Sunday, January 31, 2010

Putting God First

Learning to put God first as I start each day has given me an opportunity to discover where my sailboat is headed. There have been so many times in my life when I thought my life lacked meaning or purpose. I often wondered why the wind was not blowing or if I would survive a particular storm.

Each of us has a specific journey. For some the voyage is short and for others, our boats must sail to places far off. If God is not first in our life, we tend to get lost easily. Even when God is first, the journey may not make much sense.

When God is first in our lives, we will always sail when we are supposed to be sailing, rest when the winds are calm, and pick up passengers at the right time and places. Trust and patience are required.

For me, a daily prayer can help me discern what God asks of me for that particular day.
Putting God first is like filling up the gas tank before a long trip. You can only run on fumes for so long until your vehicle stops. By keeping the gas tank full, you will eventually travel far enough to reach your destination.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Man's Best Friend

When our children were very young, we decided to adopt a Sheltie from a rescue center. Lady looks just like Lassie but is smaller. She was really easy to train and eager to please her family. One day, we visited Sea World and our favorite part of the day was watching a special show that featured dogs and cats that had been rescued. I was curious just how these animals could do so much and visited with one of the trainers after the show. The lesson was simple, love and patience.

Training your pets is a step by step process. With lots of training, Lady learned to follow special hand signals and gestures to do her tricks. The most impressive was kicking a soccer ball into a goal. She could also roll over when I made a certain signal. She appeared to answer my questions with a bark but really she was just responding to hand signals.

When my wife returned to work, Lady appeared to be lonely and we decided to get her a companion. During the first week with us, our new addition to the family destroyed almost all of our furniture. He lived in a home with no fence and was tied up outside while his master worked twelve hour days. Spending time in the thunder storms with no companions really messed him up and it took years to change his behavior. We named him Lucky because he was really lucky that we didn't return him. None of us could bear the thought of sending him back to his old life. He just needed love and patience.

My youngest son really wanted his own pet and one day, my brother-in-law found a little Chihuahua that was in a shelter. The poor little dog grew up in Mexico. You could see all of its bones and its ears were full of mites. These three pets are really something to see together and they bring us so much joy.

As human beings, we need to feel loved. There is something special about coming home to a pet that is so eager to be with you and play with you. Our three pets have really enhanced our family and brought us so much joy.

Lady and Lucky are fast approaching their twilight of their lives. They age about seven times faster than humans. It seems like just yesterday that our pets came into our home. In human years, they are about to be teenagers, in dog years they are senior citizens. They won't be with us much longer. It is painful to see them slowing down.

Whether you are thinking about adding pets to your family or children, be comforted in knowing that the cuddling they provide will give you a healthy heart. I will cherish the memories of our three pets long after they have departed. If you decide to add a pet to your family, don't forget about the rescue centers. They are waiting to be loved. If you are feeling especially bold, why not consider adopting one of the orphans in Haiti? It is something to pray about. Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Yesterday I wrote about the value of a smile. A smile can transform darkness into light. Cynicism can do the same thing only it has the opposite effect. One cynic can bring down the attitude of everyone around.

It is very tempting to join the crowd of cynics. All you have to do is bash others for not keeping their promises. Each leader that falls short adds fuel to our desire to jump on the band wagon of cynics.

I refuse to join the crowd of people who believe there is no hope. In this long season of winter that our entire country is facing, I put my faith in God to inspire people to rise above the despair and cynicism that is everywhere and make a difference.

People want change. They want change that will lead to having stronger families and a better quality of life. Cynicism will not help anyone reach their potential. We cannot give up. We must do our part to make the world better.

Here is the final request Conan O’Brien made during his last night hosting the Tonight Show:

“All I ask is one thing and I am asking this particularly of young people that watch…Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But, if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, it’s just true.”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Value of a Smile

The other day I watched a special report about the founders of Home Depot. They had a dream to do something big but really didn't have the necessary capital to start properly. They devised a strategy of borrowing large cardboard boxes and empty paint cans to put all over the store giving the appearance that they were "big". Who wants to come into a store that has empty shelves everywhere? The empty paint cans were eventually returned and replaced with real ones. Home Depot became one of the best success stories in our country after escaping bankruptcy in its early stages. They were able to fake it until they made it.

Even if you are having a rough day on the inside, a smile tells the world that you are having a great day. Your smile can light up the world around you. It is like putting up empty paint cans in the rafters telling the world that you are seizing the day. It is contagious.

You cannot put a monetary value on a smile. It takes less muscles to generate a smile than it does to frown. Before you enter the workplace or meet a friend, look in the mirror and tell yourself you are going to smile no matter what. After a while, you no longer have to fake a smile, as the simple act of smiling creates a mood of happiness.

Don't forget to laugh a little while you are working on smiling. Laughing and smiling go together. They are like flu shots that keep you from getting ill.

The world does not need to know that you are faking a smile or that your smile is real. Just like the founders of Home Depot discovered, a good appearance on the outside can lead to something big. Just fake it until you make it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Raise Your Game

My favorite football team is out of the playoffs. The expectations were high but the team came up short of its goals. Players and coaches are already thinking about what adjustments are needed to raise their game for next season. They will be playing against the elite teams next year as they go for another opportunity to play in the big game.

Life is also like being on a football team. You may get the opportunity to design offensive plays and score touchdowns. At other times, you may be on the defense. Your goal may be to stop the enemy from attacking. The key is to avoid thinking you are going to lose. You may get the chance to come up with a big play on "special teams".

As you look at the "game schedule" ahead, prepare now for Valentine's Day. There are people in your life that want to know just how much you love them. Use these next two and a half weeks to learn their love language. Raise your game to new levels and try some new plays designed to show your loved ones just how much you care.

The season of life is a long one. There will be victories and losses. The best teams are the ones that look at what they are doing wrong and then make changes. Raising your game is something you want to strive for every day. It takes hard work and perseverance. Go for it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting to "Level 10"

The beginning of each day is critical. You have heard of people who have waken up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe this has happened to you. Here are some ideas to help you put your mind in its peak state before you leave your home and face the world:

1. Make your list of things to do before you go to bed. This will remove any anxiety about what to do when you wake up and help you sleep better.

2. Say a morning prayer as soon as the alarm goes off. Think of all the people in your life that are special.

3. As your feet hit the floor, tell yourself that this is going to be your best day ever.

4. Do some stretches and a couple of exercises to get your heart beating.

5. Tell your brain you are at level 10. If you are not all the way to level 10, close your eyes for a few minutes and meditate. Visualize yourself conquering the world.

6. Realize that you cannot control events, only attitude and resolve that you will stay at level 10 no matter what.

7. Repeat this every day for the rest of your life. Do this and you will have your best year ever.

Carpe Diem!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Book of Eli

Yesterday, we took our youngest son to see the Book of Eli. He earned a movie ticket and was eager to cash it in. The movie reminded me that each of us is called to do something in this world. Sometimes, we may not believe we are qualified to do what is asked of us.

The lesson I learned from the movie is that God calls the "unqualified" and trains them along the way. Eli was on a journey that took more than thirty years to complete. The obstacles he faced seemed impossible. His journey started with a dream or a vision. Each day was filled with adversity, the kind most of us in this great country have never witnessed.

I promised you that I would focus on "hope" throughout this year. Go see this movie. As you watch, ask yourself what you feel you are called to do. Take action. You will become qualified to do the job as you proceed to your destination. Do not let your own limitations hinder you. Just take the first step.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who is Your Favorite Teacher?

I have been Blessed to have great teachers, role models, and mentors. The one who stands out as my favorite is my Spanish teacher from high school. Her students nicknamed her "Snora". She put her heart into teaching and we were fortunate to have her daughter in our class all through high school.

There are many teachers amongst my numerous cousins that are scattered throughout the country. This is a worthy profession that is often overlooked when compared to other careers that pay more.

I just wanted to thank all who dedicate their lives to teaching others. Your reward in Heaven will be great. If there is someone in your life who made a difference and they are still on this planet, why not take a moment and send a letter of appreciation?

I still have a long way to go with my Spanish but Snora made learning fun. I hope more people like her follow in her footsteps.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Preparing for Spring

The sun has returned today and I am really excited to get on the tennis courts with my daughter. It is the first time the skies have been clear in a week. This period of Winter is necessary for everything to turn green. The storms have been relentless.

It is really easy to lose focus on your goals when the weather outside is stormy. It is important to adapt so that you keep the momentum of the new year going. When the sun does eventually come out, take advantage and get outside. Exercise regularly so that you can be in shape to enjoy Spring. I am eager to get back to the beach and go on walks with my wife. There is a new energy that you get when are eating right and sticking to a fitness plan.

If you feel like you are hibernating and you don't want to get out because the weather is not the best, visualize what is ahead if you can just overcome the urge to be a couch potato. If you want to look good in the spring you need to pay the price today. Go for it. Take a hike or go on a jog. Spring will be that much more fun if you get in shape now. You deserve to feel better. Forget about the weather and just commit to getting in shape no matter what obstacles are in the way. Have a great day and make sure to read the article from today's San Diego Union-Tribune below about walking:

Take a longer walk


Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.

You need to cover more miles to get more smiles. The farther you walk, the better your mood, suggests a University of North Carolina study. Researchers tracked women who walked either 30 or 60 minutes three days a week for six months. Those who trekked the longest reported feeling four times more positive about their bodies and their abilities to get through the day than those who went half as far.

Friday, January 22, 2010


1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing

It is hard to imagine how the people of Haiti could get through such tragedy without the aid and encouragement of others. The losses mount daily and now number more than 200,000. Some of these are the poorest of the poor. Their primitive structures could not handle the force of mother nature.

This is the time for humanity to show its good side, a time to join forces and reach out to these innocent people. When the ancient city of Jerusalem was in rubble, it was Nehemiah who convinced the king of Persia to let go of some of his resources so that the city could be rebuilt.

The lesson of Nehemiah is for all of us. We in this great and powerful country are the ones with the resources to help our neighbors. This is how God plans to reveal Himself, it is through us!

Lets offer our prayers and our encouragement for our neighbors and show the world that we are here to help. As much as many of our being challenged in these tough times, it is nothing compared to the losses our neighbors are struggling with. A little bit from each of us can make a big difference.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Everything Has a Price

In life, every choice that you make has a price associated with it. The price of eating junk food is poor health and excess weight. The price of failing to keep in touch with friends is loneliness. The choice to avoid daily exercise comes with a price tag that results in lower productivity, and increased fatigue.

Burning the midnight oil also has a price. Your body needs a certain amount of sleep each day. Short changing your sleep hurts your overall health. Pay the price of regular sleep and the benefit is more alertness during the day and the energy to live your life to the fullest.

Do some comparison shopping and decide which choices have the best overall price. By paying a little more today to take care of your health, you can be rewarded with lower prices on medical care later in life. Each goal you made for this year has a price associated with it. By giving up on these goals, you will pay a price. Good habits and bad habits both have a price. Be careful to evaluate the price of every choice you make and do this daily to keep focused. Become a smart shopper today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Surviving the Storms

The third storm in less than a week will be arriving later today in my state. There is another one right behind it. It comes at a time when the world is reaching out to assist the victims in Haiti who were devastated in a 7.0 earthquake. The rescue workers were shocked when a 6.1 earthquake struck the area again early this morning. No place on the planet is safe from adversity.

It is usually in the stormiest of times that we ask God why He allows all of this. Maybe we are putting a list of questions together to ask our Creator when we meet Him. It is a part of the puzzle that I do not understand. Maybe these storms are opportunities for all of us to show our humanity. The best of us comes out when others need assistance. We tend to reach out to God with our prayers and it is a great opportunity for God to reveal Himself. It is also a time for us to grow when we are faced with difficult times.

The vision of eternal life for all of us helps me to cope with all the storms I face. When I see someone who is close to death, I see someone who is about to be free from suffering and move on to a better place. This world is only temporary. The storms we face will pass and Spring will arrive soon. The mountains will be green and the flowers in full bloom.

Scientists have recently discovered water beneath the Sahara Desert. They say that the it is the equivalent of all the water in the Great Lakes! It has been hidden deep within the earth for a million years. Once they figure out a way to reach it, life will return to the barren land. This water comes from a period of time when many storms pounded the desert. It would not be there without those storms.

Maybe there is something for us to learn that comes from all the storms we are facing in our lives. For now, hold on to the hope that Spring will come soon. Just like the sun that comes up every morning, Spring always follows the season of Winter. May you find a way to handle all of the storms you have in your life or reach out and help someone around you that is struggling. Spring is almost here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


We all have rituals in our daily lives. By adding to or subtracting from these daily routines or by adding new rituals, we can change our lives.

I think the most important ritual for the day is the first set of rituals in the morning. Do they bring peace? The way you start your day has a tremendous impact on what happens next.

If you are hitting the snooze button five or six times before getting up, you may want to consider a new wake-up strategy. The moment I plant my two feet on the ground, I immediately tell myself that I am going to have a great day. My subconscious mind starts looking for everything that will make the day a good one.

Take a look at the rituals you have in your daily life and throw out the ones that are not helping you reach your full potential. Avoid too much too fast. Start with one change and build on it once you have mastered it. Two or three new rituals will lead to big change in this new year. Spend time thinking about how you will benefit from these new rituals and work diligently for the first thirty days to make each ritual permanent.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Great Lesson From My Youngest Son

My youngest son, Shane, is one of the biggest football fans I know. He loves watching the NFL classics and he is a huge fan of the San Diego Chargers. We both thought that this would be the year that our team would make it to the Super Bowl and actually win it all.

After a disappointing 2-3 start, we watched our team go on an impressive 11 game win streak and qualify for a home game as the number two seed in the AFC. Like most people in San Diego, we were stunned when our team somehow fell apart and lost in the playoffs yesterday.

The mood in our home after the loss was sour. Then, Shane came over to me and hugged me. He told me how fun it was to watch all these amazing games as a family and what a great time he had week after week. He told me that in six short months we would start over. We would put this behind us and bounce back. Next season we would once again cheer our favorite team on to victory.

I promised all of you that I would dedicate this year as the year of hope. I am so
Blessed to be surrounded by family members that have so much hope. My son is right. The best thing to do is be grateful for the awesome memories our team gave us this year and have hope for what is ahead next year. We must put this defeat behind us and move on. This is what life is all about, there is never a time to give up and this team will bounce back. I thank my son for letting me share his lesson with my fellow bloggers. I also thank the Chargers for the great memories they gave me this season.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pressing On

“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” - Isaac Asimov

This is the weekend that most of us have probably given up on our New Year's Resolutions. We have failed to come up with a plan that is so important to us that we would find a way to press on no matter what got in the way.

Like Asimov said in the quote above, life really is not a chess game that stops when the king is defeated. Life continues after checkmate.

I thought of this when my wife called to tell me our daughter had another fall. This time she was checking out a horse for another girl that was having challenges with her horse and wanted help from a more experienced rider. My daughter volunteered and had a hard fall. She ended up in the emergency room. This is the tenth fall in addition to being bitten once and kicked twice.

Most people would say the game is over and just move on. Not my daughter, she has the will to press on no matter how many falls, bites or kicks. She has a picture in her mind of being an accomplished rider and nothing will get in her way. She already told me she will be healed in time to play in our monthly mixed doubles event next Saturday.

If you lost sight of your resolutions, you are in the 95% crowd that got check-mated before this new month ended. What's next? Do you put your chess pieces away and wait until next year to repeat this silly process all over again? Maybe you didn't even try because of all the defeats you had in the past regarding resolutions.

It's not too late until the day your heart stops beating. Use the lessons you learned from the past defeats or falls and put that experience to good use. Reset the game and start again. This is not something that is reserved for January 1st. Start over today and RESOLVE that you will become unstoppable in the relentless pursuit of the permanent changes you wish to make in your life.

Remember, life continues after checkmate. Are you going to let the pain of the last fall or failure stop you from becoming the person you want to become, or are you going to press on? Decide today, it is the first day of the new you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Request from a Friend

I received an email from a long-time friend yesterday. His son, Andrew Miller, is raising money by running in his first marathon. The donations will go to the Aids Project- Los Angeles. The runner has been a friend of the family for nearly twenty three years.

Andrew is asking for support and donations. I promised him that I would reach out to all who follow this blog as he strives to raise $2,000 (he is almost there). There is a place where you can leave a note of encouragement. Let him know the naked cave man sent you.

This cause has personal meaning for me as I lost my high school doubles partner to Aids. I am sorry to admit to all of you that I was not there to comfort him during his fight as my prejudice got the best of me and I abandoned Scott before I became aware of his illness. I no longer judge people and I ask God to forgive me for the times I looked down on those who were different from me.

If you would like to support a friend who is doing his best to make the world better, copy the link to Andrew's website below and paste the link to make a donation today. Thank you for taking action today.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Reserving time each day to be quiet and meditate is an area of my life I am working to improve. I find that when I am concentrating on "to do" lists and priorities, I sometimes forget about time for prayer. Once in a while, when my eyes are closed and I am letting my brain slow down, a thought will interrupt my quiet time. It is usually a reminder about something I need to add to my list and I get distracted.

Prayer is the time you give yourself to connect with the Holy Spirit that is inside your soul. It is so powerful, that when it is done properly and regularly, you become the person you were created to be. It is the secret weapon that can overcome anything. It is the power that points your compass in the correct direction.

Many people only pray when they are in extreme danger. When things are going well, they stop praying. Their prayers become like yo-yos, going up when confronted with difficult times and down when times are good. Our Creator wants us to communicate with Him all the time. What parent feels good when their children only call because they need some laundry done. Keeping in touch regularly builds strong relationships.

If it has been a while since you have prayed, I am going to share my prayer for today with you because my prayers always include you, the reader of this daily blog:

"Dear Lord, thank you for giving me direction in my life. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to Guide me. I see another storm ahead and some of the people in the boat with me are fighting. They have their own ideas about which way to sail. They would prefer to avoid the storm. You are the captain and your compass is pointing west towards the sun (Son).

Like all the past storms, I have learned my most important lessons during these times. Please help me, Oh Lord, to learn how to sail this boat through the storm ahead. Send comfort to the people in the boat and give them hope that they will reach calm waters.

Please help each person in the boat to know how much you love them. Help us to work together so that all of us will reach our final destination safely. In your name, I pray. Amen."

The more you pray, the easier it gets. Make it part of your daily routine and see how your life transforms. Have a great day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Your Best Year Ever

When you made your list of goals for this new year, did you promise to make this the best year you have ever had? Is this even possible? What if you are in the middle of something that is really getting you down? Maybe you are dealing with an illness or someone you love is in a bad situation? The answer is simple, this can be your best year ever, no matter what is going on all around you if you set your "attitude goal" at the highest possible level. You can become unstoppable, even if adversity is all around you.

I must give credit to my wife for helping me to understand this very important lesson. She is the one that put the word "hope" all over her vision board for this year. Her pictures and vision became contagious and I caught the "hope bug". I honestly believe that this is going to be my best year ever and this attitude is causing things to happen that will make this vision a reality. I cannot explain how this works because it is a mystery and I do not fully understand what is happening.

Perhaps, when you make a decision in your mind that this is going to be your best year ever, doors somehow unlock and opportunities appear out of nowhere. Maybe the opportunities were always there, you just needed a new outlook to be able to see them.

If you are one of those people who needs to analyze every fact and detail before you can accept what I am describing here, go out on a limb and give this idea a try. What do you have to lose? If you resolve to have your best year ever and come up short, maybe you needed this to be your year of preparation so the following year will be top dog.

Whether you like it or not, your ship is sailing. This year will end in about 350 days. Resolve to make it your best year ever and do something every day to stay focused on your "attitude goal" so you can stay on course.

I honestly believe that your attitude works like a compass. It may be the most important tool you have to reach your destination. If it is not working properly, get a new compass and plot a new course. The new year is only fifteen days old but it is already my best year ever. I trust my compass and I trust the captain of my ship. Even though I cannot see Him, I know He is leading me in the right direction.

Are you ready to have your best year ever?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stay the Course

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." --Calvin Coolidge

Are you satisfied with the direction you headed? Take a moment and evaluate the course you are on. If you are off course, the best time to make a correction is today. The longer you wait to make the adjustment, the further away your target gets and despair may creep into your life.

It is very normal to "drift". Calvin Coolidge is right when he tells us that persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. If we are drifting and we recognize that it is time for a change, we must commit daily to getting back on track. Drifting is a habit. So is "pressing on". It is your choice today to drift or raise the sails and reach your destination.

Lets raise our sails together and seize this day and this year. If you didn't raise the sails yesterday, forget about it and start over. Today is a brand new day and with persistence you can turn your goals into reality. Go for it!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Avoid Hallucinations

'a vision without a plan is just a hallucination' -Will Rogers

The inspiration for today's message comes from one of my sisters who shared this quote with me yesterday. This quote is meant to help us reach our dreams. They require hard work. Many dream but few turn those dreams into reality.

So, how do we avoid hallucinations? The first step is to write your vision down on paper. Spend time developing your plan. This is a daily commitment. Sticking to the plan means never giving up no matter how difficult the journey.

This year can be the best year of your life. Take a look at what you have done in the last ten years and evaluate your progress. Did your visions come true? If not, make a decision today to make your vision become real. A great plan and the desire to achieve it can make this year the best ever.

Reality or another hallucination? Decide today and take action.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Habits

Experts say that it takes approximately thirty days to form a new habit. This first month of this new year is critical it you want your goals to become habits.

Try combining your new goal with an established habit to help you remember you are working on something new. I know that doing exercises while brushing your teeth sounds strange but this helps me to remember I am working on something new every time I take out my tooth brush. After thirty days, you are well on your way to turning new goals into a new way of life.

Ask the people close to you to help you form new habits. It makes it easier to take a walk every day if you know one of your friends or neighbors will walk with you, especially if you just don't feel like going outside on a cold day.

If you have lost sight of some of your new goals, this is the day to get back on track. You are only in the first mile of a marathon that will take a lifetime to complete. Go to the water station and take a drink. Then, get back on the course and start again. It doesn't matter when you cross the finish line. What is important is that you achieve all you want in life.

New habits need time to form. Don't give up. If you are still on track with your 2010 goals, stay focused, you still have twenty days to go to make them a habit that can transform your life. Stay strong!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Deferred Gratification

Today's post goes out to all of those who are sitting in the boat waiting for the wind to blow. You have made your goals for the new year and you are debating if it is worth it to keep pursuing them.

It is painful to make choices that require sacrifices. You may be missing your favorite junk food and the workouts are time consuming. Cleaning and organizing is a tedious process. Sometimes, it just seems like it is taking forever to see the fruits of your hard work.

For almost five years now, I have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches almost every day. It is a joyful moment when I am near my wife at her lunch break and we sit in the car together, each with our home-made lunches. These sacrifices are part of our journey and we both know that the gratification of lunch at a nice restaurant must be put off until the future.

I admit to my readers that until a few months ago, I savored an occasional Mountain Dew. It is perhaps the worst soda that you can drink. When I made my vision board and listed my new weight goal, I became inspired to give up the Mountain Dew.

The other day my dentist laughed when I told him I do my leg raises and stretches while brushing my teeth and flossing. All of these little things are to become more physically fit and be healthy in my golden years.

Yesterday I got to play my first competitive tennis match in a mixed doubles league. After losing the first set to a tough team, my partner and I came from behind in the second set to tie the match. In the third set, we came on strong and pulled out a victory. I give credit for the win to making changes in my diet and exercise habits so that I could be fit for moments like yesterday. My doubles partner follows a fitness plan and told me she almost never loses when her matches go to a third set.

This is what deferred gratification is all about. Make sacrifices today so that you can be financially fit, mentally fit, physically fit and spiritually fit. The greatest deferred gratification of all is Heaven. Spend some time today with someone who may need a lift in one of these areas. Don't worry if you don't see immediate results. The greatest joys in life require hard work and delayed gratification. Keep sailing, one day at a time.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Elevator

Before entering the elevator, we need to decide which direction we want to go. During our lifetime, we probably find ourselves sometimes going up and sometimes going down. Different people enter and exit the elevator as we move from floor to floor. Each stop has its own opportunities and challenges.

As children, we are taught to follow our parents, teachers and other role models and the general direction we choose is up. Something happens when we experience early adulthood and we sometimes pick the down elevator. We visit floors that we know we should be avoiding. The peer pressure to follow the crowd gets in the way of our decision-making process.

All of us hope to one day make it to the penthouse. For thousands of years this special floor was locked up and it took a Savior to allow access for those desiring to go all the way to the top. Before we can get to our final destination, we need to visit a series of floors and learn lessons. If we end up going in the wrong direction, we need to get off the elevator and wait for one that is going up.

Sometimes, the guilt we have from visiting the wrong floor gets to us and we do not feel worthy to visit the penthouse. We feel that we belong in the down elevator. As we descend, we associate with others who lack hope and we don't know what to do.

There is always an emergency button in every elevator. No matter what level you are on, you can always hit the button and exit. The entire crowd you are with may try to stop you, but you can always to choose to change directions.

Maybe there are people in the elevator with you who are afraid to push the stop button. They are so afraid of what others think that they just keep descending. Stand up to the peer pressure and find an elevator that is going up.

Today's blog is dedicated to a good friend that I reconnected with this week. This friend told me that when his mother went to the penthouse, he felt his life became empty and he chose the down elevator. I can relate. It was not until I chose to leave the cave and write about the One who unlocked the penthouse that I found a special purpose. I am sorry for the times I went down instead of up but I am thankful that Jesus told me there is a place waiting for me in the penthouse. All are invited, all we have to do is push the up button.

We cannot go to the penthouse until it is our time. We must choose to visit every floor that the Holy Spirit leads us to and develop our gifts. Our choices can inspire others to choose the up elevators. If we should end up in a down elevator, we must recognize our weaknesses and change directions.

I want to thank my friend for sharing his story with me. He told me he was afraid that others who knew him would discover he was on a very bad floor. My friend, all of us have been on floors where we should not be. It takes courage to admit our mistakes. We need to honor those who taught us to choose the up elevators. They are waiting for us and watching us from the penthouse. Each time we choose to go up, they cheer. When we invite others to go up with us on our journey, they throw a big party in the penthouse.

My friend, your mother is cheering for you. You changed directions before it was too late and I am proud of you. My father is right next to her and they are both hoping we lead others to the penthouse. Until we are re-united with all those that have gone to the penthouse, lets keep choosing the up button...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sharing the Story of Zoom

At we are getting ready to celebrate our five year anniversary on March 17th. This means a lot to all of us because so many people predicted that we would be dead within 90 days of starting up. Most of the people who said this are now unemployed. They have become victims of big business downsizing at jobs that they thought would last forever.

This trend of eliminating top employees at big companies has now spread to radio stations that are owned by giants who are loaded with debt. My opinion on this trend is that super large companies lack the soul or spirit that local entrepreneurs give to their companies. There are too many great people on the sidelines. These are people who have ideas on how to make their companies better and stronger.

Yesterday I contacted a reporter for a local newspaper and shared the story of Zoom. He told me he thinks there is a story to share with his readers and asked for more information. Zoom is successful because of the hard work and team work of every individual. For me, the secret ingredient has been the Holy Spirit who gave me the courage to stand up to Goliath, the wisdom to forgive my enemies, and the hope that all of us would survive no matter how difficult the storm. Without the Holy Spirit in my life, my boat would have sunk just as others predicted and there would be no story of hope to share with all of you.

Have a great day and stay focused on your goals. There are only 51 weeks left in this year to accomplish all you set out to do. Keep those sails up, the winds are starting to pick up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Missing Ingredient

The last time my dad came to visit, he wanted to know why I did not have a Weber grill. He told me that it was necessary in order to make barbecuing a success every time. Before he left this world he bought one Weber grill for my family and one for my sister's family. He demonstrated all the techniques that he developed over time and we learned "if you are gonna do it, do it right".

Sometimes, the difference between a good meal and a great meal comes down to just one ingredient. Families have secret recipes that are passed from generation to generation and certain ingredients can make something "world famous". Colonel Sanders keeps his secrets locked up in a vault.

The way we look at past memories can be like eating something that is missing a key ingredient. When something is missing, our favorite foods do not taste good. We can change the "flavor" of a memory simply by adding something to it. For me, it is the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can go back in time to a bad memory and help us change the flavor. Maybe we were hurt by another and every time we recall the situation, it is so bad that we can still taste it. The Holy Spirit can help us to add an ingredient that changes how the memory tastes. Most of us have never tried this particular spice labeled "forgiveness". When this is added to the memory, it is still there but it tastes better.

You have the ability to become a master chef. Learn as much as you can about food preparation and make sure you have all the right tools. I am thankful my dad gave me a Weber and I think of him every time I barbecue. He helped me to change the taste of some past memories that were missing some key ingredients. If you need help improving the taste of some of your memories, try asking the Holy Spirit for some cooking lessons...your food will never taste better.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Boat Ride

This boat ride of life that all of us are on continues in this new year that is now six days old. Since the theme for this year is hope, I want to expand on the source of hope, that is, the Holy Spirit. I could write about the Holy Spirit every day for this whole decade and only begin to scratch the surface.

The mystery of the Holy Spirit has been revealed to me very slowly during this very special journey. The best way to describe it is like putting together a very complicated jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces of the puzzle are there but they don't make sense. The Holy Spirit knows what the final outcome looks like and is willing to assist but must be asked first.

Each of us are a part of the puzzle. Some are friends, others may be enemies. Some of us have faith while others do not believe in God. Everyone is part of the puzzle and nobody is to be excluded.

The puzzle is put together in clusters. There are similar pieces of the puzzle that are attracted to each other and they have no trouble connecting. The hard part is when it is time to connect pieces that don't normally get along. This is where the Holy Spirit can assist. In order to get over the hurdles of past hurts and pain, we need the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is able to reveal a future full of possibilities and opportunities if we are willing to just let go.

Gradually, the puzzle comes together. New alliances are formed and the different colors and shapes connect to form a work of art. This is what the boat ride is all about. Why should we stop working on this puzzle? Is it too difficult or time consuming? Is it worthwhile?

For people with hope, the Holy Spirit has already given us a picture of what the puzzle will look like when the masterpiece is completed. Our job is to share that vision with others who feel left out or lack hope.

As we sail through this new year, lets keep reminding ourselves that this boat ride is not a sprint but a marathon. Lets turn to the Holy Spirit for our hope and let go of the past. Don't worry about tomorrow. Just focus on keeping your sails up for this one day and live it to its fullest. Take a look at the goals you have set for this year and do something today that will help you reach them. Every day there will be something new for all of us to learn. Lets do it together.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where Hope Comes From

Acts 2:2-4 the disciples and others were gathered in an Upper Room when the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven

It amazes me that two people can be in identical situations and one has hope while the other has despair (or hopelessness). The difference in these two people can be connected to something we cannot see on the outside although we may feel it on the inside.

I think back to that upper room where the followers of Jesus gathered after Jesus had departed. They all felt alone without Jesus and they were afraid. Then, something happened and they were changed. They received something that in Hebrew is called ruah, which means breath or spirit. This breath is like the wind.

So, what does it mean when you have this "ruah" inside of you. To me, it means that you can be in the middle of the ocean with no wind blowing and no land in sight. You have no compass. Everything should look hopeless but you believe you will get to your destination.

I cannot begin to describe the number of times I have been in these types of situations. Even some of the people I am around that are filled with despair are beginning to see a pattern. The wind always begins to blow and the boat starts moving.

Like the wind, we cannot see the Holy Spirit. This is where hope comes from. I will be writing more about "ruah" throughout this new year, a year filled with much hope and opportunity for those willing to embrace it. This is my prayer for you, that you be filled with hope, no matter how bad your circumstances. Time to sail on, I feel the breeze picking up.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Get Out of Hell

Yesterday I met another business owner while I was shopping. I had not seen him or his family in over one year. He and his wife both told me how excited they were for a new year to begin. As we talked, the wife asked if our families were living in parallel universes because our circumstances were so much alike.

I told my friends that when you are going through hell, you must keep walking. The only way out is by taking one step at a time. No matter how far away the exit is, you will never get out by standing still.

Sometimes, we are so focused on our circumstances that we forget others are also struggling. Teaming up with others who are in similar situations can really help on the journey out of hell. It also builds bonds of friendship.

I have so much respect for my partners because of the hard times we have faced. They have helped me not just in the business world, but also on how to be a better husband and parent.

Don't try to get out of hell all by yourself. The Evil One will convince you that you belong right where you are. Join hands with others that want out of a bad situation and walk out together. These people will be friends for life because you will remember how you helped each other to get out of trouble.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Raising a family in southern California has given us a chance to spend lots of time at the beach and in the sunshine. There have only been a few times that we have played in the snow. One year ago we had a major storm that dropped snow in the mountains nearby and we set out to throw snowballs at each other and build snowmen.

My children quickly learned that a tiny snow ball can grow into something quite large if it is rolled around in the snow. The trick is to stay with it and keep rolling the snow ball until it has reached the perfect size to make a snow man.

In life, most of us get an idea of what we want to accomplish but that little snow ball (our goals) we are rolling around just doesn't look like it will ever get big enough to reach its desired size and we give up.

This new year is just three days old. Our new goals are just like tiny snow balls. We need to keep rolling and build momentum before the snow melts and we miss the opportunity to build the perfect snow man.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hope for a New Beginning

Proverbs 23:18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

The word "hope" appears 174 times in the Bible. Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about hope that is reprinted below. She describes hope as feathers on a bird. A bird with broken wings (or no hope) cannot fly.

If your "wings" are damaged, take a look at what is causing the brokenness, and seek healing. The old year is gone now and the reason for your broken wings is behind you as long as you can let go of it and learn to fly again.

Read Dickinson's poem about hope and find comfort and healing in God's Words. It is repeated 174 different ways so that you can know just how important it is to learn to fly again and soar with the eagles. Are you ready for take off?

Hope (by Emily Dickinson)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year, A New Decade, A New Beginning

Hello 2010!!!

It was ten short years ago when all of us feared what would happen when Y2K arrived. We were told that our computers would crash and many thought the world would end. Yes, there were many ups and downs these last ten years, but the world continues to exist.

I have decided that this year and this decade will be a time of hope. A time for all of us to let go of our fears and become the people we have been created to be. Should I be blessed with ten more years on this planet, my promise to all of you that follow this blog is to publish 3,650 more entries before we welcome the year 2020. I will publish all the good that Jesus is doing for me and bring in special guests from all walks of life that can help spread the good news.

The important message for today is to make long term commitments instead of "resolutions" that most will break before this three day weekend is over.

I give special kudos to my good friend and tennis buddy, Leland Rolling, who I read about in the Ramona Journal last night. I never write about others unless I have permission first, but in this case, Leland's story is published so I will just repeat his message for my fellow bloggers.

Leland set out to drop 30 pounds and return to competitive tennis. He and his wife created a fitness plan which included playing tennis three to four days a week. Leland is a former California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) champion from his junior year in high school and an MVP at San Diego State University. While at Marin Community College, his win-loss record was an amazing 45-1.

According to the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Leland is currently ranked number one in his age division (Men's 45s) in San Diego County, number six in southern California, and number 38 in the nation.

His goal is to be one of the top ten in the nation and to be a good example for his children. He has also set a few new goals for this new year. Knowing Leland personally, I am thankful that he left Goliath so that Zoom could have a better chance of winning. It is people like Leland that make companies and the world around us better. He will be an inspiration for all of us in the new year and decade ahead. Thank you, Leland, for being my inspiration and I look forward to seeing you on the courts. Top ten in the country, you can do it!

Today, my wife and I have our sails at full mast. We are going to commit to more romance, more family time, and to all of the goals we have set for this new year. Our goals are in writing and on our vision boards. My wife has the word "Hope" prominently displayed and I have adopted that word as my own personal mantra for this year and this decade.

In my eyes, I do not care if the glass is half full or half empty. I don't even care if it is completely empty. Today is a new beginning and it is time for all of us to fill our glasses so that they are spilling over in abundance. Lets celebrate this new year together and keep hope alive. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!