Thanksgiving Thoughts

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loving life on a hikeAnd so we come to that day.  At 12:01 a.m. Thursday we will begin a day of thanks, and at 11:59 p.m. we will shut it all down for another year and rush out the door to catch the great sales on Black Friday.

So what? For 364 days we don’t give thanks, or we give it when we are reminded?

The older I get the less I enjoy Thanksgiving.  It’s not a holiday thing because I love Christmas; in fact I’m like a big kid when Christmas gets here….but the whole giving thanks on a special day thing rankles me…..and honestly, I know this is just me and my pet peeve.

I see far too many homeless in this town, and there is always this big push at this time of year to help them, but then the rest of the year people cuss them for being unsightly.

I see far too many hungry people, and boy do they ever eat well on Thanksgiving, but then for 364 days we pretend that hunger doesn’t exist in this country.

Of course I have a ton to be thankful for…what I’m saying is that I am thankful every single day because I cheated death seven years ago, so I receive a damn gift every morning that I wake up….and I see people who aren’t grateful and in fact seem to be pissed off about life….and I see people who have selective sight and can’t see suffering for 364 days….and so it all adds up to me being a bit disillusioned on Thanksgiving.

Having said that, you are all my friends, and holidays are for friends and family, so I truly do hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday. You probably have no idea how much I appreciate you…but I do…so thank you!

Bill

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The Arts Live On Forever

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loving life on a hikeHappy Friday to all of you!

Today I want to talk about the value found in the Arts.  I’m talking, of course, about writing, art, music, sculpture, photography, etc.  I hope this does not come off as self-serving because that is certainly not my attention.

I talk about this today because I think many out there who are struggling with their craft, and possibly feel under-appreciated, need to consider the bigger picture.

Yes, it would be lovely if we were not financially struggling artists. It would be lovely if we had ample pay for our efforts and we didn’t have to turn to Bubblews or HubPages for meager payouts.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you artists would receive the acclaim you deserve, and your paintings sold out, or that you poets finally received recognition for the beauty you share with this world?

But reality is a bit different now, isn’t it? Writers scramble to make a buck any possible way they can. They blog until their fingers bleed, they work for content mills that pay piddly for the hours worked; artists go online and try to sell their works there, and hope that Etsy will be the answer.  Photographers take beautiful pictures and then try to find some venue where they can make enough money to pay the utilities each month.

Consider this, something that keeps me going on those days when I am feeling like my dribble has no meaning whatsoever.  Our work will live on forever.  Long after we are gone, our writings and our paintings will be on display for the world, and fifty or one hundred years from now someone will discover one of our works, and they will find peace and comfort in it……

Our artistic legacy has no shelf life.  It will never stale. It will never be pulled as out-of-date.  How many people are lucky enough to be able to say that?  I think it is remarkable and I hope you do as well.

Have a wonderful weekend. You earned it!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Dealing With Expectations

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loving life on a hikeWednesday is here; clear and chilly in Olympia, a Chamber of Commerce sort of day, one of the 85 sunny days we have each day.

One thing I can tell you with certainty is that the people of Olympia do not live with any false expectations regarding weather.  We are so accustomed to wet and dreary that we will gratefully accept a sunny day but never, ever expect it to happen.

And what about life?  How is it going for you with your expectations?

Do you expect people to act a certain way, and when they don’t are you disappointed? Hurt? Angry?

I was once like that. I would expect certain behavior from complete strangers.  What’s up with that nonsense?  There are 7.2 billion people in this world and I expect certain behavior from them all? How foolish could I be?

I had to learn acceptance.  People are going to be people. They do not need my permission to be who they are or act the way they do.  Quite frankly it is exhausting trying to change people, and I no longer have the time or inclination to try.

Life is the way it is meant to be.  People will always surprise me with their actions.  If they are actions I simply cannot accept, like causing harm to someone, then I step in, voice my opposition, and work to change it.  But I have to pick my battles.  As much as I would like to be, I am not capable of righting every wrong in society.  I pick those battles that are most important to me and I give it my best shot.

As for everyday life, live and let live as long as harm is not being caused.  There are some pretty interesting people out there. Some infuriate me; some merely entertain me with their strangeness.  All are humans, as am I, and since I have not been elevated to god status yet, I think I’ll just do my best job of being me and move forward.

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

A Sincere Thank You

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loving life on a hikeAnd a very Happy Monday to all of you!  I hope you had as restful a weekend as I did.  In fact, that is the topic of this post today….rest, relaxation and giving thanks!

There was a time in my life when this last weekend would not have happened.  To summarize this past Saturday and Sunday, Bev and I did zero with regards to chores and errands.  We spent two days re-charging our personal engines. We watched movies and went for drives, and totally enjoyed each other’s company.

Flash back seven years ago and I was a man lost.  Like a dog chasing his tail with no hope of catching it, I was chasing inner peace and I simply could not find it.

Then I almost died.

The time had come to re-evaluate my life and all that I thought was important.

Seven years later I am as happy as I have ever been.  I do not have the time to list everything I am thankful for, but on top of the list would be life itself and love.  I have such an incredible appreciation for this gift we all have been given.

This will be a short post today. I simply want to tell all of you how much you are appreciated.  I am grateful daily for all of you and I hope you know that.  Thank you and love to you all.

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

 

A Look Back To 1963

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loving life on a hikeAnd Hooray, it is Friday!  I’m going to go watch Bev’s daughter play in the state soccer tournament tonight; should be exciting.  Later this weekend Bev and I will head out with camera in hand and explore the back roads of this great state.  I hope you have some great plans for the weekend and that they include rest and relaxation.

What shall we talk about today?

I was reading an article yesterday about the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President Kennedy.  I was fifteen at the time.  One month before he was killed he spoke in my home town of Tacoma, Washington and I was able to hear that speech and actually shook his hand as he moved through the crowd.

There has been so much written about this man over the years.  Yes, he was a womanizer.  Yes, there is little doubt that his family had mob ties and probably manipulated the system illegally to get him elected in an extremely close election.

And he was one other thing:  he signified hope and vitality, and I’m not sure we have had those things since he was killed.  Think back over your lifetime and tell me who the last president was who signified hope and vitality to the populace.  I can’t think of a single one who by sheer force of will and personality could unite a country like Kennedy might have, and I find that incredibly sad.

Today, no matter who is elected, something seems to be missing.  Maybe we have all become too jaded now.  Maybe we are not willing to find hope in our leaders, or maybe our trust has been crushed by too many politicians who have no desire to really represent the people.  I don’t know, but that Kennedy magic is missing today and I wish it could return.  This country sorely needs a charismatic leader to unite us.  I hope one comes along soon.

Until that day comes, we all, hopefully, are doing what we can to make a difference.

Have a great weekend.

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

Waiting Patiently For The Revolution

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loving life on a hikeHappy Wednesday to all of you!  I hope this finds you well and happy.

I’m a big fan of revolution.  I’m locking the doors as I write this so Homeland Security has a little tougher time breaking in to arrest this subversive writer. J

I look at the political landscape today and I am ashamed to be an American.  I look at our foreign policies and shame washes over me. I look at the homeless and the shameless way our veterans have been treated and I am ashamed.   I look at the economy and the way it has been manipulated by the rich and I shake my head in wonder….and I ask…when are the American people going to stand up and say ENOUGH!

I can’t help but think back to the late 1960s.  Make no mistake about it, the American people brought an end to the lawless war of Vietnam.  President Johnson did not run for reelection because of the revolution happening in the streets of the United States, and President Nixon couldn’t pull troops out of Vietnam fast enough to please the unhappy voters.

The battle for civil rights was taken to the streets during the 1960s as well and great change happened because of it.

And then…..

Very little has happened since then other than the erosion of our rights as citizens and the disintegration of our economy.  We no longer play on a level playing field, and it will only get worse until we, the people, exercise our Constitutional rights to petition the government and demand change.

Why this hasn’t happened yet is beyond me, but I feel confident that it will happen soon.  There are too many people struggling. There are too many people living in fear.  There is far too much inequality in this society and our elected officials are nothing more than high-paid prostitutes going to the highest bidder.

I for one think revolution is needed and I look forward to it happening.  Do I want bloodshed? Of course not, but I do want to see a mass example of the backbone that made this country great. I want to see average citizens shake off their complacency and apathy and make a difference.

It starts with you….and me…and millions like us.

Viva la Revolution!

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

 

Thoughts About Love

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Bev and I met six years ago this month.  To say it was love at first sight might be a loving life on a hikebit of a stretch; in fact, I don’t think Bev was all that impressed with me in the early days, but I was definitely smitten with her from that first meeting.

We had some work to do if we were going to make it.  We both carried baggage from previous marriages, and that kind of baggage can last a lifetime if allowed to fester and stay hidden in the closets of our hearts.  Bev and I refused to keep it hidden.  We wanted what others seemed to have, and we both believed, despite the past and the pain and the disappointments, that love can and does exist, that it is possible for two people to live together in friendship and harmony and respect.

We would stumble and the ghosts would pounce on us.  We would pick ourselves back up again and send the ghosts scurrying back to their hiding places.  Each time that we picked ourselves up the ghosts stayed away a little longer, and then longer.Train ride from Elbe to 018

We learned that communication is crucial.  We learned that trust was essential.  We learned that vulnerability was a must; we had to be willing to be hurt in order to find the love we desperately needed.

And we did hurt each other, and we walked away, but always we returned more willing the next time and yes, wiser.

Today I am safe from the ghosts.  They do not visit any longer. Oh, I’ll see a shadow of them from time to time, but there is no definition to them, just vague memories of what once was and will be no longer.

I am blessed and I am loved.  What more could I need in life?

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

Some Thoughts About the Economy

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loving life on a hikeAs I write this we are in the middle of a wind advisory in Olympia.  No big deal; we get these storms blowing in off the Pacific on a regular basis, and it will blow through and make way for the next one, and life will go on.

The imagination of a writer….I was looking at the advisory and I thought it was a shame that we don’t have an economic advisory that flashes on the screen when things are about to turn stormy.  Wouldn’t that be handy?

I toss this out for anyone interested, which will probably be me and Bev when she reads it.  LOL  Am I the only one not fooled by reports that our economy is slowly improving?  I look around me and I’m not seeing improvement.  Sure jobs have increased but most of them are part-time jobs and really mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.  In fact, homelessness has increased…buying power continues to decrease….well, you get the picture.

I’ll tell you what really concerns me, besides the fact that the top 1% control most of the wealth….what really concerns me is that 70% of the U.S. economy are consumer goods industries.  Now I have to ask myself this:  if consumers have no money to spend on consumer goods, what happens to 70% of our economy?  And if prices are increasing and the only response is part-time jobs, what does that do to the millions of citizens who are hanging on by a thread right now?

Solving the economic ills of this country is a mammoth job; we are literally looking at a decade at least before we see significant change because you all know how quickly things change in this country….that’s another ten years of things getting worse for about ¾ of the people.  How much longer can things get worse before the bottom falls out of the entire economy?

All I can do is raise awareness through my articles, and take care of my family.  We have been taking steps towards self-sufficiency for two years now, and in two years we will be close to achievement.  I can no longer trust my government to do the right thing for its citizens, so it’s time I took care of myself and loved ones.

I wish you all a smooth ride, but I suspect it’s going to get pretty bumpy.

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

False Expectations Lead To Problems

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loving life on a hikeHey, everyone, Happy Wednesday.  Today we’re going to talk about expectations.

I was reading an online article about Generation Y, and how they will never be happy in the workplace.  You can find the article here.

In it they talked about that generation having great ambitions but unreal expectations about the workplace.  They grew up believing that they could accomplish great things, but they do not have an appreciation for the fact that great things require hard work, and often requires that you work jobs that are menial in order to eventually attain your ambitions.Mt. Rainier 2010 084

Part of this begins at home.  When children are raised to believe that anything is possible, but minus the understanding that to accomplish great things you must work hard, then problems arise. Children need to also understand that there is no such thing as a bad job, that we can all learn from any job we are hired for….this is a realistic outlook that is missing in many children today.  They expect to go to college and then immediately start a high-paying job with great prestige, and that simply is not reality.

Do I believe I can be a great writer? Yes!  But I also know it is not going to happen unless I put in years and years of hard work learning the craft.  Instant success rarely happens in life, and expecting it to happen without paying your dues is a false expectation.

I don’t think this is a phenomenon of the Generation Y; I think we see a great deal of it in society today no matter which generation a person belongs to.

Times are tough and I believe they will get tougher. I don’t know any substitute for hard work. I was raised to believe in the value of working hard and nothing has happened since my childhood to change that belief.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.  Work hard at your craft, whatever it may be.  At the end of the day, you may not be famous, but you will be satisfied with your efforts.

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”

Positive Actions Conquer Negative Words

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loving life on a hikeHappy Friday my friends!  I skipped Wednesday because, well, I just didn’t feel it.  When I don’t feel it I don’t write, so there you go.  Today I’m feeling it and aren’t you lucky?  LOL

Today let’s chat about being part of the solution.

I’m sure you all think that I am a very patient man, a very forgiving man and a very understanding man.  From my articles one would get that impression, right?  Well I have to tell you that there are certain things that annoy the hell out of me, and I make no effort to hide my annoyance.

I don’t like complainers.

I don’t like whiners

I don’t like those who only want to find blame in things and others.

I don’t like cruelty.

I don’t like ignorance.

I have no tolerance for intolerance.

I don’t like negative people.

And I’m just getting warmed up, but that’s enough to make my point.

And the point is this:  this country, and many other countries, are facing serious problems.  There is moral decay in society today.  There is apathy and complacency.  There is a numbness in society today, and the injustices and inequalities are so great as to seem insurmountable.  So could anyone please tell me what good it does to sit back and complain about things?  What good does it do to blame others? What good does it do to throw up our hands and give up?

If there are problems, and there are, then what we desperately need are people willing to stand up and do something about those problems.  Needed actions can be as simple as reaching out to help a neighbor, or writing an article to raise awareness.  We can’t all be major movers and shakers in politics; the real dirty work is done by normal people like you and I who see a problem and who try to find a solution to that problem on a local level.

I do not need to be reminded that there are problems today, but I do need to be reminded that there are others out there who give a damn about making things better.

Are you with me?  If so then begin today.  Do something of a positive nature to make a difference.  It is the only way our world will ever improve for our children and their children.

Bill

“Raising awareness one person at a time.”