Lifestyles Cause Situations

3 Elements of Self Improvement:  Acknowledgement, Analysis, Accountability

An automatic reaction takes place in most people when things go wrong, or when we are corrected for our actions.  The correction can come from a human source such as a boss, but it can also come from a Divine Source in situations that we find ourselves in.  The initial response is usually to make an excuse, or  deflect blame to another source, anything to keep from accepting the responsibility.

Why do we do this?  Because if we are responsible, then we will have to change something.  And if you think everything you do is just fine, then what’s to change?

Dustin Morgan was faced with this reality when he found himself staring at the cold, cinder block walls of a jail cell.  In From Woodstock To Eternity, he is forced to Acknowledge the failure, Analyze what led up to it, and take Accountability for his actions.

Most of the time, when people get caught doing something wrong, they’re not sorry for what they did, but for the fact that they got caught.  They analyze the execution of their plan to see where they messed up, but they never admit that there was anything wrong with the plan in the first place. 

“If I had only done this, or not done that, then it would have worked.”

In this case, it wasn’t the execution – it was the plan!  The vial of coke was there, because that’s how he had planned to live. 

As he stares at the blank, pale yellow walls of his prison cubicle, he knows that as long as he continues living this way, the vulnerability will be there – like stripes on a tiger.  No amount of precautions or self-imposed checks and balances will guarantee it won’t happen again.  There will always be a forgotten roach in the ashtray, an open container in the car, a misplaced film tin in the trunk, an empty vial in the suitcase.  And they will always lead back to this place.  It’s worse than that.  The next time he gets caught, it’ll lead to the state penitentiary.

1.  Acknowledgement – It’s Not Working:  You have to admit something is wrong before

Stop Computer Key

you will ever try to fix it.  This is the hardest part, because if we do admit that something is wrong in our life, then that means we have to fix it.  That means change.

2. Analyze the Root Cause:  Decisions have consequences, but our decisions come out of our lifestyles.  Our lifestyle is where we

Problems Or Solutions

have put the treasure of our heart – friends, activities, style, fads, language, etc.  If your lifestyle is undisciplined, your decisions will tend toward avoiding self discipline.  If you are hard working and organized, your decisions will tend toward taking on the task.

3.  Accountability – Accepting the Blame and Creating Solutions: bible closed This is the final key to self improvement.  Take responsibility and come up with a new plan that will avoid the mistakes of the past and pave the way for a better future.  Dustin Morgan vowed to raise his family up in the Lord, and he did.  This one commitment changed his life and that of those around him for the better.

A Tribute to Ralph

Ralph the Dog:  A legend in her own time!

One of the only subjects who did not get an alias in the book, From Woodstock To Eternity is the hero’s blonde companion, Ralph.  Ralph was unique from all other dogs in the world, because she was a human hidden inside a dog body.  That’s right, I said “she”.  This female German Shepherd/ Border Collie mix was called Ralph because she had an owner for a couple of weeks after she was born, and he said that she just looked like a Ralph.  So, he named her Ralph, which turned out to be the perfect name for a blonde, female German Shepherd.

Ralph could communicate with her eyes and her tail.  Any combination of expressions from these two features would say what she wanted to say.  She could plead, show that she was happy or sad, know when she was in trouble, and give advice on world affairs.  She was a diplomat of the highest order, making herself known in all of the Blacksburg community in the early 1970’s.

From Woodstock To Eternity

From Woodstock To Eternity

Ralph was even featured in a book about the culturally explosive times of the Woodstock era.  Immortalized in print, she became one of the leading supporting characters to her owner, Captain Dustin Morgan.  Here is an excerpt….

You’ve always got the one companion who never leaves you, is always there, patiently waiting.  She doesn’t care if you’re drunk, or tripping, or speeding, or early or late, or anything; as long as she is with you.  She doesn’t complain, doesn’t criticize, doesn’t

Ralph at two years old

Ralph at two years old

whine.  Yes, she’s been sitting out in the truck for hours now, just waiting for you to come back.  That’s what I need to do.  I need to get up right now and go out West.  I need to go to Colorado.

….. Sitting faithfully in the passenger’s seat, overjoyed at his return, is his female companion; his blonde German Shepherd, Ralph.

“Ralphie, girl, guess what?  We’re goin’ to Colorado!  What do you think about that?”

Pound, pound, pound. 

The tail beats against the seat cushion as she licks his hand and whimpers with glee that her master is back.

“You know you’re just a dog.  You’re not a human, and you can’t talk.  You’re never gonna talk, even though you think you can talk.  Now just get all that out of your head.”

Pound, pound, pound.

People still talk about her today, and she will forever be known as Ralph the Dog.