Archive for the Random Thoughts Category

Poem on How to Live…

Posted in Random Thoughts on January 15, 2014 by Echo Lima Bravo

Tecumseh

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

-Tecumseh

A few words from Rudyard…

Posted in Random Thoughts on January 14, 2014 by Echo Lima Bravo

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My sons, this gentleman’s words will have been read to you many times by the age you will appreciate what they have to say. You will have cut your teeth on Just so Stories, from an early age, where we should all begin a study of Kipling, in my opinion. His words are pleasurable to read, and full of vim, vigor, and wisdom. You will enjoy him, and if you are anything like your old man (who found him later in life), he will become as an old friend…never far out of reach. Without further ado…Mr. Kipling’s venerable poem of manhood:

If-

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

-Rudyard Kipling

What is a Warrior?

Posted in Faith, Random Thoughts, Self Defense on October 11, 2013 by Echo Lima Bravo

spartan1

war·rior

noun, often attributive \ˈwr-yər, ˈwr-ē-ər, ˈwär-ē- also ˈwär-yər\

: a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill

That is how Webster’s defines it, but I find that seriously lacking in substance. Warriors are subset of a cultural identity within a society. One that serves many roles and wears many hats, depending on which culture you study. For my purposes, I am going to discuss a “self-identified” description from many men that I have come to know over the past year on Warrior Talk, with my obvious bias as a Christian, husband, and father. I hope you find it informative, provoking, and motivating.

Self Identity

The first quality of a warrior is his definition of self. For me this is something much broader than today’s commonplace underpinnings of ego. A warrior’s sense of self revolves around the idea of honing his personal being into one of excellence in service of his tribe. His tribe can be many things, but for me it is family, friends, and the Church. A warrior’s work is set upon and graded in his usefulness to those ends. His personal fulfillment is in knowing that he is striving to be the best tool possible to provide, protect, and lift up his chosen people. It is reflected in their lives and his role in them.

Excellence

Good is not good enough. A warrior never stops striving. Always forward is his direction.

He believes that his first duty is his ability to preform when called upon, no matter the challenge, and everything else falls second. He never ceases to push himself in the quest for wisdom, strength, love, charity, and skill. This is his life’s work.

sun tzu

Honor

He has a purpose in life for all he takes on. He does not commit when he cannot fulfill, but he will die trying. When something is beyond his skill, he will seek the help of others in humility. He will not sacrifice his bearing for the winds of the day, but rather act as benchmark for others to find their way. He is unrelenting in the strength of his will, so that others may lean on him in their time of weakness. When he is weak, he asks for help, but never shows the enemy. The only time he takes a knee, is at the altar.

Perseverance

A warrior never gives up. He pushes on when others have faltered. His defeats are lessons on how to do better. His introspection serves only to better himself. Self-pity is not productive. He always moves forward.

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Who is a warrior?

I submit to you that it is anyone who picks up the mantle. It is you. If you are a Christian, a husband, or a father, there is a call on your life to excellence.

Answer it.

Traveling light…

Posted in Random Thoughts on September 23, 2013 by Echo Lima Bravo

Life is complicated, to be sure, but who complicates it?

Honestly?

It is my own, personal, experience that concludes the answer is ME. Remember the old adage that when you point your finger there are three more pointing back at you?    Well, I took that to heart. Every time I point out an obstacle, stumbling block, impasse, annoyance, or restriction in my life, my own physiology begs to argue! Three fingers. Stoic, precise, and unyielding. They represent the false virtues of fear, defeat, and resignation.  The baggage that comes with the wrong environment.

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The environment I am referring to is the people I allow to enter my life along the way, and the places I allow they to take me, or rather how they influence my mindset. My litmus test for influence, sadly, has often been “you are paying attention to me!” I know you are familiar with this “test” too, because you haven’t stopped reading this yet. So often, the promise of praise, companionship, and time spent, veil the search for substance in relationships. The consequences are small at first, a little disappointment in a time of need,  an unmet expectation or two, a few extra distractions from the things you find personal fulfillment in. But it grows. Before you know it, everything is to heavy to carry.

Negativity, distraction and drama, kill joy. Plain and simple. If you want joy in your life, you have to travel light when it comes to things outside of God, your family, and your tribe. More on those thing later, but for now lets concentrate on “distance from disorder.”

Loose attachments to people are all the rage today. Witness Facebook, YouTube, text messaging, and email address books. Now, these things aren’t inherently destructive, and networking is a vehicle for many things in life, but lets get real. How many times do I have to see “checking in at Starbucks” to realize the content of much of this social media stuff is complete drivel?! Once is too many times, friends. Acquaintances are not friends. They aren’t even close. How much time is wasted on useless information? Comments that breed hysteria and negativity? The stress alone from the pressure to respond can lead to cardiac arrest for some people! Sheesh, I need a nap just thinking about it.

I submit to you that it is a distraction. Its usefulness does not extend beyond your level of input and filtering. Time spent there should be meaningful, joyous, and strengthen real relationships. You are what you read. You are what you say. You are what you dedicate your time to. Simple truths long forgotten when the pen was replaced with the virtual keyboard.

Remove everything from your social life that does not enhance your life, your joy, your strength, and your mindset towards good things. Travel light.

stock-footage-man-with-backpack-walking-in-the-park

I know, I know, I sound like an old goat…well, wisdom is old…look it up.

 

 

Begin.

Posted in Random Thoughts on September 13, 2013 by Echo Lima Bravo

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I love a good story, and judging by our fascination with biographies of successful people and the droves of fictional works on the shelves of our favorite stores, so do you.

Do you know how the best stories always start? Well…in a word…they simply BEGIN. That’s right, the best start to a good story is to just start telling it at all. Beginning is where its at folks.

Let’s face it, we’re lazy. Dreamers in pajamas. The good stories are told by dirty people in work boots. Those “other people”. The ones that do stuff. The ones that try. The ones that work. The ones that fail, and learn, and triumph. The ones that never give up. The ones that begin.

This little space on the inter-webs, is my space to begin…no, that’s a lie. I have all ready begun. It is more like my notebook. It is for my kids, and their kids, and their kids, kids. I want to leave a trail for them to follow beyond the trail of good intentions I typically leave in my wake.

I want them to know that life is about many things, but the most important thing is to begin living in the first place. Living one of those good stories I love so much. The ones that leave you wanting more, rooting for the protagonist with gusto and anticipation.

Its a tall order. It means I have to get out of bed in the morning and put those work boots on. I have to go get dirty. We all do, if we want a life that tells a story…

So here is my own “beginning”. For my two boys.

Never give up.

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