Top 10-#8 I Matter

According to astronomers, our galaxy—the Milky Way—contains up to 400 billion stars. You could fit a million of our earths in our sun; yet our sun is tiny compared to Eta Carinae, an enormous star that is a million times brighter than our sun. We are still finding planets and stars and galaxies. We are not even a spec on a spec on a spec compared to the enormity of the universe. So how could God manage the universe and still care about me? I am finite. Not only do I have a measurable beginning (birth) and end (death), I am very limited in my abilities. I have a finite capacity to multi-task, am terrible with details, forget stuff on a regular basis, and sometimes make bad decisions. I am only so smart; I will never be a brain surgeon or even a famous drummer. We often assign value to things that are rare. Gold and diamonds are considered rare (perception is everything), so they are expensive. People with unique abilities are looked up to because they are rare. Billionaires are a small minority. Twinkie snack cakes rose in value when it looked like they were going away. However, people are not rare. You only have to visit India or a big city to realize this. We are somewhere around 7 billion on the planet now. Wow, not rare. So how much value do I as an individual actually have? I’m not rare and I’m really, really tiny in the grand scheme of things. Imagine getting the most famous brains from history in one room: Einstein, Tesla, Jesus, Da Vinci, Polgar, Jobs, Neuton, and a few dozen others. Think of the brainpower you would have. Yet they would be limited. Imagine a being that...

Top 10-#7 God Is Not A Monster...

God has been misrepresented to many of us. As children we may have received a picture of God that is vengeful, boring, uncompromising, angry, arbitrary and narcissistic. As adults we were told clichés like, “God is trying to teach you something,” “When God closes a door, He opens a window,” and “You can trust God because he knows what’s going to happen anyway.” The problem is, these simplistic explanations for why stuff happens paint a picture that is limited at best and inaccurate at worst. God is often likened to either Frankenstein or Santa Clause. Frankenstein is out to get you. Santa Clause gives you everything you want. God is neither. What is your concept of God? Is it due for a makeover? Have you lost hope that God is knowable, touchable, relatable, and a best friend? Do you think he sits above with a really big stick ready to whack you every time you screw up? I often hear that people like Christ; they just don’t like Christians. I get it that the old testament of the bible is violent; it hits me every time I read it (as I have again the past few months). But as a communication scholar, I know there are pieces of the puzzle and context that have been lost on us thousands of years later. There is some great stuff there, but we don’t have the full picture. Despite my limitations to understand, I also see an image of God that is kind, patient, longsuffering, humble, persuadable, and more like a lover than a monster. Those passages are also there. Jesus is often looked up to as a model person. Even religions and philosophies that don’t consider him divine like him and think his teachings are beneficial...

Top 10-#6 The World is Complex...

Icebergs are beautiful. They can also be deadly (think Titanic). The thing about icebergs is that you only see a very small portion of the whole thing. Things happen and we try to understand. It’s human nature to try to fit life into our mental schemata; it’s how our brains are wired. We categorize things based on our personality and previous experiences. When things don’t fit, we assign explanations. We often assign false reasons because the world is too complex for us to grasp. There is no way we can understand everything. We say things like, “what a coincidence,” “the devil made me do it,” “it’s their fault,” and “God is punishing me.” I once heard an analogy that not only do we not see the tip of the iceberg, but we don’t even see the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Of course that is a metaphor for the complexity of life. There is a theory that to understand why any two cars pass on a road at any one time, you would have to understand the entire history of the universe. Why were they there? Why at that exact time? Why were they going where they were going? What kind of car were they driving? Who designed it? What kind of engineering limitations did it have? What was the condition of the road and why? Where did the weather come from? Why were those people even living in that place? Etc., etc., etc. You get the point. In my post, “Think Flexible,” I made an argument for viewing the world as flexible or open, as opposed to fixed. There is a world full of possibilities and complexities. For example, many people of faith pray. Then they assume the only influence on...

Death by Password

According to InformationWeek, IBM predicted back in 2011 that in five years we will not be using passwords to access secure resources like ATMs and computers. While we may be on our way to voice, fingerprint or eye recognition, we’re not there yet. And we’re stuck using passwords. My computer is a mess. I have too many unopened emails and too much clutter on the desktop. I need a week to get my photos organized and put on an external drive. All these are on my “round-to-it” list. However, one area that is NOT a mess or stress is managing my passwords. And I have a LOT of them! I use a little program that effortlessly manages them for me. I’m amazed when I see friends or colleagues struggle to remember passwords, look around their desk for various little pieces of papers, or use one or two passwords for everything they do online. Bad ideas! There are multiple little programs to keep track of your passwords. Some you buy; some are free. A password program works like this. You input all the web sites you visit that require a password. You either enter the password you want to use, or let the program generate one. You only have to memorize ONE PASSWORD! Then every time you visit a web site, you double click on that entry and the program does the rest; it brings up the site, enters your logon and password, and logs you into the site. No copying and pasting. No forgetting passwords ever again. Password managers are available for your computer, tablet and smartphone. I personally use 1Password on my Mac and iPhone. (It’s also available for PCs, Androids and iPads.) I easily sync all my passwords between my devices, so a change in...

Gratitude

Watch this beautiful short by video artist, Louie Schwartzberg. He motivates us by getting up close with nature. The video celebrates life, love, beauty, art, nature, and especially people. It draws me to the one who made it all. Nature is incredible. People (made in God’s image) are even more spectacular. We and nature were made for our enjoyment and the honor of the highest Being. “You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day, it’s the one day that is given to you, today. Its given to you; it’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response, is gratefulness.” Spoken word and music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin. Narration written and spoken by Brother David Steindl-Rast....

Fear of Freedom

Many things speak to us. Nature. Music. A glance. Words. Art. While searching the web for art reproductions, I came across this piece, titled, Fear of Freedom, by photographer and surrealist artist, Jordi Elias. I found it very provoking Look at it. The person under the boat is hanging on for dear life, but his actions are not going to save him. Are you caught under a boat? Are you afraid of freedom? Are you holding on to something that will ultimately be your demise? What will it take to get free?   Prints of this painting are available from the following sources: http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Fear-of-Freedom-Posters_i8651871_.htm http://www.art.com/products/p12818089875-sa-i6401691/jordi-elias-fear-of-freedom.htm?sorig=cat&sorigid=0&dimvals=0&ui=984e8a61a0984082a55674e7abcf323c&searchstring=fear+of+freedom&ssk=fear+of+freedom&sby=all http://www.illustrationworks.com/index.php...

Bye Bye Consumer Debt Aug23

Bye Bye Consumer Debt...

This is a significant week for me because I paid off my last credit card! The debt was not from spending sprees, expensive electronics or a new car. In fact, I drive a 23-year-old car that I bought new and plan to drive for 300,000 miles. The debt was from emergencies, like dental work, mission trips that went over budget, and life. It was also from new windows and buying things that seemed like a good deal on sale. I think I have had some sort of consumer debt for more than 20 years. Now I say, Adios! Au revoir! さようなら and до свидания and Arrivederci! As the bible says, the borrower is slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). I certainly feel more free than I did a week ago! So how did I do it? I listened to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. The course if offered thousands of times across the US every year and is available online. I borrowed the CDs from my niece who took it. I got serious about getting out of debt. Ramsey calls this, “gazelle intensity.” A gazelle being chased by a predator runs for its life—as fast as it can to get away from the problem. Until I realized how important it was to clean up the mess, I lacked the motivation to do it. I followed up by listening to Ramsey as often as possible, on the radio while driving, and to his podcasts. An addict needs constant encouragement to do the right thing. I was addicted to debt and needed help. I followed Ramsey’s advice to save up $1,000 in an emergency fund. Now when I need dental work or car repairs, there is some money there and I don’t have to reach for...

Family Ties

Poet and humanitarian Mya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Be Positive!

“Be positive regardless! Life is sweet!” Those are the words inscribed in the front of Watermelon Credo, a little book given to me by the author, Wally Amos. Most people know him as the cookie man who invented Famous Amos Cookies. I ran into Wally Amos as he was selling his newest “Wamos” cookies in front of a hotel on Waikiki in Hawaii. I’d hoped to interview him for my upcoming podcast, but he was unable to make the appointment. So we chatted. I found Wally to be a delightful man who never gives up. Though in his 70s, he refuses to quit life. Instead he continues to start companies, write books, and speak to groups. Somewhere along the way he founded a group called Read it LOUD!, a foundation that encourages parents to read aloud to their children everyday. He knows that reading is a key to success. Wally has had his ups and downs. From humble beginnings, he served in the military, and then became an entrepreneur. He didn’t wait for anyone to give him anything; he knew he had the power and the responsibility to create his own destiny. Wally was very public about the mistakes he made that led to loosing control of his Famous Amos Cookie Company. “I made the mistake of thinking the company was all about me and never realized that I could be part of the problems that befell it,” he wrote. “Now I subscribe to the TEAM adage, that Together Everyone Accomplishes More.” In his little book, Watermelon Credo, Wally (who loves the fruit and wears his signature watermelon hat), shares 10 principles for a successful life: Whatever you believe creates your reality Attitude is the magic word Together everyone achieves more Enthusiasm is the...

Crushing Debt: The Ramsey Method Aug06

Crushing Debt: The Ramsey Method...

Dave Ramsey is a very successful financial coach, author, teacher and radio host. He made money in real estate and went broke twice. Then he figured out what went wrong, learned from his mistakes, and set out to help others. I have listened to Ramsey’s Financial Peace University lessons as well as his radio show regularly. He has made a tremendous difference in my life, helping me solve my personal financial issues. Dave’s plan is quite simple. But like most choices in life, it takes willpower, commitment and what he calls gazelle intensity. (Think how fast a gazelle runs for its life when it’s being chased by a predator; people in debt should run like hell for their lives with the same intensity. He preaches the need to get on a written budget, then only spend money that has been pre-allocated. I’m still working on this one! To get out of debt, Ramsey teaches what he calls baby steps. I am implementing them and seeing a HUGE difference in my financial health. 1. Set up an emergency fund of $1,000. This is for dental visits, flat tires and all those things that WILL happen as part of life. You have to plan for them. 2. Pay off all debt using the debt snowball. To do this you start making minimum payments on all your debts except the smallest one. Then you attack that smallest debt by throwing every dollar you can at it, increasing your income through extra jobs and selling stuff. (You pay off all debts in this way, starting with the smallest, then going to the next one and the next one.) You DON’T start with the highest interest, rather the smallest balance. As Dave Ramsey says, this is an emotional issue;...

Reasons Resumes are Rejected Aug02

Reasons Resumes are Rejected

Are you looking for work? Not getting responses to your resumes? Statistics show that most jobs are obtained through interpersonal contacts. Your chances of finding a job by posting your resume online is almost nil. However, if you are being faithful to work through your networks (friends, family, colleagues, etc) you still need to have an effective resume. Here are problems you should...

Do You Need A Life Coach?...

Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” During the past year I have been training to be a lay life coach. In addition to studying, I’ve also had the privileged of being coached myself; It’s been an incredibly life-giving and transformational experience, one that’s taken me to the next level in several aspects of my life. So I asked my own coach, Jeannette Slater, if she would write an article on this strategy in hopes that you might look for your own coach and give it a try. – Dr Deb. How many times have you come away from a conversation, a seminar, a good book or any other learning event thinking, “Wow, I would love to implement that in my life! It would make all the difference!”…and then the phone rings with the latest urgency and months later something is tickling in the back of your mind….”Oh yeah, I had good intentions…oh well…” Perhaps you need a personal life coach. A life coach is one who comes alongside you to help you clarify what your goals are. Then the coach helps you discern the next steps to reach your goals. They’re also there to cheer you on as you live out your plan. Coaching is all about helping you take what you hope for, dream, or imagine and making it become a reality. A life coach doesn’t come with direction or the answers.  Their role is not to tell you what to do, but to help you find the answers that are in you that you don’t know are there! They are more like a midwife than a counselor. The coach’s role is to listen and ask good questions that uncover the keys...

Eat Your Fruits & Veges

The U.S. Center for Disease Control says mom’s advice to eat your fruits and vegetables was good advice. Why? Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.* I don’t mind eating these good things, but sometimes it’s overwhelming and expensive to eat enough every day. A lot of people talk about juicing. I’ve been making breakfast smoothies for years. My basic recipe includes orange juice, 1/2 frozen banana, frozen berries (I rotate) and protein powder. But eating green things is more challenging. Years ago I bought a juice machine. The thing didn’t work very well; it seemed like I was throwing out 3/4 of the vegetables and getting very little juice. It was a huge waste of time and money. Recently I discovered how to get healthy juice–and did I mention DELICIOUS?–without throwing out anything! It’s an easier way to get a lot of goodness in my diet. By purchasing my veges at a farmer’s market and wholesale club, buying them is a whole lot more affordable. When you have the desire, you find a way. Juicing can be a painless way to improve your health. After watching a friend make easy and delicious juice that didn’t waste anything, and watching a documentary, I decided to give it another try. You’ve probably heard of the Juice Master, the mother of all juicers advertised on TV infomercials and state fairs. It wasn’t in my budget to buy one, so I got a Nijna blender at a fraction of the price (from Costco). Any high-powered blender could work. You put in the fruits and veges and get juice with the pulp (which is, in fact, good for you). It slices and dices all that goodness into a delicious, powerhouse drink. The information part: Why juice? Most people have a hard time getting the minimum servings of fruits and vegetables  they need of every day. Plus, cooking destroys some lot of the goodness. Why juice? There are macro and micro nutrients. Macro nutrients are the things we get from typical diets and fast food. All that meant and those starches fill us up by giving us protein, fat, minerals and sugars. But they don’t nourish our cells. Nutritionist Dr. Fuhrman describes it like this: “Nutrient Density is a critical concept in devising and recommending dietary and nutritional advice to patients and to the public. Not merely vitamins and minerals, but adequate consumption of phytochemicals is essential for proper functioning of the immune system and to enable our body’s detoxification and cellular repair mechanisms that protect us from chronic diseases.”** We don’t get micronutrients from most of what we eat: meat, grains, sugars and dairy. We get them in the fresh stuff God gave us from plants. The emotional part: It’s complicated how we make choices, including those with food. I have friends in parts of the world who have few food choices based on availability and economics. But most of you reading this do. Motivation is most of the battle. As I mentioned, I saw a documentary that showed me the power of juicing. It’s called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (available streaming or on DVD from Netflix and Amazon). The film is described as, “Two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, document their rigorous healing path in a bid to regain their health.” It’s pretty inspiring. The bottom line: I’m not advocating an all-juice diet. However, after years of nutritional study and dealing with health issues, I am convinced God gave us goodness to ingest to help us be healthy, strong and feeling great. Man does not live on beer and chips alone. If this article helps...

The Lost Art of Self-Reflection

For most of history, people got up with the sun and went to bed with it. Their worlds were very small, about as far as they could walk or ride a horse in a day. They heard the birds chirp. They were familiar with the stars. They were comfortable with silence and had time to think. That was then. This is now. In our busy world, we are always surrounded by sounds, demands, pressures and obligations. Silence and solitude are difficult to find. Being comfortable with our own thoughts is seemingly impossible. Everybody wants a piece of us. Before television, cars, electricity, billboards and city life (not to mention email, Facebook and all the overstimulation of the digital life), it must have been easier to engage in self-reflection. At least there weren’t so many distractions. I recently wrote about our need for holidays; we need the special ones as well as the  weekly ones some people call Sabbath. Those times give us pause to reflect on our lives. As a lay life coach, I pose four questions to new clients to help them reflect on where they’d like to grow. I encourage you to answer these questions for yourself. Also click the Rate Your Life link and score yourself on six life dimensions. As you reflect, you may learn some things about yourself and embark on a journey of growth, personal development and positive change. Questions: What are 1 or 2 things I think should be on the agenda for my life right now? If I could change one thing in my life right now, what would it be? What are the obstacles that are holding me back from reaching my potential in this season of my life? When I think ahead to 3 years from now, how do I want my life to be different?  ...

Holidays

A holiday is a special day set apart to celebrate something. Originally from the words, Holy Day, holidays have their roots in religious celebrations. Today we celebrate holidays that mark national and political days, birthdays, seasons, and remembrances as well as religious traditions. July 4th is a holiday in the United States, a day to remember our declaration of independence from England. It is celebrated with particular foods that usually include backyard grilling, camping, concerts and fireworks. Mostly it involves being with friends and family. Hindus celebrate Holi, a spring festival associated with Krishna where people throw colored talc on each other. Muslims celebrate Ramadan, a month of fasting during the day and feasting at night. Jews commemorate Passover and remember the time when God delivered them from Egypt. Christians mark Christmas and Easter, seasons associated with the arrival and sacrifice of Jesus the Christ. These holidays make us pause to remember and reflect on important things, connect us to God, and restore our souls. We need holidays. We need to remember. Sometimes we need special days to make us cease from our labors and spend time with people. We need holidays to stop and smell the roses. The English talk about “going on holiday,” what Americans would call “going on vacation.” Whatever you call them, we need them. Sundays are holidays we get to celebrate every week! I came to the realization a few years ago that Sundays are a gift. As much as I’d like to believe it, I do not have endless energy. I need days off. I need days to do nothing. If I choose to work on Sundays and other holidays, I am looking a gift horse in the mouth; I’m just being stupid. I have a new philosophy...

Packing for Vacation

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and time for many people to go on vacation. If you are a workaholic who feels guilty for taking time off, get over it. Learn from your European cousins who typically take 4-6 weeks off every year. This year I’ve thrown guilt to the wind and am embracing the fact that I am a human who needs rest and realizes there is more to life than working. In trying to bring balance into every aspect of my life, so I’ve made arrangements to get some serious time off. Holidays and vacations off are necessary for our mental and physical health. They are good for the soul. They are good for the body. They are good for relationships. I live in the U.S. but have been to 61 countries. International travel always involves work, so vacations for me ar more likely to be closer to home. Car trips are as great as those by air. Keys are making the effort and doing what you can afford. I thought it would be good to share some advice from my years of travel. Doing a search, I realize there are multiple web sites that offer advice on planning and packing.; so I will include some links at the end of the article. Here are packing tips I’ve learned: Earplugs – Probably the most important item you can pack. Get good ones like Mac’s silicone ear plugs (available from Target and drug stores). They block out sounds like jet engines, hotel air conditioners, roosters, people who snore, street noise, and other people’s music, as well water when you swim. I never leave home without them! Eye shades are a good companion. Plastic bags – Put your shoes in grocery store bags and...

How I Made $34,000 Without Really Trying Jun27

How I Made $34,000 Without Really Trying

There are many important factors in financial success. But for sure there are 2 key ones. Income and expenses. One comes in; the other goes out. Generate income. Dave Ramsey calls the need for more income getting a bigger shovel. You need more than you live on. You don’t need to live within your means, you need to live below your means if you are to save for emergencies and old age.  Life always costs more than we anticipate. Spend less. That means not getting everything we want (saying no to yourself and the kids), not eating out as much, and looking for bargains. Some people clip coupons. Some make things themselves. There are many ways to save, and those little savings can add up to big ones. Recently I’ve been able to save BIG with a few minor changes, netting me over $34,000! 1. I cut the cable, well the DirecTV satellite service. Instead of $65/month for TV (I had the lowest package), I am now the proud owner of a digital antenna ($20 used from Amazon) and a Roku box ($68 refurbished Roku 2XS from Amazon). In addition to live TV through the air, I get TV and movies through Amazon prime  (for $79/year) and Netflix streaming for $8/month ($96/year). Savings=$605 per year. 2. I refinanced my house, lowering my interest rate from 5% to 3.75%, saving me almost $200/month or $2400 per year. Over the life of the loan, depending on how fast I pay it off, I will have saved at least $36,000. 3. I shopped for different car and home insurance. I worked with an insurance broker who shopped around with different companies and got me great rates (and better coverage on my house). Savings=$421/year. Just these 3 relatively simple steps will save me about $3,426 this next year! That’s $34,250 over 10 years! That money changed from an outflow to an inflow! I made over $34,000 without really trying! That is money that can be saved, given to charity or used toward other priorities. It will certainly more than cover my student loans. What is your time worth? I probably spent a maximum of 3 hours shopping for new home and auto insurance. If I save $421 this year, then I my efforts paid $140/hour. Not bad wages! How can you save money? Resist the temptation to go with the status quo. Don’t be afraid of change. For example, most people stick with the same insurance company because it’s comfortable, even if they think they can save money elsewhere. You can’t be afraid to escape your little comfort zone and explore. The savings can be huge! Then you can pay off debt, give, or save for the things you will need or want later. Sit down and make a list of potential ways to save money. Here are some ideas: Do you really need a home phone as well as a cell? Don’t keep the landline just because you’ve always had it! Would it be worth joining a warehouse club to save on groceries and other expenses? Cut the grass yourself instead of paying someone else. Unless your legs are broken or you’re very old, can’t you do it yourself? Don’t buy a new car. Whats wrong with the one you have? I bought my Acura new in 1990 and am still driving it 240,000+ miles later! Think of the goals you could achieve if you didn’t have financial pressures! I promise it will SO be worth your...

Living In The Box

We live in a world of social conformity. Even if we don’t like it, people like to stuff us into boxes. It’s hard to move in a box. It’s hard to breathe. It’s hard to be yourself. Do you put others in a box? Check out this funny video about labels, polarized thinking and very small boxes. It highlight the antithesis of critical thinking and respect. God gave us brains and hearts. Let’s use them...

Vacation Spending Jun22

Vacation Spending

We tend to spend too much money on vacation. It’s like we cast our logic to the wind. Maybe we’re in the “I deserve it” mode. Then things end up costing more than we thought. Check out this great article by Dave Ramsey so you don’t end up bringing your vacation home with you (in the way of credit card debt)....

Finding Your Why Jun21

Finding Your Why

What do Martin Luther King, Apple, and the Wright brothers have in common? They think, act, and communicate the same way–and it’s opposite to everyone else. So says Canadian, Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Sinek says our lives and careers function on three levels: What we do How we do it, and Why we do it. He claims we usually only understand the first two, but success comes in understanding the third. Why. Sinek claims a key to the success of any career or business, is having a complete understanding of why you do what do, then being able to communicate that. The following is taken from an interview Sinek did with the EntreLeadership Podcast. “A why is born out of our own experience.  It comes from us. Our why is formed entirely probably by the time we’re 19 or 20. And so the rest of our lives are really the opportunity to bring our why’s to life. ” The decisions we make either keep us in balance with our why (meaning our how/what are in balance with our why) or they’re not. And the times it is, everything feels good, everything seems to go perfectly, everything we touch turns to gold, we enjoy everything no matter how hard we work. “When things are out of balance, everything becomes a struggle, passion goes down, stress goes up, we become more obsessed with our competition than with ourselves. “And so to find yourself you really go backwards. You don’t ask the outside world, you look at your own life or your own business, and you look for patterns. “There are consistent patterns, which is when everything seems to be great. You see a commonality, which is...

Finding God In Brokeness...

You can’t be satisfied. Life is difficult. You don’t know the secret. The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction is available here. Have you read the book? Post your thoughts below after reading...

It’s Not About The Nail...

People are different. They have different communication styles. Some people are verbal processors and need to talk about their stuff. Other people don’t care to listen to verbal processors, or not very long; they feel if someone shares their problems, it is their job to help. Sometimes this happens between men and women. No wonder we have relationship difficulties. Heres an awesome short video that highlights the...

Finding Your Jobs Jun11

Finding Your Jobs

As I watched the live broadcast of the recent Apple Developer’s Conference, I couldn’t help but think of the late Steve Jobs. He was the mastermind of Apple hardware and software that became synonymous with cool and elegant productivity. Then I remembered something Jon Acuff had said in an interview: “What’s your Steve Jobs? not, What’s your version of being Steve Jobs?” The question is, “Who are you?” not, “Who do you want to be like?” I’ve been watching Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview on Netflix. The interview was recorded in 1995, after Jobs had been fired from the company he created, and a year before returning. Can you imagine having your creation ripped from your arms and being thrown to the curb? (We forget the hardships successful people have endured and think we’re the only ones who experience pain and rejection.) Even in what must have been a very dark period, Jobs had a very strong sense of who he was, and continued to attract creative designers and engineers to develop new products. He was an innovator who was constantly pushing the boundaries of technologies; he changed all our lives. He had passion and believed in beauty and elegance. He was never satisfied to accept the status quo. Even in hardship, he remained true to himself. He never tried to be Bill Gates, or anyone else. Uncovering our true identity is a life-long journey. As we grow, we morph, adapt and hopefully become more of who we want to be. There is the temptation to lose our moral compass, give up, compromise, be tempted to deviate from our core, or worse, pretend to be someone we’re not. Fakes are never as good as the real thing. The authentic is always better. As Acuff...

How Old Is Your Money? Jun04

How Old Is Your Money?

How old is your money? I recently visited the Santa Rita winery in Chile, South America. There I learned about the winemaking process, tasted a few wines and laughed with friends. It was fantastic! During the tour we descended into the cellar to see the oak barrels and neatly stacked bottles. Instead of being bottled and shipped soon after the fermentation process— to be aged in the truck on its way to you— the wines in the cellar are being saved for later. As they sit there for a few years, they get better. They also pay dividends to the winery, as they will sell for a lot more money. I am a big fan of You Need A Budget, otherwise known as YNAB. This is software for your Mac, PC and smartphone to help you budget and keep track of your spending. I have been using it for about 1 ½ years; it is making a tremendous difference in my financial health; I’m getting control of my money! YNAB teaches sound financial habits through webinars and podcasts. One recent podcast was about aging your money; it reminded me of the winery tour. YWAB teaches four principles, one of which is to live on last month’s income. By using money that is at least 30 days old, you can break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. It may take a few months to reach this goal, but it is attainable if you work at it. Doing this has been very helpful and reduced my stress related to money. In addition to living on last month’s income, I’m also putting more money into my older-age account, saving for a time when I will likely have to slow down. Like a well-aged wine, that “old” money will be sweet at a time when my earning power will likely be reduced. And over time, that money will be worth more because of the interest it earned. Are you spending money as fast as you get it? Does it come in on Friday and is gone by Monday? Or worse, do you buy on credit? That is like trying to make wine before you’ve planted the grapes! Spending money you don’t have is pure speculation. Break the cycle. Check out the software and the philosophy behind YNAB. Take advantage of free online classes and give the system a try. Do what you must to create a buffer between you and your money, and give some a chance to rest before you spend it.  ...

Falling Plates

Interesting and though-provoking short film about life, death and redemption. We live in a world of broken plates. Watch it for the creativity and...

Round Tuit

I had a friend named Bob who had a habit of making pithy statements about life. By pithy I mean he could articulate profound statements about aspects of life that others sometimes avoided. I remember he had this little round thing with “Tuit” written on it. Bob explained that people are always saying, “I’ll get around to it.” In thinking about stuff we want to do someday, we tell ourselves we’ll get “around to it,” We complain we never have the time to do the things we know will cause us to grow or make a difference. We say we will do them someday, but then someday never comes. We have a lot of round tuits laying around. These are the very things that keep us stuck. It’s so easy to coast, remain comfortable, and keep the status quo, whether it’s in our career, relationships, spirituality, finances, health or personal development. Our worst enemy lives between our ears, convincing us that for whatever reason, that needn’t even try. What are your round tuits? What are the things you’ve been putting off, deceiving yourself into thinking you don’t have the time, or thinking that you’ll get to someday. This week identify one of your round tuits. Set a SMART GOAL to actually get “around to it.” Setting SMART GOALS is the first step to achieving success.    ...

Jesus>Religion

I think there are millions of people who love God but hate religion. They find themselves embarrassed and loathing the task of defending the behavior of many people who call themselves Christians. If you haven’t seen Jefferson Bethke’s video, “Why I hate religion but love Jesus,” you have to see it. It hit 20 million hits in the first ten days it was on YouTube. It obviously resonates with a lot of...

So Many Books, So Little Time...

Do you like to learn from books but don’t seem to find the time to read as much as you should? I’m so grateful some books are available in audio form, so I can read while doing other things. There are millions of books, more than anyone could ever read in a a thousand lifetimes. Some are pure entertainment. Some are a waste of time. But some are darn-right life-changing. As the famous American basketball coach John Wooden said, “Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.” I find it challenging to read as many books as I’d like, so I’m grateful I can listen to many titles. I subscribe to Audible.com and download audio versions of books I want to read, directly to my computer and smartphone. I then listen to books when I’m doing other things, like driving, gardening or exercising. Even while doing dishes! It’s fantastic! I just finished Quitter, a book about how to get your dream job by Jon Acuff and A History of the World in 6 Glasses, a fun listen on history and how it was shaped by our favorite beverages by Tom Standage. Both are also available from Amazon as paper and Kindle books. It’s a great way to maximize my time and learn when I would otherwise be doing mundane things. You can download books straight from the Audible site. However, you get discounts if you become a subscriber. They have various introductory programs, one offing one free book and another priced @ $7.49/month for three months. You get one credit per month for buying audio books, but can purchase more (often for less than the monthly membership fee). After that you can choose your membership level. My only criticism...

Secret to Success Apr16

Secret to Success

Video – How badly to you want to succeed? Do you want it as much as you want to breathe? Here is an awesome 14-minute video by Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker who believes it’s not where you come from, but where you’re going. Eric Thomas’s book is The Secret to Success, available as a Kindle book for only $7.69. Eric is also known as E.T., The Hip Hop Preacher. He is available as a speaker; you can find his web site here: http://etinspires.com...

Why Getting Control Of It ALL Is So Important Apr11

Why Getting Control Of It ALL Is So Important

“We like to pretend sometimes that we are made up of a system of buckets. We like to think we can live, ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,’ moments in one area of our lives without affecting other areas. It’s just not true. If you’re ailing in one portion of your life, it tends to infect the other portions. If there’s poison in a glass of water, no one says, ‘be careful, the middle of that water is poisoned.’ The same principle applies to your work.” – Jon Acuff, author of Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream...