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Relay For Life

It’s been a while since I wrote a real Bootstraps post. I stopped writing regularly back in 2012 after starting my MBA. The workload was just too much for me. I welcomed my son into the world in 2013 and then graduated in 2014 (Yay Me!). Soon after that I was changing jobs, separating from my wife and starting the podcast that I’d had on my mind for a couple of years (www.trivialwarfare.com if you haven’t checked it out yet).

Most of my free time now is dedicated to the show. The recording, editing, marketing and what not is enough to keep anybody busy. Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for Bootstraps. It represents a lot of firsts for me. It was my first attempt at building something, at attracting an audience, and at writing regularly. I’m still proud of it, but don’t figure that I’ll be posting a lot of articles to it in the future, particularly because I can write about them or talk about them on Trivial Warfare.

Still, every once in a while something happens that just doesn’t fit what I’m doing on the other show. That’s what happened this weekend and I want to share it with you because it really touched my heart and reminded me of an old lesson. Read the rest of this entry

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A Story of Repentance

My life changed forever about 9 years ago. I can’t remember the specific day or even the time of year but I remember the moment. If my life was a lever this moment would be the fulcrum. It’s the moment that I let go of myself and decided to trust Jesus. I don’t think I’ve ever written about it in detail before and I want to take some time with it today.

The only person with me at the time was my girlfriend Edith. This was before we got married. We were alone in the old apartment that I used to share with my brother Bob on Touchton road. It wasn’t uncommon for Edith and me to spend our time there. I can remember many Friday nights spent there together drinking homemade margaritas and playing darts on our twenty dollar Walmart dartboard or playing Tetris on goofy little game system that we could plug into the TV. Those were some of the best times of my life.

The source of hours of enjoyment

This was the year that I finished losing weight. I was 29 years old, 245 pounds, in good shape and I was happy. I remember that clearly. It was the first time in my life that I was really happy. This was a huge change for me, it was a revelation. I’m embarrassed by who I was before this period in my life. I was very angry. In my anger I rejected God. I knew who he was. I had been saved long before this and I had experienced his love clearly during the period when I was just leaving my teenage years.

Things changed for me though. Events happened that hurt me in fresh new ways that seemed at the time to be indescribably cruel. It felt like I had found a port after coming through a horrible storm only to have it ripped away from me again, leaving me in shock and defenseless against the pain. It was as if I had let down my defenses just to be attacked and defeated anew. This period of anguish peaked with my 21st birthday. I remember it clearly. I had moved back in to my father’s house after I left college before graduating and I was working my first serious job trying to earn enough money to move out. I remember that evening, I spent it utterly alone. I remember breaking down and bawling as I sat on my bed in the dark talking to my mother and telling her how lonely I was. Read the rest of this entry

This Is What I Know: All I Know Is What I Know

The article below is written by my friend Claresa. The article touched my heart the first time I read it and I asked for permission to share it with you. Enjoy.

—–
My name is Claresa Baggs. I do not possess a title of Pastor, Minister, Reverend, or
Prophetess. I don’t sit on any boards. I do not have a big certificate of degree hanging
on my office wall. I never expected to stand before you in this format, on this day. Quite
frankly, I learned that I can only run for so long, before God catches up to me.

Who am I, to stand before you and allow teachings to flow from my mouth that I would
otherwise keep to myself? I am but a wretched soul, desperately in need of prayer, on a
twisted and potholed path trying to find my way back to God. I have nothing to offer you
but my own truths.

I do not speak of things I have not experienced. I have been on a sad, angry, lonely
journey. How could God; therefore, require this of me? How could He ask me, out of all
who have suffered to stand before you and provide guidance? I cannot quote a bunch of
biblical passages to support this presentation. I cannot list authors of self-help manuals
used as reference materials.

I stand before you in humility and obedience.
All I know is what I know.

I can tell you of a child who at the age of 8 believed it better to die than to live one more
day in pain and sorrow. Read the rest of this entry

36 Things That I Learned in 36 Years

  1. Honesty is the best policy but it is also the road less traveled
  2. Most things worth doing are not easy, which is why there are many people who never do anything worth doing.
  3. You can be happy regardless of whether you are fat or thin, but life is easier and more enjoyable when you’re in shape.
  4. To make a friend you must be a friend
  5. A friendly person is happier than an unfriendly person
  6. The satisfaction of doing a good job is worth the effort of doing a good job.
  7. The Bible makes an excellent instruction manual for life, regardless of your religious beliefs.
  8. That being said, God the Father is real and Jesus is Alive!
  9. The RedZone channel on a Sunday afternoon during football season is the greatest television channel known to man.
  10. We aren’t always good at what we love and we don’t always love what we’re good at. That being said, do what you love, you’ll be happier.
  11. All bathrooms should come equipped with waterproof speakers so that we can maximize the enjoyment of singing in the shower.
  12. No one will take you seriously if you don’t act like you take yourself seriously
  13. Hurt people hurt people
  14. Americans will never again be happy with a president elected by our current process. We must change things if we ever want a chance to elect a person with honor and wisdom
  15. Information < Knowledge < Wisdom
  16. No one is as ugly or as good looking as they think they are.
  17. Most philosophers are ridiculous and shouldn’t be taken seriously
  18. Cubism is not art, it’s rebellion
  19. It is better to give than receive…unless you’re the one in need.
  20. Treat your family well; no one will stick with you longer than they will.
  21. Choose your spouse wisely; there is no future in a relationship with a person who will not grow with you.
  22. I chose correctly J
  23. Love is the most beautiful emotion we have, lust is a pale imitation.
  24. Well-fitting clothes are extremely underrated
  25. Raising a child is hard work, even before they are born.
  26. Money magnifies a person’s character. It doesn’t change them, it just reveals who they are without restraints.
  27. If there is a way to lose a fantasy football game then I will find it.
  28. Leadership is learned and practiced. It is not something that you are born with.
  29. Consistency is the key to the success of every long term endeavor
  30. The smellier the fart, the greater the humor.
  31. Computer generated movie settings will never look as good as real or manufactured settings.
  32. Our experience as children influences the person that we become in life
  33. You have the option to choose who you wish to be and make it a reality. Choose wisely.
  34. There is no such thing as multi-tasking. Switching tasks quickly does not mean you are doing them at the same time, but it almost certainly means that you are doing each of them ineffectively.
  35. People who text and drive are showing a reckless disregard for the lives of the people around them.
  36. I have a lot to offer and it’s up to me to create the opportunities that allow me to be a difference maker.

The Chik-Fil-A Controversy – Reframed

 

I started writing this article a week or so ago. Today the news broke that a 28-year-old man shot a guard who stopped him from breaking into the Washington D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council. The FRC figured prominently in the recent Chick-Fil-A controversy and the gunman was reported to be carrying a sack of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches.  I bring this up because it is important to take this opportunity to remind people that violence is not the answer. Violence is not the way to share your voice. No matter what cause you support, violence only serves to stiffen the backs of your opponent and further entrench them in their existing positions.

Please understand that this article was not written to convince you to support one position or the other. My goal for this article is to reframe the question, to provide some additional information and context that I believe make a difference in the way that we view this situation.

A clear sign that there is actually something to see here.

It isn’t difficult to have an opinion on the recent Chick-Fil-A brouhaha, but it does appear to be difficult to have a well-researched one. I’ve always prided myself on thinking for myself and not just believing what other people say to me. This was a big pain for my teachers growing up but it has served me well as an adult. Because I’m willing to keep an open mind I find myself thinking deeply about things that others tell me there’s nothing to think about. That’s why I’m trying to think about the Chick-Fil-A controversy for myself instead of listening to the rhetoric of either of the two sides. According to many conservatives and Christians there is nothing to think about here, Chick-Fil-A is a Christian organization standing up for Christian beliefs. According to many liberals and LGBT people there is nothing to think about here Chick-Fil-A is a hate group donating money to hate groups. What’s right and what’s wrong? Truthfully it’s hard to tell. I’m a born again Christian, some would call me a radical Christian, but that doesn’t mean that I check my brain at the door. It is my duty to listen to both sides of an argument, to dig deeper and to try and find the truth Read the rest of this entry

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