Friday, June 15, 2007

The Abbeygrape Manifesto

I originally wrote this manifesto in June 2004, but it is like my theme song, so I am trying to keep it near the front of the Abbeygrape blog.

Most people tiptoe through life so as to arrive at death safely --Tony Campolo, "Carpe Diem"

An acceptable level of risk -- This is generally determined by what is prepared to be lost balanced against possible gains. When we define risk as exposure to the chance of loss, we see that risk is unavoidable. Everything we do carries some risk, even doing nothing. But, if you do not take on enough risk, you will never know where your boundaries are. Risk helps define your boundaries of safety and comfort. You must be an equilibrist to balance safety and comfort with an acceptable level of risk. Risk is an inevitable part of life. It can never be eliminated but winners know when to take it and how...not with their eyes closed but with their eyes wide open.

The acceptable level of risk is likely to vary over time, from day to day and moment to moment, and differs from person to person based on experience and self-confidence. As a child, when we began to walk and run, there was an acceptable level of risk associated with learning, and we probably had bumps and bruises to show until we had experience and self-confidence. As adults, we get so settled in routine that we take the path of least resistance, not daring to take risks for fear of bruising our self-esteem or egos. Yet it is with taking risks that the potential rewards are highest, and you are richer for daring to explore the unexplored facets of your life.

SO, dare to march to the beat of a different drummer. Dare to look for ways every day to reach out to the people around you, to extend kindness to strangers when it was not expected, and to see things that unify us with nature, with each other, and with life itself. Dare to listen to the music of nature and the secrets that the birds have to tell because you will discover the secrets of your own soul. Dare to interact with children so that you can see the world through their eyes and gain hope through their innocence. Dare to sing to the frogs in Tuvan so that your words can be made clear in the cover of darkness. Dare to listen to and explore all types of music so that you may understand the rhymes and rhythms that others may carry in their head. Dare to read the Great Classics of Literature because of the lessons to be learned from the voices of experience. Dare to fall in love because through love you understand the language (spoken and unspoken) of the heart. Dare to exercise your body to relieve stress and build your endurance. Dare to play sports so that you understand teamwork and how the efforts of individual players combine for the greater good of the team. Dare to learn how to be ambidextrous in some things, so that true equilibrium can be achieved. Dare to appreciate Young's Double Chocolate Stout, enhance your root beer with Crown Royal, splash Tabasco sauce on your eggs, savor an alligator sandwich, relish chocolate-covered jalapenos, feast on french-fried sweet potatoes, glory in ice cream topped with the taste of the rainbow, flavor your Coca-Cola with chocolate syrup, delight in chocolate-covered roast coffee beans because diversity in taste feeds your curiosity for the new and different. Dare to learn new languages so that you may experience the voice of the world. Dare to watch movies because they reflect culture of a moment frozen in time and help you remember your moments frozen in time. Dare to swim in the ocean and feel the sand in between your toes because true freedom can be found in this place in the sun and waves. Dare to float down rivers in canoes and rafts so that you may experience the true currents and unpredictable undercurrents of the waters. Dare to play trombone like the greats, but also dare to be yourself so that you can discover your true borders. Dare to be a sports spectator so that you might understand the feelings and motivations of athletes. Dare to be creative because in being creative you understand more about the things you care about and your true feelings toward the world. Dare to write your own thoughts and compose your own music, because after you're gone, only your writings and music remain. Dare to dream. And dare to make a few mistakes along the way, because it is through mistakes that we learn our great lessons in life.
--Janna Luebkemann Scearce

It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.--Phillip Adams

You lively up yourself, and don't be no drag.--Bob Marley

It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves.--Edmund Hillary

Be happy, but never satisfied.--Bruce Lee

If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.--Ray Bradbury

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising each and every time we fail.--Confucius

My mother said to me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope." Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.--Pablo Picasso

Those that danced were thought mad by those who could not hear the music.--George Carlin, from his book Brain Droppings

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?--Dr. Robert Schuller

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.--Gilda Radner

Our suicidal poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.--Edward Abbey, In Literature

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.--Albert Einstein

That Truth is only another name for the positive state, or that the quest for Truth, is the attempt to achieve positiveness.--Charles Fort

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.--Marcel Proust

If you're not living on the edge, then you are taking up too much space.--Native American saying

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.--Charles Darwin

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.--Douglas Adams

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June Already?

Wow! I cannot believe that it is June already! This year has passed by so fast. So many things have happened since my last post. My nephew Steven graduated from high school on May 15. I'm giving a Con"grad" ulations shout out to him. I drove to Pine Bluff, Arkansas to watch him pick up his diploma. He has a full four-year scholarship to Arkansas Tech University, where he will be majoring in secondary education. Good Luck with that! I know you'll make your auntie proud!

We're still working on the house, and have made quite a bit of progress on it. The floors have all been jacked up now with new floor joists added as necessary. The bathroom was remodeled in February. We put in a huge Jacuzzi and painted the panelling so that all walls and doors are white with a black trim. It has a movie star theme with matching shower curtain and accessories. I also have framed prints of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman on the walls. I kept the pink toilet and added a black seat to go along with spirit of the black trim. We are also adding a black marble tile floor. I think that Miss Odessa would be proud of our bathroom.

Now we are working on the master bedroom. We are painting the walls lilac and installing a new carpet in lavendar. Our new bedroom furniture is a great selection from Ashley Furniture. We selected a sleigh bed with matching armoire, dresser, chest of drawers, and matching trunk. We are looking forward to our new bedroom and hope to have it finished by the end of the summer.

It's been a lot of hard work and we are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish. We will be recarpeting the living room, dining room, and main hallway of our house also. Then we can move on to the kitchen, where we will be installing a new stove and countertops. We also will be putting down a new ceramic tile floor in the patio room. That's our goal for the next few months. We've enjoyed making this old house into a house that we can be proud of for a long time to come.

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