Sunday, July 31, 2011

Positive Intervention

Do you remember the last time someone you care about got in your face over a misunderstanding?  How did the situation end?  Were you able to resolve the challenge or did the relationship break down?

If you find yourself consistently running into trouble when it comes to relationships, maybe it's time to handle conflict with a new attitude.  Here's a couple of ideas to help you set up a positive intervention with your troubled family members, co-workers, bosses, employees, or other contacts you deal with on a regular basis.

The first step is to understand the way you deal with people is the result of past programming.  Just like a dog who salivates every time it hears a bell ring, there are certain things you do because of your past "training."  You can learn to stop the triggers causing you to behave negatively if you can recognize them.

Think of the last time you were in an argument.  Rewind the entire conversation in your mind and focus on what was happening just before the fight started.  Chances are the other person hurt you a long time ago or you hurt them.  These hurts resurface years later.

If you are saying or hearing things like, "you never do (blank)," or "you always (blank)," chances are you are in a rut and you will keep fighting until you change your approach.  Instead of attacking the other person, try something like this...

"Honey, I love you with all my heart and I want to share something important.  It hurts me when (blank) happens.  Is there anything we can do together so that I no longer feel so bad inside?"

Instead of attacking the other person, you are sharing how you feel inside.  Maybe the other person has been fighting with you so long, they forgot you have feelings and that you are just as hurt as they are.  When you share your heart, you are opening the door to more meaningful relationships.  Your fights don't have to be like broken records.  Give positive intervention a try and keep practicing until all your broken relationships are healed.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Snake Eyes

A close friend commented recently about my bad luck with certain outcomes in my life.

"Every time you roll the dice, you get snake eyes," he said.

His statement was meant to be a joke, however, his perception of my life's choices is somewhat accurate.  I find myself in the center of some sort of spiritual battlefield.  I have no control over many of the events in my life.  Each choice I make is based on the information available to me at the moment.  Any major decision is always made with a prayer for the wisdom to make the right choice.

The steady stream of snake eyes is helping me to see my spiritual life with more clarity.  Each roll of the dice inspires me to work harder on my prayers and become more dependent on God.  I realize there are three forces of nature at work.  Each dice roll is either purely random, Divinely influenced, or manipulated by the dark side.  Regardless of which force is at work, it's always up to me to decide how to respond.

In my opinion, I've witnessed too many snake eyes to convince me all the events happening around me are purely random.  That leaves the Supernatural, the good and the evil.  For those reading today's blog who do not believe in God or Satan, I would like to offer a couple of thoughts.  Since we cannot "see" God or Satan, we need to find other ways to help us grasp what we cannot see.

Every day, we observe people struggling with disease, hunger, poverty, war, violence, and all sorts of abuse.  The dark side uses this against us to discredit the notion of an all-loving Supreme Being.  After all, non-believers suggest that a perfect God would not allow evil to exist.

The Evil One is angry with me.  I refuse to back down from my position no matter what situation I face.  If Satan is attempting to thwart God's plans for my life by conjuring up snake eyes each time, then I trust God will intervene in order that His will be done.

Just in case my bad luck with the dice rolls comes from above and not below, I trust God is using the events of my life to shape me for His purposes.  I must learn from the snake eyes how to be a better servant.  I need to discover how to make the lemonade from my lemons.  I know the end of the story....God wins, even if my only roll of the dice every day is snake eyes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Approaching 10,000 Blog Visitors

That blog counter on the right margin is getting ready to hit 10,000 blog visitors.  Thank you for stopping by and checking out my daily stories.  In the publishing world, traditional publishers use the 10,000 visitor benchmark as a tipping point on their scales.  I'm having lots of fun as an independent publisher, however, a mainstream publisher may be worthwhile to help me reach a larger audience and your support is helping me.

I have been incredibly blessed to have so many people in my life who back me.  Thank you.  Perhaps you can email a link to this blog to your friends to help me get to 10,000 visitors.  Here is a promo trailer I put together to attract more readers....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Endowed by Our Creator

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness …United States Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson is credited with writing the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.  He turned to a committee for polishing.  Careful consideration and deliberation was given to each word.  These first signers of the Declaration were bold.

Modern day government leaders sometimes delete key words written by our founding fathers in order to be "politically correct."  One missing word can change the meaning of a phrase.  Let's look at the quote above and explore two words, endow and Creator.

The definition of endow is to equip or supply with a talent or quality.  Our founding fathers wanted to make sure the world understood the source of our talents and included a reference to the Creator in the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Take a look in the mirror.  The image you see is a unique creation endowed by a Supreme Being.  The talents and qualities you possess are like no other in the world.  The gifts you have are unalienable, which means they cannot be taken away.

I admire our founding fathers for giving credit to God for the gifts we have and for acknowledging these gifts can never be taken away.  How will you use your God-given talents?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Right to Privacy

When I shared with my family my intentions to write a memoir about our dad's final days with us before he succumbed to cancer, there were some concerns about our family's privacy.  My mother asked to read the final manuscript before I sent it off.  I asked a couple of siblings to co-author with me, however, there were complications and they urged me to pursue the book on my own.  I appreciated getting permission to share our story with the world and my family liked being part of the editing process.

Readers want to know what's going on in the head of a writer and there is a delicate balance between sharing our lives and protecting the privacy of the family.  I've learned a couple of lessons about privacy.  My family appreciates knowing I will only post pictures on my blog if they give permission first.   This rule also applies to any family stories.

Use caution when you are sharing information that involves others.  Always get permission first and be sensitive to the privacy of those close to you. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peel the Onion

How are your relationships?  Do you find yourself blocked out by others?  Your ability to have meaningful relationships depends on how much those around you trust you.  If you find yourself unable to "peel the onion," that is, get past the layers of protection others place around themselves, here are a few ideas that may help you improve the quality of your relationships.

The first step has to do with you.  What kind of track record to you have when it comes to keeping secrets? Do you gossip?  Learn to bite your tongue when people ask questions about those close to you.  My mother always taught me if you can't say anything nice about someone, keep your mouth shut.  She's right.

The next step is to care about others.  Listen when your friends are sharing.  Look at them directly in the eyes and never judge what they have to say.  A good listener is more valuable than a good talker.

It's important to understand why people put up defense mechanisms.  Many are afraid you will talk about them behind their back or you really don't care what they have to say.  They know they will become vulnerable if they open up to you and they fear rejection.  The closer you get to a person's heart, the more aggressive they may become at pushing you away.  Tread carefully when you peel away the final layers of the onion and don't ever force your way past another person's layers of protection.  Be patient.

Once you've demonstrated to others your ability to avoid spreading gossip and you've mastered your listening skills, the final step in peeling the onion is to show empathy.  Ask questions to clarify points your friend is making to show you are actively listening and that you want to fully understand where they are coming from.  For example, you may ask, "why is that important to you?"  Another question that shows you care is "how do you feel about (blank)?"  Ask this question after your friend has shared something personal.

Once you have peeled away the final layers of the onion, recognize the gift your friend has given you.  It's not easy for someone to open themselves up and share their hearts.  Don't forget to share your heart.  Relationships are a two-way street.  Let the people close to you know you love them.  Pray for them. Keep in touch.  Nurture your relationships.  Congratulations.  You are now a champion onion peeler and you will find yourself surrounded by friends who are willing to share their lives with you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Live the Dream

Living the dream is a two-part process.  The first step is to simply dream.  My advice is to dream big.  Avoid putting limitations on your hopes for your future.  Don't settle for mediocrity.  As you paint the picture of the life you want, visualize the details.  Fill your brain with colorful imagery and don't leave anything out.

Step two is action.  Start with baby steps.  Seek out people who will help you live your dreams.  If your dreams were planted inside you by the Creator, they were meant to come true.  The obstacles you face are there for a reason.  Living the dream requires sacrifice.  You must be willing to let go of self-doubt.  You must learn to get out of your comfort zone.  You will need other people in your life to help you.  Let go of your own ego and trust those who are in your life to help you.  No matter how far-fetched your dream may be, don't stop believing.  Do something every day to move one step closer to the life you are dreaming about.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Memories of my Grammy, Alice Mulligan at 90 Years Young

My cousin, Shelly, found this in her closet and shared it with the Mulligan clan.  My "Grammy" knew how to entertain.  There are some technical difficulties in the beginning of the clip.  Once it clears up, you will see my father, Pat, and his twin brother, Mike, entertaining the crowd as a duo for the first time in twenty years.

This snippet from my past is extra special because it was Grammy's last public appearance.  It was also the last time I saw my dad doing what he did best, entertaining.  Thanks, Shelly for posting this precious family moment.  May this video brighten your day...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The 700 Blog Club

Today, I celebrate my 700th consecutive blog post.  Despite my early efforts to hide this blog from others, readers from all over the world read my daily stories and encourage me to keep it up.

Do you want to know what's next?  How about some guest bloggers from all walks of life?  I enjoy interacting with you and look forward to hosting some interesting people with inspirational stories to share.  You won't want to miss "Point-Counterpoint," a lively discussion about God and a debate about His existence.  I promised my friend, Olivier, no stones will be thrown at him.  He has been busy in the business world and my blog invitation has been on his back burner for a long time.  Soon, he will be making his first appearance and he will represent his side with passion and maybe a little fire.  I may appear out-gunned on my side since I have no theology degrees or official training, however, I do have an invisible secret weapon and I will tap into this resource for assistance.

Thanks for joining me here in my sandbox.  You are welcome to become a follower of this blog or sign the guest book.  Don't forget to check out "Free Lemonade Stories,"  my newest blog featuring regular people and a few famous ones who found a way to make lemonade out of difficult situations.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the future.  Thanks for visiting and come back again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My First Day at the Google + Party (Google Plus)

It felt like Christmas.  I couldn't wait to accept my invitation to join the newest social network, Google +.  The staff at Beatweek Magazine kindly sent an invitation within a few hours of my request.  My gmail contact list popped up on the screen and I began organizing my "circles" into categories.  Within minutes, I was emailing friends and members of my writer's group.

Google Plus is as good as your network of friends.  If your circles are empty, it's like being on a deserted island.  I can't wait to connect with others using these latest Google tools.  My favorite is the video conferencing.  Imagine you are on a video conference call with a group of friends and you can see them all at the same time.  The one who is speaking shows up at top and everyone else can be seen below.

Thanks, Google.  You are making it so easy for me to connect with my friends who are far off.

Now that I am officially inside the Google Plus circle, I will be happy to help you get in.  Anyone who is a follower of this blog can get in for free.   The first step is to join this site by clicking the button just below "Followers."  Then, send me an email at asking for an invitation and you're in.  Don't forget to bookmark this site and come back.  I will be sharing more about social networking in future posts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mulligan and Mulligan to Team Up in Doubles

It finally happened, that special moment when I handed over an autographed copy of "God's Black Sheep Squadron" to my cousin and his son, an aspiring athlete who will enter high school this year and continue the Mulligan tennis tradition we started in the seventies.  Yes, my godson has chosen tennis as his high school sport.  While he is working on his game, his father and I will be teaming up for some doubles tournaments in the men's fifty division.

At lunch, my cousin pointed out both of us are probably at half-time in our lives, assuming we make it to age 100. The competitive side of me immediately started flashing forward to the seventies and eighties and I imagined the pool of tennis opponents dwindling as each decade passes.  How morbid, isn't it?  Sorry, I just can't help it.  I love competing and I love winning, especially when it comes to tennis. 

Anyways, the book was autographed to my "younger" cousin.  About the only time I ever beat him in anything was being born two months and five days ahead of him.  Now, if I can just stay healthy long enough to blow out those one hundred candles first in forty-nine years and then wait a couple of months for him to join me in the 100+ doubles category.  If I should happen to get "called up" ahead of him, I'll send a little wind from the spirit world to assist him when he blows out his one hundred candles.  Let's just hope it's not a "hot wind."  Meanwhile,  look for Mulligan and Mulligan at a tennis tournament near you.  I look forward to teaming up with my cousin in the third and fourth quarters of our lives and to be cheering on the next generation in their endeavors.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Celebrating 20,000 Page Views

Today's story is for all those readers who are surrounded by dream killers, people who don't believe you are qualified or that you have something worthwhile to share.  Maybe you are hearing strange voices inside of you nudging you to come out of your comfort zone and share your gifts with the world?

Just over two years ago, I responded to that little voice inside me and started this blog, even though I felt unqualified.  This blog became the cornerstone for a trilogy of books, the first one already on the market and the next two under construction.  I keep my life simple....pen a love letter to my bride of twenty-two years every morning at sunrise, post a blog message here, and develop my ideas for the next two books.  After contributing to my company,, during the day, and spending time with my family in the evening, I finish the day by investing thirty minutes learning something new.

There are two types of people you can listen to.  The dream killers or the visionaries.  Dream killers either don't believe you can be better than you are, or, are afraid you can transform into something special and they don't want you to leave them behind.  Visionaries see your potential and want you to become the person you are created to be.  They realize the whole world is better when you offer your contribution.

Seek out the visionaries and take time to encourage others.  Soar with the eagles and teach others how to fly.  I owe the 20,000 page views on this blog to the special people in my life who believed in me even though I saw myself as a mere caterpillar. Thank you for reading these daily stories and for sharing this blog with your friends. 

Would you mind taking a moment of your time to become a blog follower?  You will need to first set up a Google account and become a follower using Google Friend Connect.  You can find the "join this site" button on the right margin below my welcome message.  Google is getting ready to launch an amazing new product that is free, called Google+.  In order to get it, you will need to have a Google account.  Become a follower of this blog and I will help you get an invitation to the next generation of social networking.  I was one of the first people to get on the waiting list and I promise to invite all my followers once I'm in.  You won't want to miss out on what's ahead.  Thanks again for your loyalty to this blog and for being part of the 20,000 page views.  I look forward to some great blog days ahead.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Build Your Vocabulary

I found a site to test your vocabulary.  Test your word knowledge and expand your command of the English language, compliments of Merriam-webster...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Housing Crisis Looks Like Nursery Rhymes

In the old days, people concocted nursery rhymes to share stories about difficult situations without fear of repercussions.  Maybe you or someone you know is struggling to avoid homelessness.  Here is a modern day look at our country's meltdown and a sheepish solution...

Once upon a time, Goldilocks, an unemployed young lady, was searching for porridge. She entered the home of the three bears and sampled their food.  Papa Bear's porridge was too hot, Mama Bear's was too cold and Baby Bear's was just right.  The only problem was there was not enough of Baby Bear's to eat, thanks to the Big Bad Wolf.  The Wolf made sure people like Goldilocks would never find porridge that was just right for them, even though Robin Hood gave the Wolf all the money necessary to make plenty of porridge for the entire kingdom.

The problem with Robin Hood's plan had to do with a miscalculation.  He expected the Three Blind Mice to follow him but they were too busy trying to help the people Robin Hood stole the porridge from.  The Three Blind Mice were afraid that if Robin Hood kept stealing from the rich, the kingdom would eventually run out of porridge.

While the Three Blind Mice were busy looking for new ways to help people like Goldilocks, the Big Bad Wolf started huffing and puffing until he blew all the houses down.  The people who lived in the kingdom turned to Humpty Dumpty for help but all he did was sit on the wall.  He had the power to stop the Big Bad Wolf and because he chose to sit rather than get involved, he had a great fall.

One day Mary, who had a Little Lamb, with fleece as white as snow, came to check on Goldilocks and shared some kind words with her.  She told Goldilocks to stay away from the Big Bad Wolf and follow her Little Lamb instead.  Most sheep are afraid of wolves, but her Little Lamb was special.  He knew of a glorious place where Goldilocks could live happily ever after and He would take her there if Goldilocks was willing to stop looking in all the wrong places for porridge. No matter how hard the Big Bad Wolf tried, there was no way he could ever blow the Little Lamb's house down. Everyone who followed Mary's Little Lamb got plenty to eat and their porridge was always just right.  They all lived happily ever after, except for the Big Bad Wolf.  Even in fairy tales, there is always somebody who chooses to be miserable.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Zoom Autos Magazine and Expands Through Social Marketing

Carmen Cafro, managing partner at Zoom Autos in San Diego, asked me post a blog story about the latest happenings in our company.  His enthusiasm for building car club blogs, Facebook fan pages, and a website to advertise vehicles for sale is spreading faster than a California wildfire.

In today's challenging economy, our customers demand more than ever.  The tsunami in Japan has impacted new car dealers, driving up demand for quality used cars.  Used car dealers are seeing record wholesale prices which is reducing profit margins.  All these factors contribute to the need for affordable advertising.  It's not enough to place a couple of full page ads in Zoom Autos Magazine.  Dealers want to see their advertising dollars reach their targeted audience without breaking the bank.  Social marketing is the new mantra and Zoom is going all out to help connect buyers and sellers by combining new ideas with the best of traditional ones.

Zoom Autos has become a hybrid company.  Distributing magazines to all the military bases in San Diego and all the favorite food places where cars buyers eat is just part of the equation.  The website and related car club blogs enhance the magazine, now six years old. 

More new products are on the way.  If you would like to join a car club blog or maybe start one on your own, check out  You may find your dream car on Zoom's website or in Zoom Autos Magazine.  Each page from the magazine is now duplicated online so you can flip through a magazine while you're eating at your favorite taco shop or connect with us online and see the electronic version from cover to cover.

 Click here to see our new car club Facebook page and don't forget to like us.  Come back soon and see the surprises we are working on to keep our customers happy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ramona's Evening of Prayer, 2011

My good friend, Pete Zinder, is hosting an evening of Prayer on Saturday, September 3, from 6pm to 9pm at Ramona Oaks Park.  This evening of prayer, fellowship and song is to pray for our youth and our country.  It's open to the general public.  Free hamburgers and hot dogs will be served.  If you are interested in joining us for a memorable family night, click the link below for details.  Bring a friend and spread the word.  Thanks.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Our 22nd Wedding Anniversary

She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. ~ Proverbs 3:15

The moment she walked into my life, my whole world changed.  I asked her to come sail away with me and she said yes.  We explore new worlds together and our lives are blessed with three children, each a reflection of our love for each other.

On this special day, I would like to wish my love a Happy Anniversary.  I shout it from the mountaintops,
"Helen Marie, I love you with all my heart.  I hold you in the palm of my hands and I promise to cherish you all the days of my life.  Happy Anniversary, my love."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Training for the Championships

Over the weekend, I got the opportunity to watch my tennis hero, Andre Agassi, give one more inspirational speech during his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  He is a role model because of what he accomplished on the tennis court and what he continues to do in his retirement.

Many other tennis pros thought Andre was washed up.  His heart was no longer in the game and his first marriage ended.  He looked like a kid who found out there's no Santa Claus.  His tennis ranking dropped to number 141 in the world and he was in danger of slipping into oblivion.

Andre found a way to go back to the basics.  He played in qualifier tournaments to find what was missing in his game.  When he returned to center court, he climbed all the way to the top.  He remains there even though he no longer competes on the court.  Now he has a new opponent.  He battles apathy in the school system by founding new schools that offer hope to the underprivileged. 

When Andre was on the podium, he mentioned how his father told him to win the French Open when he was just five years old.  At age seven, he told him he would win all the big tournaments and belonged in the International Hall of Fame.  He believed in his father's dreams and now gives back to the world all the world gave to him from tennis.

I think of Andre as I prepare my fifty-one-year-old body for the national WTT championships in November.  He trained with passion and believed in a dream.  It's easy to take your eye off the ball when you have a big goal in front of you.  Like Andre Agassi, my tennis team needs to follow a strict training regimen and believe we can win on center court.  Thanks, Andre, for inspiring me to be a better tennis player and, more importantly, a better person.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Get Rid of Your Excess Baggage Here

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. ~ Jeremiah 33:3

Are you sick and tired of hauling around all those suitcases loaded with all your troubles?  Have you ever thought what your life could be like if there was a way to put these bags inside a spaceship and launch them into outer space?

Imagine private enterprise has figured out a way to accept unlimited baggage.  You show up at the ticket counter to drop them off.  Inside the bags are all your letdowns, hangups and troubles.  They include past due bills, broken relationships, layoff notices, and a few addictions, like alcohol and drugs.

You watch as the bags disappear on the conveyor belt.  The agent stamps your ticket "one way" and you smile as you walk to the viewing room where this spaceship named "Redeemer" is getting ready for launch.

There is only one pilot on this ship loaded up with suitcases from all over the world.  The private sector miniaturization technology works like a charm and each bag is shrunk to the size of your wallet.  You watch in amazement as the cargo bay is loaded with thousands of bags.

It's standing room only in the viewing center and the major news networks are all there to broadcast this first ever launch.  The pilot of the "Redeemer" is cheered wildly as he waves one last time before boarding the spaceship.

"This is one small step for man and one giant step for mankind," J.C. says as he takes the first step on board the "Redeemer."

You watch as all your past troubles are launched into outer space.  For the first time in your life, you feel like the fifty pounds of concrete on top of your shoulders are gone and you sense a new life is ahead.

Once outside the earth's atmosphere, J.C. opens the cargo doors and all the bags float away.  Each night, as these bags re-enter the atmosphere, they turn into falling stars that flash across the night sky.

People all over the world eagerly await the return of the Redeemer so they can turn over all their excess bags to J.C. and start their lives over again.

The spaceship in this story may be fictional, however, there is someone waiting for you to release all your troubles to Him.  Jesus Christ is the Redeemer.  His Father sent Him to take away all your sins.  All you need to do is ask and He will do the rest.  It's as good as watching all your troubles launch into outer space.  Why not give it a try today?  Just close your eyes and invite Him into your heart.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Children Sharing What Love is

This message hit my in box this morning and it put a smile on my face.  Enjoy these morsels...

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds,
> 'What does love mean?'
> The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined
> See what you think:
> 'When my grandmother got arthritis , she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.. So my grandfather does it for her all the time , even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.'
> Rebecca- age 8
> 'When someone loves you , the way they say your name is different.
> You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.'
> Billy - age 4
> 'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.'
> Karl - age 5
> 'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.'
> Chrissy - age 6
> 'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.'
> Terri - age 4
> 'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him , to make sure the taste is OK.'
> Danny - age 7
> 'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing , you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that.
> They look gross when they kiss'
> Emily - age 8
> 'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents
> and listen.'
> Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)
> 'If you want to learn to love better , you should start with a friend who you hate , '
> Nikka - age 6
> (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)
> 'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt , then he wears it everyday.'
> Noelle - age 7
> 'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.'
> Tommy - age 6
> 'During my piano recital , I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling.
> He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.'
> Cindy - age 8
> 'My mommy loves me more than anybody
> You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.'
> Clare - age 6
> 'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.'
> Elaine-age 5
> 'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford .'
> Chris - age 7
> 'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.'
> Mary Ann - age 4
> 'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.'
> Lauren - age 4
> 'When you love somebody , your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image)
> Karen - age 7
> 'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross..'
> Mark - age 6
> 'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it , you should say it a lot. People forget.'
> Jessica - age 8
> And the final one
> The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
> Upon seeing the man cry , the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard , climbed onto his lap , and just sat there.
> When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor , the little boy said ,
> 'Nothing , I just helped him cry'
> When there is nothing left but God , that is when you find out that God is all you need.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Message from Angel #1

When Angel in the Outfield #1, Joan Brouillette, asked me to post an email she sent me, I gladly accepted.  Please take a few minutes to read today's message and spread it to your friends.  I would like to add the other countries around the world to this prayer.  We may be one nation under God, however, we all belong to one family, regardless of our individual beliefs.  Prayer is a universal language and God hears all prayers no matter what country they come from.  Thank you Joan, for thinking of others...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Help a Friend in a Health Crisis

What do you do when your loved one is in a health crisis and you don't know how to keep friends and family members updated? There is a non-profit organization with lots of tools to assist you.  Take a tour of this website and set one up for your loved one.  There is nothing better than to be comforted by a network of prayer warriors when you are facing a monumental health issue.

Check out this site, compliments of

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Death at Devil's Punchbowl in Ramona

Now the rainy season is over and water levels at Devil's Punchbowl are dropping.  This makes cliff diving and jumping dangerous.  A sixteen-year-old hiker died after plummeting eighty feet.  Eight other hikers were evacuated by helicopter when they became severely dehydrated over the 4th of July weekend.

The trails were modified to make the hike easier, although no drinking water is available.  Hikers are encouraged to prepare properly in order to avoid dehydration.

Due to the tragic death, the county is now closing this trail indefinitely.  There have been complaints from neighbors about trash, noise and overcrowded streets since the forest service spent $900,000 spent on trail improvements, attracting more hikers than the thirty-space parking lot can accommodate.  Even with the new improvements to the hiking trail, this is a difficult hike for those inexperienced with steep trails.

Recent media attention to this once hidden waterfall will only attract more visitors.  The area will be patrolled heavily and citations will be given to anyone caught hiking to the falls.  Violators could face jail time.

When the trail is re-opened, please use caution when hiking.  Alcohol is banned.  Don't forget plenty of water and snack food.  Wear hiking shoes.  If you are not in good physical condition, please avoid this area.  If the signs are up notifying you the trails are closed, do not enter the area or you may end up with a heavy fine or jail time.  Please respect the neighbors at the entrance to the hike and pick up trash.

The trail will re-open once authorities put a good plan together to make the hike safer, perhaps adding signs to keep hikers from getting lost.  This waterfall is part of the Cleveland National Forest and it truly is one of the most beautiful places in southern California.  If hikers can prepare properly and use common sense staying on the trail, the Devil's Punchbowl can be a great place to visit.

For a video clip of the Cedar Creek Falls in Ramona, click here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Life-changing Question

My quest for wisdom started as a teenage boy who felt lost.  Over the decades, I've mapped out plans for personal goals and achievements.  No matter what level of success I obtain, there is always an unsettled feeling inside me, as if something is missing. There's this yearning to find my true purpose.

One day, I asked the Holy Spirit a question that forever changed my destiny...."Holy Spirit, show me who I am in God's eyes."

The answer came to me immediately.  It was like looking in a mirror and seeing a stranger.  At first, I didn't like seeing him, some kind of caveman possessed by evil spirits.  I wanted to run away and hide.  This odd-looking creature I observed in the mirror was ugly and without clothes or possessions.  He was the opposite of what I aspired to be.

This vision of my alter-ego haunted me for years.  Moses probably felt the same way the day he discovered his true identity; he was the son of slaves not of kings.  He fled to the desert to find answers just as I left the valley of the sun to escape my past twenty two years ago.

This simple question I asked turned my life upside down. On March 17, 2013, I will share the full revelation in my second book, "The Caveman in the Mirror."  If you are ready to understand the meaning of your life, just ask God one question...

"Holy Spirit, can you please show me who I am in your eyes?"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

There it is again, that oversize 2x4, whizzing through the rain clouds and bopping me on the head.

"Okay, God,  I hear the lyrics to the rainbow song playing on the radio and I do see that full rainbow in the sky.  Yes, yes, I  see the double rainbow on top of the first one.  I know, You've been trying to get my attention for some time now."

"God, it's a nice touch that the rainbow ends directly on top of my house.  I'm pulling over now to snap a picture for my wife and kids."
A twilight zone moment...this rainbow is hitting my home.
"You want me to shoot a video, too?  Okay.  Just keep the rain away long enough for me to capture this little miracle in the sky.  Maybe after I shoot the video, You can share what You want me to do with it when I get home."

"Thanks, Heavenly Father, for the rainbows; however, I don't really need them to hear Your voice.  From now on, I'll pay better attention when You speak directly into my heart.  I promise to post this message in case someone else needs to see You today.  Thanks for revealing Yourself to me."

"One more thing, God.  Can you please let all those people of Yours, the angels, the saints, and Your special people on earth who are praying for me and my family...let them know I can feel their prayers in my heart.  Please send some blessings their way.  I know it would be nearly impossible to do all You ask of me without them.  Thanks for placing them in my life to keep my trail well lit in times of stormy weather."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's All About You

I think about you every day.  You may live far off or speak a language I don't know, yet we are connected to one another through this blog.  I wonder about you and I pray that in some small way, these daily stories encourage you to find the answers you are seeking.

It doesn't matter where we live or what color our skin is.  What's important is finding the meaning for our lives.  Don't ever let anyone try to convince you your life is insignificant or without purpose.

It's so easy to let your own circumstances cloud your view of the big picture.  Perhaps you find yourself in the Arizona desert battling 114 degree days or you live in a place where tornadoes appear without warning.  I can't fathom the dangers you face overseas living under oppression or in a country where food and water is scarce.

There are days when I'm asked questions such as...

"why did my child die before she got an opportunity to be born?"

Our world is filled with pain and suffering.  Most of the challenges we face today are because we are separated from the Creator.  We are like lost children searching for our parents.  Until we are reunited, we will have many difficult situations to face and many of our deepest questions will go unanswered.

You are created in God's image.  You have an inheritance.  A special place is being prepared for you.  No matter how difficult today is, you can get through it.  You are loved.  This blog is dedicated to you.  Seize the day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A New Writer in the Family

She did it.  The first person to comment on my blog when I started my writing journey nearly two years ago and the one who nudged me to share my story with the world has crossed the finish line.  My Aunt Marcie self published her first memoir.  Although her book was meant for family members and close friends only, her life's lessons are universal and once she discovers how her book is touching others, she may be encouraged to expand her book distribution beyond the family.

The front cover was designed by my Aunt's daughter, Renee, an art director for Conde Nast publications, the parent company of Vogue.  Renee took time out of her busy work schedule in New York City to assist her mother in this top-secret assignment.  The book is beautifully illustrated with color pictures and well crafted in it's portrayal of a woman traveling through the four seasons of her life. 

I learned some interesting tidbits about my grandparents on my mother's side of the family and enjoyed reading my aunt's life story.  The book is now in my wife's hands and then I plan to share it with some close friends who are avid readers.

Congratulations, Aunt Marcie, and thanks for inviting me to your fiesta.  Your neighbor, Lucy, who graciously opened her home to my mother, daughter, and me, summarized it best when she said "My husband and I first moved here when the kids were in diapers.  We were only supposed to be here for a short time while we searched for a home large enough to fit our family of ten kids.  My husband shared with me that neighborhoods like these are rare and refused to move away.  We squeezed the kids into our four bedroom home, all ten of them and it was worth it, thanks to neighbors like Mike and Marcie.  Even the other neighbors who moved away still get together once a month and keep in touch."

Thanks, Aunt Marcie, for sharing your words of wisdom.  Maybe you will inspire others to share their stories.  You and Uncle Mike have always been great mentors in my life.  Now, it's time for the next chapter of your life, grand-parenting.  You already have Nina in Heaven and soon you will have the first of a new generation on earth.  I'm thankful to be part of such a special family.  Thanks for sharing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Birthday Wish

Like my car's odometer, the birthdays keep turning over.  I'm doing my best to keep the engine in shape and keep this clunker on the road.  The doctor says I'm doing alright for a fifty-one-year-old.  If you are interested in sending a birthday wish for this Independence Day baby, consider this....

Email me a short story about how you overcame a difficult obstacle or circumstance in your life.  It will bring me great joy to post your story on my newest blog, "Free Lemonade Stories."   Thanks for sharing, it's the best birthday gift ever.

And to my relatives I broke bread with over the weekend in Fresno....Uncle Mike, Aunt Marcie, Mom, Larry, Sarah, Nate, Melissa, Renee, Ryan, Anne, Tony, Matthew, Amy, Anna, Adam, Michael, and my daughter, Nicole.  This weekend was a blessing.  The new members of our family are Heaven sent.  Like my precious wife, Helen, Sarah and Melissa will bring joy to an amazing family  filled with faith and strong family values.  I'm so honored to be a part of it.

As for the newest writer in the family, I offer these words of encouragement....Our Lord has blessed you with many talents.  Besides your incredible mothering skills and your example of how to live a Christian life, your talent for writing is a true blessing.  I encourage you to share it with the world rather than keep it limited to family members.  Your message is universal.  Should you choose to make it available for my blog readers, I will be happy to post a link here.  I read your story cover to cover and cried five times.  Helen is next to read it.  You have a gift and it touched me.  Thank you for sharing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Special Family Time

There is nothing like a good road trip to soothe the soul.  I'm enjoying quality father-daughter time on our last road trip together before she leaves for college.  There is a part of me that's sad, knowing another one is about to leave the nest.  It reminds me how important it is to savor each precious moment.

Thank you, Lord, for all these amazing aunts, uncles and cousins and for giving me a weekend to be with them.  I especially thank you for letting me have quality time with my daughter and for allowing me to be her temporary custodian.  In a couple of months, my wife and I will let go of her and release her back to your guiding hand.  Please bless all who read this blog today and inspire them to seek out a long lost relative.  Life is too short to live apart from loved ones.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Reunion Time

It's family reunion time today.  By the time this message posts, I will be on a road trip to visit relatives on my mom's side of the family.  Tonight, one of my special aunts will reveal her first book.  She asked me to keep this a secret when she first started writing it and came to me for publishing advice.  Her daughter, a graphic artist, helped design the front cover and the book is complete.  I can't wait to read her story.

My hope is to inspire other family members to publish their stories and link their books on my friends and family page.  If you have something to share with the blog world, email me a link at and I will post it for you.  I will respond when I return from my reunion.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Excuse Train

I decided to get off the excuse train.  All the passengers I met shared the same story...

"I should have done this, I could have done that, I would have (fill in the blank), blah, blah, blah."

It turns out the train was on an oval track, like the one I got for Christmas when I was a young boy.  Was I the only one on the train who bothered to look out the window?  The landscape kept repeating itself like a broken record.  The passengers were too busy talking about their should'as, could'as, and would'as to notice the train stopped once I pulled the emergency chord.

"It's time to get off the excuse train," I shouted.  "Can't you see this train is headed for Nowheresville?"  Each passenger had an excuse and refused to disembark.

"All right," I said.  "If you want to waste your lives away riding this train, that's your choice.  You can have all my baggage, I'm not taking it with me.  Each suitcase is stuffed with excuses and I'm tired from all the weight, they're a heavy load."

I opened the exit door and walked out while the passengers sorted through my worn-out belongings, each one finding the perfect excuse to add to their luggage.  It felt good to leave the should'as, could'as and would'as behind me.

 It's time to start flying, I thought as I headed toward the airport.  I'm ready to soar.  How about you?  Are you ready to get off the excuse train?