The Blanco Republic
Comments and opinions on just about anything!

Nov
29

— by Ralph Spaulding Cushman

I met God in the morning
When my day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast.

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O’er a very trouble sea.

Other ships were blown and battered,
Other ships were sore distressed,
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I too had loosed the moorings,
With the Presence left behind.

So I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek Him in the morning
If you want Him through the day!

Nov
29

I’m way down here! You’re way up there!
Are you sure you can hear my feeble, faltering prayer?
I’m just not sure how I ought to pray…
To tell you the truth, Lord,
I don’t know what to say.

I know I’ve been lonely,
And people say I’m disturbed…
But, really, I’m bewildered and restless,
Confused and a bit perturbed…

All the tv preachers tell me that prayer helps to quiet the mind
And to unburden the heart.
For it’s in the stillness we find solace and assurance, that someone does care…

…and someone does answer, each and every prayer.

Are you still there?
I’m way down here!
Are you here?

Sep
05

stage2.jpg

There she was… sitting above me to my left, elevated on the stage, the most beautiful creature a teenage boy had ever seen in his life. She looked the epitome of a Spanish princess, and made me wonder what her name was.

One of the other patrons on tour with us told me to ask for her name by writing it on one of the napkins. Mind you, this is a high class place, and they use real linens for their tablecloths and napkins.

“¿Como te llamas?,” I wrote. Then I handed the napkin to her. Her hand brushed mine and I melted in the dark pools of her eyes. She wrote her name down on the napkin and handed it back to me.

Teresa. Her name was Teresa. I shall always remember her as Teresita. She had jet black hair pinned back with a golden tiara and a full bodice traje de flamenca with a low neckline that plunged her cleavage like the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

Her name has lived in my memory for years, as well as the tablao espectáculo de Torres Bermejas.

Slowly the lights went down and the dancers took their places on the stage. The guitarristas began their introduction with a slow tristeza. The cantaores recounted their heartaches of centuries of love and loss in their music and lyrics.

I listened to the strained chords of the farrucas and the zapateado on the stage floor, and watched Teresa as she danced. Her firm young breasts were well proportioned and pushed up in her bodice to accentuate her cleavage. Her neck was like a perfect column of Greek marble rising up from her shoulders.

Her dress was tight; God, was it tight! She was perfectly proportioned from her head to her feet. Her hips were accentuated by the mantela that she wore around her waist. I just wanted to hold her close to me and smell her perfume mixed with her perspiration. Oh, God! I wanted to do more than that! I was a teenage boy whose hormones were exploding in 5 different languages!

As the espectáculo grew into a crescendo the classic tale of España retold the centuries of love’s losses and conquests. History was being replayed for me and only if you understood the lyrics would you benefit. The idioma de flamenco was born of many ancient cultures and it told the stories of Jewish, Moorish, Christian and the Gypsies.

The geography of Spain was nowhere near as beautiful as the graceful movements of Teresa that night. Watching her dance El Pasaje al Medianoche has enchanted me for over 37 years. Her “crossing over” into midnight began slowly, then grew into a frenetic frenzy of choreographed movements with her hands, arms, and the rapid firing of castañuelos.

I wonder where she is now. Perhaps she is travelling with another troupe somewhere in Spain. Maybe she married years ago and forgot about the young boy at her side 37 years ago… that young American who fell into the abyss of her beauty and drowned. I’m sure she has had thousands of admirers since me.

If you ever go to Madrid, stay at the Meliá Castilla. Take a taxi and tell the driver you want to go to the Torres Bermejas on Mesonero Romanos, numero 11. Right in the heart of Madrid, two minutes walk from the Plaza Mayor and on the corner of Gran Via. Or take the subway to the Plaza de Callao. They’re just a two minute walk from the Plaza Mayor.

Yes… I remember Los Torres Bermejas. But most especially, I remember Teresa. I hope she remembers that silly kid sitting at her feet that night in 1970. He has been worshipping her ever since.
espectaculo6.jpg

Sep
04

By Ernest O’Dell at The Blanco Republic

I read an article recently in a European publication (not in English) where an observation was made about one aspect of American life: The noise level here is very high. We live too fast paced for our own good and don’t take enough “time outs” for reflection. Even lapses in conversation quickly fill with chatter or some kind of interference.

It’s been said, “A wise man has something to say. A fool has to say something.” How many times have you been sitting at a table when someone just had to talk just so they could hear their own voice? Truly, I must ask, was anybody else listening to them?

It made me realize just how important it is to have quiet time – usually about three hours a day – in order to stay balanced. It’s time I use to read and reflect, and I’m always refreshed and “recharged” by this. It also gives me material to feed my writing, whether it’s working on a chapter in my book, for an article, or a letter to a friend or loved one.

For me, early morning hours are the best for this kind of reflection. I’m an early riser, usually up by 2:00 A.M., and if I get up at 3:00 A.M., I’m “sleeping in.” This early morning time gives me a few hours to read the papers and magazine articles, catch a few chapters in a motivational book I’m reading, or catch up on a biography. Then I head out to the ranch.

There’s a couple of favorite places that I like to visit early in the morning at sunrise, and at sunset. One of them is Las Gemelas (Twin Sisters, in Spanish), and the other one is El Capitan de Las Lomas. El Capitan is named after the famous El Capitan in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas; not the “other one” on the Left Coast.

El Capitan stands alone and is unique. And so is El Capitan de Las Lomas. The latter is the future home site for the hacienda that will be built there which will be the most unique house in Blanco County, Texas. It will be the largest house ever built in the county: over 24,000 square feet on the ground floor (what’s visible). The rest of it will be in lower ground levels buried two stories deep in the Texas limestone on the ranch.

El Capitan de Las Lomas sits atop 622 acres of the most pristine Texas Hill Country, surrounded by a game reserve. Early in the morning, you can sit in your car on the top of a 75 acre plateau and watch the sun come up in the east. At sunset, you can sit on the same plateau and watch the same valley go through shades of azure and teal as the sun sets its ray across the tops of the mountains.

Sometimes I fall asleep because it’s so peaceful. I’ll wake up with a book in my hands, sometimes Socrates or Plato. Sometimes some other philosopher. I don’t get to read as much as I would like, because there are just so many demands on my time. I’m grateful for the contributions that our library has made to encourage reading in our community. It’s a way for one to escape into their own fantasy land and take a vacation in the nether most regions of our minds and imaginations.

When I ask people what they’ve been reading (and this spans from kids to adults) I hear of the deplorable state of reading in this country, because too many people just don’t read. I hear excuses all the time ranging from, “I’m a slow reader,” to, “I just don’t have time.” Well, when it comes to reading and exercising the “gray mush” up in our skulls, you just have to make time.

I like movies and television as much as anyone else, but here lately I haven’t turned on the television in a while. And I’ve found that I’m not as turbulent in spirit because of the negative media. I’ve spent some quality time reading inspirational books and by reflecting while alone.

One of my favorites in the inspirational category is The Inspirational Writings of Robert H. Schuller “The Be-Happy Attitudes & Be Happy You Are Loved.” While some of his writings might be considered trite by a few of my compatriots, nonetheless, I have found “nuggets” of inspiration within those pages.

I have also come to learn a difficult lesson through all this time: I can choose to be happy. No matter what is going on around me, or what is happening (or not happening) in my life, my choice to be happy or disgruntled is up to me. Nobody else can dictate my state of mind. Nobody. Not you, or anybody else.

And the same goes for you. You can choose to be happy right now. You can choose to take time to reflect on the people who have been an inspiration and a blessing in your life. Or you can choose to mull over life’s problems… many of which there is nothing you can do about anyway.

Take some time for reflection. If it helps, take a look at your reflection in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you.” Even if nobody else does. Heck… what do they know?

Sep
03

So you think you have the “Billionaire Mindset?” In The Natural History of the Rich, author Richard Coniff says, “Almost all successful alpha personalities display a single-minded determination to impose their vision on the world, an irrational belief in unreasonable goals, bordering at times on lunacy.”

Here are Donald Trump’s Top 10 Ways To

Think Like A Billionaire:

1. Don’t take vacations.
2. Have a short attention span.
3. Don’t sleep any more than you have to.
4. Don’t depend on technology.
5. Think of yourself as a one-man army.
6. It’s often to your advantage to be underestimated.
7. Success breeds success.
8. Friend are good, but family is better.
9. Treat each decision like a lover.
10. Be curious.

Aug
23

Thinking like an entrepreneur can be exhilirating! There’s nothing more satisfying than being your own boss. Yet, so many people find themselves stymied at getting started.

In Donald Trump’s book “Think Like A Billionaire” he takes you beyond the entrepreneurial mindset into that of The Billionaire. It’s a rare mindset, indeed.

In a world of over 6 billion inhabitants, there are less than 600 billionaires. It’s an exclusive club. Would you like to join them?

They will tell you that the odds are against you, but armed with the knowledge and savvy from Donald Trump’s book, it will give you the “edge” to beat those odds.

Besides… billionaires don’t care what the odds are. We don’t listen to common sense and “conventional wisdom.” And we don’t always do what’s expected of us. We pilot our own ships and chart our own course. We do wild and crazy stunts to get media attention and publicity, and we do things that make the more “conventional” types think we’re crazy.

Want to learn the Top 10 Ways To Becoming A Billionaire? Then you’ve got to get your hands on “Think Like A Billionaire” and read it!

Don’t depend on “conventional wisdom.” Get Donald Trump’s book today! Amazon.com has good prices on it, and it’s well worth it.

Aug
22

I was taught many years ago by a wise priest that we can either react or respond to life’s circumstances. And how we respond will determine the outcome of those circumstances, positive or negative. If we react to life’s problems, then we are not in control. When we respond, we are in control.

Carl was 86 years old. His church announced that the garden behind the pastor’s house needed someone to care for it. So Carl volunteered to be the keeper of the garden. Just about every day he was back there, watering or weeding or tilling that little garden. This was the kind of neighborhood that had changed over the years. It was a very rough, inner-city neighborhood, dominated by gangs and violence. It was where Carl lived.

One day Carl was working in the garden, when three young hoodlums spotted him, taunted him, ridiculed him, and pushed him around. Carl never said anything, he simply smiled. As it was a hot afternoon, he gently asked if they would like a drink from his garden hose.

They laughed at him and pushed him down into the mud. Then they relieved him of his retirement watch and his wallet, leaving him on the ground and laughing as they continued down the street. The pastor saw the incident and rushed over to help Carl up. The old man picked up his hose, still gushing water, and continued his work.

“What are you doing?” asked the pastor.

Carl answered, “Aw, they’re just punks. Maybe they’ll wise up some day. I’m not going to let them keep me from the garden.” A compassionate and gentle man, Carl was not prone to violence.

Something similar happened another time. Carl was again watering the garden when the young men spotted him. They insulted and derided him. He stayed quiet and calm and quietly continued his work. Once again, he mentioned it was a hot afternoon and offered them a cold drink. They thought it was funny. They took the hose and this time doused Carl. They hosed him from head to foot. Then they left, still laughing. Dripping wet, the old man continued to
water his garden.

Some weeks later, when Carl was again working in the garden, he heard a voice behind him. It startled him. As he turned around, he lost his footing and he fell back into a small evergreen shrub. Though he was unhurt, he had a bad leg and struggled to get up. Carl looked up and recognized the leader of the gang that abused him and prepared for the worst.

This time the man said, “I’m not here to hurt you, old man. Here, let me help you up,” and he extended his hand. “I’ve got something for you.” Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a crumpled paper bag. Carl reached in and found his retirement watch and his wallet. The young man continued, “It’s all there, even the money.”

Carl looked through the wallet until he found the picture of his wife, who had been dead for several years. She was much younger, then. He asked, “Why are you doing this?”

The young man said, “I haven’t been able to sleep very well, lately. I’ve been thinking about you, all these times we’ve come over here, and the things that we’ve said to you, and you never said anything back to us. The way we’ve treated you and you never treated us badly. I guess I feel bad about that, and watching you, I know I can do better, and I think I will do better.” He continued, “I guess this is just my way of saying I’m sorry.”

Carl never saw that young man again. He passed away that year about a week after Christmas. The pastor said something at the funeral about doing the best you can with your life. Make your garden as beautiful as you can, he said. Of course, he was talking about our lives, rather than actual gardens. A young man who sat in the back of the church by himself heard those words.

When spring arrived, the pastor decided to put another announcement on the bulletin board asking for a volunteer to take care of what was now called Carl’s garden. In a few days, the young man from the funeral stopped by. The pastor recognized the gang leader, who said, “I believe that’s my job, if you’ll have me. I looked up to Carl. I respected him. I think, because of him, I am now becoming a very different person. I’d like to take over that garden.”

So he got the job of caring for Carl’s garden. He worked on making some of those changes in his life, too. He went back to school. He graduated and then eventually got married. He landed a job with real responsibility. Every Summer he cared for the garden. He watered it, weeded it, tilled it.

After a few years, that church changed pastors. One day the young man came into the new pastor’s office and announced, “I’m going to have to give up my job of caring for Carl’s garden. You see, we’ve just had a new baby boy, and I want to spend a lot of time with him this summer.”

The pastor smiled and said, “Oh, that’s wonderful. That’s marvelous! Congratulations. What are you going to name him?”

The man said, “Carl. I think we’ll call him Carl.”

Mahatma Gandhi put it well:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

It always begins with one person.

Aug
21

by Michael E. Gordon, PhD

I know from personal experience that entrepreneurship is a tool that can create great wealth and personal enrichment in your life. Six of my 11 start-ups were a success, and I eventually sold the best one to a public British company for a handsome profit. The five non-successes (the word failure is not in my vocabulary), while they never generated revenue, did not weaken me at all. In fact, they enriched my chances of future success immeasurably because of what I learned and applied.

Entrepreneurial Misconceptions

The entrepreneurship literature is full of paralyzing drivel about the failure rates of new startups, the massive sacrifices entrepreneurs must make, the loss of job security, the financial risks, the long hours, the stress and frustration, and so on and so on . . . I have two words for all of this:

Bull Cookies!

Look around you and imagine the vast wealth in businesses. Every business, from the largest to the smallest, resulted from entrepreneurship. According to BizStats.com, there are 24 million businesses in the United States, of which 18 million are sole proprietorships–owned and operated by one individual. Many small business owners are also part- and full-time employees while they maintain their day jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2003 alone (most recent figures available), almost three quarters of a million Americans started their own businesses.

The fact is, if you take it thoughtfully, step by step, your chances of success are excellent.You need less talent, skills, industry knowledge, money and other resources than you may believe. If you control your financial exposure and don’t make it on the first attempt, you’ll be better prepared for the next start-up. You can outsource most functions (design, manufacturing and packaging, marketing and sales, distribution and shipping, and accounting) and the resources you can mobilize on the Web are nearly limitless.

I never feel more alive than when I am on the entrepreneurial trail. I could never have made in any job the kind of money I have made as my own boss. Stress and frustration? The worst career stress and frustration I ever experienced was working for someone else, accepting a nominal salary, putting up with corporate political nonsense, and lacking the personal freedom to pursue my owninnovative, value-creating ideas.

For more insights on entrepreneurial success, read the new book Trump University Wealth Building 101: Your First 90 Days on the Path to Prosperity.

Wealth Building 101 by Donald Trump

Michael E. Gordon, PhD, is the author of Trump University Entrepreneurship 101: How to Turn Your Idea into a Money Machine (John Wiley & Sons, 2007). Dr. Gordon teaches corporate entrepreneurship at universities around the world, and to date has started six successful companies. Currently Michael is President of http://www.AngelDeals.com, an Internet business that helps entrepreneurs find funding, and the Center for Competitive Success (www.CompetitiveSuccess.com), a management consultancy. He is an Adjunct Professor at Babson College, the Harvard University Extension School, and the International School of Management in Paris.

Aug
20

I knew I had seen those circles somewhere before. Back eons ago (about 20-30 years) I had seen them in an Amway presentation.

Now, don’t leave! This post isn’t about Amway or any other MLM “opp” out there. It’s actually quite the reverse.

Having seen ZeitGeist (the movie) and read Zero Limits, I think the ZeitGeist folks have gotten themselves all lathered up into a conspiracy theory. Their arguments are sufficiently refuted at Michelle’s post about the movie.

Zero Limits has it nailed down pretty tight.

But what do you do after you’re cleared? What do you do when someone comes along and gives you a “leg up?”

You don’t pay them back; but rather pay it forward — 3 times… and then teach each one of them to do the same (each with 3 people).

What would this world be like?

Watch the YouTube trailer Pay It Forward and tell me what you think.

Jul
31

A lot of people call Austin weird, and I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Keep Wimberley Weirder”. Hmmm…

In my personal opinion, Wimberley, Texas is a magical little town nestled in the Texas Hill Country, just outside of Austin. It became the center of “attraction” on Saturday, July 28, 2007, as Dr. Joe Vitale came to town to sign his new book “Zero Limits”.

I drove over from Blanco early on Saturday morning to help Sally Curtis and Bruce Grether set up. Around noon, it started raining. Was I supposed to say “uh, oh”? I had already “put in an order” for a bright sunny day, and then “let it go.” Whether I “attracted” this or not, I was going to erase this program from my memory banks.

Needless to say, the sun came back out and burned away the rain clouds and it was nice and sunny for the rest of the day. It was hot and humid, too.

Dr. Vitale wasted no time in getting to work signing books, and he was only supposed to be there for three hours. But being the “trooper” that he is, he stayed for an extra two hours signing autographed editions for sale.

(Just in case you didn’t make it to the Rancho Deluxe in Wimberley, you can still pick up a limited edition at their store.)

Suzanne Burns, Dr. Vitale’s Executive Assistant was also on hand with her own creations of jewelry especially designed for Ho’oponopono cleaning. You can visit her site at Intentional Treasures.com.

There were a lot of people, friends, and a lot of big names there, too. Pat O’Bryan and Rodney Bursiel (the photographer for the photo credits in the book) were there on hand to tape and photograph the entire event. You can read more about “The Freaky Saturday” at Dr. Joe Vitale’s blog.

Okay. So what do I have to contribute to this? Well, I would like to think that I had some small bit part in this symphony. Bruce Grether and Sally Curtis were instrumental in getting the news out to several venues, and I may have duplicated their efforts with my press releases to the media. (I think we may have even duplicated our efforts on putting out fliers, too. But be that as it may, it all worked very well. Going by the numbers, the more exposure you get, the more attention you recieve.)

I put together some photos into a slideshow on YouTube. If you can’t view it at the top of this page, you can view it by clicking here.