Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My California Home Closes Escrow Today

If I were to write a book about my experience selling my California home of 22+ years, it would be titled, War and Peace with my Mortgage Company.  Some say living in California is like living in a third world country.  I believe some third world countries are more advanced.  Here are a few lessons I learned about my state:

  • God is not allowed in our public schools.
  • California judges think they're smarter than California voters.
  • People on unemployment lose their benefits if they seek formal training programs or re-enter school.
  • Religious leaders who speak their minds about political candidates from the pulpit risk losing taxation exemptions.
  • A parent in California does not have the right to be notified if their child seeks medical help concerning abortion.
  • Mortgage companies in California who mislead homeowners, fail to follow California law, or take taxpayer money and then put it in their pockets are settling with a mere slap on the wrist while millions of hard-working Californians are becoming homeless.
  • In order to complete a short sale in California, sellers must sign away all legal rights and forgive the banks for any and all wrong-doing.
  • Robo-signing in California is not science-fiction.  In fact, it's only the tip of the iceberg. 
I have finally made peace with my mortgage company.  In order to do that, I had to threaten war, and I was ready to win.  Now it's time to "acknowledge and move on."  I'm ready for peace.  I'm one of the lucky ones who held my mortgage company's  feet to the fire and avoided foreclosure.  How about you?  Have you been able to overcome any obstacles with your mortgage company in California?  Please add your comment below.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Life's Mission Statement from my Business Partner

One of my business partners, Jeff, gave me this.  It's the Holstee Manisfesto ©2009, great words to live by.  Enjoy...

Do you have a life's mission statement?  Please comment below.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Learning From The Pros

No matter what answer I'm searching for, thanks to the power of the internet, I can find an expert on any topic within seconds.  Last Saturday, I was searching YouTube for expert advice on conducting live auctions, just hours before hosting a fundraiser for my church.  The pointers gained from these internet mentors made a huge impact on my performance.

Many pros are willing to offer free advice on their blogs or websites.  Anytime I find an expert in a particular area of interest, I look up their Twitter handle and follow them.  This is especially helpful for subject matter that is changing rapidly.  Their tweets point me to the latest trends; I stay current by clicking on their latest posts.

Have you been in a situation where you used the internet to locate an expert?  How did the internet help you to learn a lesson?  Please leave your comments below.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zooming in the Zoom Truggy

Ramona's finest, Tony "Truggy" Montegna.
Congratulations to my friend, "Tony Truggy,"  owner of the world-famous Zoom Truggy, who started out in last place and zoomed over a crowded field of entrants to take second place in an ESPN televised event last weekend.

Tony told me, "the only reason I didn't get first is because I rolled.  I'll be back in three weeks and this time I'm coming home with first place."

Tony is a man of action.  He works hard, plays hard, and sometimes...he rolls.

If you live in Ramona, look him up at Main Street Auto Care, at 2317 Main Street.  He and his partner, Vince, will keep your car on the road.  And when you see him on TV racing his Zoom truggy, pay close attention as he zooms by the competition.  At a top speed of 140 mph, you might miss him if you blink.

Looking for more car club news in the San Diego area?  Click here for links to the Zoom Autos car club blog.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Going Away Party?

I don't recall my social calendar being this full.  Last Saturday night I hosted a dinner/dance/auction fundraiser for my church at the Barona Indian Reservation.  Monday night my critique group sponsored a going away party.  On Thursday, my business partners treated me to one final lunch together.  This afternoon, my tennis buddies planned a "going away" tennis social, followed by a roast.  It's no ordinary roast.  It's a Mulligan roast.  Yes, I'm on the menu, literally.  And the guests are arriving hungry.  Cannibals!

I thought that would be the end of all the going away parties. However, my good buddy, Deacon Pat, called and asked if I would show up for one last going away gathering before my family and I move to the Midwest.  Since my house is scheduled to close escrow in three days on Leap Year, I'm pretty sure this is the last going away party.

People ask me why I don't read scripts when I'm speaking in front of crowds.  The answer is simple,  I really do follow a script, one written on my heart by my Creator.  He provides the script day-by-day on a need to know basis.  I don't need to memorize my lines, just live them, one day at a time.  And this will be my final message before leaving California:  You're in good hands as long as you follow the script.  I may not know what's ahead, however, I do know the end of the story.  It's one great climax the world will never forget...Jesus will return for one last going away party.  Every knee will bow.  That's a party you won't want to miss.  Comment below if you plan to be there when Jesus returns.

***News Flash***

I just received this email from a member of my writer's critique group.  She pleaded with me to help her daughter.  Her is an excerpt from her email she asked me to share with my blog readers...

This 7-year old Junior Apprentice was warmly embraced by locals from CEO Space, and encouraged in her reading, by founder Berny Dohrmann. Today she is working on her first manuscript and a 4th venture. She wants to get her business off the ground at the school that has already helped develop her. If her video receives the most votes, she’ll win a full scholarship to learn from the top minds in the world, and her mom will get to demonstrate what autism really is. Will you please help her?
  1. Follow the link below and like the page.   
  2. Then click the tab on the left that says: Contest of a Lifetime”.  
  3. Vote for the video titled “Adriell."
This is time sensitive. You can cast your vote every single day until March 7 at 11:00pm! Please share this with all your friends. Thanks!

Click here to vote.

I invited the young apprentice to my going away party.  My hope is for this young visionary's dream to come true.  Your daily vote and your sharing of this blog message will be the greatest farewell gift you could give me.  Thanks for helping out a fellow writer.

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Emotional Day Reading Scripture at my Church

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19

The quote above is an excerpt from Isaiah I read in front of my congregation last Sunday, my last official duty before moving out of state.  As I read verse 19, I thought about the new thing God is doing in me.  I thought about all the times I resisted His plans, His changes, His nudges, to create something new in me.

In some ways, I'm the wanderer in the wilderness, the one searching for fresh water in the barren desert.  And Isaiah speaks of our God who plucks us from that wilderness and replants us in fertile soil watered by life-giving streams.

Yes, I do perceive a new thing springing forth.  One chapter of my life has been written.  Now it's time to write a new one in a new state.  At last, I'm ready to follow Him out of the wilderness.

What Bible scripture speaks to you?  Please comment below.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tennis Player, Leland Rolling, Rallies for Earthquake Victims in Christchurch, New Zealand

Leland Rolling and wife, Tracy.
Today's guest post is from Leland Rolling, a member of the USA men's team and winner of the "Mr. San Diego" tennis award, who played in an international tennis tournament in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Leland is ranked in the top ten in the nation in the men's 45 division and was selected to join the elite team of Americans competing on a world-wide stage.  During the competition, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck.  This is his story, one year later...

“GET THE KIDS!!!!” The scream came from the other side of the hotel room. The noise around us was deafening… like standing next to a speeding freight train as it passes a foot away. But I heard the scream. For a flash I looked at the roof and the walls… they were moving. Wood 2x4’s were starting to poke through and glass was shattering. Cracks were moving up one side of the room. Pieces of the ceiling were falling. I reached for both my boys, grabbed them, and tried to guide them under a small computer table, having much difficulty because I really could not stand or keep my balance. I knew Tracy was nearby and somehow we found ourselves all huddled together… riding out the shaking.. for what seemed like an eternity.

Members of the USA international tennis team enter center court.
It was February 22nd 2011, 12:51PM (Feb 21st here, 3:51PM). My wife Tracy and my two sons were in ChristChurch, New Zealand for an International tennis competition. By virtue of my tennis achievements the previous year, I had been selected to be part of the United States Team representing our country in the World Tennis Championships. I decided to make the extra expense and fly us all to New Zealand and stay for 10 days.  A wonderful family vacation, I thought.

The Rollings apartment near the epicenter.
It was a magnitude 6.3 Quake. By California standards, not big. I had felt the 7.0 quake in San Diego the previous Easter. I’ve been through dozens of quakes, having lived in California my entire life. But this one was so different. Loud. Violent. Intense. We would find out later the epicenter of this quake was only a couple miles from our hotel and only 5KM deep. Most quakes are 30-50KM deep or more. Our 4th floor room was a mess. The microwave had flown out of the wall and landed in the middle of the room (full of food we were warming). Tables were knocked over. Glass everywhere. Everything had ended up on the floor.

Hotel staff came immediately and told us to get out of the room and out of the hotel. No time to think, just go. We were not fully dressed… I had just come back from practice. No time to grab anything. Could be a gas leak. Building could be on fire. So Tracy rushed the boys out and down a flight of concrete stairs (thank God the stairs were in tact…could have been a terrible situation). I grabbed only a few things and followed. Another 5.7 aftershock hit. Violent. Looked as if the street lights would flip over and the 100 year old trees in the park across the street would uproot.

A street view of Christchurch moments after the quake.
We were in shock. Frightened. Both the boys cried. They wanted to go home right then. We had only a few things. No shoes. No clothes. No money. For about an hour we were completely uncertain of what might happen next. Tracy started to feel pain in her back. Turns out she broke several ribs trying to get under the computer table in the hotel room. And she banged her head too. Boys thankfully were physically unhurt. Just emotionally done.  

As time passed (we spent a few hours in a Salvation Army Refugee camp that had been set up, then met up with some other tennis players who were playing an hour south of ChristChurch and had a hotel room), a few days later we arranged our travel home and started to realize the impact this was going to have on the people of the city. We were the lucky ones. Bruised, battered, scared, tired, but going to get home eventually For the rest of the people in ChristChurch, the nightmare was just beginning. Their Infrastructure was destroyed – water, sewer, roads, phone, electricity.. all severely damaged. Houses wiped out either completely or partially. 185 people dead, most of them in two buildings that collapsed, one of which was a quarter-block from our hotel.

The tennis courts were destroyed during the earthquake.
It’s a year later and very few buildings have been rebuilt. The main commerce section of the city has been replaced with shipping containers that are being used as store fronts, just to insure the citizens have access to food, water and other essentials. Thousands of people have been displaced. Few businesses are up and running that were in the center of town. This event has had an incredible effect on the people.

But they are determined, many of them, to stay and rebuild. The city has history and its people want that history to continue. ChristChurch was (is) the second largest city in the country, next to Auckland. And the people there want to see it thrive once again. They are kind people. Very generous. Many of them came to the refugee camp and offered up their homes (even if they were damaged) to people that day who had no place to go. And many lost loved ones, family members, children.

We need to remember the people of ChristChurch. I am lucky that my life continued after that day and I was able to come home to a roof, and water, and food. Not everyone there has that luxury, even today.


 Leland and his wife, Tracy, would like to rally your support to help the good people of Christchurch who are still dealing with numerous aftershocks, loss of power, and lack of funds one year after the quake. You can help these resilient people rebuild by sending your donation to one of the following support groups:

MatchPoint International -

More direct links organizations in New Zealand providing relief -

Please share this story with a friend and help this community recover.  Thanks for your support. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

God's Plans Unfold

What happens when you let God be in charge of your life?  I don't mean one or two areas of your life, I mean everything.  Does that sound a little scary to you?  If it does, you may be having some trust issues.  I was the same way during my teenage years.  I prayed expecting to get action.  I got silence.  God knew I wasn't ready to give Him everything.  God waited for me to trust Him 100% before He revealed His plans.

I'm astonished at God's ways.  He has a plan.  His plan requires my cooperation.  As long as I believe His plan is better than my plan and I choose to follow His plan, I have absolutely nothing to be afraid of.  This is such a comfortable place to be.  There is no fear in my life.  Zero.

Does surrendering your own will lead to an unfulfilled life?  No.  It leads to completeness.  Everything you are - your creativity, your dreams,  and your hopes, they are all gifts from the Creator.  When you use them to do what you are created to do, everything falls into place.  This doesn't mean you are exempt from challenges.  Challenges are part of the plan.  When you are confronted with difficult circumstances, turn to God for answers and He will show you solutions.

How are God's plans unfolding in your life?  Do you trust Him?  Please add your comments below.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trivia Bee I is Buzzing with Activity at the Ramona Library, Saturday Night, Feb. 25

Want to know what all the buzz is about at the Ramona library this Saturday, February 25?  It's the first annual "Trivia Bee I", a night of fun including wine tasting and an interactive game of "Trivia Bee."  Doors open at 6:00 PM at the community room.  Come join the fun.  Audience participation is needed and winners will get great prizes.  Representatives from all the service clubs in town will be there to share about what's going on and help sign you up for upcoming events scheduled throughout the year.

Tickets are only $25 for a great evening of fun and opportunities to win awesome prizes.  You can get your tickets in advance at the Friends of the Library Bookstore or at the door the evening of the event.

Support this community fundraiser and be a part of making the library the best resource center for books, movies, internet access and storytelling for young children.  All funds raised will be used to improve programs offered to the public.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.  Bring a friend.  The Ramona Library is located at 1275 Main St, Ramona.

If you are unable to attend but would like to join the Friends of the Library, click here. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lights Out With 8:08 To Go

Today's post is a shout out to all those around the world who keep seeing 8:08 everywhere.  Check out what happens in this pro basketball game with 8:08 to go...

Some of you may be asking, "is God trying to reach me through number sequences?"

My answer is not limited to 808's or other specific numbers.  I believe God uses infinite ways to reach us.  The most obvious is His Son, Jesus.  Less obvious, but equally important is the Holy Spirit, the One who inspired the prophets to foretell of the Father's plans, the One who planted seeds in the Gospel writers, the One who uses any means necessary to reach your heart.

If you are searching for the meaning of life, start with the Bible.  I'm in awe at the countless connections I discover daily.  Next, get connected with other followers.  Learning about God in a community will remove any fear you may have, especially at times when the lights suddenly go out when you're at a public sporting event.  Could it be the Holy Spirit trying to get your attention.  Do you have a comment to share about how God reached you?  Leave your comment below.  Thanks for joining the conversation.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Last Day Reading Scripture In Front Of My Congregation

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” ~ Rom 12:21

One of my greatest joys is reading Scripture in front of my congregation, a volunteer job I've done for the last twenty-two years.  Years ago, I mentored other readers and organized schedules before relinquishing coordinating duties.  My volunteer work was taking its toll on my family and I promised my wife I would learn to say no to some tasks in order to find balance.

There is something special about reading Scripture out loud.  Yes, reading it to myself is meaningful;  proclaiming it in front of an audience is spine-tingling.  My favorite readings are from Paul.  This was a man who hated Christians and pursued them with relentless zeal.  When he met Jesus, his passion for killing Christians changed from pursuing Christians to serving Christians.  He wrote numerous letters, now part of the New Testament.  When I read them, I sometimes I feel he is speaking to me; when I read them in front of a crowd, I feel as if he is speaking "through" me.  This is a gift from the Holy Spirit.

What gifts do you share with others?  Please leave your comments below.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Putting On the Emcee Hat Tonight

One year ago today, my pastor said to me, "I didn't know you were an auctioneer."

"Neither did I," I replied.  It was my first attempt at being an auctioneer.  What an experience that was.

That's the beauty of YouTube.  You can watch videos of the best auctioneers in the world, and then stand up in front of a large crowd and ham it up like you've been an auctioneer your whole life.  Tonight I get to put on my tux and wear my dancing shoes.  Once again, I get to serve my church community and host the biggest fundraiser of the year.  The highlight is the live auction.  After I put away the microphone, my wife and I will dance until they close the place down.

Have you ever tried something outside your comfort zone?  Please add your comments below.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Love Matters

How are those Valentine's flowers doing?  Ever since my wife and I decided to turn Valentine's Day into a month of celebration, we discovered new ways to keep our flowers from wilting.  Love matters.  Daily expressions of love keep our hearts beating with passion.

I challenge you to look inside your heart and find your own creative ways to express your love.  Cultivate your love garden so it remains in full bloom year-round.  What have you done differently to show your loved one that love matters?  I invite you to comment below.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are You Hitting Home Runs?

Babe Ruth
Striking out is part of life.  Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, nearly twice as many times as his 714 home runs.  He could have settled for singles and doubles in order to avoid the strikeouts.  But then he would have disappeared in the outfield with all the others who settled for mediocrity. 

Do you fear striking out?  Does this fear keep you off the field of life?  Or do you settle for hitting singles and doubles when you know you can do so much better?

My greatest life lessons come from my strikeouts.  Every day I dream of hitting home runs.  I don't even track the strikeouts; my casualty list is even greater than Babe's.

What is really comes down to is your plate appearances.  It's all about facing the giant on the mound, day after day.  Don't ever give up on your dreams.  Show the world you can hit it out of the park.  That's how the world will remember you.  Strikeouts are only stepping stones leading you to the hall of fame.  Swing away.  Are you ready to hit some home runs?  In case you need a little extra inspiration, take a look at this young military lady who is not afraid to ask Tim Tebow for a date.  Don't forget to share about your home runs.  Make a plate appearance in the comments section below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Art of Storytelling

The comedian below has mastered the art of storytelling.  You will get a laugh out of this video...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Add Some Spice to Your Valentine's Day

If Beethoven had grown up in South America, he may have added a little spice to his classics like you see in the red hot video below.  If you're in a Valentine's Day rut, try spicing things up.  Any spicy ideas to share on this Valentine's Day?  Leave your comments after you watch the video below...

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Different Kind of Valentine's Month

50% Chance of Rain in San Diego on Valentine's Day.
My wife and I decided long ago that limiting our Valentine's celebration to a single day was unfulfilling.  We changed it up and adopted the entire month of February as "Valentine's Month."  We take turns every year being in charge of the daily activities.  What a great way to celebrate love and romance.  This year, we are still enjoying Valentine's Month, however, our hours are filled with activities centered around our move to the Midwest.  It's a different kind of Valentine's month.

How do you celebrate love?  If you're limiting yourself to a single day, you're missing out.  And if your to do list is leaving you no room for romance, take a step back and figure out how to spice up your love life even in the mundane tasks, like driving to the waste dump site to unload your unwanted electronics.  Even a run to the dump with a car loaded with garbage can be romantic if you use the moment to share what's going on in your heart.

Even though it may be a little late this year to celebrate Valentine's Month for the full month, it's not too late to take advantage of leap year and finish the month on a romantic high note.  Promise yourself you will do something out of the ordinary for your loved one every day for the rest of the month.  Do the unexpected.  Take advantage of every moment, even if it's saying "I love you" in the middle of a dump yard.

What are your fondest memories of past Valentine's Day celebrations?  Use the comment button below if you would like to share.  Happy Valentine's Month.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Is Your Head Spinning?

Do you tweet, Mr. President?
Even Presidents get stuck when it comes to change.  They are baffled by new technology and look to social media experts to stay connected in cyber-space.  The more I learn about the latest trends, the more I realize I'm behind the times.  How to you get over the social media headache?

You could throw your smart phone in the river or shut off the internet, however, the world will keep changing - with you or without you.  Here's a few ideas to stop your head from throbbing.

  1. Take baby steps.  Just because the world is changing at lightning speed, you don't have to.  Learn one new thing each day.  By the time this year is over, you will be walking confidently and your children and grandchildren will think you're cool.
  2. Watch YouTube videos.  If you can get over the fact that most "experts" aren't old enough to drive, you can learn everything you need to know about the latest internet offerings simply by typing your "how-to" request in the search bar and watching a tutorial.
  3. Get a twitter account and search for leaders in your area of interest.  I joined the Twitter party late.  This is how industry leaders keep in touch.  Maybe you will get a tweet from the president once his kids teach him how to use it.
Do you have any ideas to contribute about all the new social media changes?  Leave your comments below and join the party.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What flavor is your passion?

A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents. ~ Dr. Matija Strlic, a chemist at University College London

If your passion were a food, what would it be?  Would it be an appetizer you savor before the main course? Or a dessert you save for the end of the meal after you've finished all your veggies?  Are you afraid to eat it because you may become what you eat?

The flavor of my passion is vanilla.  Perhaps its scent is what attracts me to old books, just as it attracts Dr. Matija Strlic, a scientist dedicated to analyzing the smell of old books.  Besides savoring the sweet fragrance of vanilla, I love to swoosh a spoonful of vanilla ice cream in my mouth before swallowing.  It tingles my insides while traveling down my throat, a cool contrast on a hot summer day.  When the vanilla reaches my heart, it sets it on fire, driving me to expel flavorful words out from my fingertips and onto the keyboard of my Macbook Pro.

It would be so easy to skip all other foods, even water, and live on vanilla alone, however, I realize a healthy writer is one who balances his passion with flavors found in other food sources.  At last, I've found the proper diet.  I begin each day at 5:00AM, unscrewing the cap from my precious vanilla.  Even the sound from the cap unscrewing makes me salivate.  And when the clock ticks 8:08AM, it's time to put the cap back on my sweetest delight and see what else is on the menu.

What flavor is your passion?  Leave your comment below.  And if you're like me and your passion is writing, click here to enter my writer's kitchen.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Your Excuse is Invalid

Life is a marathon.  I admit I wanted to leave the track once or twice.  Thought I had some good excuses for giving up.  Then I saw this picture a Facebook friend posted on her wall...

My excuses disappeared.  My sour frown suddenly sweetened into a smile, thanks to number 43.  Yes, smiles are contagious.  You may have an excuse today, a reason why you have a sad face.  This young runner doesn't have time to hear your grievance.  He ran out of excuses a long time ago.  And he doesn't care if he comes in first or last.  He doesn't have any excuses to slow him down, they were all disqualified at the starting line.  Whatever your excuse is, your excuse is invalid.  Got a comment?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

50 Reasons Why I'm Happy

The other day I sat on a swing in my backyard.  My bare feet soaked up the sun as if it were a summer day.  I closed my eyes and thought of fifty reasons why I'm happy...

  1. I'm married to the love of my life.
  2. I have three precious children.
  3. I have a mother who loves me without fail.
  4. I mended a broken fence with my father before he said his final good-bye.
  5. I discovered why I'm here on this planet.
  6. A higher authority is in charge of my life.
  7. As tough as the journey may be, I know I will cross the finish line no matter what.
  8.  I have the best team of business partners in the world.
  9. Even though some of my enemies haven't forgiven me, I've forgiven them...all of them.
  10. I'm surrounded by loving siblings, Aunts, Uncles, cousins and in-laws.
  11. I have friends in my church community who encourage me.
  12. I always get up after every fall.
  13. I have friends all over the world.
  14. New technology helps me to keep in touch with my friends.
  15. My writers critique group is filled with people who are willing to mentor me.
  16. My tennis friends, past and present.
  17. Every person who offered me encouragement, a smile, or a pat on the back.
  18. Every person who read something I wrote and found something of value.
  19. My spiritual role models.
  20. My ancestors.
  21. Those who serve our country in the military.
  22. The firefighters who saved my home against all odds.
  23. Jack Lalanne, who autographed his picture and sent words of encouragement just before his exit.
  24. Bruce Marchiano, plays Jesus on the big screen, lives Jesus on the small screen.
  25. Jeni Stepanek, first best-selling author to say yes to my blog interview request.
  26. Erma Bombeck.
  27. My teachers and classmates from MHT.
  28. My teachers and classmates from SHS, especially "Snora."
  29. My teachers and classmates from Glendale CC.
  30. My teachers and classmates from ASU.
  31. My tennis mentors.
  32. My business mentors.
  33. My Facebook friends.
  34. My Google+ friends.
  35. My Twitter friends.
  36. All things Google.
  37. The sunrises.
  38. The sunsets.
  39. Creative people.
  40. Caregivers.
  41. My neighbors.
  42. Createspace.
  43. Musicians.
  44. Writers and bloggers.
  45. YOU...yes, YOU, the one reading this list right now, wondering if I'm thankful for YOU.  Yes, I am.  And I will always remember YOU, no matter how far away I'm sent, I will always be thankful for YOU and I will always remember YOU.
  46. My daily bread.
  47. God, the Father, the Creator of the universe.
  48. God, the Son, the One who died for you and me so that we may have new life.
  49. God, the Holy Spirit, the One who inspires me to write about why I'm happy.
  50. Creation...a wondrous marvel filled with infinite reasons for all of us to be happy.
What is your number one reason for being happy?  I would love to hear it.  It will add to my happiness.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Time for a Mulligan Roast

My tennis buddies are planning a going away party for me.  My doubles partner, Larry, says it's going to be a roast, and I'm on the menu, literally.  When I first came to Ramona over twenty-two years ago, I met Elliott Fox, the leader of a men's tennis group that met every Saturday morning for hours of fun on the courts.  I asked Elliott to introduce me when I held my book release party at the new library.  His kind words touched me.  This upcoming roast will be much different.  I'm expecting some overhead smashes, a few drop shots, and a rally of words as long as some of the exchanges between my heroes, Nadal and Federrer.

My buddies are going to have lots of fun putting me on the rotisserie.  I will have my fun, too.  It may not happen right away.  Give me a few years.  When the time is right, I'll be serving a roast of my own.  It will be a novel filled with unsavory characters who have an uncanny resemblance to the chefs at the Mulligan roast.  Ahhh, the joy of writing!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dealing With Stress

Jimmy Connors scuffling.
I don't have the best coping skills.  When another person attacks me on a personal level, I have difficulty recovering.  My stress levels are off the charts right now because I'm in the middle of a relocation.  My to do list is massive.  Others in my circumstances might choose drinking, gambling, or other harmful activities in order to take their minds off the challenges they face.  I choose to write.

In high school, tennis was my coping mechanism.  It was a great way to have an outlet for my anger.  That fuzzy tennis ball got a daily four hour long beating.  The ball got thrashed but my sanity remained intact.

There are people close to me who don't understand me.  They ridicule me.  They offer to "intervene" so I can be saved before I fall off the cliff.  The irony of it all is in the solution I found to deal with stress.  Just like AA or overeater's anonymous, I created a gathering place for people who can't stop writing, a cyber-space place for people to share their addiction.  Every Friday, other guests who are more chronic in their addiction share their passion.  The meeting place, Caveman Reflections Cyber-bistro, is a light house beckoning others who seek refuge from a world that doesn't understand why they are obsessive compulsive writers.  Some visitors remain anonymous while others publicly admit they are destined to write every day no matter their circumstances.

Is there a cure for someone like me?  I do believe if I were to stop pursuing my life's passion, it would be like asking my heart to stop beating.  The self-imposed writing restrictions from 5:00AM to 8:08AM are a reasonable compromise.  I remember the story about Jimmy Connors when he first held a tennis racket at the age of two.  His grandmother removed him from the tennis courts every day after his short play time.  Young Jimmy was always kicking, screaming and scuffling, refusing to leave.  His desire to play tennis consumed him and he couldn't wait to be back on the courts the next day.  At 8:08 every morning, my court time is over for the day.  I promise there will be no kicking or screaming.   No intervention is needed.   I think I found a way to deal with my stress.  How do you manage stress?  Leave your comments below.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why I Know Prayer Works

Every one of us on the planet has at least one gift.  I discovered my wife's gift early in our 22+ years of marriage.  She prays daily and God hears her requests.  When she first approached me about relocating to the Midwest over four years ago so she could be closer to her siblings, I scoffed.  So did our two oldest children.  My wife prayed.  And God changed our hearts, like changing your least favorite vegetable into your favorite fruit.  I'm still shaking my head about the way He positioned all the players on the field so that every Hail Mary my wife threw was caught.

My childhood prayer for wisdom has been answered.  No, I don't claim to be smarter than anyone else; I do claim to see things most others overlook, like God answering my wife's prayers.  He doesn't just move the mountains, He inspires others to participate in the movement.  It's like building a house without having enough money to complete it.  Then, out of nowhere, the resources show up just in time for the next phase of construction.

The success of prayers is tied to faith.  There must be an expectation the prayer request will be granted.  The prayer request needs to be for something that will improve humanity.  For example, if you have a heart for helping a neighbor in need but you don't have the resources, ask God to bless you with the tools you need to help the neighbor.  Be specific.  Have faith.  And watch Him answer your prayer.  Don't forget to thank Him.  Stay out of the limelight.  Point the spotlight back to the One who answered your prayer.

Yes, prayer works.  And to prove it, check back with me in thirty days and I'll give you my new Iowa, the endzone my wife has fixed her eyes upon during the entire football game.  Her teammates are all doing the salsa dance we learned while watching Victor Cruz of the New York Giants at the Super Bowl.  Do you have a story to share about how your prayers were answered?  Leave your comments below.  Here's a video link to one of my wife's favorite books...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You

John F. Kennedy challenged every American to contribute during his inaugural speech.  Click here to read it.  If he were still with us today, he would be surprised how many deny his pleas.  I confess my guilt.  I asked my banks to help me when my income declined and I could no longer meet my obligations.  I asked my state to assist me with grant money for my children for college.  I'm no longer a contributor but a taker, instead of filling the bucket, I'm a hole in the bucket.

I could blame the banks for their unwillingness to change the terms of my bloated mortgage.  I could blame the IRS for charging penalties when I cashed in my retirement account to fund day-to-day expenses.  I could even blame congress for teaching me it's okay to just borrow more when you're in a bind.  Instead, I remember the words of John F. Kennedy.  I remember where the greatness of this country comes from.  Today I make this promise to myself, my family, and my country.  From this day forward I will be a better example.  Here's my pledge:

  • I will no longer borrow money and live outside my means.
  • I will cut out all unnecessary spending.
  • I will ask "what can I do for this country?" and stop asking "what can this country do for me?"
The strength of this country comes from admitting our weaknesses.  It's time for my family to be an example.  It's time to cut up those credit cards.  It's time to ask congress to stop spending money it doesn't have.  If every one of us follows the advice of John F. Kennedy, then we can restore our families and our country.  Care to comment?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Even Passions Have Their Limits

The blur between my "online world" and my "offline world" is getting fuzzier.  I so love connecting with other passionate people all over the planet.  This leads to a time management challenge which I must address.  My family needs me.  There are chores to do.  We are facing a major life event with our move to the Midwest in less than thirty days.  Here's my solution:

For the next thirty days, I will put strict limits on my "online world."  All writing and social media contact will be handled at specific times...

  • Writing, blogging, emailing, and social media contacting begins at 5:00AM daily.
  • Writing, blogging, emailing, and social media contacting ENDS at 8:08AM daily.
  • At 8:08AM I exit the writing cave and interact in the offline world like "normal" people.
  • Unless it's an extreme emergency, I will not respond to writing related emails until 5:00AM the following day.
  • Socalmulligan808 and Caveman Reflections blogs will each maintain a seven day reserve of stories to allow a one week blog "vacation" while I move my family to Iowa.  There will be no "online world" contact during this time, although my online friends will still see a steady flow of stories on both blogs at 8:08AM every day, even while I'm on vacation.  
Should I be fortunate enough to land a job involving my writing passion, I will modify my schedule in order to serve my blog readers without interfering with my new employer.  There is still an outside hope I may be able to turn my writing and speaking "hobby" into a full-time career.  This is an interesting topic of conversation amongst other family members.   For me, this is where prayers for discernment come in handy.

Thank you for your understanding about my need to put limits on my passions.  An amazing adventure awaits and my family is super excited about the changes we face.  With the right amount of balance between online and offline activities, I believe the quality of both will improve.  Care to comment?

Friday, February 3, 2012

30,000 Pageviews and Counting

Thank you for reading my daily stories.  Your encouragement along the way is much appreciated.  Your feedback helps me to offer a better blog experience.  30,000 pageviews.  What a journey.  And it's really only just beginning.  Here's what you can expect from me in the future...
  • The Caveman in the Mirror, my first novel.  Release date is 3/17/13.
  • A new blog for passionate writers, editors, publishers, literary agents, and social media experts.  Click here to visit Caveman Reflections, A Cyber-bistro.
  • Free Lemonade Stories - A blog dedicated to people who wish to share their story about overcoming obstacles.  Top stories will become part of an Ebook, offered free to readers who follow any of my three blogs.  The release date is dependent on how many people share their stories.
  • Consistent blog writing.  New stories are posted every day at 8:08AM on this blog and at Caveman Reflections Cyber-bistro.  I'm now writing over 1,000 words a day.
  • Free Stuff- Bookmark this site and come by again for free give-aways.  Don't forget to visit my new Cyber-bistro and become a V.I.P. member.  You will be automatically entered in the monthly drawing for free autographed collector copies.
The greatest lesson I learned is to live your dreams.  When I founded my publishing business with my partners, all high achievers, I paid a high price.  The first two years as an entrepreneur,  I gave back any earnings in the form of capital contributions.  We challenged one of the biggest corporations in America.  When a second conglomerate entered the picture, we ended up fighting two multi-billion dollar giants at the same time, with limited resources.  The other giants have left our turf.  My role in the company today is limited to being an investor.  My partners now run the day-to-day operations while I pursue my ultimate impact the world through my writing and public speaking.  The 30,000 pageviews really only represent the first mile in my life's marathon.  I feel so alive.  Thanks for your support.  Let's keep running together.  The comments section is a place for you to share your journey with me.  Carpe Diem!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Tour of the Cyber-kitchen

I opened Caveman Reflections Cyber-bistro at the start of the New Year to bring people together who share a passion for writing.  If this blog is my sandbox for sharing general things going on in my life, consider the Cyber-bistro as a separate place dedicated to writing, editing, publishing, and sharing about social media.

Sometimes, these blogs overlap.  Since many of the visitors at the Cyber-bistro don't know me, I decided to invite bistro guests into the kitchen for a one-on-one conversation.  Should you decide to become a V.I.P. member of the bistro, click the follow button located on the right margin just below the countdown clock.  All bistro members are automatically entered in monthly drawings for chances to win a collector copy of my next book.

Click here to meet me in the kitchen.  Thanks for stopping by today.  If you have a friend who is a writer, please spread the word about my new blog for writers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Show Me The Plan

A good plan needs a strategy for proper execution.  I sat down with my wife and youngest son the other day to make the plan for our exit from California.  I based the plan on Michael Hyatt's Life Plan.  My family is eager for the next chapter of our lives.  The plan includes seven projects.  Each project has a leader or co-leader and all projects are vital to the success of our move.  Here's a few examples of our plan.  May it inspire you to write down all the things that are important to you and your family.  Don't forget to join Michael Hyatt's subscription list so you can read his Life Plan Ebook.

  • Close escrow on our home by 2/29.
  • Stay on top of all school work in Cyber-school (yes- my son attends on-line school) during move.
  • Get jobs in Iowa.
  • Find a new home to rent.
  • Get a moving truck.
  • Sell any possessions we don't need.
  • Daily love letters no matter how busy we are during move.
  • One week ahead on blogs to build a cushion during relocation.
  • Plan two routes to Iowa - one for maximum scenery, the other in case of inclement weather.
  • Notify friends and family about our plans.
  • Pray.
  • Treat every day like an adventure and savor the beauty of the journey we are on.
When you put your own plan together, make sure you build it around your own life's passions.  Never cut back on your visions just because they seem out of reach.  Living your dreams requires steady commitment and sacrifice.  If you are passionate about your vision, you will find a way to live it.  Go for it.