Lent… a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).During the 6 weeks (or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday) an item that you are very attached to is chosen to "sacrifice" or basically not indulge in for the duration of the Lenten season.
Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics, thus I am off the hook for this (since we are Baptist) but somehow I always seem to feel like I should participate in some way.
Since the idea seemed to be something I could no longer ignore I swung into action. I took a small survey on line at a site called BuzzFeed.com about what they suggested I abstain from and it said: television! Really? TV? I actually can't, for the sake of my job, discontinue watching television!
So I asked a few friends and co-workers what they thought: Booze was their answer. An excellent idea, and one I agree should, and will be eliminated from my diet eventually, but with a celebrity roast, an epic parade, and then the first of two cruises literally all literally weeks apart, it would seem unrealistic to think it possible to completely eliminate alcohol from my diet.
Then it hit me… what would I miss more than life itself and still be able to side step completely without a chance of being "required" to partake in its consumption? The answer: Chicken Wings.
Yes for the next 6 weeks, a long and agonizing 40 days I might add, I will be giving up wings… for lent. Sigh! Wish me strength and God's speed.
Dear God... it’s me, Eric. I need to ask if you can help with something.
We here in NEPA have been a reasonably good bunch of folks and Erika, Piper and I have been on the upper end of the “well behaved” scale this past year, so I hope that can leverage us a little influence in the miracle granting department.
Last week there was so much ice and snow built up on the back deck of the house that I had a puddle of water seeping into the carpeting of the new addition! It was so thick that I had to use a shovel to chip a hole into it to allow the draining water somewhere to go!
My hands are cracking with the cold conditions, I have fallen twice (that never happened in a season) and my oil bill is historic, not to mention that we did in fact break a 100 year old snowfall record for the month of February!
I ask on behalf of the thousands of people that feel as “winter weary” as I do for mercy! Please God make it stop!
I want to wash the car without any fear of the doors freezing by morning, I want to consider shorts as comfortable option for work, I need the warming glow an inexplicably giant ball of fire that will provide me with a tan by June for more than 24 hours!
Please God have mercy… and push spring toward us!
Well Lord, that’s it for today; say hi to mom & dad, thanks for the Eagles latest free agent signings and thanks for the latest SI swimsuit issue… it’s pretty awesome.
During the storm that lasted from Thursday morning through Friday morning Erika and I stopped in at the Mexican restaurant at the mall for a bite. Sadly the kitchen was closed, but luckily the bar was open and the thought of a margarita with their amazing chips & salsa was too much to pass up, even if it were in the midst of a blizzard.
At the bar sat 3 guys who looked (honestly) work weary and tired from the weather. Heavy snow is exhausting, even if you only just sit and look at it accumulate for too long, and these guys had that look. They were friendly and surprisingly chatty to spite their burnt out appearance, so we sat at a table close to them (it was only the 5 of us in the place), and started into a conversation.
We shortly found out that Mike, Jason and Jose were the drivers of the plow trucks in the parking lot of the restaurant, and that they had been clearing the roads for 13+ hours prior to settling in for a break. They also were Wake Up Call fans… that scored them a few bonus points.
It’s not often that you get the chance to see the other side of a storms challenges, like from the driver’s seat of a plow truck, but in talking to these guys it was easy to see how difficult we drivers make it for the people who’s job it is to clear the roads for us to safely accomplish that task.
By the time we left (all together) the salsa was warm as was the margaritas and the snow had started again but the feeling we all had was somehow different. It was fun to meet new people, and do it in a deserted ice bound place that should’ve closed hours prior, and it was enlightening to hear the stories from “the other side of the plow”. Thanks for the perspective, and for the laughs, and for a random and unexpectedly cool night guys. I’ll stay clear of you while you work… and I’ll talk to you in the morning!
Ah the Super Bowl… the apex of football’s yearly battle. This Super Day is the ending of the NFL’s yearly run and usually is so greatly anticipated that it incites parties and drinking, gambling and debauchery, the stuff that only a true holiday can inspire… but is it possible that this year the Super Bowl is, well not too super, at all?
I have read that the demand for tickets is at an all-time low this year. Believe it or not the ticket prices for the seats are actually selling, hold on, at actual face value! Scalpers are complaining that they stand to make a measly $5k this year when their usual haul (for one weekend) is over $40k! Scandalous!
I am a HUGE football fan and a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, so I appreciate the sport, the great effort that it takes to field a team with a winning record, to even get to the Big Game no less win it, and I can more than appreciate a great plate of hot wings, plus this year the game is being played in a city I am more than familiar with and could drive to easily, thus normally I love Super Sunday… but I am planning an early night this year.
Forgive me Seattle and Denver fans but this game is a yawner, and we (meaning the bulk of us NEPA residents) really have no skin in the game. Now understand that I am a reverent fan of Peyton Manning. I believe he is the single best QB of this generation and I admire him for returning to the field after what should have been a career ending injury to his neck. I also very much admire the Seahawks Derrick Coleman for fighting the naysayers who believed he would never succeed because he was deaf; awesome! But still, my respect isn’t enough to make me supremely interested in a game that I really don’t care about the outcome! I love the city, the food, the party and the sport… but this “Super Game”, eh?
If I make it past halftime, and that’s a big IF, I will be only able to enjoy the fact that I am awake way past my normal bedtime and watching (for the last time this season) the greatest sport on the planet: football. Chances are however that I’ll be eating day old hot wings (cold) while enjoying a Monday DVR version of Super Bowl XLIII!
Every so often I am reminded that I am the “paternal figure” of the Froggy101 staff being the eldest member since my predecessor left four years ago (thanks Ken), and for a short period of time I was bugged by holding the title of Father Figure to an entire staff of people, two of which are twenty years my junior… but those days are over.
For some reason the New Year has put a song in my head that keeps repeating over and over, and it seems like a decent mantra for my feelings as of late. "Song for the Life" was written Rodney Crowell and first recorded in 1978 and eventually covered by Alan Jackson (where I heard it) in 1995. The lyrics tell an almost eerily accurate description of my life these days as if I had written them myself, and I hear them constantly echoing in thoughts my as a reminder of maturity’s gift to me:
And somehow I've learned how to listen For a sound like the sun going down And the magic the morning is bringing There's a song for the life I have found It keeps my feet on the ground
Sadly I was a tortured soul in my twenties and thirties, and admittedly in the early part of my forties, but that was because of the decisions that I’d made that I knew flew in the face of logic. I truly enjoyed “swimming upstream” and ignoring the things that would be good for me and instead opted for the shallowness of tiptoeing my way across a proverbial minefield. For reasons that I still cannot explain, I chose things for my life that were insanely and obviously wrong, and I knew it, but I eagerly went there anyway!
Then something amazing happened. As the hits kept on coming and the disappointment numbers mounted I stopped- and began to listen… just listen; I wasn’t sure what for at the time, but I stayed there focused and determined to hear what it was I was listening for- I just listened.
What I eventually heard was astonishing… It was the voice of experience… It said that: it was ok; that an ending is inevitable; that there was an amazing magic to the possibilities that a new day would bring, and that my existence now had a depth to it like never before. My life had changed and so had I and it was perfect because of its awful and absolute imperfection.
If I may offer you a piece of advice, it’s this: take a moment today to start listening… it won’t happen as fast as you think, but someday, not so long from now, you will hear the song for the life that you have found… and it will be perfect too.
Is there anyone who doesn't love Graham Crackers? Dunked in milk, covered in chocolate or sandwiching a s'more, this beloved cracker cookie may be simply delicious, but it wasn't intended to be delicious at all!
Well friends, today I actually discovered that the true origin of the Graham Cracker was as a bland food meant to curb lust and sexual desire!
Sylvester Graham, an evangelical minister in the 1830s, believed that the single greatest health concern facing Americans was rampant sexual desire. In order to suppress these carnal urges, Graham prescribed a special boring diet. You could only eat two bland meals a day, consisting of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. No meat, spices, alcohol or tobacco was allowed. And that's how the Graham Cracker was born.
Graham invented a much less tasty, completely sugar-free version of the cracker that shares his name. Since white flour was his primary target (because he felt it led to a “lazy colon” and sinful thoughts) he developed his own process for making whole-wheat flour, which he used for his Graham bread.
Let’s take a moment sometime today to thank God that the Nabisco company changed the recipe to create the tasty treat we love today, or else we would never want s’more… ever!
I had an idea for a movie script several years ago named Grand Prize, that I swore would’ve been a blockbuster if it could attract the correct person to star in the two lead roles.<br />
The story line revolved around a very famous movie star that had recently broken up with her hunky, cookie cutter, California, beefcake and was looking for a way to revive her recently stalled career.<br />
During a staff meeting one of her well-intended, yet un-respected, rookie handlers pitched the preposterous idea of her hosting a contest (on Facebook) of a fan winning a very high profile date with her. Everyone in <em>her crew,</em> but her, balks at the idea, but she’s convinced it’ll work. Eventually the contest unites her with a frumpy, normal, average, age appropriate guy who’s the Grand Prize winner… who is so <em>imperfectly perfect</em> for her that she eventually has to cede to the fact that the high profile life she has led has robbed her of her vision of who she really is, as well as the type of person she is really intended to be with. She shocks the world by falling in love with him and they (after 1.5 hours of truly trumped up movie angst) live happily ever after.<br />
I have shared this idea with many industry folks who either told me that: “stars don’t date fans <em>for <u>a</u> <u>reason</u></em>” or that: “my fantasy shouldn’t be a movie plot” or simply: “it’s a nice story, that wouldn’t nor could ever happen”. Really?<br />
This week a company called <strong>Omaze</strong> announced the “Hit The Town With George Clooney” contest Benefiting The Satellite Sentinel Project. <a href="http://www.omaze.com/experiences/hit-the-town-with-george-clooney">http://www.omaze.com/experiences/hit-the-town-with-george-clooney</a><br />
For a $10.00 donation you are in the running to join George Clooney on a premiere night.<br />
According to the site: First, you and a friend will be flown to New York City. You'll then go backstage at the Late Show with David Letterman for George's pre-premiere interview, ride to the premiere with George, and walk the red carpet with George, all before sitting in the VIP row for Monuments Men. As if that weren't enough, you'll then head to the after-party as George's VIP guests.<br />
Is the story exactly as I had envisioned it? NO, But it’s damn close! The whole meeting and convincing him you’re his soul mate routine… well, that’s up to you. But it <em>could</em> happen! Good luck, and if somehow you do show Hollywoods most elusive bachelor that<em> you're the one</em>, please give me first dibs to the movie rights … after all I did script your happy ending, sort of!<br />
Recently I had a bit of an epiphany. All the holiday celebrations were over and the house was clean and quiet. All the sudden I found myself watching the TV with a new pair of eyes. All of the New Year's fitness miracles were now being sold to whoever would be willing to buy them.
I began thinking about a book I’d read many years ago about body building and how most of the sport (in the authors opinion) was mental and not psychical. There was a phrase that I still remember he kept saying over & over… “a dream without a plan is just a wish”.
Basically said, the author was trying to emphasize the importance of Goal Setting. Goal Setting involves establishing specific, measurable and time targeted objectives… the more detailed they are, the more liable you are to be successful!
You see, resolutions are our best intentions, but how often do we follow through with those intentions without specific, measurable goals and the time lines in which we want to achieve those goals?
I bring this up because if fitness is truly your GOAL and truly what you want for a lifetime, then go about turning your resolutions in to your goals and bring them to fruition.
It's not easy having goals staring you in the face every single day. In fact my goals make me VERY uncomfortable; they remind me of my past and the determination and sacrifice I’ll need to put forth to get back to that physical condition. They remind me of the level of detail they required, and the fact that I really could use some improvement on my level of detail. Either way, the job must get done, not only for me but for the two ladies (Erika & Piper) that I intend to share my life with.
So, here it is in a nutshell: goals make things happen. They help you remember why you started this process in the first place. Several months in to the year they will remind you of where you started on day 1 and how far you've come day by 182, and eventually by day 365. They will show you where you were unreasonable, and they show you that you can do more when you put your mind to it.
No matter how successful you are, or what you win, or whether you become a Champion… whatever drove you to be successful continues to drive you long after you've done what you thought was all you really wanted to do.
Let's start this year by forgetting to make resolutions and instead go about setting some real goals for 2014… then we can pick up here in April to compare notes!
New Years Eve... big deal. If you're anything like me you dress nicer than usual (last year we went in Togas, it was the theme), go to a friends house, eat and drink inexplicably till 12 midnight, kiss a few people, slowly realize that your getting bored, and quietly go home.
But what if you really want a New Year’s Eve to remember this year? I say we all consider flying to New Zealand to be a part of a Guinness World Record skinny dipping attempt.
Thousands of people are expected to gather at Gisborne Beach and jump in the water… naked. Organizers hope enough brave souls turn up to break the record for simultaneous skinny dippers -- currently 805, set last month in Florida.
As an added bonus, Gisborne Beach is the first place in the world to see the sun on New Year’s Day.
I say: Let's do it! Besides you won't have to pack at all!
Happy new year everyone!
I remember the first time I went to friend’s house on Christmas Day and saw The Yule Log burning on their TV. I couldn’t imagine why in the world they tuned the channel in to what was nothing more than a single shot of a fireplace in full blaze and, and if memory serves me right, occasionally a random hand would appear from the side of the shot and a log would be added and the flames tended to when necessary.
“This is stupid”, I thought to myself… then came a lull came in the action and I found myself sitting alone in the room where the Christmas tree was, with the smell of dinner wafting through the house and I found myself transfixed on the warm glow and comforting sound of The Yule log that was burning on the TV!
As of, I’d say 3-4 years ago, the Yule Log was a thing of the past, but I bring you good news artificial fireplace fans: The Yule log is back – and better than ever!
If you’re a Time Warner cable subscriber, you’ll have access to video of a fireplace burning with a dog sitting in a chair. It’s simple, but people seem to like it.
Time Warner is offering it in Standard Definition, High Definition, and even 3D, with its Video On Demand selections.
Don’t worry. If you don’t have Time Warner, you can still get some Yule Log action online at WatchYuleLog.com.
That’s what we’ll be doing as complete tech sell-outs this year: tuning into the Yule Log on the IPad… but whatever makes your holiday better or warmer or more peaceful, I say do it.
This is the time of year when mircales come true and peace to me is a gift I suggest you give to yourself this year.
From my family to yours: Merry Christmas, and enjoy the glow (even if it is from a digital fireplace).