On December 15, 2012, another crazy season of college football bowls begins. While I’m a huge fan of college football bowls, the names of the bowls have gotten more and more ridiculous. Like, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, or the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, or the Military Presented by Northrop Grumman Bowl. When I was growing up, most of the bowls were named after fruits, vegetables, or some other consumable item. Now, the AdvoCare 100 Independence bowl sounds like an ad for erectile dysfunction.
So, in the spirit of the season, I’d be curious to know what you think is the worst bowl name of the season. Either take the poll below or add your comment. I look forward to seeing the responses.
I had a conversation in the wee hours of this morning with a buddy from high school that I graduated with. His name is Jason, and yes he is a real person and I wasn’t having a conversation with the man in my head. You can see for yourself here. Jason owns a very successful digital development company in the Dallas, TX area and has seen incredible growth over the past 3 years. As we were shooting the bull, he made the comment that many times he feels like his company is like the shoemaker’s children. Wow, did that resonate with me!
According to the old proverb, “The shoemaker’s children always go without shoes.”
I can’t believe how blessed I have been to be able to start my own business and actually make enough money to pay my bills. As I have moved through this journey, I have realized that there is such a huge market for the type of service I provide. In fact, the opportunity is so great that I sometimes feel like a kid in a toy store on Christmas Eve. Having options on the kind of work you will accept is a pretty cool feeling.
With all of this opportunity, though, comes a daily decision that I am forced to make. Do I allow my company to go without shoes or not?
Let me spell it out in plain english…there is so much work and so many clients that I don’t even have the time to tend to the needs of my business. This frustrates the hell out of me. It keeps me up some nights and at times paralyzes me in fear that one day my business will collapse if I don’t address this issue. At some point, I am going to have to spend time on the innards of my business so that the outtards can expand and grow. Here are some examples:
The catch 22 is that I need help, but I don’t currently have the resources, but I know that if I had the right person helping me I would draw in more business, thus providing the resources, and in turn starting the cycle all over again.
This business is my baby. I’ve seen the dream I had within me birth and now it’s in the infant stage, then eventually it will start toddling, then driving, then hopefully one day it will be mature enough that I can hand it off and retire on some private island with the love of my life and not a care in the world. I have dreams of growing this baby into something beyond what I can envision right now, but it seems as though it’s wanting to grow a little faster than I anticipated. While that’s cool in some regards, I feel like I’m stuck in that “in between” stage right now and I’m left feeling like the shoemaker’s child.
I’m not quite sure what the answer is, but I’m ready for it to come. I am humbled so far that things have turned out the way they have. I always believed in my dream, but I never thought it could be this good. Life is good. God is good.
I have a friend from my past who was passionate about finding pennies on the ground. She called them “pennies from heaven” and collected them in a jar. I don’t know how much she has these days, but back in the day I think she was over 10,000 pennies (or some outrageous number like that).
I remember as a kid, when you found a penny on the ground, you weren’t supposed to touch it if it was tails up because that was bad luck. You could only pick it up if it was heads up. Do you remember that?
Finding pennies has become a daily opportunity for me. Almost like a game. Not pennies on the ground, but pennies in my overall spending habits.
It’s funny how I used to consider myself a coffee snob and would only drink the premium priced coffee, and then the other day I got so excited because I bought a huge tub of Maxwell House coffee for about 8 bucks. I didn’t get excited because I bought Maxwell House because quite frankly Maxwell House is not so good to the last drop…but, it’ll do. I got excited because (according to the tub) I will get about 270 cups of coffee for about 8 bucks. That comes out to about 3 cents for each fluid cup of coffee. Three pennies. I normally drink a half a pot every day, which is 6 fluid cups and about 2 coffee mugs worth of coffee for me. That comes out to costing me about 9 cents for every mug of coffee I drink. Nine pennies. Compared to $2 for a small cup of coffee from Starbucks. With each cup of coffee I drink that I make in my home, I find 191 pennies.
I also like sweet tea. The other day, I bought a box of iced tea bags. I paid about $3 for 100 tea bags. That comes out to about 3 pennies for each tea bag. I use 2 tea bags to brew one pitcher of tea…6 pennies for each pitcher. Each pitcher gives me about 6 tall glasses of sweet tea…1 penny for each tall glass of sweet tea…add in the cost for sugar and water and I’m probably paying about 2-3 cents for each glass of sweet tea. Yet, I go to a restaurant and pay about $2 for a glass of sweet tea. With each cup of sweet tea I drink in my home, I find about 197 pennies.
Fifty pennies off of a Redbox DVD rental with a code they send me. Fifteen pennies per gallon off of my next gas fill up because I shop at Winn Dixie and get the Fuel Perks. Who knows how many pennies I find by not running my home air conditioner as much.
I don’t consider myself a cheapskate. This isn’t even about not having enough money to enjoy the finer things in life. It’s about a respect for money and a desire to not let it spin my life out of control ever again. As gas prices continue to rise causing everything else to cost more, I see my drive to finding pennies becoming stronger. One of these days I will be completely debt free and pennies will have an even greater value for me.
What are some areas in your life where you’re finding pennies? Are you valuing them more now than ever before? Or, are you passing them over?
I need to vent. I just tried again to apply for health insurance. This will be my third attempt at this in the past 5 months. The first two times I was declined because I’m deformed on the inside. Ok, I’m not deformed, but my bad back that has been operated on twice, my brain cyst, and my jacked up heart make it an uphill climb for me.
I’ve never been without health insurance my entire life until recently. It doesn’t really scare me, but that’s because today I don’t have to go to the doctor or the hospital for anything. But, I realize that every time I get behind the wheel of my car I face a huge risk. It’s funny how people say, “drive safe.” Honestly, I am a safe driver…it’s everyone else around me that doesn’t realize the time bomb I’m sitting on.
I have my opinions about the healthcare system in America. I don’t blame Obamacare, because I believe the system has been broken for a long time.
Why is it that I can go to an American hospital and pay up to $70,000 a pop for a back surgery, but I can get the same back surgery outside of America for around $5,000? Are the drugs really that much better in America? Are the utensils that much cleaner in America? Are the doctors that much more educated in America? I don’t know the real answer to that, but my guess is NO. I don’t see anymore disabled people in other countries with bad backs because of botched surgeries than I do in America.
It comes down to the health insurance companies. They are the reason healthcare is so incredibly expensive. It’s a modern day monopoly going on in that industry. THEY decide who gets coverage and who doesn’t. THEY decide how much a procedure is going to cost. THEY decide whether or not they are going to pay for the procedures and treatment.
And yet, here I sit uninsured because of a bad back that was taken care of almost 4 years ago, and a congenital heart and brain defect that are asymptomatic and will more than likely not require surgery in my lifetime. In fact, chances are I’ll need health insurance because of a stray bullet being shot in the air on the 4th of July at a community picnic while riding a three hump camel more than I’ll need it because of my birth defects.
Honestly, I’m not a fan of getting insurance, but I know it’s what I’m supposed to do as a responsible adult. Instead, I would rather put that $200 a month into a savings account that I have full control of that is specifically designated for medical emergencies and just pay cash. I know health savings accounts are out there, but I’m talking about my own bank that no one else has control over but me and not another company. The problem is that most (not all) doctors and hospitals won’t treat you without insurance unless it’s a life or death situation.
I think the modern health insurance system is the biggest rip off of our generation. We’ve been duped into getting it because it will protect us.
Yet, it’s ironic that I am required to have car insurance in the state of Florida, you know, in case I run into someone and injure them, yet I’m not required to have health insurance, you know, in case I get put in the hospital and my family is screwed for the rest of our lives because of an overpriced healthcare system.
The world has become a smaller place and more and more people are choosing to get their major medical care done overseas in places that provide top notch care for a fraction of the price. I truly hope that this global health economy forces the American healthcare industry to get in line.
Until then, I sit here and wait for another health insurance application with the expectation of what the end result will be. And I pray that in the meantime I will not be taken out by a distracted driver, a falling tree limb, or a rogue alien ship falling on my head. (Although, the rogue alien ship would be pretty cool.)
About six months ago, I began my journey into a way of living. I don’t want to call it a career change or a job change because it was way more than that. It was a life and lifestyle change. It was a mind change. It was a passion change. It was so much more than just a simple career change.
After 20 years of working in a typical corporate environment, I now work for myself. But more than just working for myself, I now how control of my now and my future. I get to decide what I’m going to fill my days with. I get to decide how I am going to spend my time.
You may read that and think, “what an arrogant ass.” You can have your opinion, but the feeling of peace and happiness that I feel deep down in my soul is what justifies my journey.
I had some amazing experiences in my career and I will carry many fond memories with me to my final breath. However, there has always been this longing within me, going back to my childhood, of the life I live now. Maybe it was the influence of my grandparents owning their own business. Maybe it was the dissatisfaction of seeing other people miserable in cubicle world. Maybe it is because I have dreams that I don’t want to miss out on. Or, maybe it’s because of the cyst in my brain and its jacking with my sense of reality.
Whatever it is, I thank God for giving me the opportunity, the strength, and the mindset for this new journey.
Some people won’t get it and they are happy in their careers and their lives, and that is totally cool. This isn’t about saying my life is better than your life, because in many ways it’s not (not having health insurance with all of my medical issues sucks something fierce). What this is about is saying that for the first time in my life I actually feel ALIVE. I feel like I’m soaring inside my heart and soul even with the daily stresses of finding pennies. I now realize that (for me) happiness is not defined by the number of dollars in your bank account.
I read a blog of another person who said,
“My dad always taught me to work hard and save, save, save for retirement. Then, only when retirement came, could I do as I pleased. Well, no. That’s not actually true. If I wait until retirement, I’d be 75-years old, and there’s no way I could become a rockstar motocross rider at that age. I’d have to do it now if that’s what I really wanted.”
Of course, I don’t have dreams of becoming a rockstar motocross rider, but I do have dreams. And if I have to wait until retirement to enjoy them, then why even have the dreams to begin with? Who says I can’t start living my dreams now, when I’m young, and I still have a little bit of good health left in me?
Here is the dichotomy I face every Sunday night and Monday morning that scares me, thrills me, and motivates me: WHAT WILL I DO THIS WEEK? Specifically I’m talking about work, but broadly I’m talking about life. What will I do this week? What will I experience? What will I learn? Who will I meet? Those are the kind of questions that contribute to me loving my life and not waiting to see what the next day will bring, even if I know it will be a rough day.
So, what about you? Are you living your life? Are you loving your life? Are there dreams that you have that you won’t allow yourself to experience? Are there fears or voices that are holding you back from living the life YOU want to live? Taking the leap is some scary shit, but if you’re not going to jump then why put on the parachute?
Sometimes life doesn’t go as we planned. In fact, I would say most of the time life doesn’t go as we planned. When I was a kid, I remember telling my mom that one day I would grow up and be a professional football player and I would make enough money to give us all a good life. When I got to college, I started off as a music education major thinking I wanted to be a high school choir director.
Neither one of those panned out, and in 2011 I closed the chapter on an 18+ year career in professional church ministry. Certainly not how I expected to spend a major chunk of my young adulthood. Apparently, other people knew I would go down that road…like Dr. Verl Capps, my childhood music minister at the church I grew up in…or Dr. Ed Spann, the Dean of the College of Music where I went to college…or Dr. Earl Tom Keel, a philanthropist in my hometown of Grand Prairie who had a large scholarship named after him that I won when I graduated high school…or my mom, though I don’t think she really knew as much as she hoped and prayed.
When I changed my major to Church Music my sophomore year of college, it truly was because I wanted to keep my full scholarship given to me by the university, not because I wanted to prepare myself for nearly 2 decades of vocational ministry. But, just two months after I changed my major, I was offered my first paying job as a music minister at a small church in my hometown.
Woody Allen is credited with saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I’m sure my life has given God quite a laugh as I tried way too many times to do it my way.
The past 18 years have afforded me many memories and lessons to carry throughout life. I have experienced some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows. If anyone ever thinks working for a church is a “kum ba ya” experience, trust me, it’s not. In fact, in some ways its harder than working in corporate America because your “share holders” are volunteers who have a great heart for the church, but in many ways have no clue about the day-to-day functions it takes just to keep the doors open.
As I think back over my career as a full time church employee, I could easily share the good, bad, and ugly. However, I want to remember it for the blessings I experienced. So, here are my top 5 memories from nearly 2 decades in church work (in no particular order):
I’m doing something different with my life now, and I love it. I’m making my money outside of the church and hopefully one day I’ll find a church where I can give my time and talent freely as a volunteer. I will always cherish my professional career in ministry, though. I will always remember every inspiration. I will always remember every situation I learned a tough lesson. I will always remember the lives I had an impact on. More than anything, I will always be grateful that God would choose a sinful, arrogant man like me to lead His bride and bring His people to the throne. For that, and that alone, I am humbled and I walk into this new chapter of my life with my head held high as I hear God’s voice say to me, “Good job, son.”
Do you own a business? Do you value your customers? Why not let them know with a personalized corporate holiday video card?
You send me your photos and video, or we’ll schedule a time for me to come out and capture some video footage, then I’ll take it and return to you a professional corporate holiday card.
I have been creating professional videos for clients around the world for over 10 years, so you can guarantee that your video will be top notch and will help your company’s image.
Space is limited and time is short, so you have to act fast. The cost for corporate holiday cards is only $495 and you will receive a final video file that you can upload to YouTube or any other video hosting service and then e-mail out to your customers and client. If you want your video on DVD, the cost is only $5 for each DVD you want.
This holiday season, let your customers know how much you appreciate them. Give them a glimpse of what’s coming in 2012, and set your company apart with a custom holiday video card.
Again, space is limited, so contact me today!
Check out some samples I created for other businesses.
Traditional Holiday cards are nice, but let’s face reality.
What if you could send out a Holiday card this year that was completely unique?
What if you could send out a Holiday card that will last for years to come?
What if you could send out a Holiday card that allows you to SHOW and TELL your friends and family what happened over the past year?
And, what if you could do all of this and more for about the same cost as sending out traditional paper cards?
The answer is Video Holiday Cards where you and your family are the star of your own short customized Holiday video.
You send me the photos and footage and I will create something fun and memorable for you to send. You upload it to YouTube and send the link to everyone in your e-mail list. And, you can have your video burned on DVDs to send out to friends and family. The best part about it is that you can enjoy it for years to come and even have something to pass on to your future generations so they can laugh at how ancient 2011 really was!
I have been creating professional videos for clients all around the world for over 10 years, and I guarantee you will get a top notch video you can be proud of to send to whomever you want. I only have a limited number of spaces available, so contact me today to reserve your spot.
The cost is only $199 for the video and you will receive a master copy that you can do whatever you want with. DVD copies are are only $5 each, and there is no limit as to how many you may order.
Again, my availability is limited, so e-mail me or call me today, and make this Holiday Season one you will TRULY remember for years to come!
Check out the video I created for another family.
This Christmas, as you plan your shopping lists, consider gifts that money can’t buy.
Money can’t buy happiness…that comes by pure motives.
Money can’t buy integrity…that comes by doing the right thing.
Money can’t buy honesty…that comes by speaking the truth.
Money can’t buy true friends…that comes by being a true friend.
Money can’t buy peace…that comes by slowing down and breathing.
Money can’t buy intelligence…that comes by always being a student of life.
Money can’t buy wisdom….that comes by knowing right from wrong.
Money can’t buy patience…that comes by realizing the world does not revolve around you.
Money can’t buy avoiding negativity…that comes by surrounding yourself with positivity.
Money can’t buy generosity…that comes by giving.
Money can’t buy grace…that comes by loving unconditionally.
Money can’t buy forgiveness…that comes by releasing judgement.
Money can’t buy sincerity…that comes by being true to others.
Money can’t buy love…that comes by being lovable.
Money can’t buy relationships…that comes by investing in others.
Money can’t buy true wealth…that comes by enjoying the richness of life.
Money can’t buy a relationship with Christ…that comes by living the way He taught.
Money can’t buy eternal life…that comes by surrendering your will.
Don’t let money be the reason you can’t give the greatest gifts to the ones you love. And don’t let it be the reason you can’t give yourself the greatest gifts for 2012.
Peace On Earth…
as we head into our second week of No Shave November, i wanted to share with you a compelling argument for growing a beard. a lot of ladies actually enjoy a little bit of stubble, but as we head throughout the month i fear that the enjoyment will wane as the whiskers whisk their way out of their follicles. have no fear, though, because i came across an excellent resource for helping us all appreciate the value of a beard.
check out the website BiggerBetterBeards.org then come back here and tell me what you think.