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Setting A Cornerstone For My Blog

by James Ball

I put in endless hours contemplating how to begin here, my first post, and with this blog altogether. I do take some comfort in the imagination that every blogger has crossed this very same bridge with as much trepidation. I wanted to tell you my story, my reasons for being here, and how I intend to be different,…”special” even. I quickly thought better of this as a first post. Besides, there are so many other places where I’ve scattered little footprints and pieces of myself. There’s plenty of time, God willing, for more of this too, as we go along.

But begin I must. I decided to instead set forth a solid cornerstone, a reminder for myself, not of what my blog will be about, or even how I hope to accomplish my goals, but instead, a creed of sorts, a belief. To this end, I give myself you a poem, “If”  by Rudyard Kipling. Many years ago, in Stone Mountain, GA, I stumbled upon a grave in an ancient section of a cemetery. It was poked out among simple graves, an above-ground box made of granite slabs. The only marking was the last verse of this poem, hand tooled into the stone. It changed, and has shaped my life from that very day.

After 20 years of sharing this with my closest friends, my son, and anyone else who’d listen, I intend to allow it to shape this blog. Somehow, this poem, coupled with my passion, and tempered by my experiences, I will carry it forward. Without further ado:



 by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

**Update 10/17/2010  I returned to Stone Mountain…my daughter has never been before. I was showing her around and telling childhood stories when I thought, “lets go see if I can find that grave”. We did, below is a picture!

jamesball October 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm

just testing the waters a bit.

Aimee Woodall October 28, 2009 at 5:17 am

Thanks for sharing this! I love the poem, and it's fascinating how you came across it. I'm a new blogger too, so I can appreciate the climb that is the first blog. I think you made an excellent debut. @aimeewoodall

@rainbowhill October 28, 2009 at 6:38 am

What a great note to start on! I wish you all the best, I've shared this with my closest friends.

Rex October 28, 2009 at 7:45 am

Found you through Chris Brogan. It doesn't hurt to have good friends.

Superb poem. Thanks for sharing. Good luck in your blogging efforts. You have to start somewhere.

James Ball October 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Chris = truly good people. I'm sure this project would not be happening without his inspiration and encouragement. Thanks for your comment.

Christina October 28, 2009 at 10:19 am

I've always loved that poem, and I think it's a great way to start your blog. Good luck on this new adventure!

James Ball October 28, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Wow, woke up to comments! Thank you Aimee, Brett, Rex, and Christina. I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment.

Chris October 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

James, I love the new site! I'm looking forward to meeting at the next North GA gathering… my daughter is doing better now, still waiting for the next DR visit.

I look forward to following your progress and updates here!

James Ball October 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Chris! Thank you, so glad you found your way here. Glad to hear that your daughter is doing better. Send an update when you have one!

Chris October 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm

It's cool to see the face behind NGA! I have no doubt we'll get together one of these days.

On a different note, I switched everything I do to Thesis… unbelievable.

@ScottyWalker October 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm

James, all the best with your site. /r Scott

@WholeMind October 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Looks like the blog is off to a great start. Look forward to reading your future posts.

James Ball October 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Mike, I wouldn't be here without you. Your help getting this set up, all your WP help, etc….. I owe you!

@mmharrison October 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Mike, thanks for your contribution to this blog! I am thrilled that I had a chance to meet you Sunday, and put a face to your name. You are a gifted and thoughtful young man 🙂

@WholeMind October 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm

It was great meeting you as well and thank you 🙂

Ginger October 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm

James, you have so much to share… So glad to know you'll have this avenue to share it and I look forward to reading and checking in from time to time. I am grateful for the points on this road of life, where our paths intersect… you are truly a great friend who teaches me much, encourages and listens… How lucky am I? Great, great poem. Haven't read it in many years. I plan to share with Ian.

James Ball October 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm

[speechless]….I honestly don't know how to reply, except to say thank you….for your friendship and for being an awesome business partner…you've got me hangin' out in public here…can't run away and blush/hide.

Patrick Braswell October 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Patrick Braswell – – Great poem and a great way to start off the blog. I look forward to following it!!! Good luck.

Heather October 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm

So, you're not a mommyblogger? I'm so confused! 🙂
Nicely done my friend!!! I'm impressed!

Charity Hisle October 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Awesome! Great start! Let me know if you ever need help.

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