September 2010

Don't ever give up on something you believe in.

My Childhood Talent: Drawing

Some things in life come easier than others.

As a child I was always good at drawing and art. I won awards, got constant attention, and even saw my face in the newspaper and on television because of my natural ability to draw. In a short span between fifth grade and seventh grade I internally thought that I had conquered the entire Metro Detroit area with my artistic talent.

Being a shy, non-talkative, middle-child this had a huge impact on my confidence and my life. I had spent a lot of time trying to blend into the background and now I was being thrust to the forefront (for a good reason). Most people who happen to stumble onto something that they are good at are encouraged to take it and run with it. Of course, my life was no different. From teachers, to principals, to family members, everyone seemingly had a ton of advice to give me in regards to art. All the while I was craving something else.

What else?

My Childhood Challenge: Writing

While I was winning art contest and gaining tracking in the visual realm my true desire was writing. I entered poetry, essay, and short-story contest… and lost them all. It was such a contrast from my artistic competition experience that I didn’t even place! It was so bad that I had a good friend of mine tell me once, “If you are so good at drawing why do you even care about writing? STICK TO DRAWING!” At twelve this sounded like the words of a prophet. Though well intended, eighteen years later I’m glad I didn’t take his words to heart.

Learning From My Challenges

Years went by with me still writing and still occasionally entering contest. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that I finally got honorable mention in a poetry contest. That doesn’t give me the right to say that I’m ready to bump off Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, or Edgar Allan Poe. However, I can say that as a writer I’ve truly grown. Endurance, especially when it comes to things you truly love is essential. If I gave up on writing because it didn’t come easy I would have never contributed to A Sparks Start. Thus, this post you’re reading right now wouldn’t exist.

I’m sure there are things in your life that are challenging and yet, rewarding. Take some time to reinvest some energy back into the “thing” that didn’t come easy and see what happens.


TracksThis week we are focusing on endurance. In order to endure it is important to have an understanding of what it actually means. Endurance is defined as the power to withstand hardship or stress. It is the staying power of an aircraft in flight. It is the conditioning and time a person can exert energy during an aerobic act. It is a measure of persistence and stamina. It is the resolve to press forward in a highly stressful situation working for an positive end result.

Even with it’s many definitions it can be summed up pretty quickly for me in one word and that word is fight. When you go through a tough situation in your life are you willing to fight to the end or take a beating and move on to the next whooping coming your way? Are you willing to stand up for what is rightfully yours and work without ceasing until you accomplish your goal? If not, you are in the right place at the right time.

Here are some great posts that encourage you to keep going no matter the obstacle. I must say I enjoyed them thoroughly.  🙂  (I wrote them all)

Chasing After You

What Doesn’t Kill You

It’s Not Over Yet

Running For My Life

When the Smoke Clears

There is no victory in quiting. Keep pushing, I know you can do it.

And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.

Matthew 5:41

I once had a position with a company that drove me crazy. It seemed everybody there found a way to get out of working on a regular basis. This wouldn’t have been such a bad thing if I wasn’t the lowest person on the totem pole, but I was. Thus, all the stuff that nobody else wanted to do ended up on my desk. At first I thought, “It’s cool. This will pass.” But weeks went by. Months went by. A YEAR WENT BY and I was still doing all the work.

After a year I had developed an ongoing conversation with myself. While I was doing everybody else’s work I was debating myself. One side argued that I should just be happy that I was lucky enough to be gainfully employed. The pay wasn’t that bad. The hours weren’t that long. The boss wasn’t even that mean.

The other side of me was boiling! How in the world am I working, and working, and working while I watched other people sitting around and doing nothing. I literally watched them take two hour lunches on the clock, come back and talk on the phone, and then leave early… EARLY!

It was just the principle that I knew I was doing work originally outlined for other people that had me at the end of my rope.

By now you should be asking yourself, how did you make it there another year?

When I signed up for this job the director told me the vision of the place. It was pretty heavy. He had huge goals for a noble cause and I was instantly sold. I felt like doing the job was making a difference. He compelled me to help him move forward with something great. (Too bad he didn’t have the same impact on the rest of the staff).

At the end of the day I know I stayed in this position a lot longer than I promised. When I finally left it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It wasn’t until a year and a half later when someone new from the company called me and asked me for tips. It seems the boss who I went the extra mile to help had spent a lot of time telling other people about it. He also was willing to tell all the companies I interviewed with. To this day he is still my number one person for a professional referral.


For all the unjust and unfair situations that may arise in your life there rarely seems to be a purpose. Yet, sometimes the opportunity for character to be forged is waiting right there where anyone logical would have quit. Endurance is not just about doing what is easy and what’s right. Endurance sometimes goes beyond what’s right and drifts into doing what’s needed. Why? Because, if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. Maybe this is something you’ll experience at a job like I did. Maybe this is something you’ll experience in your family or in a relationship or in a social club. Wherever you experience it know that the ability to endure and press forward can make all the difference in how you are remembered. It is not what other’s do but what you do in response that will lump you together -or- set you apart.

So the next time you want to quit (and have a good reason) go the second mile.

Endurance-The Elusive Letter S

My son has been working on his manuscript. He has spent countless hours writing over and over again various letters of the alphabet. Letters are the first thing he sees when he wakes up. Letters are the last thing he sees before he goes to bed. He even carries around a workbook in his backpack […]

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Meat and Retreat

This has been truely an exciting series for me. I have learned so much from the research I have done on communication that I am confident that my interactions during conversations have changed in the positive for good. These tips are timeless and will benefit you for years to come. Well today I will try to […]

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