. And I’m eager but patient enough to stick it out, work hard, and get there. Because I know it will happen. And I’m grateful for this and all opportunities I’ve ever grabbed. Thanks for walking with me through all the learning. I appreciate it a lot. See you tomorrow!