Saturday, January 31, 2015

Be Positve Today

You have a choice today.  You can be that negative person who believes nothing good is going to happen today.  You can be the buzz killer who brings everyone else down.  You can be the dream killer who convinces others to not even try.  Or, you can be the one person who demonstrates a consistent positive attitude no matter what storms are on the horizon.  You can bring your strength, energy, motivation and initiative into a dark world desperate for a tiny glimmer of light.  Turn the light on.  Shine.  Have a great day.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Forgive Someone Today

Are you having trouble sleeping at night?  Perhaps that grudge you are holding is causing you stress.  Let go of it.  Forgive someone today.  The grudge will try to sneak back into your home.  Don't let it in.  It will steal your happiness like a thief in the night.  Have a great day and sleep well tonight.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Become a Champion of the Do-over

Life is great.  Every morning when you wake up you get a second chance to correct everything you did wrong yesterday.  This is called taking a Mulligan.  Maybe that's why I can't wait to wake up and seize the day.  I know I can do better.  I'm thankful I get the chance to fix my goofs.  If mulligans are allowed on the golf course, they should be allowed everywhere.  Did you miss the putt yesterday?  Go ahead.  Take your mulligan today.  Become a champion of the do-over.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mulligan's Big Cup

I'm sharing my latest creation from the Mulligan kitchen today.  It's designed for two, so be sure you share.  I've been fine tuning this breakfast drink for the last thirty days.  It's healthy, it tastes great and it will give you a surge of energy that lasts throughout the day.  Make sure you blend it up in a high speed blender for the best results.  I recommend the Vitamix because it's easy to use and the cleanup time is about one minute.  Here you go:

Mulligan's Big Cup


2 Oranges
1 Celery
4 Organic Baby Carrots
1/2 Banana (Fresh or Frozen)
2 Frozen Strawberries
1/2 cup of Frozen Blueberries
1/2 cup of Frozen Mangos
1/2 cup of Frozen Pineapple
1/4 cup of Frozen Organic Pomegranate
2 cups of Spinach
1/4 cup of water
1/2 tsp of Organic Blue Agave
1 Tablespoon of Flaxseed
1/4 cup of Blenditup Protein+ Smoothie Mix


Start with the oranges.  Add the celery, baby carrots, banana and all the other frozen fruits.  Add the spinach on top of the fruit.  Add water and agave.  Turn on the blender and gradually turn up the speed.  When the vortex is created at the center, slowly add the flaxseed.  Add the protein powder.

Clean up

Fill your blender about half way with water.  Add one drop of dish soap.  Gradually turn up the speed on your blender until you reach the highest setting.  Rinse and let dry.

I like to complete my morning smoothie with a 1/4 cup of Ancient Grains Granola with Almonds.  I mix it in a cereal bowl with two tablespoons of yogurt.  If you need any testimonials about how this will improve your life, just ask the Mrs.  Go big.  Go for the Mulligan's Big Cup.  Have a great day.  Don't forget to share the recipe with a friend.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hunt the Good Stuff

We received our second letter yesterday from our son, private Mulligan, now going through basic training in the army.  He says they're being pushed hard but there's still fun in every day.  His drill sergeant tells him, "hunt the good stuff."  Several minutes after opening the letter, more good stuff came in the form of a five minute phone call from our boy.  I watched the glow on my wife's face as she basked in the first four-and-a-half minutes of our call.  It was great to hear his voice and I'm thankful for the thirty seconds I got to hear the excitement in his voice.

What good stuff is happening in your life today?  Is it hard to find when you're being bombarded with unexpected chaos in your life?  Stay true to your mission.  Hunt the good stuff.  Find something to be thankful for.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm Attempting the Writer's Two Step

Have you ever heard of the Writer's Two Step?  It's a version of the Texas Two Step with similar dance moves.  The Writer's Two Step is fast paced and a little on the crazy side.  Don't try this unless you care little about falling, tripping or making a fool of yourself on the dance floor.  It involves self-publishing two books in the same year.  I never dreamed I would attempt such a complicated maneuver, but the little voice in my head told me I need to get back on track after falling down big time a while back.  Rather than share all my pathetic excuses for delaying my book projects, I'm going all out this year to release my first novel, The Caveman in the Mirror, on March 17, 2015, and a second book, Break the Chains of Debt Bondage, on the 4th of July, 2015.  I admit, I'd be much more comfortable with a slow song.  The Holy Spirit is my dance partner.  His moves are not of this world.  He says, "Follow me.  Pick up the pace.  Don't worry about how silly you look.  Just dance with me."

Don't laugh too hard.  I'm going to keep my two left feet moving until I get it right.  Have a great day. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

10 Steps to a Healthy Life

It's amazing how the small things in life become big things.  One small improvement in one area of your life multiplies and spills over into other areas of your life.  Today's blog includes ten tips for improving your health.  I admit I'm not a professional stair climber.  I have to keep working on these ten steps in order to maximize my health.  I hope you decide to try these ideas out and let me know how they work out for you.  Here goes:
  1. Declutter.  This is huge.  Your mind works more efficiently when everything around you is organized.  Start with one room in your house.  Keep going.  Don't stop until all the clutter is gone.
  2. Put some thought into your grocery shopping.  Make lists.  Avoid buying junk food that isn't on your shopping list.  If you only have healthy food in your home, you will eat healthy.
  3. Put exercise on your to do list.  Itemize everything.  Don't go to bed until you check off everything on the list.  Start small.  Add new exercises as you progress.
  4. Go to bed on time.  If you cheat yourself when it comes to sleep, you will suffer consequences.  Give your body ample time to recharge.  
  5. Let go of grudges.  They are heavy.  The only person they hurt is you.  Get rid of them.
  6. Decide to be happy.  I call my happy place the "zen zone."  It's my choice every day to stay in it or allow someone to take it away from me.  It's like playing "king of the mountain."  There are many worthy opponents who try to knock me off my spot.  Sorry.  I'm not giving it up.  I'm going to be happy in all circumstances.
  7. Be thankful.  Acknowledge others when they do something kind and generous.  Send thank you notes.  
  8. Teach someone how to fish.  You have a specific gift you can share to improve someone's life.  Don't just feed them a fish – teach them how to catch their own fish.
  9. Find your passion and live it.  Don't worry about what the world thinks.  You know in your heart what inspires you.  Go for it.  Live your dreams.
  10. Find your connection to the Creator.  If you're searching for something and you can't find it, this may be what you're looking for.  All you have to do is reach out.  Give prayer a try.  It makes all the other steps easier.
Thanks for visiting today.  If you find these tips helpful, please share them with a friend.  Have a great day. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Habits are Building Blocks

It's official.  My first new habit of 2015 has survived the thirty day rule.  If you give up before thirty days, you gain nothing.  If you succeed, you can use the new habit as a building block for the next challenge.  My wife and I have been using our new Vitamix every day since Christmas.  This new habit is so fun I feel like I'm cheating.  I think that's part of the reason I believe 2015 will be my best year ever.  I'm having fun playing with my Legos.  I feel like I'm building a new life.  Don't we all want to be fulfilled?  My secret is in the cornerstone.  That's where Jesus is.  He is my foundation.  He is also my source for my hopes and dreams.  All I have to do is keep adding new habits, one at a time, until the time clock expires.  Make your habits fun.  Just take it one brick at a time.  Have a great day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Help is on the Way

Isiaiah is one of my favorite writers.  Perhaps it's because of his subject matter.  He speaks boldly about Jesus.  He shares pointers about how we can live better without fear in our lives.  When I'm struggling to get my work done, I think about what Isaiah said in verse 41:13, "Do not fear, I will help you."  God will never give you an assignment without also giving you everything (or everyone) you need to complete your work.  Let go of your fear.  Embrace your challenges.  Jesus is reaching out today to take your right hand and lead you to the finish line.  ¡Vaya con Dios!  Have a great day.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How Far Can You Go?

It's a little scary navigating in uncharted waters.  That's where I am at this moment in time.  It's like walking backwards while holding on to string of rubber bands.  You wonder, "what happens if the person on the other side lets go first or if one of the rubber bands snaps?"  The choice to keep advancing, to keep stretching, is the only option.  Why?  Because that's what life is all about.  I know what it's like to walk into a classroom after recess covered in red welts and I'm the first one to tell you I wouldn't trade that memory or any other memory because facing fear is what helps me to reach distant shores where few choose to sail.  Have a great day.  And don't worry about the welts.  They heal fine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why the First Hour of Each Day is the Most Critical

I don't have bad days.  There are days filled with obstacles, challenges and interesting people who sometimes have differing opinions about the type of days they are experiencing but for me, there aren't any bad days in my world.  I believe the difference is in how I invest my time in that critical first hour.  Try this for thirty days and let me know if your bad days have disappeared.
  1. Begin with seven to eight hours of sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
  2. Get out of bed and stretch.  I like add 50 pushups, 100 stomach crunches and 50 leg raises to my morning routine.
  3. Make a smoothie for breakfast.  Here's my favorite drink for my wife and me.  You can adjust the ingredients depending on the size of you household.  I use 1/2 frozen banana, 2 oranges, a few slices of pineapple, a scoop of frozen blueberries, a couple of frozen strawberries, a small portion of frozen mangoes, a teaspoon of raw whole flaxseed, two slices of celery, a clump of spinach, a teaspoon of organic agave and a scoop of protein powder.  I also eat a very small bowl of Ancient Grains cereal mixed with a tablespoon of yogurt.
  4. Pray.  In my opinion, there's no way you can have a bad day if you're in alignment with the Creator of the universe. 
  5. Tackle your most important item on your to do list during the first hour.  For me, it's blogging.  On days off from my day job I keep writing once my blog is finished.
If you focus your energy on the first hour every day for thirty days, I believe you will be on your way to one of your best years ever.  Let me know if any of these ideas are helpful.  I'm on to the second hour of my day.  Thanks for allowing me to share my first hour with you.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

3 Ideas to Develop Winning Habits

I've been reading a number of stories lately about people who found a way to get out of debt.  My motivation is to find patterns others use to achieve their most challenging goals and debt reduction seems to be at the top of the list for many, including my household.  The common thread for those who pull it off is the development of winning habits.  The first thirty days are the most critical.  If you can survive thirty consecutive days working on a new habit, odds are you will stay on course.  Here are three tips to help you develop winning habits.
  1. Have a serious talk with your inner self.  You need to get your subconscious mind to understand why your new habits are so important.  In my case, I know I have only a small chance for success if I'm not on top of my game.  I can't afford any distractions.  I need my brain to be my ally not my opponent.  It's a partnership.  If my subconscious is on my side, the new habits can stick.
  2. Concentrate on one new habit every 30 days.  For the new year, the first habit I'm forming is  using my Vitamix at least once a day to make smoothies.  Today is the 27th day in a row.  It's fun.  I keep adding new ingredients.  My brain is fully on board because it recognizes the benefits it receives when I feed it properly.
  3. Don't allow the old habits to die.  Think about your goals as spinning plates.  You get the first one started.  Once it's moving, you can add the second plate.  Most of your attention is on the new plate but you check up on the other plates to make sure they are still spinning properly.  Keep those plates spinning.
Let me know how you're doing spinning those plates.  I'll have more updates for you soon.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Your Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19

Isn't it amazing what we do as soon as we know a house guest will be staying with us?  We clean everything.  We organize.  We fill our pantry with the best foods to serve our company.  We want everything to be just right.  What about the guest we invited to live in our heart?  Do we give Jesus a tidy place to live?

I've been pondering what I can do to better serve Jesus in this new year.  He gave me an amazing gift to help me carry out God's plans for my life.  The Holy Spirit is with me wherever I go.  I'm taking steps to get my mind, body and soul in better shape.  It helps knowing my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  I don't want to let my house guests down.  Take a moment today and think about what you can do to take better care of your body.  I'll share more about my action plan in the coming weeks.  Have a great day.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Building Momentum

Got momentum?  When you're starting from ground zero it may be tough.  The first step is always the hardest.  Then the doubt phase appears.  Today is day 18 of the new year.  Yesterday I added the first quote to my vision board.   It's from Jeremiah 29:11-13, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  

That's momentum for me.  My heart is in the right place.  I'm ready.  I feel like that kid riding his bike in the photo above.  Everything is accelerating now.  The pace is picking up.  The wind feels good in my face.  If you're not feeling any momentum in your life, get on the bike and start pedaling.  Push yourself.  Have a great day.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wake Up Every Day Stronger Than Yesterday

You are one day wiser and stronger today than you were yesterday.  Your experiences over the last twenty-four hours give you an advantage you didn't have yesterday.  You have better weapons to face your fears.  You have the ability to get over whatever was making you sad yesterday.  Be strong.  Be bold.  Keep building momentum in your life.  Do something today that will put you in a better position to face tomorrow's fears.  Have a great day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why My 2015 Vision Board is Still Blank

Every morning when I wake up I see it on top of our dining room table.  It's an over sized fluorescent green canvass with nothing on it.  I'm trying something new this year regarding my goals for the next twelve months.  Instead of filling the board with all the things I want to accomplish, I'm asking God to fill it for me.  His answers don't show up immediately.  They start out as tiny whispers in my head. Slowly, the voices get loud enough to inspire me to take action.  I already know God's ways are not my ways.  The challenge is to figure out what his ways are.  Jesus gives us clues to help us find our way.

Look what happened when God sent his Son to become man.  Everything changed.  Do you see what's on the calendar?  It's 2015.  There's the first clue.  Our calendar begins when Jesus enters the world.  It ends when he returns.  Everything in between is our daily challenge to align ourselves with God.  My vision board may look blank but God's ideas are getting ready to sprout like tiny seedlings pushing their way to the surface.  I'm excited.  I'm ready.  I hope you come back and visit often.  Let's put our heads together and see if we can figure out what God wants us to do this year.  I promise to show up every day until my time here is up.  Feel free to add your comments below or email me if you prefer to stay off the grid.  I'll let you know what's on my vision board as soon as I get more clues.  Jesus says, "knock and the door will be opened."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

3 Ideas to Get Your Mind Right

I like to joke to people about how left-handed people are the only ones in their right minds.  Even though I happen to be a leftie, I sometimes struggle to get my mind right.  Here are three ideas I use to jump start my brain.
  1. Imagination.  The technique is simple.  Close your eyes and imagine yourself at your best.  Do you see yourself as confident, friendly and fun to be around?  Focus your brain on the attributes you desire for yourself and then go out into the world and be that person.  
  2. Quiet time.  Your brain needs down time to rest and recuperate.  If you can sneak away for ten minutes in the middle of the day and allow silence, your brain will get a quick recharge and your productivity will soar.
  3. Minimize stress.  Most stressful situations are self-inflicted due to lack of preparation or poor planning.  I give myself a fifteen minute buffer zone when I need to be somewhere important.  My brain stays on cruise control because I'm not stressed about the traffic or the road conditions.
Practice these three ideas daily and you will find improvement.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Are You Enjoying the Journey?

How much joy do you have in your life?  Be honest.  You don't have to share your answer with anyone but yourself.  Take a look around.  What do you see that makes your heart skip a beat?  For me, it's the simple things, like planting a garden.  It's all a process – planning, preparation, execution and the joy of sharing with friends and family.  Take time to savor every precious moment of your life.  Don't worry about the finish line.  Enjoy every mile.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What it's Like to Live with Clarity

Clarity waited patiently for me to finally discover her hitchhiking along Interstate 80 on my morning commute.  Every day I zipped by without ever noticing her standing there.  I suppose I wasn't really ready to meet her.  My mind was distracted with too much clutter.  Something happened when I committed to change.  It was like the fog lifting.  That's when I saw her.  They say picking up hitchhikers is dangerous.  It's true.  And leaving clarity all alone is more dangerous.  Today I'm delivering on my promise to share what it's like to live with clarity.

I read a story about someone who opened a place called Resolutions.  The first two weeks of the year it's a fitness center.  After that, the place is converted into a bar for the remainder of the year.  Everyone laughs except clarity.  Clarity is intentional.  Clarity is steadfast.  She's a visionary.  Clarity is the opposite of willy-nilly.  Clarity waits to visit the gym until the weak have abandoned their resolutions and cleared out with eleven months left on their membership.  Clarity doesn't tolerate excuses.  Here are ten bullet points from clarity you can use to improve your vision:
  1. Be concise.
  2. Focus.
  3. Commit.
  4. Endure.
  5. Adapt.
  6. Imagine.
  7. Pray.
  8. Forgive.
  9. Let go.
  10. Organize.
I invited clarity to live in one of our spare bedrooms.  She's an amazing room-mate and she has bold plans for my wife and me.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Found Clarity

I found clarity.  She was hitchhiking along the interstate.  I pulled over and asked how long she'd been there all alone on the side of the road.  "I've been here every day, waiting for you to see me and pull over," she answered.

"Do you know where you're going?"  I asked.

"Exactly," she said.  Her sentences are succinct.  She speaks with purpose.  I'm finally getting to know someone who knows me better than I know myself.  I have much to learn from clarity.  Stay tuned.  I promise to share the rest of the story tomorrow.  My life is already changing.  Have a great day. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Retired Hole Digger Turns Life Around

Yet being so inspired, Mike soon realizes that Mary Anne is now trapped in the cellar, sunk deep in the ground without a plan or a means to get out. ~ excerpt from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Mike Mulligan loved digging holes with steam shovel, Mary Anne.  In real life, I'm not much different.  I know what it's like to be sunk deep in the ground without a plan or a means to get out.  My wife told me, "stop digging."  That's step one for turning your life around.  Living within my means is my new mantra.  The plan is working.  It takes discipline but it's worth it.

What happens when you stop digging deeper holes?  You discover a whole new world.  You sleep better knowing there really is a way out no matter how deep the hole is you dug.  I informed my wife yesterday about my idea to make a garden in the back yard out of recycled materials.  I'm not digging any more holes.  The garden will be raised.  This will keep the bunnies out and prevent damage from heavy rains.  The raised garden is also symbolic of how I'm living my life now – above ground.  If you're sinking, take make wife's advice and stop digging.  Have a great day.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to Defeat the Negative Voices in Your Head

"If you hear a negative voice inside your mind that says 'you cannot write', then by all means write and that negative voice will be silenced." ~ Michael Mulligan

R.I.P. negative voices.  You've been with me for as long as I can remember.  You were there the day I started blogging.  You told me to give up.  You said nobody would ever read my stories.  You were there every moment I was locked up in solitary confinement writing my first memoir.  You teamed up with the voice of temptation for the one-two punch when you said "give up, it's not worth all this time you spend" and temptation chimed in, "look how nice the weather is outside, you should be on the tennis courts."  Thank God Mother Nature sent out a restraining order on temptation and warned him to stay away from the cold weather states like Iowa. Yes, I'm residing in the perfect writing climate.

I found my writing voice.  It's a gift from God.  The more I use it, the easier it is to overpower that negative voice whose only goal is to weaken my spirit and banish me from cyberspace.  I feel confident about my writing goals and can't wait to release two more books this year.  R.I.P. negative voices.  You suffered a wardrobe malfunction during the half-time performance of my life and your negativity has been exposed for all the world to see.  It's time for you to exit.  Why not go outside and play tennis?  Temptation is looking for a new opponent and you two are made for each other.  Have a great day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Rest of Your Life

"When I come back in three years I bet you're going to be a smoothie expert," our son said shortly before he departed for boot camp.  He knows me well.  My approach to life is similar to making smoothies.  You get up every morning and put the best ingredients into a blender, shake things up a little and then savor every drop.  I believe the rest of my life really is the best of my life.  I feel like I'm just getting started.  Life is fun.  There are so many opportunities.  I keep thinking to myself, what else can I put in my blender today?  What's missing?  Should I plant a garden in my backyard and grow my own ingredients?

My mind races, even as I'm typing today's story.  Visions of a raised garden made from recycled products dance in my mind.  The negative voices creep into my mind while I'm on the high speed setting.  They whisper, "you can't do that.  You're publishing two books this year.  How are you going to find time to plant a garden?  You're an idiot!"

"Hush," I tell them.  "You're interrupting my creative process.  I don't have time for you today or any day.  I can do this.  I will do this.  The decision is made.  I'm planting a garden after the snow melts and the weather warms up."

Enjoy the rest of your life.  You have the power to make it the best of your life.  Thanks for visiting.  For those of you who may be in touch with our youngest son, please don't tell him about the garden idea.  I want to surprise him.  Have a great day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What's Moving Today?

Einstein said, "nothing happens until something moves."  I'm moved by the people around me who show what happens when you decide to take action.  And once something or someone starts moving, it's easier to stay in motion.  I'm feeling extraordinary momentum in my life.  It started long ago when a lovely young moved my heart.  I would follow her to the ends of the earth.  Even Antarctica.  As far as the weather goes, yesterday the South Pole was only one degree warmer than where we currently live.  Climate doesn't matter to me.  Living in the moment matters.  There's no time to hibernate.  Challenge yourself.  Move.  Don't make excuses.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The First Mile Marker of the Year

The best time for course adjustments is at the beginning of the journey.  How are you doing on your 2015 progress report?  If you haven't committed your goals to writing, today is a good day to get out your pen and paper.  The week one mile marker is already here.  If you feel good, keep going.  If not, it's time to make the necessary adjustments.  The best advice I have to offer is to make sure you're enjoying the ride.  Make your goals fun.  Here's an example from my personal life...

When my wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told her I wanted gifts that would help us to make better food choices.  The Vitamix was under my tree this year.  I've been juicing every day since I unwrapped it, sometimes twice a day.  It's fun.  I love creating new recipes, such as making ice cream using spinach. The best part about juicing is the ease of clean up.  It only takes about one minute to clean and rinse the Vitamix.  I'm having so much fun juicing that I forgot it was a New Year's Resolution.  It's really a way of life.  I feel better and I have more energy.  I'm excited about mile marker two and beyond.  There's no way I will ever digress.  That would be like taking my Disneyland tickets away from me.  No, it's not going to happen.  I'm staying on course.

Make your goals fun.  Give yourself small rewards for reaching your weekly mile markers.  Make the adjustments today so you can stay on track.  Please share what you're doing to achieve your 2015 goals in the comment section below or send me an email.  I'd love to hear from you.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Life Quote for the Day

I woke up to about 7" of snow on our driveway this morning.  It looks like I need to modify my writing time in order to dig our way out so my wife and I can make it to our day jobs.  While I'm shoveling, I'm going to ponder the quote on top of this post.  It sure would be fun to build a snowman this morning but I need to take care not to stay outside too long.  Today's low is -10º.  The snowman will have to wait until another day.  It's time to bundle up, live with intention, play with abandon, laugh, appreciate my friends, do what I love – and yes, love as if this is all there is.  Have a great day.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Be Still

My backyard is going to look like the picture you see above in the next day or so.  There's already a light layer of snow on the ground and a couple more storms are on the horizon.  Snow has a strange way of muffling outside noises.  You can't hear the snowflakes fluttering to the ground.  Everything is quiet.  I'm feeling a strange sense of peace.  That's what happens when you let go.  It's time to be still.  I'm going to reflect on Psalm 46:10... Be still and know that I am God.  Peace be with you.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

3-2-1, Blastoff

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The moment of truth has arrived.  Last night, our youngest son led the family in prayer as we held hands and gave thanks.  Shane's prayer confirmed what I already knew – he's ready for the adventure of a lifetime.  An army sergeant will be knocking on our front door this morning.  Shane will answer the call of duty to serve as an infantryman.  His bag is packed.  He's traveling light.  I hear Gladys Knight and the Pips in my head.  They're singing their hit song, Midnight Train to Georgia, while I pen today's story.

The Bible verse you see above was given to me by a friend who posted it on Facebook yesterday in response to my challenge about living in the "zen zone."  She wrote, if your challenge involves this quote, I'm in.  "Yes," I responded, "it is about this verse."

The best gift you can give your children is to let go of them at the appropriate time and let them reach for the stars.  They have dreams.  They have hopes.  And God has a plan for them.  I've seen glimpses of the plan during my parenting years.  Now the plan is becoming a reality.  I'm thankful for every day I was granted temporary custody.  I rejoice that our son is living his dreams.  Starting today, I begin my new role – army dad.  That position includes one vital component – pray continually.  I promise to do my job every day.  It's time.  3-2-1, Blastoff.  ¡Vaya con Dios, my son!  My prayers are with you.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Let's Accept This Challenge Together

Challenges are more fun when you have someone to share them with.  Here's one we can do together, no matter how far apart we may be physically.  This challenge has no limitations on the number of people who participate.  You can remain anonymous or add a comment at the end of the story if you want to be a public participant.  Ready?  Here goes:

This is a commitment to "Zen Zone Living."  Anyone who wishes to join me agrees not to let anyone or any specific life event take them away from the happy place which exists inside the brain.  This is a support group for anyone who desires to be content in all circumstances.  This challenge is meaningful for me at this moment in my life because I'm twenty-four hours away from a major lifestyle change and I believe my attitude will play a significant role.  I'm in.  I'm not going to surrender my Zen Zone.  I pledge to live every day to its fullest with no regrets and no looking back, except for periodic reviews to help me make adjustments.  I'm going to focus my energy on all the possibilities that are in front of me moment by moment.  I accept the challenge and pledge to be here for anyone else who wishes to participate.  I call on the Holy Spirit to be with us and to guide us.  Will you join me?

Michael Mulligan

Friday, January 2, 2015

Got Plans?

The world I live in seems a little upside down right now.  My friends in Arizona and California are posting snow pictures on their Facebook pages.  We haven't seen snow in Iowa since before Thanksgiving.  The San Diego Chargers blew their chance to make the playoffs when their destiny was in their hands.  I'm becoming an Empty Nester in 48 hours.  Three people I know already broke their New Years resolutions.  I wonder, are my 2015 goals really possible?  The answer is found in Jeremiah 29:11.  Take a look at the highlighted verse above.

If you aren't sure about your plans for the New Year and beyond, take a few moments and ask God to share the plans he has for you.  They are plans for good and not disaster.  God doesn't care who wins the Super Bowl.  All God wants is for you to reach out to him.  When you get a hold of his playbook, your life will begin to make sense.  You won't break resolutions.  You will no longer feel trapped.  And you will come to believe that with God, all things are possible.  You will walk and not grow weary.  And you will not be afraid about how long it takes to reach the finish line.  God's plans for you will be accomplished according to his timeline.  Be bold.  Step out of your comfort zone.  If you're uncomfortable about your plans for this year, you're right where God wants you.  Just believe.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year, 2015

I did it.  I squeezed every last precious moment out of 2014 before the stroke of midnight.  I started the final day of the year in the morning with a designated driver at 10:30 am.  Our youngest son drove for my annual eye exam with Dr. Amber Aria so I could get my pupils dilated and use up my insurance benefits before they expired.

"December 31st is the busiest day for optometrists all over the United States," she told me, shining a bright light into my eyes.  I shared how much time I spend staring in front of a computer screen.  It was the first time in three annual visits I revealed my secret life as a writer.  Dr. Aria pulled out a notepad and asked me for my blog name.

"If I like your stories, I'm going to share them with all my friends," she said.  Then she asked, "why didn't you share this before?" 

I'm usually the one who asks questions and wants to know all I can about the people I meet.  And I like a certain level of anonymity.  In fact, the folks at my day job have a "no media" rule, meaning we are not allowed to share anything publicly about our company.  For me, that's like telling a fish not to swim in water.  It can be done but it takes a great deal of restraint, especially because I'm on the marketing team and my job is to promote.

That's enough about 2014.  It's over.  I have some bold plans for 2015, including self-publishing two more books.  Look for "The Caveman in the Mirror" on March 17, 2015 and "Break the Chains of Debt Bondage" on the 4th of July, 2015.  Bookmark this blog and check in for a new story every day at 8:08 AM, Pacific time.  Last but not least, I'll be visiting my newest blog reader in December for my annual eye exam.  Thank you, Dr. Aria, and all my friends and family, for your continued support of my writing adventures.  It's a pleasure to share my life with you.  Happy New Year!