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Archive for December, 2010

Day 81 – Direction

Well here we are on the last day of 2010.  Overall it was a great year with great people and great experiences.  There has been a small rough patch here at the end but I won’t let that overshadow the totality of the entire year.

Starting to put together goals for next year. This is the time of year to review my 5 year plans and the plans for this year that will help me get where I want to be in 5 years.  It’s also time to build out my annual reading list.  Something that I was unable to complete this year so a more realistic goal should be in place for 2011.

I began using this template a few years ago from Dan Miller at 48days.com to set my 5 year and 1 year goals as well as what can I begin doing today.  I encourage every one to download this planning document from Dan’s site and begin this weekend to determine where you want to be in the future and then get about doing it.  Check out Dan’s recent blog.  He included this quote:

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” – Daniel H. Burnham

I leave you with this little piece.

UPDATE: I forgot a title. Oops! 🙂
Direction – © Chris Hotz 12/2010

You live your life, watching it pass by
In a daily blur, flies before your eye
And here you are another year has gone
All your dreams no step yet done

You always say “I’ll do it tomorrow”
But then something arises and with sorrow
It waits.  Never unleashed. Your energy sapped
By the boredom and fatigue. You feel trapped.

Without direction will you have regret
When you are old and decrepit
Will you wonder what might have been
On your death bed will you feel chagrin?

Today is the day, your chance to choose
Your  destiny awaits you, nothing to loose
The sky is the limit, so start today
Make the most of your life, each and every day.

You only have one life to live.  Will you waste it in mindless activity Or, will you chase it down, squeezing every last drop of gusto, excitement and adventure from it?  Make every moment with friends and family count, find what you love to do… and do it.  With much love to everyone, may your New Year be full of excitement, contentment, love and joy. Chris.

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Day 82 – Self Pity?

Today I was reminded that self-pity is not a place in which one wants to become entrapped.  This reminder came in the form of a quote from The Napoleon Hill Foundation on Facebook, titled “Self-pity is an opiate”.

The most insidious problem with drugs is that the human body develops a tolerance for them and requires larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect. The same is true with self-pity. The more you allow yourself to indulge in it, the more you will require. Soon, self-pity will become a habit, one so debilitating that you will rob yourself of all the potential you possess. Happily, there is a cure. If you truly analyze the situation, most often you will find that the problems that have driven you to pity yourself are mostly of your own creation. It follows, then, that the best person to remedy the problem is the person who created it: you, yourself.

Ouch.  Some of that hit a little to close to home for me as I’ve let a recent self-induced situation get the better of me at times. So there you have it.  I am the best person to resolve this situation and I will do what I can to properly move forward.  In highly emotional situations this can be a constant challenge and so I will likely have some up and down days.  I must remind myself that it’s only a season and that this too shall pass.  If I do not do this I suspect my anger and other harsh feelings may eventually turn to bitterness.  As someone who tries to follow the teachings of the Bible, I must constantly challenge myself to the following:

…Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… …And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13

AND

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galations 5:22-23

Unfortunately I don’t see any room for self-pity in those statements or really anywhere else for that matter. 🙂 So, at least for today I’m going to write something more upbeat. And let tomorrow worry about itself.

Spring Sunset – © Chris Hotz – 12/2010

The golden purple hues splashed the sky
And I sat still, silently my mouth agape
In awe at the majesty displayed to my eye
A sunset more beautiful than anything I’ve seen

I reveled in the sight of that most incredible scene
My mind turned to thoughts of a creator
And pondered a God-sized painter who remains unseen
Who paints such majestic scenes in nature for earth to view

And so I closed my eyes for just a brief pause
And my heart was content in the moment
In which I felt something must really be there
Something bigger than me must really care

And in that moment I was light as a feather
The cares of life lifted as the sunset faded away
And in the warm spring weather
I knew, better things were on the way.

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Day 83 – On Sonnets and such.

Writing a sonnet is far more difficult than I ever imagined. I could have easily written a standard aabb rhyme scheme in a fraction of the time. To be honest, I’m not even sure that my sonnet qualifies though I tried to follow the iambic pentameter rhythm and the Italian rhyme scheme as well. Oh sonnet purists, please be kind, 🙂 this is a first for me.

I actually have another version of this halfway completed but I don’t believe I will ever complete it.  If I ever dare attempt another sonnet I will try an English sonnet.  They are supposed to be easier to create.

My prison © Chris Hotz 12/2010

Why have I been so long in this cell,
The price is paid, my time done and then some
Jailer why must I stay when I’m so numb
Am I all alone in this private hell?
He replied you know this place all to well
You fool, remember? you can’t be that dumb
Certainly you know how this has become??
I cried, help me sir help me know pray tell
He said, This cell was built by your own hand
Stone upon stone, with every decision
You made the wall behind which you are damned.
The dungeon which keeps you in depression
To free yourself from the life of the banned
Walk through the door to life you envision.

Now, if I had written this in a standard poetry format, it might have looked something like this and tells a different story.

No Title © Chris Hotz – 12/2010

A sullen prisoner sits in his lonely cell
He alone created this private hell
Knowing not how long he will be
He sits there, thinking reflectively

Pondering how he got there
And wondering when it will end
He’s served his time and then some,
Enough to have made amends

Yet still the torment ever flows
Pushed to his limit God only knows
When it will be too much and he cracks
Taking many down with him when he attacks

And yet, it’s he who created this terrible place
Living with a fall from grace
Something that only time with mend
Though slowly poisoning him until the end.

He’s too far in and too far gone
Cannot turn back to right a wrong
So upward and onward he must press
Till redemption relieves his distress

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Our Town

I finished reading Thorton Wilder’s play, “Our Town”, today.  It took about 35-40 minutes to speed read the last two acts.  It’s a unique play and I very much enjoyed it.  The ending was unexpected and yet seems to effectively communicate the idea the author was trying to convey.  Principally that most people live life at life speed and don’t take the time to enjoy the moments.  The moments with family and friends that are so fleeting and the memories that are created should be more cherished.  Well, that’s my take anyway.

This play is worth the hour or two that it will take to read it.  Additionally, if you live in North Georgia you will have the opportunity to see it on stage at http://www.elmstreetarts.org/ in mid-March of 2011.

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Well, today I attempted to write an Italian sonnet… only to discover that it’s harder than it looks.   Apparently the rhyme scheme is important and needs to be in iambic pentameter. I obtained the following information from Sonnet Central.
The first 8 lines have this rhyme scheme:
a b b a a b b a

And the last 6 lines should line up with one of the following rhyme schemes:
c d c d c d
c d d c d c
c d e c d e
c d e c e d
c d c e d c

I’m on line 8 at the moment and I’m not certain that I’m even writing it correctly. I have several other pieces that are also half done. So what to do? I really hate to punt and write nothing.

Some of you know that I’m an aspiring singer/songwriter. I have several song completed and have plans to record several songs by the end of next year. I’ve decided to post one of my originals, you may need a box of tissues as it touches on a sad theme.

The genesis for this song came out of a miscarriage that my wife had prior to the birth of our last child. We’ve experienced a number of miscarriages throughout our marriage but this one in particular was much more traumatic than the others.  I believe it’s because the pregnancy was in week 14-16 while our others had failed around weeks 6-8. My heart goes out to those who have experienced grief with a miscarriage. I hope that this song somehow touches you in a positive way.

Little White Shoes
© Chris Hotz -8/2009

Verse 1
There’s a pair of little white shoes, sitting at the top of our stairs.
Mama bought them at Walmart, should have been your first pair.
But then one cold and rainy day, something went so wrong
The doctors didn’t know what to say, but suddenly you were gone

Chorus
And God alone knows and God alone cares
As we sit here staring at those shoes on the stairs.
And sometimes in this life, things don’t go as we plan
So we hold on to each other and reach out for God’s hand

Verse 2
And when I think about all things we’ll miss
We’ll never get to hug you, or give you kisses… goodnight
I’ll never have to yell “Get out of that street”
I’ll never hear your laughter, as I tickle your tiny feet.

Chorus
And God alone knows and God alone cares
As we sit here staring at those shoes on the stairs.
And sometimes in this life, things don’t go as we plan
So we hold on to each other and reach out for God’s hand

Bridge
And I know that where you’re at,
You won’t need those shoes anymore.
You’re running through Heaven’s meadows
Or playing on the ocean shore.
And I know one day I’ll meet you
And we’ll walk through Heaven’s door.

Chorus
And God alone knows and God alone cares
As we sit here staring at those shoes on the stairs.
And sometimes in this life, things don’t go as we plan
So we hold on to each other and reach out for God’s hand

Ending
And when the questions come and the answers so few
We hold on to each other, God and those little white shoes.

There’s a pair of little white shoes, at the top of the stairs.
Mama bought them at Walmart, should have been your very first pair.

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Day 85 – Letting Go

I had several concepts in my head for today’s subject matter and then the idea of letting go popped in my head overnight.  Seems quite relevant not only due to some current personal experience; but also, because letting go is something we all face throughout our lives.  It’s a part of life which is often a difficult, and yet necessary aspect of life.

I found this link which walks through some of the important aspects of letting go.  To be honest, it was the first one I found and I don’t claim it to be the best explanation I’ve ever seen.  That’s not germane for this particular discussion.

Letting Go

Two points from this article before moving on to today’s poem:

  1. Letting go is a paradox.
  2. The old cliche:
    If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.

UPDATE: I wanted to mention one other key point. Letting go is typically a process of many individual decisions to let go over a period of time. It is not a single decision at a single point in time that resolves it for all time.

And now, today’s writing:

Letting Go – © 12/2010 by Chris Hotz

A son approached his father for some sound advice
The father smiled, knowing his last answer hadn’t sufficed
And yet he listened carefully as he’d heard this story before
But gave his son another chance to explain it once more

He said “Son, you’re a man now and you will have to decide
There are several options, let wisdom be your guide,
but there’s really only one choice it’s what I would do
You need to let go son, or this will break you in two.”

And then he continued, “Son, I’ve let go so many times in life
First time it was cancer that almost took your mom, my wife.
And then the car accident that took your younger brother
Those were the big events but there have been many others.

Now, I know your situation is a somewhat different here
I can see the pain of losing something is what you fear
Just remember son, that even this too will pass
And letting go is your only hope of exiting this morass.”

I do not know what choice he made before he went home
But perhaps you and I can learn from this simple little poem
It’s said that letting go is the only hope of having what one desires
Takes love and faith to let it go and hope,
   that it returns,
     like a phoenix from the fire.

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Day 86 – To Start Anew

The wispy snowflakes, falling down
Cover everything on their way to the ground
Were life like that? I wish I knew
To begin again and start anew.

I ponder long and ponder hard
As snowflakes settle in my yard
A blanket of the purest white
Wish to wrap myself in it tight.

To become part of the scenery
To life washed away from me
Were life like that? I wish I knew
To begin again and start anew.

© 12/2010 – Chris Hotz

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