Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review

Most of us, myself included, are looking back at these last twelve months and we are happy to see this year coming to a conclusion. If you have been struggling, you are not alone.

Although, I did not get the courage to come out of my cave until the 4th quarter of this year, it was the trials throughout this year and in past years that prepared me to finally start this blog and publish "all the good that Jesus is doing for me". Without the trials, this blog may have never been started. Without this long season of Winter, there would not be such a high expectation for a brilliant Spring that is just ahead.

I thank the Holy Spirit for being there every day to guide me on this incredible journey. It was my prayer to the Holy Spirit that led to my personal encounter with Jesus. He inspired me to leave the cave and begin this blog which is now a life-time commitment.

I rejoice that my boat did not sink in this long season of winter. I see the light of Spring that is now just ahead. My role here is to encourage all of you to keep sailing towards the season of Spring. Let's stay in the boat together and share our individual gifts so that not a single one of us drowns. With Jesus as the captain of the ship, we will reach calm waters. That is not my promise, but His promise. I am just the messenger.

For me, the theme for 2010 is "HOPE". I choose to look at this world through God's eyes and not my own. I see these last hurdles in my life as opportunities to develop strong muscles so that I can jump higher than ever and run longer than I ever thought possible. Yes, I have fallen many times but I have chosen to get up every time. If you find yourself on the ground and struggling for the courage to stand again, I extend my hand to you and ask you to get up.

All of us have much work to do in the year ahead. If you bookmark this site, I promise you that I will do everything possible to help you on your journey. Yes, there will always be hurdles, but there will also be opportunities for all of us to find the courage and strength to jump over them and cross the finish line. Let's bring on the New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quiet Time

I got a new cell phone for Christmas so that I can access my work email while I am away from home and the office. While it makes customer service better, it can also increase the workload throughout the day. The younger generation can text on their phones with two thumbs faster than some of us can on a full key board. I will have to practice in order to speed up the process of typing on a cell phone.

I love all the new technology that is in our world today but sometimes I wonder if the fast pace of this world is good for us. I have decided to block out time each day to just be quiet. I do this in church but that is only once a week and only for about ten minutes.

As the new year approaches, take some time out of your busy day and meditate. Let your brain have some quiet time. I am going to start with 15 minutes a day. Good luck preparing for the new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Preparing for the New Year

The new year officially begins on Friday. Most of us will make a list of resolutions and break them before the long weekend ends. It takes hard work and discipline to stick to our goals.

For me, picturing the end result really helps to keep me motivated. The vision boards that my wife and I look at each day also help. Some of our goals will take all year to accomplish. We both have agreed that we need to stay focused each day. We encourage one another to do our best and keep going.

It is better to focus on one or two big goals than to spread yourself too thin. You can always add more goals later once you are having success with your current goals.

Surround yourself with people who will help you remain accountable and take it one day at a time. We are entering a new decade. This can be the beginning of a new life. Go for it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Love Letters

Before writing this blog every day, I mentioned that my wife and I write love letters to each other. In this busy world, it is vital that we have a way to communicate with each other. This process has been going on for over five years and has helped us to stay in tune with each other no matter how crazy things are around us.

If you are interested in a way to stay close to the one you love, give this a try. Why not make it a New Year's Resolution?

Here is how it works:

Purchase a couple of spiral notebooks, one for each of you. In the morning, agree on a topic that interests both of you. For example, on Dec. 31st, the topic can be "how do I feel about the new year ahead?" We usually keep our letters to one page each and the topic changes every day.

There are no "right" or "wrong" feelings and this is not the time to complain about the other, just express what is in your heart.

The Holidays can be stressful and the ones you love may not be getting the attention they deserve. This is the perfect time to improve. It may be one of the best choices I have made and this is now a life-long commitment.

When we are both gone from this world, we plan to leave these special letters for our children so they can know what we were feeling as we were raising them. If you decide to commit to writing love letters, your relationship with your loved one will reach new levels and you will both appreciate each other even more. Have a great day.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Wise Men

Even though the Christmas music has stopped, there is still one big step left during the season of Christmas. The three wise men are following the star and we will celebrate their arrival in the first week of January.

The message for us is that we are to follow in the steps of the wise men and find Jesus. We may not have a star to follow but we have the prophets, the saints, the Bible and church leaders to help us on our journey. We also have the community of believers.

Jesus is getting harder to find in our society. In an attempt to be politically correct and appease those who may have different beliefs, Jesus has been eliminated from many places.

Make sure that the people around you can find Jesus. May you be the light that shines His light for our world to see.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Beach

My favorite place on the planet is the beach. When I was young, my family visited San Diego every summer. The cool ocean breeze felt so good after traveling almost 400 miles in our VW van and crossing the hot desert.

I remember looking out the window and longing to see the ocean. Many times I thought I could see the water, but the mirages would soon disappear. Once we made it over the final set of mountains, the air cooled and we all knew we were finally out of the desert. Soon we would be building sand castles and playing with our cousins as we listened to the ocean waves roar while the birds sang joyfully.

A couple of nights ago, we were driving through our neighborhood at night and I noticed that many of the homes were dark. It made me think of the time I was driving through the desert with my family on our way to our summer vacation at the beach. Christmas was just hours away and I could not wait for the day to arrive but so many homes were dark and desolate.

It is no fun being in the desert. I am sure that many of these families just didn't feel like celebrating or maybe they needed to conserve on their electric bills. I have never seen so many homes dark during Christmas.

For those of us that are lost in the desert, we need to remember that Jesus came to help us find our way out. If we are in darkness, He is the One who will light up our world. His birthday yesterday is just the beginning for all of us.

Just like the beach that always seemed so far away when we were crossing the desert, our bright future may only look like a mirage. Our Savior promises that what is ahead is not a mirage. He promises us eternal life. We may have to cross the desert to get there but there is a Heavenly beach that has been prepared for all us, including the ones who are in the darkness right now. Lets promise to share this good news with those around us who have their lights off...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from My Family to Yours

Merry Christmas from the Mulligans!

Linus from Charlie Brown does a great job explaining what this day is all about in the video below. Make sure you take a moment to wish our Savior a happy birthday.

I want to thank my wife and three children for all the support they have given me on this blog and for their permission to post this family photo. Although I have been out of the cave for several months, it is important to respect the privacy of my loved ones and I promise that I will never share a story without first getting permission.

All of us wish you a Merry Christmas. May your life be abundantly blessed.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

The waiting is almost over. In just 24 hours we will be celebrating the most important birthday of all times. May your home be filled with the Spirit of Christmas...the kind of Spirit that brings joy to your heart no matter what is going on in the world around you. That special feeling that tells you He will come back again for you and that you will have eternal life...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Power of Prayer

Today's post goes out to those who are having a hard time during this Christmas season. Yesterday I learned about a family that lost their dad to brain cancer. The husband was one of those people that had a super optimistic attitude and he fought the tumors for three years. The last thing on his wish list was to see a new Disney movie with his family. He fought the brain tumors valiantly and his family prayed that everything would work out. He did his best to bring joy to his wife and children throughout his prolonged battle.

The wife had a plan for each day this week including the funeral yesterday. Her plan for Deeember 25th is to make sure and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. This family is going to be feeling the loss of this very special person when they celebrate Christmas and there are many more families just like them.

Take a moment today and offer up a prayer for those who could really use one. Make a few phone calls and tell the people you love how much you care. The power of prayer can make a big difference in the lives of others.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

3 Days Until Christmas

Most of the country will get a white Christmas this year. Families will be reunited and children will get some time off from school. As we make our final preparations for the birth of our Savior, I wanted to thank all of you for encouraging me with these daily posts.

May you experience the joy of Christmas. Take a drive and enjoy the beautiful lights. Look up old friends and wish them a Merry Christmas. Thank all the people that have helped you throughout the year. A compliment can go a long way.

I want to give a big thank you to all my partners and employees at Zoom. It was really nice to celebrate the end of our year last night as we closed out the final magazines for 2009. We have the best team in the country and our people work long hours. May all of you know how much you are appreciated.

If you are going through hard times during this Christmas season, remember that you are not alone. The whole country is in Winter and there will be a Spring. No matter how cold it is outside, warm weather will be approaching soon. Thanks to our Savior, Winter will not last forever. There are still three days to get ready for His birthday...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Healthy Relationships

All of us are striving to have healthy relationships. For me, looking in the mirror first has helped me to see the reason why some of my relationships have been weak. We reap what we sow. If we fail to give in a relationship, it will eventually die.

There are a couple of ways we can improve our relationships. The first is to look at our past experiences. We can observe what we are doing in a strong relationship and apply it in an area that needs attention.

The second way to make our relationships better is to model the experiences of others. We can learn so much if we take the time to study people who have great relationships. I learned about writing love letters in a retreat my wife and I attended. It is still the first thing we both day every morning when we wake up. Even after doing this for five years, there is still something new we learn about each other every day.

Sometimes we have great relationships but something happens and they become unhealthy. For example, lets say you are a couch potato and one day you wake up and decide you want to be a marathon runner. If you are surrounded by couch potatoes, be prepared for some challenges. I wrote about this in an earlier post. When you change, the people around you may not be ready. The other couch potatoes may realize that you are going to be busy running. You will eat differently. Watching TV all day may no longer be appealing. This may be the time to seek out others who want to run in marathons.

If you are in a long-term relationship like marriage and the other person changes, this can put some stress on the relationship. You can support the person who wants to make a change even if marathon running may not be your thing. If you resist the change, the relationship may suffer.

The best lesson I have learned about relationships is that when I put God first, all the other relationships get better. I trust that God's plan for me includes the people around me. It helps me to be more understanding when dealing with change. These daily posts are a new part of my life now. Even though my wife rarely reads these messages (the daily loves letters are enough for her), she supports my calling and offers me encouragement. It helps that both of us share common goals for the future. It is what keeps us in the boat in stormy weather.

If you are seeking to improve your relationships with others, try making small changes to show others you care about them. Be accepting when the people around you are seeking to make positive changes. You may not want to be a marathon runner but you can always show up and encourage your friend when he or she crosses the finish line. A true friend will help others to become the best they can be...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Slowing Down

The world seems to be going at a frantic pace right now. The stores are crowded with last minute shoppers and many are making travel plans to be with family. It is easy to feel like one of those hamsters that never takes a break from running on that little wheel in the cage.

It is important to slow down and catch our breath. For me, taking a break once a week gives me a chance to recharge and face the world on Monday. This is the last Sunday before Christmas. After spending some quiet time at Church, I plan to relax and watch a football game with my youngest son. Our favorite team is having a good year and they keep us on the edge of our seats.

May you be filled with peace as you make your final preparations for Christmas and slow down just enough to see the beauty that is all around you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The First Treasure Box

As soon as I publish today's message, I am off to pick up my first treasure box for our family and another one for someone close to us that is about to be surprised. This treasure box is made possible because so many people have volunteered to help get the food distributed. This happens year round and every month the menu changes.

This is the last weekend before Christmas and I am thankful that there are others out there who are donating time so that families can save money on their groceries because of this great program.

St. Francis of Assisi was the one who said, "Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words." This special group of people is a great example of using actions to spread the Good News.

There are no restrictions on this program. Anyone who wants to save money on groceries can participate. This is how Jesus works. He knocks on everybody's door, but only a few open it up and let Him in.

If you are interested in getting a treasure box for your family or someone you know that could benefit, the website is Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Lost

The Old Testament tells the story of the chosen ones. These people are special in God's eyes. No matter how far they fell or how much they complained, God promised that they would be delivered from evil. For centuries, prophets predicted that a Savior would come to save God's chosen people.

This special moment will be celebrated in just seven days. The good news for all of us that are not Jewish is that we have also been invited to meet our Creator. When Jesus was born, everything changed. He opened doors for us that had been locked shut for thousands of years when man turned away from God.

If the doors are open and all of us are invited to the banquet, why are so many lost? Maybe it has something to do with the condition the world is in today. Yesterday, the post was all about the season of winter. Many of us are facing the longest and coldest season of winter ever. Spring seems so far away. The economy is in the middle of a blizzard. What is the next step?

Jesus has the best answers to these questions. He tells us that if we have two coats, give one to someone who doesn't have any. If we are in a position to charge for our services, be careful not to overcharge so that the poor will not be taken advantage of. Whatever we do for the least of His children, we do for Him.

Let's help the lost to be found. Together, we are many hands and feet for our Savior. He is asking us to help the lost. As we prepare for Christmas, lets concentrate on the lost during these next seven days and beyond. Let's make a difference for someone else during this very special time of year...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spring is Coming

No matter how cold it is right now in many places around the country, it is a 100% guarantee that spring will come soon. In many ways, our lives go through seasons just like we observe in nature. Our country seems to be going through a very harsh winter. Unemployment is at an all-time high, stores that we shopped at all of our lives are disappearing, and our country is still involved in a fight against terrorism.

It is hard to imagine a new beginning for our country. The best time to prepare is during winter. I remember how difficult it was to breathe after the two wildfires in my neighborhood. The awful smell lingered for months. We had to change our air filters in our home and our cars often. Everywhere you looked, all you could see was blackness. Then the rains came. After months of darkness, some green started to appear.

Nature was already prepared for the wildfires. Rare trees and plants began to sprout. They needed an event like the wildfire to turn on a special switch inside so that a new cycle of life could be initiated.

This period of winter that all of us are going through can ignite a new life inside of us if we are willing to prepare for spring. We have the opportunity to develop our gifts and work on our relationships with others while we are in this slow season. Tough times bring people together.

Two thousand years ago, in a remote area far away, a young couple was traveling with no money or friends. It was a cold winter and the wife was pregnant. She knew that the new life that was inside her womb would make all things new again once He came into the world.

Like most families in our world today, this young couple faced many seasons. I cannot imagine how the mother felt when she watched her innocent Son get tortured and put to death. Maybe she was thinking about the day he was born in a land far off in the middle of winter? Perhaps she was contemplating how her Son would make all things new by sacrificing Himself on earth's darkest day? Could she see the spring while she was going through her worst winter ever?

In just eight days, in the middle of winter, we will be celebrating a birthday. Many in the world look at this day as a day off from work to open gifts. If you look hard enough, you just might find a manger that reminds us of the most important birthday of all times. Yes, He has a gift for you. It is the promise that you will get through all the winters in your life and meet Him in the spring when He returns. His mother visualized this day over two thousand years ago when she gave birth to Him. He came for you and He wants you to remember Him on His birthday and make plans to be there waiting for Him on the day He returns in the spring. Will you be ready to meet Him?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Joy to the World

When my children were little, every once in a while one of them would have a temper flare up. I would tell them that the "grumpies" were inside of them and it was time to tell them good bye. They would laugh as we waved to the departing grumpies. Some were stubborn and they needed some tickling to get them to leave.

My dad told me that when he was little he sometimes got the grumpies around Christmas time. He felt that Christmas was a rip-off because he was born on Christmas day and he shared his birthday and his presents with his twin brother.

I wonder how my dad feels now that he is in Heaven. What a blessing to be with Jesus on their birthdays! What a joy to have such a special twin brother on this earth that was always there in my father's darkest days. I am honored to be named after my father's twin even though I don't get to see him. I know how much he misses my dad, especially at this time of year. His other siblings feel the same way.

If we feel the grumpies inside of us during the Christmas season, we need to look inside of ourselves and figure out a way to get those stubborn grumpies to go away.

Like the chess game I talked about yesterday, I focus on the end game rather than difficult situation that I may be in today. In the end, the White King is the big winner. When we choose to be on His team, we are also the big winners. The sacrifices that we make in this world or the pain we go through are only temporary compared to eternal life.

Remember, the White King made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. If you are getting short-changed because you were born on Christmas day, the day before or after (happy birthday Aunt Marcie), think of the present you got from Jesus. Yes, he gave you the key to Heaven. It is one gift you can share with the whole world and not feel ripped off.

Enjoy this video shot at the happiest place on earth and remember that there is a place reserved for you in Heaven. Can you think of a better give to receive?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life is Like A Chess Game

I started playing chess while in grade school. It was fun to compete with all the kids in my neighborhood and some of the dads joined in. One day after beating my dad, he stormed off to get a book he had stashed away in his bedroom entitled "How to be a Winner at Chess". He told me the book didn't help much and threw it at me. I loved reading about special moves and trick plays and the book become my guide.

My brother-in-law learned to play chess and has become a formidable opponent. One year he gave me a hand-made chess board with custom pieces that he made himself. We have played thousands of times on this special chess board. I also cherish the chess clock he gave me. We set the clock for twelve minutes each and if your clock runs out before the game ends, you lose. Many of our games have come down to a difference of just one or two seconds on the clock.

Since exiting the cave recently, I have started to see things around me in a different light. This new perspective has helped me to understand difficult subjects like the meaning of life.

In chess, the object of the game is to defeat the opponent's king. Both players start with the same number of pieces and the white side gets to make the first move. There are millions of possible moves. The challenge is to look into the future and predict what your opponent will do. There is an advantage to controlling the center of the board. Time is also a big factor. When time and space are used properly, the king can be defeated.

Sometimes, it is necessary to sacrifice a piece in order to gain an advantage. If the king is left unprotected, the game can come to an end very quickly.

In life, your team consists of many players. Each has a unique gift to contribute. In order to win, all the pieces need to work in harmony. If one piece is not contributing, the whole team weakens and becomes vulnerable.

Later in the game, the most insignificant of pieces can become game changers when they make it to the other side of the board. You are allowed to transform these pieces into queens making your team unstoppable.

In chess, the pieces are called pawns, knights, bishops, rooks, kings and queens. In life, the pieces are called attitude, goals, time management, relentlessness, compassion and empathy. Each player must participate in order to protect the king (your soul). When in trouble, go back to the guide book and look for special moves and trick plays. My dad also had one of these stashed away. Near the end of his life he told me the book contained the keys to the gates of Heaven. I have learned so much more from it than the first book he gave me about winning at chess. It is the best seller of all times and it teaches us how to be a winner. This book is the Bible.

It amazes me that the most insignificant of pieces on the board has become the King. He sacrificed Himself so that all the other pieces could live forever. We will celebrate the King's birthday in just ten days.

While we wait for the King to return, He has put the game of life in our hands. By working together, we can defeat the Evil One. It will require making sacrifices but we can achieve victory. He is watching over us while we make our moves. Let's stay focused...the clock is ticking.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas is just eleven days away. It has been difficult to see a few people in the spotlight fall recently. I am not mentioning names because this is not a gossip site and the truth is that all of us fall. Fame and fortune can give us a false sense of the world. When our heroes fall, the world watches.

As we prepare for Christmas, it is important to find the right road and stay on it. The song below is for all of us that are looking for the road to our Savior. Take a moment to read the lyrics and enjoy the music...

Nichole Nordeman \ Holy

How many roads did I travel
Before I walked down one that led me to You?
How many dream did unravel
Before I believed in a hope that was true?
How long? How far?
What was meant to fulfill only emptied me still
And all You ever wanted…

Only me on my knees
Singing holy, holy
And somehow
All that matters now is
You are holy, holy

How many deaths did I die
Before I was awakened to new life again?
How many half truths did bear witness to
‘Til the proof was disproved in the end?
How long? How far?
What was meant to illuminate shadowed me still

And all You ever wanted…
All I have is gratitude to offer You

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Wrong Road

The title for today's post comes from Tom Cruise in the movie, "Far and Away". He and Nicole Kidman play the role of Joseph and Shannon who come to America from Ireland to fulfill their dreams of owning land. It is the late 1880's when they arrive. Shannon has all of her savings stolen before she arrives and Joseph is already poor.

There is a point in the movie where the two have gone their separate ways and Joseph is working on the railroad. The train is stopped and the workers poke fun at the group of people in stage coaches that are heading to the Oklahoma land rush which is about to begin. As the train begins to depart, Joseph suddenly jumps off. His buddies ask what is wrong, and he tells them he is on the wrong road.

Joseph and Shannon made their dreams come true because they both persisted even when everything looked hopeless. Our country was founded by our ancestors who wanted to change directions.

It takes courage to admit the road you are on is the wrong one. It is even more difficult to actually change directions. If you find yourself on the wrong road, decide to change course and take action.

Enjoy the music from "Far and Away" that is sung by Enya, the number two artist in Ireland after the group "U2" and may your dreams comes true...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Hot Tater

During high school I worked as a bus boy at Rafaele's Arbor. JT was the head waiter and his unofficial role was to give everybody nicknames. My first day on the job I was holding a bunch of spoons as he walked by. From that moment I was called "Spoons" until the place burned down in a fire. JT went to work for my dad as a bartender when my parents opened "Mulligans".

JT was always playing little games with the bus boys. His favorite game was to grab a potato wrapped in aluminum foil and toss it at one of us. He would yell out, "hot tater"! If you didn't toss it back right away, you got burned.

Rafaele's Arbor has been gone for thirty five years but those hot taters keep coming my way. If I hold on to them, I get burned. Most of the time I don't see the hot taters coming until the last moment. I have learned not to throw the hot taters back at the people who toss them at me. That only leads to a hot tater war.

My hot taters have taken on many forms. The biggest taters are grudges. It is amazing that I never ended up in the hospital from 3rd degree burns from these grudges. How could I be so stubborn? What did I gain by holding these scalding taters? There were times when some people asked for their hot taters back and I chose to cling to them instead.

So, where is a good place to get rid of these hot taters? There is a secret hiding place that very few people know about. It is a small room that I hadn't seen since I was in my bus boy days in high school. When I go to this room, I bring all my hot taters. There are always two people in the room waiting for me. One of them is the guy who asks me how many taters I want to get rid of. The other guy is invisible, but He is the one who offers to take my taters, no matter how many. In my church, this tater exchange is called confession.

Some churches don't have a middle man like mine but it really doesn't matter. It just helps me to know that the invisible guy is there. The important lesson is to get rid of the hot taters before they burn you. You can close your eyes right now and ask Jesus to take all your hot taters.

I don't know how Jesus does it, but He can handle all our hot taters. Somehow, He turns them into the Bread of Life for the world. I can't wait for his birthday or for Him to come back. Until that day, I promise to keep writing about all the good He is doing in my life every day. I have a couple more hot taters to unload before I celebrate His birthday. Have a great weekend!

Martin Luther King, JR:

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Point of View is Worth 80 IQ Points

The first time I read the quote "Point of View is Worth 80 IQ Points" from Tom Peters in his book "In Search of Excellence", I was in my mid-twenties. A couple of nights ago this quote popped into my head in the middle of the night. It took a couple of days of pondering and this morning the light bulb went off. The message is so simple that I am baffled at why it took more than twenty years to get it.

Cave dwelling puts limitations on thinking. I buried this quote deep inside my brain as I disconnected from the outside world. Some that are close to me describe my life as living in a bubble. Others have said that I appear to be wandering. Both are right. Living in a cave is like living in a bubble. Living apart from the world gives the appearance of "wandering".

When I fell in love and got married, my wife and I moved to California. The "cave" we moved into was a 1,700 square foot home that was hundreds of miles away from family. Both of us were eager to start our lives together. As I look back, I can see that there were some things that I was attempting to escape from. My stubborn ways prevented me from seeing the world differently.

As our family expanded, our home seemed to shrink and we made a decision to add on to it so we could stay in our awesome neighborhood. We had an idea of how we wanted to expand but consulted a neighbor who is a home builder for his opinion. His new point of view inspired us to go in a different direction. We had spent months drawing up ideas and he only needed five minutes and a napkin to show us something amazing that just popped into his head while he walked through our home.

The timing of our cave remodel was not the best as we were also preparing to launch a new business with a group of partners. My wife and I prayed for weeks about what to do. The answer we got did not make financial sense but we went for it. The cave expansion and business start-up would require us to empty our life savings. The economic downturn and our battle with Goliath took its toll but we remained strong in our faith. Every decision we made came from trusting in God.

One of the best choices my wife and I have made was to trust a different point of view from our neighbor. It helped us to understand that there are people out there who have ideas that are better than ours.

If a different point of view is worth 80 IQ points, imagine how smart you can become by looking at the world from God's point of view. For example, many terrorists believe that they will be rewarded with many virgins in Heaven if they kill the infidels. What if they were to discover that while there are virgins in Heaven, there is also no sex? What if they discovered that you don't have to do anything to earn admittance into Heaven? Would they still be willing to commit suicide?

Jesus tells us in Isaiah 55:8, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, or your ways my ways, says the Lord." When we invite Him into our hearts, it has a profound effect on our point of view.

If you are looking for some IQ points, why not try looking at things from God's point of view? He can feed 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and some fish. He can make a day's worth of oil burn for eight days (the reason the Jews celebrate Chanukah for eight days). He can exorcise demons from a cave man and show him who he is from God's point of view. He can persuade the cave man that others will follow if he will just come out of the cave and blog about God's point of view. Are you ready from some extra IQ points? Just ask Jesus to share his point of view with you...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Balancing Act

Living in the cave kept me closed off from friends and family members. Now that I am out and blogging daily, I am sharing the challenges I face. They are no different from what you see in an average day. The way we choose to deal with life is what makes us or breaks us.

A few weeks ago I shared about my commitment to remove all the clutter in my life and get organized. As I continue to improve in this area, I am starting to see more clearly how other areas also need attention. The problem is how to get this done and still have a life. The reality is that all of us are struggling with the "Balancing Act." I must admit that I have a long way to go. Remember, these daily posts are a work in progress. We are on a journey together. My commitment is to post every day and share all the good that Jesus is doing in my life. So, how does this relate to balance?

If you are seeking to have more balance in your life, the first step is to review where you are today. What you are doing at the present moment reveals what is important to you. If you are watching TV six hours a day, that is your priority. If you are helping your children with their homework, that is your priority. Have you ever kept a log of all the things you do in a day? You might be surprised what is on top of your list of activities.

Once you have figured out how you are using your time each day, try re-arranging the list. When one thing gets eliminated, there is room for something else.

My life became more balanced when I chose to put God in the #1 position on my list. This spot is non-negotiable, that means, no matter what comes up, God stays on top of the list. This includes daily prayer, listening to music that praises God and visiting Him once a week in His House. When I am praying, I ask for help with my "balancing act".

There are crazy things I do in my daily routine, such as 50 leg raises while I am brushing my teeth and flossing. I know this is a result of looking at my vision board every day. My subconscious some how responds to what I am seeking in my life.

The lesson here is to seek balance and be willing to give up things that are causing you to lose your balance. Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Positive Thinker

My wife left me a note of encouragement this morning..."The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible." While I was reading it, my thoughts were about the people in metro station in Washington D.C. that I wrote about the other day (see "Perception"). Out of 2,000 people that walked by the famous violinist, only a few stopped to witness something out of this world. Most of the people who stopped were children. They would have stayed to hear the music but the were hurried along by their parents. If we are so busy that we miss seeing what is visible and feels tangible, how are we ever going to see the invisible or feel the intangible? How can we achieve the impossible?

When we are young, we have this natural curiosity. We are drawn to things that most adults are too busy to see. When we grow up, we get into routines and overlook so much beauty that is all around us. We let negative thoughts control our choices. We put limits on ourselves.

Positive thinkers attract people. They see things that others overlook. When they are faced with challenges, they see solutions. They don't give up. They make the impossible possible.

Maybe this is why Jesus tells us we must become like children. We need to get out of our routines and discover the possibilities that are out their for our lives. Take time to look in the mirror today and ask yourself what passions are inside of you that you have been overlooking. Take a moment in your busy day and see something that you have not seen before and appreciate it.

Positive thinking opens doors and allows you to achieve what may look impossible to others. The child that is inside of you already knows this. Are you ready to see the invisible today?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Immaculate Conception

Many people think that the Immaculate Conception refers to Jesus. His conception was made possible when His mother said yes after being asked to become the Mother of God. The conception was done through the power of the Holy Spirit and His mother remained a virgin.

The Immaculate Conception refers to Mary’s conception in her mother’s womb. Many people believe that in order for our Savior to come to us, He had to be free from the stain of original sin that all of us have. Mary’s Immaculate Conception was done through the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is controversy amongst the different faiths regarding Mary’s role. In Luke 1:47, Mary proclaims, “My spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.” Some may ask why Mary needed a Savior if she was free of sin since conception. The answer to this can be addressed in two parts. First, Mary needed a Savior to allow her to come into the world free from sin. It can be called “pre-redemption”. Second, even though she was free from sin, she needed God to keep her from sinning.

Mary was asked to be the Mother of God. She had a choice. If she had said no, our Savior would not have been born. Her yes to God is the example that all of us do our best to follow each day.

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. When a woman appeared to a 14 year-old girl in Lourdes in 1858, she told her, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. There have been many appearances by her since the visit in Lourdes. Each time she appears, her message is always about her Son.

It makes sense to me that Mary can come and go from Heaven and earth. Since God created her free from original sin, she does not age or get sick. Regardless of what your individual beliefs about Mary may be, take a moment to thank God for sending His only Son so that we can have eternal life. Let Mary’s yes to God be an example for the world and lets do our best to follow her Son.

Below is a video of Joshua Bell playing Ave Maria. He is the same person who played in the subway in the post from a couple of days ago. Enjoy the music and have a great day…

Monday, December 7, 2009

Do They Know it's Christmas?

The video below has been around for a while. Every year we do our best to prepare for Christmas and we often overlook the people around us who could use a helping hand. Today is a good day to do something about it. This video is about the starving in Africa. There are people in our own communities who are without shelter or food.

We can make a difference. As you prepare for Christmas why not do something about the less fortunate around you so they can know it's Christmas? There are only 18 days to go, time is running out...

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Today's post was sent to my daughter in an email yesterday and she shared it with the family. I have no way to verify its authenticity, however, the lesson is a good one...


Something to think about…

In Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. Several other children repeated this action. Without exception, each parent forced his child to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded and no one gave recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing?

Special question from the cave man:

Is the baby Jesus like the overlooked violin player and are we taking time to acknowledge His birth in just nineteen days?

P.S. Yes, this is a true story. Witness the video below...

P.S.S. Many of the internet stories floating around are not true. If you ever want to check the accuracy of a story, check out Here is the link that verifies the facts in this post:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Christmas Memory

Today marks the 100th day since this blog was started. As we prepare to celebrate the reason for Christmas in just twenty days, I wanted to celebrate my fondest Christmas memory...

It was a hot August day as we shopped at Costco with our three young children. We were surprised to see Christmas items on display and my wife was drawn to a musical globe that had a family inside of it that looked just like us. She wound up the globe and shook it so the snow swirled around. As we listened to "I'll Be Home for Christmas", her lower lip popped out and her puppy dog eyes stared at me. Slowly, see asked about going back to her home in the Midwest to celebrate Christmas. She wanted this trip to be a surprise for her dad and her siblings.

Time passed quickly as we secretly planned our trip. We did not tell our young children until it was time to fly because we did not want any slip ups. My wife was in regular contact with her family and managed to keep everything hush hush. It was not easy to plan a trip with a four year-old, a two year-old and a six month-old but the excitement was building inside of us. Our children cheered wildly when we told them just two days before Christmas that we were going to celebrate in the snow.

We had one inside person who was aware of our trip. Her job was to keep us informed of the family schedules so we could pull of the perfect surprise. The plane landed about two hours away from grandpa Spike's house and we rented a car. The roads were icy and there was a blanket of snow everywhere.

We parked the car down the street and hid as my wife rang the door bell. Her dad was missing. He had decided to take a drive through the town. Our inside person let us into grandpa's house and we left his Christmas present on the table as we hid on the stairs.

Grandpa came in through the back door and noticed the package on the table. His daughter said it had just arrived and he was to open it right away. We peeked around the corner and watched him open the Christmas globe. He seemed puzzled as he stared into it. He wound the music up and just sat there while we approached quietly from the stairway. We about gave him a heart attack as we shouted, "Surprise, we're home for Christmas!"

Grandpa Spike was seeing his youngest grandchild for the first time. The look on his face was priceless. The other two children could not wait to get outside and play in the snow. They made their first snow man and loved throwing snow balls.

My wife had planned to surprise each one of her siblings. She called them one at a time and pretended she was still home in southern California. Then she told each one how she wanted to see them in person and casually mentioned to see her at her dad's place. It was a Christmas memory that all of us will treasure forever.

As we celebrate this Christmas with our three teenagers, we will share this memory from fourteen years ago. Grandpa Spike also made a surprise trip. We were unaware of it until his departure. As much fun as he had with all of us at Christmas, it was time for him to join his wife and meet the person who is the real reason for the season. Until we join him, we will hold on to this precious memory of celebrating Jesus' birthday in the snow.

May you enjoy your friends and family during this very special time of year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas with the Kranks

Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are Mr. and Mrs. Krank in the movie, "Christmas with the Kranks". They make a choice to skip Christmas and book a trip to Caribbean. Everyone around them is preparing for Christmas except the Kranks. Their daughter calls to announce she will be coming over to celebrate Christmas and the Kranks rush to get up their decorations. They hurriedly plan a big Holiday party at their home.

At the end of the movie, Mr. Krank is sitting in his home with friends and family all around him. His big smile shows the inner joy he is feeling. As he looks outside his home, he notices the elderly couple across the street quietly sitting at the table. He walks across the street to deliver a ham and asks how the couple is doing. The husband apologizes for missing the party but the wife has a terminal illness and the couple is not in the Holiday spirit.

Mr. Krank wishes the couple a Merry Christmas and says good bye. As he is walking back to his home filled with laughter and music, he stops in the middle of the street and turns around to see the lonely couple. He knocks on the door a second time and asks to come in. He offers the couple two tickets to the Caribbean, the plane is leaving the next day. This is a complete package with airfare, hotel, and rental car. Since he failed to buy trip insurance, he cannot get a refund. The couple resists the gift at first. There are lots of excuses. The final roadblock is the cat which Mr. Krank doesn't really like but he offers to watch it so the elderly couple can enjoy the gift.

In the final scene, Mrs. Krank shares with her husband the conversation she had with the lady across the street who called to say thank you. Her husband's plans changed and he failed to skip Christmas. As the couple embraced, Mrs. Krank told him, "maybe you can skip Christmas next year?" Mr. Krank may have been a bah humbug kind of guy but something happened inside his heart and everything changed. May you experience the real meaning of Christmas during this special time of year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Make a Difference

There has been a big response within my extended family regarding the treasure box and I am really excited to place my first order. If you have not checked out this organization, go to for details on how you can save big on your grocery bill or order a treasure box for a family in need.

I learned that this program is also in place in Arizona. The deadline to order your treasure box filled with groceries is Sunday, December 6th and the pick up date is Saturday, December 19th. This program is run by volunteers and goes year round.

If you are looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of those around you, why not consider volunteering with this non-profit organization. They could use help with distributing the food. Maybe you could get this started in your city if it is not available?

I was really amazed to see so many volunteers at my church last week when I dropped of the home-made gift basket from my friends at ADT Security. One lady was decorating the altar and she drove over thirty miles to get the flowers at a big discount. She told me her job was really small compared to what others were doing. I told her that the creativity she used to make the altar look so good was a unique gift that was for the benefit of the whole community.

Every contribution we make for the benefit of others can make a difference. As you prepare for Christmas, put a plan together to make a difference. There is no job that goes unrecognized in the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember, what you do for the least of His children, you do for Him. Below is a video of a little girl who is making a difference by sharing her song about her brother in the military. May God Bless all our military who are separated from their families. Have a great day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Giving Christmas Away

I heard the song below for the first time this morning. It shows what Christmas is really all about. May this song touch your heart.

If you read my post yesterday about the surprise attack, there is a follow up which is really no surprise to the believer. Just as the seas were becoming dangerous, Jesus showed up. He calmed the rough waters at a challenging time in my personal life. My wife and I have no doubt whatsoever that He exists. He is all-knowing and all-loving. He knows what you need to get through your day.

If you are feel like you are drowning, why not jump in the boat. We can sail together. The Captain in the boat knows where we are going. Sometimes the boat looks like it is going to sink but our Captain controls the weather. I am stunned by the number of storms our little boat has weathered but the credit goes to my Skipper. Bookmark this site and sign up for the voyage of a lifetime. There is room for you and anyone else you wish to invite.

Enjoy the video and try giving Christmas away...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Surprise Attack

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you feel like the boat you are in is sinking? What do you do? Do you feel that desire inside of you to jump ship? Do you attempt to bail out the water? Do you look for a life jacket? If you are experiencing this in your life, you are not alone.

I have been out of the cave now for ninety days. I have experienced the joy of feeling the sunlight on my skin. I have heard the birds singing every morning and the sunsets have never looked better. Connecting with friends and family has been especially rewarding now that I have weekends off. It has also been great to begin sharing my life with all of you.

I had a sense that the Enemy would attempt to interfere with me sharing all the good that Jesus is doing in my life and yesterday I experienced my first surprise attack. It reminds me of the two times my community was attacked by horrendous wildfires. The fires came as a complete surprise and left many devastated. This personal attack also caught me off guard.

Now is the time to reveal just how powerful Jesus is. When the surprise attack came I immediately sat down with my wife and began to pray. Yes, Jesus is the answer to any attack. It is so important to praise Him even as the boat is filling up with water. Remember, He is in the boat with us.

The enemy appears strong in our world. Even though 90% of us in our country believe in God, most of us are not sharing our faith. We are not preparing ourselves properly for His birthday in just twenty five days. We let our troubles take our eyes off of God.

I refuse to let the enemy take my eyes off of Jesus. This latest challenge has been placed in God's in-box. When this surprise attack has been thwarted, God will get the Glory. He is so much better than a life jacket. If you are facing a storm in your life, keep your sails up and stay in the boat. Calm waters are ahead...

Psalms 107

1 "Give thanks to the LORD who is good, whose love endures forever!"
Let that be the prayer of the LORD'S redeemed, those redeemed from the hand of the foe,
Those gathered from foreign lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some had lost their way in a barren desert; found no path toward a city to live in.
They were hungry and thirsty; their life was ebbing away.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who rescued them in their peril,
Guided them by a direct path so they reached a city to live in.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
For he satisfied the thirsty, filled the hungry with good things.
Some lived in darkness and gloom, in prison, bound with chains,
Because they rebelled against God's word, scorned the counsel of the Most High,
Who humbled their hearts through hardship; they stumbled with no one to help.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who saved them in their peril,
Led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains asunder.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
For he broke down the gates of bronze and snapped the bars of iron.
Some fell sick from their wicked ways, afflicted because of their sins.
They loathed all manner of food; they were at the gates of death.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who saved them in their peril,
Sent forth the word to heal them, snatched them from the grave.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks, declare his works with shouts of joy.
Some went off to sea in ships, plied their trade on the deep waters.
They saw the works of the LORD, the wonders of God in the deep.
He spoke and roused a storm wind; it tossed the waves on high.
They rose up to the heavens, sank to the depths; their hearts trembled at the danger.
They reeled, staggered like drunkards; their skill was of no avail.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who brought them out of their peril,
Hushed the storm to a murmur; the waves of the sea were stilled.
They rejoiced that the sea grew calm, that God brought them to the harbor they longed for.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
Let them praise him in the assembly of the people, give thanks in the council of the elders.
2 God changed rivers into desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
Fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its people.
He changed the desert into pools of water, arid land into springs of water,
And settled the hungry there; they built a city to live in.
They sowed fields and planted vineyards, brought in an abundant harvest.
God blessed them, they became very many, and their livestock did not decrease.
But he poured out contempt on princes, made them wander the trackless wastes,
Where they were diminished and brought low through misery and cruel oppression,
While the poor were released from their affliction; their families increased like their flocks.
The upright saw this and rejoiced; all wickedness shut its mouth.
Whoever is wise will take note of these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the LORD.