Some Thoughts on Life

“Life is a question and how we live it is our answer.” – Gary Keller

One definition of life according to Merriam Webster: The physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.

I don’t think it makes any difference if you are born rich or poor, your life will be a product of your decisions. It is a fact that in your early years your decisions will be greatly influenced by your parents. The final decision rests squarely on your shoulders.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” Marcus Aurelius

There are so many that try to achieve happiness through materialistic things. They think that a new 3500 square foot home or $80,000 new vehicle will be their answer to their quest for happiness and in the end happiness is nowhere to be found. We need to change our way of thinking in our pursuit of happiness.

In my humble opinion I believe we should take the time to explore ourselves and get to know what really makes us happy. What you like and don’t like in life. Feed the “likes” and change the “don’t likes”. Happiness starts within our hearts. The seed is there we just have to give it what it needs to grow.

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James

I know I have heard many people say set your goals high and you will achieve more. I have come to believe that is the wrong decision to make. I think they should be realistic and when we reach them we can set higher goals but within reach.

As we struggle to meet unrealistic goals we start to become depressed. We lose our “belief” and begin to think “is life really worth it.” At this point it is essential to get that “belief ” back in our way of thinking.

Everyone makes bad decisions in their life. We have to learn from these. If we don’t we learn nothing from the experience. We and only we are responsible for our decisions. We also need to take responsibility even for our bad decisions. Quit putting the blame on others.

In closing I would like to say we need to resurrect “common sense” and “respect”. Most importantly we have to learn to love one another.

Note: this is just an opinion of a retired farrier concerning life. It is meant to provoke the minds of those who read it to form their own opinions.

Transcendentalists

“A man in debt is so far a slave” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the early 1800s a philosophical movement took root in the Eastern United States. It began due to the disapproval against the intellectualism and spirituality during that time.

It’s characteristics were:

1) Self Reliance

2) A connection to nature

3) Free-thought

4) Nonconformity

5) Confidence

They believed:

To transcend the real world one must contemplate nature.

Everything is a reflection of God.

Instead of being a follower one was better off entertaining the idea of individualism and self-reliance.

True feelings and intuition were superior to book knowledge.

Instinct would give one a better understanding of God’s Spirit.

It was an American literary, political and philosophical movement. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote about Transcendentalism in great depth. Other noted authors were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker.

Transcendentalists believed one should cut ties with organized religion and politics and become an independent thinker in order to achieve their best. It was also believed that organized religion and political parties led to the corruption of the purity of an individual.

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

However Transcendentalism relied heavily on an individual’s cognitive ability or intuition. It was thought that those trying to yield to conformity at the time, became unhappy and dissatisfied.

Is Transcendentalism still in existence today?

That is a good question. There are those that say yes and there are plenty of no votes. It obviously isn’t as popular as it was in the nineteenth century.

Simplicity can be seen by acts of individual kindness and honesty. The importance of nature has not faded through the years. It is alive and well in today’s world. The beauty of nature still inspires and awakens the spirit of many individuals. Self-reliance and confidence isn’t as prevalent as it used to be but still exists to some degree. As far as nonconformity it is pretty much nonexistent but can be found in the “preppers” and those who choose to sell everything and live off the grid and become self reliant.

If you would like to learn more about Transcendentalism I urge you to read Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Be kind to everyone and spread the love.

My Hiding Place

The river is my sanctuary. When I am sitting on a gravel bar at 3 in the morning, looking up at the stars I sometimes feel like I am the only person on earth.

As I sit there I listen to the soothing song of the crickets, tree frogs, and bull frogs and begin to meditate. I clear my mind of negativity. I feel a calmness around me. I don’t have much but I have this special place to come to and heal my mind, spirit and soul. A recharge of sorts.

As I sit there looking into the fire my mind begins to wander. I wonder if anyone else has camped here? Did they appreciate it? Did they relish the silence, or did the silence scare them?

Did anyone sit here and drink in the night sky filled with stars and are they as elated as I am when I see a star fall from the heavens?

The river is a mystical place for me. It’s a place where I can become one with Mother Nature.

There is so much life on the river.

The important part is I feel safe here. Even alone on a sandbar in the wee hours of the morning, in the dark, I am in my element, my safe place. Everyone should have a place like this to go to. It boosts your mental state and improves your peace of mind.

It can be a studio you do your art work in, a den where you put your inner thoughts on paper. It may be your quilting room or in a flower or vegetable garden. It may be on the back of your favorite equine. It is a safe place where you can have peace of mind and healing. It should be a calming place where you shed all the negativity that you have been carrying. Your place.

Feel free to tell us about your safe place in the “comments” section. It will be interesting to see the variety of hiding places used to get right with yourself and deal with the negativity of the world. A place to fill your heart, soul, spirit, and mind with love.

Social Media; the Good, Bad, and the Ugly

“The more social media we have, the more we think we are connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” – JR

Today as I was brush hogging pastures the topic of Social Media (SM) bounced around in my brain cells. How powerful is SM and how many people realize how powerful it is?

So many have the mentality that it must be true because I saw it on the internet. Personally I view the internet as a communication tool.

A bit in the horses mouth is a tool used by the rider to communicate to the horse. If used correctly it is a good thing but if used incorrectly it can hurt the horses mouth making it difficult to get the bit in the horses mouth the next time the rider wants to ride. This also applies to SM.

It is used to spread lies and some use it as a bullying tool. How do you stop it? That my friend is a $64 question.

I did a search on SM etiquette and at Moneycrashers.com I found an article written by Brian Martucci outlining what he thinks is proper etiquette.

1) Don’t mix business and pleasure.

2) Use caution posting and tagging photos.

3) Be self-centered in small doses.

4) Understand that your sense of humor

isn’t universal.

5) Don’t be reactive.

6) Avoid over-sharing.

7) Build a legacy for the future.

8). Don’t misrepresent yourself.

9). Don’t drink and tweet.

10). Understand each platform’s best

practices.

I was able to find some statistical data about Facebook.

1. 1.15 billion mobile daily active users.

2). 2.38 billion monthly active users.

3). 1.56 billion people log onto FB daily.

4). 1.74 billion mobile active users.

Ten million, on average, use the “Like” and share buttons.

307 million Europeans are on FB.

25 to 34 is the most common age demographic.

5 new profiles are created every second.

76% of women and 66% of males are FB users.

Highest traffic occurs midweek between 1pm to 3 pm.

83 million fake profiles.

300 million photo uploads per day.

20 minutes is the average time folks spend on FB.

Now let that all sink in.

SM brings old friends together and can destroy current friendships. Many people will say and post things that they would not have done face to face.

SM can be used for so many things and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what is real news and fake news. Be careful how you use SM because it can come back and bite you in the arse. Stop, think about the consequences and use care before you hit that button.

True Friendship

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” Woodrow T Wilson

Friendship is the glue that binds people to each other. True friendship can bring happiness into one’s life.

Fair weather friends tend to give friendship a bad reputation. They cause heartbreak and create a stormy relationship.

“A friend is someone who understandS your past, believes in your future and accepts you just the way you are.” – Unknown

True friendship is when you both realize there are certain topics you have to avoid talking about.A silent understanding that sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. It’s respecting each other’s believes and ideologies so as not to jeopardize your friendship.

“The friendship that can cease has never been real.”- St. Jerome

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

No, They Are Not Just Dogs!

Kate

Eros

My dogs are family and treated like family. Yeah, I’m one of those!! If they don’t like you I probably won’t either. If you visit my house I guarantee when you leave you will have dog hair hitching a ride. I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. Kate is a 2011 model and Eros a 2012. Kate had a few problems when she was a pup. She had crystals in her urine and had hip surgery at a year old.

She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. When she was healed up she became my ride dog.

I am a retired farrier and she loved going to the barns with me. She took her riding shotgun seriously.

Then there is Eros. He was so little when he was a pup. He now ways 124 pounds.

He can be pretty intimidating. He is a big teddy bear. He is definitely a “protector”.

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you loves yourself.” – Josh Billings

They both have their own personalities. They are good listeners, loyal, and give unconditional love. They are always glad to see you and add joy to your life.

Now don’t get me wrong. They can get sick and leave a big mess to clean up and they can just simply be a pain in the butt. They are a huge responsibility. All in all I still say they are worth it.

Nope they aren’t just dogs. They’re family.

Dealing With Pain

Pain can change many things in a person’s life. It can have a big impact as to the outcome of your life.

“We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain ” – Alan Watts

Pain can be a gut wrenching experience. It can cause someone to give up and hope that death comes knocking on their door. It can turn one to drugs, alcohol, self mutilation. It can totally destroy your life if you let it. It’s in your hands as to whether you overcome it or fail. It’s not an easy road. The road is filled with jubilation, disappointment, setbacks, trials, tribulation, and heartbreak. Once you become determined and overcome the pain you will be rewarded by cruising down the road of jubilation.

“We can alleviate physical pain, but mental pain, grief, despair, depression, dementiais less accessible to treatment. It is connected to who we are – our personality, our character, our soul if you like.

People have many different ways that they cope with pain. It doesn’t matter how you handle it as long as your method is successful. If you find that you can’t do it by yourself then please don’t be afraid to seek help and get counseling. It doesn’t mean that your weak it means you are smart enough to understand that you can’t go it alone.

It can be pain caused from losing someone close to you to death. It can be a divorce or break up. Being bullied can cause unimaginable pain. They all have one thing in common. That is that you can overcome any one of them.

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it.” – Charlie Chaplin

“Life is short. You have to be able to laugh at our pain or we never move on.” – Jeff Ross

We become a prisoner of pain until we learn to let go and move on with our lives. We have to refuse to hold on to pain while releasing fear and hurt. You can use this new energy to start a new chapter in your life instead of letting it hold you back.

Simple Man?

Well you know what’s wrong with the world today, people done gone and put their Bibles away. They’re living by the law of the jungle not the law of the land. Well the good book says it so I know it’s truth an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You better watch where you’re going, remember where you been. That’s the way I see it. I’m a simple man. Charlie Daniels/Simple Man

Simple : of simple origin or modest position. Just what is a “simple man”?

I think of myself as a “simple man”. I am easily entertained and have been told that I am a damn good cook.

I am not a religious man, I am a spiritual man. I am happier in a kayak on the river than sitting in the theater or in a sports stadium. I prefer to do my own cooking than eat out at a restaurant.

I love camping. At 64 I still prefer a tent over an RV.

Some people call me hillbilly, redneck or country boy. Don’t care what you call me just don’t call me late to dinner. Like Hank Williams Jr said in his song, I can skin a buck and run a trot line I will survive.

I stand for the National Anthem. I open the door for a lady and I still say yes sir and yes ma’am. I believe in the second amendment and I am a Patriot and a member of the NRA.

What the world needs now is love, respect and a little more common sense. Every time I hear the old Wizard of Oz song If I Only Had A Brain, I think of our Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I love my animals and I consider them family. If you come to my house I guarantee you will leave with dog hair on your clothes. If my dogs don’t like you then you can bet your sweet arse I won’t either.

Burn the American Flag and your walking on the fightin’ side of me. There’s nothing prettier than a new born filly ‘cepting maybe a new born speckled pup. If you talk bad about my mamma that would be a huge mistake.

I like being alone. Life is simpler that way. You don’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings, entertaining them and there is a whole lot less drama.

I don’t know if these things are indicative of a simple man but I think of myself as one.

Remember to spread the love and to be kind to one another

Instant Gratification

Americans are obsessed with “instant , gratification”. According to ABC News credit card debt exceeded 1 trillion dollars. USA Today reported in May of 2018 that the average credit card interest rate was 16.71%.

There are very few that will wait and put money back to pay cash for something. Instead they break out the plastic and purchase what they want now, not later.

There are those financial experts that say it is good for the economy. There is no argument that it helps the bottom line of corporations, banks, retail companies etc. but what about the American consumer? They do great when the economy is running like Secretariat coming down the back stretch.

What happens when the economy starts to tank? People start losing their jobs. Interest rates start to creep up. Loan defaults make headlines. At this point a lot of folks have more money going out than coming in.

Is it worth the trade off of starting a flourishing economy with plastic? Right now the economy is doing good but what lies around the next bend? A recession? Depression? The past tells us the government will take care of the financial institutions that make bad loans but what about the American consumer?

With our elected officials so eager to pass so many useless laws or duplicating existing laws, why don’t they do something to pass a much needed law?

I believe it is time for the government to address these excessive interest rates and help protect the American consumer. Put a cap on interest rates that an institution can charge. Silly me. I forgot where they get the money for their campaigns.

Banks pay 1 to 3 percent for a regular savings account. They won’t give us a decent rate but slam us when they loan us money. So not fair to the consumer.

If you make a late payment on one card another card can raise your rates even though you weren’t late on their payment. When your debt to income ratio becomes excessive they can raise your rates. Twenty nine, thirty percent even!

It is time to take control of this excessive credit card debt and demand something be done about these atrocious interest rates. “Instant gratification” has to be put on hold and Americans need to start living within their means. We need to take control of our debt.

I am by no means a financial expert or perfect and this is merely my opinion. I am speaking from experience. If you don’t agree with it we will just have to agree to disagree. Common sense tells us if we are spending more than we make that sooner or later we are going to tank. The only way we can outspend our earnings is through the use of credit.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

Walk Your Own Way

“I don’t know where all the rivers run. I don’t know how far. I don’t know how come. But I am gonna die believin’ each step that I take ain’t worth the ground that I walk on if we don’t walk it our own way.” From the song Bang A Drum

I once was a follower. I was afraid to do things my own way. I was afraid of being wrong or offending someone. Then one day I heard Chris LeDoux sing these words and it caused an awakening in me that changed my life.

I did a lot of soul searching and looked back at my life in a new way. A way that I had never really imagined.

I will admit that I am hardheaded and by far I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but I realized I had the right to do things and believe the way I wanted too. Right, wrong or indifferent I should believe in me.

There are those who will try to make me believe I wasn’t able to make the right decisions on my own. That I would fail if I didn’t listen to the majority that instituted what they believed to be right for me. News flash, the majority isn’t always right.

I thought to myself how could these people tell me what was right for me when they had never experienced my heartaches, my celebrations and other life experiences. We can’t let people live our lives for us. We need to walk this world in our own way.

It was one of the most important changes I made in my life. It raised my self esteem to new heights. I finally felt like somebody. Don’t get me wrong. Yes I made bad decisions and choices and still do but I made them. No one else did and most importantly I learned from those mistakes and couldn’t blame anyone but myself.

No matter what you do in life or what decision you make there is always going to be someone who disagrees with you. It is inevitable. What is important is how you handle the situation. Do you cower and relinquish your opinion to please those people or do you stand up for what YOU believe in and stand your ground?

As for me I am going to fight for what I believe in even if I stand alone. Maybe it is because I have grown older but I really don’t care what people think of me any longer. I have walked the earth long enough to know that I am never going to please everyone and not everyone is going to agree with me. Not everyone will like my writing or political views. Not everyone will like my photography or my horseshoe art. What is important is how I handle it and that I always “walk it my own way”. If we don’t learn to believe in ourselves we do our spirit, soul and our being a great injustice.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is so deeply appreciated. You may agree or not agree with my opinion but if you don’t I respect that because we all are entitled to our opinion. We don’t however have the right to demean, harass, or stoop to name calling if we disagree which seems to be the norm for so many people.

Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another. Kindness doesn’t cost anyone anything.