Sunday, March 25, 2012


well my dear ones,

Last week I mentioned talents,

and that none of us have been gifted

with zero talents;

God has gifted all of us with some.

And while not all of us will get to

write songs that will

be heard around the world,

or have a surgeon's hands

that can save lives,

or have the skills to

be a world class diplomat

to kings and counselors,

yet there are some talents

that can be learned,

can be added to our repertoire.

My wife, Marcia, has many skills;

she has done more types of accounting

than I even knew existed when I met her.

However, at the company where we met,

our boss decided that the 57 things

she was doing to keep him in business

were not enough for her to do

and that she should also

be the entire Human Resources department.

At the time,

it was in no way a job she wanted,

yet she excelled at it.

Within a few minutes of meeting her,

most people are ready to tell her

their entire life's story,

because my wife is an awesome listener.

She doesn't judge you;

she doesn't interrupt you;

she doesn't cut you off in mid-sentence

by trying to finish your sentence for you;

and most importantly,

she doesn't pretend to listen

while actually formulating a reply;

...she just listens.

Do you realize how rare that is?

Most of the people with whom I deal

do one or more (or all four!)

of the things my wife doesn't do

instead of just listening.

Is it any wonder that

one of the biggest problems in any business

is communication?

Sometimes the problem rests with the orator

not being clear in what they're saying.

However, from my own experience,

(having been in the business world for 30 years)

I see most of the communication problems

stemming from the "listener" not listening.

If you really want to help other people

(with the by product of it helping you),

practice being an excellent listener.

Show a real interest in what others are saying;

give them your "full face;"

don't be typing on your computer,

or texting on your phone,

while telling them,

"Oh, go ahead, I'm listening;

I'm just checking my e-mails,

but I'm still listening."

(No, you are not.)

To do such things will earn you no respect,

while to listen (for real, as my wife does)

will earn you much respect and admiration

since there are so few who actually listen.

Be one of the few,

and you will enhance the lives of many. =)

Have a great week!

grace, peace, and love to you,


"Spouting off before listening to the facts

 is both shameful and foolish."

            Proverbs 18:13

"Let every person be quick to listen,

 slow to speak, slow to anger"

            Epistle of James 1:19

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


well my dear ones,

Did you ever just get tired?

As in, tired of yourself

and just want to give yourself

an extreme home makeover?

That's kind of how I felt

this past New Year's Eve.

Not that I made any resolutions exactly,

I just wanted to try some different things.

I got back into martial arts

after a 15 year hiatus

...not easy,

but I'm struggling through it.

And the puppet thing has been really cool;

it's something for which

I never would have guessed I had any talent

until a friend suggested I try it.

The place where I do puppets is

"a church for people who don’t go to church."

With 3 screens and a full band,

it looks more like a rock concert than a church.

(intro vid here gives a flavor of it:

It's got a very non-traditional look,

and that's likely why it attracts

so many young people.

One of the young people there is Skye.

She's just 16,

yet is already an awesome bass player

(not too surprising, since she played

 a big double bass at age 8)

and she is inspiring me

on the last part of my "makeover."

I have a bass, and I'm taking lessons,

and some day, when I grow up,

I want to be like Skye

(which I'm sure she finds quite amusing).

I may never be up on the big stage like her

but I hope to develop some level of talent

similar to her, and in the meantime,

at least I'm having fun.  =)

The cool thing about talents is this:

while we all have different talents,

and some may have more than others,

there is no one who has been gifted

with zero talents!

God has gifted you with some,

likely many more than you realize.

So, what's that thing?

The thing you've always wanted to try?

It's never too late to try something new.

This could be your time!

Have a great week!

grace, peace, and love to you,


Sunday, March 11, 2012


well my dear ones,

In these trying economic times,

everyone who has a job

should consider themselves blessed

(a whole bunch of my friends

 were recently laid off).

What's the best way to keep a job,

or, if you're looking,

to get a job?

Well, as I'm sure I mentioned before,

attitude is super important.

My "friend" Amber

(sorry for the mis-spell last week, Am!

 don't be mad; I still love you =>)

works on the last piece of a cancelled program.

Her part is still "in"

because her team met all their goals

and all their milestones.

Despite working 60+ hours per week,

and going to school every night,

Amber maintains an awesome "can-do" attitude,

the type of attitude employers seek.

Perhaps it's not too much to expect

someone with an awesome job

to have an awesome attitude.

What about someone with a job

on which most people look down?

Last week, my wife and I

watched an episode of Undercover Boss

where the Chief Talent Officer (CTO)

of a company went to check on

a man who was just hired as a custodian.

His attitude was that the restaurant was "his"

from the point of view that if the place

wasn't clean, no one would come back.

Hence, he went to great lengths

to keep even the dumpster out back clean.

Also, this guy didn't think the soap provided

by the company was safe enough for kids

(who might lick a table or something)

so he bought special natural soap

(way more expensive!)

with his own money.

Additionally, this guy lost everything

thanks to Hurricane Katrina,

yet he still has a most awesome attitude,

and even spends his day off

preparing food for over 100 people

at a soup kitchen.

Naturally, the CTO LOVED this guy!

She gave him $10,000 for his church

to expand their soup kitchen,

but not really much for himself,

because he didn't really need anything

and I think she didn't want to

mess up his humility

(and the money she gave him

 to help others

 seemed to make him happier

 than anything she could have

 given to him).

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist,

or to lose everything in a hurricane,

to develop an excellent attitude;

it's a choice.

No matter the past,

or what we've been through,

we are all just one choice away

from having an awesome thankful attitude.

Have a great week!

grace, peace, and love to you,


Sunday, March 04, 2012


well my dear ones,

I hope you all had a great

Valentine's Day.

I should have written something then,

but I was a bit too freaked out;

my wife had an appointment the next day,

a big evaluation for how her MS is doing.

I spent the night worrying and praying,

although I have to admit

to doing more worrying,

which is pretty sad,

even though it may be more in line

with our human nature.

As it turned out,

her MS has not gotten any worse,

in fact, it's better,

because all her symptoms are under control

without any medication

and strictly through the practice of Tai Chi,

especially the healing form of it, Qi Gong

(pronounced "Chee Gong").

Her Tai Chi instructor wants her to make a video;

my wife hates to even have her picture taken;

however, the video is not really about her,

it's about helping the many others with MS

who might benefit from her testimony

of how much the practice of Qi Gong,

the healing elements of Tai Chi

have helped her to gain control of her life

and have given her hope.

God has "hooked her up,"

and for that, I am grateful.

And in keeping with an attitude of gratitude,

I have recently responded to a request

from a fiend of mine

who told me about a need in a kid's ministry

at a church.

I checked out the "Kids Town" there

to see where I might fit in to help out.

My first day of volunteering was in a

pre-K to first grade class.

I saw a guy way bigger than I am

get scratched and bit by a pre-K,

so I decided that was too rough a crowd *lol*

and moved down to the 3-year-olds

to try their puppet ministry.

I did two shows this morning,

and it was awesome!

As "Louie the Lion" I work with a story teller

to teach kids the most basic principles

(which I can even do in sign language),

"God made me.  God loves me."

I was scared to death for the first

few minutes of my first show;

but I got over it pretty quickly.

It's such a cool and rewarding privilege

to have the opportunity to teach

3-year-olds that God cares about them,

realizing that that could

make a difference in their lives

in later years,

like perhaps keep them away

from drugs or depression.

And it's really cool when the kids

call for your puppet.

Here's Louie:

Isn't he cute?

My wife picked him out;

she has a knack for such things.

The kids like him because his mane shakes

and flops over into his eyes;

they think that's funny;

and if it amuses them,

then that's a good thing.

As my fiend Amber (the rocket scientist =>)

pointed out, with 3-year-olds,

the most important thing is

how you make them feel.

If they feel safe and loved

they will remember that.

So if you ever get a chance

to work with 3-year-olds,

or kids of any age,

I highly recommend it;

it's very rewarding.

God gave you talents;

I know you've got 'em!

So don't be afraid

to step out of your comfort zone

and use them.  =)

Have a great week!

grace, peace, and love to you,


Louie the Lion