Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Million Thanks

Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  One million thanks I give you today.  My dream of reaching one million pageviews on my personal blog just became a reality.  When I shared this news with my wife this morning she started humming a tune she couldn't get out of her head.  The song summarizes what this blog is all about – putting one foot in front of the other.  Here's how I made it to a million...

I want to share a secret with you.  You may be that one in a million I pray for.  Sure, the one million clicks is flattering.  But there's something more important.  It's about connecting.  It's about making a difference in your life.  That's what I'm most thankful for today.  It's you.  You're the one I care about.  Consider me as your rodeo clown who distracts the bull long enough for you to get back on your feet after a big fall. 
I've fallen more times than a bowling pin.  Every time I'm down I yell, "reset."  Life really is about putting one foot in front of the other.  It's about never giving up.  It's about dreaming big.  It's about counting your blessings every morning when you wake up.  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.  A million thanks I give you.  Yes, you're one in a million.  God bless you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Interesting People I Met in Iowa Yesterday: a Writer, a Pig Farmer and a Son of a Bartender

I never really know who I'm going to meet when I begin each day.  My day job working in the membership department as a marketer gives me much flexibility.  My employer prefers we keep a low profile and stay away from television cameras.  I keep my opinions about religion and politics to myself while I'm on the clock.  In fact, most people I work with don't even know I'm a writer.  Here's a recap of three new people I met yesterday...

A writer named Megan.  She contributes to Better Home and Gardens.  I shared my disappointment about not getting my dream job at the local University when I migrated to Iowa from California two- and-a-half years ago.  The search committee eliminated me during the screening process.  I was devastated.  God had other plans for my talents.  I know in my heart I'm where I'm supposed to be.  Megan encouraged me to keep writing and wished me good luck with my first novel.

A pig farmer named Joni.  I left my day job early to surprise my wife.  I noticed a larger bus blocking traffic in the town square when I stopped to pick up my mail at the post office.  An over-sized photo plastered on the side of the bus caught my eye and I wandered over to see what was going on.  "Is Joni here?" I asked the officer directing traffic.  I walked inside.  News cameras were everywhere.  A young man named Marco was firing up the crowd.  He introduced the pig farmer and the place erupted.  Joni is in a heated battle for a senate seat.  Her first political message got my attention, "I'm a farmer who castrated pigs.  I'll make 'em squeal in Washington."

When Joni was finished speaking, I walked up to her and gave her a hug.  "My youngest son starts boot camp in the army in January," I told her.

"Infantry?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied.


"Fort Benning."

Joni knew the place well.  She served in the army and she spoke passionately to the crowd about the need to support our service men and women both during and after their service to our country.

"I'm counting on you to watch over my son," I told her.

Joni told me to say thanks to my son for his service and promised she would fight for him and all the others who defend our country.

A son of a bartender.  Last but not least, I shook hands with the man who introduced Joni Ernst to the people in my neighborhood, Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida who is considering a run for president.  I told Marco about my son and thanked him for keeping our military strong.  He told me the only way to defeat the enemy is through superior strength and promised he would never turn his back on our military.  The one thing Marco and I have in common besides our military views is we are both sons of bartenders.  We also have our differences – he played football in college and I played tennis.

Have a great day.  And don't forget to vote on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Motion Sickness Solutions For Your Dizzy Goals

 Have you ever lost track of your goals?  It's like reading in a car.  Your eyes are looking down at the pages in your book and your brain gets mixed signals.  Motion sickness is a sign something is out of alignment.  I took a one day cruise to Mexico with my wife and everything was fine until I went inside.  The water got choppy and the boat bounced up and down like an irregular heart beat on a monitor.  My wife yelled, "quick, look out the window.  Concentrate on the horizon."  It worked.

How many times during your day or week to you get so busy with distractions that you lose sight of your goals?  Does this make you dizzy?  Do you feel sick to your stomach?  Look out the window.  Your goals are on the horizon.  Fix your eyes on them and keep your focus.  Your brain will process what you see and help you navigate through rough waters.  If you can't find your goals you're life will remain out of focus.  Make sure you write them down before you raise your sails so you won't get lost at sea.  Never take your eyes off the horizon and you won't ever have to worry about motion sickness.  Happy sailing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Optimism and Pessimism are Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Your thoughts lead to actions.  And what you see ahead often determines which direction you will choose.  One person sees the glass half empty; the other sees it half full.  One person sees a life filled with opportunity; the other sees danger lurking in the shadows.  I have a feeling most pessimists look at my life and wonder why I even bother to keep trying.  One voice in my head says, "it's okay.  You can get through this."  The other voice says, "your bank account is half-empty, your goals are half-empty and your life is half-empty.  It's time to give up."  Both voices are self-fulling prophecies.  I understand that the voice I choose to pay attention to is the one that will lead me to my destination.  Which voice will you listen to today?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Close Encounters of the Jesus Kind

Jesus likes to keep things simple.  His message is summarized in two Bible verses:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:30-31.

The message is so simple that sometimes we forget the meaning.  We forget who are neighbors are.  The first time I saw Bruce Marchiano was in The Encounter, a movie our family rented on Netflix.  I reached out to Bruce and he granted me an interview for my blog readers.  Click here for the rest of the story.  Bruce is producing another movie, Alison's Choice, written and produced as an act of love for the least of our neighbors, the unborn.  I consider Bruce's ministry a close encounter of the Jesus kind.  He is reaching out for help with donations.  Please support Bruce and help him change the world.  Thank you.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why Winter is My Favorite Writing Climate

The number one question I get asked by Iowans when they find out I'm from California is, "Do you miss the weather?"  Vivid pictures of January beach trips flash in my mind.  I'm thankful for all the years I spent on the West Coast and I will always treasure the friends I made.  The truth is I'm where I belong.  The seasons are good for me, especially the Winter.  Why?  The Winter months provide the perfect climate for writing.  There are no distractions.  I have serious work to do.  My writing calendar for November and December is full.  I'm finishing my second book and starting a third.  Both will be officially released in 2015.

My basement has a warm fireplace and comfortable seating.  The windows provide superb views of the sun glistening in the snow-covered trees.  It's a site to behold.  And the trees are my reminder that when they sprout leaves it will be time to publish The Caveman in the Mirror on March 17, 2015.  Break the Chains of Debt Bondage will be released on Independence Day, one hundred and ten days later.  Thank you, Mother Nature, for supplying me with everything I need to maximize my writing time. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Serenity Prayer

This prayer helps me to find serenity at all times with all people in all circumstances.  Think of it as your car key.  You may have to try it more than once on challenging days but you can't get to your destination without first putting the key in the ignition switch.  Turn the key as often as your situation requires.  Have a great day.