Success, Simply Put

Image: Mohamed Hassan — Pixabay

Today’s Bloganuary challenge asks How do you define success?

As far as this life goes, in short or long term objectives, a successful person sets realistic goals and perseveres. They achieve their goals fairly, without compromising their honesty or integrity, not crushing other people to have their own way.

In my opinion, success isn’t measured so much in status or wealth or ownership. Even an average Joe, a scrub woman or a waitress, toiling every day can be a success. Take this little plant. It has overcome severe conditions and is a success in its own little way. It’s made use of what it had to work with, and done what life asked of it.

Image: klimkin — Pixabay

When the goal is reached, and/or age has settled in, the successful person can look back without major regrets. Of course everyone makes some mistakes and regrets them, but, in my mind, success brings the satisfaction of having done what you should in the grand scheme of life. You don’t look back over the years and say, “What a mess I’ve made of it all!”

And beyond this life? Success means to walk with God through this life and right through those pearly gates. The apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:8:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Cave Art

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CAVERN and here’s my response…

Virginia cave photo by adoborepublic — Pixabay


“Come on,” Benji urged his sister as he led the way into the cave. “Don’t be scared. This place is really worth seeing!”

Debby looked around in awe. “This isn’t just a cave. This is a cavern!”

“Cave, cavern. What’s the difference? It’s amazing, isn’t it?”

Cavern sounds so much more exotic, extravagant. And this is definitely exotic.””

They flicked on their flashlights and made their way deeper into the cave — or cavern. Soon they came to a wall with a drawing on it.”

“And will you look at this,” Debby exclaimed. “Ancient art! I wonder what sort of prehistoric people wandered in here centuries ago and drew this.”

“Hmm…” Benji examined the art closely. “They must have been able to mix up some really good paint, that it’s lasted all these years. It looks a lot like an ordinary cat. Or what do you think it is?”

“You’re right, it does look like a cat. I wonder if those ancient people had domestic cats, or if it was some wild animal that’s extinct now.”

A voice behind them called out, “Hey, you kids. Be careful, there. Don’t mess with my artwork.”

Benji’s eyes popped wide open. “You painted this? It wasn’t some ancient artist?”

“Nope. I drew it last week. I decided this morning that I’d come back and see if it needed any finishing touches.”

“Why ever did you do that,” Debby asked. “Are you trying to fool people, or what?”

“And why shouldn’t I? Just think. This painting will make people curious for centuries to come. Who drew this here? What sort of animal is it? In fact it’s my cat Darkster, but in a couple hundred years no one will know that. People love mysteries — they always will.”

It must be true, because Benji and Debbie pondered the mystery of the odd artist and his cat every time they thought of the beautiful cavern.


The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is INIMITABLE.

And here are my thoughts on the matter.

Inimitable means matchless; unsurpassed; unequalled.

As far as the actual meaning of the word is concerned, few things in this world are inimitable. Most everything ever produced can be imitated. Forgers have proved this over and over. Is this a real Rembrandt or an imitation? Our countries spend millions of dollars trying to come up with currency that’s inimitable, but counterfeiters can be so clever.

Someone may laud a beautiful piece of architecture, but before long someone somewhere has imitated it. A work of art likewise. Trends are all about imitation. I can recall from back when I was a young teen how “curvy” gave way to “Twiggy” and before long most models appeared emaciated and young girls were dying to look like them.

Cheap knock-offs abound – which is why patents were invented. A competitor can imitate a product but they can’t sell it under the originator’s name, or company brand name. That’s why the Harley-Davidson company patented the unique roar of its motorbikes. No cheap imitation should sound like a Harley.

As to the greater sense of the word, beyond compare or unequaled, there are many things in nature that have no equal; they can’t be imitated by man. One night we watched a spectacular fireworks display, the likes of which I’d never seen before. Yet compared to the northern lights dancing across the heavens, or a night storm with lightning flashing and thunder cannons booming, fireworks look like a cheap imitation. Man may build an impressive dam across a river but it’ll never hold a candle to Niagara Falls.

The human body is a matchless engineering design, with its circulatory system, computer communication skills, self-healing and reproductive capacities, its memory storage, thought processing, emotional and external communications abilities. Medical science has learned a lot about repairing the various functions that break down, but they can’t construct anything like a facsimile.

As the wise Solomon once said:
“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
–Ecclesiastes 11:5

And life once gone is gone forever. My sister gave birth to a perfectly healthy, fully formed little boy, but he’d strangled on the umbilical cord during the birth process and was born dead. Medicine could do nothing to re-ignite the spark of life. That spark of life is truly inimitable.

A Lot More Said Than Done

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is MYOPIC; Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day is LUGUBRIOUS. I thought this could make an interesting combination

Myopia is a medical condition that affects millions of people, myself included. The viewer is near-sighted, not able to clearly see objects far away. Being myopic is being nearsighted. Figuratively, it means having a narrow or self-centered point of view. Focusing on right now, things that relate to a particular group rather than things that may come in the future, or that relate to many people. Lacking in foresight or discernment.

Lugubrious means looking or sounding mournful, dismal, or very sad — often in an exaggerated or insincere way. Synonyms: Bleak, cheerless, saturnine, depressing.

I wonder how many of you readers remember the comic strip Tumbleweed, and one native brave in particular, aptly named Lugubrious Lizard?

Now for my exemplifying tale:

A Lot More Said Than Done

The government was proposing a giant hydro-electric dam on the Sticks River, near the town of Stickside. A briefing session was called to air all the pros and cons.

Those in favor were upbeat and pushy: “This new dam will generate enough electricity to supply a city the size of Toronto for years to come.”

Conservationists took a lugubrious view. “Building this dam will destroy the environment to perpetuity.”

“And the Sticks River is the primary nesting site of the yellow-billed ruckus,” An ornithologist added. “The bird population will be decimated; it may mean the end of the species. The dam must be built on a different river.”

The pushers disagreed: “Ruckus are smart. They’ll nest somewhere else.”

The Pros said: “If this project goes through, we can sell electricity.”

The Cons replied, “Money isn’t everything.”

“You people are mostly retired or have secure jobs,” a Pro countered. “You don’t need to worry about earning a living. What about the rest of us?”

The citizens of Stickside were likewise divided. Pros said, “This project will create jobs. The cash coming in will do wonders for the town.”

Doubtful Cons shook their heads. “Who wants all these workers coming in and corrupting our peaceful town? Drink, drugs, immorality. In spite of the immediate boost, in the long run this project will leave us with so many social problems. And furthermore, land around the town may be flooded because of the dammed river.”

Clean-energy pushers said, “The government should rather build wind turbines. Much less damage to the environment.”

“No! Never!” myopic ornithologists wailed. “Wind turbines kill birds. Soon we’ll have no birds left in our land.”

The pros sighed and the cons smiled when the government decided to shelve the project until more statistics could be compiled.

Conversing About…

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was CONVERSATION
and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a conversations with you all. Though I guess a blog is more of a monologue. 😉

For the past month the general buzz of conversation here was about the lovely fall we’re having and how long the warm weather has lasted. Or how dry it’s been. Monday morning we woke up to an October wind and night-time temps have been dropping to -5 or -7 C. The water basins I set out had about an inch of ice on top this morning; I dumped them out, and those circles of ice have lain on the ground all day without melting. I refilled them again today but this task will soon be over.

The robins were still here last Friday morning, but must have gotten word that it was time to go. I didn’t see even one Saturday. Good timing on their part. We heard today there was snow coming in from a Colorado low-pressure system, but it seems the precipitation will mostly fall east of us. As I write this a light rain is falling and the ground is actually wet. Every little bit helps to settle the dusty haze we’ve been living with for awhile. We’re supposed to have warmer days again for the weekend, though.

There was a wedding in our congregation last weekend when Pastor Warren’s daughter married a young man from Alberta. A lot of families in the congregation were busy making food and/or hosting visiting guests, which is what we do when there’s an important event to put on. Everyone chips in.

A couple of weeks back an acquaintance called to tell me she had some puzzles for me. The seniors in her building do them, then pass them on–and I take some of ours for them. A profitable exchange. Last Friday we did some shopping in the city and I stopped by her apartment building to pick them up. She had bags and boxes full of puzzles for me–82 puzzles in all, but three were packs with four puzzles in each; one box was a pack of ten. So about 100 puzzles in all! Far more than our seniors at the Villa can put together this winter. I’m looking for homes for the excess now.

Since I’ve been painting I haven’t done any puzzles. One hobby that takes hours is maybe enough? But I’m not painting much lately, either. seem to be in a slump. The evenings are so soon so dark! I’m having a hard time switching my mind to winter mode and working after dark has no appeal. Can’t go to bed at 8 pm, so I mostly read for a couple of hours.

Can I plead that we creative types — writers, poets, artists, musicians. etc — are moody types? Last week I read an article about songwriter Leonard Cohen, including a conversation he had with writer Mikal Gilmore.

“Depression has often been the general background of my daily life,” Cohen told me. “My feeling is that whatever I did was in spite of that, not because of it. It wasn’t the depression that was the engine of my work. . . . That was just the sea I swam in.”

The brokenness was always there, but Leonard Cohen never submitted to it, Gilmore writes in his article, Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness.

I found that thought encouraging. No matter how blue a person may feel at times, we needn’t succumb to it. We need to let a greater purpose motor us through, in spite of the choppy waters.