Saturday, November 26, 2011

Neighbors United

We live in a fast paced world and the pace starts to pick up this time of year.  It’s difficult to keep up. Christmas shopping, bills have to be paid, homework has to be done, meals have to be made, and groceries have to be bought. Think about it – all the schedules must somehow agree. How does everything all work out? What are some strategies to get it all done?  How can technology help?
In nature, think about how things work. What causes a rainbow? From what I understand it has to do with each individual raindrop behaving like a prism. The sunlight is dispersed into the various colors. All these raindrops are working together and bending the sun’s rays. Think of how a pencil is made. To make a pencil it took people to cut down a tree… shape the wood. It took people to coordinate and produce the graphite lead… the rubber for the eraser… the metal part to hold the eraser. It took all these steps with people working together so that we can all buy a pencil at a very small cost.

Think about a honey bee. They will spend a lifetime producing less than a teaspoon of honey. Yet when they work together with their friends, they produce enough for us to consume as food. Think of a pack of wolfs. They howl and bark to communicate to one another as they work together to hunt food. They are very social animals as they stick together; sharing as partners throughout life. If you think about birds, geese fly in a “V” shape in order to fly more efficiently. They can switch positions and give their team mate a chance to rest from the wind resistance.

We need to learn from nature and work together. We are all brothers and sisters that should live in harmony with one another, building each other up, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Like the golden gate bridge, which is suspended by strands of thick wire, weaved together. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  We all need each other. No one can have much success on an island. I heard a story once about Mohumid Ali who was talking to a stewardess as everyone was buckling up for a takeoff. He told her he didn’t need seat belts because he is superman. The stewardess paused and smiled; then said “superman didn't need a plane”.

Many of us work with computers as a part of our jobs to help make the company or organization we work for more productive but how can computers make us more productive around the house? Applications like Word, Outlook, and Excel can help. One example I recently came across is a grocery list builder. Click this link to find out more: Grocery-list Builder. The article has instructions on how to use the grocery list builder and at the bottom of the article is a link to download a copy.

I remember having to go shopping by myself as a bachelor. I didn’t make a grocery list and would end up buying whatever looked good. If I needed a specific item, I usually walked from one end of the store to another looking for the item. I would usually ask someone and they would say something like, “look on isle B”. Because of those memories, I realize how painful grocery shopping can be. This prompted me to download the grocery builder and play around with it to see if I could change things up. Instead of the categories like vegetables, fruit, etc., I was able to create categories by location or isle within the store. All a person would have to do is update the Grocery List with the isle and they would have a tool that could make grocery shopping so easy a cave man could do it. J

Neighbors have a common purpose. They want to live in a safe, clean, and friendly place. I realize that everyone is extremely busy, but there are some neighbors I know little about. We should consider our neighbors as a part of our team. With social sites like Google+, there is no end to the ideas we can come up with together. There are some common interest and needs that neighbors share. Google+ is a tool to help neighborhoods get organized so they will be involved in the problems and inspired by their common causes like the cost of things, crime, and family issues. 

Neighbors can work together to make sure no one is paying too much for property taxes. It seems that the value of homes is so subjective and taxes can fluctuate from one neighborhood to an adjoining neighborhood for no apparent reason. Another common interest is utility bills. Why is there such a difference? What are some ideas to cut cost? Why can’t neighborhoods run like a business? A business saves money by purchasing items in bulk and organizing to cut cost. What if neighborhoods worked together using coupons or buying groceries in bulk? Think of the savings on a family’s grocery bill. Other things neighbors could work together on might include ideas on home improvement, exercise, and self-improvement. With a little luck, neighborhoods, communities, cities, and even nations can take off – There is no end to what we can do together.

Check out my other blogs at the links below where I receive a constant supply of inspiration for my writings.

This Day with God Devotional

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Lessons of courage can be found in studying military leaders as they encourage their people to pull together. The tougher the enemy, the more they seem to pull together. Each great leader builds confidence that permeates throughout the group and there is no fear of defeat. Sometimes the enemy we face is not an army but an illness and it takes the same amount of courage to fight

One good example of a military leader is the man named William Wallace who was one of the main leaders during the wars of Scottish independence. He opposed the English rule under Edward I.  Wallace and his army drove the English from Scotland and then invaded Northern England in 1297. An account of the life and times of William Wallace where portrayed in the 1995 movie “Braveheart”.  The famous rallying speech below from the movie motivates the Scottish army to fight.

Wallace leads his fellow Scots in a series of bloody battles that prove a serious threat to English domination. He was later captured and executed in 1305 but his courage to stand up to the tyranny they faced from English rule eventually led to Scotland’s independence one year later.

An example of a person with courage in recent times is the 1999 winner of the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong. Three years before winning what most sports experts consider to be the most demanding sports event in the world, Lance was dying of cancer. He overcame the fear of death to become only the second American ever to win the Tour De France. Then he went on to win seven in a row. The starting point is desire. We all can control our own destiny by reaching a decision to have courage.

We can apply the same principle of courage at our jobs, businesses, and organizations. Leaders should encourage employees to pull together. The tougher the project, the more employees should pull together. In companies with good management, the attitude of the employee is to pull for the leader and everyone compliments each other. If a potential problem arises and an employee is able to handle it before it becomes a major problem, everyone should complement the action taken. Then, just as a leader rallies his troops for victory, so does a business leader rally each employee. Confidence grows to permeate throughout the company and there is no fear of failure.


Check out my other blogs; where I receive a constant supply of inspiration for my writings by clicking on the links below:

This Day with God Devotional

Friday, November 11, 2011

Everything is Possible

Mark Twain said one time, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore – Dream - Discover.”

In 1852, an eighteen year old from Scotland did just that. With fifty dollars, he set out to pursue a new life in the land of opportunity. By 1899 he had become a lumber baron who procured tracts of pristine timberlands in East Texas and Louisiana and operated over sixty retail lumberyards in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma with assets near $4 million. With inflation, $4 million back then would be like $100 million today.

Like Mark Twain said, we need to sail away from the safe harbor. We need to aspire for objectives that are helpful and good for everyone. I once heard a story of a young girl who planted one yellow flower in a field. Twenty years later, the field was covered with yellow flowers. The lesson is that we should take advantage of the chance to be generous and plant our flowers because there is no assurance that the opportunity will persist. We should act out of love with no expectation of anything in return.

The lumber baron mentioned above died in 1899 and his heirs gave a one-hundred acre tract of land to the city in his memory. In 1910, the city turned it into a park and the family donated more land during the next few decades, expanding the park to its current 416 acres. In 1993, a 52-acre zoo opened within the park. Cameron Park Zoo in Waco Texas is a natural habitat zoo that has grown steadily in size and reputation providing great memories for all that visit.

 Like William Cameron who took initiative to set out with adventure, who knows what may start as you set out each day. Ask for water, God may give an ocean. Ask for a flower, He may give a garden. Whatever you ask for, God just may turn it into something beyond your wildest dreams.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Recognize Excellence

There was an article I read this week that caught my attention. It’s about a wheelchair-bound young man named Trent Glaze who always wanted to play football but couldn’t because of muscular dystrophy. Here’s the link to the story: wheelchair-bound-football-player-takes-field. It’s a great story not only about Trent but of Coach Tom McCurdy. Coach McCurdy recognized excellence in the unseen qualities of Trent and in turn we can recognize excellence in coach McCurdy. He knew how important it would be for Trent to wear the team’s uniform; how great it would be for him to be in on a play. He had an idea but it took some time to arrange. You see, the play would take place after the game was over. The other team’s coach would need to agree to do it and explain it to his players. 

If you sit down for the evening news, all you hear about are the negative stories; wrecks, crimes, and disasters that destroy any positive inner thoughts you may have. It’s refreshing to hear stories like this one. I don’t know about you, but I wish the news media would get acquainted with this idea of reporting the uplifting stories like this one by Rheana Murray of the New York Daily News. It’s easy to report on the negatives in our society but how about stepping up to a challenge by reporting on the unseen qualities that individuals demonstrate every day. 

A story like this one provides food for the soul. Coach McCurdy saw a way to make an impact in Trent’s life and in turn it makes an impact in all of us. Trent will always have this memory to share with others and it can never be taken away. Coach McCurdy not only came up with the idea but also planned out the details. Stories like this one build momentum for more efficiency, more effectiveness, and more enthusiasm as each task is completed for a successful day. The memory of this event is not only with Trent but with us all. 

This story tells us that doing the right thing is more important than doing things right. It makes us want to work harder, set goals, and use our time wisely just like Trent and Coach McCurdy. It tells us to always recognize excellence and model it in all we do; every activity, every conversation, every problem, and even every thought. It helps us understand the greatest commandment, “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind.”  The second is like it; “love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:36-40