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Everything Life

A Decision to Grow

Time moves quicker as we age, our decisions have more of an impact.  We don’t just determine the events of the day or week, each decision affects us for months, seasons, years. As our social web grows the time with each person shrinks. Time is of the essence, eventually the universe encourages us to pursue our destiny.

Wise choices are seldom easy, our greatest triumphs will be a result of our most difficult decisions. Embrace challenges — the tougher a situation, the stronger and more equipped you’ll be once you overcome it.

Plan for growth and constantly seek new perspectives, increased awareness, improved health and bliss.

The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
Lao Tzu

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Everything Life

A Guide to Life As I Know It, 24 Revolutions Around the Sun

I’m floating above the clouds.  Above Earth’s cotton blanket effortlessly scooting through the sky like it’s no big deal.  Here at 10,000 feet it seems nothing can bother me. Trees and beautiful houses pepper the landscape as I coast away from the Connecticut backdrop that’s been so familiar my entire life.

Spending two weeks back home was an uplifting and comforting experience.  Football tossing, familiar faces, lifetime friends; watching the eternal movie play out in front of my eyes.  Each day a new scene, each moment a new endeavor and eye-opening experience never to be devalued.

Everything is a lesson. Life is short, you’ve got to go after things. After venturing from the nest, immediately I realized each movement was not only completely new to me, but would prove to teach me some of the greatest life lessons I could imagine, ones that will prove most valuable to me as I continue the dance of life.

I’ve struggled to create a career for over 6 years now, but I’ve realized though there may be overwhelming evidence something will go a certain way doesn’t mean it actually will.  When it comes to success, it’s easy to blame lack of progress on something out of reach.  “Well, if I had that, I’d be successful.” Pursuit of this magic solution begins, only to realize later you had it all wrong.

Nothing good is ever easy, nothing will be handed to you and there is no magic solution to anything.  At the end of the day, you need to provide value.  You need to help people. You need to produce something. And ultimately, you need to work. Hard.

You need customers and you need those customers to be happy.  You need repeat customers. You need to provide something people can talk to each other about.   We’re all just human, everybody poops. Realize that you’re selling to yourself, otherwise your efforts may be completely backwards.

“The key to having a successful business is you have to stick with it.” – Marc Laffer

So I’m back to the drawing board once again, but this time with a slightly different mindset, a mindset that has taken me my entire life to understand.  The journey never stops, all you can do is grow, build, learn and execute. Here are some developments that have helped me understand, hopefully they can help you too.

Keep it simple

This is by far the most important thing to remember.

Focus on what really matters

You’ll never have everything you want. Life is short. What matters most in life is health, family & friends, everlasting love, respect and happiness for all.

Work smarter

Eliminate everything unnecessary. Get out of your head. Most decisions I’ve made in life would likely have played out better had I gone with my original thought. Your gut feeling is correct, your soul channels truth; listen to it.

As a society it seems we do what makes cents, not what makes sense. Money is not evil, greed is evil.  Greedy people are evil.  Don’t blame your problems on money and don’t believe that money is always the answer to your problems.  Money is important, but has its place. Don’t allow money to cloud your vision, let it supplement your vision.

Take care of yourself

Be aware and alert of every move you make. Don’t over-analyze, but always monitor your progress.  There is a weird and unexplainable sensation that comes from writing things down. Documenting your growth. A message from your past, even if it was only an hour ago.

Put your phone away for a minute

I’m all for making plans, connectivity and technology. Mobile devices have and will continue to transform global communication at record pace.  However, you might be surprised how good you feel when your phone is left in the car, at home, on silent or kept it in your pocket while you spend time with people.  Just saying.

Do things by yourself

I arrived in a new city and didn’t really know anybody.  There wasn’t yet enough time to compile a crew with similar interests. One night I thought about what I wanted to do and did it. I went to Miami and danced. For hours. It was everything I wanted it to be. I left at 5am; sweaty, exhilarated and grinning from ear to ear.

Some of the most eye opening moments of my life have come when I examined myself introspectively, looking at what I contribute to the world, society, humanity, my social circle, my family, my country, my environment.  I considered what came to mind when people thought of me and it enhanced my understand of what I’m broadcasting to the world.

Look ahead

Pay close attention and you can see yourself in the future.  Look ‘back’ on your current self and you’ll likely say, “It sure was great being right there, right then, in that moment.”

At 24 years old I often look 10 years into the future and think about how I’d wish I was still 24.  What else do I want to remember?  A great way to understand where you want to be in life is to look at the story you might tell someone down the line.  What you did, how you did it and how it shaped you into the person you are today.

These everyday experiences are of exceptional importance – for they shape the person we design ourselves to be.

Dance

It’s fun.  Perception is everything.  One may interpret somebody dancing in the street in two ways:

  1. Look how stupid he/she looks.
  2. Look how happy he/she looks.

Have you ever seen somebody unhappy, dancing? Perhaps that’s why.  Don’t feel comfortable just coming right out with it? Dance alone. Dance in the dark. Go out of town and dance somewhere you know nobody.  That way if you do the robot, slip on a spilled drink and eat it, you can vanish and never be seen again.

Step out of your comfort zone

Go after it.  Failure is a prerequisite to success. You will fail many times in your life while exploring options and trying new things. Failing is not failure, but a necessary stepping stone to the next level.

Don’t let somebody else to hold the key to your happiness

“Existence is a sport.”  – Tim Napoli

Don’t for a minute believe things will be handed to you without first experiencing seemingly countless trips down the wrong path.

Do Yoga

Doing P90X was one of the greater decisions I’ve made in my life to this point.  It’s not about the workout video, the moves, or even P90X specifically; it’s about stepping outside your bubble.  Staying dedicated, noticing improvement, following through with a commitment and enjoying the reward.

I always dismissed Yoga for some reason, not really my scene.  It requires lots of uncomfortable stretching and weird positions I couldn’t imagine would benefit me. Oh how wrong I was.  Yoga has taught me several key tidbits of information and even some rather significant insights on life:

  1. Stretching is great.
    I used to hate stretching and always rushed through it.  Little did I know that concentrated, calm stretching hits every muscle in your body, makes you feel alive and causes you to sweat from places you didn’t know you could sweat from.
  2. There is a huge benefit in clearing your mind
    Clearing your head for Yoga is the only way to really push yourself.  Same goes for real life. We exert energy from the strangest places and don’t even realize it.
  3. Yoga helps you understand your body
    By relaxing your muscles and focusing on the stretch you can completely engage with the activity and get the most out of your workout.
  4. Take a similar approach to issues in your daily life
    Focus on the task at hand and only that, complete your objective and transfer to the next order of business.

Timing is everything

Never let the opinions, goals, insights or motives of others crush your true aspirations, dreams and ambitions.  Your path is yours only.

Call your Mom

I love you Mom!

Smile

Every situation inevitably improves when you spend more time smiling.  Pleasure radiates.  Broadcast positive vibes or else your cluttering the airspace with negativity.

Understand your fears

Be proactive. Be reactive.  Don’t revel in what you’ve done, plan for what you’ll do next.  Stacking accomplishments will boost drive and self-confidence, the essential and most important ingredients to finding success in anything.

Listen. Then listen to nothing.

Hear. Understand. Silence is golden.

Express yourself

Find a mental and spiritual release, make it a habit of your daily life. Read, write, paint, sing, dance, swim; whatever.  Immerse yourself in nature, you’ll realize the simplicity of it all.

Be independent

But remember we’re all on the same team.

Manage your finances

Everything is peachy when you detach from society and connect with yourself; but remember if you want to revel in the pleasures of society you must return the favor by doing right by your obligations.

Learn yourself

Thinking about how somebody might describe you to others is an easy and quick analysis of who you want to be in the world. Never be afraid to do exactly what you want to do, believe what you believe in or share what matters to you.

Go!

Set achievable goals, then go after them.

If you’re impressed by what somebody else can do, do it better.

Realize there are always countless opportunities surfacing every day.

Tell people how you feel about them

Embrace life. Communicate. Nobody knows what’s in your head unless you tell them.

Understand those who are your true friends; but have compassion for all. You may be standing next to the most amazing person you’ll never know.

Think. Then hustle.

“Thinking is the work. It is hard work. But with thought you can jump from last to first even if you come late.” – Rick Schwartz

My colleague Benjamin Evans once said “SEO is a casserole.” Truth. Similarly, success and growth are a casserole.  A combination of many ingredients, perfectly balanced and added over time.

Proper ingredients won’t make a great pie if it isn’t cooked properly.  A brand new oven can’t make bad ingredients taste good. Find balance in every step of the process.

Stay aware of the present

“Bring it. What do you got in you?” – Tony Horton

Your life can and will completely change at a moments notice.

“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.” – Unknown

“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” – John Wooden

Good things take time

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay

You know way more than you think you know

Acknowledge that you can drastically change your life by altering your frame of mind.  Your frame of mind is the lens through which you see and interpret happiness.  Your happiness is a direct result of your outlook on life.

Breathe deeply, close your eyes in the Sun, channel the glory of existence and realize once you’ve defeated your fears; the truth is all that’s left.

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Everything Internet

My Discontent with Black Hat SEO and Why I Refuse to Take the Easy Way Out

Black hat SEO, black hat marketing or shady business dealings aiming to abuse or game the system for short-term gain will end up hurting your cause far more than the temporary progress initially presented.

Lately, I’ve seen a notable increase in advertising inquiries for several of my online properties.  Some are from respectable businesses and amazing people who seek the grow their enterprise in a legitimate (though difficult) way. The others are from shady people seeking to scheme the system for temporary personal gain. These same individuals are adversely affecting not only the internet but humankind in general; their efforts consistently cloud the cipher and force those who play by the rules to jump through hoops in order to make real progress.

These people have no foresight and for some reason feel if they can get away with something, who’s to care how it adversely affects everyone else.

Earlier this evening I received an email with a truly authentic feel but undeniably shady undertones. It used all the familiar techniques of a legitimate email to gain my trust, then casually slipped in an exceptionally sketchy proposal with hopes I wouldn’t pick up on it. Hopes that maybe I’d follow through with their “opportunity,” take the money and run.

In life and in business I feel the only way to make progress is to be real. To not focus on the now but instead focus on the whole picture. Realize the relationships you make today and the bridges you burn today will follow you around.  Every decision is crucial.

In this isolated incident I refer specifically to a person trying to buy links in a shady manner.  Had I not truly cared about the internet like I do, or had I believed it’s fine for me to take some quick money and look the other way, I would surely have felt the effects somewhere down the line.

I never want to be left holding the bag. To me it seems the only method is to never fall victim to the easy way out and instead focus on integrity, trust and broadcasting all that I truly believe in, not just what I think will benefit me right now.

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Business Everything Life

Passion vs. Profit – Struggling To Do What You Love and 14 Lessons to Stay Focused

Ever been here? ^

We’ve heard it before. The familiar phrases: struggling artist, struggling new business owner, unnoticed blogger, battling against the odds. Someone mentions following an unfamiliar path and immediately the peanut gallery is quick to submit an opinion on why it’s not a good idea. There are clearly much safer choices.

Society tends to deter the inspired from following the career path of an artist, actor, writer, creator or somebody who lives their life in an unfamiliar way; by alluding to a life without money, a continuous or never ending struggle, one in a million chances of success or by suggesting we face this apparent reality that we’re not special enough – those people are ‘lucky.’

“After all, we can’t all be artists can we? Who’s going to pick up the trash?”

Eventually you start to believe crazy things:

I couldn’t possibly work hard for something until it succeeds. Nobody ages, positions of power never shift and there isn’t a soul out there that might agree with me. The market is too saturated, there isn’t room for me in that industry, those guys are much better than I am. A range of discouraging notions cycle in your head until you’ve convinced yourself they were right. Everything you’ve thought, everything you’ve believed in up until this point, everything you’ve worked for to attain your dreams was a false reality you’ve created for yourself. All of this was for nothing.

Time to give up, throw in the towel, you can’t get it done. Can’t figure out how you want to spend every day of your life? Well you’d better figure it out. There’s always just enough money out there to convince you going for it isn’t worth a shot.

R E L A X. Turns out nobody has truly mastered this game, we’re all just playing; learning new things every day. Following the dream introduces a difficult obstacle course and sometimes your mind can throw you into a spiral. This is a list of 14 lessons I’ve been taught to remind and motivate (us) to keep struggling to do what we really want to do.

1. What you hear becomes what you believe

The more you tell something to other people, the more you hear yourself say it, the more you will believe it. Be truthful and honest to yourself and others, it will pay off in the long run. “Stop saying why it won’t work and focus on why it will.”

2. Don’t try to be perfect

Perfection is an illusion; people can appreciate you’re not perfect. Make your greatest effort at what’s important, deliver and move forward. Obsessing over details slows your progress, questioning yourself will leave all your projects 75% completed. Today’s headlines are tomorrow’s history. Learn from it and keep on moving.

3. Ideas are ideas

Until you’ve taken the first step, an idea floats around as a temporary projection of something desired. Though simple, writing things down is more substantial than saying “that’s a good idea, I should do that.”

4. You need to believe it

If you don’t believe in what you do, what you’re selling or what you’re talking about – then what are we talking about?

5. Work smart

Tackle what’s most important first, one step at a time. If you’re starting to panic, walk away. Go outside. Relax and come back later. This step is not negotiable. Panic causes quick, rash decisions and completely stops your creativity.

6. React appropriately

How you feel determines how you’ll feel. Don’t get caught up in the moment and make hasty decisions. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Unknown

7. There will always be haters

“When you feed people the truth, you don’t know how they’re going to react … Be patient, for now.” – Nas

8. Take Risks

9. Trust Yourself

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

10. Enjoy it

Take a deep breath and gaze from time to time. Somehow gain pleasure from what you do or it’s not worth doing.

 

11. There is a time for everything

Time to relax, time to hustle, time to work, time to laugh, time to cry. Focus on each while you’re in it, embrace it; but realize everything happens in waves and vibrations; nothing ever stops moving.

 

12. Never give up, keep trying

If you enjoy the time you spend, you’re not spending time at all.

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Steve Jobs

Alright, lets pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
Lets pretend things would have been no different
Pretend he procrastinated, had no motivation
Pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin, they could blow away with the wind
Marshall you’re never gonna make it, makes no sense to play the game there ain’t no way that you’ll win
Pretend he just stayed outside all day and played with his friends
Pretend he even had a friend to say was his friend

Eminem – Airplanes Pt. 2

13. Passion will drive you keep trying

If you’re in it for the wrong reasons, frustration will eventually drive you to give up. Otherwise, it will only motivate you to keep trying harder. To find the right way, you’ll first discover seemingly countless wrong ways. If you haven’t yet succeeded to where you believe is appropriate, you haven’t yet exhausted every possible option – there is always a better way of doing everything.

– Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

– I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

– There is always a better way.

– We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.

Thomas Edison

14. Pursue Happiness

Really the goal in life is happiness. The answer to life is be happy with what you have. I asked my 88 year old Grandfather what is the most important thing in life. Without hesitation, “your health.” How you feel affects everything you do, understand yourself. Live, Love and Prosper!

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Everything

Life In A New Environment

Growing up I was lucky to have the opportunity to build strong relationships with people without the risk of having them stolen away. Being in the same neighborhood and school system from kindergarten to high school graduation gives you plenty of time to really know and understand the people in your life, as well as recognize who your real friends are.

I found myself face to face with how quickly life moves at the wedding of a preschool chum, 16 years after we’d first played in the sandbox together. Kids I’d known since Elementary School sat across the table and around the room now as adults in classy attire, all so much different yet so much the same. As far apart as we have been and can be, we all grew up together and are a part of each other despite what we become. There was a nostalgia in the room that day, but also an optimistic recognition of the journey ahead. Events like a friend’s wedding used to seem so far off, now here it was playing out in front of me as if another scene in the movie of real life.

Knowing the people around you and being ingrained in a community is a comforting and easy going feeling. Living surrounded by people you know and love gives you a sense of safety that tends to make life this cushy bubble you just bounce around in. You build your reputation and carry it around with you, its not one of those living situations where the people you converse with today might never be seen again. You build integrity, value and trust with one another, thus creating relationships that support you when things aren’t going smoothly. You become accountable to the community and your place in it, everybody has connections to everybody in one way or the other.

Seeing people you know around town becomes part of the routine. Eventually, you can forget how you’re interacting with the people in your life and simply assume the role of “you.” You embody what you’ve imagined yourself to be in this particular environment and that’s how you approach every situation. Eventually you do things that “you would do” instead of challenging yourself to take a different route. It’s not that you’re changing yourself, but perhaps instead you aren’t allowing yourself to be changed. Plainly enough, when you’re not forced to reevaluate parts of your life, you don’t. If it’s not broken, why fix it? I learned that once its broken you might find a better way of putting it back together. Change causes growth and growth gives you power, but you can only grow with first the desire to change.

The challenge of something unfamiliar is what keeps living interesting. Taking a risk in life even to avoid saying “what if?” somewhere down the line becomes an acceptable approach. I can safely say theres too much to know in a lifetime; instead of trying to conquer it all, we must choose the path most intriguing to us.

As these strikingly real events like children, marriage, travel, career, relocation and unmistakable growth began to surface amongst my peers, it became clear it was time for a challenge. If failure is a prerequisite to success then nothing is lost in any attempt. Getting to where you want to be in life becomes less of a dream and more of a question of how long you’re willing to work to get there. It all comes back to a simple risk, are you willing to try what you don’t know you can do for sure? I soon learned not knowing what you’ll create for yourself next is the most compelling aspect of the journey.

One day I decided to challenge myself to do something I wasn’t so sure I could pull off. I left everything familiar to me behind, packed everything I could fit in my car and moved 1300 miles to Florida without a plan. As it turns out, making an attempt at something you’re unsure of is really empowering. Even making the decision to challenge myself immediately opened my mind to all the possibilities a new environment has to offer. Its weird how your entire perspective can change while you sit in the same place; you could imagine how it changes when you’re moving.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” – Wayne Dyer

“Don’t say you can’t, say ‘I presently struggle with.'” – Tony Horton

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Chronicles Everything

Refine

With 2008 upon us, it seems now would be as appropriate a time as any for us to take just a few minutes to take a step back. A step back to reflect on our lives up to this point, think about how we handled 2007 and prepare for the year ahead.

What did 2007 mean to you? How much did you change in 365 days? What’s going to change now that we’re crossing into ’08? Have you met the goals you set for yourself?

In this new year try to continue setting your goals daily, always raising the bar, always keeping on the up and up, always envisioning the next movement, and always preparing to outdo yourself. It won’t be easy, but what is?

With this new year comes a new beginning. Once again, we’re on the brink of a new opportunity.

An opportunity to make things right. Shift your mind, shift your perceptions, open the door and walk through without delay. How or what you choose to shift is entirely up to you. If you decide to do something to improve yourself, there’s no time to put things off – act immediately. What are you waiting for? Often times it seems thinking about the difficulty of the task at hand is more excruciating than actually doing it.

Your mind is a powerful tool, an extremely powerful tool. It determines where you take yourself, how you carry yourself there and what you do once you’ve arrived. We can accomplish whatever goals we set for ourselves. Just keep going, keep climbing. Go further. Go just a little bit further, every single day.

I consider myself a pretty amateur cat in this game of life. Because of this I don’t come bearing specific advice, guidance, the key or the answers. I simply share my thoughts; I share them with you just as I’m sharing them with myself. I come as a player, a teammate, a fellow colleague on this field of existence known as life.

As a fellow player in this game I’ve come to realize some of the complexities of life while continuing to learn new ones along the way. In this game: the players change, the rules change, there are no referees, the hall of fame is too broad to contain in one location and there are millions of ways to both win and lose. You can even lose and win simultaneously. In comparison to the games we’ve created for ourselves and our society, I can honestly say I’ve never played one quite like this.

The great part about this game is although we’re all technically on the same playing field, there is no opposing team, no enemy and there doesn’t always have to be a loser. However, enemies can create themselves, alliances can develop and the rules can be ignored. We can regulate to the best of our abilities; but quite frankly there’s just no referee, no time limit and no rules.

Yet we must keep playing, keep redefining and keep moving forward. Disregard those who manipulate the game and play it your own way. You will meet likeminded teammates along the way. Together… any feat is attainable.

In my most recent entry to ambition, I wrote “Never settle for less, fuck satisfaction.” This applies to the game, ourselves, our relationships, our world, our lives, our future and present. A motto, if you will.

A wise man by the name of Chuck Drury once said, “Every day you get better at something or you get worse at it, you never stay the same.” Thoroughly examine his words and you too shall realize nothing is truly permanent. I’ve heard that nothing in life is guaranteed but death – so shape your own existence.

Like us, this world is changing, we are changing, everything is evolving. Prepare yourself accordingly by continuing to better yourself. Continue to develop your ambitions, heighten your expectations, express your thoughts, build your world, continue setting and pursuing your goals, strengthen your relationships and never ever disregard or ignore that which inspires you. The mind truly is a terrible thing to waste.

Take part in this evolution, this revolution, this bright new day. As we embark on 2008, nobody knows what lies ahead. We can only continue shaping everything we know and love into something better and better.

We are the future, and it begins now.

[quote]”Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
– Chuck Drury[/quote]

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Chronicles Everything

Opportunity

Here you stand on the brink of a new opportunity. A new beginning, an open door, an endless possibility.

What to think, how to feel, where to focus the mind? So much going on, you can really never have everything exactly as you’d like it. You can only hustle, keep moving, keep attacking, never back down, never surrender. Just like he said; one thing at a time. Over think and you’ll overwhelm.

You can do this, never give up, never back down. This is just a day, a shot. The time is now. Never look back, look forward. Look forward but don’t force yourself to see everything. Go with the flow, feel the rhythm. Feel it on the inside. Feel it on the outside. Feel it in your heart.

Inspire, inspire yourself, convince yourself, show yourself.
Prove yourself.

Dare to be great. Dare to pave the way.
Dare to make the move. Dare to move forward.
Dare to believe in yourself. Dare to believe.

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Chronicles Everything

Farewell

Ambitious mind, thoughts spill fluent in the darkness
Overlook the world through the windows of my fortress.

Spending mental dollars trying to calculate this life
Keeping track of change with each green leaf to the knife.

Mind remains stainless even through times of anguish
Until unexpected words cause personal issue to vanquish.

Find a job, go to school, get to the library
Then to witness grueling examples of how life is temporary.

Heat rushes from the furnace, the pilot light is on
Yet things never remain the same with each recurring dawn.

A week ago there was a friend, a brother and a son
A captain and a colleague, a defender on the run.

A voice behind the stretches, some comfort in the trenches
One who’s main concern lie between those metal benches.

It’s so hard to see life end so shortly after it’s begun
Though he would want us to remember having so much fun.

Who knew how far one could touch with the mere wingspan of a man
If you couldn’t realize before perhaps now you can.

Funny thing about words which makes writing so easy and so tough
When you want them there’s too many,
When you need them there’s never enough.

There’s a million words to say but not enough to say it right
Though nothing can change the fact we’re playing one short tonight.

Though we can’t all be together to raise up our brew
There are still a few things that can bring him to you.

Look to the sky, to the sun or the moon
Picture a cool winter day or a sunny afternoon.

Just like the weather he will always be there
From the warm sun on your face to the wind in your hair.

Remember the laughs, the jokes and the tears
Remember the triumphs, the victories and the cheers.

His soul remains in our hearts and in every bit of Pomperaug High
In every blade of grass, in every star in the sky.

From when he walked this Earth to when he entered Heaven’s door
There was nobody like our friend Will Rickert, number 54. 

Rest In Peace Will Rickert
10/20/07

LLFIST forever.