Young Men in the Streets by Darian G. Burns

*This one is for Andy

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Young men in the streets,

Youth’s eternity is not forever,

          Shadows hide their pranks,

High-fives in the morning.

Beers and belches accompany

Moisture in the nights air,

          Settling upon the faces

Of young men in the streets.

On the edge of ruin,

Over the ledge to freedom!

          This moment is only now,

Grab it – youth’s glory.

Your innocence like a bullet,

Piercing all you have known.

         Never again returning,

To men who will live the learning.

Fifty by Darian G. Burns

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With a clothes pin in her lips-
And two more in her hand
She hangs the cotton dresses
That have clothed her life.

Fifty is not as old as she once thought,
Nor as young as she wishes;
Not on her knees,
Not on a heart worn by regret.

She is not as sure about
as much as she once was.
But that of which she is?
It will stand until the end.

A sunset is worth your time –
Every time.
Feel it’s warmth upon your face.

She does not move or decide,
Nor act or love as quickly as twenty-nine.
But neither does she creak slowly through her life
As do those who have grown bitter.

She moves like a river-
Steady, flowing, changing
When the bend is needed.

As a wind whips itself up off the valley floor
It whistles through the pines,
Scatters the crows, scurries the pups
And blows through her greying hair.

Beauty can appear in a moment
Before it is gone.
The river rolls.
The sun rises and sets.
You never know which way the wind will blow.

For now it flaps dresses in the breeze
And she hears her mother singing
Through the willows.
In this sacred moment she turns,

And with a hymn upon her cheek
She feels the grass through her toes.
The same as it felt
The very first time.

Do You Remember?

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Do You Remember? by Darian G. Burns

Do you remember
When old men
Sat on the Courthouse Square
And swore at Presidents and politicians?
“I’d kill ‘em all if I was able,”
The most outspoken would say.
Do you remember?
Where have they all gone?
Behind the locked door of their homes
Waiting for a knock
Do you remember
Before Big Brother was listening?

Colors Van Gogh by Darian G. Burns

I began this tonight. I am sure it will evolve over time but I like where it is going.

Colors Van Gogh
Light this starry sky,
In the stillness of the night
Reflecting on the river I sit by.
Peaceful as the Rhone.
Oh Vincent
If your spirit had only known
The beauty and peace –
Colors Van Gogh have shown.

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The Adrenal Reset Diet by Alan Christianson, MD

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Since my heart attack in 2010 and my stroke in 2014 I have been on a quest for better health. I began biking, walking, working out and trying to eat healthily. One of the things I am most proud of is kicking my 30 year Dr. Pepper habit. There were many days that I was easily drinking a 12 pack of Dr. Pepper before I gave it up last summer.’

Another aspect of my quest has been reading books on healthier living, including many diet books. Many have been solid and helpful while many more have been a waste of time. For those who know it is no surprise that a huge hurdle in my journey towards better health is my life-long battle with insomnia. I have had difficulty sleeping most of my life, and it has seemed to increase as each year has passed. There have been, and continue to be, many days where I function on only a couple of hours of sleep. This has gone on for weeks at a time before a break will come, and I will get a full nights sleep.

Lack of sleep affects the mind and all the body’s organs, but it particularly takes a toll upon the heart. It can cause weight gain, depression, lethargy, digestive problems as well as many other negative consequences upon your health.

Imagine my interest when I received Dr. Alan Christianson’s book “The Adrenal Reset Diet” and read that many health issues, particularly sleeping disorders, are connected to diet and its effects upon the body’s adrenal gland. Having just finished the book, I have not yet begun the diet; however, I have hope.

In “The Adrenal Reset Diet” you learn about the importance of light therapy, carbohydrate cycling, how to control stress levels, and how to reset your sleep patterns and habits. This summer I will be giving the book’s recommendations and diet a try and will report back my results. Until then, I could not recommend this book more highly. It is well researched yet not too difficult to understand. The best thing for me is Dr. Christianson promises that I can get into a heathy pattern of solid sleep. I can not wait to find out if he is right.

Skip “The Burn” by Haylie Pomroy

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Excited would best describe my emotions when I received “The Burn” by . Having had a great experience with Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules and Skinny Cookbook I was energized and ready to try something new. Disappointed, sick and exhausted would describe how I felt after just one week trying to live with “The Burn.”

The book is problematic for a number of reasons:

It is not a sustainable lifestyle of eating. I am not interested in a quick diet that cannot be maintained. I wasn’t to know how to live healthy and light.
The cost of the items required was through the roof! If I wanted a quick diet that was unsustainable which cost too much I could have done something far easier and faster. There are hundreds of them on the market.
Once you are able the purchase the stuff for the diet, it took HOURS of preparation.
Once you bought and prepared the food, there was NO REWARD for your hard earned dollars and time. Most of the meals, shakes and teas were hardly edible. The teas, for example, were so thick they felt like bile going down and did not taste much better.
In the end, I felt terrible. I had no energy, could not work out and ended up getting sick with constant stomach problems.

In the end, unless you have tons of extra cash and time plus you don’t mind diarrhea nor the taste and feel of your food stay away from “The Burn.” Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I had no permanent weight loss.

Skinny Habits

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When I began reading Bob Harper’s “Skinny Habits” I had no idea that he had already published three previous books on the subject of dieting. However, “Skinny Habits” was so good that, once I was finished reading it, I immediately when out and got copies of “The Skinny Rules,” “Skinny Meals,” and “Jump Start to Skinny.” As I sit here and write this review, I m drinking an Apple Pie Shake from one of Harper’s recipes. Harper knows his stuff.

What I like most about “Skinny Habits,” and all Harper’s books, is that it is practical and full of common sense. There is no huge master plan or diet. From the very beginning Harper tells you that if you want to lose weight and be healthy, you will have to change the way you live – Not just change how you eat but change how you live and look at life. Bob’s advice is realistic and doable.

After my stroke a little over a year ago and a heart attack two years prior to that, I decided to change my life. I removed stress and stressful negative people as much as I could. We moved to a healthier environment in Colorado. I became more active, and I went on a diet and lost 40 pounds. Now, “Skinny Habits” is the next piece of the puzzle toward my healthy future. Harper has shown me where to take my next step and how to maintain the progress that has already been made. I highly recommend this book. In fact, I recommend all his books!

5 Free Christmas Classics for Kindle!

Merry Christmas!  Here are 5 free Christmas Classics for Kindle.  Just click on the book cover and it will take you to Amazon and your free book:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

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The Gift of the Magi by O Henry

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The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories

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Old Christmas by Washington Irving

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A Man & His Dog

A Man & His Dog

A Man & His Dog by Darian G. Burns

His dog would do the most peculiar thing
He would cuddle his master
While using his paw to pet and stroke
The master’s head.
Everyone thought this to be beautiful
Except for Richard the math teacher
Who used to be an engineer.
He thought it to be wholly out of order –
against the nature of things.
Miracles do not happen
All that occurs can be explained.
So the beauty is lost and love is unseen.
Except between the man and his dog.

Ferguson, Injustice, Truth, & Peace

Ferguson

Ferguson, Injustice, Truth & Peace

Frustrated and sad. But frustrated above all things. That is how I would describe my thoughts about Ferguson. It should come as no surprise that my opinion of Ferguson falls somewhere in the middle and therefore likely satisfies no one. That is the story of my life whether it be theology, politics, people. I tend to not see things dualistically. Instead of “either or” my mind has always been drawn to “both and”. Its incredibly frustrating going through life like this because sometime in my early teens I realized that the vast majority of people do not see things the way that I do. I’m not sure why I am this way; I just am. Ferguson is the latest best example of my mind’s refusal to toe the dualistic line.

In my quest to come to a solid opinion on the matter, to choose a side so to speak, I decided to ignore the sensationalistic news reports, stop reading blogs and Face-Book post on Ferguson. Instead, I read much of the official evidence and testimony. Here is a link to all the evidence submitted to the grand jury. FERGUSON EVIDENCE It offers both sides of the story and gives every relevant party’s side of what occurred. I encourage you to read it.

Unfortunately, after looking at the evidence, I ended up where I began. Ferguson is a tragedy of epic proportions for everyone involved. The evidence gives us a young man who has lost his way and has just robbed a store, that is undisputed. He, like almost everyone who has grown up in his environment, is distrustful and hostile to police. Not because he is a thug but because he has seen innocent blacks harassed, abused and arrested. He has seen the proportion of force used excessive toward black males when compared to while males. Finally, more than anything, he has seen a justice system that is unjust toward black males. Our justice system is terribly broken, and black Americans have the right to be angry and demand the injustice end. Too many sons, brothers and husbands have died or disappeared into prisons.

There is also a young cop who has a good record. There is no reason to assume this particular cop acted with malice unless you assume all cops do so. The worst possible thing he did is that he panicked while considering himself under attack. A large criminal, who had just robbed a convince store and accosted its clerk, came through the cop’s window and attempted to take his gun from him. He then refused to obey a police officer and dared the officer to shoot him. He then turned and charged toward the officer “like a bull” according to a black eye witness. He was shot. It’s sad. It’s unfortunate. It is devastating for the family and friends of Michael Brown, but it was not a crime.

The crime here is not Darren Wilson’s, and it is not even Michael Brown’s. The crime that MUST be addressed is our broken criminal justice system when it comes to black men. Dr. King’s dream of racial harmony and equality will never occur until blacks are treated equally when it comes to crime and justice. However, Ferguson is NOT the case to make the point, and I fear the cause may be set back and actually harmed if the case continues to be used in this way.

Who among us would not use force against a male attacker who is several inches taller and pounds heavier than us? Who would not use deadly force against this male when he has entered our car through the window and fought us for a firearm? Who would not shoot when the same male turns towards us and charges? If you go to the evidence through the link above these facts are indisputable as given by a number of black eyewitnesses.

I understand the anger. I really do, and I share it as much as a white man who has not lived it can. But let’s use this as a teaching moment to bring justice not inflict another injustice. Let us not act or speak for revenge but redemption, renewal, and restoration. Darren Wilson is not responsible for the criminal injustice many blacks have faced in our judicial system, and he should not be the scapegoat for it. No good will come from that. America is responsible for the injustice of our judicial system toward blacks, and it will take America coming together to fix the problem. Nothing will be achieved by our further alienating one another and stoking the flames of fear and hate.

Ferguson is a national tragedy, but it can be a tragedy redeemed if we listen, learn, and act. Let the change begin today.