Category Archives: My Dream

Season Finale

“To everything there is a season. . . “ so says the book of Ecclesiastes. And this blog is no different. At the beginning of ’09, I committed to several goals this year. Unfortunately, in the process of juggling all these ambitions, I have dropped some along the way. Of course, I may pick them back up but it’s not long before one drops again. I have learned in life that when you are overwhelmed with all the things you are juggling, you can do one of three things: you can keep doing what you’re doing with the hope that you eventually “get it,” you can juggle with less balls until you have mastered that level, or you can just quit juggling.

I have decided to juggle with less balls. Here’s the thought process: If I drop just one ball even periodically, and more than likely it’d be a different ball each time, I fail at juggling period. In other words, I may not reach any of my accomplishments or it will certainly take me longer to get there. On the other hand, if I juggle with less balls dropping none, I am a success, albeit I am a less accomplished juggler than if I were to hit all my targets in the first example but my odds are better. If I stop juggling all together, not only do I fail at juggling but I fail at even trying; failure is certain. Rhetorically, let me ask you this: would you rather invest in a long shot, a sure shot, or a dud?

I want to be a sure shot! And it is for that reason that I am regretfully postponing my blog posts. I have been focusing so much on ensuring a post three times a week that I have  neglected the writing of my book. Writing is my dream. And I have been accomplishing my dream through you, the readers of this blog. But at the same time, the true realization of a writer’s dream, at least this writer’s dream, is publication. Just like our life here on earth is a dress rehearsal for Heaven, this blog has been a dress rehearsal for publication of a book. I appreciate all of you for aiding and abetting me in testing and reforming my style through this medium. While I am not a perfect writer (and never will be), my heart is ready. And quite frankly, that is all that is needed for the realization of a  dream. A heart that is ready will let nothing get in its way. A heart that is ready will not quit or back down. A heart that is ready will not bargain for second best; it will not rest until it has reached its destination; it will not be denied.

This is not a series finale, it is merely the end of a season. I will live to blog again; you have not seen the last of Brian Shaw. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I am taking my series to the big screen if you will. I am taking my passion and purpose to a higher pursuit. Please keep your eyes peeled for the release of my “feature film” in the near future. This is not the end, it is just the beginning . . .

Oh, and if by remote chance there is a published author who has any great advice or contacts he or she would like to share, or better yet, a publisher with some interest in my work, feel free to comment now. (LOL)

To all of you fellow dreamers: I encourage you on your pursuit. Make sure you take time to pause from time to time to compare your map and your current location to make sure that you are still on the shortest distance to your destination. If so, pursue relentlessly. If not, make the necessary adjustments and get back on the road.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am working on writing a 30 day devotional. Pray that the Lord would give me wisdom and continual revelation. Pray that he would guide my pen to position words in a way that will speak encouragement and hope to a multitude of people, not for my own profit but for kingdom profit, that those far from God may be drawn into greater intimacy with the Father through the Son. Pray that He keep me ever so humble and grateful for any talent that He has blessed me with. Finally, pray that I keep “first things first,” not neglecting my own spiritual walk or my own family.

Thank You and May God Bless You Abundantly!

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One Brick Wonder

Remember the Pink Floyd song of the late 70’s: “All in all you’re just another brick in the wall . . .” Have you ever felt that way–like just a number, insignificant, too small to make an impact, like “just another brick in the wall?” Take heart today, that feeling is about to hit a brick wall.

Consider this, at 8 X 4 X 2 1/4 inches, a standard brick is relatively small. It takes over 9000 bricks to make even a modestly-sized 1500 square foot home. Yet, despite its size, it has been and continues to be the leading choice of builders and homeowners alike. Why? Because of its content. Yes, bricks are small, but they are designed to endure the elements, withstand impact, and to make a statement with their great potential for beautiful architecture.

Take for example, the Great Wall of China. Built between the 5th century BC and the 16th century, its purpose was to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. It stretches for over 4,000 miles. An urban legend credits it with being the only manmade structure visible to the naked eye from the moon. It is still significant enough today that it is deemed one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Just like the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, this wall of a thousand of miles began with one brick. Size is irrelevant; it’s substance that determines your destiny. What you are made of, the content of your character, will dictate what kind of a brick you will be. Will you be just a single, lowly brick or will you be a brick of “Great Wall” magnitude? Will you be a brick with compact fate or one with an impact great? Will you be a stumbling block or a building block? You are just another brick in the wall and your moments of today will be your monuments of tomorrow. What will you be building, shacks or castles?

Mile Marker 21

Today, I have reached a milestone in my blogging history––blog post #21. Of course, that may seem like nothing to write home about but it represents a rung in my ladder of success . . . a frame in the filming of my big picture . . . a stepping stone in the path to triumph. I have joined the race, leaving some still at the starting gate waiting for the “right conditions” to start (courage, time, skill, etc.) I have overcome what is often the hardest part of the race––the first step. It’s a new place of perspective. I can look back to encourage those still waiting to hear the starting gun, yet I can see farther into the distance than I could before. This is not a place to plant my feet though, only a place to rejuvenate and make adjustments to pace and goals. So it’s on to the next checkpoint for me.

How about you? Have you been dragging your feet on starting your dream? Are you waiting for the “right conditions” before getting started? Have you stopped at a checkpoint along the way and just “checked” out? Does your strategy need some modification?

 <BANG!>

The starting gun has fired. Lift your foot and take the next step! I hope to see you on the track!

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

This past week, we went to an amusement park in Pennsylvania which brought to mind a previous trip to Wet ‘N Wild, the Carolina’s largest water park located in Greensboro. Theme parks typically have attractions to accommodate all levels of experience and Wet ‘N Wild is no different. From an economics standpoint, I ride them all but as a man guided by testosterone, my favorite are the most adventurous. Therefore, it is no surprise that I would close out the day in line for one of my favorites, the “Pirate’s Plunge.” You begin by thrusting yourself down a cable suspended about 15 feet above the water and then free fall into water 8 feet deep. The swim back to the edge of the pool is probably about 30 feet. The sign reading “Expert Swimmers Only” is fitting, indicating that this is not for the faint at heart, or at least not for the average swimmer.

Unfortunately, the gentleman in line in front of me did not heed these wise words, or mine for that matter. I overheard the young twenty-something male discussing with a friend his strategy to experience this thrill while trying to avoid its risk. It seemed his intention was to avoid deep water at all cost. Myself having taken this plunge before, I knew that the lifeguards would only let you ride the cable so far before “whistling” you down. A stopper on the cable limits you from entering dangerously shallow water anyway. In order to save this man from an uncertain destiny, I felt compelled to share this. Though by all appearances he would seem to be a man’s man demonstrating a muscular physique and tattooed arms, he admits to not being able to swim. In a moment of clarity, albeit brief, he dismissed himself from the line.

Eventually it became my turn, I took the handles, traversed the water, made my splash, and swam successfully to the side as I have so many times before. While exiting the pool, I noticed something peculiar. This man, who minutes earlier confessed his lack of swimming ability, is now back in line and about to try his luck. As he glides down the cable, the limiting device that I warned him of earlier stops him suddenly. Perched over the water at a depth of 8 feet, he holds on momentarily in an effort to contemplate his situation. With no escape options available, he lets go. After brief submersion, his head surfaces as he splashes frantically to keep afloat. His face is panic-stricken as he realizes the ineffectiveness of his efforts. Although it may have seemed like hours to him, only seconds passed before he was commandeered and rescued by a lifeguard.

Comically, my first thought was “stupid is as stupid does” – words made famous by Forrest Gump. Despite multiple warnings and his obvious inability to swim, he tried it anyway. He would likely say he acted out of courage but I would say he acted out of foolishness.

On the other hand, I think about the many other people at the park who would have the swimming skills necessary to conquer “The Plunge” but did not or would not even attempt it. Is that you? Perhaps this too is acting out of foolishness instead of courage. Do you have some unused skills but lack the desire, will power, or courage to put them to good use? Are you waiting for your ship to come in when you have both the ability and inclination to take the “plunge” and swim out to it? Oftentimes it is these skills, your niche, that will help you excel, whether that means landing you a raise or promotion or just making life or work more satisfying. And who wouldn’t want that? Don’t let “Aquaman” show you up, take the plunge; use your special talents to get noticed.

Note: The Pirate’s Plunge ride has since been closed.

NEVER Give Up

As I opened up my internet homepage, something made me glance through the day’s headlines. On the right lower corner, was a headline for a CNN Video entitled “Never Give Up.” As I attempted to open the link with a simple point and click, nothing happened. After countless point and click attempts, refreshing Internet Explorer, updating my internet browser software, and restarting my computer, the point was finally realized and the message was simple—Never give up! No other words or video needed. The word “never” is clear and needs no other embellishments. Not maybe, not sometimes, not when you feel tired, but NEVER, no exceptions to the rule, give up!

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

Remember how your pre-teen goal was to “cut the cord” from your parents so that you could have the independence to do what you want? Of course, the cord is never cut as early as we like. In retrospect, though, maybe the cord should never be cut. Maybe there is a certain responsible point in our lives when the cord should just be attached to something else. I mean, wouldn’t it be more difficult for the cord to get tangled if it were attached to a fixed point?

Take, for example, the extension cord. We take careful, almost OCD, effort to wrap it up in a very organized fashion. However, it seems that every time we take it back out to use it again, it is in a tangled mess. How does it ever get this way? You were careful not to interweave it and you certainly don’t recall twisting it in the same contorted way that you have to untwist it. It sure is frustrating and time-consuming to unravel this civilized mess. But isn’t that a lot like life? At some point in our lives, most of us arrive at this mess of a life, rarely conscious of the small things or decisions that we’ve made to get us there. And to undo it is considerably more difficult. We are not only imperfect but we are incompetent and cannot handle this alone.

That’s why we need to connect to a fixed point, an extension of ourselves. We need a place to draw strength from when times are tough. We need a map to guide us through the windy roads of life. We need a fortress to protect us from enemy fire. We need grounded to an immovable object that will help keep us from getting tangled and we need a source of wisdom and patience when we require unraveling. We need a Savior!

Spare Change

He is on that very same corner everyday. In fact, so much about him is the same—his rugged, old jeans; his long, straggly salt and pepper-colored beard; the holes in his oversized shirt; and even his cardboard sign that reads “Disabled Vet: Unable to Work.” And in just the same way, you drive by him everyday, ignoring his pleas for spare change. Ironically, the jingling kind is not the change he needs most. He needs a change in his circumstances, in his methods, and in his self-worth. He could be a valuable member of society if he would just surrender to some spare, or extra, change. But because he only sees “spare change” as a monetary necessity, he will never know success.

Our lives, too, tend to mimic the drifter above, just at a different level. We often get caught up in the busyness of life forgetting who we are or what we are here to accomplish. Like the drifter, we tend to do the same things day in and day out, often expecting different results. But incidentally, the results are always the same. Far too frequently we end up living a life of “quiet desperation,” as Thoreau put it, wanting so much to be noticed, to contribute something, to live the good life but never being able to fully deliver; never contributing much of anything to the world we live in and therefore, never getting much back in return.

Can you use some spare change? If you are not getting the results you long for, when is it time to change your methods? What change in your life will afford you the results you are looking for?