Category Archives: Random

Sometimes, there just isn’t a folder to put my thoughts into.

When God Gives You a Puppy: Thoughts on God’s Extravagant Provision

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A Friendship Begins 🙂

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way Kylie’s scream sounded as it echoed into the house the day our puppy, Max, was hit by that car.  That was the toughest of days for my family.

-Taking Max to the vet for x-rays and the subsequent bad news

-Gripping my little girls hand tight as she said her last goodbyes to her puppy

-Praising God in the storm…outside that animal hospital; resting in the truth that God inhabits the praises of His people and knowing that we SO needed to feel Him right then.

-Walking my little girl back into that same animal hospital 2 days later as she thanked the doctors that tried to save Max’s life

Life is Hard. God is Good.  But sometimes…God just SHOWS OFF!!!!

A few weeks after the tragedy we spent a good amount of time looking for a new dog.  Read the rest of this entry

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What a Cool Invention: Never Wet!

ImageI don’t do product reviews & I don’t make a dime if you buy this stuff but, Never Wet, is really amazing!
The video of it in action is one of those that you see and instantly want to show your friends.

I must stay that I’m really impressed with this new product that became available this week by Rustoleum.  It’s a spray that comes in a can that makes the surface of things actually repel water.

Don’t settle for my words, you owe it to yourself to see how cool this really is!  Scroll to the middle to see them spray an iPhone with Never Wet and submerge it in water!

I saw it available for $20 bucks on the Home Depot website.  Go out & get some and be sure to let me know what creative purposes YOU discover for it.

I’m curious if it keeps eyeglasses from smudging??

A Lesson in Friendship from the Strangest of Places

Behold…The most beautiful 3 minutes and 20 seconds of your day is here!

And the story didn’t end there.  Here’s the final segment about this most unlikely duo who remained best friends until the end.

What My Voices Tell Me and How I Found Hope in a Lisp

What do Your Voices Tell You?My desire is to be transparent with this blog & this is one of the more raw posts I’ve published.  I struggle with voices of fear & doubt and they’re trying to sabotage my dreams.  The loudest of these voices pretty much repeats the same 3 words:

‘You’re Not enough.”

The quitter in me has a way of convincing me that others are doing great things but I am destined for mediocrity;  that the many imperfections I have are what is holding me back from being a published author, a speaker or a 5 Star Ambassador with Visalus. Simply put, my voices try to convince me that successful people are that way because of a natural gift, a particular skill set I can’t develop or just plain luck. I’ve a feeling I may not be alone in this.

Oddly enough, I find great comfort in Jon Acuff’s lisp. Jon is actually my favorite author and someone I admire very much. It’s a strange thing to fall in like with a lisp, I know, but it’s also the truth.  He’s not perfect & I love that about him. I’ve followed his ascension to stardom for years but never actually heard him speak until meeting him at a book signing a few months ago for his new book, START.

My biggest fear now is for Jon to actually read this & suddenly realize he may have a lisp.  Sorta like the time I intercepted a note from one of my students and found out I had a bald spot  :/ I started shaving my head the next day.  I find great delight in the nuances of others that make them unique and move them South of Vanilla.  (Now I just ticked off the vanilla lovers!)

The point is, while some may discover the imperfections of people and see less, I see them as a reminder that success is reserved for those who keep hustling.  I am compelled to silence that voice within me that whispers, “You’re not enough”, and simply respond,

“Oh no, I’m MORE than enough.”

I’m curious, what do your voices tell you?  Comment below and check out Jon Acuff’s project NoMoreVoices.com to contribute to the conversation already going on there.

NOTE: If you just thought to yourself, “I don’t hear voices in my head! He’s crazy!” Then welcome to the voice in your head.

When Your House Guest Eats the Soap

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I remember the first time a friend of mine invited me to come learn about a business he was starting.  I recall rolling up to that sprawling estate with awe & wonder.  The guard at the gate had watched me roll up in my 1993 Dodge Dakota and didn’t seem overly impressed.

I distinctly remember 2 things about that night.

Lesson 1: People are Strange

A lady with big hair and a slightly bigger affection for perfume came out of the guest bathroom and made a comment about how the bars of soap tasted exactly like they smelled. People in the room gave a nervous giggle and began shifting their gaze to the far corners of the room in a desperate search for real life.  Sure enough, I walked into the bathroom later and saw teeth marks on their decorative soap display!

2. Never Assume You Know Someone’s Story

I always have a way of being among the last to leave an event.  That night was no exception.  I was a 2nd year teacher with 4 kids to feed and a family to support.  I hadn’t yet polished up my tact & so I asked the lady who owned the home a direct question.  “Why do you need a side business?  I mean, your house has columns, your driveway is filled with new vehicles, your husband’s a doctor & you have a successful real estate business.”  Her answer was direct & profound; soaked in a sad sort of humility :  “Rob, we’re just broke on a different level.”

Her words have been rolling in my mind here lately and I felt an urgency to share them with you all.

Broke on a Different Level

This phrase is true of so many folks I speak with.  This beautiful couple had begun to make more money.  And like many others they started buying things they didn’t need, with money they didn’t have to impress people they didn’t like anyway!  In a world of big credit & small, easy payments it’s hard not to reward ourselves.

Here’s the truth: Debt is bondage (Proverbs 22:7) & you need to begin freeing yourself today.  There are 1000’s of options for you to begin with but I would personally recommend you take a look at Dave Ramsey’s resources as a solid start.

Once you get an honest assessment of where you are financially and begin to develop a game plan for your financial freedom I encourage you to start a home based business you can get excited about.  A business you’ll actually work like a business with a solid leader who will guide you towards where you wanna’ be; preferably, where they’ve already been! Doing this will both accelerate your ability to attain that freedom and give you a rich sense of accomplishment that you ARE in control again!

Knowledge is not power.  Knowledge applied is power.  Let’s take action my friends!

How a Facebook Group is Impacting an Entire Town – What I Love About Lakeland Business Leaders

Something beautiful has begun to settle into the very fabric of our culture here in Lakeland.

The week I retired from a 15 year teaching career to pursue my Network Marketing business full-time I joined a small group of local business owners in a Facebook group called, Lakeland Business Leaders.  Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with myself all day.  My entire existence from Kindergarten straight on through my 30’s had been centered around school hours.  I just knew that if I was going to succeed I needed to surround myself with people who were already in business for themselves. I was desperate.

I actually discovered LBL after seeing a ticker feed where a friend who was also in my company had spammed the entire group with a silly ad on how to ‘get rich quick’.  Choking back my gag reflex, I clicked the link to check out what this group was about expecting it to be just another spamming forum.  Clicking that one link however, turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Lakeland Business Leaders was started by Chrissanne Long and Craig Hosking in December, 2011.  The mission statement of LBL is not just lip-service but, I’ve found, entirely accurate as to what is being accomplished as a result of the group:

The Mission of the Lakeland Business Leaders

“To create a sustainable, evolving presence within Lakeland that leads and supports the ongoing development of an economically and socially vibrant community for our businesses and families.”

Here are some things I’ve grown to love about the LBL Group:

-We are not stuffy.  We wear jeans if we feel like it and will be among the first to roll up our sleeves to help others.

The vibe of the Facebook group is one of transparency & professionalism.  Tough questions pertaining to business, life & all points in between are posted and responded to without childish drama.  We seek to create solutions; it’s what entrepreneurs do.

We take our conversations to real life.  The ability to talk to others & present in a group has been a fundamental key to success in my field.  The weekly LBL breakfasts, monthly meet & greets as well as special events provides a safe training ground for how to communicate effectively with others.

Spamming is not allowed in the group.  In fact, only Premium Members can post about the products & services they offer and, truth be told, they rarely do.  Because there is a full-time moderator who is being compensated for her efforts the group can be adequately managed & moderated without having to burden a volunteer army with such a daunting & thankless task.

Now, I shop local! Even though I’ve called Lakeland my home for over 20 years now I never really had the desire or felt the urgency to shop local.  LBL was instrumental in bringing Cash Mobs to my town. As a result, my eyes were suddenly opened to just how integral my purchases are to my fellow small business owners. My family was actually featured in an article in the Lakeland Ledger.  It was a brilliant interview where I basically shared that I bought a mailbox and took my family out to a restaurant….but those 2 activities mattered to those small businesses that day! I learned that where we spent our dollars mattered as a result of LBL.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing of all about the Lakeland Business Leaders group is that I’m pretty sure it’s not happening anywhere else in our country.  I’m certain if I looked deep enough, I’d find something similar but I’m almost certain there’s nothing even remotely as beautiful as LBL.  If I’m wrong PLEASE share a link in the comments below because I’d love to learn from them!

What If??

What if this concept caught on in communities all throughout the U.S & beyond?  What if the right leaders took the initiative to create what has been born right here in little-old, Lakeland, Florida?

Something beautiful has begun to settle into the very fabric of our culture here in Lakeland, my friends. A like-minded & passionate group of individuals have partnered together to create a community that is both economically & socially vibrant for our businesses & families.

The Challenge:

If you live in Lakeland, I welcome you to join us…we need you!

If you are reading this from your hometown somewhere far away that you love, I challenge you to love your community enough to bring something beautiful to the place you call home.

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The Writer’s Struggle or Why I Avoid Arguments

Be Inspired. Be inspiring.Writing, for me, is a lot like having an argument.

A much needed healthy, argument.

I’d much prefer to simply solve a problem than talk about it & get all messy with the stickiness of feelings.

Even right now, I have this conflicting-deepness in the pit of my stomach. My senses are urging me to back out of writing this…to refill my coffee…to post a quote somewhere…to pray…do laundry…or………….

I’ve decided to write because, even though I loathe the pressure I feel when my keys are rat-a-tat-tatting on my keyboard, I’ve discovered the relief of resolution after each paragraph I pen.

I had a blogging friend ask me the other day what I wanted ‘the customer’ to do when they visited my blog, and I don’t think I’m ready for any sort of customer just yet. Maybe one day I’ll learn all about monetizing my blog, but right now I’m just searching for you.

My hope in blogging is that you, the reader, is out there. That you find value & meaning in these words.

Every now & again I get followed by someone whose blog has a heartbeat to it. Their words & content have an authenticity & a distinct rhythm to the patterns of a life actually being lived. I like to follow those folks.

Anyone else like me out there? I’d love to read & comment on your blog if you have one.

The Saddest Dreamer of All: Congratulations Walt

I think this world has good intentions. I always see positive platitudes plastered wherever I look on social media & commercials. It seems at every turn someone is trying to encourage me (maybe themselves) to ‘follow my heart’, or ‘Chase my dream’. Come to think of it I can’t recall the last time someone encouraged me to ‘Embrace Mediocrity’ or ‘Soak in the Glow of Resentment’. But this morning I heard a song and it kinda slapped me in my smile just a bit.

I’m in my second reading of Jon Acuff’s book, Start. The first time I approached it much like I would approach the first beef enchilada when I know I still have 2 left. In chapter 2 he referenced a song by John Mayer, and it is the saddest songs I’ve ever heard.

Now, we’ve all heard sad songs.

-When I was younger they centered around breakups,

-In my 20’s a sad song for me centered around some ‘system’ that was going to force me to grow up & be responsible.

-The minute I entered Fatherhood I fell apart anytime I heard a sentimental chorus involving sons, daughters or their mommy.

But now I’m on the precipice of 40 and I’m just now getting a foothold on living a life of significance. I want to matter. But here’s the catch…I don’t want to change the world alone.

‘Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967’ by John Mayer is the story of a man who had a dream. He painstakingly developed the skills to make his dream a reality. He had the perseverance and resolve to move forward towards his passionate pursuit despite the heckling crowd of naysayers.

If Walt Grace was paying any attention to social media & self help (self-hurt books??) back in 1967 he would’ve been very pleased. Encouragements of, “Keep going, Walt!”, would certainly pepper his comment section. But there is a problem.

Walt is a married man with children and spends his days just searching for silence from the ‘noise’ that has become his life. He has alienated those he loves to pursue a selfish passion full-time.

Here’s something I think we all need to do right now.

I encourage you today to identify your dream and invest a few moments on what your finish line looks like. Walt Grace made his dream a reality. He ‘Just Did it’. His chest broke the tape guarding that finish line he’d had his sights on all those years.

And he celebrated alone.

Congratulations, Walt.

Why #Hashtags Are More Than Just Annoying – Thank You Facebook!

Facebook has just begun to roll out the use of Hashtags on their platform. Did you know that they actually do serve a purpose besides being yet another tactic for tech savvy teenagers & hipsters to annoy the rest of humanity. Now that they’ve JUST become available on mobile devices (update your app) here’s why I’m happy that Facebook has joined the hashtag party.

When you post something from your computer onto Facebook now preceded by the # sign it becomes a clickable link. That link takes you to a feed of all of the other people who have posted an update with the same hashtag included. Why is this helpful?

While you are sure to find plenty of idiots who are rambling on about whatever, it does allow you access to people who are interested in the same thing you are at the same time you were interested in it. Let me give you some examples:

Instant News- During the #BostonBombings I used that hashtag to search for people who tweeted about it immediately after it happened. This allowed me instant access to information folks were sharing from the scene. That may not intrigue you but it certainly was a powerful resource for me.

Instant Info- Suppose you didn’t know what a hashtag (or some other trendy term) even was. I posted a status last night on Facebook and included #Hashtag in the post. When I clicked on it I found that one of my friends had posted the official Facebook article explaining their new roll out. *WARNING (I did a similar search a few weeks back for #Twerk on a video app called Vine because I did not know what it was. Friends, be careful what you ask for :/ )

Instant Leads- Hashtag search functionality also can help you locate people who are talking about the products/services you currently offer. From a business standpoint, this is what really excites me. For years now I’ve used the hashtag search feature on Twitter to identify people who unwittingly let me know that they need what I offer. The fact is, most people use hashtags as a part of the social media culture but savvy businesses have been using them to identify potential customers.

For instance, a person might post: “I just hate going to the #gym. It’s always so crowded! #feelingfrustrated” A personal trainer who caters to in-home clients like my friend, Denny Krahe or a small gym owner who understands the hashtag search option now has a prospective client he/she can offer services to simply because the social media platform narrowed the conversation down to only those talking about the #gym. This method of marketing does take time and is certainly not for everyone.

Ok, what have I missed?

What are the other useful purposes for hashtags on Facebook that you know of?

What potential dangers does this new feature bring to users.

How to NOT Make Money With Your Blog

I just reached a milestone of 20 followers.

I got a notification about it and everything!Image

But something’s not quite right…I have this overwhelming concern I’m being followed by the shadows of people.  Like a dog at the dinner table, they’re just interested in 1 thing.

You see, when I click on the link to meet my new friend their WordPress theme wreaks of ‘Cash for Blogging’.   I want to reciprocate the follow but am having a hard time because their content is so singularly focused on cashing in. In my opinion many are missing the best part of Network Marketing…Networking.

I don’t really know a lot about ‘Team AWOL’ or Empower Network promoters other than that they apparently adore my content.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of entrepreneurship and am a HUGE advocate for Network Marketing.  I just can’t help but feel a bit manipulated by the whole tactic of using likes & comments as bait.

It’s entirely possible that I’m totally off base here.  I’d love to get YOUR thoughts on this & to find out whether you are experiencing the same thing.

If you are seasoned at earning an income with your blog what are your suggestions to help these folks out.  I’m new to blogging and would really love your seasoned insight.