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Gentle Virtues


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12/01/2016 - "Here. Read this. You might find it interesting," said my twenty-two-year-old son handing me a hardback titled 13 Hours in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team.

Looking at the cover with an image of a man "jocked up" (suited up) and crouched down with a machine gun, I think of how this book will probably NOT read like a cookbook or like Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (creator of Nike). Still, I decide to read all thirteen chapters in spite of bullets flying, buildings (and lungs) burning, and good men dying.

While I flinch, cringe, and try to bravely read on, the Annex Security Team - courageous and outnumbered - responds to the surprise attack on the Benghazi Diplomatic Compound and devises a counterattack at a nearby CIA Annex. In light of what these men faced in thirteen grueling hours, updating my main bathroom now seems so doable. Even though I won't need white smoke to conceal my movements or night-vision goggles to see what I am up against, I will need some strategy so I too can get the job done.

Strategy. This word, in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, is defined as "a careful plan or method". It comes from the Greek root word strategia meaning "generalship". To strategize is to think like a general. It is to come up with a plan of attack using careful planning or a suitable method to better ensure a successful outcome.

In order to stay within my family's budget, I have been getting paint, paint supplies, spiffy bathroom rug, shiny-chrome accessories, and stylish shower curtain a little at a time. For every general knows, it is important to count the cost.

On my calendar, I have marked THE day I will "strategically move in and conquer". The curled-up wall border will crumble and fall. Oh, yes. The rusty rod and hooks will go d-o-w-n. Uh, huh. And the walls, along with the bathroom's former beauty, will be restored. It won't be as honorable as saving or protecting lives (thank you, military men and women), but it will still be a glorious victory!

This holiday season you might be doing some strategizing yourself. May you be successful and have fun in the process. Keep in mind, this time of the year does not have to be stressful, just strategic. Merry Christmas, everyone! Enjoy loving on your loved ones. Talk with you in the new year.

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