March 2011

cheapskate t-shirtIf all I had to describe me was my name, Frank Jennings, I wonder what type of responses it would invoke with my love ones, peers, friends, and enemies. I bet every person I ask I would get a completely different response.

BACK DOWN MEMORY LANE

For example, my immediate family would have a response most probably wouldn’t expect, unless you spent time with me recently. If you ask them how they would describe Frank Jennings it would be quick, simple and direct. “CHEAP.” I had one bad experience when I was a kid that they will never let me live down. One year for Christmas my lovely parents decided instead of buying us gifts they would give us cash to buy our own presents and also gifts for our family.

I was given a wonderful lump sum of money. I was 13 years old. I had not yet read a book on personal finance, boy if I could turn back the time. So, what do you think I did? I bought myself everything I wanted and bought $20 worth of gifts from the dollar store for my family. I figured they would like quantity over quality. I was wrong. Now, I am known as the cheapskate. Not fair, right? I did it again a few more years until they got the point. I am not responsible. Therefore I rightly own the title of cheap from the home folks.

IN THE EYES OF A CHILD

Now lets take Ian for example, my 6 year old son. If you were to ask him what he thinks about Frank Jerome Jennings II the response will be a little bit different. To Ian I am Superman. I am a man that can’t be defeated by anything or anyone. Clearly he hasn’t seen me get in a fight before. But to Ian my name is GOLD. He will defend me and fight you until he can’t stand if you try to tell him any different.  (Please be careful he knows karate.)

I think it is extremely important to understand that if we don’t correct our past mistakes people will judge us based on our previous actions.

THE SPARK

In our lives we have the opportunity to interact with all different types of people. Sometimes we meet them face to face others we talk to over the phone or the internet. Even though they may just seem like a routine event each interaction you have leaves an impression rather good or bad that is tied to you legacy.  I want to be remembered for my actions not by my selfishness.

Remember the people who thought you were a quitter.

Prove them wrong.

Remember the day you felt helpless and confused.

Stand confident and strong.

Remember the day darkness tried to take over your life.

Unleash the light within you.

I dare you to look back at your life and find the people who called you “CHEAP” and find a way to make them call you “Superman”.

I want someone other than my son to think I am great. Faith without works is dead. Find out the legacy tied to your name and change it to leave a lasting impression.

Make today count!

the past is the past: chainsSlowly from behind the darkness of my closed eyelids did I awaken to an unfamiliar sight. I gradually lift my arms from my lower waist to eye level just to notice that my hands have been bound together by forged steel and chains connect me to the person in front and behind me. My mobility is limited and my movements are restricted to just the few inches that surround me. I am not free to go where I want but only where they take me. I’m shackled, bound, demoralized, defeated, and restrained.

How did I get here?

I made the wrong decision. Not just once but all throughout my life. I made my decisions without the thought of future consequences. I amassed over my life time a collection of broken hearts, shattered dreams, and robbed the vision of others with my negativity. The chains that I bear represent the weight of my failures, my errors, my shortcomings, and my inadequacies. Now everywhere I go I drag around with me the burden of my past indiscretions.

The Pain

The chains were a constant visual reminder of what was wrong in my life and to hide from the pain I closed my eyes only to be tormented by the sound of the links being dragged and pinged together. There was no escape. The wrists, once used to orchestrate and create are now dry, callus, and weak from carrying the weight of the steel. I am a prisoner of my past. My “history” controlled my future.

JAIL BREAK

Yes, I made some mistakes a lot of them but who hasn’t. Life is messy and it is going on without me and I refuse to sit here and miss out. The past is the past. I refuse to die here. Then the impossible happened. With every step I took a link fell off.  First fear, then doubt, followed by disappointment, shadowed by errors in judgment and trailed by the forgiveness of others. After a while there were no links left on my chain only the bracelets that surrounded my wrists and ankles. Then the guard gave me the key. I’m FREE.

THE SPARK

You can’t change your past. The pain, frustration, doubt, fear, and mistakes you are carrying around with you are holding you prisoner. Today has been given to you to take control and change your life. Complaining won’t loose the chains. Quitting won’t help you escape from bondage. In order to break free from captivity you have to be willing and ready to accept change in your life. I guarantee you can find peace. You just have to know where to look for it.

I don’t know about you but I say, “Get these chains off of me!

Do you want to be set free?

How do you reach the unreachable and achieve what to many seems impossible?

How do you maintain your motivation during demoralizing periods of stress?

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS

Could you image living in a time where automobiles are the most advanced technological device that existed and bikes were the preferred method of transportation. This was well before GPS and 4G cell phones. This was a period where the only thing flying in the sky was the birds. Can you imagine staring in the sky as you play with toy helicopter, in your bicycle shop and decide you want to make a plane.

To put this in context, wanting to build a plane during this period of time is like saying that I want to build my own teleporter that zaps me directly to work. It sounds insane. The Wright brothers were nuts. These two gentlemen had guts or were suicidal. It depends on who you ask.

Often I sit around and look over the inventions that the most brilliant minds of this world have created and none of them impress me as much as the airplane. I know many of you are wondering why I would sit around and think about this. That is another 2 page post about procrastination stay tuned. The airplane unlike many other inventions put the people who tried to create them in a great deal of danger.

Plane

Photo by Rob Bach

If you made a plane that did not successfully fly, you crashed. There were no front and rear airbags to cushion your fall. This was before “tuck your head in between your legs” and respirators that fall from the ceiling. There was nothing but wood hitting the ground followed by people dressed in black talking about your greatest accomplishments. In other words these gentlemen were building the most elaborate way to commit suicide if they calculated incorrectly.

I guarantee you that the Wright brothers were laughed at, ridiculed, called insane, nuts, crazy, and any other obscenity you can think of. Even with everyone being convinced they would fail they keep building.

Not only were these men gutsy but they were extremely brave. Failure meant death or serious bodily injury but it didn’t stop them from trying. Crash after crash, failure after failure, they kept building planes until one went in the air and stayed there until they landed it. They touched the clouds first.

I want you to understand that flying did not exist. It was to the people who lived during this era impossible. The people with the doubt and the disbelief weren’t the ones with the tools and the knowledge to make it happen. It was the people with the dream, the people with the guts, the people who would rather die trying than to give up who changed the world. The Wright brothers wanted to fly.

BUILD A PLANE

To the world your goals may seem impossible. Discouragement is a natural emotion to feel as you strive towards greatness. A feeling though does not have the right to stop you from trying (building). We must learn to never quit. It may not fly the first time off the ground. You might crash and lose everything you have worked on. The only way to justify the effort you have put in is to finish what you started. Take the Wrights success as a learning experience.

Nothing is Impossible!

Go build your plane.

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