Today is my kids last day of school for the Summer. They are very excited. When you’re a kid, the last day of summer seems like the answer to all of your prayers. No more getting up early, no more homework, no more sitting in class all day and no more having to learn.
Now, days can be spent sleeping in, turning brains into mush with TV and video games, and eating an abundant amount of sugar. What a life.
I loved the last day of school when I was a kid. Its almost indescribable what it felt like to know that I would have freedom for a few months. It was exhilarating to say the least.
I have changed my view of the last day school now that I am an adult. Now I think that it is lame.
Let me tell you why it is lame.
I am not sure exactly when it happened, I think it may have been when I was about 25 or 26 years of age, but I came to the realization that I had been duped. That’s right. Duped. See, what had happened was that I was lead to believe that life was what I had experienced up to that point, and when I found out it wasn’t as I had expected, It frustrated me.
For 17 years of my life I was in some form of school. Kindergarten through College. During that time, I remember thinking, all I have to do is get through this 9 months, and then I get 3 months off.
Then the sad reality hit- as an adult- there is no such thing as 3 months off.
The truth is that responsibility is a really big word. When you’re married, with a couple of kids and a job there is truly no end in sight. Retirement? At 25, you’ll be lucky to retire at 65 and that is 40 years away! Stuck in the drudgery of the reality of the repetition of life for the next 40 years, you have to do some serious re-ordering of your thoughts.
Here’s the reality- life isn’t summer vacation. Life is work. Life doesn’t have a foreseeable endpoint- you have to stick with it and realize there isn’t a 3 month vacation waiting for you every year. I found out that the sooner you realize it, the better off you’ll be.
Where’s the victory today? Here it is- in the midst of the realization of the truth of a life with no 3 month vacation God gave me peace. He helped me to realize that while goal setting, or having an endpoint is good, it can be deceiving. It can get you to despise where you are at because you are always looking forward to something better. Often times, there is a great deal to be learned in the midst of today. Right now, in this moment. Not in some moment in the future.
Make no mistake, I’m a goal setter, but sometimes, looking towards the goal too far, can keep you from enjoying where you are at right now, because it appears that happiness is in the future, not right now.
Find happiness in the here and now. Strive for the future, but don’t think that you’ll only be happy once you get to where you are going, because once you get there, you’ll still have somewhere to go.
I gotta go rain on my kids parade now and put them to work for the summer- no better time to understand life than at 8 years of age….
Yesterday was my “carb day” on my eating plan. I wont go into great detail, but on certain days, I allow myself to consume desserts and such, and yesterday was one of those days.
We have church on Wednesdays, and somehow, we have got into the habit of getting ice cream after service. Obviously, the kids love it, so it happens quite often. This can get a bit expensive.
By our church there is a Dairy Queen. To get cones for 4 people at DQ is close to 8 dollars, and recently, we have noticed that the creation of the treats have been slightly inconsistent. I’m a guy who wants as much as he can get for his ice cream dollar, so I’ve been disappointed when its inconsistent.
Last night, I had an epiphany. At the McDonalds by our house, a vanilla cone is only 50 cents. I calculated that if I ordered two cones, that I would be ensured to get the absolute most out of my ice cream dollar. I’m was pretty sure that buying 2 cones for a dollar would give me more ice cream than one cone at 1.89. We decided to try the theory out.
As we pulled into the drive through last night, we were all giggling when Crystal told the guy “8 cones please”. We got to the window and he said that was the biggest order for cones that he had ever seen.
We’re trendsetters. We got an abundance of ice cream for just over four dollars.
Who would have thought that buying two smalls would equal one big for less than the price of medium? I’m changing the world of ice cream folks, I’m the John D. Rockafeller of Ice Cream I tell ya.
This is a spiritual blog with spiritual truths and here’s what I got for you today- Sometimes its okay to get two cones.
Let me explain- I think the reason that people only get one cone is that the vast majority of Americans have been conditioned to believe that one cone is allowed. You get one cone and that’s it. You find a size, you find a cone and that’s it.
People think because that’s what they see, that is what is allowed. The truth is that you can ask for as many cones as you want.
This translates to people’s spiritual lives too. They think there are limits with God. They think that He is a one cone God because they have never asked for two cones. They see everyone else getting one cone so they figure that’s all they can get.
God has far more than two cones. His cone supply is unlimited.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because everyone else is getting one cone that that is all that is available. Sometimes, you just have to ask for the extra cone.
Mediate on that today. Have you been limiting God? Have you fallen into the ‘one cone’ mentality instead of thinking bigger? God has the ability to bless you abundantly, but often we limit Him because of our own perceptions, not because of who He really is.
Sometimes its okay to ask for two cones.
This morning, it has been a bit of a struggle, because it seems that no matter what I am doing to try to come up with a topic, I keep focusing on the pain in my back. I didn’t injure it or anything, its just really really sore.
Yesterday I was at the gym and did some deadlifts with my friend Dan, and my legs and back are smoked.
I’m not sure the last time you went to the gym or worked out, but often when I am done I’ll be remembering the workout for days. Not because it was momentous, but because of the pain in my body from it. For some reason, when that happens, it constantly goes through my mind- the pain in my body.
It makes me want to quit.
Now, this pain is self-inflicted, its not by accident or anything, but I’m sure you can agree that when there is some pain in your body, you’re aware of it all day every day. You feel it when you get up, or move, or are just sitting there. Its a constant.
It makes you want to quit.
I wish there was something I could do to make it go away, but I think the only thing that will help is time. Time to recover. Time to heal.
Here’s what happens when you are in pain- it has the possibility to consume you. You can spend every waking moment thinking about it, and focusing on it because it is so painful. It limits what you want to do, or can do, and you can spend too much time focusing on it.
It got me thinking- often emotional pain is the same way. It can become very painful and debilitating to the point where you are no longer able to function because of the focus on your pain. When this happens, you run the risk of being directed by your pain and your attempts to alleviate it. Emotional pain can be just as bad as physical pain.
People avoid pain, and pursue pleasure. So if there is something painful, you’re going to run from it.
What’s my point today? You can’t let pain be your guide. Physical or emotional. Sure, it can give you an indicator of what you should or shouldn’t be doing, but it can be a deceiver also. If the only guide in your life is your pain, you can be directed away from something that is critically important in your life- growth.
That’s right. Sometimes when you’re growing it hurts.
Now I don’t describe to the ‘no pain no gain’ camp, but I do think that sometimes the growth in our lives can be painful. Its painful to change and have to re-evaluate where you are are at. Its not easy.
It might come through weight training, or spiritual growth.
Don’t focus on your pain today, don’t allow it to be your guide. Its a horrible compass. If God has birthed a vision and path for you, follow it regardless of the pain you may be perceiving. What you may find is that the pain will pass, and you’ll grow in the process.
Pain is what it is, but its not what should direct your life.
Have you ever seen the movie Cool Hand Luke? Its an older movie, with Paul Newman. If you haven’t seen it. I highly recommend it. Its one of my favorite movies. It has some really memorable quotes in it, such as-
“No one can eat fifty eggs” and “What we have here is a failure to communicate” and “Spend a night in the box”.
The movie is about a guy who goes to jail on a chain gang for taking the tops off a bunch of parking meters while he’s drunk. Not very moral, but the theme of the movies centers around watching the spirit of a guy who will not be broken, no matter what.
In the chain gang prison on Saturdays, they have grudge matches with the prisoners. The prisoners don boxing gloves and then proceed to beat the living pulp out of each other (we may be instituting this at church- more to come). The point of this exercise is that if you have a problem with someone, you save it til Saturday, and it starts and ends there.
In this pivotal scene, Luke and Dragline (George Kennedy) have their match. Luke is clearly not in a position to win. He is smaller and not nearly as skilled in the pugilistic arts as Dragline.
He gets the pulp beat out of him.
In the scene, Dragline is beating him, but to the amazement of the spectators, Luke refuses to stop getting up. Time and time again he gets up out of the dirt to once again face this man who slugs him in the face or gut, and then he falls down again.
Eventually, after watching Luke get up again and again, Dragline stops swinging, and walks away from the fight.
I love that scene.
You can see the scene here
I love it because Luke wins the fight even though he didn’t inflict the most damage. Anyone who knows boxing knows that the guy who lands the most punches wins, but in this fight, the guy who won was the guy who didn’t quit. Luke refused to stay down.
Sometimes, that’s the best way to win- to never stop getting back up again.
Oftentimes when faced with dire circumstances or repeated attacks, the initial response is to quit or give up. The problem with quitting is that you’ll never achieve greatness if you give up every time things get hard.
You have to pull yourself up out of the dirt and take a few more licks. Sure, you may not be able to swing as hard as the next guy, but take enough licks and eventually, you’ll be the only one standing. I’m using a metaphor here- but I think you get the point.
If you’re going through something today here’s the word of the Lord- don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep fighting the good fight. Don’t allow discouragement or past defeat keep you from getting up one more time. Feel like you don’t have what it takes? Take another line from the movie-
“Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand”.
God moves in our nothingness- in our inabilities- in our failures, but we need to keep ourselves in the equation and allow him to move through us. But we need to keep getting up.
ps. according to www.imdb.com Luke’s prison number is 37 in reference to Luke 1:37- look it up.
Are you a ‘motivated’ person? I found a definition of motivated- ‘provided with a motive or given incentive for action’. I think that’s a pretty good definition. Motivation is a good thing. When it comes to the things in our life that truly matter, it is important that we are looking for motivation to get to action in our lives.
Yesterday I went to a “Get Motivated” seminar at the Showare Center in Kent. Its put on by a guy named Peter Lowe, and they have been doing it for many years now. What happens is that they get together a bunch of famous people to give speeches that are supposed to get you motivated (they also try to sell you some stuff-but not much).
The event was amazing. I got to hear General Colin Powell, Laura Bush, Steve Forbes, Brian Tracy, Krish Dahnam and BIll Cosby. There were some fantastic insights that all of these people brought to the table. But of course, as with most things, there is always a favorite.
I absolutely loved listening to Bill Cosby. I think that guy is hilarious! He talked for about a half hour about next to nothing. He talked about Camille, He talked about his kids. He talked about a friend from Walla Walla Washington. It was funny to listen to him, but as he was speaking, I kept thinking to myself, “what does this have to do with motivation, I’m just laughing”. Throughout his speech, he never really got to his point- He kind of rambled from story to story.
The only thing he said about motivation in his whole time of speaking was “Why are you here? Why aren’t you motivated”? It was really funny- and kind of uncomfortable at the same time- you could hear the crowd’s nervous laugh as they realized the simplicity of his statement and wondered to themselves what the answer was.
I heard statesmen and business leaders and all I remember is Bill Cosby asking in the middle of a comedy set “why aren’t you motivated”.
It begs the question though- why aren’t you? What is holding you back from moving forward in that one area that you can’t seem to get started on. Do you not have a motive to take action? No incentive? I can’t give you a motive or an incentive, but I can challenge you to think and find one for yourself. If you would take the time to sit and think for a minute about what you would like to change, find a motive or incentive, I think you’ll get motivated.
Here’s the deal- talk is cheap. Action pays the bills. If you spend more time talking than moving you’re just flapping your gums. You can read books, go to seminars, do whatever, but at the end of the day you have to take ACTION. You have to start doing something.
Take action today. Do something to move you in the right direction. You’ll find that you’ll be better off for it.
Get motivated. Stay motivated.
Its mothers day this weekend, so I thought I’d share a few things that my momma taught me. I grew up with my mom and brother from the time I was about 3, and well, young boys left to their own devices can learn a lot directly and indirectly from their mom.
So what did I learn from my momma?
1. When applied to the tooth brush, liquid soap will remind you if a cuss word spoken much longer than if the bar is used.
2. No matter what you may think, if you get close enough, and breathe through your nose deeply enough, you can always tell if someone has been smoking.
3. Not all people who you think are your friends, are.
4. Breakfast in bed makes every birthday special.
5. If you start going after your child immediately to discipline them, you can go up a flight of stairs faster than a teenager.
6. Hamburger can be prepared more ways than you can count.
7. Trying to be ‘cool’ never works.
8. No matter how big of a fight, if you don’t kiss and hug before you go to school, you’ll have a bad day.
9. Everyone who is in the house at bedtime gets a hug goodnight.
10. Everyone gets hugged into the house and as they leave.
11. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you’re loving your family and other people you’ll feel rich every day.
12. No matter what, go to church every Sunday.
13. Giving stuff away to people is better than keeping it.
14. A compliment kept to yourself is wasted.
15. Presents don’t make the day- presence makes the day.
I love you Mom! You’re the best mamma in the world. Thanks for believing in me.
Happy Mothers day! Be blessed
Sent from my BlackBerry- sorry if its brief…have you tried to type on a small keyboard?
As far as food is concerned, my favorite is the donut. Most people that know me know this, because, well, I really like them. I really think that if they didn’t exist I would weigh about 40 lbs less, because I wouldn’t have any food that I craved. Honestly there isn’t a day when I would turn down a good donut. I could eat them every day.
Today is national donut day and there are donut places all over this great nation of ours that will be giving away this manna from heaven. Free donuts. Did you catch that? To me that is like if a bank was giving away free samples. Who would turn that down?
The calls, the emails and the facebook posts are coming my way. People that know me know that I love them, so they are trying to help me out. God bless them.
But alas, today I will not be taking part in this most momentous occasion. I will not ingest one single donut.
I’m not protesting here, I’m just on this new fangled eating plan that is not allowing me to consume a fried ball of flour and sugar. I wish it was, but on this plan i’m on, I am restricted to eating those type of carbohydrates only two days a week, and today is not one of those days.
Now understand, as I write this blog and share with you some insight I am not the shining example or pinnacle of restraint. I’m not speaking from a mountain of achievement or a platform of success. I am merely a fellow sojourner on a path of discovery.
And here’s the word for today- Delayed gratification.
Actually that is two words, but you get the point. I was thinking about that this morning and realized how important delayed gratification is to be successful and how lacking it is in most people’s lives. Most people want something right now, as soon as they can get it. Smart people realize that often when you delay some sort of gratification, in the long run, you’re going to come out ahead.
Wait to spend. Wait to eat. Wait to go there. Wait to buy that.
Waiting isn’t fun, but in the long run, its usually the best thing to do because then you get the bigger things that you want, not just a simple immediate satisfaction that it usually fleeting.
Am I making sense this morning? I hope I am. Here it is in a nutshell- In a lot of things, its good to wait, and better if you do.
Is there something that you need to wait to do today? Are you getting ahead of God on something? Have you become a person who doesn’t have the ability to wait? Make the decision today to put it off to the right time and watch what happens.
More than likely you’ll find that delaying your gratification will bring greater satisfaction in the long run.
On Tuesday, I had to go to Office Depot and redeem my 17 dollar rewards card. It expired on the 31st, so I had to use it before then. Walking around Office Depot with 17 dollars to spend isn’t that exciting. There really isn’t much ‘fun’ stuff to buy that isn’t paper or pencils. I was going to buy a new Blackberry cover, then I looked at some cheap software, then I looked at some headphones. Nothing really seemed worth it.
Then I found the “as seen on TV” section. There was some pretty good stuff there. Click lights, Topsy Turvy’s, foot washing slippers. I don’t know why all this stuff was in Office Depot, but on the shelf were these slick HD Sunglasses.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen the infomercials about HD Glasses, this video isn’t the exact product I bought, but its pretty much the same-
When I watch videos like that I am totally excited to get a product like that. I want to see better. I want things to be in HD. I wan’t to be part of the ‘in’ crowd. If all it takes is a pair of glasses to be cool, I’m buying them.
So I buy the 10 dollars glasses, get in my truck and start to drive. I’m thinking that by wearing these I’m going to feel like I’m driving the time machine from Back 2 the Future or something. But the truth is that they just feel like sunglasses. Regular old sunglasses.
Somehow, I think I’ve been duped.
How did I get duped? Because I believed someone’s emotionally laden plea to buy their product. I actually thought that what they were selling would change my vision, when in actuality, they were just regular ol’ sunglasses. They are nice, but not that nice. I believed what they told me instead of figuring it out for myself.
Here’s what I was thinking about my sunglasses- how pointless is it that we are so concerned with sunglasses when there are so many people that are spiritually blind. Spiritual blindness is much different than regular blindness in that most people who are spiritually blind, don’t even know that they are blind. Even worse, they think they can see, which is even worse.
Spiritual clarity is far more important than HD vision.
How do we gain spiritual clarity? Read the the Bible. When we spend time reading the good book we find out what it says, and the Holy Spirit reveals what it means. Through doing that, we find that our vision of what the world is and what it should be about changes. We find that how we are supposed to see the world may not be how we thought before, but through God’s HD glasses of the word, we can.
Do you have the HD Jesus vision? Do you have spiritual clarity? If not, for only free ninety free you can get it in the Word of God.
Read the book, and you’ll get some slick HD vision.