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Swimming the Echo by Brian L. Tucker

Swimming the Echo

by Brian L. Tucker

Giveaway ends September 20, 2017.

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29th of September

Lake Cumberland – KY: Hometown Pride


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Recently, Wayne County Judge Executive, Mike Anderson, mentioned a fact I hadn’t heard about the Lake Cumberland – region…ever.

Something that restored some hometown pride.

Being happy with where you’re from on this planet is important, right?

Lake Cumberland – KY.

Great people. Beautiful spot on God’s earth.

 

And not to say I didn’t believe Mike 100%, but I had to look up the recognition myself. (No offense, Mike.) Just wanted to see it.

And there it was: (#4) on USA Today’s 10 Best locations for Recreational Lakes on a list featuring Havasu, Tahoe, and Big Bear Lakes respectively.

Impressive!

 

My heart swelled a little bit in reading that. And as tourism returns to this great area of southeastern Kentucky, there will be opportunities for the business owner, the parent, and neighbor alike. My prayer is that God will continue to use the fine people of Somerset-Monticello-Russell Springs-Albany-and-London to create new opportunities, encourage development, and utilize resources for helping others.

Thanks for sharing Mike, et al.

Time to get ‘TOWNS‘ on these lists in 2016. Just like Danville has done, let’s get this region to a status where people want to retire here.

 

 

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28th of September

New Story in a New Book


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For those interested in a magnificent, new story and poetry ensemble, look no further than 4ink7’s inaugural work, An Unction from the Holy One – (hardbound). It’s available on Amazon, and it leads off with Ambrose Bierce’s masterpiece – “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” I can attest to the power of writers such as Hank Lazer, Julie Hensley, and Jesse Lee Wooton, featured in this collection. I’m honored to have my story “Climbing Above Ground” included here by 4ink7 as well.

Grab a copy today!

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Categories:  brianltucker thankfulness
21st of September

Hope is More than Wishy-Washy


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Hope can be built on a lot of things, and we can have hope in a LOT of things. Hope in the car to get us home. Hope in the Wildcats to not lose another football game. Hope in a bridge we cross everyday to not collapse. Hope in this month’s income to satisfy our bills. Hope in a family, friend, or neighbor to not give up on us in our darkest moment.

Hope is built on what you believe to be true.

===============

As a result, belief is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. It’s the WHAT. Faith in the car, the Wildcats, the microwave, this month’s income, and those closest to you.

What you believe matters.

===============
What you believe will directly shape your life (and ultimately your future):

  • your claims
  • how you treat others
  • how you respond to various life circumstances

**(Please remember I’m placing myself in these statements as well.)

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It’s up to you to inform your beliefs.

Demosthenes once said, “Nothing is easier than self-deceit, for what each man wishes that he also believes to be true.”

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And it goes without saying, but I’ll write it anyway that you cannot inform your beliefs without taking time to study.

Opening a book, reading a favorite novel, studying the Bible, analyzing Proverbs, or, all of the above. These can be tactics to help solidify those beliefs. (You know what you know, because you know. You know?)

===============

When you don’t inform your beliefs, you become stuck.

Have you felt this? It’s that almost tangible feeling like there’s a lid on the box of your life. You not only wonder where your place is in the world-at-large, but also wrestle with the question of who you are as a person.

  1. you miss the promotion at work
  2. the truck stops working
  3. your favorite pet dies
  4. God doesn’t seem to be answering a specific prayer of yours

===============

The Bible says to rejoice even in the difficulties.

I know this might not be the answer you’re looking for, but it’s meant to signify the larger scope from day-to-day meanderings. Our instinctual hope, if fixed on an eternal God, will be to rejoice as a result of the overflow of our hearts. I know this might not be where you are today, and admittedly I’m not there 24/7 either, but, it’s something to strive for.

Bottom Line.
===============

Set your beliefs on solid truths that will have eternal rewards.

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17th of September

Editing: The Faces of Revision.


If writing a book makes one look like this:

IMG_04801(Fig. 1)

 

Then, editing a book can best be summed up as:

IMG_04821(Fig. 2)

Editing: Is the Worst.

It takes the frustration and painstaking lifeblood of a first draft, bundles it tightly into a little ball, and hurls it at hoop…in the Atlantic Ocean, miles from shore, miles from a life preserver. Side note: Paper isn’t waterproof.

Ok, I’m over-exaggerating…but just slightly.

 

I appreciate your prayers this week, and next, and the next.

No one should have to wear a face like this–for long anyways.

 

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11th of September

Integrity – Sleeping Soundly at Night.


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Do you rest peacefully at night?

Not a Serta mattress conversation. (I’m not asking about counting sheep.)

I mean, do you feel at peace, when you lay your head down onto the pillow?

Is there a connectedness between you and the day you toiled through? Did hard work bring you a sense of solace?

There’s a lot to be said for the integrity of a hard day’s work. Farmers can say it – physically, Stock Market workers attest to it – mentally, and especially school teachers – spiritually.

The work yields a bit of satisfaction. Doesn’t it? On some level?

Knowing that you remained steadfast, even during the tantrums that a high schooler might’ve thrown.

Whether you adhere to the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, or neither, this bit about integrity is a universal quality we all possess as human beings.

As William Penn wrote, “Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”

Wise man.

So, it doesn’t matter if you are one extreme or another on the Myers – Briggs Personality Test, you are still human and you value honesty, integrity, and mutual respect.

  • Leaving work 15 minutes before the departure time,
  • not logging a vacation day you took,
  • letting someone into the movies without a ticket, etc…these are all ways we can compromise our integrity, and for the believer, our witness.

 

For these reasons, and the love of the Creator, it’s essential that our actions speak louder, and our Yesses be Yes. And our Nos be No.

Maybe we remember 9/11/01, but may we also strive to live with the urgency of the unknown. None of us know our departure date from earth. For this reason alone, integrity should be key to daily decision-making.

 

 

 

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9th of September

Phobias – The Space They Take.


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There are hundreds thousands of phobias out there.

Thousands more with actual names attached to them.

It’s a reflection of the fears that ensnare us (are around us each and every day).

Here’s a list from a site that’s been compiling them since the 1980s.

There’s even a fear of numbers called Arithmophobia.

Ahh! Watch out! Numbers!!

I looked through the list and tried to assess how many I had. It was more than 2. And, I’ll leave it at that.

Fun to see these represented under the letter ‘B’:

B-

  1. Bacillophobia- Fear of microbes.
  2. Bacteriophobia- Fear of bacteria.
  3. Ballistophobia- Fear of missiles or bullets.
  4. Bolshephobia- Fear of Bolsheviks.
  5. Barophobia- Fear of gravity.
  6. Basophobia or Basiphobia- Inability to stand. Fear of walking or falling.
  7. Bathmophobia- Fear of stairs or steep slopes.
  8. Bathophobia- Fear of depth.
  9. Batophobia- Fear of heights or being close to high buildings.
  10. Batrachophobia- Fear of amphibians, such as frogs, newts, salamanders, etc.
  11. Belonephobia- Fear of pins and needles. (Aichmophobia)
  12. Bibliophobia- Fear of books.
  13. Blennophobia- Fear of slime.
  14. Bogyphobia- Fear of bogeys or the bogeyman.
  15. Botanophobia- Fear of plants.
  16. Bromidrosiphobia or Bromidrophobia- Fear of body smells.
  17. Brontophobia- Fear of thunder and lightning.
  18. Bufonophobia- Fear of toads.

 

But, why are we afraid of so many things (many that can’t even hurt us)?

In a great article recently, Relevant Magazine writer, Adam Jeske, dissected Nomophobia – the fear of being disconnected.

Great topic for our social media world!

I admit I’m guilty of that one as well.

  • Honest question: How long can I go without my cellular?
  • Honest answer: It buzzed a minute ago, and I’m tempted to stop typing this blog to respond to an email.
  • Point within all of this and biblical assertion – serving God and $ is referenced specifically in Scripture, but Jeske writes, couldn’t we just as easily ask, “if we can serve both God and Facebook.” He goes on to offer 5 solutions for that specific fear, in his post.

 

So, no matter the phobia, the fear – we can’t let it freeze us. We can’t let it control our lives. No matter the device. Regardless of its powers. It cannot be our strength. No cell phone deserves that worship. No fear either.

#eyesup

 

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4th of September

Buffets are Bad for Your Health


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Or, Chest Pains Part II – the Return

I forgot to include a vital story within the heart surgery – to – diabetes transition of 2005.

It goes something like this:

Before working at Bellarmine University with an all-too-new diabetic condition in the summer of that year, my brother and cousin and I decided to embark on the open road. Our destination: Ocoee, TN – for some white water rapids (Home of the 1996 Olympics terrain).

Terrible idea.

Did I mention how bad I was feeling in the last post? I included the record quantities of Easy Mac and Snicker’s Protein Bars I’d consumed that semester, didn’t I? No. Well, they were there, just like the DiGiorno’s pizza and the passing out in the bathroom floor episode.

But, we embarked into the great Wilderness. We arrived at Ocoee, and somehow (with God’s strength and my ignorance) I survived Class 4 rapids and didn’t go overboard, into the currents, once.

Then, we decided to stop at none other than the place where dreams go to die –

Golden Corral.

The fish tastes like steak and the steak like dessert. And how does this happen we all ask? The oil. It’s all cooked in the same oil. Everything becomes a taste of something else. But, then there’s the amount of food, too. It’s a buffet. (My favorite pre-Type 1 diabetic word.) I could flat put it away. And that day, after the rapids, and the sun, and the fatigue, I did.

Jacob claims I ate an entire blueberry pie myself. And Jared remembers 7 large glasses of sweet tea going down my gullet. But, I recall all of those rolls…butter and rolls. Then, they practically excavated us out of there.

And we were on the road again. I was delirious. (Friends let this be a lesson on gluttony for all of us – it never pays back good dividends. Ever.) I requested we stop so I could go to the bathroom for the umpteenth time. While at a Citgo, I purchased a 32 oz. PowerAde. Go figure!

And as I fell into sugar-induced oblivion in the backseat of Jared’s Camry, I actually asked him if he wanted me to take over the driving.

They knew something was up, or, maybe they just didn’t like what they were seeing, because they sensibly said, “No. You just rest.”

And I fell into a stupor which landed me the diagnosis that next week. It was surreal and it was abrupt, but I’m thankful it was both things.

I don’t remember the exact blood sugar number, when they drew blood, but I remember the sound of the doctor’s exhaled breath through his teeth. And more importantly, I remember that “cross-eyed, always having to go to the bathroom, disoriented feeling” – a sensation almost otherworldly. Not a good memory.

In summary: Golden Corral is a place I still avoid. The distinctionless tastes just aren’t worth the pain, my friends. Don’t let the inviting words “All-you-can-eat” fool you, because buffets are always bad for us.

Even the salad bars.

There I said it.

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3rd of September

Chest Pains.


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In 2001, during a one-mile run my junior year of high school, I felt chest pains. My heart started racing. I remember leaning against the side of my car and praying Not again.

I had been seeing a heart specialist in Somerset, KY to monitor irregular heartbeats which had started causing my heart to palpitate. A company in Atlanta had requested that I send results to them through a heart monitor every day for the past month. (Imagine the cool points that bad boy won amongst my peers.) After the run, I remember getting to my house, collapsing on the floor, and recording the heart rate with the attached monitor. The rate was above 250 beats per minute, and it kept this pace up for an hour. A week later, my cardiologist had me visit Lexington for a heart ablation – so that the heartbeat would return to normal. We prayed. And, they were able to successfully burn eight spots that were instigating the additional heartbeat, and…things felt much better!

A few months later, I remember returning to the basketball courts and being afraid that the arrhythmia would return. Every time I took a jump shot or started to jog, the fear of being out-of-control would return. Thankfully, the arrhythmia remained absent for the rest of my junior year and all of my senior year of high school. The choice to push ahead was solely mine, but I didn’t want to let anyone down either. My senior year was a tough experience, and I was able to encourage the under-classmen in athletics (and academics), I hoped. I went to college and didn’t think this health ailment or any other would affect me again.


Fast forward to the spring of 2005, I was a sophomore at the University of Kentucky. I felt the strain of a busy finals week and the side effects of an unhealthy diet (‘Thank you, DiGiorno’s’), and I knew something else was awry. One morning I found myself tanked on the side of the bathroom tile floor, face wedged beside the tp dispenser. Suffice it to say: I survived that finals week operating at a crawl.

When I went home for the summer, I remember having an insatiable thirst and visiting the refrigerator countless times my first week back. Mom asked, “How long have you felt this way?” I shrugged my shoulders and turned a bottle of Gatorade up into the air. She shook her head, “We’re going to the doctor.” I remember closing the fridge and asking her something, but I don’t remember the drive to the medical center, the doctor saying, “Type 1 diabetes,” or my mom’s response. I wasn’t sure what to do next.


It wasn’t hereditary and no one else in the family suffered from sugar problems. I was devastated. In less than a week, I was scheduled to work at a program called the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program at Bellarmine University in Louisville. My role was to be a resident advisor and also a seminar teacher. With this new obstacle added to my cache, uncertainty of how well I’d be able to monitor my health (and teach in a classroom) loomed like the Headless Horseman. On the first day of class, I remember asking if any student would be willing to help assist. There were several hands that shot into the air. Then, I proceeded to explain my recent diagnosis, and I exclaimed that I was learning about this condition with them. One student said “I have a sister with that.” So, I nominated her as the first week’s helper. When I’d have a sugar low, I’d point to the student assistant, say, “Lead on,” and the other students rallied around that day’s helper, played some motivational song of the 2005 summer on our communal stereo I’d brought. This provided us all a chance to work together, and I’m still grateful for their willingness to help. I wish I knew the finally tally of Nerd boxes I consumed.


These “health” obstacles have helped me learn a lot about perseverance. Just in the few years since I’ve developed them, I’ve learned that succumbing to something shouldn’t be my first thought. My students at GSP taught me that. I appreciated their belief in me (and loyalty to the classroom). For these reasons and countless others, I know that battles must be won, or at the very least—fought for e-v-e-r-y d-a-y. For-ev-errr (imagine Squint from Sandlot saying this). The resolve of my coaches, teammates, parents, and former students to have faith in me has developed character that I didn’t know existed. The more I think about these “setbacks” I recognize that without battles, daily living really could not be fully appreciated. I’m thankful for these obstacles in my life, and I’m even more appreciative of the people who’ve helped me with them.

You know who you are!

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2nd of September

Advice versus Good Advice


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Where does our information come from?

Our news?

Is it solid, sound advice?

Good advice at best?

I love the image above. You can glean so much from just the increase in the (assumed homeless) man’s pricing scale. For “advice” he charges .50 cents. For “good advice,” his pricing jumps to a whopping $2.00!

But, it does “speak for itself” doesn’t it. We place a higher value on “good advice” every time. It just makes sense.

Why would we want the cheaper advice, if there’s a truer, more knowledgeable route ahead – provided by a wise guide who’s tested the path?

Rhetorical questions run amuck today (my apologies).

But, it begs of us to wisely choose the guides within our lives. For me personally, it’s an old book that is still true today, as it was before our U.S. forefathers and the formation of the Western world.

Solomon was a wise guy noted for having more inside his head than anyone before him or since. (He is the ultimate “wise guy.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

But, even he wrestled his entire life with knowing how to handle all of the good, bad, and ugly advice that he received during the course of his existence. (It made him MISERABLE at times.)

And we live in an ongoing “information age” in 2015. I mean just look around at what we place our importance in. I have to consult “Google” and “Wikipedia” more than any person should. But, it’s what our society relies upon. Knowledge. We crave it.

We ask the Geek Squad at Best Buy – “What gigabyte level is best for my laptop?”

We ask the Disney World guide in Orlando – “Which package will bring us closest to Mickey & Minnie?”

We ask the airline stewardess – “Where should I stow the 25.6 pound overnight bag?”

And on and on.

We have a hard time, because we have learned to grow up in an advice-polluted culture, instead of looking beyond ourselves. The “me” has been driven against the “us” to the point where it’s only me-against-me-against-me.

If you look closely at the gentleman’s picture above, you’ll see something else that his finger is obscuring.

As a direct intention towards humor, his hand is blocking the sentence, “Bad jokes for free.”

Again, it’s a good reminder.

The wisest guy in the world left advice that sums up all other attempts we make in trying to rectify an imperfect world. It gets me every time and stops me dead in my tracks.

Solomon writes,

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.”

Essentially, we can’t do anything apart from or beyond what is already ahead of us.

So, let’s steer ahead and not veer onto “whatifs” and hypotheticals. We will have a whole lot less to worry about as well. We’ll be taking a third option of “best advice” from a divine God, and the other 2 will fade into the background oblivion of our lives.

 

 

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1st of September

2 Types of Days.


Some days you grab the bull by the horns (proverbially speaking of course)…

bvxba4G

 

Other days, not so much.

bull

 

As we walk through this life, we know there is strength in asking others for help. I recommend doing so, before it gets to this point.

 

Here’s to your (and my) other days!

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