June 25, 2013

Pressure Destroys Or Creates Precious Diamonds!

Pressure touches the lives of everyone but our individual experiences of pressure are unique & our response to pressure will either allow us to become as brilliant as a diamond or it will make us crazy!

May our lives shine like diamonds which makes this world a much better place!

The pressure the Miami Heat have endured over the last 3 years has been intense but pales in comparison to people making a difference in the lives of others in areas that are physically dangerous such as El Salvador during a war or in the "barrios" of Medellín, Colombia which was the murder & kidnapping capital of the world for several years, places that "Paisas" avoid but I was filled with joy, love, & peace, allowing me to have peace throughout my journey!

"Courage is grace under pressure." ― Ernest Hemingway

Each & every trial prepares us for what lies ahead & knowing that we are in a process of becoming a brilliant diamond will result in blessings for ourselves & for others.

"Without a whole lot of pressure, a diamond is just a piece of coal." ― Miriam Darnell

"Every disability conceals a vocation, if only we can find it, which will 'turn the necessity to glorious gain." ― C.S. Lewis

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself & know that everything in this life has a purpose." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"We are not necessarily doubting that GOD will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." ― C.S. Lewis

"Hope knows that if great trials are avoided great deeds remain undone & the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted." ― Brennan Manning

"The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment & the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter." ― Paulo Coelho

"Writing is like a lump of coal. Put it under enough pressure & polish it enough & you might just end up with a diamond. Otherwise, you can burn it to keep warm." ― A.J. Dalton

"Character cannot be developed in ease & quiet. Only through experience of trial & suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, & success achieved. ― Helen Keller

"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes." — Alexandre Dumas

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle & shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them & their value will never be known. Improve them & they will become the brightest gems in a useful life." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"We think sometimes we're only drawn to the good, but we're actually drawn to the authentic. We like people who are real more than those who hide their true selves under layers of artificial niceties." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"Trials are medicines which are gracious & wise. A physician prescribes because we need them; & he proportions the frequency & weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill & thank him for his prescription." ― Isaac Newton

"It's only when we truly know & understand that we have a limited time on earth  & that we have no way of knowing when our time is up  that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"GOD allows us to experience the pressure of life's trials to make diamonds out of the lump of mess we may be in. Your shine is determined by the way you handle the pressure. Breathe & don't be afraid to be still. Being still is an action. Just do it." ― Beth Payne

"GOD has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. HE knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial HE makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, & the bench all at once. HE always knew that my temple was a house of cards. HIS only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down." ― C.S. Lewis

"Diamonds are found only in the dark bowels of the earth; truths are found only in the depths of thought. It seemed to him that after descending into those depths after long groping in the blackest of this darkness, he had at last found one of these diamonds, one of these truths, & that he held it in his hand; & it blinded him to look at it." ― Victor Hugo

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, & have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, & an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, & a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, & animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life & form the character of the hero & the statesman." ― Abigail Adams

"Only under extreme pressure can we change into that which it is in our most profound nature to become. That is what people get wrong about transformation. We're not all shallow proteans, forever shifting shape. We're not science fiction. It's like when coal becomes a diamond. It doesn't afterwards retain the possibility of change. Squeeze it as hard as you like, it won't turn into a rubber ball, or a Quattro Stagione pizza, or a self-portrait by Rembrandt. It's done." ― Salman Rushdie

"It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do. Otherwise, you will live your life as a prostitute, you will do things only for a reason, to please other people, & you will never have lived & you will not have a pleasant death." ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

There are only two possibilities in life:

1) Things don't always go the way you want, & you don't understand why you're having trouble; yet there is a hand of providence behind everything & a purpose for all that happens. 

2) Things don't always go the way you want, & you don't understand why you're having trouble; but there is no hand of providence behind everything & no purpose for all that happens. 

The first possibility gives hope in the midst of trials, the second produces only despair― Fred Klett

Readers may be divided into four classes:

1) Sponges, who absorb all that they read & return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.

2) Sand-glasses, who retain nothing & are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.

3) Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.

4) Mogul diamonds, equally rare & valuable, who profit by what they read,  & enable others to profit by it also.

― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic." — ISAIAH 28:16

So . . . what must we do to not only keep pressure from destroying us but to allow it to make us flawless & precious diamonds?

I am thankful to have experienced a wide variety of pressure & even though I am not quite a finished product, my wife & I hope to create an environment that will be conducive for people to become precious diamonds!

"Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you've been & remember the person you were meant to be. The person you want to be. The person you are." ― H.G. Wells

Will you remain a lump of coal or will you become a precious diamond?

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June 20, 2013

The Conch Republic Is Our New Home!

Key West or Cayo Hueso aka the Conch Republic is an island in the Straits of Florida & part of the Florida Keys at the southernmost tip of the continental United States & officially as of July 1ST will be home for me & my wife Martha Luz!

The Conch Republic was established by secession of the Florida Keys from the United States of America, on April 23rd, 1982 in response to a United States Border Patrol Blockade setup on highway US1 at Florida City/Homestead just to the north of the Florida Keys. This heinous act effectively isolated Florida Keys Citizens from the mainland since the blockade was on the only land artery to & from the mainland. This roadblock portrayed Keys residents as non-U.S. citizens who had to prove their citizenship in order to drive onto the Florida mainland! 

Our new adventure in life is the beginning of our Conch Republic journey & maybe, just maybe my enjoyment of fishing which begin in Minnesota will take on a life of its own! 

By an act of Congress we will hold dual citizenship as Conchs & as Americans!

"I don't mean what other people mean when they speak of a home, because I don't regard a home as a place, a building, or a house of wood, bricks, & stone. I think of a home as being a thing that two people have between them in which each can nest." ― Tennessee Williams

Our new home & job came about because of a passion within me that was reignited through writing "HOME!" 

"The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed." ― Ernest Hemingway

My wife & I enjoy the beauty of the Florida Keys & our sacrifice to live & work in Key West & enjoy it's diverse art will be expounded upon in upcoming blogs!

"You want proof there's a God? Look outside, watch a sunset." ― Frank Peretti

The Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is like a carnival & is filled with many characters that call Key West home!

"Love of music, of sunsets & sea; a liking for the same kind of people; political opinions that are not radically divergent; a similar stance as we look at the stars & think of the marvelous strangeness of the universe ― these are what build a marriage. And it is never to be taken for granted." ― Madeleine L'Engle

My marriage is a blessing to me & through this new chapter of our journey will be a blessing to children & youth & maybe even some adults!

B.O.'s Fish Wagon looks like a shack that has survived a few hurricanes but their fish sandwiches with all the fixings on fresh Cuban bread with a Key Lime Mayo are a perfect lunch &/or dinner when paired with hand pulled french fries, cole slaw & a  refreshing Key Limeade!

Key Lime Pie is the most delicious dessert ever & its only rival just may be my very own invention . . . Piña Colada Cake!

Many more photos & thoughts of mine to come in the near future & if you ever need to get out of the cold winter weather, remember that BPK & MLK live in Key West, Florida! 

¡Pura Vida!

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June 16, 2013

Like A Father Should Be!

It's Father's day 2013 & I would like to dedicate a wonderful song to all the fathers out there but especially to my 2 fathers!

My Dad with my wife the week before she was my wife! FYI, that is a pineapple full of ice cream!

My soon to be father-in-law with his daughter who was just moments away from becoming my wife!

"Like a Father Should Be" by Kenny Marks

Your quiet laughter
The smile on your face
The way you held mama
In a loving embrace

You show the kind of love
I needed to see
Dad, I know you've been
Just like a father should be

Your gentle strength, your loving touch
Your faith in JESUS taught me so much
You had the patience to put up with me
Dad, I know you've been
Just like a father should be

You gave me everything
You could give
And you were the one
Who taught me how to live

I pray that, one day
My son says to me
"Dad, I know you've been
Just like a father should be."

You gave me everything
You could give
And you are the one
Who taught me how to live

I pray that, one day, my son says to me
"Dad, I know you've been
Just like a father should be,"
I pray that, one day, my son says to me
"Dad, I know you've been
Just like a father should be."
I love that you're my father!

The last line of that song & the title of what I wrote for my Dad on Father's Day 2013 is exactly the same: "I Love That You're My Father!"

Here is a link to where you may listen to "Like a Father Should Be" in its entirety!

Here is a link to "Like a Father Should Be on iTunes" via "Absolutely Positive!"

More music from Kenny Marks is only a click away!

"Follow Him" is my favorite Kenny Marks song & you will find it with "Like a Father Should Be" on iTunes via the "Absolutely Positive!" Album!

I wonder if Kenny remembers that when I was in high school, I ran the sound system for a concert of his that kicked off a lock-in for our youth group "Go For It!" at the Kirk of the Hills!

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I Love That You're My Father!

Could there be any better memories that a son has of his father than spending time fishing together?

I am thankful for all our vacations when you woke me up a few hours before sunrise & we glided across a moonlit lake in our kayak enjoying the peaceful serenity before we hopefully caught breakfast in the form of Lake Trout, Large Mouth Bass, Northern Pike, or Walleye.

When I reflect on how much I enjoy the beauty of creation, I understand that a large portion of why I am like that is because of who you are & what you shared with me.

I also got to experience places like Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior that many Americans don’t even know exist.

That included . . .

. . . the playfulness exhibited in a den of red foxes underneath our cabin or . . .

. . . seeing a moose swimming or . . .

. . . when we weren’t enjoying the melodic signing of a loon, we stealthily approached a nesting loon in our kayak & marveled at the intricate perfect design of the different colors & patterns.

There is only one perfect father, our Heavenly FATHER. In spite of not having a father as you were growing up, you are the perfect father for me & I would not want anyone else to be my Dad!

"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a dad." — Anne Geddes

The City Beautiful of New Richmond, Wisconsin is where we lived during my early childhood. Not bad to have a river running through our back yard in which we traveled on our pontoon boat to the dock at the local Dairy Queen to enjoy your favorite food in the world…ice cream!

I remember many times after dinner when you had already put in a hard day’s work, that you would go prepare the outdoor ice rink so that myself & many others could play ice hockey under the stars!


"Father taught us that opportunity and responsibility go hand in hand. I think we all act on that principle; on the basic human impulse that makes a man want to make the best of what's in him and what's been given him." — Laurence Rockefeller

The official ball of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa reminds me that when we moved to St. Louis, I tearfully accepted that we couldn’t afford for me to play hockey anymore. You believed that I would be successful in whichever sport I played, so you nudged me towards soccer.

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." —Jim Valvano

Little did you or Mom know that a decision when I was in grade school to play soccer instead of hockey would lead to an Athletic Scholarship to play soccer as a Western Illinois Fighting Leatherneck.

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." — Henry Ward Beecher

Because of the love you have for Mom, it was absolutely hilarious whenever you two had disagreements.


It just was & I guess that is because it was so far from your normal behavior.

"The greatest gifts my parents gave to me…were their unconditional love and a set of values." — Colin Powell

It really is no surprise that even though I am far from perfect, the love that you have for me & the values that you instilled in me are largely responsible for the fact that I enjoy helping & serving other people.

I just had to slip this photo in but I shall keep the meaning of this between you & me even though Mom, Michelle, & Kirsten may understand!

Praise be to the GOD and FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in CHRIST.

For HE chose us in HIM before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in HIS sight.

In love HE predestined us to be adopted as HIS sons through JESUS CHRIST, in accordance with HIS pleasure and will — to the praise of HIS glorious grace, which HE has freely given us in the ONE HE loves. — EPHESIANS 1:3-6

Just as GOD the FATHER predestined all who know JESUS CHRIST as their LORD & SAVIOR, HE also knew all along that the best possible way for me to have a life full of blessings, was for you to be my father!

There is only one phrase that sums up all that I am trying to convey!

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