Friday, August 31, 2012

Blog Reader Appreciation Day

Today's story is dedicated to all the readers, far and near, who read these daily messages.  I love waking up every morning and writing for you.  Thank you for spending time here.

My head is bursting with a plethora of ideas for future stories.  This message is #1101 in the daily series that will continue the rest of my life.  Make sure you become a blog follower to be eligible for future book give-aways.  I really appreciate your support.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Final Destination

There was a big debate in my workplace about who should be picked for the first employee of the month.  I nominated my buddy, Ryan, an energetic young man with a passion for excellence.  Ryan lost his life days before our grand opening in a head-on collision while riding a motorcycle.  Some in the workplace felt Ryan's picture on the wall would be a sad reminder of the tragedy.  I argued that his photo would remind us of his amazing contributions to our company.  I attended Ryan's wake with a group of team-mates and we met his family and friends the night before we opened for business.  Everyone had something good to say about Ryan.  When I look at Ryan's photo on the wall at work, I think about where he is now and where all of us are headed.  His spirit is with us.

Do you ponder what your final destination will be like?  The truth is that you are created in God's image.  This means you have eternal life.  Yes, you have to die first before you reach your final destination.  Your attitude about death will affect how you live.  Do your best to determine why you are here and what your role is.  I believe we are to help one another figure out the meaning of our lives.  Just remember one important point:  this world is not your final destination.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Faith Maintenance

Faith maintenance is not as easy to measure as other areas of our lives, like annual doctor visits or 3,000 mile oil changes on our automobiles.  Failure to maintain any area of our lives leads to visible consequences.  Treat your faith like your car and follow the checklist to make sure you are giving your faith the attention it deserves:
  1. Check your alignment.  Spiritual potholes sometimes knock your faith out of alignment.   Weekly church service helps keep your faith in a straight direction.
  2. Look under the hood.  Careful inspection of your soul will help you identify areas of concern.  Do this at least every 3 months or 3,000 miles and pay careful attention to the oil.
  3. Change your wiper blades.  No matter where you live, there will be storms in your future.  Let the Holy Spirit be your wiper blades.  He will help you see what lies ahead.
  4. Remember to rotate your tires.  Your spiritual journey lasts a lifetime.  Without good tires, you risk a blowout on the way to your final destination.  I rely on the four Gospels as my tires and rotate my reading so attention is given to each tire.
  5. Wash your car often.  Your faith may be invisible on the inside but others will notice when your actions need some polishing.
  6. Use premium gas.  The Old and New Testament of the Bible, when combined, produce the best octane on the market.  Keep your spiritual gas tank filled and you will never be alone.
  7. Practice defensive driving.  The road is filled with other drivers who neglect their faith.  If your faith policy is active, you're 100% protected in the event of a collision, including death.  Remember that your policy requires accident forgiveness even if it's the other driver's fault.
  8. Check your muffler.  Other drivers shouldn't have to be annoyed by your loud muffler.  Live your faith by your quiet actions rather than your loud words.
  9. Fill your radiator with coolant.  You especially need this when climbing mountains.  Your spiritual car has everything it needs to handle your specific road no matter how steep.  Sometimes you may need to live without air conditioning during the climb to keep the radiator working properly.
  10. Hire a mechanic you can trust with your life.  Jesus is the best mechanic I know.  He is available 24/7.  His automobile survived forty days in the desert before his wreck that resulted in a fatality.  Three days later, He was fully restored.  The restoration was so good that many other drivers had trouble recognizing Him.  
Remember to share the road and your faith with other drivers.  Would you mind sharing this message with someone you care about who may benefit from some faith maintenance?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Laugh a Little

Nothing beats a rough day like a little laughter in your life.  Even a tiny bit of it can change the aura of a room.  Here are some tips to tickle your funny bone:

  1. Surround yourself with funny people.  They will rub off on you.  Laughter in crowds is contagious.
  2. Learn one new joke a day and share it with someone who needs a laugh.
  3. Lighten up.  Life doesn't have to be so serious all the time.
  4. Pick out a comedy at the movies.
  5. Share your favorite joke in the comments section or email me.   Thanks for your contribution.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Preparing for My First Midwest Winter

In another lifetime, I was a tennis coach.  I seized on an opportunity to go to Canada as an instructor for three seasons during college.  The owner of the camp came to me near the end of summer camp with an offer I couldn't refuse.  He said, "Mike, I need you to stay on and work at my 5-star resort for a couple more months.  You can live at the cabin on the lake for free."  My answer changed my life.  Here's what I experienced when I said yes:
  1. A one week train trip from Toronto to Montreal and Quebec City while the leaves were changing color in October.
  2. An opportunity to visit friends I made during summer camp while touring the country.
  3. An opportunity to find my destiny -- coaching others.
The extra semester off from college taught me more than anything I read in books.  I got to see the world and broaden my horizons.  Now, for the first time since my college days, I'm preparing for the leaves to change color.  There aren't really any seasons in Arizona where I grew up.  The leaves do change color in California, however, the colors are from a sixteen-pack of crayola crayons compared to what I experienced on my train ride through Canada in October.

The leaves are already changing color in our backyard.  We are preparing for our first Midwest winter.  If you haven't vacationed during the fall season, here's my coaching tip for you:

Make travel plans today to visit a place where you can experience life in true color.  Timing is everything.  The leaves will be changing color in the Midwest early due to the change in weather patterns.  If you plan properly, you will experience colors like you have never seen before.  Don't forget to send me a picture.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Lesson From The Story of Job

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys ~ Job 42:12

It is difficult to read the story of Job in the Bible.  According to the story, Satan made a deal with God to tempt Job.  Job had everything -- riches, a beautiful family, and God's favor.  Then, it was all taken away.  Despite the agony Job suffered, he refused to turn away from God.

Unless you read the full story, you miss a fairy tale ending often overlooked by believers.  I see many parallels in my own life.  Many thought my life would never be the same once I left the great state of California and settled in the Midwest.  I gave up a house I cherished, a neighborhood filled with awesome people, a caring community, and a group of friends and business partners that I am blessed to know.  Many thought I lost my sanity.

Like Job, I knew God was with me, even if my life appeared to be headed for challenging times.  I found comfort in reading the full story of Job when I first arrived in Iowa, jobless and penniless.  The California short sale resulted in a loss of wealth which was stored up in an untimely home remodel just as the real estate market plunged.

There are millions of people just like me who are wondering if the second half of their lives will be better than the first half.  I already know the answer.  God is with me no matter where I live or what season of my life I'm experiencing.  He never abandoned Job.  God allowed Job to go through trials in order to grow closer to God and become dependent on Him no matter the circumstances.

Be careful to avoid Satan's empty promises.  True wealth does not come from possessions.  It comes from your relationship with God.  He is always close to you, especially in difficult times.  It is written:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Common Thread

Do you see that bird flying in the picture on top of my blog?  He always seems to be at the right place at the right time when I take pictures.  I noticed another one when I photographed the first sunset of the New Year in last week's blog story, "How's Your Timeline?"  The sea gull represents the Holy Spirit, who is always present at the right time and the right place in my life.  He is the common thread that holds everything in place.

If you're having trouble stitching your life together, look for the common thread.  I give Him all the credit for all the good in my life.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I Can't Stop Blogging

But if I say, “I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot ~ Jeremiah 20:9

Do you remember your teenage years when those ugly zits forced their way to the surface of your face, one after the other?  I will never forget that day in the elevator when one of those over-sized pimples appeared on the tip of my nose.  My college buddy, Steve, stared directly at it just as the doors closed.  Then he asked, "what is that thing on your nose?"  There was no place I could hide while five co-eds zeroed in on my horrid pimple.  My life was moving in slow motion and there was no place to take cover.

My blog stories are like teenage pimples that erupt without warning.  The Spirit within me fires up my heart and bones.  I cannot restrain it; it overpowers my life.  The more I blog, the stronger the fire becomes.  The flames will never cease until I breathe my last breath.  And long after I'm gone, the Spirit will remain in the words left behind.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inside the Mind of a Songwriter

Last night, my wife and I enjoyed a date night in Des Moines.  My cousin, Mark Mulligan, was in town for a house concert.  We brought our daughter with us and spent the evening outdoors listening to Mark.  It was easy for me to see the pictures in my head of Mark's songs while listening because I grew up sharing many of the same experiences.  At the end of the show, I told Mark there is one word to describe him -- authentic.  If you haven't heard his music, make sure you check him out when he visits your neighborhood.  Mark is headed to Nashville soon to record his next CD and last night he gave us a preview of what is ahead.

This morning, while still hearing Mark's songs in my head, I discovered a YouTube video created by another songwriter my wife and I met at a fundraiser in Ramona.  Mary James gets her inspiration for her songs from the same source as my cousin.  The movie making software she used to match pictures to her music allows listeners a rare glimpse inside the mind of a songwriter.  Check it out here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How's Your Timeline?

The first sunset of 2012.  This photo is now featured on my new FB timeline.

The note at the top of my FaceBook page was uninvited, just like the new timeline they were forcing on me.  I asked myself, "is it time to end my relationship with this company or should I accept the changes?"

There is a delicate balance between sharing my life on social media sites and allowing people close to me to stay under the radar.  I'm careful to get permission from family members before posting pictures or personal stories.  I keep my work life private.  I avoid political debates.

Perhaps the best benefit of Facebook is knowing when a friend or family member is celebrating a birthday, graduation, wedding or birth.  It helps to know who is struggling with the loss of a loved one.  All of these benefits outweigh the changes being forced upon me on my social media page. 

How about you.  Are you happy with your timeline?  How do you walk the tightrope between privacy and sharing significant events in your life?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Keep Learning

You are never too old to keep learning.  Thanks to the Internet, it's never been easier to access information about any topic.  Challenge yourself to learn a new language or skill.  I'm investing time learning how to be a better manager of people.  The resources on this subject are limitless.

Let me know what new lessons you would like to learn and how you plan to learn them.  Please share in the comments section below.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Five Reasons Why Love Wins

If love and hate were to match up against each other in a boxing ring, it would be an interesting spectacle.  Each side side has its own fans.  Here are five reasons why I believe love would be victorious:
  1. Love has the ability to see into hate's soul and understand what motivates hate to be so angry. Hate is too enraged to do the same for love.
  2. Love can heal; hate can only destroy.
  3. Love may be knocked down in the arena but it's always motivated to stand up again.
  4. Love has stronger moves including forgiveness, empathy, charity, caring, kindness, gentleness and understanding.
  5. Jesus is the source of love and He conquered death so that all who follow Him will have eternal life.  Not even hate can defeat Him.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What is Love?

  1. Love is knowing how many scoops of coffee to put in the coffee machine for your spouse when you're not a coffee drinker.
  2. Love is seeing the beauty of a new gray hair.
  3. Love is desiring to spend your entire day with your spouse and do what they want to do.
  4. Love is that tingle you get when you see your spouse in your children.
  5. Love is when you hold hands and don't need to say anything.
  6. Love is when your greatest wish is to see a smile on your spouse's face.
  7. Love is when you realize you were created in His image and your spouse was, too.
  8. Love is writing a love letter to your spouse when it's not Valentine's day, or a birthday.
  9. Love is when you are given a wish and you give it to your spouse.
  10. Love is when two people have a dream and it's the same dream.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

How to Turn Your Life Into an Adventure

Today is a special day in our household.  We have an honored guest visiting us for a BBQ.  The weather will be in the 70's.  The skies are clear. And we will be visiting with the matriarch of my wife's family.  At 90 years old, Inez is enjoying life to its fullest.  Other family members will be joining in the fun.  This is the reason I now live in Iowa, to be close to my wife's family.  All of us are on an amazing adventure.  Here are some ideas to put more adventure into your life:
  1. Spend time with the people you love.  Listen to them as they share their life's stories.
  2. Don't be afraid to change your zip code.  The world is full of amazing people.  Go meet them.
  3. Stop listening to negative people.  They are afraid that if you start living life to its fullest, they may have to follow you.
  4. Realize that today is a gift.  Unwrap it.  Savor it with all five of your senses.  Share it.
  5. Your Creator wrote a script for your life before you were born.  Discover what is on the pages.  If your life is boring and unfulfilled, you aren't following His script.  He has big plans for you.  Go out and live the adventure that is your destiny.  Stop wasting the pages of your precious life.

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's a Personal Day Today

My wife and I are enjoying a couple of days in a row together.  Our schedules don't always align like this and we are having so much fun I almost forgot to post a story this morning.

Make sure you take time in your life to enjoy your loved ones.  See you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life Under the Radar

Obscurity has its advantages.  Four out of five in my household prefer it.  My new boss prefers it.  I started this blog deliberately making it hard to find in order to fly under the radar.  Most readers of this blog can relate, choosing not to post public comments to my daily stories.  The One I follow spent the first thirty years of His life under the radar.  He did His best to avoid crowds and asked people to be quiet about what they witnessed.  His followers stayed under the radar until Jesus returned from the dead to ask them for help.  Life under the radar was no longer an option.

90% of my life remains under the radar.  The other 10% is posted here and in my books.  Thank you for reading my daily stories, even if you choose to fly under the radar.  I'm just happy to know these stories show up on your radar.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Improve Your Memory

Your brain listens to you.  Every time you say, "I'm terrible at remembering names," your brain processes your statement and responds.  Replace that comment with, "I'm working on remembering names and I'm getting better at it every day."

My good friend, Jim, is on my mind.  He is grieving the loss of his mother who passed away last night.  Jim introduced me to "memory stacking" when I enrolled in the Dale Carnegie class he instructed on March 17, 1987.  The idea is to come up with a list of pictures stacked one on top of the other in your mind and add something you want to remember to each picture.  For example, I wanted to memorize the eight Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.  I picture the back row of the chess board and stack all eight Beatitudes.  Here's how it works:
  1. The first chess piece in the memory stack is the rook, which looks like a castle or a kingdom.  The castle is located in a poor neighborhood and needs renovation.  This mental picture helps me remember the first beatitude:  "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."
  2. The knight, or horse, is the second chess piece.  I picture a horse pulling a casket followed by a crowd that is mourning.  The rider on the horse has a big pillow on his saddle to make him more comfortable.  The second Beatitude:  "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
  3. The bishop is located in the third position.  I picture a bishop, or someone who has control over the land.  He is wearing a t-shirt that reads, "My name is Meek."  The third Beatitude: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
  4. The queen is next on my stacking list.  I picture hungry people coming to her for food and water.  The fourth Beatitude: "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."
  5. The king has a cross on his head because he shows mercy.  The fifth Beatitude:  "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
  6. The next bishop in the sequence represents the sixth Beatitude.  I picture this bishop standing in his field like a scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz because he has a good heart (the crazier you make your pictures, the easier it is to remember your list).  This bishop represents the sixth Beatitude:  "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
  7. The second knight is named Wes, my daughter's present we gave her for her sixteenth birthday.  I picture my daughter flashing a peace sign while riding her horse.  This helps me remember the seventh beatitude:  "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."
  8. The last castle is similar to the first one on the list.  Both castles represent kingdoms.  I picture a bloody war waged in front of the castle to help me remember the eighth Beatitude.  The attackers are all left-handed and the victims are all right-handed representing the RIGHTeousness they are fighting for in the final Beatitude:  "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 
Memory stacking will help you get better at test taking.   It's easier to remember pictures than words. Practice putting word pictures together and get creative with your pictures.  Let me know how this is working and remember to tell your brain, "I'm improving my memory every day."

Thank you, Jim, for teaching me this valuable tool.  Peace be with you.  May your mother's soul rest in peace. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How's Your Spirit?

The other day I heard a speaker on the radio share his thoughts about the beatitudes.  Immediately, I flashed back to a camping trip where I used pieces on a chess board to learn the beatitudes.  I memorized the beatitudes by relating each of the eight beatitudes to a corresponding chess piece.  The first chess piece, the rook, looks like a castle and it represents the castle or the kingdom, the first beatitude.  Jesus told his followers, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

The gentleman was well-versed and offered an interesting point of view about the qualities of the followers of Jesus.  Poor is not defined in monetary terms, but rather in a spiritual sense.  To be poor in spirit is to recognize you need God.  If you are the center of the universe, you are not poor in spirit.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?  If the spirit you see is in need of God and you turn to Him to be filled up, you will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.  Please let me know how your spirit is in the comments section.  If you prefer to keep your comments private, feel free to email me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Life After the Olympics

The Olympics are over.  The athletes are going home.  Will life be different now that the games are done?  I believe I experienced every emotion on the spectrum during these special moments and I will savor them as I return to my regular routine.  Here are some recaps that remind me what to do when I have the opportunity to be in the spotlight:

Double amputee, Oscar Pistorius, demonstrates you don't have to finish first to make an impression on others.

Meseret Defar kept Jesus and His Mother with her on her way to capturing her gold medal.

Gabby Douglas gives God all the glory.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Find the Hot Buttons

Want better relationships?  Discover what matters to the people around you.  Finding the hot button is like turning on a light bulb in a dark room.  Once you find it, you gain a better understanding of what is important to your friends, family, boss, or fellow employees.  Here are some suggestions to help you find the hot buttons:
  1. Ask the right questions and pay attention to the answers.
  2. Study the body language.  When you find the hot button, you will see pupils dilate, posture change, or differences in speech patterns.  The facial expressions are similar to the ones you see when you tell someone they just won a prize.  The bigger the hot button, the more it will show in the body language.  You know you are on the right track when the other person moves closer to you.  
  3. Show others that you care.  People will be willing to reveal their hot buttons when they trust you.  Be genuine.  Be engaged in the conversation.
  4. Once you discover the hot button, ask follow up questions.  The best follow up question is, "why is that (the hot button item) important to you?"
  5. Be a good detective.  Everyone has a hot button.  The best detectives probe for clues.  Be attentive. 
Would you like to share a time when you discovered a hot button inside someone close to you?  Please leave your comment below.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to Prepare for Stormy Weather

Photo by Nicole Mulligan

Mother Nature interrupted my BBQ plans with a surprise storm on a rare mid-week day off.  The sun was shining and the temperatures were in the mid 80's.  Then the clouds swooped in, swirling like mashed potatoes in a high-speed blender.  My daughter rushed to get her camera and photograph the sky show before the torrential rainfall forced us indoors.

Life is filled with unexpected storms.  Sometimes, they come on sunny days when they are the least expected.  Many Iowans are already warning me about what is to come when I see my first winter away from the west coast.  Here are some ideas to help you prepare for stormy weather:

  1. Expect the storms.  They come in many forms -- job losses, sickness, injuries, accidents, wildfires, tornadoes.  The eagle spreads his wings and looks directly at the storm clouds, waiting patiently to be uplifted above the clouds, soaring until the danger passes.  He uses the storm to his advantage.
  2. Listen to others who weathered their own storms.  My mechanic recommended special tires for our automobiles, two for the front equipped with special spikes that grip the road in icy conditions.  We will mount these tires before the first winter storm hits.
  3. Wait for the rainbows.  Every storm passes.  Some linger, however, they eventually make their exit.  Be patient.  Savor the rainbows while preparing for the next set of storms.  Weather patterns, like history, repeat themselves.  Stay alert.
I'm planning some major writing during my first winter hibernation.  Winter storms are perfect conditions for writers.  I will drink hot chocolate while sitting next to the fireplace, happy that it's located in the basement.  And when the Spring arrives, I will re-appear with a completed novel penned during stormy weather.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Failure...The Secret Ingredient in Success

No longer do I fear failure.  In fact, I embrace it.  Failure is the secret ingredient most people overlook in the the recipe of life.  Great leaders understand failure is necessary in order to learn new things.  It's like falling off a bike.  The falls come before the bike rides.

If you aren't failing, you're not outside your comfort zone.  You're not testing yourself to the limits of your ability.  You are crawling when you could be flying.  Be bold.  Learn something new every day.

Would you like to share an experience about how failure led to success?  Please post your story in the comment section below.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Love You Give

Want more love in your life?  It's easy.  Just give it.  Start with the people who annoy you.  Loving people who love you is easy.  Try something challenging, like loving your enemy.

There's a reason I don't share my political views or individual religious denomination here.  I love you.  Your opinions on religion and politics may be opposite my own.  I'm not here to fight with you.  I'm here to say, "I love you."  These daily stories are to help you on your journey.  In the end, it all comes down to love.  How are you doing with the love you give?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spoiler Alert

Warning...continued reading will give away the ending to an upcoming future event.

The last chapter of my dad's life on earth inspired my first memoir.  He taught me an important lesson about dealing with a set of cards most people prefer to discard.  The look on his face when the doctors told him he was terminal said it all.  He played his cards until his final breath.  This is what he taught me about the future:
  1. Death is only a doorway.  Read the Bible to learn how to get through the door.  If you search for the door, you will find it.
  2. Don't be afraid to live.  Make every day count.
  3. The best way to teach others how to play the game is by example and the last poker hand is the most important.  Let your poker face tell them, "I love you."  Share this until you play your last hand.  Then go through the door and we will meet again. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Celebrating 50,000 Pageviews

Thank you for helping me to achieve the 50,000 pageview milestone this morning.  It warms my heart knowing you are finding these messages in a bottle I cast out into cyberspace every morning at 8:08AM, Pacific Time.  I'm living in a new time zone now.  I have a new life.  The one constant has been my writing.  Even if you were the only person in the world opening these bottles, I would still write.  This is what I was born to do.

There is much to do in the coming months.  I will be focusing time and energy on The Caveman in the Mirror.  These daily blog messages are my dress rehearsals and my novel will be my opus.  There are just 221 days to go to reach that milestone.  It's nice to see so many of you checking in.  Thank you.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Favorite Olympic Moment

Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," finished last in his 400m semi-final. Photo: AP
You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have ~ Oscar Pistorius

The fine people of London demonstrate remarkable hospitality hosting an Olympic show I will savor for years to come.   These games are extra special for me because I'm watching them with my entire family.  My favorite Olympic moment was watching Oscar Pistorius in the 400m semi-final.  Oscar is the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.

Pistorius crossed the finish line in last place, however, his heart and his drive prompted Kirani James of Grenada, the first place finisher and reigning 400m world champion, to swap numbers with him after the race.  Every one of Pistorius's rivals embraced him when the race was over.

In life, Pistorius is a game-changer.  It's hard to believe the world may have missed this amazing feat, had Pistorius not been injured while playing rugby.  He began running as part of his rehab and discovered his gift.  He also wrestled and played tennis before becoming a track superstar.  Way to go, Oscar.  Thanks for a great Olympic moment.

What's your favorite Olympic moment?  Please share in the comments section below.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Buffer Zone

Five days a week I drive a twenty mile stretch of Interstate 80 I call my buffer zone.  This freeway allows me time to prepare, diffuse, pray, or just let my mind wander.  Sometimes, ideas for future blog stories pop into my head.  The time always passes quickly.  This buffer zone brings me peace.

I listen to a local christian radio station while in the buffer zone.  The music sets a positive tone during my commute.  If you are looking for uplifting music to help you during your time in your own buffer zone, check out the link to Life 101.9.  Click here.

What buffer zones do you have in your life?  Please share your ideas in the comments section.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mulligan's Island Headed to the Midwest

I just reserved seats to see my world-famous cousin, Mark Mulligan, at his first ever performance in my new home state of Iowa.  Show time is Wed, August 22 at 6:00 pm.  Doors open at 5:00 pm.  For more information, click here.

My wife and I are hoping to round up some friends and family for a great evening of fun.  Hope you can make it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Living in the Zone

If a stranger asked you to rate the quality of your life on a one to ten scale, what rating would you give yourself?  Does the rating fluctuate?  Are you satisfied with your self-rating?  If you give yourself anything less than a consistent daily ten rating, this blog story is for you.

I made a personal choice to "live in the zone."  This is a state of mind not related to world events, personal challenges or occurrences beyond my control.  I determine the daily ranking.  The permanent setting is ten.  I do not allow anything or anyone to change the number.  For those around me who seek a higher self ranking, I offer this coaching tip:

Set the bar high for your life.  Live it to its fullest.  If you live every moment to its potential, there is no need to go backwards and relive past experiences.  There is no need to dwell on the future because the opportunities that exist in the present moment are the top priority.  Give this moment your full attention.  Choose to make it a ten, regardless of circumstances.  This includes dealing with the loss of a friend, sickness, joblessness, etc. Find the silver lining in each dark cloud.  Dance in the rain.  Be in the moment.  Live in the zone.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Prayer For Your Children

Praying wives are gifts from God.  Sometimes, their prayers are displayed on refrigerator doors for the whole family to see.  This is the hand-written note on ours:

"Give my children a sense of destiny and show them that you set them apart and appointed them with gifts and talents even before they were born."  (inspired by Jeremiah 1:5).

If you have a prayer or quote you would like to share, please email it or comment below for the benefit of all blog readers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How To Be a Better Leader

Leadership doesn't come from fancy job titles.  It comes from having a sense of direction and getting others to follow that vision.  Take time to find out what people around you want in life.  Help them get there.  The more you know about them, the better leader you can be.

The best leaders are the ones who care about others.  Leaders find out what makes the people around them tick and then ignite that inner passion needed to live the dream.  Here are some steps to help you become a better leader:
  1. Find out what the people around you want with their lives.
  2. Help them come up with a plan to achieve their goals.
  3. Give them space to grow.
  4. Lead by example.
  5. Help them navigate the rough waters when they get stuck.
  6. Take time to discover the unique gifts each person around you has and encourage them to develop their talents.
  7. Stay positive.  People gravitate to leaders who have a great attitude.
  8. Keep learning.  The world is changing.  Stay on top of new technology and ideas.
  9. When negative feedback is necessary, do it in private.
  10. When positive feedback is appropriate, do it in public.