Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is God Real?

During our pursuit of a national championship last year, several of my tennis team-mates often joked about my faith.  I was surrounded by high-achievers with astonishing IQ's.  One of my buddies remarked that scientists were about to discover the God particle.  He was sure this would convince me there is no God.  I find it interesting that scientists call it the "God particle."  For me, a discovery like this only shows how God created the universe, not how the universe created itself.  There are a lot of people much smarter than this blogger who ponder the question, "Is God real?"  I think the best answer can be found by discovering who Jesus is.  Consider these questions:
  1. Is there enough historical evidence to support the birth of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago?
  2. Did Jesus ever tell a lie?
  3. Did Jesus ever break a promise?
  4. Did Jesus rise from the dead?
  5. Can the blind see Jesus?
  6. Can the deaf hear Jesus?
  7. Can believing in Jesus really move mountains?
  8. What will happen to my life if I decide to follow Jesus?
  9. What will all my "smart" friends think?
  10. Is following Jesus the only way to get to Heaven?
I'm a simple man.  I love being a husband.  I love being a dad.  I don't have a lot of possessions.  I live in a remote location far away from my siblings and a large contingent of amazing cousins.  I was at the back of the line socializing with others when my cousins got their helpings of intelligence.  I ask a lot of questions.  And if I'm the last person on earth, I will do my best to help my "smart" friends find the answers to these questions.  Yes, there is a God particle.  It's named after the One who invented it.  And He invented love.  He is the essence of love.  He loves you.  Love may be invisible but love exists just as Jesus exists.  Follow Him.  Jesus is real.  His Father is real.  Ask Jesus to give you the answers to your questions.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Peaks and Valleys

Life is filled with peaks and valleys.  Just like the four seasons, or the ocean tides, there are periods of good times and learning times.  Wisdom comes from learning how to navigate the peaks and valleys.  Joy comes from knowing there is always something to appreciate no matter how high or how low you may be at any given time in your life.

At sunrise this morning, Socalmulligan808 reached a new cyber-peak -- 5,000 pageviews in a single month.  It's about to hit 50,000 pageviews.  This would be impossible if I only chose to write about the peaks in my life.  The truth is that most of my stories were written while I was in my deepest valleys, the place where the view of the mountains is the best.

My greatest source of happiness in my life is hiking with you, especially when you remain on the path with me during challenging times.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you, one day at a time.  Now it's your turn to share a time in your life when you climbed a mountain or lived through a valley.  What is your inspiration for staying on the trail?  Send me an email or add your comments below.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Are You Afraid Of?

The first time I took a flight with my wife, she held on to my hand and squeezed so tight I lost circulation during take-off.  Over the years, her fear of flying subsided.  My greatest fear used to be needles.  My work buddies cajoled me into volunteering for a blood bank and I finally caved in, only to be rejected because the blood mobile staff thought it wouldn't be worth their time to draw out my blood.  I asked for a note to share with my team-mates so the ridicule would finally end.  The note only added to the torture.

It took many years for me to overcome my fear.  Fear has an inverse relationship to trust.  The best way to eliminate your fears is to trust Jesus.  Before forming my relationship with Him, I felt like I was racing through life just so I could produce a list of accomplishments before my death.  Now, I see my life here on earth as nothing more than a couple of blinks of an eye.  Compared to eternal life, these years are only a beginning of something that is to come.  It makes fear seem like a waste of time.

Are you serious about facing fear?  Ask Jesus to be with you as you confront your worst fears.  Take baby steps.  You deserve a life without fear.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Where are you?

Do you remember the first time you did something your parents asked you not to do?  Did you get caught?  If you did get caught, how did you handle the conversation with mom and dad?  Adam thought he could stay under the radar when he disobeyed God.  Just like a parent calls out when we goof up, the Creator came searching and asked, "Adam, where are you?"

It really doesn't matter how old you are.  If your parents are still alive, they will seek you out if you haven't been in touch in a while.

God always knows where you are.  He asks you where you are because He wants you to be aware of how far away from Him you are.  The further you stray, the harder it is to hear His voice.  Remember this:  You are God's child.  He is seeking you.  He wants to be in a relationship with you.  He doesn't care if you ate the apple when He asked you not to.  He doesn't care about your mistakes.  He only cares about being with you.  He loves you.  All you have to do is turn around and go back to Him.  Everything is forgivable.

If you are having trouble finding your way back to God, read this verse.  It's one of my favorites because it reminds me God sent His only Son to help us find our way back to our Creator:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord ~ Romans 8:38-39

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games Begin

This blog wasn't born until a full year after the last Summer Olympics were held in Beijing in 2008.  Where has the time gone?  I can't wait to watch top athletes from all over the world going for the gold.  Every time I hear the theme song from the Olympics, my skin tingles.  I love competition.  I enjoy being around people who strive to be their absolute best.

What is your favorite Olympic moment?  With the explosion of social media and over 5,000 hours of TV coverage, fans from all over the world will be connected now more than ever.  Click here and bookmark the official Olympics site.  Let the games begin.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Checking In On The Penguins

Yesterday at work my boss told me the home office is sending us some kind of award we will hang up on our wall.  We broke the world record for reaching 10,000 new members faster than any other store in the company.  We reached this milestone on the eleventh day following our grand opening.

I believe the number one reason we accomplished this amazing feat is because of our team.  This is the story I shared during one of our first days signing up new members at their workplace:

"There was a group of penguins that were transported to a new zoo.  When they arrived, they immediately dove into the pool and started swimming.  The other penguins at the zoo stood around and watched as the newcomers swam non-stop.  One by one, they were joined by the other penguins.  Pretty soon, the whole group was swimming.  Visitors to the zoo watched in amazement as these energetic penguins swam lap after lap tirelessly.

We are the new penguins.  Our job is to swim at our brand new zoo.  When our members see us swimming, they will want to jump in and join us.  Let's go swimming!"

We promised our bosses we would have 4,000 new penguins by the time we had our grand opening on June 27.  Thirteen minutes before the doors opened, we signed up our 4,000th new member.  On July 8, 10,000 members were enjoying the new zoo in Coralville.  Four days later, another 1,000 penguins joined the party. And five days later another 1,000 penguins were in the new exhibit.  The lead penguin was impressed with the new record and told us if we could get to 13,000 members by close of business on Sunday night, July 22, he would color his hair any color we chose.

If you happen to be visiting our new zoo in Coralville next weekend, please check in on the penguins.  Make sure to tell the lead penguin you like his new hair color.  In conclusion, I would like to offer one final word of advice to anyone who finds himself or herself in a new zoo.  Jump in and keep swimming.  Don't stop swimming until everyone else joins you in the water.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peace Be With You

 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid ~ John 14:27

Peace does not have to be illusive.  It's available to anyone who seeks it and it's free of charge.  I searched for it for many years before finding it.  Now that I have it, I understand the meaning of the quote from John 14:27.  My heart is not troubled and I'm not afraid.  Peace is part of a package deal.  Here's how you can obtain it:
  1. Ask Jesus to come into your heart.  Make Him a permanent resident and never let go of Him.
  2. Get rid of all your baggage.  This includes swearing, a foul mouth, anger, frustration, grudges, jealousy, pride, prejudice, and all the negativity crowding your life.
  3. Let go of all the negative people who are holding you back from the person you are created to be.
  4. Trust God's plan for your life and pursue it.
  5. Thank Jesus for the peace He brings you once He is in your heart.  He appreciates gratitude.
Once you receive the gift of peace, share it.  You have the power to change the world around you.  The more peace you give away to others, the more you will receive.  Peace be with you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't Forget to Play

Do you remember recess time when you were in grade school?  That brief pause helped you get through a full day of learning.  Why should this practice end when you grow up?  Here are some reasons why you should not forget to play:
  1. Adult recess time allows your brain to take a break and recharge.
  2. When you take time to relax you actually accomplish more.
  3. You feel good when you rest.
  4. You have more energy.
  5. Your alertness increases.
Give yourself a break today.  Fifteen minutes of recess will make a huge difference.  If you are experiencing a challenging day, add a second break during the second half of your day and go outside.  Stay away from your smart phone and just relax.  Let me know if you still have adult recess time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Raise the Bar on Your Vitality

Today's story is inspired by an online article I read this morning from Fox Small Business entitled "The Best Age to Become a Boss."  My own life's story appears to confirm the research that managers demonstrate their highest levels of vitality in their 50s.

Last night my manager sent me a text message about our latest membership count.  He promised the team he would change his hair color to any color we selected as long as we reached 13,000 new members by close of business last night.  The final tally?  13,002!  The best part about reaching this new all-time company record for new store openings is that I was in charge for two days leading up to this climax while my boss took a break and my team performed flawlessly.

My driver license may list my age as 52, however, I feel much more alive than ever.  Here are some ideas to help you raise the bar on your vitality:
  1. Rest before you get tired.  I make sure to take at least one day of rest every week.  During work, I make sure to take all my breaks.
  2. Stay balanced.  Have fun on your days off and spend time with family and friends.
  3. Find a hobby.  I enjoy writing daily.  The key is to pursue the joyful things in your life.
  4. Do work that brings you satisfaction.  I can't believe how much fun I'm having as membership supervisor.
  5. Be grateful.  I'm surprised at the blessings falling from the sky every day.  Acknowledge those blessings.  
Let me know what you are doing to raise the bar on your vitality.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Redecorate Your Life

My wife loves HG TV.  I'm amazed how homes can be transformed with a little help from the design experts.  Redecorating your life can be done using the same ideas.  Consider these pointers:
  1. Assess where you are today and decide what is missing or what could be improved.
  2. Talk to a mentor who made the life changes you desire and put your own plan together.
  3. Share your vision with your family and get everyone to buy into the changes you wish to make.
  4. Be bold.  The bigger your vision for redecorating your life, the more results you will achieve.
  5. Don't stop until your vision is complete.
I'm currently in the middle of a year-long financial make-over and I'm following the five steps listed above.  When the redecoration is complete, I will share more.  These steps work for any area of your life needing redecorating.  Make sure to have fun with these projects and don't forget to share your results in an email or in the comments section below.  What are your redecorating plans for your life?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Swallow the Happy Pill

Can you imagine how much it would cost to buy a happy pill that really works?  I don't mean something that only temporarily masks feelings of depression or despair.  I'm referring to a pill that instantly transforms you into a new person.

I do believe something similar to a happy pill exists, although it is invisible.  It doesn't remove the problems in your life.  It doesn't erase challenging people around you.  What is does do is change you.  This happy pill destroys your appetite for hatred and prejudice.  It gives you a sensation of peace and happiness.  This happy pill allows you to accept others just the way they are.  It allows you to be happy just as you are.  Only one pill is necessary and it will last forever.  This pill is free.  Would you like to give this pill a try today?  Better yet, how about sharing your experience with a friend?  One word of caution.  The pill won't work unless you believe in its power.  Don't swallow the pill unless you believe it will transform you.

When you're ready, just close your eyes and swallow while saying these words:  "Jesus, I want a new life filled with happiness.  No other pills or remedies have helped me.  I'm asking you to come into my life and be with me forever.  I'm asking you to be my Lord and Savior.  I need you.  I'm ready for my life to be transformed forever.  I want you to be my Happy Pill.  I believe in you.  Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my prayer today."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Your To Do List Is Your Friend

Why do some people seem buried in chores while others seem to be having fun all the time?  For me, the answer lies in my ability to get things done so I have more free time.  I used to hide from my to do list.  Not anymore.  I don't have time to be unorganized.  My to do list is now my best friend.  Here are some ideas to help you have more free time in your life:
  1. Change your attitude about to do lists.  They are only your enemy if you avoid them and let them get out of control.  
  2. Stay close to your to do list.  Carry it with you at all times.  Review it throughout the day.
  3. Actively search for items to add to the list.  Ask your family for ideas on projects that need to be done.
  4. Teach other family members to maintain their own lists.  When the family is on the same page, it's easier to get things done.
  5. Defer fun activities until your to do list is complete.
Every morning when I wake up, I look forward to my to do list.  One of the first items is to write a story for this blog.  Today marks the 1,059th consecutive day of blogging.  That's 1,059 times in-a-row that I've tackled my top priority for each day.  As a result of consistent blogging, I've been able to build a world-wide readership that now exceeds 47,000 page views.  Are you ready to make your to do list your best friend today?  Let me know how it goes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Celebrate Your Wins

I don't know too many people who have struck out as many times I have.  There is a relationship between strikeouts and plate appearances.  The challenge is to keep swinging no matter how few hits you get.  It helps to find a hitting coach to help you improve your track record.  When I do hit the occasional home run, I make a big deal out of it.  Here's why I think celebrating your wins is a big deal:

  1. Failure to celebrate your victories leads to early retirement from the game of life.
  2. Savoring a win provides motivation to keep trying in the face of adversity.
  3. The easiest way to get the public to forget your failures is to have a victory party when you celebrate a big win.
  4. There are people around you on the brink of giving up.  They need to see someone celebrating a success, especially in these tough economic times.  Show others that success is attainable.
  5. People need hope.  They need coaches who are willing to share how they overcame adversity.  They can't learn from you if they aren't aware of your victories.  Use your celebrations to show others that home runs are possible.
My manager is hosting a celebration party on Sunday, July 29 for my membership team.  We broke all the records for new store openings.  This celebration comes after a long series of strike-outs before moving out of California.  There were people in my life who thought my best days were behind me.  Maybe that's what happens when years pass before you hit a grand slam.  I believe my best days are ahead of me.  Yes, I will be celebrating at our team party.  It feels so good to hit a home run.  Now my focus is teaching other players how to hit it out of the park.

Please add your comments below about how you celebrate your wins.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Become an Influencer

Visions are powerful.  A person with vision is unstoppable.  And when this person shares his or her vision, others follow -- the world changes.  My life today is very different because I learned how to become an influencer.  I believe I'm a better husband and father because I follow these principles:
  1. Sit down with your family and listen to their dreams.
  2. Find a vision for your loved ones based on their desires.
  3. Plot a course that will allow your family's dreams to come true.
  4. Do everything in your power to align yourself with the vision and don't let anything stop you.
  5. Let your loved ones know what will happen if the family works together.
These same principles work on sports teams and in the workplace.  No fancy titles are needed.  Become a good listener.  Draw out the dream buried within the person next to you.  This is the first step to changing the world.  Please add your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are You Making a Difference?

The roller coaster ride at my new job paused for two days and I got a chance to enjoy my family.  It's been fun breaking all the records and learning new tasks, however, my life was out of balance for a while due to the large crowds of people my team helped since our grand opening.  Here are some discoveries I made during my reflection time:
  1. Appreciate the time you have with your family.  The best way you can say, "I love you" is to spend time with your loved ones.
  2. Everybody has a dream or a passion.  Help your family discover theirs and guide them on their journey.
  3. Be willing to share your weaknesses.   Your spouse and your children don't need a superhero, they need someone they can relate to.  
  4. Don't procrastinate.  When things pile up, they get in the way of spending quality time with your family. 
  5. Don't spend more than 40 hours at work.  Learn to spread the work load around so you can make a difference at home.
I'm thankful for these last two days with my family.  I'm also thankful for the lessons I'm learning.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today.  Would you like to share about how you make a difference?  I would be honored to hear from you.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Discover Who You Are

You will never discover who you are unless you are willing to go on a journey of exploration.  This journey begins with looking in the mirror.  Ask yourself what you see.  Do you focus on the flaws?  If you can look a little deeper, you will find your essence.  Here are some questions to ask that may help you:
  • What are three things I can do today to make a difference in the world?
  • How can I get past the obstacles blocking me from my dreams?
  • If today were my last day on the planet, what would I do?
  • What do I need to let go of?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • What are my passions?
  • Am I ignoring my passions or pursuing them?
These questions are not a complete list.  Consider them a starting point.  I'm still asking questions every morning when I wake up.  I don't have all the answers.  Perhaps you can add your thoughts to today's blog message.  I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary to My Bride of 23 Years

My wife and I are celebrating twenty-three years of marriage today.  In order to maximize our day together, I'm off-line until tomorrow.  Please enjoy the link below about how to have a happy marriage and have a great day.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tribute to the Winningest Basketball Coach in NCAA History

Pat Summitt, winningest NCAA Basketball coach in history.
Pat Summitt, the winningest coach in NCAA history, is the epitome of perseverance.  Check out her amazing video tribute from the ESPN Espy's where she accepted the Arthur Ashe Award.  Despite her discovery she was suffering from Alzheimer's, she stayed in the game for one more season and went on to win one last national championship title. 

In thirty-eight years of coaching, every one of her players graduated.  Seventy-four players followed her footsteps and became coaches.  Now, Pat is facing her biggest opponent ever -- Alzheimser's.  Her strategy is to attack it the same way she confronted all previous opponents -- head-on.  Her fans and her players will be with her.  She is one amazing role model...


Friday, July 13, 2012

Remember To Say Thank You

How many times a day do you say thank you?  Showing your appreciation lets others know you value their hard work.  Those who feel a sense of entitlement may not believe saying thanks is important and may overlook showing gratitude.  This is a big mistake.  If you are not saying thank you often enough, it's not too late to change your attitude.  Here's some ideas:

  1. Commit yourself to saying thank you every time someone adds value to your day.  Do this for thirty days.  Don't skip any days.  Be consistent.
  2. Observe how others react when you show gratitude.  Some people are craving a pat on the back.  Your thank you may be the only one they get all day long.
  3. When you receive extraordinary service, ask to see the boss and let them know how well you were treated by their employee.
  4. Remember your family.  When one of your children goes above the call of duty, make a big deal about it.  Lavish praises on your spouse for the little things they do to make your life better.
  5. Tell others about the great service you received from an employee.  Remember to recommend them to your friends.  The best compliment you can give the person offering you a service is to pass their name along to others.
In closing, I would like to thank all those who read this daily blog, especially the ones who take the time to offer a comment.  If you wouldn't mind sharing this blog with two friends, I deeply appreciate it.  It is the best compliment you can give me.  Thank you.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why Love Matters

Amor vincit omnia -- Love Conquers All

My wife and I will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary in three days.  We are now living just five miles from her birthplace, also the location where we got married.  I've learned many lessons in the last twenty-three years of married life; the most important one is why love matters.  I consider it the single most important life lesson.  Here are some thoughts about why I think love matters:

  1. The love you give to another can forever change two lives-- yours and theirs.
  2. No matter what goes wrong in your life, love can get you through it.
  3. When you truly love another, it's impossible to hate.
  4. If you love others, you can get through any relationship issues, even when you don't like them.
  5. Jesus commands us to love others for a reason-- it's good for the soul.
I would like to add one final point about why I believe love matters.  Before I met my wife, I was a skeptic about love and marriage.  I put up all kinds of fences around my heart to avoid pain.  I felt the price of marriage was too high and felt it was better to go through life solo.  Then I met my future wife and discovered for the first time why love matters.  I'm alive. I'm free of my past negative attitudes about love.  And I'm loved.  It matters.  Love is the secret ingredient that makes everything taste better.  The fragrance of love fills my household.  I long to smell it and taste it when I'm away.  Yes, love matters.  A life without love is not a life, it's only an existence.  Taste it.  Smell it.  Feel it.  Live it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Condition Your Circumstances

“To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy is to set our own conditions to the events of each day.  To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don't need to make any excuses for my personal happiness.  I'm happy.  Life is an adventure for me.  It will always be an adventure.  My circumstances are only a calendar of events.  It doesn't matter if I find myself in the middle of Winter or if Spring is on the horizon.  Each season has its place and its own lessons to learn.  I'm happy 365 days a year.  Period.

Ralph Waldo Emerson hits the nail on the head. He resolved to be happy even though he lost three siblings during his childhood and his father died two weeks prior to his 18th birthday.  Are you ready to condition your circumstances?  Why not start today?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is Your Life a Breathtaking Journey?

Nearly five months have passed since I sold my California home and took the leap of faith into an unknown galaxy also known as Iowa.  I feel like a young captain Kirk who boarded his Starship Enterprise for the first time.  When he entered the bridge, he had no clue what was in the stars.   I am a rookie supervisor serving as first officer; every once in a while when my manager is away I get to sit in the captain's chair.  We have already journeyed further on our maiden voyage than any previous ship in our vast fleet of over six hundred.  What a coincidence that my job is just sixteen miles from Riverside, Iowa, Captain Kirk's birthplace.

It's no secret where our power source is located.  Just as a starship needs dilithium crystals for interstellar travel, I need the Holy Spirit to power my ship.  Every day is a new adventure.  Jesus invites you to sit in the captain's chair.  He will give you everything you need to go on a breathtaking journey that will last an entire lifetime.  Are you ready?  Just say, "Beam me up, Jesus."  And don't worry about the dilithium crystals -- you will have enough power to reach the end of the universe.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A New Record

My wife pinched me again when I got home from work last night.  I needed to be sure everything is real and not some sort of crazy dream.  I work for an organization that loves to break records.  It's the perfect fit for me.  And yesterday my warehouse become the best of the best for new store openings.  Although we've only been open for eleven business days, we reached our 10,000th member in the early afternoon yesterday.  No other warehouse in the entire world-wide organization has achieved this milestone so quickly.

I asked my boss what's next for us.  He replied, "now we shoot for the six month and one year records." 

This is what happens when you do everything right.  It starts with a vision.  Next, share the vision.  Then, execute.  It helps to have a loved one pinch you once in a while to make sure your not just dreaming.  My wish for you today is that all your dreams come true.  Breaking records is fun.  Make sure you dream big.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stand Up To Your Giants

In my personal and professional life I've had more than my fair share of encounters with giants.   Buried deep within us is the fight or flight gene.  I only know one response -- fight.  In every instance, I never hold back.  Some past opponents include multi-billion dollar corporations.  Others are demons on a mission to disrupt God's plans for my life.  The biggest foe is named fear.  Fear always shows up at the moment of truth.  If you can defeat fear, all the other adversaries become beatable.  Are you ready to stand up to your giants?  Here are some tips:

  1. Recognize who you are.  You are a child of God.  Your Father in Heaven created you with everything you need to battle even the strongest of giants.  You are His son or daughter.
  2. Recognize who your opponent is.  If you happen to be confronting a demon, remember His track record with God.  Remind your opponent of this.  Laugh at Him while you command Him to get out of your way.  Do this in the name of Jesus Christ and watch as He retreats.
  3. Do not be afraid.  Master your fear and you will become invincible.
  4. Give credit for your victories to your Creator.  Acknowledge His strength and give Him the glory.  
  5. Never retreat.  If you want big wins, you must be willing to make sacrifices.  Hold your ground.  If the enemy sees you running, he will chase you.  It's better to stand and fight and show your opponent you will keep fighting until you win.
Do you have a story to share about how you stood up to your giants?  I would love to hear about it.  Please add your thoughts in the comments section.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Going for the Gold

I feel like I'm going for the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games.  My "sport" is serving members and employees at a job I've held for a mere 40 days.  My promotion to membership supervisor two days before our warehouse grand opening was a little scary at first, especially when I saw a never-ending line of new members waiting to sign up the first day we opened. 

We are planning on reaching our target of 10,000 new members by tomorrow evening.  These record-breaking numbers are just the beginning of my life at a company driven to be the best in everything they do.  What a joy it is to be around so many passionate employees.  Yes, I do believe I found my Heaven on earth.  Make sure you come visit me when you are in the area.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Heat is On

We are facing temperature highs of 105〫today in Iowa.  The heat wave is not slowing down the stream of customers flocking to our new warehouse.  Yesterday on my day off, I got a call from one of the staff-level managers asking me to come in and handle the large crowds signing up for new memberships.  It was another record-breaking day.  Even though our location has only been open eight days, we will have 9,000 new members by noon today.  I love breaking records.  By tomorrow, the temperatures will cool down and we expect to see even larger crowds.  Our target is 10,000 new members by the end of the weekend.   This is what happens when you hire the best people and do things right every day, every time.

If you are facing high temperatures, be careful.  The most important thing you can do is stay hydrated.  I will be drinking plenty of fluids as we seek to break the all-time record for a new warehouse opening.  Looks like I'm going to be very busy in my new job.  Yes, the heat is on.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Birthday to Remember

I celebrated my 52nd birthday yesterday -- my first one in my new hometown.  If my life were a football game, half-time ended a couple of years ago and the third quarter of my life is now underway.  Just as football coaches make corrections at half-time and make a game plan for the final two quarters, I'm doing the same thing with my life.

I really feel good about the fine-tuning I'm doing.  My whole team is on the same page.  Each "player" is contributing to the well-being of our family.  The high of 105∘didn't stop our 4th of July fun.  We attended a parade that passed thru the town square before checking out an amazing display of fireworks.  The thirty minute show was only 300 yards from our back yard.

I would like to thank all my friends and family for making me feel so special yesterday.  Our home was filled with many relatives from my wife's side of the family; we will never forget the hospitality of our friends, neighbors, and family members.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How To Live The Dream

I keep asking my wife to pinch me-- if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up.  My life is already the ultimate fairy tale story and the final chapters are still yet to be written.  I am a blessed man.  Today is my birthday.  I have two days off in a row to be with my family.  Life is good.  For those of you who are wondering why I departed California and headed into the great unknown, permit me to share my story...

On this day, fifty-two years ago, my grandfather, Dr. VA Mulligan, delivered me to my awesome parents.  I'm the oldest of six children.  Each sibling has an amazing story, however, I promised them and others close to me I will never share anything personal here to protect privacy.  Each sibling has been a pillar in my life.

My teenage years were filled with questions.  Like most people, I wanted answers.  My spiritual immaturity blinded me to God's plans for me and I set out to live my life according to my own dreams.  I experienced many peaks and valleys.  Then, one day the light bulb went off.  I discovered God had a different plan for me.  I decided to follow the plan.

So, here I am in the heartland of America, living five miles from my wife's birthplace.  All three of my children are with my wife and me and soon they will depart to write their own stories.  What a joy it is to be with them.  My job is to teach them about God's love for them.  Like me, they will need to go on their own journey.  If they understand how much God truly loves them, the path to Him will be less difficult.

I believe the lowest point of my life was the time my daughter called from the airport just before her first solo plane ride.  She just completed her first year of college in California and was eager to be reunited with us.  I deposited my last dollar in her account so she could cover her bag fees.  Since all the scales in her dorm were packed up, she guessed on the weight of her bags.  The  eight pound miscalculation led to a $100 penalty on top of the $60 charge for her two bags.  She was in tears when she called to notify me her account was over the limit.  You can read more about it by clicking here.

The Reader's Digest version is I needed to drive over one hundred miles to the nearest bank branch in Illinois to replenish my daughter's overdrawn account.  I called the airlines to complain and they refused to budge despite their poor guidance and ugly customer service.  My daughter stood helpless at the ticket counter while the agent chastised her for her miscalculation.  They didn't give her the opportunity to remove the excess eight pounds from her suitcase and discard it or move it to the second bag because they were understaffed and rushing customers through the process.  It was this eight pound lemon from God that routed me by the new Costco.  I stopped in after helping my daughter and found out they needed marketers to help introduce the warehouse to Coralville, Iowa.  The timing couldn't have been better.  My future boss was scheduled to arrive that evening and I was one of his first interviews.

I was fortunate to be in the first group of fifty hired.  My new job mirrored many jobs I held in the publishing world and I loved every minute of it.  One day at the end of my shift, my boss asked me to meet him on the floor where some patio furniture was on display.  One of our top bosses was already seated when I entered the gazebo.  We chatted about how things were going.  Her next words stunned me.  She said, "Michael, we would like you to be our new membership supervisor."  It was the greatest compliment she could give me.  At that moment I realized God was turning all my lemons into lemonade.

We are breaking all kinds of records at my new job and we are on pace to be the all-time leader for new store openings out of more than 600 world-wide warehouses.  Before I left work yesterday, my boss told me we had 8,000 new members.  This is amazing because we just opened on June 27th.  At the VIP party, I shook hands with the original founder of Costco and his new CEO who is following in Jim's footsteps.  The community in Iowa loves having a new Costco and I love serving them.  Our goal is to reach 10,000 new members by Sunday night.  My life is a fairy tale.  I love my life.  I'm living happily ever after.  Anyone can live the dream.  Here's how:

Trust God.  Let Him be in charge of your life.  Don't fret when things don't make sense.  He doesn't expect you to figure out how the puzzle pieces fit together.  Just believe that everything will eventually make sense.  It may not happen until you reach Heaven.  That's okay.  Just thank God for all the lemons in your life and learn how to make lemonade.  That's how you live the dream you were created to live.  God bless you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Thunderstorm of Blessings

There is a new storm in my life.  This storm is different from anything I've ever observed.  It pours out rain drops of blessings-- the sky is filled with spectacular rainbows.  It's like finding an oasis after living in the desert for many years.  I feel invigorated.  I feel connected to Heaven.

If you find yourself in a difficult circumstance, please do not lose hope.  Your prayers will be answered.  I say this because I'm a witness to God's power in my life.  I'm the caterpillar who transformed into a butterfly.  It has nothing to do with what I do.  I simply exist.  My life source is within me.  Jesus is guiding me through His Holy Spirit.  This gift is for all who believe.

Are you ready to come out of the desert?  Pray for a thunderstorm of blessings to pour out into your life.  Be patient.  The storm will come.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Keep Your Commitments

It's another two thumbs up day.  I visited three  wi-fi sites this morning--all three were down.  Today's story is being typed on  my cell phone using only my thumbs.  No matter how difficult it is, I find a way to keep my promises.     More on this later.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Do You Have Trust Issues?

My trust policy is black and white.  Until another person does something to lose my trust in them, I trust them.  Once trust is lost, it's very difficult to earn it back.  There are two examples that illustrate both ends of the spectrum.  Let's begin with Satan, a fallen Angel who once had God's favor.  I'm sure the other Angels who followed Satan now regret turning away from God.  These fallen Angels are so angry that they will say and do anything to get us to trust and follow them.  Their promises are empty.  They no longer have God's light inside them.  It would be crazy to trust them.

Jesus has a stellar record of promises kept.  He followed through every time He made a promise, including rising from the dead.  I trust Him 100%.  Even though I made many mistakes in my past, He looks past my errors and still trusts me to return to Him. 

While you may have trust issues with certain people in your life, make sure you place your trust in Jesus.  Be careful about one thing -- sometimes Jesus says no.  Just because he turns down a prayer request, it doesn't mean you should lose your trust in Him.  In fact, when He says no it's probably so you can learn a lesson or because He has something else better for you.  He may be saying no to a cure for your cancer because He wants you to be in Heaven with Him soon.  Don't stop trusting Him when He says no.

The last promise Jesus made before His Houdini act 2,000 years ago was, "I'll be back."  Do you trust Him to return for you?  I'm betting on His track record of every promise kept.  I trust Him.  How about you?  Do you have trust issues with Jesus?  Please leave your comments below.