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One guy's thoughts on life, love, faith and his world

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Creativity

As a writer (or at least someone who would like to think he is), I have this habit of wanting to write a whole lot in one short amount of time, yet never finding the time to do so. It's a very interesting conundrum to have creative juices flowing at a time when everyone else, including me, should be sleeping.

It begs a question - when are we the most creative? More importantly, are we creative when we truly need to be?

I've always thought of myself as a creative person which is a difficult concept for others to grasp for a variety of reasons. I feel that I am creative when no one else thinks I should be and at some point in your life I bet that you have felt the same way.

Here's a perfect example...

Son: "I don't want to go potty daddy..."

Daddy: "Well, do you know that if you don't go potty, that the pull-up monster will eat your pee-pee?"

Son: "I'll go potty now."

When do you think you are most creative?

From my limited experience, the more I read the more creative I am. I tend to answer more questions with logical answers, not because I make stuff up, but because I have become more learned in a certain subject.

I could very easily say "Well, I haven't written a blog for awhile, therefore, I'm not going to make you think." That would be too easy.

If I didn't want you to think, I wouldn't write what I do.

With that being said, I'll ask a very deep, yet simple question.

When do you think you are most creative?

Perhaps you are most creative when you first wake up, although I doubt you are. Are you the most creative after that first cup of coffee? I'd venture to say that you are not. I could be wrong, but I would bet that you are the most creative when you don’t expect to be.

Everyone is different, but at the same time very similar when it comes to creative juices. We are creative when we need to be and when we least expect it, just like the example I displayed above. Creative juices flow with every decision we make on a daily basis and just like we don’t expect to make those big decisions, we don’t expect that creativity to happen. It just does.

Perhaps we need to just let it happen, not force it, have faith and let it be it what it is.

And there's No Bonz Bout It!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bob and The Boss

In my opinion, to be a true New York Yankees fan means more than just liking the game of baseball or just following the team. To be a true Yankees fan means you are a history student and your teachers are not professors from a university, but the generation before you. And your teachers were taught by the generation before them. My father was my teacher and his father his. Hopefully, I can teach my children this history as they continue to grow.

And in this history lesson as a Yankees fan, you learn about personalities and players, heroes and legends. This week, the Yankees and their fans lost not one, but two legends of the Bronx.

"Ladies and gentleman, your attention please. Welcome to Yankee Stadium." - Bob Sheppard

Two sentences, ten words. Ten simple words so eloquently said so many times by Bob Sheppard. No matter where you might be at the ballpark or what you were doing, when those words were uttered a chill went up your spine.

Bob Sheppard transcended what a public address announcer is and did so by exhibiting class and dignity throughout his distinguished career. He became successful the old-fashioned way, through attention to detail and a desire to be excellent.

The voice lives on, not only every time Derek Jeter is introduced to hit (through a recording of Sheppard's introduction), but it lives on in countless classrooms throughout Yankee Nation with teachers from one generation imitating (although never duplicating) introductions of Mantle and Maris to students from the next generation.

And the voice will continue to live on as teachers from one generation imitating (although never duplicating) introductions of Jeter and O'Neill to students from the next generation.

Just like Sheppard transcended the PA announcer position, George Steinbrenner was a larger than life character that transcended what ownership meant.

Hell, he almost transcended the city of New York.

Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent summed it up best when he said Steinbrenner was complicated. If there were a word that properly hyperbolized complicated, that's the word I would use to describe what Steinbrenner was.

However, much like Sheppard, albeit in a different way, The Boss demanded excellence and he turned around what was, at the time, a much maligned organization and returned it to excellence. There's something to be said about that.

And there is something to be said about how he threw his money around, and I'm not talking about free agents. Steinbrenner gave millions of dollars to a variety of causes, but most times would never attach his name to the donation giving back to the community quietly and anonymously.

Recently, when talking to a friend about the passing of these two legends, he said:

"Wow, Shep and now The Boss. I think they will fill mystique and aura's shoes in the new house quite well and I believe their work has only just begun."

I think the only way that could have been said better is if Bob Sheppard himself said it with The Boss listening from his owner's box.

And There's No Bonz About That.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coming Full Circle

There are a lot of different cliches about circles. "What goes around comes around", "The circle has no beginning and no end", "The circle of life", and "That guy has a good circle of friends."

Well, a very good friend of mine once told me that chronological order was overrated and I can tell you from experience that I'm blessed because he was right, all of those cliches above are true and my family has come full circle recently.

I write a lot about sports. In fact, I would go as far as saying both writing and sports are a passion of mine. However, I've always been convinced that the most important things in life don't focus on fame and fortune, one's status in life, sports or a career. We can all take time to put a focus on those things or even be passionate about them. But I truly feel that those things should not be THE focus in our lives.

The real bread and butter in our lives are our relationships. The relationships with our loved ones and that doesn't just mean immediate family. After this past weekend, the love for my relationships really has "Come Full Circle". Not only with my family but with relatives, friends and all those that I am close to.

We are all looking for the "key" to life. And, just like Curly, the character Jack Palance played in the movie City Slickers, the "one" thing in life is this, (imagine Curly holding up his index finger at this point). Although each of us have to figure a few things out, the real answer is right in front of us.

Variations are unique for each person, and just like Curly said, if we stick to it, "everything else don't mean shit". But the heart of that one thing boils down to two things in reality - love and relationships. Without question, the love and relationships that one has it what makes each of us who we are.

My "Coming Full Circle" moment happened just recently and my "Coming Full Circle" is my relationships and, most importantly, love. Love of relatives, family and friends. It's never been more evident until the weekend of July 2, 2010.

I try to write objectively with some of my own opinion at times, but I have to say, this is pretty subjective. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree, but I can tell you that after what I experienced this weekend, there is no better way to Come Full Circle than experiencing the Circle of Love.

And There's No Bonz About That!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Of Boys, Beer and Baseball

It's been awhile since I've written here lately and I apologize for that. As I'm sure all 19 of you know, I've been writing for a sports website and unfortunately, I've neglected the blog. Please accept my apologies.

(Please feel free to subscribe to my sports website by logging onto:
www.examiner.com/x-49904-Greensboro-Sports-Examiner)

Cheap plug, I know.

That being said, I recently had a great experience that was put together by my brother and some of my best friends. Now, I know this blog is an open environment where I can say anything, but some of the things that happened on this particular weekend are best left to the imagination.

What can be shared however is not really about craziness, debauchery or mayhem as much as one may think. What this weekend was really about was what brings you together with the people you are close to. Much like the title says, for me, it was boys, beer and baseball.

Some of the guys I was with I've known since before I had my first face blemish. All have seen me at my best and my worst. One is so skinny that if he turned sideways you couldn't see him and another I've known since before he was born. But the bottom line is, we all came together for a weekend of camaraderie that was centered around baseball.

And that's our hook, our thing that brings us together. So, the question goes out to the masses, what is the thing that brings those closest to you together?

Is your deal a theatrical troupe that you've known forever? Perhaps a group of people where you don't have to act, but can be yourself.

Maybe it is a certain group of friends that can sit around with a cup of coffee and gossip about the latest celebrity accomplishment or disaster that happened during the week.

Or it could be a select few that you can count on one hand that share some drinks talking about the politics of the world.

The bigger question is, who are your "boys, beer and baseball" people and when are you going to get together with them again? And if you have been thinking about it, what's stopping you from picking up the phone to make it happen?

With all of the ways to "stay connected" in today's world, nothing beats breaking bread with those that are most dear to you, no matter what the common thread is.

And at the end of the day, your best friends always have a common thread about them. The best part about it is you can always find different people to integrate into that select group. Surely, the new ones will have to pass certain tests and make the grade, but isn't that what life is all about? Opening up your heart, experiencing the good things with others and welcoming another Charlie, Harry, Liam, Jonesy (or whatever the name may be) into the group?

I believe so and there's No Bonz About It!





Monday, May 24, 2010

Inch by Inch and Row by Row

I don't know if any of you are familiar with the song, but it's a song that used to play at my house when I was younger. It's one of those songs that brings back memories and although I don't recall the name of the song, I do remember how the chorus went.

Inch by inch and row by row,
Gonna make this garden grow,
All it takes is a rake and hoe,
And a piece of fertile ground.

I started humming the tune the other day while I was in my garden pulling weeds, ironically enough. This is the first summer that I have had a vegetable garden of my own and to be honest, I don't think this blog has enough room for me to discuss my garden at length. Let's just say that if there is ever a time where you would like to talk about my garden, feel free to give me a call. Be sure, however, that you leave yourself a good hour to talk about it.

After I was done pulling weeds and talking to my plants (I mean, uh, I hope I didn't say that out loud) I got to thinking how the characteristics of a good garden are very similar to the characteristics of trying to live a good life.

For example, a good garden needs good, fertile soil from which to grow. A solid foundation if you will. Similarly, a solid foundation of values and morals is necessary for a good life.

A strong garden needs sunlight to for it grow while a good life needs a guiding light to grow.

If you are growing a garden and are not careful, weeds can overtake the plants stunting growth and, quite possibly suffocating the garden. Can't the same be said about our lives?

What about the goal of a garden? Isn't the goal of a garden to give good fruits and vegetables for others? Interestingly enough, isn't the goal of leading a good life to give back to others as well?

If you're thinking of growing a garden, think of that song. Maybe it will help draw some comparisons for you and maybe it will help that garden grow. And talking to your plants, well, that doesn't hurt either. And there's No Bonz About It!

Friday, May 14, 2010

P&P

Is anyone up for a little P&P? Now, I know most people are always up for a little R&R (rest and relaxation) but to get to R&R, you really need to have P&P. And after a little R&R, you should have some P&P on top of that.

At this point, I’m thinking all 16 of my followers are asking “What on Earth are you talking about with this P&P nonsense?” (And, by the way, if you really like my blog, tell your friends about it. Who knows, maybe I could have 25 followers by the end of May).

Enough of my own self promotion - let me go into further detail about P&P. P&P stands for Patience and Positivity.

Let’s start with Patience...

Lord knows, I could always use some. Out of all the emotions and feelings in the world, patience is one that runs short on people. “I don’t have the patience for this,” or “Please, be patient I will get to it when I can.” I find myself telling my children to have some, yet wishing I had more and it’s very difficult to ask someone to do something when you are not displaying it.

Now on to Positivity…

I’ve always tried to find and to be positive in any situation and it is extremely difficult in many cases. Positivity can be a difficult state to reach. Even the definition of the word “positivity” is vague.

The actual definition (from Webster’s Dictionary) is “the state or character of being positive”. As one can tell, it’s pretty difficult to define a “state” or “character”. The first time I saw the word, it was on my brother’s cell phone and the “state” or “character” has been with me ever since.

At the end of the day, positivity is a state of mind - a way to live, in my opinion. Always trying to be upbeat and seeing the good, no matter what the situation or how difficult it may be. It is very tough to commit yourself to Positivity, but if you do, you will smile a lot more.

Having said all that, there is something that I would like to share about P&P. It’s a little prayer that I wrote one day and if you are ever feeling short on Patience or Positivity, feel free to use it.

A Prayer for Patience and Positivity

Lord God – you are so patient and positive with us and for that we are blessed.
So much so that you sent Your only Son to die on a cross for our sins.
Tonight Lord, I pray for the same type of Patience and Positivity in my life that You have shown us.
And although I understand that I will not always have the Patience and Positivity that You have shown us, I am strong in my faith knowing You will always continue to bless us with Yours.
Tonight I pray for Patience and Positivity in my thoughts, my actions, my words and my relationships.
In my relationship with You, with my family and with my friends.
Bless me with Patience and Positivity in the face of good times as well as difficult ones – always remembering the Patience and Positivity You have shown us.
I pray for this in Your name through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Tribute to Moms

With this weekend being Mother's Day, I wanted to take a moment and post a little something for all the mom's out there for all the hard work, support and love that they show day in and day out. Without them, I think this world would stop turning.

Be sure to take a minute this weekend to thank your mom for all that they've done for you, whether they live nearby, live far away or if they are in heaven watching over you. Happy Mother's Day to all of you and - There's No Bonz About That!

Thanks for All You Do

You’ve seen me grow up, and you’ve always been there,
Through the tears and laughs, I know you’ll always care.
For all the special times and all the things we’ve done,
I want to thank you mom, you are the special one.

You’ve read countless books to me when I was young,
And when I hear that song, I hear your voice and how it was sung.
Trips to the park and art projects that together we would create,
I hold those memories close to my heart, our special little dates.

You’ve patched up my boo-boos with band-aids and love,
You’re an angel from Heaven, sent from above.
The toughest job in the world, with that there is no doubt,
But you’ve always had a kind word, even when I would scream and pout.

Cheering at games, no matter if the team won or lost,
You always have protected me, no matter what the cost.
Each day I still learn from all the lessons that you teach,
Perhaps the most important you’ve taught me- no goal is out of reach.

Whether it was a kind word or with a little discipline,
I don’t know how to thank you, where to even begin.
You’ve taught me what is wrong and more importantly what is right,
And when I say my prayers, I thank God for you every night.

So on this special day, I’d like to take a little time,
To say thanks for all you do, with this little rhyme.
You’ve always been a good listener and I hope you listen to what I say,
You are a blessing in this world and I hope you have a great Mother’s Day.

You wear many hats – teacher, friend and confidante,
You’ve always taught me to give to others and to never want.
But there’s something I do want you to know today that is very true,
I love you mom and want to thank you for everything you do.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I Love the... What decade?

My best friend recently posed an interesting question to me. What decade is it that you really associate with? At first thought, he believed he associated with the 80's the most, as did I, but after further discussion, we had to agree it was the 90's. Whether or not this decision was made with the influence of copious amounts of adult beverages is up to you to decide, but, nevertheless, a decision was made.

And, so, the question goes out, what decade do you identify yourself with most? I pose this to all 14 of my followers (and I do know that there are more out there). I'm also happy to say that my following, albeit small, spans many different decades, not to call anyone out specifically.

Are you a child of the 60's, where everyone loved everything, yet turmoil in the country ran rampant? Many people think of the 1960's as a time of freedom and perhaps rightfully so. The continent of Africa alone had 32 different countries gain independence from their European colonial rulers during that timeframe. At the same time, not everything was so lovely. The Vietnam War was raging and we saw the deaths of some of the most influential people in history - John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X just to name a few.

Perhaps you identify with the Decade of Disco, the 1970's. Now I was born in that decade. Let's run down a bit of history from the 1970's. The United States witnessed the resignation of a President. There were three popes in 1978 alone, with the last becoming the first non-Italian pope since 1523. Yes, you read that correctly, 1523. Both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were completed and became an American landmark. Little did we know that the falling of those towers would also become a landmark a few decades later.

Here come the 1980's with the Huxtables leading the way. During this time period, I was more concerned about who was going to be the one to hook up with Kelly Kapowski - Zack Morris or A.C. Slater. And I was more concerned with that than anything having to do with school. Adolescence will do that to you. But I also lost my innocence because for the first time that I can remember, I realized how precious life was during this decade with the Challenger tragedy. It hit home to me because there was a teacher on board.

The 80's also saw the advent of quite possibly the worst acronym in recent human history. And with the unknown, there is always fear and blame. Luckily, there have been many strides in thirty years and although there is not yet a cure for AIDS, we are getting closer.

That brings us to the 90's, the decade that I identify with the most. The Giants won the first Super Bowl played in the decade, the Yankees won three World Championships and Brandon Walsh was ruling the zip code of 90210. Stone Cold Steve Austin continually beat The Rock in championship matches and I learned what a woman was. The funny thing is, if I hear a song from the 90's, I can pinpoint a place and time that I heard that song growing up no matter how big or small the event was in my life.

And I think that's what really defines what decade you identify with. If you can hear a song from a particular decade and remember some event, whether it be extreme or mundane, silly or serious, than that's your decade. And there's No Bonz About It!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Superheroes

Before I begin this blog, I have to thank a few people...

First off, my wife because I've been working a lot and haven't been around the past few days to help much. She keeps the machine rolling at Castle 1416 and for that I'm forever grateful. Secondly, my children because no matter what time I am home or what phone calls I get, I look at them and they make me smile. I also have to thank my mother, father and brother because without them, I would not be anywhere near where I am today. To all my extended family and friends, I thank you for the laughs, advice and general counseling you give me on a day to day basis. Thanks to my mother and father in-law for all of their love and understanding.

I also have to thank Brian, the reason that number 18 is so important to me because he is the epitome of courage, love and faith. When Jen and Timmy look up the word "Superhero" in the dictionary, they will see #18.

Finally, I have to thank the God, His Son and the Holy Spirit because without any of them, none of this would be possible.

In all honesty, the list could go on and on and although this sounds like the typical Oscar/Grammy acceptance speech (although I haven't won anything), these people are so important in my life that I would like to publicly give them credit.

Superheroes - something that is questioned every day, whether it be in sports, entertainment, at the office or in day to day life. The question is, what makes a real Superhero?

Is it the costume that makes the Superhero? Does one need to where an "S" on their chest to be a Superhero? Or does the real Superhero do everything she needs to do to take care of their children as a single mom?

Perhaps the Superhero saves the day. But, at the same token, what qualifies as "Saving the Day"? Does saving the day mean stopping crime or does it mean praying for those that commit those crimes? In my estimation, I believe it's both.

As a child, I've always read and seen about the comic book Superheroes that received all of the adoration and praise, but does a real Superhero need that? Or does the real Superhero go on about their day to day business not needing the recognition?

Does the real Superhero try to gain the following of others through public relations, marketing and power tactics or does the real Superhero do what they need to do and gain the respect of others?

Maybe the real Superhero sticks with their opinions. But does the real Superhero stick to their thoughts without hearing the opinions of others? Is a Superhero never wrong or does the real Superhero accept that they are human and make amends for mistakes that they have made?

At the end of the day, we all have our own Superheroes, whether they are sports figures, movie stars or your neighbor across the street. And if you have the opportunity to do so thank them for inspiring you.

And at the end of the day, if you have the opportunity to thank people in the beginning of a simple blog that you hope some people enjoy reading, then they are the real Superheroes... And there's No Bonz About It!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tidbits from T-Bonz

Every now and again (mostly when I feel like writing, but can't really think of a specific subject to write about), I'm going to express some random thoughts, questions and potential answers in a little something I'd like to call Tidbits from T-Bonz. Sort of a cop out, but hopefully, it will keep my followers - up to seven as of this writing - entertained a bit, so without further ado, here goes...

- Have you noticed that there isn't anything "real" about reality shows nowadays? Probably because people use it as an escape from reality...

- This time of the year is probably the second best from a sports perspective - NCAA Tournament, the beginning of baseball season, NFL Draft, NASCAR, and so on. It's pretty exciting.

- However, it doesn't compare to October for me... NFL season in full swing and baseball playoffs, enough said.

- Always, always, always kiss your family members before you leave them. It's important for you and important for them, plus you never know when you will see them again.

- I recently had the blessing to experience some incredible time with family and there is an amazing peace of mind from above when you kiss them goodbye and tell them you love them.

- Speaking of goodbye's - HBK Shawn Michaels, it was a great ride! I'll be buying the DVD in the near future!

- Intense conversation between me and my two year old today (or any day for that matter):
Me: Can you throw the napkin away?
Child: Umm... Sure, I be happy too!
Me: Thank you so much.
Child: A course, anything you want!

Hopefully, it continues to stay this easy....

- If I were President, the first thing that I would work on is the elimination of mosquitoes. I think we could rid the world of a lot of problems that way.

- As a male, I'm very protective of my "sensitive areas" and I'm sure all males can agree with me on that. As a father, I wish that the hospital would have given me a complimentary protective cup upon leaving the hospital with my newborn children to help in this protection.

- It's important to always keep your chin up and focus on the positives, no matter the situation. I am thoroughly convinced that in every negative, there is a positive. Sometimes it is extremely hard to find the positive and sometimes it takes a long time to find it, but in every cloud, there is a silver lining.

Well, there you have it, some Tidbits from T-Bonz. As it turns out, it was Ten Tidbits from T-Bonz. Ten Tidbits from T-Bonz - that's some great alliteration and There's No Bonz About That!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Game of Life

When I was younger, I was a big fan of the board game called The Game of Life. Whether you are familiar with it or not, the gist of the game is each player gets a turn and on each turn, the player is presented with a life event type of question dealing with career, family, money, so on and so forth. From there, the players make their choice and move up and down the board accordingly, with an eventual winner declared and the other players revealing where "The Game of Life" took them.

I was reminded of this game tonight as I began watching, what's turning out to be, an amazing documentary on The Discovery Channel called Life. Now, believe me, the documentary is much more real than the simple board game. It discusses and shows the ways living beings have to adapt to survive. Some choose to work in teams to hunt and some choose to work in teams to survive. Others choose to work alone, changing their strategy or technique to live or die while others yet make use of the tools around them to get to the next day.

This got me to thinking... What sport best represents the game of life?

Is it golf? One person with one simple goal carrying all of the tools necessary to survive in one bag. Concentration and focus are the key to survival and you have no one but yourself to blame if you lose, yet no one to celebrate with if you win.

What about football? You and ten other teammates striving to work together in sync with each particular person doing their particular part all with one goal in mind. The sum is bigger than the parts and everyone needs to work together to survive.

Do you think hockey most represents the game of life? Having to do multiple things at one time, using speed, strength and agility to make the perfect shot at a completely protected barrier to win?

Now I'm not saying that I have the answer to this and in all honesty, who does? I do however, have an opinion. I am convinced, without a shadow of a doubt that the game of baseball most closely represents the game of life.

Baseball is the perfect combination of working with others, yet relying on your own instincts to succeed. There is no one else in the initial encounter except the pitcher and the batter. Mind games of where to pitch and what to look for are the best example of one-on-one battles in all of sports. However, if you want to survive, you need your teammates to move you to the next base or come up with the big play defensively.

You have a secret language with your teammates (signs) and you are constantly doing everything you can to survive, up to and including stealing. You play hard, get dirty and one decision or mistake could mean win or lose.

Because of these reasons and many more that I can't list in this blog, I feel baseball mirrors life more so than any other sport...

In any case, I'm interested in hearing your opinions or thoughts on this, so feel free to email me at murrayrj18@hotmail.com or post a comment.

As a final note, if you haven't seen it you really should catch Life on The Discovery Channel. It's an absolutely amazing show that you will no doubt learn something from. The show is on Sunday nights, is a great way to end your weekend and there's No Bonz About It! For more information on the show, you can log onto www.discoverychannel.ca/life.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Round 2

First off, for all three of my followers out there, I apologize for having to start a new blog website. Hopefully, the internet won't crash when you all make this one of your "favorites" at once.

The other day, I got to thinking of another question. A rather simple one, but a question nonetheless.

If you could be any food and drink, what would it be? Now, keep in mind that once you are eaten, you could keep coming back as that food.

After pondering a long time about this (that's what long drives will do), I decided that I would be a hot dog and beer at Yankee Stadium. A few reasons for this....

- Nothing is better than a dog and a beer...Nothing
- Throughout your time, you would make millions of people happy
- No matter what, you'd always have the best seat in the house and people would actually be paying for you, instead of you paying for the seats
- Think of all the historic moments you would have seen, considering Yankee history.
* Gehrig's epic speech
* Roger's 61st
* Reggie's 3 homers in the Series
* Boomer's perfect game (and I'm sure he would have enjoyed more than one or two of me after the game)
* The Professional that is Derek Jeter
* A multitude of World Championships

And that's just naming a few.

In today's world of corporate suites, PSL's and fancy, over the top stadiums, there is no food and drink more synonymous with baseball, or sports for that matter, than a dog and a beer.

Considering all that, if I had to choose to be a food and drink, my choice would easily be a hot dog and beer at Yankee Stadium.

I'm sure when reading the question, one may think "I'd want to be a prime rib with a 1997 Merlot" or "Perhaps I would be a Cornish Hen with fresh vegetables and a vintage scotch." Not don't get me wrong, I like some good food (and I can cook the hell out of some) and all that sounds delicious. As for me, I can only think of one thing - a dog and a cold beer at The Stadium.

Just a simple question from a simple guy.. And there's No Bonz About That!