Monday, April 30, 2012

The Push to 1,000 Consecutive Posts

22 days to go.  It's in my sights now.  That's one thousand consecutive daily posts, an important milestone in my life as a writer, something few bloggers ever achieve.  As important as it is to me, it's really nothing more than the first mile in my life's marathon.  I feel like I'm getting my running legs now.

Any marathoner will tell you the most difficult miles are the last ones.  I can relate.  In the final portion of this first marathon, I've been on two lengthy road trips, lived in a friend's home, and stayed in places with no computer or Internet access.  Some blog stories were written in hotel lobbies.  There are some bugs in the blogger software preventing scheduled blogs from launching at 8:08 Pacific Time.  I stumble yet keep getting back on my feet.  I feel exhilarated.  And it's only the last mile of the first marathon.  I will never stop running until my heart stops beating.

Thank you for your support.  I have so much to share with you.  This is day four at the local McDonald's.  The next stop is the local library to add some more stories and research the history of my new hometown.  Time to sign off.  If you would like to share something in your life that you are committed to as a long-term project, please add your comments below.  See you tomorrow.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

McWi-fi at Participating Locations

This is my third day in a row at McDonald's and I'm savoring the newest item on the menu, free Wi-fi.  There are only five people around me on this brisk morning just before sunrise and soon the place will be filled to capacity.  I'm hustling to write my daily blog stories before going to church with my family.  I have much to be thankful and the free Wi-fi is near the top of the list.

McDonald's is not the only location to cater to customers craving the Internet while away from their home or office.  The state of Iowa now offers free Wi-fi at rest stops on the interstate and the Tanger Outlet mall in Williamsburg is also on board.  I heard the Williamsburg library is also a great place to plug in to a free Wi-fi connection and plan to check it out on Monday.  What a great way for people like me on a tight budget to access the Internet without having to pay monthly fees.

How do you access the Internet when you are away from home?  Please add your comments below.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Road Trip Friends

I thought my second road trip from California to Iowa would be lonely.  I was wrong.  Wilson, my tennis racket cover, traveled with me from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Phoenix for a quick visit with friends and family and then to Ramona to rescue Wilson's first love, Ramona, a tightly strung racket with a shapely figure.

Ramona was not happy about being left behind and remained silent as we drove through seven states.  Fortunately, I had Umbro with me to keep me company while the two love birds got back together.  Umbro was deflated from years of neglect in my garage and hadn't seen sunlight for many years.  His lack of air in his lungs allowed him to fit snugly in the windshield where he posed for a couple hundred photos.  His deflated state also kept him from rolling away while I shot pictures of him on the edge of the Colorado River, and on top of cliffs in the Utah mountains.

Besides my travel buddies, Wilson, Ramona and Bro, I met some fascinating people, each with fantastic stories of their own.  Some of these stories will be featured in future blogs.  I hope you enjoy these photos and I thank my friends for giving me permission to share with my blog buddies...

Wilson reunited with Ramona at last.
My tennis buddies relax after four fierce sets of tennis.
Wilson tours San Diego Country Estates with my team-mate, Chris.
My Pakistani friend, Umbro, at 12,000 ft. in Veil, Colorado.

Ramona and Umbro savor the view at the top of a Utah anticline.
Navajo Indians, Samantha and companion selling their wares to support their tribe.
Iowa residents visit with Wilson and Bro at a Utah rest stop.
Bro too deflated to roll into the Colorado River.
Mitzi and Sharon welcome visitors in Parachute, Colorado, site of the last train robbery in the wild west.
Tara in Nebraska with Wilson, Ramona and Bro.  Her 16-year-old daughter is an aspiring author.
Colorado friends traveling in their electric car to visit their daughter in Poway, California.
Wilson diving in my Mom's swimming pool in Arizona.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Meet My New Friends Tomorrow

It's another crazy day at the 'Burg.  My family and I are getting settled and today we move the heavy furniture.  I'm back at McDonald's to tap into the free Wi-Fi.  Their smoothies are the best.

I'm working a story about all the new friends I made during my seven state road trip and it will be released tomorrow at 8:08 AM, Pacific Time.  Make sure you come back and check out all the photos from my trip.

Time to unpack.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

First Sunrise

First sunrise at our new home in Iowa.

The second road trip to Iowa is complete.  The 1880 mile road trip through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska ended at exit 220 in Iowa after sunset last night.  My youngest son and I unloaded our car and headed over to the storage shed to pick up our mattresses stored away just six blocks from our new home.  We don't officially get the keys until May 1, however we got to wake up to our first sunrise in our new place.

Family members were nervous when I told them I was taking the northern route.  Not one drop of rain or one snow flake dropped on me during my adventure.  I was accompanied by my friends, Wilson, Ramona and Umbro.  They posed in hundreds of photographs which I will share in the next few days.

The photo you see above is from our first sunrise.  Time for the next chapter of my life to begin.  It feels so good be back with my family.  We don't have internet access yet, so I'm writing this story from McDonald's.  Very nice to have free Wi-fi here.  Looks like I may have to be a regular.  It's only a two mile jaunt from my abode.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Powering Up Our New Home

The lights are on.  And the family is ready to move in.  Officially, we get the keys on the weekend.  I've been on a seven state adventure and this trip comes to a close today.  There are some great pictures to share.  Once I'm able to settle down, I plan to share some photos of the trip.

This post was composed in a hotel lobby.  Due to time restrictions, it has been a challenge to keep up my streak, now approaching 1,000 consecutive daily stories.  Thanks for following this blog.  Once I return home, I will respond to your comments.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lessons I Learned From My Journey

This year is filled with many opportunities to explore what I'm really made of.  It's not without sacrifices, however, I feel it's one of the best years of personal growth ever.  Here are some lessons I learned during my recent move to the Midwest from California:

  1. Personal growth occurs when you are willing to let go.
  2. Sacrifice leads to opportunity.
  3. Letting go increases freedom.
  4. Living your dreams is more important than settling.
  5. Everyone has a passion but few live their passions.
I'm going to expand on this in a later post once I'm back home.  Thanks for your patience.  Care to comment?

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Road Home

One would think a road trip over 2,000 miles would be enough.  Not me.  I'm repeating the process once again, this time without any family except Wilson and his girl, Ramona.  My tennis buddy, Chris, gave me my first book on CD and I'm enjoying listening to it on my adventure.

Internet time is super limited and I won't be able to share much more until I'm back with my family.  There is so much to share.  Thanks for being patient with me.  I do promise to respond to all comments once I'm back in Iowa.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Last Road Trip

This is it.  My bags are packed one last time and I'm heading back to Iowa with my friends, Wilson and Ramona.  I have to hustle for my job interview.  More details ahead.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Come back to see the photos of the road trip.

For those of you following the Wilson/Ramona Wilson love story, the two love birds are back together again.  There is much to share.  Please check back for the rest of the story.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Tennis Reunion Today

Today is my first day back on a tennis court since I moved away last month.  I've been busy looking for a new job and a new home.  So far, we found a home and the job prospects are looking good.  I will post more once I have more news to share.

I'm spending the day with some tennis team-mates and won't be online today.  Thanks for stopping by.  Come back soon for photos of the trip to California.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In Search of Ramona Wilson

Today is a big day.  I'm back in California to find Ramona Wilson, my long-lost tennis racket.  Wilson seems to be missing her and wanted to fly back with me to get her.  He is going to wrap himself around her and promises to never leave her again.  This is a love story of two people destined to live together forever.

Once we recover Ramona, we will be driving back to Iowa.  I promise to take pictures of the reunion and post them once I return home.  If you have a message for Wilson or Ramona, please leave it below.  Thanks for following this amazing love story.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Assignment to Retreive Ramona Wilson

Ramona Wilson in my sister's garage.

Wilson and his lady, Ramona Wilson, have been separated ever since we departed California in early March.  Wilson and I are on a special mission to reunite the two this weekend.  Before we land in California, we are having lunch with my favorite teacher of all times today while in Arizona for a stop-over.  I'm staying at my mother's house; she may be the last American household sans a computer or internet connection.  She told me she was on a computer all day, every day before she retired so she not thrilled about getting one for the home.  I admire the way she stays connected the old-fashioned way.  If she's ready to go online, today may be that day.  But first, lunch with my favorite teacher.

Do you keep in touch with the people who inspired you to be the best you can be?  Please leave your comments below.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Cousin's Band Goes Viral Performing in a Van

My cousin, David Mulligan, travels around the country with a really cool band.  While he's on the road, they record van sessions and post them on YouTube.  Check out this awesome video that just reached "world famous" status with 1,000,000 views.  My cousin is in the front seat playing the guitar.  Way to go, cuz.  I love the creativity posting YouTube videos from the van.  Keep it up...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Undercover Mission to Reunite Wilson and Ramona

Wilson is so famous in our new hometown, they named a street after him.

I'm stashing Wilson inside my carry-on bag and we are headed on a stealth mission to rescue his first love, Ramona, now forced to sleep in a garage at my sister's house.  Wilson always had his girl covered from head to toe, however, when we loaded up the moving truck, Ramona went M.I.A., and she got delayed while sprucing herself up with a new string job.  Ramona tries to keep herself warm at night but the coozy doesn't keep her warm like Wilson, who fits her like a glove.

Once the two are re-united, we are going home.  Wilson and Ramona will keep me company on the return trip.  They will be posing for photos along the way.  My Internet connection will be spotty during the undercover mission, so please be patient.  I will be in touch soon.

This is a stealth mission and time is of the essence.  As much as I would like to visit my friends on this trip, my family needs me home quickly so we can move in to our new home.  Looks like we will have a full house soon.  I will post pictures of Wilson and his girl, Ramona, in future blog stories.  If you would like to send a comment to me, Wilson, or Ramona, please leave your feedback below.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Basements are Important in the Midwest

The first home I looked at in Iowa looked like a great fit for my family.  My wife frowned.  "There's no basement," she said.

"So what?" I remarked.  "The price is right."

My wife explained to me about the importance of basements during tornadoes.  Entire homes can be destroyed above ground while the basements remain intact.  My wife knows this first-hand as she spent many hours in the basement during her childhood in Iowa.  The other night, we spent several hours camped out in our friend's basement while we waited for a monstrous storm to pass.

Once I understood the value of a basement, it was added to my home shopping list as a must-have.  Our new home has a walk-out basement which eliminates that "underground" feeling you get when you enter most basements.  The backyard dips at the rear of our home, allowing us to reach it from a sliding door.  In case of a tornado, the family can retreat to an area that is safe until the storm passes.

Do you have any stories to share about being caught in a tornado, hurricane or earthquake?  Please share below.  I may be reading your comments from the basement as our first big storm approaches our town.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tornadic Winds and a Light Show

First storm clouds traveling at 50 m.p.h. announce change in weather in Washington, Iowa.

My life is one big adventure after another.  Last night, I was treated to a front row seat from our friend's basement in Washington, Iowa.  We were watching "Titanic" when the meteorologist cut in to flash pictures of a massive storm front headed directly to our town.  "This storm is producing tornadic winds capable of producing tornadoes without any warning," the weather lady declared as she looked into the camera.

Before descending to our safety zone, I fired off a quick message on my FaceBook page notifying my friends we were about to face our first weather adventure.  Then we waited.  It didn't take long.  Storm clouds hurled across the night sky, lit up by 20,000 blasts of lightning in a two-hour period.  The weather lady reported ping pong-size hail dropping from the sky just before we lost TV reception. 

My smart phone was my lone link to the outside world.  Text messages were pouring in from family members and California friends.  We huddled in sleeping bags with our chihuahua, Roxy.  As quickly as the storm hit, it departed.  We were free to return to the comforts of the upstairs.  This will be a great blog story, I thought as I headed to my bedroom around midnight, thankful so many people were praying for our safety.

Have you ever experienced Mother Nature during a major weather event?  How did you manage to get through the experience?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

How to Get 35,000 Pageviews For Your Blog

Some say I'm just a regular guy who loves to write stories every day.  Others say I'm definitely an irregular guy loaded with all kinds of quirks.  Regardless of your opinions, I know the 35,000 pageview milestone I hit last night isn't because I have a mother who spends her days in retirement clicking on my every syllable.  As a matter of fact, mom only reads my stories when she is visiting one of her dear friends who has a computer and an online connection.  So, if it's not my mom clicking on my blog stories every day, how am I getting so many pageviews?  Here's some ideas to help you get more readers for your blog:

  1. Write every day.  People like consistency, like their favorite television shows that appear on certain days and times.  My readers can count on my stories to appear every day at the same time, 8:08 AM, Pacific Time.  When I moved to a new time zone, I decided not to change to time zones to keep everything steady for my readers.
  2. Don't be afraid to be yourself.  Yes, I'm a little on the goofy side.  I have a strange sense of humor that can be traced back for generations.  The in-laws even have their own, "I'm married to a Mulligan club."
  3. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly.  You would think writing stories about falling down and getting back up would get old.  They don't.  Times are tough and many are experiencing hard times.  Everyone loves to root for the underdog.  I love to compete.  And I don't really care how big my opponent is.  Every time I get knocked down, I immediately want to figure out a way to turn things in my favor.
  4. Encourage your readers to interact.  I do my best to answer every blog comment or email generated from my blog stories.  Some readers prefer to keep their feedback private.  For those readers, I respond with private emails and protect their privacy.
  5. Offer a "subscribe by email" button.  Readers are busy.  They lose track of you.  Email subscriptions remind them you are in the blog world and this helps keep in touch.
  6. Write catchy headlines.  The web is filled with choices.  A clever headline can attract new readers.
  7. Include pictures with your stories.  They are as important as great headlines.  Often times, it's the pictures that attract readers.
  8. Write your stories from the point-of-view of the reader.  Ask yourself why a reader would want to read your story before you write it and keep them in mind in every paragraph.
  9. Keep it short.  We all have limited attention spans.  Make your point in 500 words or less.  If you have a long message, break it up into parts and save the rest of the story for another day.
  10. Invite your readers to be a part of the story.  Ask them permission to share.  I've met people with extraordinary stories.  Their stories can be excellent guest posts or you can interview them and share the interview on your blog.
Thank you for reading my stories.  It means a lot to me knowing I'm not alone in the blog world.  Some of you have been with me since I started writing.  Today is the 967th consecutive day of blog writing.  Writing is as much a part of me as my arms or legs.   I must write.  And if you are interested in learning more about writing, please check out my writer's blog, Caveman Reflections Cyber-bistro.  I don't have all the answers when it comes to writing.  That's why I bring in experts every cyber-guest Friday at the bistro to share writing tips.

Would you like to offer your thoughts about how to attract readers?  Thanks for reading my stories.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Zero Lot Line Living

Our new home in Iowa ~ on the right side of the duplex.
In real estate, when a structure is built on the boundary line, it's known as a zero lot line.  The advantage to this is that it creates the illusion of more usable space on the outside.  My new home is actually a duplex with the property line cutting through the middle of it.  In Iowa, these structures must have their own walls with a cushion of air separating each side of the duplex.  Duplexes reduce construction costs for both homeowners.  My first home in Arizona was a condo, sharing two walls with neighbors.  I sold it at the peak of the market for more than triple my original investment price.  I wasn't as fortunate with my California home, selling it for almost half of it's peak value.  Now it's time for zero lot living and I believe this third home will be just the right size for my family.  Move in date is just eighteen days away.

As I prepare to settle down in our new home, I'm finding myself filled with gratitude.  I'm thankful my family stuck together during a period of extraordinary change.  My good friends, Mark and Lori Garrow, who guided me through the California short sale process and advised me how to move forward with my next home are on the top of my list, followed by my Iowa realtor, Pam Wagner.  I called on Pam when I was searching for a new home.  Most people wait until they have money and jobs before they buy real estate, however, I don't like putting obstacles on myself, so I jumped right in and the zero lot line property Pam listed for sale caught my eye.  The negotiation process was definitely a roller coaster ride due to my present situation.  I asked Pam to serve as a dual agent once she told me the seller was interested in seller financing.  She walked the tight rope brilliantly, serving both parties during the complicated process.

The greatest praise goes to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is leading my family and me to a new life.  His plans for a zero lot line home were revealed recently and He is opening the front door for us to move in on May 1.  Lately, there have been many times when I woke up in the deepest valleys, yet I continued to sing praises to Him.  I must also remember to praise Him when I'm on top of a mountain, like the one I lived on for twenty-two years in California on a street named Tesoro.  At last, I've found a new treasure.

What sort of home suits you best?  Your comments are welcome below.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Operating Outside Your Comfort Zone

How do you do when you are operating outside your comfort zone?  Do you adapt or retreat?  I'm still adjusting to my new life 2,000 miles from my comfort zone and I'm learning valuable lessons.  This is not a test.  This is real life.  Here's a few lessons I learned about how to function outside your comfort zone.

  1. Trust your instincts.  Even though the situation you are in now may be outside your comfort zone, your own intuition will guide you.
  2. Stay calm.  It's normal for your heart rate to accelerate when you're in a tense situation or to get butterflies.  Use that boost of adrenaline to sharpen your senses and avoid the urge to run.
  3. Rely on past similar circumstances.  Remember what you did to get through a difficult situation and apply lessons learned from your past to help you when you are facing a predicament.
Think of yourself as a baseball player facing a new pitcher for the first time.  You have no idea what he's going to do, but you can apply all your past experiences to the new situation.  It's the first time he encountered you, so he is also outside his comfort zone.  Is he going to strike you out or are you going to get a hit?  Just follow the three steps above and you will advance, even if the territory is unfamiliar.

Do you remember a time when you were operating outside your comfort zone?  How did you get through it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Prayer: A Two-Way Street

Have you ever been in a situation where you prayed and nothing happened?  My attitude towards prayer is much different today than it was in my formative years.  Prayer is a two-way street.  It involves both sending prayer requests and listening for answers.  Prayer is a relationship.  If you find yourself on the outside when it comes to praying, try these ideas:

  1. Pray that your prayer requests are in alignment with God's will for your life.
  2. Look for the answers to your prayers in the people who come into your life.
  3. Remember to say thank you every time your prayers are answered.
  4. Give credit for answered prayers to God.
  5. Understand that when the response to your prayer is negative, it's still an answer.
Think of your relationships with your parents and your children.  Do you have great relationships with them?  If there are challenges with your relationships, these broken relationships may be blocking you from having a strong line of communication with God.  Try mending fences with troubled relationships.  God wants you to keep in touch, not just at times when you need Him.

Do you find yourself on a two-way street with your prayer life?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Are You an Adder or a Subtractor?

When others meet you, do they walk away happy or miserable?  Are they encouraged or do they want to give up?  Think about the people you interact with on a regular basis.  If you aren't sure how you add or subtract to their feelings, think about how you feel when you are around others.

There are people in my life who I actively seek out when I need a shot in the arm.  The reverse is also true.  If I'm having an "off" day, I avoid the negative types who will only make me sink deeper into the quick sand.

My recent relocation to Iowa illustrates the adders and subtractors in my life.  Without naming names, here's a list of comments about my relocation, broken down into the two categories:

Comments from the Adders:

  • "I bet your wife is going to love being around her siblings."
  • "What an adventure your family is going on."
  • "How wonderful it will be for you to meet new people."
  • "I wish I could follow your example and move closer to family."
  • "I heard good things about the people in the Midwest."
  • "I'm going to email you some names of friends in the area, they will help you get settled."
  • "You and your family must be excited about the next chapter of your lives."
  • "I have an old coat I don't need.  It will keep you warm, please take it." 
  • "When you visit the "Field of Dreams," can you please send me a picture?"
  • "I can't wait to see all God has planned for you in Iowa."
Here's what the Subtractors had to say:
  • "Good luck finding a job in this market."
  • "Your chihuahua is going to freeze to death."
  • "Have you lost your mind?"
  • "I will never visit you in Iowa, the weather is too crappy and there's nothing to do there."
  • "You must have lost a lot of money selling your home in this market."
  • "How are you going to survive out there?  You don't know anybody."
Get the picture?  For me, having positive people around me keeps me moving forward.  I do my best to stay away from those who criticize me.  In times of change, the subtractors can do a great deal of damage while the adders can get me through periods of transition.  How do you deal with the adders and subtractors in your life?  What steps are you going to take today to add value to the people in your life?  If you don't mind sharing this message, you will help me with my multiplying efforts.  And I would love it if you could add your thoughts in the comment section below.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Moving Over to the Passenger Seat

The first time I got to be in the driver's seat, my dad and two brothers jumped out of the car.  I was all alone in the desert in North Phoenix.  Before dad gave me the keys, he gave me a two-minute demo on how to use the clutch and how to shift gears.  In a VW Super Beetle with a manual transmission, reverse is a bit of a challenge, especially if you are all alone.

It took a while, but I got the hang of it.  Now, my youngest son is driving.  The Iowa roads are not as remote as the Phoenix desert and my driving instruction is from the passenger seat rather than from outside the car.  Moving over to the passenger seat is not easy for me.  I like to drive.  When my son was the first one to get out of bed on Easter Sunday, the first one to shower and eat, and the first one in the car, I got an idea just how much he loves being in the driver's seat.

In my spiritual life, I also find myself sitting in the passenger seat.  Like my dad who got out of the car and left me alone to learn how to drive, I also felt my Heavenly Father was on the outside.  Spiritual maturity doesn't happen overnight.  It's not easy to turn the steering wheel over to God.  Now, I'm a couple thousand miles away from my comfort zone.  I do trust my Creator 100%, however, I'm still not sure what His plans are.

How about you?  Are you in the driver's seat or is God your driver?  Has God shared the road map with you?  How do you feel about the direction you are headed?  Please add your thoughts below.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Behold, I Make All Things New

I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. ~ John 11:25

Jesus paused for a moment, staring directly into His mother's eyes.  His legs were like jello and His vision blurred.  The Cross He was carrying on His back overshadowed the large crowd lining the streets.  He blurted these words, "Mother, behold, I make all things new."

Today is the day Jesus was speaking about.  Today, all things are new.  Spring is in the air.  Birds are building nests.  Today the gates of Heaven are open.  Death no longer has a strangle-hold on His children.  It lost its grip.  He is risen.  And everyone who lives in Him and believes in Him will never die.  Yes, today is a good day.  Happy Easter.  How are you going to celebrate all things new?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why Forgiven is Such a Powerful Word

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. ~ Luke 23:34

The last request Jesus made of His Father was, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  Jesus knows what we do.  That didn't stop Him from making His final plea on our behalf.  Why was it so easy for Jesus to do this when it's so hard for us?

Jesus saw the end-game.  He knew the meaning of forgiveness perfectly.  We know it imperfectly.  Grudges are something we want to hold onto.  We think clutching a grudge protects us from pain and suffering.  It doesn't.  And failing to forgive closes the door to our Redeemer.

Jesus said, "it's finished."  The door to Heaven is open at last.  Your grudges are too big to fit in the doorway.  To enter, you must follow Jesus, leaving your grudges behind.  You have the power to enter the gates of Heaven.  Are you ready to let go?  If you're looking for the key, you already have it.  It's marked forgiven. Jesus has shown you how it works.  And when you're ready to use this key, you will discover how powerful this word is.  What's your opinion?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Where Does Your Spotlight Shine?

How do you feel when the spotlight is shining on you?  Maybe your boss recognized you for going above and beyond the call of duty or your kids gave you a pat on the back for something special you did at home?  When that spotlight shines on you for too long, it can cause a big problem - blindness.

The first time this ever happened was before any of us were born.  The brightest of the Angels got a little too comfortable with the spotlight.  He forgot about the light source.  When His light was taken away from Him, He was forced to give up His name, Lucifer, meaning "light-bearing."

I learned two important rules about being in the spotlight:
  1. Always give credit for the source of the light.
  2. Remember to turn the spotlight on others.
The One who had His light taken away from Him is relentless.  He spends His time tempting others to live in the spotlight.  He knows the true source of the light yet he refuses to admit it.  If you acknowledge the light comes from Jesus, He tries to convince you that you are not worthy to be in the spotlight.  Is He right?  The answer can be found by understanding the source of the light.

Be careful when you see a bright light in others.  They did not create the light, they only reflect it.  None of us are worthy to be in the light.  It's not an entitlement, it's a gift.  Without Jesus, there would be no light in this world.  Jesus died on this day, Good Friday, so that you may have an opportunity to be in the light. His Resurrection restored the light.  Enjoy it and shine it on others.  This is a gift meant to be shared.  The more you share your spotlight with the world, the brighter your own spotlight becomes.  Just remember rule #1 above.  It's the reason Lucifer is now "Lights Out."

Where does your spotlight shine?  Your comments are much appreciated. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Pieces of the Puzzle

Don't you hate it when you're putting puzzles together and some of the pieces are missing?  In my life's puzzle, key pieces were left out intentionally by my Creator.  He is helping me learn patience.  There is a special joy when a lost piece is found.  Once it's linked with the other pieces, the big picture takes shape.

I understand now why I was missing so many pieces in my own puzzle.  I was looking for them in the wrong state.  I had to trust God that my life's puzzle would be complete once I moved to Iowa.  There are still a few missing pieces, however, everything is falling into place.  I'm really not even looking for them, they seem to be falling out of the sky.

How are you doing with your puzzle pieces?  Is anything missing?  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Dream Life

I've been living the dream life for a long time.  It consists of having a spouse who loves me unconditionally, raising three children who are pursuing their own dreams, and connecting with my Creator, who is leading me on one incredible journey.

I think to myself, could my dream life get any better?  The answer comes from a conversation I had with my wife this morning.  She is on her way to work - her first day on the job.  She gets the opportunity to help women find the perfect outfits.  As a bonus, she gets major discounts for her own wardrobe.

The next step is to put my writing and marketing talents to work and I must thank my wife for finding my dream job at the University of Iowa.  Should I get the opportunity to join the staff, I will be pinching myself every morning.  The job is 20 hours per week but is considered important enough that it comes with full-time benefits.  A schedule like this allows me to stay on track with my novel and perhaps teach some tennis lessons to supplement the family income.  The competition will be stiff and I'm ready to step up and show my new employer how I can contribute.

It's time for the next chapter of my life.  How about you?  Are you living your dreams?  If you missed yesterday's video, created by Holstee, click here to get some inspiration.  Don't forget to comment about the dream life you desire and how you plan to live those dreams.  And if you don't mind keeping me in your prayers for a successful outcome at the university, I will be forever thankful.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Video Vision Statement

Are you having trouble coming up with a vision statement for your life?  Check out this video and don't forget to leave your comments below.  Bravo to the folks at Holstee who made this amazing video...

Monday, April 2, 2012

All Things Are Possible With God

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26

If we come to terms, this will be my new backyard view in Iowa.
My California realtor and good friend told me it wouldn't be possible for at least three years.  Others told me I was dreaming too big.  Those who know me know I refuse to put limits on God.  He is an all-powerful, all-loving God who is in charge of every aspect of my life.  When I asked Him to guide me with our next home in Iowa, I admit, I was thinking small, especially because I don't have any money and my wife and I are still searching for jobs.

I'm in the middle of negotiations for a home and I'm seeing Divine Intervention at levels even non-believers would have to admit is just short of a miracle.  I will share more on this later.  The question I leave you with today is this, "do you believe all things are possible with God?"

Please add your comments below.  I'm interested in hearing about a time in your life when the odds were against you and you witnessed the impossible.  The video below is in celebration of Holy Week.  Yes, with Jesus, all things are possible.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why I'm Fond of Penguins

When my Ramona tennis team captain, Stacey, held her first open house after she and her family moved in to her home, my wife and I toured the back yard.  My wife noticed some barbed wire on the top rail of the swing set and asked Stacey, "is that to keep the penguins from landing on your swing set?"  You probably think this is some sort of April Fools joke, but I assure you, she did ask Stacey if that was the purpose of the barbed wire.

An inspiring guest post story on Michael Hyatt's blog features six penguins who were transplanted from an Ohio zoo to San Francisco.  The story offers a great leadership lesson.  Click here to read the guest post by Sean Glaze, a team speaker and motivator.

In case your wondering about the penguins in Stacey's back yard, here is a YouTube video released in 2008 about flying penguins.  I missed this story when it was first released by BBC.  Please forward it to your friends and have a great day.