Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wear your seat belt

Friday night, right near here, there was yet another car accident that claimed the lives of two young people.  We heard a boom like a rocket launch just as we were going to bed right about 10 o'clock.  I got up and looked around the house and out through the windows but I didn't see anything and went to bed.

It wasn't until Saturday morning did we get news that there was a bus and car accident on the road just a little ways from here.  So while we slept there were emergency crews and frantic parents out there in the cold and the dark.  Sometimes I wonder just how cold and dark my heart is to have slept through such a tragedy.

In just a brief moment of time, a distraction, a miscalculation, a sideways glance, and one car hits the front of a bus and two young lives are snuffed out.  Did they know the Lord?  Were they saved?  Did they ever have the chance to hear the Gospel?  What is the message God is trying to reach us with?  There have been so many young people who have died around here by car accidents.

I read the news and at the very bottom it said that neither were wearing set belts.  It is possible that they could have lived through the impact had they have been belted in.

Give yourself a hug.  Wear your set belt.  We want you around for many more years.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Advice for an 18 year old

Someone recently asked:  If you were to give an 18-year-old one specific piece of wisdom, what would it be?  My answer would be that it would be wise to value entertainment much, much less.

There is room for entertainment but it should not be all consuming.  In fact, it would be best to work on yourself at this point in your life.  Put time and money into experiences and education.  Become something.  Don't just sit there watching and observing someone else's life and adventures.  Get out there, get in the game, and create your own story.

My wish is that every 18-year-old would value entertainment less and his or her own life more.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Buy business cards

I resisted getting my own business cards for a long time.  My thought was that I did not want another expense and I did not see them as useful.  But after spending the twenty-some dollars to have them made up, I was delighted to carry them around and hand them out when appropriate.  People accepted them readily and the transaction was very fulfilling.

It may sound weird but you yourself are a business.  You are a service to someone, somewhere.  And what you do generates economic activity.  Your life force does that.  Since you are a business, you should act like one.  Businesses have business cards.  Use a little imagination, spend the few dollars, and get some made up.  I know I am glad that I did.

By the way, I used Vistaprint for my cards and was very happy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Subscribe to a magazine

At the beginning of the year, it seems like an appropriate time to start things.  Start a reading plan, start an exercise plan, start a personal growth plan.  We like new things and we like having done something for ourselves.

Here is a simple way to start something that will benefit you for the coming year.  Subscribe to a magazine.  Set yourself up to receive copies from home.  Magazines are usually focused on one area of interest.  Pick a hobby or something you would like to belong to and spend the thirty dollars.  Magazines can supplement your reading and make you more aware and more rounded.

In my house, my wife and I have subscribed to a magazine each in January.  Often times we mix it up and choose something entirely different the next near.  Magazines are an easy way to keep informed and to let others know what interests you.

Give yourself permission to do something for yourself today.  Pick an interest and subscribe to a magazine today.  That simple act can go a long way in building the life that you want.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Eat to weigh less

When you and I look around this country it is hard to over-look the serious weight issue we have here.  People are carrying excessive weight that in no way is healthy.  Their skeleton structure was never designed to haul so much.

It has been said before but I will say it again.  If you want to be thin, do what thin people do.  Ask someone who is trim what they do to stay that way.

Here are a few simple ideas on how to be more trim.

- Eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans.  All of these foods have fiber and will help you to feel full. Eating them will help keep that annoying hunger pang from always being there.
- Drink more water.  Stop drinking the soda pop, fruit juices, and beer.
- Do not eat after eight o'clock at night.  Eat three meals a day with two snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon).

I really feel bad for folks who are over weight.  It cannot be comfortable or helpful.  But to lose weight you have to eat better.  Simple as that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

We are all on one team

My heart grieves over the division that is so evident in our country.  We have allowed ourselves to be divided.  Yet I long for unity.  I want us to play well together.  We are neighbors.  We have a common history.  We want mostly the same things.

My message to my fellow man out there is:  We are all on one team.  I am not out here to take from you or to put you down or to hurt you.  I want to cooperate, I want us both to win, and I want to live in peace.

Let's hang together.  Let's pull together.  Let's build together.  We are walking the earth at a common  time in history.  May it be said that we had a love for each other.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Claiming greatness

It is very difficult to say much when someone claims the USA is the greatest country in the world.  If anyone says something to the contrary it is like they are being unpatriotic or like they don't agree.

Those who have experienced life elsewhere know our country is a special place.  We do live some place that is like no other place on the planet.  I see that.

Yet, there are improvements that need to be made, there are pains that need to be soothed, there are sins that need to be repented of, and there are people who need to be lifted up.

The problem with stating "we are the greatest" is that it shuts down any thought of improvement.  We need to discuss how we can make this a better land.  We need to discuss our energy usage, our national debt, school loans, infrastructure, social insecurity, the environment, and our need for more cleanliness.  There are things that need to be done here and often times issues are not addressed because we all assume this is the best it can ever get.  Clearly, there is a lot of work that can be done here.

Just because we are a great land doesn't mean we can't improve.  Please don't say "The United States is the greatest country in the world".  Instead say, "We live in a very special place and a land of great opportunity".

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Read a devotional

Starting your day with a something inspiring and uplifting can really put you on the right track.  We all need to start our day in the right frame of mind.  To do this, I like to sit down and read a devotional each morning shortly after I get out of bed.  It has turned into a good habit and one that I think you would benefit from as well.

As you look into a new year, you may ask yourself what could I improve on and what have I been missing?  Perhaps your spiritual side has been going undernourished.  A devotional can speak to your soul and not take a lot of time.

Devotionals that I have used and would recommend are:

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Great Is They Faithfulness by Larry Burkett
Our Daily Bread by RBC Ministries
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

These devotionals are inexpensive, easy to get, and can be used year in and year out.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Buy a radio

New year.  New habits.  New electronic gizmos.  If you do not have an easy to use, easy to hear radio in your kitchen, now is a time to seek one out.

Radio has been a staple of my life.  Since I was young, I have always had a radio to turn on in the morning to help me on my way.  It has given me news from the world, intelligent talk, inspiring music, and play by play commentary.  All for no cost after a small initial purchase.

Maybe you are a television person.  I too am visual and enjoy a TV program or a sporting event now and then.  However, the mornings are all about preparation and taking action.  A radio playing in the background can keep your mind active when you go through your morning routine which may not be the most intellectually stimulating.

I have found CCrane and Bose and Radio Shack to be good sources for radio's.  Pick something that is easy to use, with a good sound, and several pre-sets.  You should be able to find a wide selection for under $200.  Add your new purchase to your kitchen or living room.  Place it in a central location, adjust the antenna, and find your favorite stations.  The radio is still the electronic marvel it always has been.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Water usage

The amount of water our household goes through in a day astounds me.  Even though I do not have a figure to place on it, we must go through a lot.  I've read that an American home can use 400 gallons of water per day.  That amazes and depresses me all at the same time.

We use water to wash cloths, to shower, to flush the toilet, and to drink.  Every single one of us.  Now that we are at this level of consumption, I don't know how one would go about reversing it.  It seems impossible to me.  I can't see myself bathing just one day per week as some people did in this country many years ago.  It would feel grimy and unhealthy to not brush my teeth with water.  I use water in coffee, juices, and I drink it plane just to survive.  Where can a person cut back?  I seriously don't see how it is possible.

We are on a well and septic system here.  I am happy with this as I am not particularly found of city water.  At times when I am running the water in the shower or in the sink I wonder if there will ever come a day when the water just stops.  Where it runs out.  Could it happen and what would we do?

Over the holidays, I was talking to someone who said there have been studies on the water table below the earths surface and it is dropping.  Seriously dropping.  It isn't very pleasant to think about but I have to believe that it is another sign that something is coming.  Some major change in how this world operates.  To prolong things, we have to find other ways to accomplish what we consider normal, healthy, and hygienic.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Learning to say yes

My inner nature is to resist an offer and say "no".  I don't know if this is inbred, a habit, or a discipline.  However, I don't always want to say "no" when people attempt to sell me something or when people try and include me.  Saying "no" at times has its merits.  It keeps you in control.  You know what you want and you stay the course.  But "no" also closes doors of opportunity and new experiences.

I want to say "yes" more often.

"Yes" when someone wants me to join them.  "Yes" when someone wants to sell me something.  "Yes" when there is an opportunity to try something new.  I wonder what I have let pass me by in the name of discipline and self-control.  More likely I have been rude by refusing their offer and I have not been trusting that the Lord will take care of me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Money is NOT the root of all evil

Money is NOT the root of all evil.  Instead of declaring war on the rich, that is, those who have succeeded and are flourishing, lets declare war on poverty.  Poverty is a good deal closer to the root of all evil.  I will never understand people who are opposed to prosperity.  How is having influence, means, and greater abilities bad?  Don't we all want to be able to met our needs and have some left over to generously give to people and causes we believe in?  We should lift up as hero's those who have brought talent together in such a way that it has resulted in a fortune.  We should imitate people who have been creative, insightful, and inventive instead of marginalizing them.  Personally, I think poverty is what we should look down on and work toward eliminating.  Not having enough should be seen as a tragedy not some sort of perverted victory in life.

Money is what pays the mechanic to fix your car.  Money is what pays the teacher to instruct your kids.  Money is what is given in exchange for that new appliance, or gizmo, or roof.  Money is simply a means of exchange.  It represent value and people are will to give something in exchange for it.  Personally, I would like to have more money because more money will allow me to buy what I need, save for my future, and give to places that I think need it.

I don't see money as evil.  I see it as a wonderful tool.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How I did with my 2012 goals

Looking over my written goals for 2012, I would say I had mixed success.  Most of my completed goals were in the Personal Development and Spiritual categories.  Most of my uncompleted goals were in the Career and Financial categories.  Not meeting my goals in the Career and Financial categories disappoints me.  It is hard to see that once again. I feel bad because that has been a reacquiring shortfall for my whole life.  I set what I think are big goals for those areas.  Big enough that if I reached half of them, I would be well on my way.  But I don't even reach half.  The other problem with not getting some big wins with career and finance is that so many of the other goals I have are tied to these two goals.  They are down stream and dependent on some money flow in order to take place.  Like paying off my house.  I need to have a large income to knock that out.

I don't know what else to do.  I set big goals.  I review my goals.  I attain many goals in some areas of my life but miss big in other areas of my life.  Why can't I win in career and finance?  What big change of mind and heart needs to occur?  How do I even get started?  Why are others able to achieve so much in these areas?

In one way I look back on 2012 and I see that much was accomplished.  Yet I also see many good, worthy goals that were left undone.  I now look to 2013 with hope and with great expectations.