Working on a Dream




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When God gives you a Bloody Nose.

When God gives you a Bloody Nose.

By:  Jean de La Fontaine 

Once there was a country bumpkin
Who observed a great big pumpkin
To a slender stem attached;
While upon an oak tree nourished,
Little acorns grew and flourished.

"Bah!" said he. "That's badly matched."
"If, despite my humble station,
I'd a hand in this Creation,
Pumpkins on the oaks would be;
And the acorn, light and little,
On this pumpkin stem so brittle
Would be placed by clever Me."

Then, fatigued with so much thought, he
Rest beneath the oak tree sought. He
Soon in slumber found repose
But, alas! An acorn, falling
On the spot where he lay sprawling,
Hit him--plump!--Upon the nose.

Up he jumped--a wiser bumpkin.
"Gosh!" he said. "Suppose a pumpkin
Came a-fallin' on my face!
After all, if I had made things,
I'll allow that I'm afraid things
Might be some what out of place.

The meaning of the acorn and the pumpkin?

God knows better than we do. Before the man took a nap under the acorn tree, he mocked God's creation.  He stated that a tree as giant as an acorn tree surely would have been better fit for something large, like pumpkins, to grow on.
However, he later found that he was mistaken.
An acorn fell on his nose, causing it to bleed, making him realize that had it been a pumpkin, he would not have been as fortunate.

That is why at the end of the poem he says,"God knows His business after all, no question!" He realized he does not know more than God, and he should learn to trust Him.

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!"
-Romans 11:33-

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How to Groom "Mad Men" style

Let's meet the team.  
From left to right: A toner, a cleanser, pre-shave oil, razor, shave gel, moisturizer. 

Alright.  Let's get right down to it. Today is about looking your best.  People judge you on your appearance, so it is about time you come to grips with this.  I know, I know, "God looks at my heart..." blah blah blah.  Well, here is a news flash for you: God may look at your heart, but your boss or future employer does not.  Now that the matter is settled, let's get you looking like you are about to star in the next Mad Men episode. 

The first 3 steps are all PRE-SHAVE fundamentals. 
Step one is to cleanse. You want to wash your face with warm water and then pat dry.  It's OK to leave your face damp, this will help with steps 2 & 3.  I prefer to shave just out of the shower because the steam from the water really softens up my abrasive whiskers. Next, take the pre-shave oil and add about  3 drops onto your fingertips.  Spread evenly onto your beard and let it sit for a few.  The last step is adding a tiny bit more water to your face with the *shave gel.  Apply the shave gel in a circular motion making sure your properly cover every angle of your beard.  

*A note on the shaving cream fella's.  I've been down the same aisle at Wal-Mart as you have been; although you may find a cheaper foam / gel to purchase, don't.  You will end up paying maybe a dollar fifty more, but the good stuff lasts long and will give you a better shave experience! 

I chose this cleanser due to the natural appeal.  It dispenses a thicker gel that I work into a lather before I shave. 

Don't waste water by having it run the whole time you shave either.If you do, I'll tell my dad and he will find you. Seriously, fill the bowl with hot water and rinse after each stroke with your razor. 

I am currently finishing up American Crew's shave line for men. I enjoyed this brand but am looking forward to trying something new next.

A little will go a long way. Be sure to really work the goods into your beard. I like to wait a few before I shave to have it marinade. 

Shave with the grain!  Always!
If you are like me, you experience in-grown hairs along the jaw line.  This is extremely annoying.  The best way to avoid that nasty-ness is to follow my guide. Also, be sure to use a sharp razor. 

POST-SHAVE: Now on to the final steps. 
After you are done shaving you will want to finish strong.  First, splash some cold water on your face.  This will (a) get all the crud off your face and (b) help close your pours / increases blood flow.  Then, add a little toner to your face.  Personally, this step is fairly a new one for me, but I have really seen and felt a difference with my skin.  Finally, grab the moisturizer, and add it evenly on to your entire face and neck. 

I am always amazed at what the toner picks up.
Even after I wash my face, there still seems to be a never ending supply of dirt and skins cells that still need swept away. 

I found this brand and did some research on it after buying on impulse. It does a great job at delivering ample rejuvenation and hydration post-shave. 

The final. Final step.
I am 6'3. People spend a lot of time looking up to me. 
That's a good thing, until my nose hairs grow into tree trunks and start protruding in places they need not be. Guys, take care of this with the 2 tools above. 
*This also applies to the uni brow.
Uni brow's are a no-no Also.   

The Results ?
Me: Sad. Black & White. Scary movie material. 

Me: Happy. Smiling. In Color.
-Don Draper style- 

It's amazing what a great shave will do for a man! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Deepest Fear

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God.

Your playing small 
Does not serve the world. 
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking 
So that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, 
As children do. 
We were born to make manifest 
The glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; 
It's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, 
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. 
As we're liberated from our own fear, 
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Overcoming the Haters: Anthony & Bruce.

Back in the 10th grade of high school I got addicted.
It was an overwhelming experience and it almost totally consumed my life.
Because of my addiction, I spent countless hours in my room ignoring friends. I also developed those scary dark shadows beneath my eyelids; my parents even considered an intervention.
The 10th grade was the year I became addicted to Bruce Springsteen. I believe the proper diagnosis is Bruce-a-holicsim.

Bruce Springsteen entered my life one day when a group of my friends in high school "ended up" at the local mall during school hours. There, on that historic day I bought his Greatest Hits album. "Born to be Wild" was the specific song that I wanted to blast on the car ride home. Initially, I was disappointed to learn that Bruce didn't sing the song. What can I say? I must have been Lost in the Flood to mistake Born to Run with Born to be Wild. (Let's see who gets that one).

One late school-night during one of my "binges", I was listening to his Live 75-85 album in the total dark with my earmuff style headphones on. A song titled, "Growin' Up" came on, and then right in the middle of it, Bruce and the band just stop playing and he starts telling this story:

"My dad and my mom have been following me all over California tryin' to get me to come back home ... they still want me to go back to college. My mom wants me to be an author and my dad wants me to be a lawyer ... but what they do not understand is that I want everything. ... Anyway, mom you wanted an author and dad you wanted a lawyer, BUT TONIGHT YOU ARE JUST GUNNA HAVE TO SETTLE FOR ROCK N ROLL!"

I sometimes think to myself, "What if Bruce had went back to school?"
-What if he had listened to what other people were telling him?
-What if he had tried to live out his parents dreams instead of his own?
No Born to Run! No Darkness! No Nebraska! No Born in the USA! No legendary 3-4 hour concerts! [I am having a panic attack!] Bruce was once quoted as saying, "The first time I looked at myself in the mirror and felt comfortable was when I saw my reflection with a guitar around my neck." Bruce never gave up on his dreams and I am glad he didn't. Bruce knew that his calling involved a microphone and guitar, not a law book or teaching the alphabet to a classroom of kindergartners. Something for all of us to learn from this is the importance of being attune to your God-given gifts and talents. This is what makes you unique. Like a fingerprint, you are the only person like you in all the earth. The strength of understanding and embracing this idea is what author / teacher Marcus Buckingham calls breaking free from the "Tyranny of the Shoulds." According to Buckingham, the tyranny of the shoulds are all those voices -all those dream killers- that stand in your way and negate the calling you have on your life. The scary thing about this is that oftentimes you will find your closest friends and family as the ones shouting the loudest "shoulds" in your ear as you pursue your goal(s).

This is personal for me.

Upon graduation from high school, I felt a strong call on my life to enter the ministry. The college I applied to had a fantastic youth ministry program, but the college was located in GEORGIA. 12 hours away was a long way away for me, and let's face it, I did not do so hot in high school either. The "shoulds" where there; at times loud and clear and other times in people's undertones. Nevertheless, I went.
I never, even once, considered how much money my profession would pay, I just dove straight in, believing this was my calling. I never gave the "shoulds" a second thought, other than to prove all the naysayers wrong. Looking back, they faithfully served as the fuel for my fire. I studied hard, spent many weekend nights in my dorm room reading and 4 years later I walked across the graduation floor to receive my diploma.  Knock Knock. It's Anthony raising a glass to all the haters...

Bo Bennett was on the money when he said, "Every day, people settle for less than they deserve.
They are only partially living --or at best living a partial life."  In the epic movie, The Shawshank Redemption we read these hallowing words etched in a beam of wood towards the end of the movie, "Either get busy living or get busy dying." In one of my favorite movies, A Bronx Tale, the Mob Boss Sonny uttered this phrase, "The worst thing in life is wasted talent." And in my personal favorite movie, Braveheart, we hear, "All men die, but not all men truly live."
If you are reading this and are wondering the point, I'll try to make it short and simple:
Live your life.

I know for certain that the Tyranny of the Shoulds would have killed at least two people's futures: Anthony Kladitis' and Bruce Springsteen's. 

One would have lived a life without the music, and the other would have lived a life without a compelling message.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

WHOSE Hand is it Anyway?

A football in my hands is worth about $20.
A football in Peyton Mannings hands is worth about $15 million.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A basketball in my hands is worth about $25. 
A basketball in Lebron James hands is worth about $30 million. 
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6. 
A baseball in Derek Jeter's hands is worth more than $20 million. 
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Venus Williams' hands is a championship winning racket.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

A sling shot in my hands is just a kid's toy.
A sling shot in David's hand was a mighty weapon.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for any person that trusts in Him.
It depends on whose hands it's in.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Best poem in the ... WORLD!!

I was shocked, confused, bewildered 
As I entered Heaven's door, 
Not by the beauty of it all, 
Nor the lights or its decor. 

But it was the folks in Heaven 
Who made me sputter and gasp-- 
The thieves, the liars, the sinners, 
The alcoholics and the trash. 

There stood the kid from seventh grade 
Who swiped my lunch money twice. 
Next to him was my old neighbor 
Who never said anything nice. 

Herb, who I always thought 
Was rotting away in hell, 
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine, 
Looking incredibly well. 

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal? 
I would love to hear Your take. 
How'd all these sinners get up here? 
God must've made a mistake. 

'And why's everyone so quiet, 
So somber - give me a clue.' 
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock. 
No one thought they'd be seeing you.' 

Remember, just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Are you a Good Girl?

Are you a good girl?

I recently read this very short, yet effective illustration that I just had to share with you.
The strength lies in its simplicity.  
I think you'll agree after you read this that it will be something you will want to pass on. Maybe you have a daughter that could use this advice or perhaps you are a leader and want to influence a group of young ladies with this enduring message. 

"Good Girls are Like the Apples on the Top most part of a Tree. While the Bad girls are the Apples that Have fallen Down and Rotten. So, Most Guys are Soo Lazy to Climb all the way to the Top to get the Good Girls, So, they tend To pick on the Bad girls, (rotten apples) down. 

Those Girls (Apples) on top, sometimes think that there is Something Wrong with them, Because the ones which are rotten, (bad ones) are picked Easily Leaving them waiting on top.
So the ones on top Decide to fall, hence Becoming Bad and rotten. So, Ladies be Patient, the Right guy will not Be tired to Climb All the way to the top ...  And Get you."

Above, there are two important truths to grasp.  
The first is obvious, a girl should know her value.  The story above does a fantastic job at illustrating this. The other truth is not as evident, it is implied, but never stated overtly. The other gem hidden in this striking illustration is when a girl chooses to stay at the top of the tree, she will by default ward off all the low-hanging low-life's. 

The Bible teaches us in the book of 2 Corinthians (6:14), "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship can light have with darkness?" The key to unlocking this passage is in the word, "yoke."  A yoke (I know you envisioned the yellow-y center of an egg) is a tool used by farmers. It hitched two strong bulls together so they could plow fields in perfect unison. The reason the Bible tells a person to not be unequally yoked, is the same reason you would never hitch a Strong bull with a Wimpy donkey. 

The plow lines would soon become terribly crooked due to the strength of the mighty bull overpowering the sad donkey. 

Let's circle back to our original illustration. 

When a girl stays at the top of the tree, she keeps her standards high, thus eliminating all the bad boys that will not match her own intrinsic quality. In reality, just by her position alone she will have eliminated a good 90% of rotton apples. 

The takeaway is that in relationships you ought to seek a spouse with similar values, morals and ethics. So hear this ladies, and hear me loudly; never compromise your position on the tree. Because one day, God will position another apple on another branch that fits your core beliefs ... 
And when He does, you just found your perfect applesauce. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Anthony's Favorite Poem: The Man In The Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.