The Path Not Taken

pere-jeans-pathGreetings,

I went for a walk around the place today and as I emerged from one of the little paths we’ve cut through the trees I turned to look back. I could see the path clearly for a ways and then it branched and one side disappeared into the brush. I was standing there considering whether to go back and take the other path just to see what I’d missed when it occurred to me, that would be a nifty trick in life. Haven’t you wondered how your life would be different if you had taken that other path?

So, I did. I drove into town and rented a time machine. It’s a really good deal because you can keep it as long as you want and return it at the same time you pick it up. I brought it home, plugged it in, and turned it on. Once it was all booted up, it asked to when did I want to go. I pondered this question a long time. How far back was far enough; how far was too far?

I went back to that day in junior high when I stopped doing something I loved because someone made fun of me. This time I chose not to listen. I followed that path to its end and it was a good path. I went back to that day when I decided not to enlist in the military. This time I proudly signed my name. I followed that path and it too was good. I went back to the day I dropped out of college. This time I determined to see it through. I went back and followed my bliss without listening to the doubts of others. Time after time I went back and made different choices, different decisions. I acted and reacted differently in certain situations.

What I discovered was that along each path there were times of sorrow and times of joy, periods of struggle and stretches of leisure, successes, failures, accomplishments and regrets. Each path had its rewards and each held a price. In the end I understood the path I’m on is exactly the right path for me, and what matters is not the choices I made but those I’m going to make.

Happy trails and good travels.

Cordially,

Tim Couch

Great Expectations

Greetings,

I hope your day is a malted milk ball day, just cause I like ’em.

I recently attended a School of Instruction where I overheard an interesting question. The school was on Masonic Ritual and several current and past ritual instructors were present. For demonstration’s sake some of these instructors were asked to perform parts of our ritual and believe it or not, mistakes and errors were made. The question that I found interesting was, “If all these ritual instructors can’t do it perfectly, then how can you expect us mortal Masons to do it perfectly,” or something like that.

What struck me as interesting had nothing to do with Masonic ritual, but instead the question of expectations. The person asking the question apparently felt that the level of ritual proficiency to which he was expected to rise was determined by someone else. And I wondered, how much of our lives do we live according to the expectations of others? Do we measure our successes or failures by how well we live up to their expectations? And, if I strive only to live up to the expectations others have of me, do I not run the risk of falling short of my full potential? If I allow someone else to determine what’s expected of me, am I not denying myself a basic freedom of being?

Sure, society places certain expectations on all of us: live within the law of the land, tolerate and be tolerable to your neighbors, wash behind your ears, etc. But, those are simply the parameters we accept in choosing to live in a civilized society. Beyond that, though, is a boundless and limitless world of possibilities and expectations in which you get to choose.

You get to choose what is truly important to you. You choose in what and to what level you excel. You determine what brings you fulfillment, and happiness, and joy. It’s a freedom, a basic human right and responsibility, to set the expectations of your life and you should not relinquish that right nor concede that responsibility to anyone.

That being said, I expect you’d like me to get on with it. So, I will. Have a good week, and spread Light and delight wherever you go.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Video of FairTax debate in Congress

The ‘Special Order’ non-legislative debate on the FairTax plan hosted by Iowan Congressman Steve King marked a milestone moment in the FairTax movement. The bill (HR 25, S 296) now has fifty-one co-sponsors from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, more co-sponsors than ever before. This is a grass-roots movement with legs that will eventually become law. The only question that still exists is how much damage will the politicians do before the people insist on the passage of this bill.

The full video of the ‘Special Order’ debate is below. The first few minutes will give you a good idea of what the FairTax is about. Give it a listen. It’s good stuff.

FairTax Debate on C-Span: time change

Word has just gone out that the ‘Special Order’ non-legislative debate on the FairTax to be held today in Congress and televised on C-Span will be earlier than 6:00 PM, possibly as early as 4:00 or 4:15 EST this afternoon.
The debate will be recorded and posted on YouTube for those who are unable to watch it live. Below is our original announcement with the times changed:

On Tuesday, March 17, 2009, beginning around 4:00 PM EST, Iowa Congressman Steve King will host a ‘Special Order‘ hour of non-legislative debate on the FairTax bill (HR 25, S 296). This event will be televised on C-Span.

If you are not yet familiar with the FairTax plan this will be an excellent opportunity to find out what’s the big deal. Tune in to this televised event to find out not only what the FairTax is about, but also to get an idea of the ignorant, self-serving, and political arguments against it. Should be fun for everyone.

To learn more about the FairTax bill visit www.FairTax.org

To get involved in supporting the FairTax visit FairTaxNation and/or ZapTheIRS.

The money you earn and pay in taxes determines the extent to which the government controls your life. Isn’t it time you had a say in how much that is? Become informed. Get involved. Be a citizen.

Regards,

Tim Couch

Did You Ever Notice?

I hope your day is as sweet as fresh cream butter on a warm yeast roll.

Did you ever notice how little we notice? I stepped out on the back porch a while ago. I went through the usual routine; checked the temperature; took a few deep breaths; considered all the homeowner projects that need doing; shrugged off the panic that comes with considering all the projects that need doing, and then something caught my eye.

My neighbor is building a barn just on the other side of the property line. And, it’s not like he only just started it. It is almost completely framed in. Granted, he works a lot faster than I do but when did all this happen and where was I and why didn’t I notice it sooner? And if I don’t even notice a barn going up right next door, what else have I missed?

It’s not that I don’t care about my neighbors or what’s going on around me. It’s just that I’ve apparently fallen into a habit of focusing only on the little rectangle of life that I control and am responsible for. Which, I guess, is not necessarily a bad thing but what if they were in trouble; what if they needed help; what if they were simply lonely and I just didn’t notice because my focus stops at the property line? What if I needed help? Would they feel comfortable crossing that line to offer assistance, or would they stand on the other side and wait to be asked? When did I become such an isolationist? Am I alone in this, or have we all narrowed our focus to the point that we live parallel lives?

I think I’m going to make more of an effort to know my neighbors. Nothing big, probably. I’ll just take a couple beers and walk down the street until I see someone who looks thirsty. Or maybe I’ll just put a bench out near the curb and sit down and see what happens. Maybe my neighbors would like to know me.

Maybe it’s time to turn off the T.V. and shut down the computer, and venture out into the neighborhoods that surround us. Maybe it’s time to recognize that we’re all in this together, that we all must depend on each other, that life can not exist in a vacuum, nor can a meaningful, rich, and full life be lived in one.

Regards,

Tim Couch

The FairTax is coming round the bend

Did you ever get that prickly feeling at the back of your neck and you just knew something was going to happen? When you were a kid playing around the railroad tracks did you ever put your ear to the track and you knew that something, not too far off, was coming? Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night with that uneasy, but not uncomfortable, feeling that things were about to change? Well, you weren’t wrong.

That prickle at the back of your neck is the feeling of imminent change; that uneasiness is the anticipation of a new direction; and yes, that almost imperceptible vibration you’re feeling is the train coming around the bend and bringing with it, the FairTax.

On Tuesday, March 17, 2009, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, Iowa Congressman Steve King will host a ‘Special Order‘ hour of non-legislative debate on the FairTax bill (HR 25, S 296). This event will be televised on C-Span.

If you are not yet familiar with the FairTax plan this will be an excellent opportunity to find out what’s the big deal. Tune in to this televised event to find out not only what the FairTax is about, but also to get an idea of the ignorant, self-serving, and political arguments against it. Should be fun for everyone.

To learn more about the FairTax bill visit www.FairTax.org

To get involved in supporting the FairTax visit FairTaxNation and/or ZapTheIRS.

The money you earn and pay in taxes determines the extent to which the government controls your life. Isn’t it time you had a say in how much that is? Become informed. Get involved. Be a citizen.

Regards,

Tim Couch

Be Careful What You Say

Are you talkin to me?
You talkin to me?

I hope your day is as sweet and rich and smooth as the finest hot chocolate.

Not all dogs are welcome here at the CowChows. Of course, well behaved dogs are always welcome but my bride has a thing about stepping in yard biscuits and I don’t blame her. I’m not too crazy about them myself. So, the other day when a big black pooch came sniffing around for a tree to leave a present under I was all too happy to oblige when she asked me to run him off.

When conversing with an animal in situations like this I usually try to speak to them in their own language. I flirt with the heifers across the fence and I taunt the bull; I chatter with the grouchy squirrels; I try to engage the neighborhood cat; and yes, I bark with the dogs. I have always thought that it was my tone of voice that mattered more than what I actually said.

So, I came out of the door at a run and headed straight for the dog. I went into my best imitation of a badass Rottweiler……WROOR, WROOR, WROOR, WROOR, WROOR. He took off running as I expected he would, and I stayed after him for a ways to make sure he got my meaning. I was about halfway across the yard, still making my point when I apparently said something about his Mother.

He stopped and turned around. He replied with some pretty nasty sounding language of his own, but I was determined to show him who was boss so I continued my tirade. He started towards me and then it was my turn to stop. We stood in the yard for several minutes arguing loudly in Caninian. We took turns advancing and retreating. It finally dawned on me that this was not an argument I was going to win and I was not prepared for a fight. Besides, he was arguing while I was only making noise. So, I gave him one last WOOF and went inside.

Funny thing was, after I quit making noise he left and hasn’t come back. Hope I didn’t make him mad.

Regards,

Tim Couch

Life among the Trees and Vines

I hope the pleasures of your day blend together like beans and cornbread.

I went for a walk around the place today and as I walked through the trees, taking in the cool winter air and feeling the sun on my face, I happened to notice a vine way up in the top of a walnut tree. It surprised me because while I knew the vine was growing there I wasn’t aware how high it had climbed. Either it was always obscured by the leaves of the tree, or perhaps I just never bothered to look up. The tree hasn’t suffered because of the vine, probably it isn’t even aware of it. But just by being there, by standing strong and tall and straight, this tree has enabled a spindly little vine to climb higher than it ever could have climbed on its own.

The tree was only doing what trees do, and the vine merely accepted the opportunity to climb the tree because that’s what vines do. Doing what comes naturally and accepting the opportunities that the Universe presents. Maybe, I thought, life isn’t supposed to be any more complicated than that.

Regards,

Tim Couch

More Proof of the 80/20 Rule

I hope your day is sweet and satisfying………like a pumpkin-bread and Cool-Whip sandwich.

I imagine you are familiar with the 80 / 20 Rule. Many things in life somehow fall into this rule: 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people; 80 percent of wealth is owned by 20 percent of the people; 80 percent of society’s problems are caused by 20 percent of the people, etc, etc. I recently heard of a study conducted by a brilliant man of science that once again proved the 80 / 20 Rule.

This brilliant man of science, we’ll call him Billy as in Uncle Billy who taught me the science of trajectory with his BB gun when I was a kid, observed during his day to day life that very few people actually did what they said they would do. Not the big things that require a contract or a binding obligation but the little things like, “I’ll have it ready for you in an hour,” or “I’ll call you,” or I’ll be back at 2:00 to pick it up,” the little promises that people make every day. So, Billy decided to keep track. Every time someone would make one of these little promises to him he would write it down. He did this for several months and when he finally tallied up the score he found that 80 percent of people do not keep their word on a day to day basis.

Now, why am I telling you about this? Well, ever since Billy told me about it I haven’t been able to forget it. As a result, I have been making a determined effort to remain in the 20 percent of people that do keep their word. Now you know about it too, and I’m hoping you won’t be able to forget it either.

Regards,

Tim Couch

Stimulus bill finally makes sense

My best shovel at the ready
My best shovel at the ready

I have to admit I’m a bit of a news junkie, and I have been following recent events in Washington with considerable interest and curiosity. All the talk about spending and stimulus and pork and earmarks and recession and recovery and left and right and depression, and yadda yadda yadda can get more than a little confusing. I was actually beginning to think that most of it was just a bunch of talk by the politicians and the analysts to try and justify their continued employment when so many people are losing their jobs.

I was particularly confused by the spending bill because it just didn’t make sense to me. How was a two million dollar ferry boat in San Juan, PR going to stimulate the economy? And, why does the Historic Jazz Society in Kansas City, MO need federal assistance? And, what is “Sustainable Las Vegas” and what’s it going to do with a million bucks? I just didn’t get it.

But then, I came across this: $178,000 to determine the effects of daylight savings time on the average fifty year old caucasion male living in central U.S. in the James River basin, on an eastern sloping hillside, who has a receding hairline, walks slightly bowlegged, and speaks with a southern drawl. As soon as I read that I became very stimulated. I thought, “Hey, I could be that guy.” I dug deeper and finally found the full requirements for qualifying for this assistance. Turned out it was a shovel-ready project so I raced out to the shed and retrieved my best shovel.

I ran back inside and finally found the phone number to call and apply for this very important study. Unfortunately, I forgot to set my clocks forward last night and I missed the deadline by one hour. Oh well, back to the drawing board I suppose. Maybe there’s some money in there to help late blooming baby boomers build boats by the bay.

Sincerely (not),

Tim Couch