FollowCraig: “the paycheck”

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the paycheck” I’ve been a very lucky man all of my life. I grew up in a good family and lived pretty damn good. As a teenager I went to work along with attending school. I enjoyed having my own money and the freedom that came with it. I was able to buy cars, nice stereo equipment, take my girlfriend out and so much more. As I grew older my career provided a great income for myself, my family and as always it felt good to earn my way. I always took it for granted that my income would never really stop and I would always have success. Well as I and so many others have experienced, sometimes the paycheck stops. I never prepared for such a life changing event as losing your career and your income. I’m sharing this portion of my life journey in hope that if you or someone you know is going through this, that it can be fixed! I made many mistakes after the loss of my sales job in 1999. I found it difficult to just move forward. How could I “Craig” the man with the bold career possibly tell anyone I needed work and would be humble enough to start over. Let alone let anyone know that I was downsized and fired so to speak. Having no paycheck and no income begins to create no self-worth. Men especially need to earn a living, we need to have a little jingle in the jeans. The paycheck is often the only measure a man has to rate and value his life. Often I have spoken of finding my faith over these years, but not so much about finding my self-worth and confidence. Today, I gratefully state I have earned a paycheck. It’s not just about the money and it’s not just that jingle in the jeans either. Receiving a paycheck truly causes you to feel valuable again. After almost 13 years of on again off again jobs, being underpaid, starting MLM businesses, being promised or just believing I’m in the right deal I have finally come to realize that simply earning a paycheck is a wonderful feeling and I for one have missed it! It takes a lot out of a man when they cannot or don’t have that job that defines them anymore. My advise is not to follow my path of fear and shame, but rather stay working. If your job is gone, take anything to keep busy and earn that paycheck. Once you begin to lose your felling of self-worth and value it can take forever or like me over a decade to get it back. Believe me, it’s overwhelming and exhausting.

Today my life is very good, I am happily married and now a fresh beginning to an old career. I’m earning my way again and my feeling of self-worth is retuning with a humble vengeance. My faith is strong and I expect my life to be long. No matter what happens today in my life, I am prepared. “the paycheck” is a gift from God and it’s up to us to protect it, preserve it and use it wisely. Hold on to you’re self-worth no matter what obstacles fall in your path. After all the real measure of a man is not his paycheck but rather his character.

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FollowCraig: “Full Circle”

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As you have surely discovered I write about my life experiences often and today is no exception. For those of you who don’t know me, I should share a little about my past. I spent a considerable amount of my adult life as a career car salesman. My career and experience is vast and actually very successful. Although I poorly managed my personal life including not managing money, drinking heavy and all in all playing way to much. About 13 years ago all that craziness came to abrupt end. Shortly after a long road of depression and loss of self worth became my story. Always the man who once was? I grew heavy in weight and began to carry personal baggage that weighed even more. My depression led me down a path that seemed impossible to escape. My wife of twenty five years gave up on me, then a second wife came and went. Finally after about three years of being so lost, I finally stopped drinking. The damage I had began creating just a few years earlier still continued to grow. I became more and more distant from my family and friends. But then somehow my life began to change ever so slowly. Life somehow became important again as my depression slowly ended. Then overtime all the damage to my friends and family became more distant. I found work again and then by chance or perhaps divine intervention I found love. Someone who began to lift me up and not give up on me.

If you wonder why I’m writing about these things, it’s to offer hope to anyone that may me be going through depression. As a man who has experienced this sense of emptiness and the loss of self-worth that becomes more powerful than anyone can imagine, I am here to say it gets better.

My story is not so unique as it happens to so many. In my case it was the abrupt loss of a career and not having any foundation to support me that triggered my darkness.

Today my life is so much better and in many ways I have come “Full Circle”. After many failures and so many disappointments and such a deep depression, I have finally become whole again. I had often said, if I could just go back to that career I will be happy and all would be good again. It’s funny, I am now back doing what I know best and actually love doing and yes it makes me happy but what’s really is so different? It’s my faith. I had not built my life on a foundation of standards and I had damaged any I had so when the unthinkable happened to me I was unprepared.

One thing I have also found out about depression and surviving it is this. We cause a lot of damage to ourselves and often even more to those who care about us. They try so hard in so many different ways to help but they just can’t. And most importantly it’s not anyone’s fault, not yours or theirs. Depression happens, it’s real and it’s devastating. However you can come back, you can even come “Full Circle”.

For me it was finding my faith, something I could hold onto in the darkest hours. You can climb out of depression, it takes a lot of work and often a lot of pain. However if you can find a way to get back into the game of life just a little at a time no matter how much time it takes, you will make it. It took me nearly 13 years so I understand how difficult it is, but you can get there!

Life is truly a roller coaster ride and I am so blessed to be on the ride!

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FollowCraig: Ordinary People

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Yes, there was a book and a movie titled “ordinary people” and it was a wonderful story. However this is a different story, a story of life, love, hope and faith. Each of us have life experiences, those little or at times large events that shape us. Some of us live in fear of being found out or just fear of not being liked. Some of us fear love and especially giving love, perhaps because we have been hurt. Some of us lose hope or perhaps continue to hope. But really, how many of us have faith?

I have had quite a life, I was born to an ordinary mother and father out of love. My mother was a secretary and my father was a young marine. My grandparents were ordinary blue collar workers who lived an ordinary life. I believe there was a lot of love in my family, however I’m not sure we ever shared it enough. Just ordinary love I guess? I know we always had hope, I sure did. For me hope was confusing because I never could figure out the difference between hope and dreams. As a young man I would dream of the day when I would have a beautiful home, beautiful expensive cars and would live like a king! Was that hope? Later in my adult life I began an ordinary career, married and had children. Just like any other ordinary family and like my childhood, we shared just ordinary love.

Then for me the ordinary became the extraordinary. Now one could think that would mean I became a famous person or a man of great wealth and influence. None of that has happened. In fact by all accounts, I am just an ordinary man. Except for one thing, my extraordinary faith. Faith is a wonderful gift and it didn’t come easy for me. After several years of living a life of hopes and dreams, thinking that if I ever would reach those dreams how happy I would be. Little did I know that faith was the real prize.

By all accounts I have experienced a lot of pain and disappointment over the course of my life. I have also experienced so much joy! Whenever I begin feeling that all is failing, I just stop and remember this lifetime of joy that has surely superseded any pain. After all these years and all the searching to find my way, God held his hand out to me and gave me this wonderful gift.

Today I am an ordinary man living in a world of ordinary people blessed with this extraordinary faith. I thank God everyday for this gift and all the wonderful gifts I have received in my life.

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FollowCraig: Always look at the bright side of life!

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At the close of the Olympics this year a wonderful uplifting song was being sung by all the crowds and perhaps around the world. Just for fun I have posted the lyrics to that song below. The words cause me to wonder and also give thanks that my faith guides me to believe there is so much more than just taking a bow when it’s all over.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best

Always look on the bright side of life (whistle)
Always look on the light side of life (whistle)
If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you’re feeling in the dumps
Don’t be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle – that’s the thing

Always look on the bright side of life… (whistle)
Come on!
Always look on the bright side of life… (whistle)

For life is quite absurd
And death’s the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow
Forget about your sin – give the audience a grin
Enjoy it – it’s your last chance anyhow

So always look on the bright side of death (whistle)
Just before you draw your terminal breath (whistle)
Life’s a piece of shit
When you look at it

Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true
You’ll see it’s all a show
Keep ’em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you

And always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the right side of life (whistle)
Always look on the bright side of life (whistle)
Always look on the bright side of life (whistle)

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FollowCraig: Oh, what children say?

This was sent to me from a very dear friend and I thought it would be a great post for all!

Little Boy’s Explanation of God — Fabulous!!! – Out of the Mouths of the Babes–

I certainly don’t think an adult could explain this more beautifully!


It was written by an 8-year-old named Danny Dutton, who lives in Chula Vista , CA . He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment, to ‘explain God.’ I wonder if any of us could have done as well?
(and he had such an assignment in California , and someone published it, I guess miracles do happen!)

EXPLANATION OF GOD: ‘One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.’

‘God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.’

‘God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.’

‘Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in Chula Vista . At least there aren’t any who come to our church.’

‘Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.’

‘His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.’

‘You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.’

‘You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!

Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.’

‘If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.’

‘But. . .you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

And…that’s why I believe in God.’

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FollowCraig: “6547”

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Does it ever seem that life moves forward at a lighting speed? I wonder sometimes if it’s an American trait or do others in the world think the same. We want everything so fast. I remember when fax machines, remote control televisions, push button phones, and so many time-saving technologies didn’t exist. We had very little fast food restaurants when I was a kid and now look at them everywhere. Our need for fast food is so overwhelming we in America have become just plain fat. We want everything fixed now and have no patience for quality or long time solutions. I’m not writing this to be political however that is even the case. If you can remember, the number “6547” was the Dow Jones industrial average on March 9th. 2009. Look at it today and we think our recovery isn’t fast enough? Just 10 days after that day in history I met my wonderful wife. Even for me these years and months have moved so very fast. I truly think we move or think we should move faster than God really wanted us too. How long has it been since you sat down with your family and enjoyed a meal without the television on in the background? How long has it been since you just went on a stroll through a park to enjoy its beauty rather than jog? A picnic with your partner, mailed a letter or a card rather than an email or e-card? I know how vital in today’s world it is to keep in-touch and be available often at a minutes notice, however perhaps we should consider slowing things down just a little. I remember many years ago my very best friend in High School and his father who was a very nice man and who had worked very hard all his life. A fast paced career for his time and had never spend time enough with his family. He retired, bought a motor home and was about to begin relaxing after all those fast paced years. Just 6 days after retirement, God called him home.

We never know when our time will be over, so let’s make life the best time ever! Set goals, make plans and look forward always. Help others, be in the present, don’t look back. Just never ever forget the beauty and joy of life that surrounds you. As we used to say, take time to smell the roses as they haven’t found a way to do that on your iPad yet.

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