Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays?

Did you say Happy Holidays?  

Ok, we're now in the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Unemployment is the highest in over 25 years, the big three automakers are on the verge of bankruptcy and need to borrow money from the government to survive, numerous financial companies have died while others borrowed money from the government, foreclosures are the highest on record, companies are laying off thousands of people daily, the dollar is now the weakest it's every been as a currency.  Did you say Happy Holidays? 

So how on earth can we begin to be happy beings living in America?  How can we possibly feel confident in our futures?  How are we supposed to feel when everything we see, read, and hear is about negativity?  How are we supposed to enjoy the holiday season amidst such turmoil?

The message I've been sharing with everyone I speak with is to count your daily blessings.  Did you open your eyes this morning?  Were you able to get out of bed and walk around your home?  Are you able to eat some food everyday?  Do you have a car to drive?  TV to watch? Roof over your head?  Friends or family members?  Clothes to wear?  Someone to love? Someone that loves you?  Someone that cares about you?  A pet that depends on you?  

I try to remind everyone how blessed we are yet we fail to realize it.  We seem to get caught up in the drama, media, and chicken little syndrome. (the sky is falling)
Everyone needs to find their center, peace, strength, and calm during storms.  This may be a relationship with our maker, music to listen to, books to read, friends or family to speak with, or just silence.    Try to recognize your blessings each and every day and be grateful at the end of each one when you close your eyes to sleep and awaken to another one.  

Let's bring 2008 to an end and launch 2009 like a rocket.  End one with appreciation and grace and launch the other with hope and courage. 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Presidential History and our future......

This week on November 4th, the United States nominated the first African American for president. Many in the world celebrated this moment as an indication that we finally moved beyond our history and evolved into a colorless society. Nations and countries were excited thinking that our country's elitist paradigm would dissolve and they would receive benefits from the United States.

The popular vote was close. I'm both excited and nervous about our new president. Will he make history by leading out of the worst economy on record since the Great Depression? Or will he falter by implementing radical changes that have never been tested on such a large scale?
Will other nations and countries receive too much charity at the expense of our own?
Will we embrace socialist programs that negatively impact the fabric of our democratic foundations and a capitalism?

I hope our new president takes us where he says he can. A better economy, country, world leader, and society. At the end of the day, people care about themselves first. We have to. We want to experience good days every day. We want to hear and read about good things in our media. We thrive on positive energy. We want to end our days each day with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
If our new president can provide this, there's not telling what our country can accomplish and evolve into.

So for all of us, I congratulate President Obama and wish him the best with his new role and responsibilities.

Youtube link to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech.

Youtube link to President Obama's victory speech.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall, Football, Halloween, Holidays.....

Well, it's beautiful October and the seasons are changing for the better.  Crisp cool air combined with the arrival of football season, Halloween, and Holiday season can only bring good times.  

I was thinking why it's been so challenging for me to blog as frequent as I used to.  Yes, my schedule is very busy but I think it's simply due to poor time management.   
As conscious as I am about enjoying every moment, even I fall prey to complacency regarding prioritizing my time.  

I need to develop a system that will help both me as well as the millions of others who simply let time go by.....
I'm not sure if we need a visual reminder like a bracelet to wear?  How about a watch with special features?  What about a system that calls or emails us every day with reminders?  How about all three?  

My boys are playing football and having great seasons this year.  I video their games and post highlight clips on Youtube for my brother and his family to watch from a far.  They live in San Francisco.  My daughter is cheerleading and just growing up too fast.  In this regard, I want time to slow down or just stand still and keep her 10 years old forever.  She loves to spend time with her daddy and is a daddy's girl.  How much longer will that last?  

My wife has convinced me to have a haunted house for Halloween this year.  We've done this for about 8 years now and it's a lot of work, especially for about three hours of fun.  
I do it for my kids and must admit I like the fact that the neighborhood and community look forward to our efforts to provide something fun for the kids to do that night.  

The economy is the worst since the Great Depression and everyday brings bad news.  We're trying to elect a new president.  Both candidates have drawbacks and are really not worthy of the oval office but we have to pick one of the two.   I'm worried about the Democratic candidate winning on charisma and charm.  He doesn't really seem to have much substance and some of his ideas are very socialist and scary.  The Republican candidate is too much like our current President and supports the policies and paradigm that put us in today's economic he's scary from the standpoint that we won't change and improve either.  
All of this bad news is tainting the upcoming holiday season and the forecasts for toys and good cheer.  Unemployment is high and growing by the day.  People are worried about their incomes, retirements funds, job security, etc.....
They think things will improve in another year.  The question is whether or not we can wait that long.  
I can only hope our kids aren't permanently scarred due to some economic crisis that negatively impacts their qualities of life.  I know that sounds protective but why shouldn't we be concerned about that?  I don't mind educating my kids on sound economics and reality but not to the point that they worry about their existence.  

OK, that's enough for this blog.  I plan on improving my time management and getting back to a more frequent posting schedule.  
Don't forget to go to my Youtube links.  If anything, they're entertaining and help pass the time. One day my kids will find this and I hope gain an insight to my love of life, my love of them since they are my life, and my wife's importance to my existence.  

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Natural Disasters in Texas

Sorry for the absence....
At the end of August, Hurricane Gustav decided to scare the Gulf coast of Texas and then hit Louisiana. Texas was spared a direct hit and fortunately, I seized the opportunity to purchase some Hurricane items like bottled water, 5 gallon gas cans, crank radio and light, some batteries, and a generator.
Once we were cleared from danger, I contemplated returning the items hoping they we wouldn't be needed.
Unfortunately, on September 12, Hurricane Ike hit the Texas Gulf coast as a category three storm and heavily damaged the City of Houston and Galveston like never before. The items I purchased would eventually be invaluable to my family.
We were without power for 13 days. My family was able to have AC, TV and DVD player, refrigerator, some lamps, and ability to wash clothes.
I look like a hero to my family and our new Hurricane kit will always be ready if we ever need it.
We managed to learn a lot from this disaster.
Our reliance on power and energy is critical to our creature comforts in modern society. Stores couldn't open. Gas was unavailable. Traffic lights were dead. It was as if the world had entered a chaotic era with no end in sight.
Trying to imagine the conditions of developing countries is almost impossible in a civilized and superpower country. We take so much for granted.
On a good note, our family was able to spend a lot of time together without distractions and get back to some basics: reading, drawing, playing outside, etc.....
Many people did not have the amenities we had and really suffered through the storm. I put together some relief packages and distributed them to some of my employees on the southeast side of town which was the hardest hit in hopes of providing some relief to their pain.

In the end, the city will rebuild. Material items will be replaced. Lives will be redefined. Some families lost lives and will never be the same. We pray for God's compassion and strength in their lives.

Once again, we're reminded of our mortality, what's really important, and the value of each and every day.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Bucket List

I mentioned this movie in an earlier post and finally got to see it. I now own the DVD and downloaded it to my iphone to watch at my convenience. Needless to say, I love the movie. It's everything you'd expect from two great actors, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, and then some.
I know many will think it's cliche and predictable, but I appreciate the expression and characterization of how we forget to live until we know we're out of time.
I would say that everyone should watch this movie once a month to remind them to go out everyday and live the life they want.
I'm going to add a link to the video of John Mayer's song "Say" from the movie to my favorite links section.

This could be the best movie that expresses what a "Lifetimer" stands for.

Have a great day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kids Sports Memories

Well it's been a while since I've had time to post. My son's baseball team that I coach ended up winning every tournament for the past 5 weeks and played in the Eastern US Pony Championship Game down in Tampa, Florida.
Although my kids' activities require a lot of our time, we couldn't imagine it any other way. The lessons and memories they experience will last a lifetime.
As I've said before, I only have so much time to actively participate in their lives and I don't want to miss a thing.

The Olympics started last week and we've been mesmerized with the majestic ism of China and the games.
Unfortunately, during the same time, Russia and Georgia went to war putting a strain on Russian/US relations. Both sides are now jockeying for political positions and declaring a return to the Cold War days.....

Amazing sequence of events. The opening ceremonies of the Olympics always seems to bring the world together with a common endeavor of athletics. It reminds us of our shared interests and smiles.
In the blink of an eye, two countries can decide to engage in the primitive act of war and argue over territorial rights while killing innocent people and children.

I'm reminded of the quest for world peace and how even though we seem to get closer every year, we then take two steps back.
I wonder if this endless chaos and strife are essential particles of our universe. Good/Bad, Black/White, Life/Death, God/Devil, etc........

Are we doomed and burdened with eternal conflict? Will we ever experience an extended period of time of peace and joy? If so, what would it look like? What would happen? What could the planet accomplish? Would we then know what Utopia is?

My other thought is that we are not burdened with the negative yings and yangs but rather with the perpetual pursuit of this Utopia.
Maybe our creator knew better and felt we would accomplish even more in the endless pursuit of perfection without the possibility of achievement than with the spoils of our efforts.

Summer is such a great time. The kids are out of school, we're enjoying the outdoor activities, and loathing the beginning of school. It reminds me of our inherent appreciation for quality time, enjoyment, and leisure activities. Those times without responsibilities, deadlines, schedules, etc.....

Again, we need to do everything possible to enjoy every minute of every day.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vacations and Family

I recently took a vacation with my wife and kids. We decided to visit a resort in Texas where we would spend quality time with each other in lieu of one that was based on amusement and entertainment like Disneyworld. Don't get me wrong, we love Disneyworld and going there.
I just thought we needed some time together. My three kids are so active that like most families, we spend our days going from one activity to another for each of them without much time for the family unit as a whole.
This vacation was meant to isolate us and not have to worry about commitments or distractions. My cell phone and laptop could not maintain a signal so work was put on "hold".

I love Austin, Texas. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and lived there for about 5 years. The first day included a visit to one of it's more popular summer attractions. Barton Springs.
My wife and kids spent some time in the cold natural waters while I took pictures from the surrounding mounds. We drove around campus and shared some memories with the kids so they would always have an understanding of our pre-family times and our youth.
The rest of our visit included a lazy river, movies by the pool side, horseback riding, and river rafting. We had a great time.

I think we all should take a time out and eliminate distractions from our core. There is nothing more important than our relationships. Too often we ignore this in the pursuit of what we perceive to be important.
Reach out to your loved ones and reconnect. Spend quality time with them. If you have kids or a significant other with reservations, MAKE them do it. You will not regret it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Take Time to Make a Relaxation List

I'm sure we've all heard this one in passing but have you ever sat down and tried to compile a list of things that help you relax?  You should.  Summer is here and you may find between the economic woes and price of gas, you may need some relaxation.  The best news is that you may not even have to leave your house.....

I'll list some activities that sound great to me and hopefully inspire you as well.  Try some of these ideas to rejuvenate your body, renew your mind and refresh your spirit. 

Reread a favorite book
Visit a nearby park
Spend an afternoon at the public library
Help out a stranger
Try a new food
Take a nap
Enroll in a class
Do something you've always wanted to do
Contact someone you've been thinking of or miss
Sing in the shower
Walk in the rain
Give something away
Spend 15 minutes playing with your pet
Call a friend
Treat someone to lunch and linger over good conversation
Take a walk or ride a bicycle
Look at the stars
Browse through an antique store
Organize a small corner of your life
Pop some popcorn and rent a movie
Turn off the TV and talk to someone
Draw a picture
Bake something
Send a card to someone for no reason
Clean out your wallet or purse
Look at old photographs
Walk barefoot in the grass or yard
Visit a lonely person
Encourage a young person
Go for a swim
Start a new project
Volunteer some time to a good cause
Fly a kite
Have a picnic with a special person
Spend time with people who like to laugh
Have breakfast in bed
Take a different route home from work
Watch the sun set
Teach yourself something new
Throw a party for no reason
Get a spa treatment, massage or facial
Go on a spontaneous day trip with no preplanned  destination
Fix something that's been broken
Meet someone new
Ride a horse
Play a game
Listen to your favorite music
Dance like nobody is watching
Count your blessings
Last but not least, take a mini vacation without going anywhere.  Sit in your chair, relax, close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Repeat as you think about your favorite place, the beach, woods, mountaintop, under a shade tree, wherever you like to go to escape from it all with friends and family.  Consider the sights, sounds, smells and things you feel in that place.  Let your mind dwell there a re minutes.  Smile.  Then take another deep breath and open your eyes to return to your routine. 

I'm sure you can think of other things to do that really touch your soul.  The key is to identify them and DO THEM! 

Whether you choose to travel across the world or stay in your backyard, make the most of your time, resources, and opportunities God has provided. 

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Vegas Baby!

I was fortunate enough to go to Las Vegas this week for a business trip.  It was my first visit and I didn't know what to expect.  
I only knew that I wanted to really take advantage of the opportunity and see as much as I could in the short time I had.  
All I can say is WOW!  I really think ever adult should take the time to visit Las Vegas.  I'm not a gambler so my enjoyment wasn't about money.  It centered around the amenities and atmosphere. 
I stayed at the Bellagio hotel which was absolutely gorgeous.  The architecture is unbelievable. You really believe you're staying in a European setting.  I know the hotels in Vegas have a diverse range of amenities and pricing, but you have to really appreciate the fact that the 13 largest hotels in the world are located on the strip.  So regardless of your price range, there's something for everyone. 
As I toured the strip, I enjoyed the people and structures.  Everyone seemed to be in a festive yet adventurous mood.  There's not many places in the world where adults can go and literally dress however they want, tour incredible buildings that replicate various themes from history and the world, and be entertained by musicians, acrobats, magicians, entertainers, or dancers.  
Did I mention that almost all the venues are open 24 hours?  
So my recommendation for everyone is to visit Las Vegas at least once.  You only need three days to really have a great time.  Visit online resources and develop an agenda or itinerary.  
Outside options also include a visit to the Hoover Damn or Grand Canyon.  

I will definitely go back and take my wife.  I plan on seeing multiple shows, touring the hotels, and relaxing by the pool during the day.  

One last thing, the theme "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is appropriate for adults. 
You can dress, act, and experience in ways you only imagined.... and make memories for a lifetime. 

Monday, June 2, 2008


My friend who had brain surgery last week is now at home recovering from his injuries.  It appears that he will regain all of his brain functions with little distress.  
Absolutely amazing!  47 staples, 5 plates holding his skull together, broke 3 ribs, punctured his right lung, broke his right scapula, eye socket, tore his rotator cuff, and of course brain damage. 

Words can't express my sentiments regarding his recovery and blessings.  His family and many others prayed for this and obviously were heard.  

All I can say this week is thank God for miracles...... they may not happen often enough, but when they do, they show us a world we don't know and endless possibilities.  

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Close to Home....

While at work this week, my phone rang.  When I answered it, my wife was hysterical on the other end.  My immediate thought was that something bad had happened to one of my kids.  
She then proceeded to tell me that one of my close friends had fallen off a roof and had been taken to a hospital where he was going to have brain surgery and they didn't know if he would make it.  
I immediately got in my car and went straight to the hospital.  It was true.  He was in surgery and they were performing brain surgery on him to repair his fractured skull and stop the bleeding.  They weren't sure he was going to make it.  
The Neurosurgeon came out to brief us after the surgery.  He didn't know the extent of the damage.  We would need to wait and see "who" would come out of this.  His awkward statement indicated that there was a chance there could be some physical or mental impairment.  

I was able to visit him that night and see his injuries first hand.  I was scared.  All I wanted was for God to give him a chance.  Let him live and begin the recovery process.  I prayed for his health and asked God to heal his injuries, give him strength, courage, and time.  

Over the past couple of days, I've been visiting my friend and his condition seems to be improving.  I continue to pray for a full recovery and thank God for every blessing. 

I've been thinking about my own mortality even more this week.  I hope it subsides with time. 
I want my friend to come out of this tragedy with his health.  I want him to return to his daily blessings.  

I personally want to come out of this tragedy with more appreciation for my own daily blessings.  Friends, good times, family,  etc.  

Please pray for my friend and everyone who needs strength, faith, and healing.  
Please count your blessings.  There are many.  We just need to open our eyes and see them in front of us.  


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's Happening In The World?

What an incredible series of events we've experienced in the past couple of weeks.  Our planet has been rocked by natural disasters.  

The tsunami that devastated Myanmar with a death toll close to 100,000 people only reminded us of the same natural disaster that hit Indonesia and killed 250,000 people.  
Then the US experienced tornadoes that killed 22 people and injured hundreds more across multiple states.  
Then an overpopulated region in China experiences an earthquake that may have killed another 100,000 people.  

These natural disasters make many wonder "what's going on?".  Why are these things happening? Is this a sign from our maker?  Are these events leading us to Armageddon?  

Everyday, the inhabitants of this planet experience losses of life, tragedies, and events that not only change our lives, but dampen our spirits.  These events also test our beliefs, hopes, and faith.  They challenge our minds, spirit, and souls as well as the pillars of our societies.  
How we respond is an individual choice.  Everyone has different perspectives on these moments.  Reactions are as varied as the languages we speak and places where we live.  
However, all of us have something in common.  The value and measurement of TIME.  
When time is up for someone or something we appreciate, we feel a sense of loss.  Our own mortality is magnified for a fleeting moment.  In the process of mourning or experiencing a loss, we are reminded that our own time can be taken away within seconds.....

Take a moment, if you watch the news, read the paper, or stay current on world events... appreciate your own time.  Commit to living every moment like it's your last.  
Some people stay away from the media or negative communication.  They feel this insulates them from these tragic events and somehow spares them the grief.   
I would advise you shouldn't avoid these events.  You should embrace them as unfortunate events that only magnify our own mortality and challenge our faith and paradigms about life.  
Appreciate everything you have and take nothing for granted.  

Carpe Diem!  Seize the moment!  Live it like it's your last.....  you never know.... it may be. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I happen to manage a large workforce in my current occupation.  Probably around 350-400 employees.   Every month, I sit down and personally sign Birthday cards for my employees. While I'm doing this, I sometimes wonder if they even read them or care.  
Then, as I visit my stores and locations, an employee will approach me and thank me for their card.  And there it is.....the answer I need.  Yes, they do appreciate my effort to recognize the most important day in one's life.  

Happy Birthday!  What do you think about this day?  Have you ever thought about it?  Is it the most important day in a life?  Do you recognize and remember to wish someone Happy Birthday?  

On April 25, 1966, God brought an angel into this world.  She was born in Wheeling, West Virginia.  She would later move to Houston, Texas and at the age of 17, meet a lost, poor boy who would then fall in love with her forever.   On June 16, 1990, she blessed the young man with the ultimate commitment of love, she married him and took his name.  
He would never be the same after that day.  He knew that God would never had introduced an Angel to him if he didn't believe in him and have bigger things in store for his life.   She would be by his side providing him with love, support, and the inspiration to grow up and become a successful man.  Successful in college, business, life, and as a father and husband.  

So this week, on April 25th, I once again thanked God for my Angel as I do every night before I go to sleep.  Her birthday is a day that I recognize as a gift.  It is the most important day in her life and means as much to me, her parents, siblings, children, and close friends, as to her.  

My Angel has blessed me with three other Angels.  My children.  So you can now see why I consider a birthday to be the most important day in life.  It can change many lives, generations, and the world.....

Now go out there and commit to recognizing the birthdays of your loved ones.  Haven't they changed your life?  How hard is it?  

Happy Birthday!   

Sunday, April 20, 2008

CEOs, layoffs, self employment, LIFETIMERS.......

This past week, my employer decided to reduce staffing to "improve shareholder value". Although we were told this was inevitable when we went public with our stock, we could never imagine the extent and depth of these reductions in the workforce.  In situations like this, the company always refers to their people as "staff" or "labor"....... Isn't that funny?  We don't just say "people", we refer to them as workforce, labor, or staff.  When the news or media question the reason for the reductions, the company always says it's what's best for the shareholders.  
These are the people that have invested their money in company stock and look and expect a return on their investment. 
This business model is really interesting.  CEOs basically take over companies and have to improve the bottom line.  The quickest and easiest way to do this is reduce expenses or staff. The remaining workforce must perform more work for the same pay.  This improvement in productivity is then "recognized" by the CEO and shareholders and everyone is told what a fine job they're doing.  
Then, months go by, the stock isn't moving like the Board of Directors expects so the CEO announces another round of reductions...... and so the vicious circle continues.  
The share price goes up, the Senior Managers or "shareholders" get richer, more people lose their jobs.  

I don't blame the CEOs for taking advantage of this model and maximizing their compensation. 
I only took this opportunity to once again remind myself how we need to really take actions to insure our own financial independence and freedom.  This decision will probably not include being employed by a company.  Employment really is another way of defining forfeiture of our freedom or destiny.  We let an entity and it's representatives dictate our financial position. 
A major issue with this model is that when the employer or representative is dissatisfied with our work or output, we can be disposed of and replaced.  

Now look at self employment.  If you run your own business, you may upset one or two clients but you're able to rebound and continue if you diversify your customer base.  

Which business model seems to be the wiser choice if one's truly concerned with managing their "lifetime"?  

Let's all get out there and figure out how to generate income in a new business model where we call the shots and control our own destiny.  

Sunday, April 6, 2008

My Last Lecture

On the front cover of today's Parade magazine there is the story of Randy Pausch, a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Melon University. He is 48 years old and diagnosed with Terminal Pancreatic Cancer and given only 3 months to live.
He is asked to give his Last Lecture as a Professor and decides not to cancel, instead putting himself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for his children.
He shares a couple of priorities we all should embrace:
  • Always have fun
  • Ask for what you want
  • Dare to take a risk
  • Look for the best in everybody
  • Make time for what matters
  • Let kids be themselves

Rather than try to steal his thunder, I recommend that you visit and search for the article. There is a link to the video of is last lecture on youtube. I will post it on the left side of my blog under favorites for you. It's about an hour and worth watching. How often do we get to give a last lecture or prepare a legacy speech for our family and friends.

This may be an exercise we all should perform. Prepare a Legacy Lecture.

I'm going to start working on mine......

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Easter TIME!

Easter is an interesting time of year for me. My mother passed away on Good Friday and I couldn't help but ponder the coincidence of her passing. She had sacrificed her family to come live in the United States and raise my brother and I. I now appreciate her sacrifice more than ever and even own a pendant in honor of her. The story of the resurrection is often debated and misinterpreted.
I was watching some sermons on television Easter morning and couldn't help but notice a couple of good ones.
The pastor was talking about the importance of Easter and the validity of the story. He went on to make the observation that every person in this country recognizes the story of the resurrection throughout everyday of their lives. How you ask?
By looking at the date or day of week. Our calendar is based on this act. We believe this is the beginning of "time" and mark it as AD. (After Death) We consider all of time before this event as BC (Before Christ).

I thought this was a very interesting observation and it made me appreciate the story of our most popular maker even more. It reminded me how important it is to give thanks on a daily basis for our blessings and live life to the fullest. I could now tie the Date with my opportunity to express my gratitude.

The second sermon was regarding how we should live our lives. The pastor said that there seems to be too much emphasis on living a "humble" and mediocre life when translating the Bible. He went on to say that this was not a teaching of the Bible and that our maker wants us to maximize our lives in every way. This would include our wealth, resources, happiness, family, love, fellowship, etc.....

Again, we only have so much time on this planet, let's make the best of it while we're here in all facets of life. We should pursue joy and not have any regrets or reservations due to other people's sentiments. Just make sure we shine our light on others as we move through time....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Marriage and we need them?

I was talking with a fellow parent this week about raising kids when it made me think about their role in this world.  
Have you ever thought what would the world be like with no kids?  What about without marriage?  
Do we need either to enjoy our lives and live to the fullest?  
Many people are single today and some have kids and some don't.  I'm not sure there are any studies that indicate either one is happier than the other.  
Now I have read studies that married couples are happier, have more sex, memories, vacations, etc......but that's another story.  
Do you think we as humans were designed to be single or married?  Are we supposed to have kids or not?  Is the idea of staying with one mate our entire life outrageous?  

Many people that are married with kids often think about what it would be like without them and many singles wonder about marriage and kids.  There's a movie out there that touches on the topic with great comedy yet impact.  Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni star in it, The Family Man.  If you haven't rented it, please do.  

I personally can't imagine life without my wife and kids.  Sure it gets stressful and is full of responsibilities and sacrifices.  Fortunately for me, my wife shares my values for family and purpose.  My legacy includes my wife and children and hopefully I can provide them with plenty of content for future discussions and words of wisdom once I leave this earth.  

Either way, married or single, parent or not, go out there and leave your legacy for your families and friends.   At the end of the day, JOY is what we want and may find it in mysterious places.  We may find it in solitude, or in crowds or groups.  
At the end of the day, if you don't look for and pursue it, you many not ever find it. 

Monday, March 10, 2008

"A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle

I read a book titled "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle on my recent business trip. It's a 300 page paperback that everyone should read. It is very insightful and will provide you with direction in regards to your purpose in life. Some may find the material too "deep" and a heavy read. I think if you just take your time, review the table of contents, and focus, you will really start to think about your life in a totally different way.
The book was apparently showcased on the Oprah Winfrey show and is a best seller. She is such a fan that she is providing a webcast thru her website to assist in understanding the message in this book.
The book cost 14 dollars and is worth every penny. Go out and buy it today.

I also experienced a very interesting week in my career. Our company is experiencing significant changes and layoffs that are the cause of tremendous anxiety at this time. I have maintained my normal positive attitude and outlook while leading my responsible area to record results. Although we are surrounded by negativity, rumors, gossip, etc....I continue to calm every one's fears and try to "shine" some light as much as possible.
Last week I was summoned to our corporate headquarters to meet with our President and Senior Vice President to discuss my future with the organization. I was told that I was identified as one of our top 10 leaders and therefore being considered for other opportunities. They proceeded to "interview" me and assess my career. I was then directed to take a Psychoanalytic Test that would provide information about my personality and ethics and values. I heard others were very stressed about this exam and concerned about the answers they provided. I decided that I would answer the questions with complete honesty and that if they did not agree with my responses or found me less attractive, then so be it.

Once complete, I felt so good and had no worries. My recent positive energy and good fortune had to be directly correlated:
  • My body has allowed me to run 6 miles for the first time in my life! Usually I can't breathe, my back cramps up, or my legs give out. All the sudden, my body thinks it's a runner with great cardiovascular endurance!
  • Amongst the chaos at work, I was selected for consideration for promotional opportunities. I now feel more confident in my career.
  • I've been trying to live my life with a purpose driven paradigm and for the first time it's working. I catch myself throughout the day and adjust my mood, disposition, thoughts, and actions accordingly.

I hope everyone begins and ends their day with positive thoughts and an appreciation for their blessings.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Your Potential

Have you reached your potential? What exactly does that mean? How would you know?
I was listening to Joel Osteen's sermon this weekend and he was talking about what all God has in store for us in this life and how we should continuously strive for more in all aspects of our life. He tried to explain that no matter what has happened in our past, we need to focus on now and going forward. Today, right now, is a new moment where we can all decide to take action and change our lives.

There always seems to be an abundance of people that are more than willing to tell you why you CAN'T pursue or achieve your goals and ambitions.
Why is that?
Many believe that people in general don't want others to accomplish more than them because it causes a sense of inferiority. It's easier to just remain status quo, average, mediocre, accepting, etc.....

However, there are some who will not let such negative influence keep them from pursuing their dreams or happiness. Some do this consciously, others simply ignore it.

The good news is that we all possess this ability. We all can ignore the "shackles" or negative influences of others. We all can decide right now to pursue our dreams and those things that make us happy.

Let's commit to maximizing our potential. Our maker did not create us to live complacent, numb, lives. Each of us has a purpose to pursue. If we decide to chase it, we will find our potential and then some.......

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Shine Your Light...

I attended a memorial service this weekend for a friend that passed away due to colon cancer. As I listened to friends and family give testimony to his accomplishments, I took note of what what was most important. He was a great husband, father, brother, son, brother in law, and co worker.
They told stories and shared memories of "highlights" in his life. Stories about every day things like holiday preparation, vacations, home projects, volunteering, offering assistance, etc.
There were some things that were not mentioned at all. What type of car he drove, what clothes he wore, the type of house he lived in, etc....
Another reminder that material things are simply not important in the end.

There were many pictures of him in these various roles layed out for all to see. Many in attendance only knew him from one avenue and were intrigued to learn more about the man that so many revered.
Thank goodness someone took the time to take pictures. That's an important note to all, get a digital camera and take it everywhere you go. Take pictures of anything you consider a special moment. Make some memories that can be shared with others.
As I reviewed the pictures, I stopped and admired the smile on his face, the family, background of the moment, how happy they were, how time seemed to stop for that one moment.

At the end of the service as I left the church, I thought about my own life. What would people say about me? What would I want them to say about me?
One speaker mentioned that the Bible says we're to shine our own light on others. I think that's a great proposition. Shine more light on others and make a difference in other lives. How simple yet vital.

In the end, that's the legacy we should all leave. While we are here, we make a positive difference in other people's lives and the world a better place.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Ultimate Gift

I was in Blockbuster this week looking for a movie to rent with my daughter. We walked the store's new releases and nothing really caught my attention.
I proceeded to go over to the "stocking pile" where the recently returned movies are waiting to be placed back on the shelves. As I was looking through the pile, a movie titled "The Ultimate Gift" had just been returned. I read the summary on the back of the DVD cover and thought it was a very interesting plot. The movie is based on the best selling book and I've included a description from Wikipedia below:

When his rich grandfather, Red Stevens (portrayed by James Garner) died, Jason (Drew Fuller) thought he was going to inherit a piece of the oil man's multi-billion dollar estate. Things didn't quite happen that way. In order to get his share of the willed inheritance, Jason must complete 12 separate assignments within a year. Each assignment is centered around a "gift". The gifts of money, friends and learning are among the dozen that Jason must learn before he is eligible for the mysterious "Ultimate Gift" his grandfather's will has for him.

I don't want to provide too much information but will only tell you that this movie is both inspiring and unforgettable. I highly recommend it and will be adding it to my own DVD library soon. Go rent this movie!

After you watch it, take some time to sit down and see if you too can benefit from the "gifts" discussed in the movie. We all have numerous gifts and fail to appreciate them by our daily numbness or routine.

Let me know what you think about the movie. Next week I'll discuss a new book I'm reading that is supposed to change my life! We'll see.....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

38 million dollars or a couple of choose.

Interesting article about a man who hit the lottery and what he would wish for. Just another reminder that the most valuable thing on the planet, in our life, is our time. When we're facing death, we'll sacrifice everything for a little more time. This is what Lifetimers is all about.

We all have the same amount of time every day. 24 hours. We just need to decide what we're going to do with it.
Live with no regrets and love like there's no tomorrow. Article below:

LONDON (Reuters) - Retired hospital porter Steve Smith, who is suffering from a potentially fatal heart defect, won almost 19 million pounds ($38 million) on Britain's National Lottery -- but said he would give it all up if he could spend a few more years living with his wife Ida.

"I have a one in 10 chance of living. It's like a ticking time bomb," said the 58-year-old Smith, enjoying a bittersweet glass of celebratory champagne with his wife Ida.

Smith, who has an aortic aneurysm, told reporters when collecting his check: "It's Ida I worry for, it's leaving her behind. I would give all that back if I am allowed to still be with her because there are no shops in the cemetery are there?"

Smith landed the giant prize with an extra stroke of luck -- the couple stopped off on the way home from a family visit to buy some lucky dip tickets and it was one of those which hit the jackpot.

Now go out there and live your life like you hit the jackpot. We all did if we're able to sit here and read this blog and spend time with our loved ones.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What brings you joy?

Isn't it amazing that answering such a simple question can be so tough?  A great exercise to help you find your joy is to create a list of things that bring you joy.  This may require some thought, but it's really worth the time and effort.  Think, what did you do when you were a kid that brought a smile to your face?  Did you used to ride your bike? Play sports? Swim? Fish? Read? Sing? Dance?  
Whatever it may be, add it to the list.  The list doesn't mean you have to do them everyday, it just reminds you what makes you happy.  If you can do something once a week that makes you happy, you should do it!  Think how good you'll feel!  Live for the moment!  
We all should wonder why did we stop doing things that make us happy.  Let's rediscover our essence. Let's start living the young and vibrant life we all want.   Let's wake up everyday and review our list.  Add activities to our calendar that make us happy.  Make everyday a blessing and experience the joy we are meant to have.  
Now go get a pen and paper or open your digital calendar and start making your list......

Sunday, January 20, 2008

You're Invited To Your Funeral......

Did you happen to see the article about the South Korean company that performs mock funerals for people and calls it "well dying".  
Korea Life Consulting charges 325.00 per person and over 50,000 people have taken part in their own funeral since 2004.  Most are in their 30s and 40s.  
Participants take a class in the meaning of life, pose for portrait photos to be used at the service and write wills as if they only have three days to live.  
They then read their wills at their own service, climb into caskets, and proceed to end their lives.  The caskets are nailed shut, dirt is thrown on the top, and fifteen minutes later, the participants are "reborn" by exiting the casket to sobs and cheers from the attendees.  
The idea is that you map out a better future by reflecting on your past.  
One participant said they would live differently from now on so they would not have any regrets about their lives.   

Isn't this an interesting concept?  Some people say it's just another way to make money.  Others believe it is a wake up call for critical changes in the way one lives.  
I often tell people that if you want to determine what's important to you, imagine your own funeral.  What would you want people to say?  Who would be there?  
If someone asked you at the very end what do you want, what would you say?  
Although this seems like a morbid exercise, I think it's one that can make a difference in one's direction.  
We get so caught up in our day to day habits, that we forget what's important to us.  We lose sight of what we enjoy.  We grow numb and quit appreciating our blessings.  How sad does this sound?  This description is not the kind of life we want.  I don't think we intend to become robots.  I think we simply become habits.  We get comfortable and quit pursuing excitement, adventure, new things....  We become boring.  We even incorporate this boredom into an acceptable "age".  We're getting old, we have responsibilities, we're too busy, blah, blah, blah...

How would you describe the life you want to live?  What adjectives do you like?  
Happy, adventurous, exciting, kind, unselfish, energetic, peaceful, lovely, etc.....

I doubt any of us want to live lives that we regret, find dull, unhappy, selfish, mean, sad, mad, boring, etc.....

So wake up and make a change!  Today!  Commit to living your life with zest and love.  Make every day a blessing that you're thankful for.  Make the most of your 24 hours and make a difference in someone else's life.  End each day with a prayer where you specifically express thanks for the meals you ate, people you encountered, transportation used, clothes worn, job you have, etc..

I recently watched a movie with my family, Evan Almighty.  Have you seen it?  It's about a man who wants to change the world thru politics yet is chosen to change the world by building an ark for God. There's a moment where God (Morgan Freeman) enlightens him that the way you change the world is thru ARK.  Acts of Random Kindness.  
I believe that each of us can make a huge difference in this world by simply focusing on what's important to us and living our lives with priorities in mind.  It's really not that hard.  

If attending your funeral can provide you with that motivation, then by all means, contact the company in Korea.  
Or, you can just take some time and close your eyes, use your imagination, and make a list of your priorities.  Then, start living YOUR LIFE!   Not someone else's, not your daily habit, but YOUR LIFE.....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What do you do for money?

Wow, it's been over one week since my last post. That's too long........
Why does work have to be so demanding that it takes my personal time and I end up missing the fun stuff? (the stuff I like to do)

Well, I managed to have some incredible dinners while traveling on business this week. What a great perk? It made me think about how lucky I am to have the job that I have. After the fancy dinners, I returned to my very nice hotel room, watched TV on a plasma screen, and ended the day by saying a prayer. Sounds awesome doesn't it?
Unfortunately, my job requires me to make sacrifices. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not.
It's financially worth it, but not spiritually. I don't go home at night thinking that I did anything to improve the legacy I leave my family and friends. I enjoy the challenges, people I work with, and company, but I wouldn't do it if they didn't pay me. I know that's why they call it work, a job, blah, blah, blah.....but I think our time is important enough that we should do things everyday that align with our priorities.
I hope Lifetimers helps you figure out your priorities and ways to maximize your life and time.

This brings me to the title of this post. What do you do for money?
I worded it this way because I want to know if all of us go to work every day just for the money. Did we "settle" for an adequate compensation package that we were raised to think is respectable and worthy of our time?
OR, are you one of the few that didn't settle and can honestly say that your job is both financially and spiritually rewarding? If so, please post a comment so the rest of us can share in your happiness.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Weekends Are Just Too Short......why?

Have you ever had this feeling? Our weekends are just too short. Right when we're starting to feel relaxed, we have to return to work.
In a traditional work week of Monday thru Friday, people are expected to get off from work at 500pm, drive home for the next hour or so and arriving at their homes around 600pm to start the weekend.

Saturday morning is always embraced for some peace or personal errands. The day affords everyone opportunities to handle household chores, shopping, errands missed during the week, etc....then the evening comes with a chance for dining, entertainment, relaxation.

Sunday mornings are great for sleeping in. Many either wake up and go to church until noon while others elect to take advantage and catch up on sleep. Then as a sense of peace settles in, we find ourselves facing Sunday evening and thinking about going back to work on Monday.

I don't know about the rest of the country but I want more time for the priorities in my life. I believe we should work 4 days a week and have 3 days off. This is the majority of the week, affords us plenty of leisure time for our priorities, and would improve our lifestyle.

I'm not sure why we base our work weeks on 40 hours. Why not 32? If we're expected to get 8 hours of sleep out of a 24 hour day, we sleep 1/3rd of our time leaving us with 16. If we spend 2 hours getting ready and driving to work and 1 hour returning from work, we lost another 3 hours bringing our total available hours for leisure to 13. Then, depending on our jobs, we may work 8-10 hours leaving us with a grand total of 3 hours a day during the work week for ourselves? 15 hours out of 120? (24x5=120)
15/120 equals a whopping 12.5%! Isn't that depressing?
15 out of 80 awake hours for leisure.
We obviously spend way to much time working than enjoying life. (My next post will address what exactly do we do for a job and why....)

So out of 24 hours in a day, we get about 3 for ourselves? Who came up with this system? Why do we proceed to accept such a schedule? Why don't we realize the importance of our time and demand a change?

I've personally decided to take steps towards changing this in my life. After many years of thinking about it, I can no longer wait for social change. Self employment is the avenue that will allow me more leisure time so I'm starting my own business.

I'm not sure if there are other viable options for all of us to make such a change. Living within ones means is the first thing that comes to mind. Then comes passive or residual income. (income that doesn't require your direct involvement).

I would love to think that there are many others out there that share my sentiments regarding prioritizing our leisure time. In essence, this is what Lifetimers is all about.
If we're going to maximize our lives, it's not going to involve more time at the office or work. (unless you're referring to charitable work).

Now go out there and think about how much time do you spend focused on leisure time? Is it enough? Do you too want to make a change? If so, please let me know your ideas and I'll share them with all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dumbbells? Fuel? Vessel for the soul?

Good morning everyone!
Just like millions of us all over the world, I too am joining the masses regarding my own exercise program.
I have always been athletic and active. I worked out at least 3 times a week up to October 2006. Thats when it happened.
In the midst of my egotistical pursuit of excessive strength I tore my rotator cuff. (shoulder)
For the first time in my life, I was really hurt. I couldn't even lift my hand to my mouth.
So I decided to take some time off and let hit heal. It's now January 2, 2008 and I haven't lifted a weight since the day I injured myself. I've done some cardio to exercise my heart and legs, but no weights. Until today.......

I went out and purchased a very nice bench with dumbbells. Many people don't realize that this setup is all anyone needs to get in top physical shape at home. It's simple, doesn't take take up a lot of space, and provides a long list of exercises for all party parts.

I may even take some before and after pics as a testimonial to what one can do with such a simple arrangement and little commitment. I can call it Joe's Dumbbells? Do you think I can turn this into a business? Sell benches and dumbbells from a website? Become the next infomercial? :o)
Maybe not......we'll see.

So, that's it for today. I'm starting my exercise plan for the new year. I'm not going to put it off any longer. I'm going to start taking care of my "vessel for my soul". I'm going to pay attention to it and make it a top priority in my daily routine. I'm going to watch what I put in it with as much diligence as what I would put in my car's gas tank for fuel. My body is going to become a lean, healthy, strong, machine. I'm doing this for me, my family, and the future that I want to have......I hope you too will embrace today and take action as well. (if you haven't already)

Make it a GREAT day! It may be our last.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year's 2008! What's your plan?

Good morning! I celebrated last night with some family and friends and Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, and Carson Daly....
We shot some fireworks and toasted the arrival of 2008.

New Year's is one of my favorite times. It affords us the opportunity to sit and think about all we experienced in the prior 365 days and thank our maker for the blessings afforded us. It makes me feel really good to think about all the happy times as well as the sad ones. That's right, even the sad ones. We shouldn't ignore what make us stronger, more appreciative, and sensitive.

My favorite thing to do this time of year is to construct a list of resolutions for the upcoming year. I write these down in my calendar or computer so I don't lose them and set them up as reminders throughout the year. I really believe it's important to write them down and hold yourself accountable. You would be surprised how many times during the year I will open the file or entry to gauge my progress. It also reminds me of what is really important to me. Taking the time to sit down and write down your goals and priorities is like cleansing the soul. It shouldn't be done while stressed or thinking about other things. It should be as clear as you'll be all year.
Once we begin the year, we all tend to let it run it's course as if its an uncontrollable time machine. Unfortunately, this may be with our direction or without, but one thing for certain, time doesn't wait for us to make up our minds about where we're headed or where we want to go......we need to make the decision to manage our direction and time.
I often ask people if they get in their car without knowing where they're headed? They always say no. Then why would you wake up everyday without knowing where you want to go? You control the vessel, you control the map, you're both navigator and captain of this ship. If you don't take control, the vessel will be more than happy to just aimlessly wonder the seas with no direction or purpose.

My challenge for everyone, even if it's not New Year's Day, is to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. Write them down on a calendar and be honest about the time you need to achieve them. Spread them out in small steps.
For example, I always like to give myself the goal of reading an enlightening book at least once a quarter. Pick one yourself or go to and browse from your chair. is another one that is popular for her recommendations.
Think about your health. I know that it's almost cliche to do this around the start of the year but it really is important. Our souls are physically manifested through our bodies. The body is our vessel while here on earth. If we don't take care of the vessel, the journey will come to an earlier end. I'm always intrigued by those that do a good job of maintaining their homes, cars, toys, etc...but fail to afford the same attention if not more to the most important mechanism we own, our bodies. Develop a plan to improve your diet. Exercise daily. Transform your body into a healthy one that is reflective of your soul and demeanor. Take care of yourself and everyone around you will take notice. You will feel better and attract more positive energy in your life.
Now think about the various roles you occupy and where you want to improve. Is it as a husband, wife? Father or mother? Sister or brother? Son or Daughter? Friend? What do you want to change? Imagine what you believe to be the perfect scenario or performance in that role. Once you have that image, compare yourself and see yourself occupying that role. Take the necessary steps to move toward it in the upcoming year.

I don't want to belabor the point in taking stock and developing a simple plan for the new year. It shouldn't take you a long time to do. It should be fun and inspire you to improve yourself as a person.

One thing for sure, the pursuit of improvement is always rewarding. In the end, you'll be a better person both physically and mentally.
That's important if you're trying to maximize your life as a Lifetimer would do.....