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Swiss Cake Rolls Anyone?

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I have always had an issue when it comes to saying when, especially when it comes to sweets, matchbox cars, bass guitars, motorcycles, ATV’s and scooters. In other words, when it comes to gluttony, my struggle is real!

The first time I remember over doing it when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I had just discovered “Little Debbie” swill cake rolls and boy were they delicious! I’m not sure what it was about them. Maybe it was the soft chocolate coating that you could peel off and eat in chunks. Maybe it was the soft chocolate cake that was exposed after you did so. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the white cream filling inside. Whatever it was, I loved them. I loved them so much that I even experimented on how to eat them. Since Gram liked hers cold, I did too, so sometimes I would place them in the fridge like she did. Other times I would resist dissecting it piece by piece and simply eat it the normal way, end to end. One of my favorite ways to eat a Swiss Cake Roll, however, was to find the end and unroll it until I got to the creamy middle. It didn’t matter how I ate a Swiss Cake Roll because even when the first roll was gone, there was always another to eat a different way. Thank goodness for two in a pack! Even the cardboard that the twin rolls called home wasn’t off limits. Since they had been sitting on the waxed cardboard for, well only God knows how long, peeling them off always left behind a residual amount of chocolate goodness that I simply couldn’t let go to waste, it had to be licked off. Ah yes, Swiss Cake Rolls, I wish I could say they were a childhood memory, but that would be a lie. Little Debbie became one of my best friends through grade school, high school and even into college.

Back in the days when gas was .89 cents, (oh geez I sound like my father) I drove weekly from home to my college campus in Platteville, Wisconsin. Platteville was just over a two hour drive. Along the way there was this little town named, Gratiot (pronounced grasshit). Gratiot was as  little town of 233 but to me it was an oasis in what felt like days behind the wheel. By the time I would reach Gratiot, my early 1980’s Chevy Monte Carlo would be thirsty for gas and since Gratiot was famous for its low priced petroleum, it was the stop of choice for a college kid with little money. Back then gas fluctuated from .89 to .99 cents a gallon. So for $12 dollars I could top off my tank and buy a box of 12, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls. I remember that I would open the box before leaving the parking lot and by the time I had left that sleepy little town, I would have already eaten a quarter of the box.(6 rolls in total) As thought that wasn’t bad enough, by the time I reached my final destination, about 45 minutes away, I would have experimented with all the fun and creative ways I could think of to eat them. With nothing but an empty box full of wrappers and cleaned off waxed cardboard squares, I would pull into the parking lot of my dormitory hungry and ready for food.

By now I think you “get” the picture. I loved Swiss Cake Rolls, or did I??? The truth is that while I did enjoy the first bite, the many subsequent bites that followed left much to be desired. The chocolate exterior tasted more like wax then chocolate, the cake was basically flavorless and the cream filling was like eating liquid sugar. Though I would eat a whole box, heck I still would, it wasn’t because I loved how they tasted or the quenched my appetite, it was because I simply didn’t know when to say when.

While it was fortunate that a broke college kid could find such an amazing treat at a price of .99 cents a box (you still can by the way) it was rather unfortunate for someone like me who had little self control. Today’s verse Proverbs 25:16 says “If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit.”  While the meaning of this proverb seems pretty obvious, it’s meaning goes much deeper. It’s not just about eating too much honey, or in my case Swiss cake Rolls, it’s about the dangers of gluttony in all areas of our life.

Gluttony is defined as habitual greed or excess and while that’s the “what”, I think the more important question is “why”? Why did I continually choose to eat a whole box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls? Why did I think that I needed a suitcase FULL of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars? Why did I build a 2000 square foot pole barn and fill it with motorcycles, ATV’s, dirt bikes, scooters, guitars, drums and recording gear? It is the “why” that fascinates me to this day. Though the object(s) of my attention has changed, being gluttonous, is still something that I wrestle with.

So far, the best that I have come up with is that my gluttonous tendencies come from two places, filling of a void or a fear of lack.  Little Debbie provided “sweetness” in my life, my suitcase full of toy cars provided me with “significance” and my obsessive “toy” buying as an adult was a way for me to feel “alive”, if only for a moment. Fear of lack, be it money, love or things has never really made sense to me. Growing up, my parents made sure, even if they had to work two or three jobs, that my sister and I had all of our needs met and then some! On top of it there has never been a doubt about how much they love me. Therefore, lacking, has never been my reality but it absolutely scares me anyway. Whether it be a box of Little Debbies, an extra large pizza, a plate full of spaghetti, a box of my favorite cookies, or a left over birthday cake, I eat them like it is the last time I will ever get to eat.

I wish I had a happy ending to this story. I wish I could say, “that was then but now…”, but I can’t. The struggle for me is still real and it’s an ongoing battle. Hopefully, one day I will be able to write about “how” I over came being a glutton but for now the best I can do is to be aware of when I am acting gluttonous, then recall Proverbs 25:16, remind myself that there is more where that came from and ask myself, “what void(s) are you trying to fill right now?” and “why are you afraid there isn’t enough?” Hopefully, the answers to these questions will one day lead me to my solution.

Have a great Day!

Kevin

 

PS-In just in case you are in line at the store and see a pack of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, don’t go for the single pack, they will charge you the same price for one at the check out as they will for a box of 12 in the aisle. (Of course, only I would pay attention to that!)

Don’t Sweat the BIG Stuff!

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Each morning when I begin to write, I have no idea as to what is going to come from my mind and ultimately appear on the pages of my blog. It’s not until after it’s written that I get the message I was trying to convey to myself. To begin the process, I sit down at my keyboard, open the day’s Proverbs and search for the message God wants me to see. Most mornings I feel a bit of resistance and struggle to “hear” the message. But sometimes, the message is clear, and calls out, “this one Kevin!” On those mornings, even though the message is clear, often times I am still left to consider what it is that I am going to be writing about. This is one of those mornings.

Today’s verse is Proverbs 24:32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw” How many times have you made a mistake? Seriously, could you even begin to guess? I’m not sure I could guess the amount of mistakes that I make in a day or week, more less over my lifetime! In fact, as I am typing this, I have already made numerous mistakes. Some that have caused me to backspace, others that have required me to choose new words or phrases and some (well, many) that have caused me to consider my punctuation. (I’m still considering it by the way) The truth is that mistakes are a part of life. If you are living, you are constantly going to make mistakes. There is just no way around it. So then, why is it that when we make some mistakes we are simply able to hit the backspace and “delete” key with no further consideration to our error but other mistakes that we make cripple us and leave us laying in a pile of mush for days, weeks, years and even decades of our life?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recover just as quickly to the mistakes we make in life as we do when typing a quick text to a friend?  Go back and look at some of your messages, I would be willing to guess that they are FULL of mistakes! “To” where it should read “too”, “there” where it should read “their” or one of my favorites, a question with no question mark.  Although we all make these mistakes, especially my male readers, we do so with little worry, consideration or impact on our day. In fact, most of us don’t even care, as long as we send the message, “how” the content is delivered,  matters little. Now, get divorced, lose a job, get in a car accident or put on a few unwanted pounds eating Grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies and that little mistake can turn into a relentless boxing match with ourselves that leaves us black, blue and wounded. Even worse is when our past mistakes cause us to no longer trust our decisions in the present moment.

For years, I have been struggling with two major themes in my life, my career and my relationships. Both of these struggles are the result of a mistake or a series of mistakes that I made long ago. Though I was wildly successful in my career as an account executive, I focus on that time of my life in a very negative way. The long hours worked, resulted in a great deal of stress. The time away from home, resulted in a lost connection with my spouse. Chasing money versus passion, left my soul aching for more. “Holding on”, when I knew it was time to “let go”, resulted in a lack of trust for myself and the decisions that I make. The list could go on and on but that’s not the point. The point is that while making mistakes is an inevitable part of life, the meaning we attach to those mistakes and the speed to which we recover isn’t. It’s the meaning we attach to those mistakes that creates our attitude. If you were to look up “perspective” in the dictionary, one of the definitions states that “perspective” is a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. That’s why when it comes to little things like spelling and punctuation mistakes in a text to a friend, the mistakes we make are no big deal. In fact, they don’t even phase us in the slightest amount. However, if you were to write a book that you wanted to become a “best seller”, punctuation and spelling would matter a great deal! It’s all about our attitude and perspective!

So then, how can we use this information to recover from the “big” mistakes we make just as quickly as we do from all the “little” stuff? The answer is simple, change our attitude and gain a new perspective of the situation.

When we are told in Proverbs 24:32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw” we are being told that if we use our “heart”, which in this case refers to our Center of Hidden Emotional-Intellectual-Moral Activity, we can use our intellect to find a new perspective, change our attitude and learn a lesson from the “big” mistakes we make.

They key here is that while we are brought up with the belief that “time heals all wounds”, it is this belief that can also leave some of us in a pile of mush wasting away the best years of our lives. After giving much consideration to the “big” mistakes I’ve made, it wasn’t time that healed my wounds, it was creating a new attitude towards my mistakes, that made all the difference. The only “mistake” I made was thinking that a certain amount of “time” was required in order for me to do so. They truth is, it wasn’t. I didn’t need time to heal my wounds, I just needed to learn the lessons my mistakes taught me and then move the __________ on. Just like I have done over and over again with the small stuff.

The saying says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. However, after a lot of consideration, today I am going to change my perspective and attitude towards this age old saying and make a new decision to live the rest of my life “not sweating the ‘big’ stuff.” I invite you to join me and do the same!

Have a great day!

Kevin

A Promise Made

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I woke up this morning and had absolutely no idea of what to write about. Therefore I read my morning verse, the news, watched a few movie trailers, surfed FaceBook, then opened my Bible app to read Proverbs once again. Still struggling, I began to focus in on several of the verses within Proverbs that speak about the consumption of wine. Oddly enough, since I choose not to drink, I didn’t understand WHY my mind was focusing on verses that spoke about the over consumption of alcohol. As  with all of my posts, I didn’t question it I just got my butt out of bed, at 4:28 A.M on a Saturday I might add, and got to work writing this post. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what comes out!

If you read Proverbs there are quite a few verses about over indulging on wine or beer. As I sit in my office, a room full of things that remind me of my Grandparents, I can’t help but think back to a moment in my life when I unknowingly made a decision that would forever shape my life. It was October of 1985 and Gram had just passed away. I remember it was a cool but sunny autumn day. As my aunt, uncle, Mom, Dad and other family members gathered in her old farm house to discuss funeral arrangements, grieve and share stories about her life, I remember eating the last of the stale chocolate chip cookies that sat untouched in her refrigerator. As I circled the yard on the old Craftsman garden tractor, I watched the grass fly as I recalled all the wonderful and not so wonderful moments (like the time my cousin Gary ran me over on my cousin Craig’s go kart) spent with Gram on her farm.

As the youngest Messerschmidt, the farm was a magical place for me. There was always something to do. Haymows to explore, creeks to wade through and trees to climb. There were also buildings full of old junk, antiques and hidden treasures. The farm hadn’t been in operation for many years, so instead of cows standing in stalls, you would find everything from my uncle’s old Harley Davidson “popper” to a worn out set of wooden skis. The milk house no longer produced anything to drink, rather it produced creations of metal directly from my cousin Craig’s creative and sometimes diabolical mind. Behind the barn where cows used to graze, now rested modified cars with the roofs cut off, and axels welded together. Welding the rear axel allowed both wheels to turn at once. This allowed my cousin to leave epic “burnouts” on the road in front of Gram’s house that lasted years after her passing. It also allowed for these old abandoned cars to be used off road. Some of my favorite memories were hanging out with my cousin, riding on the back of the car (he cut the roofs off and replaced back seats with a truck style flatbed) and ripping up the lane as we made our way to the creek.

Gram was a very good sport. I have to believe that my cousins and I drove her crazy but regardless, I think she enjoyed having us around. I was lucky to have Gram. She lived just down the road from the house my parents built on what used to be part of the family farm, my cousins lived across the road. Because we all had dirt bikes, bicycles and numerous other fun creations that allowed us to go faster than a kid should, much of our summer was spent riding up and down the sleepy country road with one of the four dogs of my childhood chasing behind. We all had so much freedom, even the dogs!

When night would come, often times my cousin (when I was younger) and I would stay overnight at Gram’s house. It was during these sleepovers that Gram’s patience would be tested. I remember one night, Craig decided that it would be a good idea to place old Sears and JcPenny catalogues on a chair, tape a paper target to them and practice our sharp shooting skills. As you can imagine, this idea didn’t go over very well with Gram. After several heated exchanges between my older cousin and Gram, Craig and I stood in the living room with his BB gun, firing away. I laugh at this now but looking back I can only imagine what was going through Gram’s mind that night.

One of my favorite parts about the sleep over was when Gram tucked me into bed. In the corner of the dining room where we would spend time together playing “kings on the corner”, bingo, eating her incredible homemade molasses cookies and lemon meringue pies, sat an old daybed. Around 9:30 when the house got quiet, Gram and I would convert the old daybed into a bed made for a king. We would remove all the cushions and replace them with several down filled pillows. Next we would steal the old oak chairs that surrounded her massive round oak table and place them next to the daybed. Once in place, she would ensure my safety by placing the massive cushions from the daybed onto the chairs. It was awesome, absolutely awesome! Since the daybed’s mattress was down filled, I was literally laying on a bed of feathers! Because the old farm house cooled down significantly at night, it was common that Gram would place multiple quilts over me to keep me warm. There would be so many of them that I could feel the weight of them as the surrounded me. It was very comforting and made me feel safe and secure. By 10:30, right after the evening news, it was lights out. Like clockwork, at 7:15 the next morning we would wake up and eat Frosted Flakes and toast covered with butter. (just make sure you take the butter from the end of the stick though because Gram would “loose it” if you scrapped it off the top. Just ask my cousin Gary!)

Daytime at Gram’s consisted of walks down the road, swatting mosquitos, baking pies, picking raspberries, pulling weeds from the garden, playing games and looking for 4 leaf clovers in her back yard behind the outhouse under a huge tree.

It was during our walks that I learned the way to a woman’s heart is through flowers, or in Gram’s case, cow slips”primula-veris.jpg and Johnny Jump Ups.
johnny-jump-ups_LRGThough the ditches of the marsh between our house and hers were full of cow slips, she would act so excited each time I would arrive to her house with a handful of them to place on the old oak table where she would spend many hours writing in her diary and playing solitaire.

I share these memories with you because I wanted to paint you a picture of the love, respect and gratitude that I have towards her. Without this background, I’m not sure that the decision I made that day, as a 14 year old on a garden tractor, would make much sense.

To be honest, I’m not sure where I heard it. In fact, I’m not even sure why I thought that it mattered in the first place. But on that autumn day in October 1985, I decide to honor Gram’s memory by doing something that, as rumor had it, she had requested of the older grandkids as they became old enough to drive. To my knowledge, no one in my family had a drinking problem but for whatever reason, Gram did not drink. Since I knew that sobriety was important to her, I made a decision that day to honor her memory by not drinking alcohol.

What’s strange to me is that looking back, I don’t even know why I made this decision. If she had lived until my 16th birthday, I’m not even sure that she would have made this request of me in the first place. Looking back today, over 30 years later, my decision not to drink has impacted my life in many ways. Some good and some, well, not so good.

I honestly believe that most people accept someone who drinks to excess more than they can accept someone who chooses not to drink at all. I have no issues with drinking, You be you and I’ll be me. But for whatever reason, not drinking has caused issues in friendships, my career, and even my failed marriage. There have been people that have rumored me to be a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. There have been friend’s that don’t invite me to parties and women that didn’t “swipe right”, simply because I don’t drink.

What is most interesting to me about my decision that day is that, though I’ll never know for sure, choosing not to drink as a 14 year old, may have saved me from a life of alcohol abuse and drugs. Proverbs 23:20 says, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat.” Though this verse mentions wine, what it is really referring to is gluttony. Gluttony, in simple terms, is the act over doing it, having too much of a good thing. And while I am not an alcoholic, there are certainly areas of my life where I am gluttonous, especially when it comes to baked goods. Cookies, cakes, brownies, pie and ice cream, you name it, I love it! Other than tiramisu, (or as I call it, “terriblesu”) that stuff is awful! Coffee in a cake? Seriously, who thought up such a stupid idea!?! Anyway, I love sweets so much that if there were a local support group for sugar anonymous, I would be the president.

Many days I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t made the decision to avoid alcohol. Since I’ve never had more than a taste, I don’t feel as though I am missing out on anything. But when I compare it to my addiction to sweets, something I have tried to kick for years, there is no doubt in my mind that had I began enjoying a drink now and then, today I would be fighting as hard to change that habit as I am today trying to remove my addiction to sugar. Since I’m not even sure where I heard the story in the first place, it’s entirely possible that my decision that day was the result of a new angel’s whisper as she was looking out for her grandson.

When reading Proverbs, it is so easy to skip past the parts that seem not to apply to you or are difficult to understand. That’s why it is so important to not just read Proverbs but also seek their hidden meaning and as my wisdom coach told me, LIVE THEM!

I hope that you have a great day!

Kevin

PS- As I reflect on this post, I am really grateful that I didn’t decide to honor her memory by not cursing. (Something else she greatly disliked) If I had, some of my best adjectives, nouns and verbs would be off limits! (I really dodged a bullet there!)

He Who Walks on Toes…

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One of my favorite authors is Andy Andrews. He is most famous for his book The Traveler’s Gift. If you haven’t read it, it’s a MUST! I loved it so much that I read it 3 times in a weekend before moving on to another of his books called The Noticer. Talk about a great author! Mr. Andrews has the ability to combine fact with fiction, and craft a story that not only is engaging and fun to read but leaves your mind full and your soul craving more. In The Noticer, Mr. Andrews states that if you accept negative character traits and qualities in the people that you surround yourself with, it is because you are also exhibiting those same negative qualities. It is a new twist on the old saying that you become the sum of the five people that you spend the most time with. However when I heard Mr. Andrew’s definition, it was the first time that I considered that your circle of five had as much power to pull you down as it does to lift you up.

One of the greatest powers that another person can hold on you, is that of influence. It starts when we are little babies. We are influenced by the world around us. Our parents, our siblings and our environment shape us rapidly into who we will become. I’ll never forget the first time that I saw the “toe walkers” in person. The “toe walkers” were a family of four, a Mom, Dad and two boys approximately eight and nine years old. Though I didn’t know the “toe walkers” personally, it never ceased to amaze me that their family all walked EXACTLY the same! I had never seen anything like it. Each time they took a step, their heals NEVER hit the ground. It was as though they all mastered the art of “sneak” walking. You know when you tip toe around a corner in hopes to catch someone off guard so that you can surprise them and make them jump! Not only did they master the “sneak” walk, they could do it fast! Each speedy step they took, came with a bounce. If you were on the other end of a crowded hallway, you could easily see their heads bounce up and down. What always fascinated me was that the mother and the father shared the exact same walk! It was easy to understand why the kids did it, they had simply modeled the behavior of their parents. But the parents? How in the world did two people, that walk so differently than what we perceive as “normal” end up together? To this day I am left wondering if they  were both born “toe walkers” and though fate and a little bit of luck they ended up in the same small town, fell in love, got married and immediately started to create their own tribe of “toe walkers”. Or was it out of love? Did one of the love birds so love the other that they were influenced by and ultimately decided to live the rest of their life walking on toes and raising their children to do the same? Unfortunately, I will never know. If I were to guess, I would say that it is more likely that the later, or at least a subconscious version of it, is true.

Now please understand, I have nothing against the “toe walkers.” I am in no way picking on them or making fun of them. In fact, the few times that we interacted, I found them to be really great people but I am still perplexed by the power that influence and modeling of the behavior of those closest to us has on our lives. The theory that you become the sum of the five people in life that you associate with most, is the real deal. Whether you consciously pay attention to the relationships you keep or you ignore them all together, it works the same. You will become those that you spend the most time with. So when God tells us in Proverbs 22:24 “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.”  God is saying that not only will these people will cause you stress, fear and anxiety but through association with them and their influence on your life, you too will become hot-tempered and easily angered.

Are you accepting the negative qualities and traits in those that you’re surrounding yourself with? Have behaviors that once bothered you deeply become a part of your daily existence? Do words and phrases that you used to find offensive suddenly find their way out of your mouth? Have you “grown out” of life long, quality friendships with good people because you don’t seem to have anything in common anymore? If you have answered “yes” to one or a all of these questions, I suggest that you take a deep look in the mirror. Because  you might just find that YOU have BECOME what it was that you once despised.

Have a great Day!

Kevin

PS- Here is an action step. Take a few minutes today and write out the characteristics, qualities and values that you desire to have then take a look around and see if those you are spending the majority of your time with possess those qualities or if it is time to look for people that do.

PSS- Here is a super extra credit action. Write down 3-5 things that drive you crazy about a friend or partner then ask yourself where you exhibit the same behavior of that which drives you crazy when they do it! (Remember to be super duper pooper scooper honest with yourself) Enjoy!

Profit and Poverty

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I did it! I didn’t hit snooze, well only once, and now I am sitting at my desk writing my blog at 4:44 A.M. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that this is no small feat for me. I have been trying for days to make this happen, let the experiment begin!

Today I want to talk about the power of intention. Intention means to have or set an aim or plan. Waking up this morning 90 minutes earlier than normal became a reality because I set the intention that no matter what, I would not turn my alarm off. There would be no “Siri, set my alarm for 6 A.M.” command this morning. Changing my idea to wake up 90 minutes earlier from an idea to a plan of how I was going to accomplish the task, turned my idea into a reality.

For as long as I could remember, my head has been full of ideas. If I could simply be paid to create ideas, I’d be laying on a beach, staring out at my yacht this morning rather than preparing myself to remove the sheet of ice from my driveway. For me, ideas have NEVER been in short supply. However, sorting through the good from the bad, and following through with the ones that had merit, has been. It reminds me of an old riddle. 5 seagulls sat on a fence. One decided to fly away. How many birds are left? (the answer in a few moments).

What changed for me this morning was that I created fail proof plan of action. Before I went to bed last night I placed my phone on the other side of my night stand. By doing this, I would consciously have to search for its location. Also, I set an intention that no matter what, I would NOT turn the alarm off or reset it. That meant that I only had 2 options. I could get up or repeatedly hit snooze every 5 minutes for the next 90 minutes. When the alarm sounded for the second time, not only was I extremely annoyed by the sound, but I was also conscious enough to remember WHY waking up early was important to me. Once I did, my feet hit the ground and my day began.

Creating this game plan, so to speak, made all the difference. The plan, plus execution, changed my idea of waking up early into a reality. Proverbs 21:5 says, “the plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  I don’t think that there is a better example of “living” this proverb than my battle with the alarm clock. This morning my “plan” lead me to “profit”. My “profit” was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that could only have been attained through execution. Every other morning this week, it was my excessive speed and urgency, otherwise known as haste, that silenced the alarm and returned me to my slumber. Though my dance with the alarm clock didn’t change my financial status, I did beat myself up, a lot, for not following through. So if the “profit” in waking up early was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, “poverty” would be my feelings of regret, defeat and anger for not following through.

Setting the intention to wake up earlier was not enough. It wasn’t until I set the intention to not fail, that I finally succeeded. The problem with most goals, plans, ideas or intentions, call it what you want they are all the same, is that without execution, they are nothing more than thoughts in your head. The lesson I learned today is that the next time I set an intention, I’m going to dig deeper into that intention and create a plan of execution that won’t allow me to fail, a plan where success is inevitable.

So what about the seagulls? 5 seagulls sat on a fence. One decided to fly away. How many seagulls are left?

The answer? 5. Deciding to fly away and taking the action to actually fly away are two different things. Without execution (action) nothing changes.

Intention + Execution= Results

Have a great day!

Kevin

Ring Ring Time to “Wake Up”!

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Last week I decided that it was time for me to create a “new” life/work schedule. I was determined to alter a nearly 4 decades old ritual where I would begin my day between 6 and 6:30 AM. In my “wisdom” I believed that creating a new habit and starting my day at 4:30 A.M. would be easy! My plan would allow me ample time to wake up and write BEFORE prepping breakfast, packing a lunch and driving my son to school. It all made so much sense until the alarm clock went off. Once that stupid ringer sounded, I quickly and with a bit of irritation and frustration, would reach for my phone, turn the alarm off and tell Siri to set a new alarm for my regular wake up time of 6 am.

What I find interesting is that to some of you, 4:30 seems like a piece of cake, while to others of you 6 A.M. sounds like a stretch. For nearly 2 decades of my life I was a musician. In those days waking up at 4:30 would have been impossible because more often than not, I hadn’t even gone to bed yet! Time is what we make of it. As many self help experts have already stated, time is the great equalizer. Each day, we all have the exact same amount of it, 24 hours. And since that is true, how is it that one person seems to accomplish so much more in their 24 hours than another?  Or for that matter in their life?

I swear that I have some friends that NEVER sleep, at least according to their social media posts! But is “sleep” really what God is referring to in Proverbs 20:13 or is sleep simply a metaphor? Here is the verse. Proverbs 20:13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.  While I certainly like to lay on my comfy bed and get a good night’s rest, I certainly don’t “love” sleep. In fact, for as long as I can remember I wake up early and stay up late. Often only sleeping 5-7 hours a night. Yet, many days go by where I don’t feel nearly as productive as I should be. Many days I feel as though my day is controlling me rather than me, controlling my day.

Sometimes it’s due to the commitments that come with raising a child as a divorced father. Other times its because I lose valuable time while working on projects of little importance. Even worse is when I find myself losing time binge watching Netflix, playing a video game or talking on the phone. However, without question, the biggest “soaker” of time for me is and always has been my thoughts. Those darn negative thoughts used to have the power to transport me down a rabbit hole of epic proportion. Today, through a lot of self awareness, honestly and hard work, those epic rabbit holes have become more like a shallow trench. I still find myself falling in the trench but once I recognize that I’m there, it is a lot easier to step out of the trench that it was to leave the rabbit hole.

If there were a stop watch on my life that tracked the countless hours I have spent worrying about things that I can’t control, thinking about things that do not matter or giving my energy to those that don’t deserve it, I would be truly sad to see how much time I have wasted. If you add to that all the hours that I have spent in pursuit of things that don’t matter or doing things that serve no purpose, I could become downright depressed.

When I first thought about this verse it was all about my alarm clock. I took it as a sign from God that I needed to follow through and wake up earlier in the day. However, after examining this verse more closely, I believe that God isn’t telling me to wake up earlier, what God is actually saying to me is that it is time to “WAKE UP!”.

“Sleep” isn’t about the time we spend laying down with our eyes closed. “Sleep” is about all the time we waste as we “sleep walk” through life, unfocused, without direction and with no purpose. If you are reading this and agree but for what ever reason are still unsure of your purpose, please take some advice from one of my favorite books, “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. In his book Gay states that finding your purpose is easy. All you have to do is ask yourself 2 questions. 1) Who do I serve? 2) How do I serve them?

When we begin to live with the purpose for which God created us to live, we will no longer “sleep walk” through life. Rather, we will stay “awake” with an abundance of “food” to feed our soul.

I hope that you have a great day!

Kevin

Desire VS. Knowledge

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As I was searching for today’s verse, I couldn’t help but notice that Proverbs 19:2 was contrary to some of my currently held beliefs. The verse reads,Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” Therefore, I decided to examine this verse and put my current beliefs to the test.

Have you ever helped or watched a child learn to walk? Most likely you have. Before they started walking did you send them to walking school or give them a book to read? Of course not, they simply saw others walking, had a DESIRE to do the same and after some or many failed attempts, they walked. What if they had the knowledge to walk but no desire? Would they ever walk? It’s hard to say, maybe one day out of necessity they would begin to walk but isn’t it true that necessity would actually fuel their desire?  This is just one reason that at first blush, this verse caught my attention and made absolutely no sense to me. I could think of many other situations where DESIRE must come first. I can also recall plenty of circumstances where people with a burning desire, have paralyzed themselves into inactivity while they tried to learn EVERYTHING they could about a topic before taking action.

Now before you persecute me, let me say that I do understand the intention of the verse. It means that desire, without the necessary knowledge required, will not take you to your intended goal. We are being warned that it is better to seek knowledge and combine that knowledge with our desire so that we can avoid mistakes and wasted time/effort which will lead our efforts astray.

Since I really wasn’t resonating with the “Desire without knowledge is not good” part of the verse, I decided to compare other translations for this verse against NIV version above. When I did, I found the results absolutely fascinating! The irony is that if I had only DESIRED to read the Bible and not seek KNOWLEDGE, I may have missed the mark!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Bible has been translated MANY times. Since I prefer an easier read, I refer to and read the NIV (New International Version) translation. However, similar to “The Telephone Game”, where everyone in a circle whispers a secret to each other until it gets back to the original person, the original message is often times, lost in translation.

Below I have posted the same verse translated 36 different ways. I challenge you to read all of them. I offer you this challenge so that you can see for yourself how important it is to seek knowledge, conduct research and view topics and points of view from all perspectives BEFORE you make up your mind on what is right for you. Far too often in my life I have taken information and people’s words at face value. For example, have you ever read a news article and simply believed that because it was published in your favorite newspaper or the message was reported by your favorite news reporter, that what it was that you were reading or listening to was fact; only find out days later that they got the story wrong? I’m pretty sure that at one point or another we have all made that mistake.

Today’s verse taught me the importance of waiting to make a judgement until you seek more information. It taught me that it is okay to “challenge” popular thought, even if it is written in the Bible. It also taught me that above all else, I have to trust MY gut, avoid popular consensus and do the research to make my OWN decisions. I hope you will too!

Have a great day!

Kevin

Compare Translations for Proverbs 19:2

 

From <https://www.biblestudytools.com/proverbs/19-2-compare.html>