2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 700 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

THANK YOU! I never would have believed a worldwide audience to “my little experiment”. It is everyone who reads this weekly that I continue to share God’s word and His inspiration through me.

Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking has become an acceptable part of our society today. In fact, you are viewed negatively if you can’t multi-task. What we accept today was once called being “scatter brained”. Multitasking and “smart phones” may have actually made us less productive. A number of studies have shown that the constant interruptions we have in our lives are actually slowing us down. Every time we rapidly shift from one task to another, our brains have to refocus or reset. We are truly losing our train of thought. Another study conducted with college students who claim to be “great multi-taskers” actually demonstrated that their motor skills and cognitive abilities mirrored those of someone legally intoxicated. Now that is sobering – sorry I couldn’t resist. All of studies show what us “old-timers” already know, work on one thing at a time and you will actually get more done. We have all been behind the car that is just not keeping up with the flow of traffic, only to see them on the phone or worst yet, texting while driving. Remain focused on what you are doing, especially while driving, and your stress levels should decrease while your productivity increases.

1 Peter 1:13 – “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.”

It’s getting close to Easter and there couldn’t be more fitting verse. Reading the bible is a fascinating journey that explains how God tried to help us focus on what is important. Many of us heard the phrase uttered by our parents “don’t make me come up there”, when we were misbehaving. God finally reached that point where He had to “come down here” because we just couldn’t focus on what He was trying to teach us. God became man when He sent His son to show us the way. Peter reminds us to clear our minds, be alert and ready (sober). When we multi-task, we never really do one thing well, we do them all well enough. Peter is telling us to focus and set our hope in Jesus. Reduce the interference in our life by focusing on what is important. We don’t want our relationship with God to be “well enough”. Send your fears and worry to God not so that you can do something else but so that you can focus on the grace that He is giving to you and rest in knowing your sins are forgiven by your faith in Jesus Christ.

Holy Humor. A mid-week laugh

GOOD SAMARITAN
A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan.
She asked the class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and
Bleeding, what would you do?”
A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, “I think I’d throw up.”
DID NOAH FISH?
A Sunday school teacher asked, “Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?” “No,” replied Johnny. “How could he, with just two worms.
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible – Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick was excited about the task – but he just couldn’t remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.
On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, “The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.
UNANSWERED PRAYER
The preacher’s 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
“Well, Honey,” he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. “I’m asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”
“How come He doesn’t answer it?” she asked.
BEING THANKFUL
A Pastor said to a precocious six-year-old boy, “So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That’s very commendable. What does she say?”
The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed!”
ALL MEN / ALL GIRLS
When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, “And all girls.”
This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, “Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?”
Her response, “Because everybody always finish their prayers by saying ‘All Men’!
SAY A PRAYER
Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother’s house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away. “Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer.” said his mother. “I don’t need to,” the boy replied.
“Of course, you do “his mother insisted. “We always say a prayer before eating at our house.” “That’s at our house.” Johnny explained. “But this is Grandma’s house and she knows how to cook.
THE BIBLE

Did you know that… When you carry the Bible, Satan has a headache. When you open it, he collapses. When he sees you reading it, he faints. Let’s read the Bible every day so he keeps on fainting. Maybe one day he’ll have a stroke and never wake up.

The Woman and the Fork

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things ‘in order,’ she contacted
 her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. 

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. 

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

‘There’s one more thing,’ she said excitedly.. 

’What’s that?’ came the Pastor’s reply? 

’This is very important,’ the young woman continued. ‘I want to be buried with a fork in my
 Right hand.’ 

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say. 

That surprises you, doesn’t it?’ the young woman asked. 

’Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,’ said the Pastor. 

The young woman explained. ‘My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part
, because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!’

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.’ 

The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over and over he smiled. 

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about
 the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. 

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

I’m published!

I took long enough to announce but I finally have been published, twice no less, this year. My article for Fire Chief magazine was published in their August edition which comes out in late September. It was exciting to see my name in a national publication and can be found at: http://www.firechief.com/manmade-disasters/how-civil-support-teams-aid-fire-departments-during-disaster-response

The other news, the Anthology that I wrote about in August has been published and is available now on amazon.com. Yep, that same Amazon! The writers group that I belong to published a series of short stories and poetry. Our group is called the Avondale Inkslingers – hence the title. Yours truly, along with other already published authors such as Michael Bradley, Eveline Horelle-Dailey, Vincent Alascia, Greg Lundberg, Mike McCarthy, Gail Leach and several more contributed to this book which can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Avondale-Inkslingers-Eveline-Horelle-Dailey/dp/1479389072/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353285920&sr=8-1&keywords=9781479389070

I posted this once before, but here is what our editor said about my story which, by the way, can be found on page 207. ” I liked the taut pace of Revelation.  From the first few sentences you managed to drop the reader into the middle of the action without making me feel lost — a hard thing to accomplish.  You provided the right number of details to allow the reader to know what was going on but also didn’t elaborate too much, which helped the pacing immensely.  Too many details would have just dragged the story down, and I’m glad you didn’t give in to them.”

What is a Veteran?

As an honored guest in a Veterans Day parade, I had not only the pleasure of enjoying the awesome Arizona Fall weather but I had the chance to meet several of the Tuskegee Airmen. The “Red Tails” were made famous in the movie of the same name. The speaker who introduced them said “They fought not only enemies in the sky but they were forced to  fight for their right to defend our nation.” Almost unthinkable times. I pray that my grandkids will never know what that looks like and that they only have to read about it in school.

So what is a Veteran? We heard today in the closing remarks for the celebration:

Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking. He is a cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day to make sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel. He is the little league coach, harder on the kids than we feel necessary but that behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel. He or she is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang. He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL. He is the Paris Island drill instructor who has never seen combat but saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs. He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and metals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and metals pass him by. He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep. He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now and aggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet extraordinary human being – a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any metals they could have been awarded or were awarded… Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag. TWO LITTLE WORDS – THANK YOU.” – Father Edward O’Brien/USMC

Happiness

Being happy at work is important to your physical and mental health. Studies show that people who are “happy” have less stress in their lives and that has a direct correlation to one’s health. While we cannot always control the events that happen to us, we can always control how we react to them. The saying “make lemonade out of lemons” wasn’t coined because people were thirsty. Leaders have two responsibilities – be happy and ensure happiness. Leaders can ensure happiness by helping employees meet their personal and professional goals. Employees who are satisfied at work, achieving goals and being recognized for their efforts tend to be happier. Organizations will benefit from productive employees and satisfied customers. A leader’s attitude is contagious. Some leaders will “put on a happy face” but people can tell when it’s genuine or just for show. Leaders need to focus on their own goals, a project that they are passionate about or simply finding joy in leading others. Whatever the cause, find joy in all you do, it is a gift from God.

“Moreover, when God gives a man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work – this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19

We are always giving thanks in our house because we can see God’s blessings everywhere. God can bless you with wealth, possessions, a good job or in some cases simply a job, happiness, etc but have you ever considered them a gift of God? God wants us to be happy in our lives. It doesn’t mean that He will order events in such a way that we will never suffer or feel down. There are enough times in our lives for suffering or feeling down, so when God has gives us “gifts” we should be thankful, enjoy them and be happy. When God gives us troubles, we should accept them too. God is at work in every part of our lives, the good and the bad. We don’t possess the capacity to understand the meaning behind what is happening; we just need learn how to react to them. We should be happy in all we do, remembering that they are all gifts from God and that can’t be a bad thing.

You know that old saying…

In addition to using a language of acronyms, I usually get the honor to learn a few new sayings too. A few years ago it was “are you smell’n what I’m step’n in?” to mean – do you understand? There are always a few nuggets that carry over to non-military use. This year we’ve all been using a phrase from one of my favorite commercials. Here is the picture:

“Let me show you my shocked face!” We got it added into a team briefing and not the one for the Command General.

Two days ago I heard ” They are pushing back on him like a wet dog”. Let that sink in for a minute.

I had to ask my southern co-worker what that meant. He told me that no one wants a wet, smelly dog hanging around them so you push them back (or away) from you. Only in the south. Here are a couple of others:                                                                                     Are you tracking? = Do you follow me?                                                                               We need to de-conflict this = To clarify or resolve an issue. I prefer “unscrew” something that was screwed up.                                                                                                            I’m just say’n = Just an opinion or observation                                                       Scrubbing = cleaning up a document for errors

 

 

Inspiration

Whether you say counselor, teacher, mentor or instructor they all mean the same for a supervisor/leader. You have a responsibility to develop the skills and knowledge your personnel. People want to progress in their positions and are generally interested in learning; regardless of their position. As a leader, people look to you for help with problems or seek your input as they try new things. Your responsibility is to help them problem solve; not solve their problems but help them work out a solution. It might be easier to simply do it but you will not allow them to learn; you must be the teacher or counselor. Teaching requires great patience and a commitment to helping others achieve success. Think back to your favorite teacher/mentor, what made them great? Chances are good that they were: caring, interested in you, passionate about the subject, inspiring or willing to share their knowledge. Do you do that for your people? They will appreciate it and you’ll see benefits from improved morale, higher productivity, improved creativity and generally a problem free work place.

John 14:26 – “But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

The great counselor, called teacher by many was of course, Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was telling everyone of “one greater than I” whom the Father would send to continue teaching and ultimately pay for our sins with His life. Despite the teachings of Jesus, people still remained doubtful. Even after his crucifixion and resurrection people remain doubtful.  Since the beginning of time, God has been teaching by using man as an instrument of delivery; a living power point presentation. God has inspired men to do great things; Noah, Moses, John and Paul all did God’s work through His inspiration. God has put great teachers in our lives – some show us what to do while others show us what not to do. God has put you in a place to do great things so He can help others. Honor God by following Jesus’ example in your life, be the “teacher” for others to understand the hope that you have in Him.

POSTED 7/2/12