Remember the Fallen

If you are reading this, you did not make the ultimate sacrifice for this country. It’s okay, neither did I. Others made that sacrifice, so we could be here now doing whatever it is that we are compelled to do. You may not even appreciate the sacrifices they made. It doesn’t matter. They still made it. You may not even be an American, but you are still effected by their valorous actions.

Take a moment today and send a prayer of thankfulness to all the members of the U.S. military who gave their lives for our freedom. As you go about your day, be kind to those you encounter. You never know if they lost a parent, a child, a brother, sister, or a spouse in service to this country. This day may be just another holiday for you. But for them, everyday is a Memorial Day in which they remember their loss.

Friday morning 3/23/2018

Friday morning 3/23/2018-

• Woke up at 3:40 a.m.

• Met client at gym at 4:30. This is not currently a paid service.

• Drove to work and meditated in parking lot from 6:10 to 6:30.

• Saw a need and helped out. Tweeted about this without realizing that a connection might be made and it could be perceived as arrogant. This created some unnecessary anxiety, as it wasn’t my intention. Now it is something I need to sort out in my mind.

The tweet was: Difference a year makes. Now if I see a need I don’t hesitate to help. Before I was selfish, reluctant, or procrastinated until it was too late. This is the path I was searching for.

What was the “before” I mentioned? There has been times in my life where I just wasn’t able to help. I wasn’t in the right place mentally, spiritually, or physically. I wanted to, but I did nothing. What are our wants if they are not backed up by action? Faith without works is dead (see James 2:14-26). Sometimes I procrastinated on it. I told myself I would just not today. The day never came. For some reason, not helping always plagued my conscience. I told my wife a few months ago that it was one of my greatest regrets in life. I also told her I wanted to live my life in such a way that I no longer have those types of regrets. It is similar to meeting a client at 4:30 in the morning. My drive is to be able to help others. This is a full 180 change from my younger version. That version was motivated by self-interest.

I believe my anxiety stemmed from how others would perceive me. I didn’t want to toot my horn and say, “Look at me and what I have done.” If my intention was to say that I am growing up, getting better, and trying to do the right things, then who cares what others think (if they even thought it, which is the more likely scenario). Here is my insecurity: worrying about what others think of me. This is good. I have identified another weakness that I can work on.

I am reminded again of “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I read this book a couple of weeks ago, and it is still fresh on my mind. Here’s Steven:

I learned this from Robert McKee. A hack, he says, is a writer who second-guesses his audience. When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for.

I have tried this in the past. I have tried to tailor my writing to my audience. I found myself not writing what was in my heart, but rather what I thought they wanted to hear. I was being a hack. I was not being authentic. I could feel it in my writing. I didn’t like it, but I thought it was the way. It was not the path I wanted to be on, and it certainly is not the path I am on now. I see my path before me. I know the direction it goes and where it leads. I will not turn to the right nor to the left. While there is still breath in me, I will stick to the path.

A Key to Wisdom

Knowledge can be passed on. So can understanding. You can be smart, and be without wisdom. I wish I could give you wisdom, but I cannot. You have to find it for yourself. It will not come to you overnight. It is a process. A very long, arduous process. One, that hopefully you will be striving for your whole life.

Though I can’t give you wisdom, I can give you a tip. It is a key to unlocking this door. Listen to those who are wise. Let them be your teachers. Find the ones that are on the right path and learn from them.

My son:

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may eventually be wise. -Proverbs 19:20

Let It Go

Last Monday, I wrote about the way we respond to others. Now let us take it a step farther. What is your reaction to an offense? Do you have the ability to let it go? Or, do you let it fester? Maybe you vent a little to a sympathetic friend about this injustice?

I was watching a show with Alec last weekend, and he heard the the word humble. He asked what it meant. My response was the opposite of pride, which led me to explain what pride meant. Being humble is a good thing. You are less likely to be offended if you are humble.

We should not let our pride interfere with our relationships. Where is the need for conflict resolution if we prevent the conflict? Sometimes we just need to take a step back and breathe. Hey, let it go.

Whoever overlooks an offense fosters friendship, but whoever gossips separates very friends. -Proverbs 17:9

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse


Do you ever read a book that just seems magical? I’m not speaking about magic in a book, but the words, the content, the meanings all seem magical. When I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, that was what I experienced magic.

Once all of my self was overcome and had died, once every desire and every urge was silent in the heart, then the ultimate part of me had to awake, the innermost of my being, which is no longer my self, the great secret.

When I was young, I was very passionate about living a “holy” life. I had thoughts of becoming a missionary. I wanted to run away from the things of this world and live in obscurity in the most meager way. Reflecting back on it, I think part of me was scared and lost. I wasn’t ready for the great, big world and instead wanted to seclude myself in the smallest part of it I could find.

In my 20’s and 30’s, my eyes  were opened up to the ways of the world. I left the part of me that wanted to live as an ascetic behind. I began to live for pleasure. The things I consumed were not because I needed it, but because I wanted it. It was during this time, I allowed the undesirable things to slowly creep into my life. The darkness began to seep into my soul and threatened to corrupt the things I once held precious. During this time, I was still trying to escape. The memories of my youth haunted me. I began to live in the past, dulled in the present, and blind to the future.

Then a time came when those worldly things were no longer important. They began to lose their luster. Food became less about pleasing my belly, and more about fueling my body. Alcohol no longer became a tool of escape to dull the senses. My mind and my body even started to reject the idea of laziness. Those things of the world now seem vain and fleeting. Worthless.

This is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him, because he doesn’t let anything enter his soul which might oppose the goal.

img_0471As I move into this next stage of my life, I am also drawn to a goal. I am attracted by the things which are greater than myself. I am striving toward that which goes beyond this lifetime.

Even with him, even with your great teacher, I prefer the thing over the words, place more importance on his acts and life than on his speeches, more on the gesture of his hand than his opinions. Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.

My New Mantra

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. – Benjamin Franklin

Like so many, I have been on a health journey my entire life. The most consistent factor in my journey has been a lack of consistency. Two years ago, I trained for my first half marathon. I printed up the training schedule and made it a practice to complete each day’s workout. I completed maybe 85% of the training runs. At the time, I considered it a victory. The Asheville Half Marathon in Western North Carolina is not the easiest course to run. Before the race, my friends at work were showing me videos of the 10th mile. All uphill. Running that race was one of the most difficult physical feats I have undertaken. It taught me many lessons. Did I train enough? Yes to complete it, but no to being truly prepared for it. Did I have within myself the fortitude to keep going? I struggled through it, often wanting to give up. Several times I had to walk, especially on that 10th mile. What could I have done better? So much, but the number one thing I could have improved upon was consistency in my training.

It is tough to be consistent. Life sometimes just wants to get in the way. As you get older, you have more responsibilities. You have more things that require your time and attention. If only there was a way to have more time.

What does it mean to be wealthy? Is it only for the ones born with it, or the lucky? Is it all about money, or is being wealthy mean more? Have I ever been wealthy? From a comparison standpoint to those with financial wealth, I cannot even compare. Have I been through difficult times? Absolutely! Most, if not all, of the difficult times in life came from one source. Me. Could they have been prevented? You bet. Do I still make mistakes? Yes, and yes.

I am obviously no get rich expert, but I do have an idea of how one becomes wealthy. You work hard, work smart, and you continuously learn. Many of those early difficult financial struggles in my life were a product of a lacking financial education. I would work hard. I thought I was working smart, but in truth I was really naive. I also had an epicurean approach to money, which was to serve my pleasure and my belly. It was not a good approach.

Now wisdom, above all, was the one attribute I went after. I mean, it’s pretty clear in Proverbs 4:7, “The beginning of wisdom is this: GET WISDOM (caps my own), and whatever you get, get insight.” I used to look at this verse thinking “you gotta be kidding me.” That’s step one? Get wisdom? Once I really started to think about this verse, I realized the beginning is the starting point. Now it is up to me to figure how to get to that first step. And that first step is just that, it is the first step of many, many thousand steps to come. You cannot go anywhere without taking that first step. Ready. Step.

There was a time when I thought I would be some kind of philosopher. I was horrible at Geometry, but at least I could remember the most basic of shapes. I always thought my triangle was body, soul, and mind. However, there are many applications to this idea. One of them is looking at Franklin’s quote: healthy, wealthy, and wise. One by itself really is not good enough. Even two is still incomplete. All three together creates a balance that is hard to topple. To get there is not easy. It requires discipline. The discipline to work at it every day. It is not about hoping to have time to work on it. It is about making the time. If that means you have to go to bed early, so you can get up before everybody else, then that is what you do. You make the time.

Here we go again…

Below is the post on my bio page. After I posted it, I began to think it might be appropriate as my first post. The primary focus of this blog is for what I call The Royal Lessons. These are life lessons that I want to pass to my son, Alec. In an upcoming post I will explain in greater detail what The Royal Lessons are and why it gets such a high name.

I have always been on journey, looking and searching for something. And though something is not nothing, I have rarely been focused on one thing. As a soldier way back in the 1990’s, my focus turned to reading. I used to love reading as a child and for some reason stopped. Out of pure boredom during a field exercise, I borrowed a used Anne Rice book. I loved it. After finishing it, I read almost all of her books. Next, I looked back on the books I had a mild interest in during my high school years. I started to reread them. I started reading classics. At the time I was relatively young in my newfound reading hobby. I actually started running out of things to read, because I really did not know what to read. Back then, my reading journey took me on an amazing ride, so much that some of my most memorable times involved a book.

In time, I began to wonder if I had a story to tell. That simple thought invaded my being. It started to transform my view of what my journey was supposed to be. It was also one of the most overwhelming ideas I ever had. How could I with very little training be so bold as to assume that I could be a writer? But the idea was eating at me, and so I began to dabble.

Dabble is what I did for years. People would ask what I wanted to do in the future. I would tell them that I wanted to write. They would ask me what I had written. I would respond with a pitiful “not much.” Why, because I dabbled. I wasn’t regimented. I wasn’t disciplined. I even used to tell myself I needed to live more to be able to write the books I wanted. I wasn’t experienced enough. The truth was I was just a dabbler pretending to want to be a writer.

My first blog was short-lived. It was after the birth of my son, Alec. I felt this overwhelming need to start writing again, if not for my sake, then at least for his sake. I realized that one of the most important things I could do in my life was be a really great father. It was my duty. Part of that duty was to leave a legacy. I wanted to let my son know of his heritage. I owed that to him and my ancestors. In addition, I wanted to let him know of my journey. There were a lot of ups and even more downs, and more importantly there was a lesson for each one.

That first blog started off well, but then I lost focus. I thought I had to have a really interesting picture for each post. The pictures became as important as the writing. I also tried self-hosting. When things started to go wrong technically, I stopped writing just so I could focus on getting the website functional again. Soon, I wasn’t writing at all.

So here is my next go-around. I still have a legacy to leave for Alec. In the last two years I have stayed busy. Busy means that I was procrastinating in my writing. Hopefully, this blog will demonstrate that I am still evolving as a person. My focus has become singular. I’m locked into the idea that I need to become a complete person, and this journey will be part of the legacy I leave for my son and for those that take the time to read this blog. Thank you.