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The Blessed Boast

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 05/26/2023

Really? show art Really?

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' it Real, Cam Marston wonders if we prefer entertainment to anything of substance. And frets over the consequences. ----- I hope everyone had a nice July Fourth holiday. On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted and signed. It has proven to be one of the most influential documents in world history, generating demands for independence and self-rule across the world. Eleven years later, in 1787, the US Constitution was created and was then ratified about a year later. The energy and enthusiasm and aspirations of these two documents propelled...

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The Roost is Full show art The Roost is Full

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

The roost is full at Cam's house. And on this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares that it may never be this way ever again. ----- My wife and I had thought our summer would be quiet and a bit boring. Two of our four children would be living away and the other two would be at home but either working during the day, away at camp for a few weeks, or playing sports. Plans changed, though, and they’re all back home for the summer. Our house is packed. The roost is full. Our four kids are between the ages of twenty-one and seventeen and they’re all living at home until the fall when my two...

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Am I My Brother's Dog's Keeper? show art Am I My Brother's Dog's Keeper?

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam is having a harder and harder time walking his dog due to his neighbor's dog that won't go away. ----- “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asked this of God after his brother Abel went missing and God asked Cain, “Hey. Where’s Abel?” Cain claimed he didn’t know. Cain had killed Abel, by the way, and was trying to hide it. How about this question – “Am I my brother’s dog’s keeper?” I remember growing up in a neighborhood where everyone let their dogs run. There were few fenced in yards. No such things as invisible dog fences and fancy dog...

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Bored show art Bored

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam is board so he's thinking about paddling across the Pacific. Or planting a few ferns. ----- I’m bored. And that’s a problem. Somethings been nagging at me for a few weeks and I now know what it is – I’m bored. There’s little adventure in my world right now. Very little discovery. And when boredom sets in get panicky and a bit rash. Too often, I over compensate. This morning I spent way too much time on the Molokai to Oahu web page. It’s a 32 mile stand up paddleboard race from the Hawaiian island of Molokai to the island of Oahu and it takes most...

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Flourish show art Flourish

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam says we know we're all busy, very busy, but are we doing what it takes to flourish? ----- What does it take for a human to flourish? Such a simple question to understand but to answer, not so easy. Listening to a podcast last weekend, this question arose between the host and his guest. The guest pointed out that, in his opinion, everything being promoted as valuable in our Western society today is detrimental to human flourishing. What is being promoted, he said, actually leads to loneliness. And he might be right. So, what is being promoted out there? One...

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Breach show art Breach

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston had a client breach a contract and he's trying to use lessons from Marcus Aurelius to keep himself from absolutely losing it. ----- I’m reading Marcus Aurelius’ book called Meditations written in about the year 175. They’re notes to himself about the thoughts he’s having and how he’s working to keep his head on straight. He’s writing to work things out. No audience in mind, just for him. Throughout his writings several themes arise. First, he’s aware of the presence of death. The topic of dying is never far. Second, he has to keep...

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Staring At the Clock show art Staring At the Clock

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, what was Cam doing today at 4:59am? Well, he wasn't getting out of bed. That we know for sure. ----- Most mornings I’m staring at the clock about 4:30 am waiting to get up. I won’t allow myself to get out of bed before 5am. Getting your day started at 5am means you’re aggressive. You’re eager to get going. Getting out of bed before 5am means you have a problem. They’re slight gradations. Minutes matter and 4:59am is a good bit different from 5am. I stare at the clock until it turns 5 when I feel like it’s ok to jump up and get the coffee started....

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Don't Get Sick show art Don't Get Sick

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam has seen much more of the healthcare world these days than he would like. His advice: Stay well. ----- I’ve been given an up a close look at our health care system over the past several months. It’s been, well, disappointing. And this comes after hearing a remarkable speaker discuss the importance of customer service on company culture. I made a reference several months ago to the pain I’ve had. It’s finally been diagnosed as polymyalgia rhumatica, or PMR. It showed up around February first and has been a part of every day since. It’s a sickness...

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He's Not Roscoe show art He's Not Roscoe

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Each spring Cam sits in his morning reading chair and see's a friend just outside the window. But Cam won't give him a name. He absolutely won't. ----- My lizard friend is back again. He shows up on the air conditioner every spring just outside the window. He stays there quite a while each morning, arriving about half an hour after sunrise. I sit each morning in my reading chair and keep an eye out for him. And suddenly, he’s there. I grew up calling these things chameleons. Wikipedia, however, just told me he is a green anole and he is often mistakenly called a chameleon, likely started by...

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Talking in the Locker Room show art Talking in the Locker Room

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam Marston takes a moment to observe the fingerprint of time. And wishes he hadn't. ----- Talking to a naked man is awkward. It’s just…awkward. There are men that have come my gym at the same time every day for decades. And their work in the gym may have kept them alive but it has not kept them from aging. There is nothing firm on them. There’s nothing taut. Age plus gravity has left a sagging fingerprint. And talking to a naked man, especially one with some age on him, is, well, awkward. They’re standing there, towel over their shoulder, not around...

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Some social media posts have been gettin' to me a bit...

-----

The caption read “blessed.” The social media posts were of a woman surrounded by her friends wearing designer clothes. Another of her on a private plane drinking champagne with friends. And another sitting in a suite with friends at a world-famous event. Perfect hair. Perfect teeth.

Blessed, it read.

Blessed? Really? I think what she meant was “More blessed than you.” Or maybe she misspelled blessed and it should read “Boast.” When Christians want people to see how well they’re doing, they post a “humble brag.” I think the new alternative to the “humble brag” is the “blessed boast” and social media is where it happens.

Social media is where self esteem goes to die. It’s where comparison happens constantly and comparison has always been the thief of joy. And if you want to feed from a comparison trough, social media is the place for it. It takes some wisdom and maturity to keep comparison from destroying self-esteem. Most young kids don’t have it. Heck, there are many days I’m not sure I do, either.

And before you argue, social media has its good points, too. Anyone looking on Facebook on their birthday knows what I mean.

But the blessed boasts get me. They’re never pictures of someone blessed to simply not be dead. Or blessed to be able to build wonderful things. Or blessed to be able to comfort those who are suffering. Or blessed to be able to make a donation that will help out the less fortunate. On social media, they’re always blessed to be in a first-class seat. Or blessed to be wearing a Rolex. Or blessed to own a nice new car. Here’s the recipe: Take a photo of yourself with things or doing things only the top one percent of society can access then hide behind God and your oh-so humble spirituality by captioning it with “blessed.” I’m pretty doggone sure God spits or throws a lightning bolt in disgust when he sees blessed boasts.

The way I understand it, the spiritual gifts we’ve been given, our “blessings”, are our unique talents and skills from our creator, if you believe such things and I do. Once we discover these talents and skills we are to use them to serve our creator and others. Our blessings are talents given to us to use for the betterment of one another. People who know this, and do this, are, in my experience, universally happier than the rest of us. They’ve found their calling and through their calling they are a blessing to us all. Blessing are not and have never been things.

I don’t mind the photos of my friends with fantastic items or doing fantastic things. But let’s be honest and caption the photos accordingly. How about “Oh my goodness. What a day. How did I get here? How lucky am I?” Or “I don’t have as many friends as the picture suggests but it’s a great day and I’m having a ball.” Are you blessed? Maybe. But your new Porsche has nothing to do with it.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep it Real.