I put in endless hours contemplating how to begin here, my first post, and with this blog altogether. I do take some comfort in the imagination that every blogger has crossed this very same bridge with as much trepidation. I wanted to tell you my story, my reasons for being here, and how I intend to be different,…”special” even. I quickly thought better of this as a first post. Besides, there are so many other places where I’ve scattered little footprints and pieces of myself. There’s plenty of time, God willing, for more of this too, as we go along.

But begin I must. I decided to instead set forth a solid cornerstone, a reminder for myself, not of what my blog will be about, or even how I hope to accomplish my goals, but instead, a creed of sorts, a belief. To this end, I give myself you a poem, “If”  by Rudyard Kipling. Many years ago, in Stone Mountain, GA, I stumbled upon a grave in an ancient section of a cemetery. It was poked out among simple graves, an above-ground box made of granite slabs. The only marking was the last verse of this poem, hand tooled into the stone. It changed, and has shaped my life from that very day.

After 20 years of sharing this with my closest friends, my son, and anyone else who’d listen, I intend to allow it to shape this blog. Somehow, this poem, coupled with my passion, and tempered by my experiences, I will carry it forward. Without further ado:



 by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

**Update 10/17/2010  I returned to Stone Mountain…my daughter has never been before. I was showing her around and telling childhood stories when I thought, “lets go see if I can find that grave”. We did, below is a picture!

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