Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could


–Rosa Parks

Rosa’s refusal might not have been quite this simple, but actions speak louder than words. Today’s reminder is that change takes a catalyst, and that catalyst might as well be you.  A second tip from Rosa is that sometimes inaction is as powerful as action.


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“Think globally. Act locally.”

–usually attributed to pesky tree-huggers with ponytails and tie-dye chacos who have this motto plastered to the bumper of a Prius.

This morning, while switching lanes on 285 at Spaghetti Junction , I ended up behind a huge SUV with this saying on its bumper.  The juxtaposition of this driver’s choice of vehicle and professed values got me thinking about what the saying really means.  Does it have meaning beyond anti-styrofoam, save-the-whales, and adopt-a-manatee campaigns?

It got me thinking about church mission trips, which often involve trips to Costa-Rica or India to build schools or provide medical care.  Most of the young adults I know don’t have bank accounts with sufficient liquidity to travel abroad nor the job flexibility to take a few weeks off to go provide their hands.  Can we find other ways to serve our neighbors?  Maybe we could tutor students on the weekend, or offer to watch our friend’s kid for a night.  There is always need for help at local soup kitchens and shelters, but another friendly act of service that fills a belly is to invite a college student over for a home-cooked meal or take a batch of soup to a shut-in.  Take a chess board to a nursing home or a book to a children’s hospital.  There is plenty of need in our own backyards, and our efforts can change the world for those we serve.


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“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”

— Jewish Proverb


Happy Birthday to my mom. My Momma, My MeeMaw, Momz, etc.

She is one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever known (or that I will ever know).

She is salt of the earth in every sense of the world.

I’m blessed to know her and I’m blessed to have her as a constant source of optimism.

Love you, Momma.


“Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.”

— Mitch Albom

Don’t think of it as an obligation when giving something up. Do not tie such a negative connotation to it…

Think of it as having the choice, the strength, the conviction to realize you are better letting go.

Realize that the sacrifices you make are not yours alone. Provide others the opportunity to live through your display of strength and to find their own.

In short: Think of what we gain when we lose.

Let Go Street


How Many, How Much

Put good in, get good out. Let the world show you that all of your hard work, optimism, and love pays off. Wait for the pay-off.

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“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

sky diving


“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes the greater is their power to harm us.”


My hard-drive crashed today.  Not my internal hard-drive, nor even my external hard-drive, but my portable hard-drive (which I had just purchased on 10/31, I might add).  “Ray, why do you need two terabytes of storage?” you might be wondering.  Well, my office computers are kind of unique, in that anything stored on them is erased at 11 p.m.  That means that all of my very important data and code (read “my entire thesis”) has to be stored on a portable drive. This story is made more fascinating by the fact that the first thing I was to-do this morning was to back up my hard-drive.  But, it was time to leave, and I needed to take my hard-drive to work.  So, the back up could wait until I got home tonight.  Except, as I mentioned, my hard-drive crashed today.


So that’s kind of a bummer, because I had not backed up my hard-drive despite the impressive progress I’ve made over the past few weeks.  So great was this bummer, that I was quiet on the car ride home.  My roommate wondered why I wasn’t myself.  My hard-drive crashed, and I was dwelling.

Finally, I could no longer stomach the stench of my own sorrow.  I packed up and went to visit the Geek Squad.

I couldn’t watch as the shaggy headed geek dismantled the vessel of my seminal work.  But when he emerged from the computer graveyard, he handed my a thumb-drive with all of my essential files on it.  My hope and my work was restored.

Dwelling on our misfortunes, brooding over our troubles and mistakes, getting pissy with the dealer doesn’t get us very far.  When we are too busy fretting, we aren’t busy enough playing the hand we’ve been dealt, and we can miss the lessons we are being spoon-fed.

Back up your files.


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“You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert

Today, make your top priority to find something beautiful. No other requirements are necessary. This small act could change your entire perspective on the world around you.

What’s a few extra minutes for a shot at a new outlook on life?


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“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.”

— T.F. Hodge

Readjust your focus. Everything that isn’t worth your worries should fade away. Focus long distance, not mere steps ahead. Don’t get down. Get yourself back up and running.

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“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

–Lao Tzu





Photo courtesy of spiritual networks.

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