nature
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photo credit: Per Ola Wiberg (Powi)

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.” ~ Maya Angelou

See that tree?  Majestic, isn't it!  From years of growth and care, it's grown into a large and and very special tree.

“Money doesn't grow on trees” ~ Proverb

You've probably heard that saying before.  Money's not just going to fall off a tree, like leaves in the autumn season. Today, we're going to look at this with a slightly different lens.  Maybe, just maybe…money DOES grow on trees.  Maybe this tree we're seeing up above can provide us with some lessons, some insight into riches, and what that means to us. These are challenging times we're in today.  Maybe you've lost a job, or had hours cut back.  Maybe you've taken a pay cut.  Maybe you work on your own, and finding new clients is difficult. Then again, maybe it's all good right now.  Maybe you've recently taken a new job you really love, or been promoted where you currently are at.  Maybe you've just landed a lucrative contract in something you believe strongly in.  Maybe you've just ventured out onto your own, and are steadily adding clients and increasing your confidence. All of this is happening today, just as this happens on any given day – irregardless of the economy around us.  In the ebb and flow of life, there are ups and there are downs.   Let's look at this in relation to the trees we have in our life, and see if we can't understand it a little bit better. The Trees In The Forest Of Our Life

  • Seeds: Trees start out as seeds (or maybe sometimes from a nut).  This seed is planted in the soil, is watered, and begins to grow.  In nature, several seeds get planted naturally, and many grow, although not all of them do.  Life Lesson: Seeds.  The ideas we have.  The things we go about doing.  That which we try.  We might plant one, or we might plant several seeds.  Some may grow, and some may not.  Some things we do won't continue to resonate with us, and we'll move on.  Others will.  The bottom line in all of it, though, is this tree will never grow if we don't at least plant the seed – if we don't at least try this thing we've been thinking about.
  • Saplings: We've planted our seed.  And our tree is beginning to grow.  We have a sapling.  A small tree.  Not fully able to protect itself from the world around it.  It might take a little more care on our part to nurture it as it continues to grow.  And sometimes growth might seem slow, especially above the surface, in what we see.  Life Lesson: Our ideas begin to grow, or the work we're doing starts to produce results.  Or the college classes we're taking begin to make sense.  What started as a seed, as a thought – is beginning to grow into something.  A sapling.  Still small, although we're seeing growth.
  • Roots: While above the surface, our tree is slowly getting bigger and stronger – under the surface it's the roots that are really doing the growing.  They're spreading out in many directions, giving our tree a strong base on which to stand.  Life Lesson: We have this idea that is growing into something.  Or we have a job that we're getting better at and seeing results.  Or a myriad of other possibilities.  Slowly we're seeing that sapling grow a bit bigger.  Under the surface, though, is where we can make the biggest impact.  What are we creating as roots for ourselves?  These roots can be many things.  Continuing education, creating an emergency fund, saving for retirement, investing in stocks or mutual funds, developing relationships with others, learning new skills – just a few of the many possibilities we can have as roots in this tree, which is part of the forest of our life we're creating.  The key is that we create several roots, to give us a strong base on which to support our tree.
  • Storms: Life might not always be easy for our tree.  Wind. Hail.  Lightning.  Tornadoes.  Animals.  Man.  All of these could harm our trees.  Storms of nature, animals chewing off part of the tree, or man cutting the tree down.  Any of this happening could cause our tree to either be slowed in its growth, or to cease being completely.  That's why having several trees gives us more opportunity to have a few of the large majestic trees in the end.  Life Lesson: We will have storms in our life.  The wind will blow.  Other people may challenge what we're doing.  Some of our trees may not survive – much like a business closing or a company downsizing – some things in our life just might not work out how we'd planned they would.  The stock market might crash just before you're getting ready to take your money out.  We might sustain some illness or injury that creates large medical bills.  We might decide there's a tree in our life that isn't healthy, and cut it down.  Storms in our life.  They will be there.  If we've planted several trees, and created roots in many directions – then we are prepared to face these storms.  If everything is invested in one tree – then you may face real and serious problems.  Having several trees in our forest of life gives us more options should some storm cause damage on one of our trees.  And with roots in many directions throughout the trees in our forest, we are ready when the storms come.
  • Growth: The storms also bring rain.  And followed with sunshine, and good soil, our trees will grow.  Life Lesson: We'll have storms, as we've seen.  These storms also bring us growth opportunities.  And when the sun comes back out in our life, which it will, our trees will grow.  In growth that we'll see, above the surface.  We'll be reaching new heights, and making wiser decisions.  And this sapling in our forest of life will begin to become a tree which starts to provide much, whose branches are filled with leaves – leaves of opportunity!
  • Majestic Tree: We've went through the life cycle of our trees.  Many have now grown to great heights.  It hasn't happened overnight.  It's taken time and effort to get here.  And now that we are, we have this wonderful tree, large, providing much  beauty in our world.  Life Lesson: Growing these trees in the forest of our life will not happen overnight.  It will take our time and effort.  However, as we keep at it, as we continue to nurture and grow what matters in our life, these trees will become large and majestic in our forest – our forest of life.

Where's the Money? If we do all this, and especially if we do all this while listening to our heart – then the money is the fruit on these trees we've grown and nurtured in our forest of life.  This fruit, this money, will come if we continue to care for the trees in our life and if we give them a strong base upon which to grow.  And if we have many trees in our forest, then we are prepared should a storm come and damage any of them.  Money indeed CAN grow on trees, the trees in the forest of our life.  And what we get from these trees, what they produce, is a direct result of the time and effort we put in to growing and nurturing them.

In the forest of your life, do you have a lush forest with many trees?  Do you need to plant some new ones?  Or maybe even get rid of some that you have?  This is your forest, your life – take care of it and riches will come.  And remember also that not all riches come in the form of money…

Still
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“When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tombs of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow; when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together” ~ Joseph Addison

Vein of fire
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“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark would burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” ~ Jack London

It’s Time For Class

by Lance Ekum on March 20, 2009

Math & Physics
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“We learn by teaching.” ~ James Howell

Today I’ve been called in to substitute teach over at the Blogging Without A Blog University.  Well, it sure seems like a university, headed up by the one of the best teachers around – Barbara Swafford.  She’s out today, and I’m the substitute.  Stop on over as we discuss The Snowball Effect of the Social Web.  And not to worry, no one will be sent to the principal’s office for being late!

I’ve had the honor of knowing Barbara for quite a while, and owe a great debt of gratitude to her – she’s been a regular visitor and avid supporter going back to my early days.  I can’t think of anyone more uplifting and caring toward those around her!

Be sure to check out some of her recent articles, including:

If We Knew Then What We Know Now

Where Or Where Do The Bloggers Go

Keep up with Barbara, by subscribing to her blog, and following her in Twitter.

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Going Local

by Lance Ekum

“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest” ~ Robert Montgomery Today I’m traveling…well, Travelin’ Local, as I spend the day with Lisa Newton – sharing some pictures of what “traveling local” means to me.  Stop over and take a look at  some photos from my neighborhood. Lisa […]

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Note:  If you’re having trouble viewing this, click here. From the day we arrive on the planet And blinking, step into the sun There’s more to be seen than can ever be seen More to do than can ever be done Some say eat or be eaten Some say live and let live But all […]

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photo credit: warrenski “Work, love and play are the great balance wheels of man’s being” ~ Orison Swett Marden Balance – that thing which sometimes seems so elusive in our lives.  How do we find it?  And how do we focus on the things that really matter to us? Today, I’m sitting down with Stacey […]

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Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: bogenfreund “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” ~ Elizabeth […]

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by Lance Ekum

Today I have another special guest with us.  Please help me welcome Amanda Linehan from Look Far – Using Self Awareness To Create The Life You Want.  Amanda and I go way back.  Well, at least way back in our blogging years (or months, more appropriately)!  She was one of the early commenters on my […]

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Lessons From The Mountain

by Lance Ekum

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~ Edmund Hillary Mount Rainier, Summer 2008 This morning I was transported back to a moment in time last summer, from our visit to Mount Rainier, in Washington state.  This picture, my desktop background, jumped out at me.  A reminder of our summer vacation, and even […]

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