The Fruits Of Your Labor

Today I was reminded of the power of honest, hard work. I was running errands with my uncle today, and he took me to his farm. After grabbing a few things, he walked me around and showed me all his animals he was raising, and let me tell you that it was astounding.

He showed me his chickens that he was raising to sell, his goats and pigs, turkeys, cows, rabbits, and everything of the sort. It was all completely captivating to me.

The work that is involved in not only maintaining a farm and raising animals, but he also has an apple orchard with over 200 trees, a small business that him and his wife run, and does outstanding carpentry work.

After talking to him about his work and overall how busy he is, I was completely blown away. Just the amount of time and effort involved in everything he does is crazy and reminded of an amazing lesson; WORKING HARD IN EVERYTHING YOU DO.

At the end of the day, you can look back on your work and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Far too many people don’t take pride in their work nowadays, and it’s something sets you miles apart from the “normal” crowd.

Now, as promised, here’s a picture of an adorable baby goat that was born not too long ago at my uncle’s farm. He’s kind of hard to see, but he’s there! Enjoy!

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Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

Today marks the second post for my thoughts on the sermon at church, which I’ve decided to called the Sunday Supposition. That being said, this particular post won’t correlate exactly with the sermon, it has more to do with my thoughts inspired by the sermon and throughout the day.

While I intend to post more about this topic on the actual day, I’d like to talk about an aspect of Thanksgiving that I feel is particularly important and often times over looked; BEING THANKFUL FOR THE SMALL THINGS.

I, sadly, don’t have the opportunity to see my family very often. We live on completely opposite sides of the country, so visits are very infrequent. However, while I’ve been here and spending time with them, I can’t be anything but joyful at just the simple fact that I get to spend time with them.

Today, outside of going to church, I got to see my cousin perform in a play for her school. Just having the opportunity to do that was awesome, and I wish I could do it more.

The lesson I’ve been learning is to sit back and find joy in the smaller things that you might be over-looking. Those are the things that will more than likely bring you the most happiness day in and day out.

My Trip to the Arctic Tundra: Pt. 1

So, in complete honesty I’m not in the Arctic Tundra; I’m in Maine (close enough). So far, I have to say that this is an absolutely beautiful state. It’s cold, there’s snow, trees – pretty much the opposite of Texas.

Being able to see my family is incredibly great as well. Living so far away from each other, we don’t get to see one another very often.

Today I was able to see the majority of my family, got a good run with an uncle, destroyed a cousin in Super Smash Bros. It’s been pretty great.

Tomorrow I can say for certainty that my posts will be more “normal”. I was thinking that this would be fun to try talking about some different things, and for this to be a look into the events going on in my life.

Anyways, thanks a bunch for dropping by! I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to drop by and read the stuff I write about. While there aren’t 14 million people reading per day, I’m still incredibly humbled that anyone at all stops by to read. If anyone has any advice or suggestions to make this blog better, I would love to hear them! Just leave a comment, or email me at lukevanley@gmail.com.

Be on the lookout for some beautiful pictures (or as beautiful as I can get) and some more thought-provoking posts soon! Thanks again!!

Across the Country

During this Thanksgiving week, I’ll be traveling with my family to visit more family up in Maine. Dang. That’s a long way away from my home in Texas.

I’m super excited about getting to do this, and I’m going to be doing my best to post about the trip, and bring up any interesting thoughts/ideas I might have while I’m there.

At the very least, there will be some beautiful pictures that I’ll be taking, so hopefully that could be something to look forward to.  I’m also going to be posting primarily through my phone, which is a foreign idea to me. We’ll see how this goes.

Stay tuned!!

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True Nobility

About two years ago, the acronym C.A.N.I. was presented to me. It was used rather seamlessly into the conversation, so naturally I zoned out of the conversation trying to figure out what it meant. After about a minute of intense thought and rudely ignoring my conversation, I asked the person what it meant.

He told me that it stood for Constant And Never-Ending Improvement, and what an outstanding idea it was. Once that acronym was implanted in my head, it almost always seems to resurface when I’m starting to get really comfortable with my life; some would even say complacent.

Constantly improving yourself from now until the end of time is a big commitment and will certainly take a lot of hard work, but I know for me that just being reminded of the idea inspires me to keep improving myself as a whole.

Ernest Hemingway said,

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Something to think about during your day today. There is an incredible amount of stuff that I’m hoping to start doing, not only in my personal life but with this blog as well. I’ll keep people posted as to what will be happening, and while there are just a few people reading this blog right now, I really hope that we can start getting it growing very soon.

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The Refining Fire

Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

Roy L. Smith

How many times have you started to do something, started off really well, then over time began to either lose interest or forget about what you were doing almost entirely? If you’re anything like me (and probably the greater majority of the human population), then it can become a chore just convincing yourself to continue doing whatever it is that you were so jazzed about just a month ago.

Why is this? Why do we so quickly lose focus on what we were ecstatic about starting? I look at people who have enormous success in their life and notice one common denominator that they all share – DISCIPLINE.

They refuse to quit, no matter who much it may hurt or inconvenience them. They have the “succeed or die” mentality that gives them the drive to reach the very top of whatever it is that they’re doing. While I don’t think that it’s 100% necessary to always be thinking “If I don’t succeed, I will LITERALLY die,” I do believe that it can motivate you beyond what you could imagine.

Rather, I believe that there are 4 steps that you can take that will greatly increase your desire to persevere during the hard times, and have the discipline to continue.

  1. Begin With The End In Mind: When you have an end goal, something that you can strive for and work towards, then your journey will have a purpose. You won’t just be doing something just because it’s a spur of the moment thing. Instead, there will be a reason for doing it.
  2. Find Your Why: What is driving you? Why do you desire to succeed so badly? Is it because you’re in a tight spot financially? To be a great role model for your kids or the people around you? Do you simply want to have a better life than what you currently have? This is the driving force behind your success; this is your own personal “succeed or die”.
  3. What’s Your Passion: You know that exercise in school where your teachers asked you if you could do one thing for the rest of your life and not get paid a dime, what would it be? While I’m sure I butchered that analogy, I think you get where I’m going with this. What is something you absolutely love to do? Something that you can spend hours, upon hours, upon hours of time devoting your time to? This will make your journey to success all the more enjoyable, and it won’t seem like a chore when you’re putting in the time day in and day out.
  4. Discipline Yourself: This last step might seem obvious, but absolutely needs to be mentioned. The first 3 steps, in complete honesty, are a farce if you don’t make a daily effort to be disciplined to do whatever it is that you’re doing. Steps 1-3 help, but at the end of the day you have to make the conscious effort to, at times, force yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing. That’s how people like Michael Jordan are revered as the best at what they do. They never had a sick day. They practiced even when they “didn’t feel like it”. They made the hard choices to be great, and I’m willing to bet that not one of them looks back and says, “I wish I had taken that day off”.

Begin with the end in mind, Find your why, What’s your passion, and simply discipline yourself. Four steps that I have been blessed to have personally seen people do on a daily basis, and are HIGHLY successful because of it.

What do you think? Do you think there should be more steps to this list? Let me know what you think!

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A Greater Calling: Giving Yourself to the Needy

A weekly series that I think I’d like to start is every Sunday I’d like to discuss a topic of importance that I like from the service from church that day. While I understand that there might be a lot of people reading this that might think, “Woah now, I don’t go to church. What the heck, bro?”

Fret not, friend! I sincerely believe that the principles and ideas that we learn in church, should very seamlessly apply to our day-to-day activities. The things that are brought up, I hope, are things that every human-being can agree with.

That being said, if this is merely a tool to engage people in conversation, then I consider it to be a success. Conversation to my faith is not at all intended with any of these posts. That being said, let’s begin!


What does it look like to wholly giving yourself to something? If I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t think I can say. Sure, I’ve been extremely dedicated to something for a spell, but after a point either get sidetracked or slowly become apathetic to whatever it is that I’m doing. I was always, at some point, feeling very empty inside. Even doing things that could be considered “noble” or “admirable”, I just had that vacuum in my soul that I couldn’t understand. After reading through Isaiah 57 in church this morning, I discovered why.

Isaiah 57:9-10 read:

“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.”

After reading this section of scripture, I was immediately convicted of a much higher calling than what I have been living. Don’t speak badly of others, and completely give yourself to the “hungry” and “afflicted”. It’s a road that is very seldom traveled and one that is sure to probably be the most difficult, but I fervently believe in the words, “your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.” Something to think about as you start your week.