Working on a Dream




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Poem dedicated to my son: "For the Child that could not Stay"

The children of the world, we think of everyday
But what about the ones, who
In this world
They could not stay.
Though loved and cared for from the start,
their Mommies and Daddies were forced to part.
Gone, but not forgotten, the memories never fade
Of Heaven’s little angels, for whom their souls we’ve prayed.

The tiny little babies, seen on a screen then gone,
the little ones born quiet without a yell or yawn.
The strong hearts somehow stifled, so early on in life.
“How could this happen to us?” cried parents filled with strife.

An empty crib, a silent room, an unused swing, a sense of gloom.
Reminders of the lives they’ve lost.
They’d bring them back at any cost.

Yet, somehow in the darkness, we
Find warmth in a light we cannot see.
And through our tears, our hope’s restored.
We know our child is with the Lord.

As seasons go by and birthdays are missed,
we’ll cherish the children, who’s foreheads we’ve kissed,
But, always remember the angels above,
Who showed us true heart ache,
Yet taught us to LOVE.

Written by Kali Anderson

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lincoln: A man of Conviction

I just walked out of the fantastic movie titled, Lincoln.
I'll save you the suspicion and just tell you that not only was the movie great, I slowly walked out of the theater mumbling that "he" was great...and I don't mean Daniel Day Lewis' stellar performance. 
I mean the 16th President of these United States of America.

Watching Lincoln shifted my mind to his stark resemblance of the biblical Moses.
Steady, earnest, full of resolve, witty, long-suffering. Full of the moral conviction that made you feel honored just to stand in the same room as him. Ready to die, and ready to live for the man. He was truly remarkable.

As the movie comes to a climax, we find ourselves right in the middle of the famous vote for the 13th Amendment. Below are the results:

The House passed the bill in January 1865 with a vote of 119-56-8.

We can conclude from the number above that 119 men voted for the 13th Amendment.
56 men voted against it.
That leaves the 8 as a mystery (that is, unless you are a history buff or just walked out of the movie, like I just did).

The 8 stood for abstentions. And if you are like me, you had to look that word up:
Abstentions, Noun:
1.An instance of declining to vote for or against a proposal or motion.

2.The fact or practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something; abstinence.

Don't miss this.
Eight men stood idly by, choosing not to vote.  These men now live infamously in our history as cowards.  Unlike the rest of the voters, whether you liked what they stood for or not, at least stood for something.  "Cowards", Julius Caesar said, "die many times before their actual deaths" and  Abraham Lincoln has been quoted to say, "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men"  

--Honestly, I had to sit and ponder my existance a little after the movie ended.
All great works of art should have this affect on a person by the way.
I had to ask myself if I would have been the type of man that would sit by, display no courage, and when the time came to vote .... Do nothing.
Not a yes.
Not a no.
Just letting my responsibility evaporate like the fog on an Autumn eve.
I can only pray that God gives me the strength to pass the tests He sends my way.

I just walked out of the fantastic movie titled, Lincoln.
It was about a man with superior moral conviction.
It was about a courageous man that let his life count, unlike those 8 men defined by their cowardice that chose not to vote on the 13 Amendment.

A Prayer:
Lord, I admit that when times are easy, I am full of vigor and ready to stand for righteous means. But oftentimes, when the spotlight is turned off of me or when the cost is high, I shrink away.  Simultaneously forgive me and enthrone me with your strength I pray. Amen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Proclamation: By the President of the United States of America.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

-Happy Thanksgiving-

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'll pass on Christmas too (at least for now).

Anthony's Pondering: --Why do we Struggle?

I've been thinking about how we all struggle in life.
For many, the struggle will shrink us up and fold us into pieces. In a real way, our struggles will be the things that define us.  If we let them, our struggles will be the end of you and I.

May I offer another perspective?
Perhaps, a less popular outlook, but one that is often dismissed when we struggle in life.

We all know how a kite just sits on the ground when there is no wind. The very thing that breathes life into the motionless dead kite is the wind that opposes it.

The struggle offered by the wind, is the very source that lifts the kite into the atmosphere of greatness, isn't it?

Consider this possibility: Maybe, just maybe God blew a wind of struggle your way in order that you may rise? Reflecting on difficulties, the times when I've felt that I'm losing everything is exactly the time I'm getting acquainted with myself. Remember, the strongest metal goes through the hottest flame.

In Proverbs we read, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

I believe the above author knew just what you and I need during times of struggle; trust in God. Not leaning on our own strength, but on something much BIGGER than ourselves is the key to finding new heights when we face the struggles of life.

Like the kite that sits idly without its primary source of power, the wind, you and I will lay dormant when we try our best to breathe life into our sails. The Bible tells us that Jesus Himself "learned from His sufferings" and guess what? If He had to learn through suffering, I am betting that  you and I will too. 

--God sends struggle our way to bring us to new levels in our faith.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Son

A Story:

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier.
The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.
A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.

The young man held out his package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.
He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift."

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection On the platform sat the painting of the son.

The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"

There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."
But the auctioneer persisted, "Will someone bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"

Another voice shouted angrily, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids! "But still the auctioneer continued, "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?"

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
"We have $10, who will bid $20?" "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel.
"Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!

A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel, "I'm sorry, the auction is over."
"What about the paintings?"

"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.
Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

God gave his Son 2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is, "The Son, the Son, who'll take the Son?" Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

*author unknown

Monday, November 12, 2012

"No U-Turn's": My story of Commitment & Friendship

It's been over 10 years since I walked out of college.
Lord, it seems just like yesterday...
So when I found myself talking with my friend Russ a few nights ago, needless to say, we had a lot of catching up to do.

We threw out old college stories like friends tossing a baseball back and forth to each other.  "Do you remember this..." , "Do you still that...", "I can't believe..." and on and on. 

As our conversation came to a close, Russ said something that made time stop for me, he began by saying, "I'll end with this story..."

-Then he told me the following:

Around the turn of the 20th century, a group of missionaries became known as ‘one-way’ missionaries. When they departed for the mission field they packed all of their belongings into a coffin and bought one-way tickets because they knew they’d never return home. A.W. Milne was one of them. He felt called to a tribe of headhunters in the New Hebrides. All the other missionaries to this tribe had been martyred, but Milne found favor. He lived among the tribe for 35 years and never returned home.
When tribe buried him, they wrote the following words on his tombstone,

When he came there was no light.
When he left there was no darkness.

I know why Russ ended with this story. Because it is a story that every person needs to heed. It needs to sit within them and stir them.  The story has to be told to people so that they can pause, perhaps for hours or even days and consider their lives. The wise author of Ecclesiastes said, Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun. It is vitally important for you and I to live with the perspective that A.W. Milne lived with. Because when we do, people will pass on our legacy like they did his.

When I was in college, a group of my very closest friends all signed a poster I had up on my wall. It was a poster that had a picture of a "No U-Turn" allowed sign on it.
Russ was one of the guys that signed it.  10 years later, there still are No U-Turns allowed. Not for Russ. Not for me...

Friday, November 9, 2012

The hot water bottle & the doll

This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa :

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates) ... And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa
it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.
'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough,mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?' As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.
Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle?
I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children.. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the ... could it really be?
I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. --I cried.
I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!'

Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?'

'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

'Before they call, I will answer.'
(Isaiah 65:24)

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive.
There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Steps to Successfully Leading your Next Meeting.


You are about to lead your first important meeting and you desperately want to do your best. Sitting in this meeting, you will be surrounded by your peers, senior advisers, the guy that writes your checks and the woman that hired you.

You feel a tremendous amount of pressure. You doubt yourself.
You find yourself re- thinking, re-editing and re-evaluating.

As the meeting begins, you step up to lead and find yourself frozen.
Everyone is looking at you...or better said , staring a hole right through you.

We have all been there.
Fortunately for you, today's post will equip you with a winning presentation strategy.

Follow these simple steps and watch people's frowns turn upside down.

Step 1:  Gather all your supplies.  You will need different colored markers, a monthly calender, a 3-month calender and a large sheet of white paper.
Got it?  Good. Let's move on...

Sharpies = Check!
Monthly Calender =Check!
3 Month Calender = Check!

Step #2: You want to be as clear, concise, and logical as possible. So, be sure to have all your dates filled in, your details filled out and all of your potential questions answered.  By potential questions, I am referring to the items that your audience will be concerned with. One thing I always do is slip to the other side of the table and imagine every possible detail that the person or group will be thinking. This helps me be as thorough as possible in my presentation.

Step #3: Do not battle your notes.  I have seen this over and over.  People think they struggle with public speaking but they are really struggling with sloppy notes.  It is imperative that your notes are clean, easy to read and logical.  The last thing in the world you want to deal with is hieroglyphics while leading a meeting.

Step #4: Be sure to have a nice visual aid. I love love love having a huge sheet of paper where I can have a strategy map in full view.  I have been using strategy maps for a few years now and I love them.  I always separate each main item with the details in their respective field.  This lets people see and understand how much is involved in whatever you are proposing.  It also allows you to go over each section and ask for volunteer help or assign someone to the task at hand. 
Trust me, you want to utilize the strategy map.

This is my strategy map for our up-and-coming Christmas party at Church.

Step #5:  Always ask if anyone has any questions. 
Then, end with a quick summary of the main points and action steps. 
Finally, give everyone an accountability date.  (A time where people will be held accountable to accomplish whatever task(s) they committed to.)

There you have it!
Follow these 5 simple steps and you will be on your way to leading the best meeting of your career!

8 of the Rarest Leadership Skills

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Is Management & Leadership the same thing?

Know the difference?
Think they are the same thing?

Here is a great video that explains the two!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Boss Time: Penn State (11/1/12)

The Calm before the Storm:

-Bruce grabbed my sign 1st tonight-
The Storm:

Bruce, I'm right here!  I am the annoying guy that keeps grabbing your arm, leg and guitar.


The Aftermath:

A crazy group of PSU girls rushed the stage.  Christen had her chance but didn't go for it. More on that later ;)
3 hours and 40 minutes later...
I got the set-list!

Preserving my Legendary L.L. Bean boots

If you are like me, you have that one pair of boots that you just can't get rid of.
So, for all you sentimental types, here are 7 steps to restoring, preserving and ensuring that your favorite pair of boots last you another thousand miles.

Step #1: Clean boots, take out soles, remove shoe laces, put oven on low.

Step #2: Melt Mink Oil

My Mink Oil came in a metal can, so I had to hit it with some flame to make it nice and melty.

Step #3: After the oven has been warmed up for 10 minutes, place boots in oven.

...And you thought that I was kidding about that oven thing...
Step #4: Remove boots, apply Mink Oil. Be sure to pay special attention to seams!

  Step #5: Place boots back in oven for 8-10 minutes.

This is what my boots looked like beforehand.
Notice how rigid and dry they look.

Step #6: Remove boots from oven, let cool for 5 minutes. Then, add soles and laces.

Just out of the oven!

Notice how the color changed to a rich brown!
They are soft and supple now.
Step #7: Put boots on. Walk up to the mirror. Look down. Look awesome.

There you go!
Now take your boots, hold them up to your ear and listen to them thank you!

More wearing & tearing!


The Finished Product!
“One must always have one's boots on and be ready to go.”
Michel de Montaigne

PS: I am not sure how this process works on all leathers (Suede leather for example) however, for kicks like mine ... it works like a gem!