FollowCraig: Jelly Beans & Frittatas

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Saturday my wife and I visited the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California. It was really fun and interesting to walk through this factory and see how such a famous candy is actually made and where the idea of a gourmet jelly bean began. We had the opportunity to see the kitchen, the idea and flavor room, packaging and all the way to shipping. Plus we got to taste so many..yum:)

When we got home, I created and cooked a delicious Frittata for my wife. Just like the Jelly Belly factory I was in the kitchen after having an idea and using the right flavors and seasonings to create this tasty dish. Then we shared a late brunch and we packaged up the rest for the coming week. So just why am I telling you this story? Simple pleasure that’s why. What a joy to spend a day with someone you love, learning about something fun, holding hands talking, listening and sharing. Then to create something wonderful and delicious for that person. Just like the recipe for Jelly Beans and the Frittata so is the recipe for a great relationship. Just spend some time together, learn and discover, create and bake, package, share and enjoy..very yum:)

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FollowCraig: The Past “R.I.P.”

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How do we get past our past? I don’t know about you, but do I have history. Often I’m asked about or even still confront my past. For some people that may not matter much, then there are those of us who still think it does. When someone says to me, Craig just go do it and make that change today or you’re not the same person you used to be. I just freeze. I know that’s not true, I am the same person. I haven’t died yet, I have the same family, the same life and all that goes with it. I have done and experienced many things, some proudly and some not so proudly. So I conclude and hereby stand firm, I’m still the same person. I was filling out a job application not long ago and was asked to list my last 10 years of employment. Now for or a lot of people that’s easy but for me, not so much. I have had jobs, tried various business ventures, I’ve had health issues, I stopped drinking, I’ve been married twice in that time and the list is endless as well as forgettable. Asking for ten years of history for me is equivalent to writing a book. However, with all that being said, there is one wonderful truth I have learned. In these years are all the many experiences, faults, failures, successes and more that makes me and every one of us. So perhaps each day when we get up we are a different person? Different because of our past. Each day we wake up and face a new day “Reborn” as you will to start anew. And with the gifts of knowledge from our pasts we may be just a little wiser and yes a different person.

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FollowCraig: Internet, Prescriptions & Ammo

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This horrible shooting in Aurora, CO last week has sparked a fury over gun laws in this country and it should. Mayor Bloomberg of New York, City has called for our Presidential candidates to offer a plan to address this very issue and I can not agree more. You see, if I wish to order a prescription medication, I need to have a prescription to get it. I can’t just get on-line and put in an order without this permission slip from my doctor. However if I want to order 1000 rounds of ammunition from a gun store or the internet, I don’t even need a gun permit! Are we a mess in this country or what? So far two sitting US Congressmen have spoken openly that “had someone else in the theater only been armed, this shooter could have been taken out” Is this nuts or what? Did the scope of the 2nd amendment really intend this, that we all should carry a side arm? I am appalled at these thoughts. We in America, the supposed most civilized nation in the world is willing to accept this! Americans kill with guns more people on our streets than most of the free western world combined! (click here) I do think we need to address these issues, we need to talk about them. We spend way to much effort talking about insignificant issues, perhaps because we fear the ones that scare us most?

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FollowCraig: Playing Small

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For over ten years or better now I have been playing small. That was not my old life, I did play big or so I thought? My life is and has been a wonderful experience. I’ve had many great blessings occur over my lifetime. It’s odd though that only now in recent years have I grown to realize this truth. Later this year I will be releasing my new book and am so looking forward to sharing so many experiences and truths with others. One of the many things I have learned is to stop playing small. At least for me it has served no real positive purpose. I truly believe that we are placed on this earth to do Gods work, to reach out and teach or help others find their way, their dreams and to embrace life. I’ve been very blessed to have had so many roads to travel in my life and I have taken many. Sometimes with careless abandon and others with extreme focus. I have had hopeless failures and disappointments and exhilarating success. Money has come and money has gone. But the wonder of the memories all remain. There is no reason for anyone not to have the life God intends for us to have. It is a responsibility I have to myself, my family and all those I love to share these stories. I can tell you from experience the things that work and those that don’t. The road to a decision and the right and the wrong. I know what damage lies do as well as truths, like diet and exercise. When we take steps each day of our life to build a foundation or what happens when we never lift a single block. God does not want us to play small, life dictates we jump in with both feet win and loose. Exercise our minds our bodies and souls. Reach out beyond ourselves and give all we can to others and let our failures be our successes. I am no longer playing small!

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FollowCraig: U+ME+?=1?

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U+Me+?=1? Is this some secret formula, something like H2O? Well kind of! It was sure a secret to me? When I married in the late seventies, I was so happy! My life was going to be just perfect. A wonderful woman, a daughter already in the family, my career was soaring and as they say: “my future was so bright; I had to wear shades”. It’s funny though, when your own life is not built on solid ground, when you don’t know your own standards it’s easy to begin drifting. I sure did, I was living in fear and didn’t even know it. That fear drove me to a very self-centered existence, Craig first, career 2nd, family and wife somewhere in the rear. I did whatever I wanted! When I traveled out-of-town on business, I would visit “Strip Clubs and Bars of every sort” I would be the big shot at every party, pick up bar tabs, wore plenty of gold and very expensive custom hand-made shirts! So very much about Craig! No one would really ever believe I had a wife and little girl at home? This was my behavior before my son came along. After he was born, I got even worse. So it’s known, I love my son with all my heart! It’s just at that time in my life having children and a family interfered with my busy playtime. As for my wife, she went to work, stayed quiet, didn’t speak out about her feelings. She just read paperback love stories all the time. It’s not until now at this time in my life that I get it! In a recent post I am “Housewife”; I am Man! | followcraig., I spoke of the three most important persons in every relationship. Do you know who they are? Some would say it’s both partners plus God or both plus the children. In fact when I married for the last time a little over a year ago, my pastor spoke of this. He said the three people in every relationship are the two plus God. I disagree! The most important persons are; the two plus the relationship itself. That relationship, like children are born of the two. It is so to speak their first child together, it must learn to crawl, walk, be fed, housed and loved. Both partners must pay attention to this gift. We will always have our personal lives, our desires, our own passions and that is what brings us together to create this relationship. It’s up to each partner to covet their relationship, to feed it with love, faith and attention. God is always watching over the relationship and it’s partners. These things I know!

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FollowCraig: Intersection

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Several years ago a movie titled “Intersection” played at the theaters for a short time. Not a big hit but none the less important, at least in my life at the time. You see the story is about a man who is having an affair and has reached a decision point in his marriage. Whether to leave the wife and marry the girlfriend or not. Just as he has made his choice and is driving to the arms of love his car is struck at an intersection and he then lays deathly injured at a hospital. Both women show up at his bedside and the stories of each love affair is told through the eyes and hearts of these women. These intersections or crossroads happen in life to all of us. Not all are an affair or betrayal. Nor are all crossroads so dramatic as the movie. At that time in my life I was having an affair and the story played a big part in my decisions I made at the time. The road I followed took me to the life I have today. Without taking a chance, had I played it safe my troubles may have been less but my happiness and sense of what could have been would always haunt me. I am not recommending by any means to have an affair or that it is right in any way. In my life it seems the choices I have often made were the obvious easy ones, not the more difficult. Kind of like driving, the right turns are often easier than turning left. However each time I’ve turned left to the more difficult highway I seem to end up the happiest. In my story I did leave my marriage, not for the other woman but for a life I longed for a life I would only find by making hard choices. My journey to today has been bumpy and filled with many crossroads and intersections. The greatest thing about taking the left turns is the joy of the journey. If all we ever do is play it safe, take the easy turns and go down the easy roads that lead to those places we believe are safe, we may never really experience true love, true peace and self content? As I watched the movie come to an end and only guessing what his choice might have been before the accident, did he go home at peace? We can never know how our own movie of life will end or what God has in his plans for each of us. Whatever roads we take the left or the right they each lead to our destiny. I was told once that the “World is a stage and we are the players” If that is true, then God must be the producer, director and writer of the our story. That leaves us to enjoy our journey!

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FollowCraig: Humble Evangelism

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It’s true, evangelism makes many of us uneasy. Perhaps we have winced as street corner preachers harangued passersby. Maybe some earnest proselytizer made us uncomfortable at home or some other public place? I used to call these people bible thumper’s. Or even someone close to us found our expression of faith wanting? So what do we do when we hear we must carry the good news of the gospel to others, we just don’t know how to begin. How do we do this without embarrassing or offending others as we have felt? Perhaps it starts by staying grounded in our own faith community.

History tells us that Jesus called the Twelve “and began to send them out two by two” he sent them out in a relationship to form relationships. The disciples were to “take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts”. Like those early evangelists, we must approach others in humble empty-handedness. We come interested in those we meet, ready to hear their stories and be willing to understand what matters to them. Isn’t this the way to really meet people anyway? Eventually, in a natural give-and-take we can talk about our spiritual journey. Jesus’ detractors wondered with scorn: “Where did this man get all this?” Whatever wisdom and power Jesus had; came from God.

So why does all this matter in today’s world? A world of busy people, families, jobs, bills, cars, traffic, cell phones, computers and more. It’s hard to remember with so much going on in everyone’s lives what things in life really matter. In everything we do, every person we meet and all those in our lives deserve to know all that God has given them. We can really only share this by living or striving to live a life of gratitude, of love and true caring of others. If you believe as I do that Jesus is real and that he is the son of God as well as God, that he walks beside each of us whatever our faith or background then we will never walk alone. Our faith will always be our companion, no matter how busy we are.

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FollowCraig: Hell in the Hallway

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Jobs and careers go and new ones appear, friends go and new friends appear, things we love go and new ones appear. “When one door closes another will open”, God works in wondrous ways we are told and many of us believe with all our soul that is true. I’ve got to say though while those doors are swinging it can feel like “hell in the hallway”. We worry and regret, we wonder what we did wrong or we blame someone else for what’s happened. Perhaps we cry, get depressed, go on addictive binges, over spend and the list goes on. Facing change in life especially real personal change is frightening. I think it’s a real test of our faith, our faith in ourselves, in our family and God. I know some that say faith is enough and just hang in, everything will be ok.. My life experience has taught me that’s not entirely true. It is important to make peace with the changes that is for certain as without peace the fear of the unknown will overtake you. I find it helps to repeat the Serenity Prayer when I’m in this state, perhaps you have another way to rest your mind. It’s then the most difficult thing to do of all appears? It’s called ACTION. Oh my that’s a though one, but without taking action, without reaching out for the next doorknob, no amount of prayer, faith, support or family will get you out of that “hell in the hallway”.

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FollowCraig: Are my addictions bothering you?

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The other day while attending a 12-step meeting I could not help but wonder what others in our world might think about those of us recovering from our addictions? It seems so many people suffer from so many addictions, alcohol, drugs, smoking, food, sex, debt and so on. How do these behaviors affect those around us? It’s easy to say “oh, that’s not my problem” he or she are just a…., it’s not my business,etc. While that all may be true, how do our addictions really affect others? I think that’s the beauty of the 12-steps to recovery. Perhaps you have never read these steps or just not reviewed for a long time so I have listed them. These are “The Twelve Steps of Recovery”

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Once again, after reading these myself I’ve come to the conclusion that those who have made the effort to live by these simple 12 principles do understand the impact of their actions on those around them. So, if my addictions are bothering you, I get it!

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