I’m always wanting to do great things. Little things lack pizzazz. I’m looking to make great strides and accomplish something huge. I want to be better than i am—stronger and faster than I am.

But I am what I am. I hope I could become more, but it takes time.

Time and effort. Frustratingly slow and ponderous time and effort. I wish it were otherwise.

I know it is not. I can only do what I can do, and I can only do it at the speed I can do.

It’s discouraging. 

It can feel like a reason to not try at all. How can my very small effort matter?

I’m thinking big, and yet small is all I can do. I want to give up. Why even try?

Someone once  told me when I am trying to turn things around, to see if I can make one degree of change. Turn it one little degree.

It’s not much but it is a change.  

It will make that much of a difference.  One degree might be all I can do, but if I can do that it will have to be enough.

I can do that, and if I keep trying I can do it again. Changes, if done consistently, can add up.

Making no change adds up. Nothing plus nothing times the days I keep doing nothing adds up to less and less time to make a change.

But 1 degree of change after 180 changes, results in a complete turn around.

Yes, I’m dreaming big. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a problem if I am only focused on the big goal and can’t beak it down into the steps that I can take.

The little steps…those tiny changes that seem inconsequential and barely worth doing.

The big dream can give me the reason to keep on with the tiny every day steps, to keep the steps going in the direction of the change i hope to see. 

It takes a lot of time, and a lot of little steps to get to the change I’m hoping for. It takes a big vision not to give in to the despair that waits every day.

Every day, make the little change that I can.  Keep the flame of the vision burning and keep my eyes on the big dream. Beautiful beaches are made of tiny grains of sand.

We can’t all be number one

When I came back to Alaska from the country formerly known as the Soviet Union, I had to catch up on a lot of American culture. I’d been gone for a year and a half and had been outside the mainstream even before I left.

It was1993 and I was introduced to a new delicious beverage:

Snapple Ice Tea

I found it in the gas station food marts and particularly enjoyed the Peach Ice tea. Yummy yummy.

Not long after that, Snapple did a series of ads declaring they weren’t trying to be number 1. Coke and Pepsi could have that, but Snapple (at the time) had its sights on being #3.

Not everyone can be number one. Many times, there are uncontested frontrunners. I was thinking about that Snapple commercial as I was reviewing this verse
“Now there abideth faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.”

No doubt, love is what the world needs now. I need love. I am hungry to give and receive love.

But I am at this moment enamored of the other brothers faith and hope. Faith and hope who are holding hands through life, sometimes side by side and other times taking turns on which comes first.

You got to have faith. And sometimes all I can manage is to hope that the faith will come.

That letter that Paul wrote, that’s been passed down and treasured for thousands of years is saying that faith and hope abides. Like a rock that will not be moved, these remain.

I’ll tell you, I need to hang on to that rock. That’s what faith and hope are all about. Faith is seeing something that hasn’t happened yet. And hope is like the seed of faith. If I’m in a spot that’s so unpleasant I might not even have the wherewithal to have faith. Maybe I can only muster hope. I have hope it will grow into faith.

Faith and hope abide too, close up against love. The second and third place may change in any given moment when ranking these three. I agree they go together, and I know I need all three. I’m hoping to get through these hard times.

stock up

It’s August, which is a new month. This summer has been a bit crazy for me and I wasn’t watching when the last month. July caught me by surprise and I did not deploy my new-month process. I have felt that lack all month, and I am ready for the new month of August now.

I know I’m not the only one with needs. I have systems set up. Yes, I’m talking about books.

I see people on social media talking about their books and I see the pictures of the stacks of books they buy from book stores. Sometimes I take a note of books from their stack I want to read myself.

But I am also judging them.

Book readers will often congratulate themselves on being smarter because of this habit. Sure, books are a great way to learn things—things I don’t know, stuff that will make my life better and me more successful.

I shake my head at these readers and book addicts. They ought to be clued into the price difference between buying first release hardback and the slouchy bargain paperback. That’s money. That’s money that could be spent on more books.

But even that is a rookie mistake. I guard my stash and keep the supply of book flowing. The true hookup is the


How did these readers enter the labyrinth? Were they really so richy rich to have a sufficient supply of reading material from a bookstore?

When it comes to product, a commercial bookstore can’t keep up with a library for inventory. It takes that Dewey Decimal tag to keep track of the kind of catalog I need.

If I need a book, I do not need it tomorrow. I need it the moment the last book is done. And I need it to fill a certain longing and itch that my heart and curiosity hold in that precise moment.

There are narrative micronutrients needed from certain genres and authors that must be consumed as the hunger appears. Nothing else will do.

I have lists. I have virtual stacks of things to read when the moment comes. I take this seriously. Anytime a book is mentioned in another book it goes on the list. YouTube videos and podcasts are great sources. Conversations with friends; a standard question when I meet someone new “What are you reading?”

If my list gets to single digits it’s moment of anxiety, I will scramble to get more in the queue.

The new month process is to review the library card apps on my phone and make sure I tap out the limits for the month. The Hoopla app lets me get 8 books. The Libby app lets me check out more, but they have a long waiting lists. I’ve got a set of cards that I can rotate through.

As a last option, I can purchase the book. I have to exhaust the library possibilities first, which involves keeping the balance of genre types to feed the need.

Thing is, life can come at me and I might discover an unpredicted hunger for a particular reading experience. I might find that a mystery I was reading cannot be tolerated after all, requiring a palate cleanser. Certain characters can do that, or poor narrative consistency.

I might not be the only one with these kinds of book needs. But I am the only one who can properly treat and address it. This month I have executed my library systems effectively, and it is a calming realization that I’ve done what I can.

I want to be stockpiled for the rest of the summer. It’s been uncomfortably unpredictable so far.