Monday, January 28, 2013

Gentlemen Tie a Full Windsor

Hello Beautiful

Whenever I tie a necktie I use a full Windsor knot.  Densely packed regality offset by a single dimple as a triangle bridges the gap between collar points.  A refined knot of a distinguished class; unlike the half-hearted four-in-hand that is lackadaisically thrown in place by a society that has lost an understanding of the term “Gentleman”.  It takes more time, effort, and care to tie a full Windsor.  Last Friday as I completed a fantastically executed shave, buttoned America’s best fitting shirt by Express (the fitted 1MX), and completed my ensemble with a firmly arranged tie, a sense of pride and satisfaction gave me the confidence I needed for the evening.

It is more than clothing.  It is the forgotten art of being a gentleman (or lady).  An effort that declares, “I will not simply mail it in today!”  Composing one’s self should be executed masterfully.  Whether you area a nurse or waitress, lawyer or salesman, there is room in your life for ironing and grooming.  A little extra work that lets the world know you not only care about yourself, but the fact that someone else has to stare at your face all day.

Many debate the full Windsor (or whatever item of fashion or beauty) is not their style.  It does not properly fit.  Is not conducive to their occupation.  Consider a true re-imagination of self.  Without the limitations of culturally branded styles, employment stereotypes, or what is in-stock at Macy’s.  Where do you desire to live?  Imagine for a moment if everything that God placed in you was fully manifest.  All your wonderful personality traits, creativity, and spirit, realized both in your physical appearance and in your demeanor.  Chase after that idea and let nothing stand in your way.  Remember ties can be tailored if they do not fit.

It is not everyday that I feel like a gentleman.  Not everyday that I dress like one.  Not everyday that I act like one.  Each day I try to get at least one of the three correct.  A foreshadow of permanence in my life comes on days when how I feel, dress, and act all align.  There is always more room to execute the life God created you to live.  Gentleman or lady, baller or artist, executive or blue collar worker—elevate your portrayal.  Press onward in the display that you are beautiful.

Monday, January 14, 2013

When Ink Flows Best

After nearly a week of gorgeous weather, today brought forth rain.  The slow drizzle was foreshadowed by a fog that arrived a day earlier.  A paced announcement of the coming depths of winter.  I enjoy the pause and stillness that is ushered in by this suspended force.  It is moments like these when all distraction fades.  The sun has hidden. The streets are silent. The unbridled passion of the heart is tamed.  These hours of focus are when the purest creation takes place.

I find that ink flows best across a blank page when it rains; keys may be stroked more deliberately, music resonates more fervently. It is in these deep states of melancholy that we are most attuned to the cry of our soul.  The sobriety of our pensive state allows a direct connection between thought and action—idea and execution.

As sunshine turned to fog, turned to mist, turned to rain, I considered the original state of the Universe before the magnificence of creation; when there stood God and Angels alone.  How immeasurable the stillness that must have existed in a world without form.  Pure unadulterated nothingness.  The ultimate blank canvas.

I dare not call God melancholy, but I can imagine His longing for us as He stood before a vacuous Universe.  Out of this emptiness the greatest act of creation transpired.  The Earth and heavens, plants and animals, water and light were all created.  Each element infused with the Divine’s fingerprint.  Out of this state of quiet that was the self-existence of God, He choose to create something wonderful: You.  

I imagine God looking at His angels saying, “Watch what I am about to do.”  And out of this He not only created the physical and spiritual world of our existence, but created the force that unifies it together—Love.  Out of nothingness He created relationships—a mutual exchange of desire between the Creator and the created.  And gave us the gift of choice, such that this love would have worth by our voluntary intimacy with Him.

Such a deliberate act removes all fortuitousness from the equation and demonstrates a purposeful drive that lead to our being.  God created you because He desired to love you.  And to be loved by you.  He created you because before you were formed He knew you are beautiful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flowers, Chocolate, and Puppies

Hello Beautiful

In speaking with a very close friend I was reminded of a deep truth of the female heart.  “AJ, don’t you know all girls love flowers, chocolate, and puppies!”  While I already knew this overly generalized truth, I was taken aback by how passionately it was proclaimed.  As we laughed I contemplated the positive stereotypes of our society.  Those things that are “generally true” but are not degrading labels imposed on a people group.

Girls like flowers. Guys like food. Rednecks like trucks.  Grandma’s make the best cookies.

There are certain things that have been created that we enjoy.  Holding the delicacy of a flower in your hand as you greet a lady and non-verbally express your emotions toward her is one of life's more touching moments.  A man who has worked hard all day and can come home to an aromatically pleasing and delectable meal has much adoration for the chef.  Redneck’s like trucks (I feel like that one is self explanatory).  And the memory one has of warm oatmeal raisin cookies coming out of the oven as we enter from playing in the snow will forever keep our grandmothers with us.

There are things we commonly enjoy.  Others that are more individual to our particular taste.  Our Creator gave us so much goodness when we were placed on this Earth.  There was no need to create flowers so beautiful.  No biological reason for coco to be so tasty.  And puppies could have been made as cute as a beetle.  Perhaps in loving us He decided to populate the Earth with wonderful things.

In wondering about these commonalities we have in our affinities I realized that we were intentionally wired this way by God’s genius.  The plan all along was love.  The ultimate love for Him and our love for one another.  To the end of the later, He made it uncomplicated for us to commonly express our love.  How easy is it to buy some flowers or txt a photo of a cool truck?  We may enjoy overly romanticized and meticulously planned romantic gestures, but we were meant to regularly express our love to one another.  We were meant to eat chocolate. 

Happy New Year.

You are Beautiful.