The Otter Story

Just a few thoughts from the otter…

“Mercy Now” audio available

Mercy Now Artwork smI believe we each have the power to affect and change our Universe through our actions, no matter how small. Even the smallest acts can often grow to have larger impacts. Such is the case with things like mercy. We each need and deserve some degree of mercy from others, and we also each have the power to create and give mercy to others. Think about what it feels like for you to receive mercy, and then consider helping to make your small corner of the world a little better by sharing some mercy of your own where you can. It can be as simple as initiating an apology or the letting go of a grudge. It can be given to someone in a grocery store line, a fellow driver on the road, someone in your community or almost any situation of conflict or need. Not only will it positively impact someone else’s life, watch what it does for you and your Universe.

I was introduced to this song a few years ago and was struck by its simple message and plea for mercy in our broken lives and world. Originally written and recorded by Mary Gauthier, I have performed it a few times in various settings, and it has always been well-received, so I cranked up the studio and spent some time making a good recording.

I’m happy to announce that “Mercy Now” is now available at the links below, and may also be found on streaming outlets like Spotify, Rhapsody and Deezer, etc…

Thanks for your interest! Enjoy and share!

Download from CDBaby
Download from Amazon
Download from Google Play
Download from iTunes

Follow me on twitter (@bootiecothran), instagram (@bootiecothran), here and Facebook ( to stay in the loop for music and more!

A live performance of this song is available here.

Don’t steal music. “Mercy Now” Copyright Mary Gauthier Songs, License LPL055228

My Dog Abby

IMG_0946I just finished burying my dog. I think there is something therapeutic about digging a hole in the ground, burying the body of a loved one and covering it up, recognizing she came from the Earth, was on loan for a while, and now I’m just putting her back.

I thank the Creator that this miraculous and amazing thing we call Life is possible, allowing us to experience relationships so meaningful that it drives us to tears when they are over. I would never trade the joy of the relationship to avoid the pain of its loss. It’s so worth it. Life is joyous, good and wonderful.

Celebrate and be thankful for all that it brings. #Joy

Original music written and recorded by me.

Everything You Need to Know When Watching American Ninja Warrior, Atlanta

Hey friends! The time is almost here!!! I’m just a little bit excited! Here is pretty much everything you need to know while watching for me on #AmericanNinjaWarrior this Wednesday night, June 8th on NBC at 8/7c!

Bootie Dougie sm

Me and Dougie! We met in season 7 in Orlando and were both featured in the Orlando qualifying episode, back-to-back. And the shorts match perfectly!!


  • After sifting through over 70,000 applications this year, producers select 100 lucky ninjas to compete in 5 regional qualifiers, held in different cities around the country. Each region also allows up to 30 “walk-ons”, who camp out up to 2 weeks ahead of time for a chance to run the course.
  • At each region, the show is filmed in 2 overnight shoots. The “City Qualifying” round is the first night, and consists of all 100+ runners attempting the qualifying course, with the finish being the top of the infamous Warped Wall.
  • Those who finish the qualifying course the first night advance to the City Finals on the second night, where the course is extended by 4 additional obstacles after the Warped Wall. The top 15 finishers on the Finals course qualify for the national finals, filmed in Las Vegas in early summer.
  • The southeast region for season 8 was held in Atlanta, GA, in front of Turner Field.
  • The obstacles differ from city to city. The opening steps, the warped wall, the salmon ladder and the final obstacle are always the same, but the obstacles in between will be different. Some may be recycled from previous seasons, and some will be brand new.
  • The height of the Warped Wall has been increased this year to 14-1/2 feet, 6 inches taller than previous seasons.
  • Competitors do not get to touch the course before their run.
  • The night before filming, many ninjas meet up at a local gym to play together, maybe do some ninja-karaoke, and stay up most of the night in order to help acclimate themselves to the overnight shoots.
  • We do not know who’s run will be shown on TV until it airs. Unfortunately, there just isn’t time to show everyone, and more than half of the competitors don’t make the final cut for a qualifying-round episode. If your favorite ninja wasn’t shown in the City Qualifying show, perhaps they’ll be shown in the City Finals!
  • The season 8 premier was last week, and was the Los Angeles Qualifier. The Atlanta Qualifier is this Wednesday, and then the series moves to Monday nights for the Qualifiers in Indianapolis, Oklahoma and Philadelphia. The City Finals for each region will be aired after all of the Qualifiers have aired.

Lastly, if you are pulling for me on Wednesday night, please take a photo of you and your friends in front of the TV and post it to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #BootieBandwagon

If you have a question I can answer about American Ninja Warrior, post it in the comments and I’ll address it!

Thank you SO much for your support!!

NBC American Ninja Warrior on facebook
@nbcninjawarrior on Twitter and Instagram
@bootiecothran on Twitter and Instagram

Man vs Machine 2016

When it’s cold outside, it’s easy for most of us to just turn up the thermostat on the wall a few degrees if we need to. But many people in our community struggle to keep their homes warm, either because of financial hardship or because they live in an older home that is drafty and poorly insulated, making it inefficient and expensive to heat.

So on Saturday, February 27th at Noon, at the front lawn of First Baptist Church in Greenville, I will face off in a battle against a 20-ton hydraulic log splitter in our 3rd annual event to see who can split the most wood the fastest, all to help folks who need assistance heating their homes.  There will be great food, plenty of friends, and exciting competition.

Donations can be made in person at the event, or online at

Please share this post or the video below with your friends. I hope to see you there!

Thanks to First Baptist Church of Greenville, Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church, and Osteen’s Coal and Wood in downtown Greenville.



Better Yourself

Nature inspires me.  It is Life in action.  It is always striving, growing, and reaching, trying to do more.

There is a stand of mature white oaks and red oaks near my home, all growing tall and straight.  They grow like that because they are competing with each other for the sunlight, reaching to get through the shade of the other trees.  It is an obstacle they must overcome, or they won’t survive.  Some don’t.  But, interestingly, the very same acorn that produces that tall and straight tree, if it had taken root alone in an open field with no other trees around it, would not grow tall and straight.  It would grow shorter and rounder, spreading out to gather as much sun as it can.  It adapts to its environment and makes itself better.

When growing close together, the trees are in competition for the sunlight, and they must push and reach to get to the light.  Somehow they have that capacity to strive and try.  Somehow, they are able to change themselves, physically, to adapt to their obstacle.  However it happens, they are able to strive and make themselves better, and Nature, as a whole, is better off because of it.  It’s happening outside our doors and windows all the time, and we are a part of it, too.  All of Nature is striving and reaching right now, bettering itself.  Trees reaching for sunlight, vines reaching for a stronghold, animals pushing through adversity, grass creeping into the flower beds, callouses forming to protect against the struggle.  Life, facing constant obstacles and opportunities, grows, and betters itself through its struggles.  That’s pretty powerful, pretty creative, pretty miraculous.

What can I learn from that?  If Nature betters itself, and if I am a part of Nature, then it makes sense that I should strive to better myself, too.  I should reach for more than I think I can.  I should stretch just a little further than I did before.  I should strive to improve myself.  I should embrace the struggle of any obstacle, knowing that I grow better and stronger because of it.

Season 7 of American Ninja Warrior is coming up next summer, and I’ve just finished submitting my application.  I love what it represents:  Competition, relationships, fitness, the “bettering” of ourselves.   I could’ve given up, sat on the couch and resigned myself to being too old anymore, and no one would’ve blamed me.  Or I could try to do something more.  I could reach, strive, push, and better myself.
2014 Ropes_sm
Whatever your obstacle, do what Nature does.  The solution is to push, to strive, to reach and to try, to dig deep, to hang on just a little bit more, even though it’s a struggle, and know that you will grow stronger from that struggle.  Find something about yourself you can improve, and work toward it.  Grow, learn, teach yourself something new.  Better yourself!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Tomato Plants

Hey everybody, it’s time to get your garden going. If you haven’t started one yet you’re a little behind, but it’s certainly not too late for this year.  One of the main things I bring back from my trips to Cuba is a renewed energy for growing food. It is a very spiritual thing.

It’s about a direct relationship with the Earth, from which every living thing comes.  It’s about getting your hands dirty with Nature, experiencing real life instead of buying it from a shelf.  It’s about growing new life among the compost of death, from the same creative energy in you and me. It’s about becoming more self-sufficient, less reliant on someone else to feed you.

It’s about sitting down to a meal and appreciating better where it came from and what it took to make it possible. It is experiencing the “table before us.”

John Shelby Spong says, “if God is the God of Life, and I believe God is, then God is in every living thing.” I think so, too. And the closer we can get to it, and the more involved we can become with it, the better.

There is a beautiful garden outside our comfortable walls.  It’s good to get back to it.  Go out, get some good dirt, a tomato plant, cucumber, okra, squash, or whatever you like and plant it, water it, care for it, and watch it provide good food and fulfillment in return. Good luck!!


“Buster the Cat”

There is a time for everything. Sometimes I post serious stuff, but sometimes you need to have some fun. Try to get this song out of your head. It started as just a fun groove on guitar, then the words just came out, which usually makes for the best songs. Buster is a former stray cat who I made friends with a few years back. He’s a pretty chill dude, and my favorite fat furry feline friend. Enjoy!

Written, recorded, mixed and produced by Bootie Cothran.
Guitar: Bootie
Vocal: Bootie
Percussion: Bootie
Bass: Bootie
The cat: Buster
Studio video: The awesome Christopher Matthews.

Why Church?

Church membership and attendance numbers are down nearly everywhere, and I’m not all that surprised, really.  Church often gets a bad rap, and I sometimes feel the need to defend it.  Many people view church as nothing more than a place where irrational people come to worship a mythical Being.  And for many, the stereotypical image of God and Church is an in-your-face, repent-or-burn-in-hell perspective which isn’t very inviting, and something I’d rather not be associated with, either.  While I do not want to be critical of anyone else’s beliefs, the traditional image of God as a supernatural “Being” out there who plays favorites and has a “worship me, or else” agenda is an image fewer people are able to accept as meaningful, myself included.  But “Church” doesn’t have to be defined by that image of God.  That is not the only image of God there is.  So, in my defense, and the Church’s defense, I want you to know why I am involved.

1.  To Seek.  Simply put, I find meaning in the journey of seeking what Life is, what it means, how it is possible, where I fit in with it all, and what we are to do with it.  Many churches provide multiple styles and opportunities for those who seek more.  I could choose to seek on my own, at home, in the woods, or any other environment, and often I do, but I have found a benefit in sharing that walk with others.

2.  To Fellowship.  The cool thing about a good church is, it is filled with people who strive to treat others with kindness, Love and compassion.  It is community.  We are not without our share of individual problems as well as our collective problems, but we try to work through them in healthy ways.  We share meals together, we share in each others’ celebrations and in our sorrows.  We help raise each other’s children in a safe, trusting environment, teaching them the same values of kindness, respect, Love and compassion, thankfulness, hope, and the joy and happiness that comes from that way of life.

3.  To Share.  Everyone has something they can share that will help the world around us. It can be a few dollars toward a project that supplies mosquito nets to those in Haiti, or for a local organization housing battered women.  Sometimes it’s hands-on, like building a wheelchair ramp or helping someone with their grocery shopping.  Sometimes it goes so far as taking in a child who needs a loving home.  Churches sponsor charitable and volunteer opportunities in their local communities, and often globally, as well. Young and old, their members help staff soup kitchens, patch roofs and provide the voluntary giving that defines compassion.  Compassion feeds something very important in ourselves.

4.  To Love.  For this last one, I’ll finish with a story about my friend Michael.  When Michael was in middle school, he and his mother came to our church through a transitional program for homeless families.  They were literally housed in our building for a week which gave them a safe place to stay and assisted with finding a more permanent housing situation.  Michael had a rough time with being bullied at school, and being homeless doesn’t do much to help a teenager’s self-confidence.  But even after he and his mother had transitioned out of that program and into a home, Michael came back to church.  On Sunday mornings, as the youth would gather in their meeting area with doughnuts and drinks, Michael would be there, often off to the side, not saying anything.  He didn’t want to participate or speak up, but he wanted to be there enough to come.

And Michael kept coming back.  The other kids welcomed him because that’s what the Church taught them to do. Through small acts here and there, just like we try to do with every teenager in the group, we welcomed him and treated him as we would want to be treated. And over time he found hope.  He found friends who cared.  He found talents he was unaware of.  He opened up and found self-confidence.  Michael graduated from high school with honors and was accepted to college on scholarship, pursuing talents and gifts he didn’t know he had before.  It scares me to think where he might have ended up without the church, in a different crowd, pushed out instead of invited in.

Michael was changed.  But was he changed because we prayed for him to a God who decided to intervene and help him succeed?  I don’t see it that way.  Michael was changed because he was loved.  Love did for Michael what nothing else could do – it overcame the obstacles.  Love overcame the pain, sadness, bullying and insecurity.  Love overcame the lack of money, housing and acceptance.  Love overcame all the things that were pulling against Michael.  That Love came to Michael through ordinary people simply willing to share it.  To see that kind of change happen is joyous, and to know you had a small part in it is gratifying.

I believe Love is the ultimate trump card.  I have experienced the results of it first-hand in places all over the globe, from coal-mining towns in the West Virginia mountains to Hungary and Cuba and places in between.  Love wins.  It defeats anger and hate with nothing more than a soft smile or an outstretched hand.  It’s so simple a child can do it.  God IS Love, it is said.  Maybe it can be that simple.

Church is like everything else in life:  You get out of it what you put into it.  I don’t believe in a God who is going to punish you if you don’t show up or get involved.  But however you want to do it, and whatever you want to call it, I firmly believe that getting together with friends to seek, to fellowship, to share and to Love will bring you meaning, fulfillment and many rewards.


45 Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

I turned 45 years old in September.  That’s really hard for me to believe.  It’s fascinating from this perspective, looking back on my life and realizing even if it goes incredibly well from here on out, it’s pretty much halfway over, if not far less.  I can sense my mortality more at this stage, which gives me a better feel for Life’s temporary nature than I had before.  So I thought I’d take some time to jot down some things that I’ve learned along my own journey, for the record, as my very first blog post.  So here they are, the 45 most important things I’ve learned so far, in no particular order, except for the first one.

1.  Be kind.  Go out of your way to do so.  How you treat the world comes right back to you.

2.  Better yourself.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

3.  Imagine yourself in other people’s situations.  Empathize.

4.  One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was when I turned down a much higher paying job for a more rewarding one.

5.  Forget about fashion.

6.  Respect others.  You want the same for yourself.

7.  Maybe the thing you fear will happen, maybe it won’t.  But fearing it won’t do you any good.

8.  Share.

9.  Try to make someone smile every day.

10.  Forgive yourself, don’t beat yourself up.

11.  Remember life is temporary.  It can end at any moment.  Be grateful for the opportunity.

12.  Teach yourself new things.  Every skill you can acquire makes life a little easier.

13.  Forgive others, don’t hold grudges.  If someone insists on being an ass, don’t allow them to make you become one, too. Free yourself from the negativity.

14.  Have hope. Only the smallest amount is necessary.

15.  Grow a plant that will feed you.

16.  Laugh at yourself.

17.  Things don’t always go as planned, be flexible.

18.  Hate is easy but makes things difficult.  Love is difficult but makes things easy.

19.  Pay attention.  Observe. Watch what goes on around you and you can learn all sorts of things from other people’s successes, as well as their failures.

20.  Seek God.  I just can’t imagine how the dirt of the universe can take shape, live, breathe, grow, think and love without some incredibly creative “something else” involved.  I find meaning in trying to figure Her out.

21.  Be fair, seek Truth.  Truth doesn’t care about what your pride or ego thinks.

22.  Don’t compare what you have (or don’t have) with others.  You have that same special spark of Life given to every other living thing.  You have being.  You have self. That is special as can be, and worthy of celebration and thanks.

23.  Seek patience.

24.  There are two sides to every story.  Try to see it from the other side, fairly, before making a judgement.

25.  Revenge and animosity are tempting, don’t fall for them. It is negative energy.  Let it go.

26.  Spend time in Nature.

27.  Cheer FOR others, not against them.

28.  Stay alert!  Life is dangerous. Carelessness or stupidity can kill you, or others, instantly.

29.  Wonder.  Life is an amazing mystery.

30.  Seek wisdom.

31.  Discern for yourself.  Don’t just accept what is fed to you by others.  You have a good brain, use it.

32.  Never assume.

33.  Be polite.

34.  Be prepared.

35.  Admit your mistakes.  I once dropped the ball on a job I was supposed to do.  My pride and ego tempted me to try and save face by blaming it on something else and not being honest.  I could have done so, quite easily, and no one would have known otherwise.  I went to my friend, who was counting on the job being done, and confessed the truth that I simply dropped the ball and had no other excuse, and that I was sorry.  Her eyes watered, she got a big smile and reached out and hugged me strongly, thanking me for being so honest.  I’ll never forget that.

36.  Lighten up.  Many things don’t need to be taken too seriously.

37.  Practice being a better listener.

38.  No whining.  There’s always someone else with a bigger problem.  Plus, nobody wants to hear it.

39.  Simplify your life.

40.  It’s okay to cry.  Life is sometimes hard and emotional.  I’ve crumpled in a heap and cried over losses and regrets.  It’s natural.  Let it out.

41.  Look for the positive.

42.  Save.  Make good financial decisions.  Don’t spend money you don’t have.

43.  Analyze yourself.  If something makes you angry or upset, dig deep to uncover the true reason.  Usually it’s something you can fix within yourself, related to pride, ego, greed or selfishness.

44.  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

45.  Eat well, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.