Don’t “P” in the OOL – Three P’s to avoid if you want to succeed.

1. Don’t be passive.
Your dream is not going to get built if you just sit around and talk about it. You’ve got to turn your ideas into plans. Spend some time brainstorming and doodling your ideas on paper. Then take those doodles and write some goals. Take those goals and write some steps. Take those steps and give them deadlines. Then put them on your calendar. Then DO them.

Also – on that note (regarding passivity). Don’t blame other people for the situation you are in. Just remove yourself from the blame-game all together. Play a different game: Responsibility. This is where you say, “I don’t care whose fault it is – I’ll be the responsible one to fix the problems. ”

2. Don’t be a pushover.
People will tell you that you can’t. Circumstances will loom like a monolithic wall in your path. Instead of letting OTHER people/places/things determine your course – how about you do it? SURE – sometimes God closes doors in your face. But sometimes he allows a little opposition in your life to strengthen you. When you are working out – RESISTANCE is what builds muscle. So – sometimes God might shut a door because it’s just TOO HEAVY for your to lift… but I think that most of the time – we give up and let go just because it’s heavy… Let the resistance build your muscles and make you stronger. If you suspect that the resistance is just God closing a door – ask Him to make it clear for you. Because “If any man lacks wisdom, let him as God, who gives it freely.”

3. Don’t be a pansy.
Building your dream takes guts. If you feel like you don’t have enough guts, then leverage the power of peer pressure.

You know how your mom used to say, “If your friends told you to, would you jump off a bridge?”

Well, a lot of times, the answer to that question is YES. So instead of letting your peers pressure you to do the wrong thing – find the peers that encourage you and make you do it drunk and stupid enough to do the right thing!

Broken Old Heroes

I was driving through my old hometown.
It’s been a decade since I lived there, and the signs on the stores have all changed, and the names on the mailboxes have changed in some parts of town.

And I watch with a bit of confusion as the heroes of my childhood fumble across the street…

One man, white haired, his head hung low, to watch each tentative steps as they scrape across the asphalt.
His arms smaller, his back hunched,  his chest hollow, his mind dulled.

These were the lumberjacks, the soldiers, the factory workers, the janitors, the shoe salesmen, the intellectuals, the gentlemen I remembered…
whose strength were oaken,
whose constitution was golden,
whose witsPSX_20140604_103240 were sharp like blades.

And for a moment, I realize that in my own oncoming middle age, that this too may be my destiny.

I was a hero in my youth, jostling timbers, lifting stones, and running along mountains.

And now, I’m closer to my broken old heroes than I am to the young man I once was.

Poems for Holy Week

I’ve got a number of poems that I’ve written about the crucifixion… I thought them fitting on this Holy Week.

Nail

This first poem has inspired a song that I wrote. Watch the video – or purchase the original recording.

His blood coated me,
but not in redemption…
As I held the weight
of Him on
my own
scarred steel shank,
I knew I could not have held Him…
I could not have held Him there
against his will…
Many have counterpoised,
and many have died,
to pay for their own,
but that day I held
more weight on His unstruggling shoulders
than any other weight
these nails have held.

Backbone

I see my frailty…
and the
backbone
I pretend to have;
second-hand porcelain.

and the
backbone
I wish was mine;
ten-by-ten,
hand-hewed, oaken.

Nonetheless

Turn your back
and go your way
But I’ll still
love you.
You could cut me
into a thousand
pieces
and not steal my love.
You could lift me up
spikes through my hands,
and smear the blood in my eyes,
Strip me
of this
fleshly robe,
and mock my
Deity.
I see you frolic
and laugh
as my blood
and tears
stain
my skin (Red stains deep).
I beg to see you
in Paradise.
I plead for your forgiveness
and love you nonetheless.
————————————

My Hands / His Hands

My Hands

I have
Bloodless, mottled hands,
with slender fingers,
and pink
chewed away nails,
tough fingertips,
callused by phosphored bronze
and silvered steel
And gentle palms
that a sliver
would wreck.
A solitary childhood scar,
definitely from a
jackknife rests on
the first knobby knuckle of
my index finger,
and short,
dark hair
trails
down to my
curved
little pinky.

His Hands
He has
strong, meaty
palms, rough
and scarred,
and sinew-wrapped
fingers, muscle to the bone;
Dirt pushed back beneath
His unmanicured nails, broken
by hammers and ironwood.
Scars deep through His wrist,
Through back and front,
Blessed are
His scars.

————————————

Resurrection

We went to a friends house for dinner… and He took over..

He served the bread and he served the wine.. said something about it being his flesh briken and his blood shed.

 

As always.. talking in riddles.. I didn’t understand it…

I didn’t really know.

I couldn’t comprehend

What he was trying to show..

 

So we went to the garden, and he went off to pray.. I was keeping watch, and dozed off.. he ticked off, and I could tell he was hurt that I couldn’t stay awake for ten minutes while he prayed.

 

And then it came, and I’ll never forget. The night that rocked me to the core.

It was black. And their torches burned the air.. they took him at the point of their sword, as though he would have fought them off..

 

At the trial, they set him up, and they beat him so bad,, I couldn’t recognize his face anymore…

I was so scared theyd come for me.

I kept hiding in the shadows..

I kept hiding in the shadows..

 

When they whipped him the next morning, I wanted to tell them to stop

I wanted to scream and stand in his place,

but I was too petrified to move.

I was too terrified to prove

that I was a friend of his

they led him to the place, where they executed thieves and murders…

I know he wasn’t that popular, but he didn’t deserve this..

 

As they stripped him naked, and mocked him, and the blood from his beating scabbed his back, they braided a crown of three in ch thorns, and dug it in his scalp…

 

I wanted to cry.. but afraid my tears would give me away.. I stood in silence, as the led him down the way…

 

The spikes were iron and gnarled, and they tore through his wrists and his feet, the blood splattered on their faces, and the laughed like rabid beasts…

 

He cried, he screamed, but he didn’t fight back.

I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to fight back..

But scared to join in his fate, I just stood silent in the back…

 

 

They hung him up. And I watched as his life slow faded away.

A prayer for their forgiveness..  he struggled so hard to say…

 

MY GOD MY GOD, WHY have you forsaken me?

 

He whole earth screamed as the sky went dark, and I ran off into the blackned daylight…

 

When they pulled his body off of the cross, eack drop of blood had drained.

Limp and dead, beaten beyond recognition, they laid him in a grave.

 

 

Meanwhile I thought back to every word he had said… and I realized that he was a lamb…

 

He was a sacrifice..

 

A sacrificial suicide.

Willingly he died.

 

When the whips tore thru his back it was for me

When the nails pierced through his hands it was for me

When the blood spilled from his veins it was for me

When the Father turned his back it was for me………

 

If he died for me, I couldn’t bare the shame.

I was smother in grief, lambaasted in blame.

 

On Saturday , I just laid there..

hiding out… scared to death.

Shaking in fear, and hating my own breath..

 

I deserved to die, so why did he?

 

 

They woke me up Sunday.

Said that his body was gone…

I raced to the graveyard to see it,

Met up with pete and john

They were white as ghosts, but the grins on their face spread wide..

They said “He’s Risen… JESUS IS ALIVE”

 

 

 

 

and as i turned around i saw him..

i could recognize his scars..

and he told me that he loved me

and he took me in his arms..

 

and he whispered something to me

that i never will forget

he said “i forgive you”

and it was spinning in my head

 

do i run or take it in… do i kill myself or die of shame

 

and that’s when i realized why

 

all of this happened the way it did.

 

he died to take my place

 

but he rose so i’d be free…..

he rose so i’d be free

 

Don’t try to PLEASE people… Be You.

The way I see it, we can try to please people, or we can try to serve people.

Pleasing people often involves a mutation, where we become something we are not. It involves changing our DNA so that we fit in the box everyone wants us to fit in. Unfortunately, without divine intervention, DNA doesn’t just “change” – so often, we find ourselves TRYING to be someone we’re not, then we get hurt and upset when someone stops liking us because we didn’t please them.

Serving is different. This is where we stay true to who we were created to be. We nurture, shape and sharpen our talents into skills that we can use to add value to the lives of others. And then, we do our best to keep our needs in check in the grand scheme… to keep our desires and passions in the place that allows us to put the needs of our family, our friends, our customers before our own (wherever and whenever it is appropriate to do so. Sometimes we have to take care of our own needs, or have our own needs met as well!)

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to please people. The people will never be pleased. There is always someone who doesn’t like you… someone who disagrees with you… and even people who want to love you, but only serve themselves. If you tie your value and your worth to pleasing these folks, it’s going to hurt when they walk away, when they critique your methods, when they question your dream.

Instead, endeavor to be good at who you are. Be the best YOU that you can be, and then use the talents that you’ve got to serve others. Even the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company is in the service business (or should be) – leading and coaching his business to success, making sure his employees needs are met, making sure his customers, distributors, and vendors needs are met.

Be you, and be him (her) well. Be satisfied in that, and you won’t need the approval that man gives you.streaker

My wife is going to kill me for this…

Every night, my beautiful bride of 15 years falls asleep next to me watching tv.
Every night, I get up, take off her glasses, and turn off the TV.
Every night, she talks in her sleep, and I try to keep her talking as long as possible, so that I have good stories to tell people.

Here is our dialogue from a couple nights ago:

Zoe: Oh! Uh Oh! My Lips! My lips are numb!
Me: Your lips are numb?
Zoe: Yes, I can’t feel them. My arms are numb, too! But my lips…
Me: Why are they numb?
Zoe: Feel my lips, see how numb they are?
Me: (Trying not to laugh so that I don’t wake her up) Yes, hunny! They DO feel numb!

Never a dull evening at the Hatcher House!

All I Have To Give You… #poetrythursday

#poetrythursdayIf I could give you any gift,

I’d give you
cathedrals, spires and
hollow, with
a gargoyle choir to scare demons
and chase monsters from your closet.

I’d give you
Serengeti grassland, stampedes of
gazelle, and
sunset to match your eyes, sparkling.

I’d give you
rivers, and ponies, and gentle downy goslings.
And simple clouds to roll across your face in the morning.
Mountains and valleys, and oceans and lakes, and eternity
baked in a pie…
but all I can give you
are ink scribbles
and smiles,
and pictures painted with words,
and a forehead kiss goodnight.

Frankie Bruzzi and the Toilet Paper

951031C2-C373-E7EF-114FED997DC2241DI love to tell stories about growing up in Roulette. I have to tell them sparingly, because my kids would ask me to tell them over and over again – to the point that we wouldn’t get anything done.

My favorite stories usually have Frankie Bruzzi in them. Now that he’s an adult, I’m sure he prefers to go by Frank – but he’ll ALWAYS be “Frankie” to me.

Frankie was a good looking Italian kid who lived along Route 6. We rode the school bus together from the time we were in first and second grade. In junior high, we were both in band, chorus, and drama, and we both played the saxophone, so our social circles merged.

Whenever Frankie’s story intersects with mine, there’s bound to be an adventure.

When Frank started driving, he would pick me up for school, and for marching band practice. On this particular adventure, Frank had picked me up in his step-dad’s soft-top Jeep Wrangler. We went to an all-day end of summer marching band practice, and we were headed home on the back road (Card Creek / Kim Hill Road).

My naturally curious self decided to open the glove box, and I discovered a roll of toilet paper.

“What’s this for?” I asked curiously. Although now that I have much more life experience than I did as a 16 year old, it was a dumb question.

Frank explained that he often found himself in need of bath tissue when he was driving in the woods.

I got the bright idea of holding the roll, and letting out the paper a little at a time, so that it trailed and flapped in the wind. Since the doors were off the Jeep, this was quite easy, and quite entertaining. I had stretched enough toilet paper that we had a flapping white tail about twenty feet behind us.

While we laughed and enjoyed ourselves, we didn’t think about the consequences. What could go wrong? It’s just toilet paper, right?!

Another car turned onto the dirt road behind us. I got a little nervous about the long trail of toilet paper, and started trying to roll it up – but unfortunately, bath tissue, even double ply is perforated, which means there are weak points in its tensile strength.

All thirty feet of toilet paper let the roll with extreme velocity, which may or may not have been influenced by the excessive speed in which we were driving. The long snaking streamer of white  flew straight backward, and piled up on the windshield of the car behind us, completely obscuring the windshield.

As the brakes behind us squealed and skidded on the gravel, I looked at Frankie, who looked at me… both our faces frozen in an “OH CRAP” face… and Frankie dug his heels into the accelerator. We were home before we could even think of getting caught.

So, almost 20 years later, I find myself making an open  and sincere apology to the poor soul who got TP’d on Kim Hill Road at 50 miles an hour.

His Hands – Poetry Thursday by Josh Hatcher

His Hands

I have
Bloodless, mottled hands,
with slender fingers,
and pink
chewed away nails,
tough fingertips,
callused by phosphored bronze
and silvered steel
And gentle palms
that a sliver
would wreck.
A solitary childhood scar,
definitely from a
jackknife rests on
the first knobby knuckle of
my index finger,
and short,
dark hair
trails
down to my
curved
little pinky.

His Hands
He has
strong, meaty
palms, rough
and scarred,
and sinew-wrapped
fingers, muscle to the bone;
Dirt pushed back beneath
His unmanicured nails, broken
by hammers and ironwood.
Scars deep through His wrist,
Through back and front,
Blessed are
His scars.