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Lofty goals

image courtesy of photo

image courtesy of photo

The days preceding to start of a new year prompt many of us to reflect upon what has transpired over the past year and resolve to make some positive changes in the new one. Whether it’s relational: Spend more time with family and friends, career oriented: Get a better job or a promotion, financial: Get out of debt and save more towards retirement or physical: Lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, exercise, most of us make New Years Resolutions, or at least have made them at some point in our lives.

I stopped making New Years resolutions a few years ago. It’s not that I don’t have goals or things I wish to accomplish. I just got tired of being a constant disappointment to myself. Once I made a resolution, I would subconsciously begin to sabotage my own efforts because apparently, no one is the boss of me. Not even me. In other words, I don’t like ultimatums. If I tell myself I have to do something, I don’t want to do it.

Maybe everyone’s a little crazy like that and I’ve just been around long enough to realize setting pie-in-the-sky aspirations for oneself often leads to disappointment.

This is typically not the case for young people. Take my 16 year old son for example. He has his whole life ahead of him with plenty of time to accomplish great things. As a bonus, he has the added confidence (cockiness) born of not having experienced many of the bone-crushing disappointments that time spent on this earth tends to bring.

This past Sunday at church, we were encouraged to write down some of our resolutions for 2014. My bulletin remained blank save for the anime doodles done by my daughter.


But my son? He had some impressive goals for the coming year:

Keep climbing (towards) your potential.
I should probably mention here that my son plays high school football. In Texas. I’m sure he’s heard a thing or two from coaches about reaching his potential.

Never compromise your integrity.
I love this one. Kids these days have ample opportunity to make bad decisions, but he’s never been one to go along to get along.

Accept that A is A.
Okay, I had to Google that one. “A is A” refers to Aristotle’s Law of Identity which states:

Everything that exists has a specific nature. Each entity exists as something in particular and it has characteristics that are a part of what it is. “This leaf is red, solid, dry, rough, and flammable.” “This book is white, and has 312 pages.” “This coin is round, dense, smooth, and has a picture on it.” In all three of these cases we are referring to an entity with a specific identity; the particular type of identity, or the trait discussed, is not important. Their identities include all of their features, not just those mentioned.

Identity is the concept that refers to this aspect of existence; the aspect of existing as something in particular, with specific characteristics. An entity without an identity cannot exist because it would be nothing. To exist is to exist as something, and that means to exist with a particular identity.

To have an identity means to have a single identity; an object cannot have two identities. A tree cannot be a telephone, and a dog cannot be a cat. Each entity exists as something specific, its identity is particular, and it cannot exist as something else. An entity can have more than one characteristic, but any characteristic it has is a part of its identity. A car can be both blue and red, but not at the same time or not in the same respect. Whatever portion is blue cannot be red at the same time, in the same way. Half the car can be red, and the other half blue. But the whole car can’t be both red and blue. These two traits, blue and red, each have single, particular identities.

The concept of identity is important because it makes explicit that reality has a definite nature. Since reality has an identity, it is knowable. Since it exists in a particular way, it has no contradictions.

And for the second time this week I’ve found myself wondering, “Who is this child?” The last time it was a different kid.

Gain 20 to 25 pounds of muscle weight.
Again with the football–Left Offensive Tackle. Yikes! He’s already a beast.

And last, but certainly not least:

Usher in the 2nd Renaissance.
I’m not sure if he means a personal renaissance or if he’s planning to conquer the world in the next twelve months. Maybe a combination of both. Good luck with that.

Lofty goals.

Sort of made me feel like a slacker. I didn’t even come up with one. Oh, I’ve thought of several, but then I shy away from committing to them lest I fall short of the goals I’ve set and feel like a failure.

But if I’m failing at something, at the very least it means I’m working towards something.

And each time I fail, if I pay attention and try to figure out where I went wrong then it’s not complete failure.

It’s incomplete success.

That’s what I’m going with.

So, I’ll share with you all one of my New Years Resolutions:

I’m back to blogging on a regular basis again.

Can you think of anything more incompletely successful than the act of writing?

Yeah, me neither.

Happy New Year!


There is a blue house sits at the end of my street. I would estimate its age to be 25 to 30 years. This is relatively new in many parts of the country. Where I live, in the Land of Shiny and New, it is positively prehistoric.

After being on the market for several months, the house recently sold. The previous occupants were an older couple—not elderly, just older. The woman has several health issues and the house’s upkeep simply proved too daunting a task for them.

Being curious (nosy) by nature, as soon as I saw the For Sale sign in the yard, I looked up the listing on the internet. The pictures of the house’s interior continued the theme from its exterior—outdated and dilapidated.

I got the feeling as I looked at the pictures that what my eyes saw was very different from the eyes that must have taken those pictures. Where I saw the reality of worn carpet, cracked plaster and outdated fixtures, the eyes behind the lens of the camera saw what the house once was. The memories within the walls of the house and in the hearts and minds of its inhabitants served as rose colored glasses, preserving a beauty that has long since faded.

The previous owners have left. Work crews have descended upon the house and have begun the task of renewal. Overgrown bushes and trees are being pruned, dead plants are being dug out of the flower beds. I’ve counted three rather large trailers filled with branches and debris so far, and they’ve barely made a dent into the overgrowth. Drywall, insulation, doors and fixtures lay together in a large heap on the driveway. The overcast, cold day adds to the ugliness of the scene. To the workers, it is just another job; the stripping away of the old and useless. The mess is temporary and will soon be cleared away so new life can be breathed into the house by yet another group of workers. Eventually a new family will move in with a fresh start at creating new memories.

The renovation of this little blue house on the corner holds a distinct advantage over the renewal that sometimes must take place in our lives. Because while the previous occupants of the blue house have moved away and do not have to witness to pruning and/or demolition of those things that no longer serve their intended purpose, we are a captive audience to the sometimes painful yet necessary pruning, demolition and reconstruction that must take place within us in order for us begin anew.


This blog post is a submission into “Beginnings” writing project hosted by lovely and talented Laura Barkat over at Seedlings in Stone