Friday, February 22, 2013

Are You Passionate?

Finding passion in our lives

Someone posed a very important question to me; one that we should all take time out of our busy lives to consider. The question: What is your passion?

For many of us, passion is what happens when a man and a woman love each other very much and start getting all giggity in the bedroom after mom hollers, "You kids behave for five minutes while I go help your father change into his work clothes."

But somehow, I don't think that's the type of passion we're talking about. 

As I think back on it, the path to self-discovery has been a long and constantly changing road. I remember asking myself about eight years ago, "Daniel, what the hell do you want to be when you grow up?"

It was the first time in my life that question carried the weighted realization that life truly is short.

Now, I didn't begin this post intending to troll on about my interests and passions. You will see those manifest as I continue writing these entries. What I actually wanted to do today is challenge each of you to consider where you are today in your life.

Are you happy? Are you where you want to be? If not, are you doing something to change it?

In my experience, this seems to be the #1 reason people do not succeed: Inaction, usually paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. I've heard a wide range of excuses.

"I'm too old." Nonsense. just last year I completed a class with a 72 year old gentleman who was less than a year from earning his Masters in Business Administration. 

"I don't have enough time." Quit your whining! Fortunately, time is the one precious resource that successful and unsuccessful people have equal amounts of--24 hours each day.  Learn to manage it better. (I'll give you a hint: I couldn't tell you who won American Idol for the past five years. Can you?)

"I have too many kids." Oh brother!!  I'm working full time, going to college full time, and still find time for family and remedial projects. Not to mention; the only reason you have those kids is because you were practicing the wrong kind of passion.  ;) I have another blog about peaceful parenting where you can get some great advice if you're interested.

The big question I wish to ask is this: What have you done today to pursue your passions and dreams?

While you ponder this, I have to go. My wife is wanting to help me change into my work clothes.

Daniel Wagner.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Perks of Being a Wallflower -- Aftermath.

Perks of Being a Wallflower -- Aftermath.

I sat down with my wife the other night and watched a great movie called The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I fully recommend anyone see this excellent movie. After watching it, I was left in deep thought. Deep to the point of tears that couldn't be held back any longer as a discussion began. It has been a long time since a movie has forced true and honest emotion to spill from the tip of my pen.

These tears weren't caused by my own terrible memories manifesting, but rather for a very different reason. I thought about all of those around me who have suffered innocence-robbing situations in their childhood and adolescent years that nobody should have to be a part of. While my imagination is strong enough to imagine with rich detail the events and situations people are faced with, I will never know in my heart the hatred and inability to work through the pain.

The current statistics are scary. "1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys under the age of 18 are sexually abused" (Teenhelp.com, 2013). By the numbers, that means that there is a statistical chance that one of my three daughters will suffer through the unimaginable. As a father, that terrifies me. As a human, that saddens me.

Luckily, I was fortunate enough to make it through my childhood unscathed, but at times an odd sense of survivor's guilt sets in, as if I somehow missed a ricocheting bullet. It's not that I feel envious or jealous. I don't feel as if something should have happened to me. But perhaps if something terrible would have happened, I would be better qualified to offer words of advice to those who had no choice.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower forced me to consider the 'whys' behind it all. Why was I spared? Why didn't anything happen to me? Why do I deserve peace where others have none?

I would like to take this opportunity right now to thank my parents for providing a home for me that allowed my innocence to remain fully in tact. I love both of you, Mom and Dad, for protecting my siblings and I and shielding us from certain evils in this world. For doing for us what countless parents fail to do for their children. For allowing us to escape unscathed save for the scars of a normal, boring childhood.

I can't stress enough how important it is that we do everything in our power to protect our children from harm. They need us to be the shield, the blanket, the band aid that keeps them innocent.I promise that my three daughters and my son will suffer nothing more than the same boring upbringing as I did.

If you know anyone who may find this article useful, please do not hesitate to pass it along.

Daniel Wagner.

[Thank you Mom and Dad] for allowing us to escape unscathed save for the scars of a normal, boring childhood.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Views on Bacon Cheeseburgers

My Views on Bacon Cheeseburgers

I asked of my friends and family in a recent facebook post, "If I were to start a blog, what would you want to hear about?" I wasn't surprised a bit when the majority of the responses were completely sarcastic and served only a comedic purpose.

What they didn't realize was, I was already determined to use this pool of suggestions to find inspiration no matter how far fetched the idea may be. So in this spirit, I would like to thank Michael Ferrebee from Noblesville Indiana for providing an excellent topic for blog entry #1.

Michael asks, "What are your views on bacon cheeseburgers?"

I'm glad you asked Michael.

I recently saw a commercial where a man was down on bended knee proposing to a beautiful woman. When the camera showed what he had in his hand, it was actually a mini bacon cheeseburger. You can see the video here.

I have never seen anyone so excited over bacon on a cheeseburger before in my life!  Commercials such as this are rampant on our airwaves as if to say with subtle peer-pressure, "Everyone's doing it... Try one!"

I want to be careful to respect the cultural phenomena that is the bacon cheeseburger, because I do recognize the role these tasty delights play in the daily lives of the people who love them. However, this was about my personal views, and I do not happen to be a fan.

Just like in the Commercial! Right?
 When I was in my late teens, I worked for Wendy's. My interactions with the famous Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger were numerous. During my time there, I had to have made thousands of these things. Even today, the thought of one turns my stomach. I think about the litany of unhealthy and unnatural ingredients that went into each of these 99 cent "value" burgers; the bleached enriched flour buns, the pre-made frozen and uniquely square meat patties, processed American cheese, and the all-important pre-frozen microwaved bacon slices, sitting in their own grease until an order was made.

YUM!!

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm certain there is a bacon cheeseburger out there somewhere that could potentially send my taste buds into orbit, but I have yet to meet that sandwich. Something more in tune with the real food diet our family has grown so accustomed to.

I imagine the perfect bacon cheeseburger would start with a lightly toasted whole grain bun, a grass fed beef patty with sharp cheddar cheese and real bacon bits mixed right into the meat. Put two more thick strips of bacon on top with a bit of Dijon mustard and sauted onions. NOW you have a proper bacon cheeseburger.

Eat your heart out Mr. Ferrebee!

Know a great place to pick up a world class bacon cheeseburger and you want to brag about it? Let me know where we can find that tasty masterpiece.

Daniel Wagner.
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