Working on a Dream




Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday! ISABELLA

Isabella, the Greek & Italian Princess-Warrior celebrated her 1st birthday!

Below are some of her favorite things:

Cheesy Bread Bowl

Hand crafted award-winning Tomato Bisque soup!

All Smiles!!

BIG smiles! 

Per request via birthday girl ...
German Chocolate Cake. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Get The man right

The following story is from the book:  "The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic" by Matthew Kelly.


Once upon a time there was a very successful business
owner. His company had faithfully served millions of customers
for many, many years. But lately, business had not been so good,
and his competitors were just waiting for him to fail. For weeks
and months, the man pondered the crisis, but the problems were
so complex, and solutions seemed nowhere to be found.
Everyone was wondering what would happen to this great
company, so finally the businessman announced that he was hosting
a dinner for all of his employees to unveil a plan that would
save the company and return it to its former glory. He wanted to
convey to them how important each person was to the future success
of the organization.

The morning of the dinner, he was sitting in his study at home
working on his speech, when his wife came in and asked if he
would mind watching their son for a few hours while she ran
some errands. He was about to say, “I really need to focus on finishing
my speech,” but something caught his tongue and he found
himself agreeing, reluctantly.

His wife had only been gone about ten minutes when there
was a knock on the study door, and there appeared his seven year-
old son. “Dad, I’m bored!” he exclaimed. The father spent
the next couple of hours trying to amuse his son while also trying
to finish his speech. Finally he realized that if he could not find
some way to entertain his child he was never going to get his
speech finished in time.

Picking up a magazine, he thumbed through the pages until
he came to a large, brightly colored map of the world. He ripped
the picture into dozens of pieces, and led his son into the living
room. Then, throwing the pieces all over the floor, he announced,
“Son, if you can put the map of the world back together I will
give you twenty dollars.”

The boy immediately began gathering the pieces. He was
keen to earn the extra money, as he needed just twenty more dollars
to buy a toy he had been saving for since his last birthday.
The father returned to his study, thinking he had just bought
himself a couple of hours to finish working on his speech, because
he knew his seven-year-old son had no idea what the map of the
world looked like.

But five minutes later, just as he was settling into his speech,
there was another knock on the study door. There stood the
young boy holding the completed map of the world.
The father said in amazement, “How did you finish it so
quickly?” The boy smiled and said, “You know, Dad, I had no
idea what the map of the world looked like, but as I was picking
up the pieces, I noticed that on the back there was a picture of
a man.” The father smiled, and the boy continued. “So, I put a
sheet of paper down, and I put the picture of the man together,
because I knew what the man looked like. I placed another sheet
of paper on top, then holding them tightly I turned them both
over.” He smiled again and exclaimed, “I figured, if I got the man
right, the world would be right.”

The man handed his son twenty dollars. “And you’ve given
me my speech for tonight.
If you get the man right, you get the world right.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Story of how I became Rev. Fashion Faux-Pas.

I like to set my clothes out the night before an important event.
I follow this rule especially when the event takes place super early in the morning. I reason to myself that the more steps I can clear out of the way the night before, the more time I will have in the morning. And if you have a detector for baloney, then you’d know that the real reason I do this is so that I can sleep longer in the morning.

So there I was this past Saturday night. Isabella was going to sleep and I was scurrying about the house grabbing my dress pants, shoes, shirt and accessories. Done! All ready for Sunday morning.

I do this in the pitch black mind you. If you want the reason for this, you’ll have to reach far back into my childhood when my dad initiated the, “Are you going to pay the electric bill?" speech. Dad’s speech worked; in fact it worked so well that only an Owl has better night vision than me and my brother.

However, this past Sunday my plan backfired. And boy did it backfire badly.
Walking to my car this past Sunday I did not pay a lot of attention to the color of my pants due to my stinging anger with the fact that it was like 18 degrees AND the season of Spring was supposed be here. (You have to live in Western, Pa. to understand).

At church, I looked in the mirror and noticed that my tie, my shirt, my shoes & belt looked pretty fancy …
But something was off.
When I stepped out into the sunlight, my Black pants that I had laid out the night before suddenly, even magically, turned Navy Blue! I was now Rev. Fashion Faux-pas. I was telling a friend about this issue, and they told me that they run into this problem all the time. They also gave me a little advice on how to avoid this dreadful mistake in the future. Here is the test they perform when choosing clothes that are Black or Navy Blue. They simply get the 2 garments; hold them right next to one another, and bring them to a bright light. By placing the two colors side by side and exposing them to the light, each garment is easy to distinguish.

Do you ever feel like you spend a lot of your time trying to distinguish between what is almost right and almost wrong? I mean, spotting evil is pretty simple. Along with having an eye for what is clearly right too. But I think many suffer from not having a fine-tuned outlook on life.

Discernment these days is tough. The Apostle Paul says, "Examine everything carefully & hold fast to that which is good." Oftentimes, we do not know what is the right thing or wrong thing to do because we are not holding our decisions against the real thing. We ask our friends and family. We search the Net. Or we gauge our lives off of current trends, popularity polls or what our society finds acceptable. If that describes you, you are making the same mistake that I did last Saturday night when I picked out my dress pants in the dark. C. S. Lewis once stated, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Perhaps this is what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” Saturday night, I needed to hold my Navy Blue pants right next to the Black ones in the light to make a proper decision. Life’s journey is not a straight path as it offers many twists and turns. Do not underestimate living your life in the light! Each decision you make, whether you think it is a big or small one changes the course of your life. 

Live in the Light. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Family Game Night

It seems like quality time with your family is hard to come by these days. So many distractions! Play practice, ball games, deadlines ... does it ever end? Just last week Christen and I had one of those great night's where we shut of the TV and played old fashioned board games.

The first game we played was UNO.
It took us a few rounds to remember exactly how to play, but we figured it out. The first player to win 3 games is champion at the house. So the stakes where high. Christen won the first. I won the second. She won the next. And then in Montana-like fashion I made a stealth come-back to win 3 games to 2. 
-At least that is how I remember it.

The next game we played was Scrabble.
This was a bit tricky due to our spelling / grammar / syntax / phraseology family issues.

Here is the before shot. 
When Christen and I were still friends ...

And here is the after photo. 
Take a good look at those words folks, I am not going to say which words belong to whom, but a huge clue would be that any word you have never heard of belongs to the other player. (Let's thank Google for that).  

We had a lot of fun playing these games. It reminded me of the days when we did not have cable or Internet. Yes, you read that right. We laughed, we talked, we played together. And it felt good.

Wondering who won the Scrabble game? Take a good look at the bottom of the picture. You will see something that rarely happens in this game. 
A tie game! Can you believe it?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Do NOT go Gently!

Dylan Thomas’ most famous poems is Do Not Go Gently into that Good Night:
You may remember it from the movie, "Dangerous Minds."

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I love Thomas' poem due to its raw nature. From the time we are children, it seems like much of our society's mission is to tame us; wittling away our edges, thus rendering us mere shell's of the people that God intended us to become.
"Don't step out of line, we need you to become a nice-mindless-cog"
= No Thanks.
Jesus told a story about about a rich master leaving on a journey. Before he left, he entrusted 3 of his servants with talents (money) that varied in worth. What each servant did next was quite telling. The first 2 invested their talents while the third, buried his. When the master returned home he wanted to see what the 3 men did with his investment. The first 2 men shared of a profit gain, while the last man handed back the very same talent that was given to him before the master left for his journey. Afterward, we learn that the master is exceptionally pleased with the first 2 and exceedingly unhappy (perhaps unhappy is putting things a little light considering this is the exact wording used in the Bible, ("You wicked and slothful servant ...") with the 3rd. 

In the story above, Jesus is hammering home a very important point for us. He wants us to use the possessions that God has entrusted us with for God's glory. Whether it is your high IQ, your bankroll, your savvy street-smarts, or your work ethic -these are gifts for you to use to bless others with and return glory back to God. See here is the deal, I want to spur you on to your density. I want to move you toward your purpose in this life. So does Dylan Thomas.
And so does Jesus.

Do not go gentle into that good night.