Friday, November 27, 2009

Chapter 1

I’ve been joking with my friends for a while, that I would write a book about relationships, and I think it’s finally time to write a little excerpt.

Eggs in a Basket

Every person in the world has two things; a basket and a carton, filled with one dozen eggs. The basket represents YOU. Everything about you. Your personality, your looks, your beliefs. The eggs represent bits of your heart that contain romantic feeling. The eggs are to be given out, or put into others baskets, as you see fit. The more eggs you put into someone’s basket, the more romantic feelings you have for them. The intensity of the feelings, behind the amount of eggs placed into someone’s basket can fluctuate from individual to individual, but the generic scale looks something like this:
- 1 egg = crush
- 12 eggs = marriage, I love you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you

Let me try to make it a little clearer with an example. There is a boy, and his name is Rex. Rex has quite a few friends, some of them being of the female persuasion. As he hangs out with these girls, he starts developing feelings for not just one of them, but can see himself being with four of them. Their names are Donna, Pauline, Jenna and Chloe. As Rex spends more and more time with these girls, he starts to put “eggs” into their “baskets.” Starting out, he flirts with all the girls, and has a minimal crush on each of the four, so he puts one egg in each of their baskets. Weeks go by, and he continues to hang out with the girls, and he really starts to like Chloe and Donna. He then adds an egg to each of their baskets. More weeks go by, and now he really likes Chloe. As he is adding eggs to Chloe’s basket, he is taking eggs out of the other girl’s baskets.
It’s been nine months and Rex is falling in love with Chloe. He has placed nine eggs into her basket, and is thinking about proposing. However, out of no where, Chloe breaks up with him, and empties his eggs out of her basket. However, when Rex receives his eggs back, they are no longer whole, but they’ve been smashed. Remember, eggs represent bits of your heart. When Chloe broke Rex’s heart, she smashed his eggs.
Due to the romantic disaster, Rex’s carton of eggs will never be the same.
A year passes and Rex is reunited with Donna! As they start to hang out again, Rex is very cautious with his feelings. He slowly starts to put his eggs into her basket, but she can tell that something is different about him, and that he has been hurt in the past. Rex has to explain his shattered eggs.
Eventually Rex gives all of his eggs (whole and shattered) to Donna and they get married and live happily ever after. Blah blah blah. The end result isn’t really the point of the story. Basically, this fun anecdote teaches us to be careful with how we pass out our love and that even when we get hurt, we can still give our shattered love to someone else someday.
The next time you ask someone, “Like oh my gosh. Do you like like him?” Try asking, “How many eggs do you have in his basket?” It gets great reactions, and it will give you the opportunity to spread the analogy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

happy thanksgiving

illustrated by: Ryan J. Martin

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Prayer

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for being my God. Thank you for making me and KEEPING me. Thank you Lord for your goodness, and for promising me a spot in your family. No matter how i mess up, you're faithful to forgive me. Thank you for all that you are more than enough. I love you and want to live for you. Amen

+ = -

Last night, as I was on the phone with one of my good friends, (shout out to John! ‘sup dude?!) we started talking about how we met, and how our relationship had blossomed into a beautiful friendship flower, and how our whole group of friends had formed. It’s actually pretty interesting, tracing the lineage of your friendship tree. It’s cool to map out exactly how you met the people that you love and care about.
So, if you have some free time, sit down and list your closest friends. If you’re super popular, maybe just list ten friends. If you don’t have ten friends, than maybe this exercise isn’t for you. Here is what you should do:
- If you can, write a short description about the first time you met them. If you can’t remember the exact time or place, then you’re a terrible friend and should probably take them off your list. Just kidding. But seriously, write down everything you can remember about how you met that person. First impressions. Who introduced you? How long have you been friends?
- Once you have your list made, then go back through your friends and write why they are your friend. How good of friends are you? What makes them friendly? Why do you get along so well?
- Lastly, go back through the list one more time and grade your friendship, using three different symbols. +, -, and =. If you think you give more to the relationship than your friend, put a +. If you think you give less to the relationship than your friend, put a -. If you think you put the same amount to the relationship as your friend, put a =. Once you’ve done this, you’re done.

Obviously, this is probably an activity that you wouldn’t necessarily share with your friends, but it could be a real eye opener to you. Hopefully, your friendship tree will be graded with a bunch of = signs, but chances are, it won’t look like that. If your chart is filled with + signs, then you’re doing your part as a friend. However, maybe you should take a look as to why you’re friends with that person. If you’re constantly putting in more work, time and effort into your relationships, then maybe the people you call your friends are nothing more than acquaintances. If your chart is filled with – signs, then you need to step your game up. Don’t be lazy, and take your friendships for granted, because before you know it, they’ll be gone. All the people that you’ve clung onto and used for their friendship, will leave and spend time with the people who are reciprocating the act of friendship.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t written down my friendship tree yet, but I’m going to do it this week. I’m a little nervous to see what I find, but I think it will be a great check-up. So, if you have some time, give it a try. Let me know if you liked it.
I’ll leave you with this. I know that being a good friend and finding that place in your heart where you can truly LOVE your friends is one of the greatest, and hardest things that we have to deal with. I looked up the definition of "friend" on, and this is what I found.

Friend: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

Now let’s break that down:
- The best part of this definition in my opinion is the word "attached." The word attached means, joined; connected; bound.
- Affection means: fond attachment, devotion, love
- Personal Regard means: to have or show respect or concern for.

So, I guess if we break down the defintion it would look something like this:

A friend is a person that is joined, connected, and bound to another by feelings of devotion or love, who shows respect and concern for!

Look up again at what a friend is and ask yourself first...are you a "friend?" Does the definition describe you? Second, are the people you surround yourself with "friends?" do the people that you call "friends" attach themselves to you and pour on love and show you respect and would they do anything for you?

Just something to think about…

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Meteor Shower," by Owl City

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'tis the season...wait...not yet

I was thinking…and yes it hurt…about how much things have changed since I was a kid, and how things will be even more different when I have kids someday (well, when my wife has kids…if I have a wife. Hey, wife, if you’re out there reading this…call me?).

Here’s a flash-forward to 2020;
- The Holiday stories I heard as a kid are different. There are weird adaptations to winter classics that are changing the way my kids grow up. For instance, my kids have to read stories about Melty the Snowpuddle (Frosty’s nephew) who battles global warming, and is bullied by El Nino. They read about Rudolph the Reindeer who is socially accepted by all his reindeer friends, because after all, it’s not politically correct to discriminate against reindeer based upon their nose color.
- They don’t enjoy “Christmas break,” but rather have time off during the “winter ‘celebration of several different religious festivals’ break.”
- We can’t enjoy the smell of fresh pine, and the explosion of color exuding from the Christmas tree, because the nation has “gone-green,” and the cutting down of all trees is now illegal.
- Apparently Christmas is now a 3 month holiday because radio stations start playing Christmas songs in October. My kids think Santa is coming before Halloween does.
- The phrase, “Merry Christmas,” has been banned in public, as this could be offensive to someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Now, the correct greeting verbiage is “Merry Winter.”
*** Disclaimer: I have not actually been to the future to see whether or not any of the above is true.

Present Day, 2009:
Can you imagine living in a future where Frosty doesn’t exist, and Rudolph doesn’t have a red nose? A future where you can’t spread joy by wishing someone a Merry Christmas and you don’t get the excitement of everything that comes with a Christmas tree? Gosh that would be terrible!
Here is my challenge to you. Enjoy everything that comes with Christmas while you can. Drink up every moment you get to spend with your family, and cherish every bulb or ornament you get to hang on your tree. Read books, play games, build snowmen. Christmas is an awesome time of year. However, remember this. Jesus’ birth needs to be our focus on this holiday. There can be no greater love or gift, besides Christ. With that being said, I believe Christ has provided us with fun traditions as a way to express and spread the joy that he has brought into our world.
So, be happy and delight in what Christmas means. But maybe wait until after Thanksgiving to start listening to Christmas music. You don’t want to set our lame, 2020 future in motion, by starting to listen to Christmas tunes too soon, do you?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


On a day to day basis, I’m willing to bet that most people don’t even think about the people who are serving our country, putting their lives on the line. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve taken my freedom for granted, and to be honest, I’m a little disgusted with myself. But it’s amazing how things change when someone you love is out there protecting your “rights.” This is in honor of Veterans Day.

Right hand on my heart, hat off my head, my mind just thinks of you,
Every time I see our stars, the red, the white, the blue.
I hope you’re well and staying strong, and most of all you’re safe.
I pray my prayers are helping you, and you’re leaning on your faith.
Thank you for your selflessness, and thanks for being brave.
Thanks for fighting for my cause, for the freedom that you save.
I hope you know I think of you, each and every day.
You may be half way ‘round the world, but in my thoughts you stay.
If there’s one thing you taught me, that I won’t do anymore,
Its taking you for granted, and what you’ve done at war.
Our debt’s to you, our Veterans, the living and the dead.
You’ve protected all our stars, the blue, the white, the red.
So every time you see our flag, and watch our colors fly.
Remember those who’ve served and fought, protected us and died.

DK, CF – I miss you. Come home safely

Friday, November 6, 2009


Imagine a friendship being like two water pitchers, both half-full. When the 1st water pitcher is feeling low, the 2nd pitcher pours them self into the 1st to fill them up, giving of their own good to benefit the other, and vice versa. When pitcher 2 is starting to feel low, pitcher 1 pours into them. That’s what a friendship should look like. Give & take.

But often, that’s not what it looks like…

What happens when pitcher 1 continually pours into pitcher 2? It gives every last drop, hoping and deeply wishing that pitcher 2 will reciprocate and pour back into them. But pitcher 2 never pours back. And after everything pitcher 1 has given, all it has to show for is complete emptiness.

Dear Pitcher 2,
You may never fully realize the kind of vacancy you create in the pit of someone’s stomach, or the kind of disappointment that you pulse through their hearts. You’ve always been like this. You take for granted the kind of love and care that others have poured into you, because after all, your number one priority has always been yourself.
I truly hope that your vision is clouded. That you’re oblivious to how your selfishness affects the people that surround you, that you don’t truly notice you’re pushing them away. However, some twinge of regret, some ache of confusion makes me believe otherwise. It makes me believe that you knew all along. You knew how you were treating your “friends.” They were just means to an end. The end being your happiness. I hope you’ve reached your end.

Dear Pitcher 1,
You may never fully realize the kind of fullness you create in someone’s life, or the kind of joy you drive through people’s hearts. You’ve always been like this. You pour your love and care into others, because after all, your number one priority has always been putting others before yourself.
I truly hope that your vision is clear. That you recognize how your compassion affects the people that surround you, that you clearly notice you’re changing their lives. However, some twinge of regret, some ache of confusion makes me believe otherwise. It makes me believe you have no idea. You are left in the dark wondering why you even cared, because the people you’re pouring into don’t reciprocate. You were just a means to an end. The end being other’s happiness.

I wish I had more to give, but you’ve taken my last drop.
My heart is sick and misses you, and I can’t make it stop.
I hate myself for missing you, and don’t know what to do.
I’ve told myself you’re dead to me, after what you put me through.
I don’t regret knowing you, and deep down I still care.
Now I know what they mean, when they say life’s not fair.
A part of me wants to think, that our story is not done.
But you’ll always be pitcher two, and I’ll be pitcher one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good for You

I was trying to think of some clever poem that voiced my hatred of the Yankees, but I quickly realized that when my heart is filled with disgust, witty rhyming schemes don’t really come to mind. I’m not all that surprised that the Yankees won their 27th World Championship last night. Spending one billion dollars on player salaries in the past five years was bound to payoff at some point.

I used to be so adamant about the MLB instituting a salary cap, but as I’ve matured as a great baseball mind, I think I’ve changed my thinking. There are already several things that make baseball unique among other team sports. Take these for example:
- It’s the only team sport that’s not restricted by a timer.
- It’s the only sport where the manager wears a uniform.
- It’s the sport with the most number of games in a season (162).
- It’s the only sport where the All-Star game decides home field advantage.

The fact that baseball doesn’t have a salary cap is just another beautiful oddity of the game. The fact that year after year, the Yankees spend more money than any other team in the league, but haven’t won a championship since 2000, shows you that it takes more than money to be a champion. In 2009, the Yankees payroll (this is just player salaries) was $208,097,414 which is about 8x’s more than the Pittsburgh Pirates team payroll of $25,197,000. Obviously there is some correlation between money and success.

I’m happy that the MLB hasn’t succumbed to peer-pressure and instituted a salary cap. It makes baseball all that more distinct and exceptional. And…when the 67 million dollar Twins beat the 208 million dollar Yankees next year to clinch the American League Pennant, its going to be all the sweeter.

Witty or not, I’m going to attempt to release some of my fury toward the Yankees through this poem.
The Yankees for Dummies

The Yankees are the champions of two-thousand nine,
No frowns in their clubhouse, they’re all feelin’ fine.
Not since two-thousand have they tasted this glory,
Not in nine years, and not since Joe Torre.
But Girardi did lead them through ups and through downs,
Though some of them acted like immature clowns.
They’ve got CC the fatty, and a class act named Jeter.
They’ve got a sell-out name Tex, and A-Rod the cheater.
There’s Burnett and Posada who can’t get along,
And Godzilla Matsui who’s big in Hong Kong.
Damon and Swisher play outfield each night,
And a grown man named Melky? now that’s just not right!
Don’t forget Robinson who’s first name is a last,
These are the Yankees, a smug, prideful cast.
To their fans in the world, I say “good for you.”
“Go have a party, and let George buy that too!”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Internal Struggle

8:00 am
I smell bacon. The only reason I woke up is because the sensors in my nose sent a text message to my stomach, which then twittered about how hungry it was. My brain, which is constantly checking my other body part’s facebook and twitter accounts, decided to wake up the rest of my body, so my stomach could enjoy the greasy, perfectly done bacon that my nose sensed was cooking downstairs. As I head to the kitchen, I have to squint because the sun is tearing through the staircase window sill, and my sleepy eyes haven’t adjusted to morning. I turn the corner to see my dad behind a stack of French toast, and my mom turning sweet slices of bacon on the griddle. My sisters are in the other room watching an episode of America’s Next Top Model, already enjoying breakfast, as I grab a white plate from the cupboard and starting piling on bacon and French toast.

I’m just finishing up and feel like I could go back to bed. As I dipped the last remaining crisp of bacon into the pond of syrup on my plate, my youngest sister entered the kitchen and started scraping her leftovers into the trash. At the very last moment I spotted a full strip of bacon sliding toward the garbage. I jumped from my chair and practically mugged her. How dare she waste a full slice of premium cut, smoked apple wood bacon?
She just looked at me as if I were some sort of homeless man who hadn’t eaten in weeks. Moral of the story. Don’t waste bacon.

8:33 am
Breakfast is over, and I just received an email from my intestine. I’ll copy it below for you.
“Dear Master,
You’re stupid. 12 strips of bacon and 7 pieces of French toast? Really?
I’ve called your stomach and asked it to ache. I’m awaiting a reply. Oh, did I mention that I also emailed your metabolism and told him to slow down and deposit fatty tissue on your gut. Idiot.”
Your Intestine

Technology is insane these days. Who would have thought you could communicate via online networking devices with your internal organs. Crazy!

2:36 pm
My intestine and I have been emailing back and forth all day. I’ll fill you in on what you’ve missed. It turns out that my intestine tried to get my colon, appendix, and spleen involved, but none of them wanted anything to do with the situation. My stomach really enjoyed the bacon and decided not to ache, and my metabolism decided to speed up and burn all the calories just to spite my intestine. I guess my metabolism and my gall bladder had gone on some dates, and my intestine spread a nasty rumor about gall bladder and things got ugly. This was pay back I guess?

4 days later
It’s been four days and the bacon is still in my intestine. I haven’t been able to poop, and the intensity of the cramps is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve tried apologizing, but my intestine won’t give in.

3 hrs later
Well, I just set up shop in the bathroom. I moved my TV, and xbox in there and brought a stack of DVDs. I’m gonna fight this, and I’m prepared to be here for a while. The pain is getting pretty unbearable and my intestine doesn’t show signs of giving in. There is only one thing left to do. TURBOLAX

36 hrs later
After drinking the whole bottle of laxative, (I mixed it with Mt. Dew, which tasted awesome) I’ve had to sit here on the pot for the last 32 hrs. I’ve watched a full season of The Office, played 82 ranked matches of Halo 3, and drank 18 amp energy drinks (which probably didn’t help my cause). My insides are feeling way better, and me and my intestine have cleared the air via facebook chat. He explained that he’s having a rough time coping with his feelings of jealousy toward my metabolism, because he’s head over heels for my gall bladder. And then when I clogged him with bacon, he said he got all bloated and it ruined his chances of ever impressing my gall bladder. Jeepers. I feel real bad for him now.

Moral of the story: don’t eat too much bacon, because it might ruin your intestines chances of impressing your gall bladder.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Liquid Gold

It has been quite a while since I’ve been writing, and I’m gonna be honest. I really miss it. Working at Wells Fargo has been great, and is definitely a blessing, but my brain is becoming a financial sponge, filled with meaningless numbers and equations, while all of my creative juices are sitting dormant collecting dust under my bed. I lifted my mattress today just to make sure the bottle of creative juice was still there, and sure enough, under my bed, behind the professional athlete dreams and vocal talent, there it sat. The 10 gallon glass bottle filled my with creative juice. Every time I see it under there, it’s still hard to believe that a 10 gallon glass bottle can fit under my bed…hmmm…maybe that explains my lower back pain.

10 minutes passed and I finally moved all the other junk out of the way and pulled out my bottle of creative juice. The window was open just a crack in my room, and I was thankful for that. Digging under the bed made me break a sweat, and the soft breeze sifting through the window-screen, really took the edge off. So, I sat there with the bottle of creative juice sitting between my legs, and I just stared at it. I’m not sure all of you know what creative juice looks like, so let me fill you in. When a powerful mind, like Einstein or Alex Trebec, uses creative juice, it is supposed to look like pure liquid gold that has just been squeezed from a solid gold orange. (I can see hear your brain working, trying to imagine this.) However, over time, when your brain is used for different purposes and the creative juice starts to get stale, it turns into crusty brown syrup. Needless to say, my creative juice was so stale that it was ready for a triple stack of pancakes.

There I sat. Still staring at my 10 gallon bottle of stale creative juice. I had to take a step…maybe even a leap…My stomach somersaulted as if I were about to delve into an old relationship, one that I’d cheated on and left behind. One that I’d been inching further and further away from. Part of my head or maybe even my heart, made my hands twist the cap off of the bottle, hoist it up to my lips and powerfully begin to chug. Drinking your creative juice can be a painful experience. It takes a while for all of the juice to circulate through the brain, and for your body and bones and skin to remember what being creative feels like. Oh yeah…and have you ever tried to drink 10 gallons of maple syrup? I didn’t think so.

1 hr later

Well it’s been about an hour. I thought I was going to die for the first 15 minutes, because I had 10 gallons of sludge coursing through my brain, and the intensity of the headache I felt reminded me of the first time I heard a Miley Cyrus song. But now, It’s hard to put into words, the way I feel. If I had to describe it: imagine the joy that a Yodeler, who has just seen a Billy-goat hurdle a 5 foot stream flowing through the Swiss Alps, would express. You would hear yodel-le-hee-hoo’s ring from mountain tops! Part of me wanted to throw up, bottle the juice back under my bed, and accept that my brain was meant to be a mortgage garbage disposal. But as soon as my creative juice fully circulated through my veins, and the memories of joy and the freedom that writing and being creative gives me were projected on the 65” Plasma screen in my head, I threw the 10 gallon glass bottle out the window. Looking back on it now, I probably wouldn’t have thrown the bottle out the window, but rather used it to hold spiced holiday cider, because the bottle broke the window screen, plummeted two stories, hit, and killed the neighbors cat named Kitty Perry. Whoops. Like my dad always says, “the only good cat is a dead cat.” Try telling that to Ms. Donahue next door.

Today I took a stand. To prevent future staleness, I put a chip clip on my “potato-chip-bag” life. I used a Ziploc to preserve the freshness I had left. And I got rid of the huge lump in my mattress that the 10 gallon glass bottle was creating. Mark my word America. Never again will the underside of a bed be a place to hide my creative juice. Instead, I want to infuse every pen, and pencil and piece of paper that crosses my path with so much creativity that if you were to wring out that piece of paper, you could fill a 10 gallon glass bottle with pure…liquid…gold!