The Importance of Breaks

I am writing this post on the last day of a brief family vacation. 

On my wife's side of the family, we have spent three days enjoying food, family, and fellowship. 

Since the location was about an hour and a half from our home, we were able to get the most out of our trip without having much travel exhaustion.

Our kids were able to participate in the Friday night gathering by singing their 50 States song and we also spent time enjoying relatives that we don't often have an opportunity to see.

I got the most enjoyment during this time by taking a break from many of my daily activities. 

I enjoyed being away from work.  I enjoyed very limited use of social media and email.  I also enjoyed being away from home for a few days and following our normal routine.

Sometimes, you have to get away from it all.  It helps you to focus on what is really important and it helps your body to rest from the daily grind.

I look forward to many more times of relaxation and rest in the future.  I find that I am able to focus better and perform better after a short time of rest. 

Question:  What are some of the ways you take a break?

Saying I’m Sorry

Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

Benjamin Franklin

I've done it many times.  I found this quote to be fitting as I thought about mistakes I have made in marriage.

Here's how you say I'm sorry the WRONG way:

"I'm very sorry I did/said _____ BUT it was because _______"

Here’s how you say I’m sorry the RIGHT way:

"I'm very sorry I did/said _____ and I will do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again"

Keep it simple and remember what Ben said!

Planning for Tomorrow

I'm a firm believer that we shouldn't just float along in life and avoid making plans for the future.   The word that comes to mind when I think about this is "intentional".  

We can't completely predict everything in our lives, but we can prepare for necessities.

As a father, I know that my children will one day be adults.  I plan to equip them spiritually, emotionally, and financially to be great assets to their family and community.  It all starts now in their youth.

As a husband, I desire to have a marriage that blesses others and is full of joy and peace for many years to come.  The decisions we make together now will have a lot to do with the results years from now.

I have begun a practice of planning for the next day before I go to sleep.  It makes a world of difference when you see what is coming up and make an action plan to move forward the next day.

Planning for tomorrow involves setting goals and committing to taking the steps to reach them.  As you take action, you will develop better habits and pick up momentum in the process.

Question:  What are some ways that you are planning for tomorrow?

If You See Something, Say Something

I'm writing this post after spending some time chatting with three of my neighbors last night.  Apparently, several of us saw a suspicious guy walking around our neighborhood and hanging around our park for a few days. 

Sadly, I found out that our neighbor who lives next to the park had his home broken into, possibly by this strange gentleman we saw.

How many times does this happen in life?

How many times do we see something that just doesn't feel right?  We recognize weird activity.  We say to ourselves, "Something looks out of place" or we ask "What is that person doing here?".

The sad thing is we often don't say anything for fear of being wrong or causing too much trouble.

With our public safety office at my job, there has been a campaign called If You See Something, Say Something.  I believe that should be our policy as we go throughout our daily lives.

We may be able to save a life, stop a crime, or help someone who needs assistance by calling the police or telling the right person or authority what we have seen. 

From here on out, if I see someone behaving strangely around my neighborhood or in close proximity to me, I will tell someone.

As the saying goes, "the life you save may be your own".

The Power of Asking Questions

Several times in my life, I have gone back and watched videos from when I was a young boy.  One of the things I notice when I observe myself in the videos is that I ask a lot of questions.

I'm sure it must have been annoying at times for my parents, but I can't say that I've ever stopped asking questions because I see the value in it.

The job that I have now resulted from me asking questions when I was a college student. 

The washing machine that I have now came as a result of me asking questions about bartering services.

Asking the right questions can affect your income, your health, your family life, and your connections with others.

Here's a challenge for you:  Think of 3 things you want to learn about this week and ask 3 different people about these things.  If you want to know more about your family, consider asking an older family member about something.  If you want to learn about a profession, ask someone who is already successful in that field.

If you ask a YES/NO question, the worst answer you can get is NO.  In any other case, you never know what can happen as a result of asking great questions, so get over fear and ask.

Question:  What are some of the best results you've experienced after asking great questions?

5 Reasons To Turn Off The TV and Read a Book

Watching television can be very entertaining, but I believe reading books can be an even better use of time.

My wife and I have one television in our home and we got rid of cable years ago, but we still enjoy watching certain shows and events when we want to.

We all have the same amount of time to spend each week.  What you do with your 168 hours can affect your intellect, your health, and even your relationships.

Here are 5 Reasons I Believe You Would Benefit From Turning off the TV more and reading books:

1)  You Can Become a Better Leader – the more I have followed successful people, the more I have heard the phrase, "leaders are readers".  I believe reading the works from and about leaders helps you understand how to better handle situations.  This applies as a parent, a businessperson, or even as a church volunteer or worker.

2)  You Can Stimulate Your Brain – watching television shows that have no educational value can really be a waste of time.  Instead, watch programs that use sophisticated speech and try to teach something of value.

3)  You Can Learn More about Something That Interests You – There are millions of books in existence and hundreds of thousands of them are being written each year.  There are probably enough books on any subject you want to learn than you could read and fully comprehend in a lifetime.  Instead of spending hours in from of a television, taking just 30 minutes a day to read about a subject can position you as an expert on the topic.

4)  You Can Discover Better Ways of Communicating – As you read the works of others, you learn different ways people communicate.  You can learn better sentence structure, new words to add to your vocabulary, and how to speak and write more influentially.

5)  You Can Be Inspired – Sometimes programs on television, such as the nightly news, can be depressing to watch.  The stories are mostly negative and can drain your hope in a better world.  If you read books, your perspective on success or how the world really is can change.  It is common to think that mostly negative things happen in the world, but the truth is that many inspirational things happen every day and through reading about them in books, we can be inspired.

Question:  What are some reasons you would benefit from turning off the TV more and reading some books?

Courage To Do Something New

I've heard it said that, ironically, the only constant in life is CHANGE.  If you think about it for a short while, you realize that the statement is very true.

When you were a child, the way you talked, the activities you participated in, and the foods you ate were likely influenced by your parents and siblings.  As you grew older, some of these traits about you changed.

In today's fast-paced society, technology is allowing more and more people to do things that they never dreamed of doing years ago.

One thing that I had been wanting to do for years was write a book.  I started and stopped many times, but as the technology made the path to the finish line easier, I finally stepped out and got it done.

Now with the job market shifting toward a global economy that allows individuals and small businesses to tap into the marketplace, there are more opportunities than ever to take a leap into your own business.

My dream is to operate my own company (or companies) full time.  I enjoy reading about entrepreneurs.  I listen to podcasts from entrepreneurs who have been there and done that.  As I learn from these people, it builds up confidence that I can accomplish my goals.

The status quo is not an option for me and I am the type of person who goes against the grain in many areas of my life.  I want a better life for my family and COURAGE is what it takes to make that happen. 

Stay tuned as I step into new ventures, new activities, and new action areas that will produce better results than I've ever seen before.

Question:  What are some new things you've had the courage to do in the last year?

Publishing to Amazon

Lately, I've had a few people ask me about the process of publishing my book.  When I describe the process, the usual response is one of relief that it doesn't seem that hard to do. 

In this post, I want to outline the steps of publishing my book through Amazon. The steps are as follows:

1)  Create an account with Createspace.com

2)  Download the template that corresponds with the size of the book you want to publish.

3)  Write your content or copy and paste the text for your book onto the template and save the document in Word and PDF formats.

4)  Design a cover image using dimensions that can be calculated using a formula on the site that takes into account the number of pages in the book interior.  Save the image as a PDF file

5)  Add a New Title to your Createspace.com account and follow the simple Wizard to include information about the book and upload the interior and cover files.

6)  Submit Your Book files for Review.

7)  If everything is to your liking and the digital proof looks fine, you can order a proof copy.  Once it is shipped, if you like the proof copy, you can make your book available for sale through Createspace.com and Amazon.com.  If you need to make adjustments based on the proof, you can resubmit your interior and cover files with the changes and wait again for approval.

That's it in a nutshell.

Question:  ls there a book that you have been longing to write?  What is it about? 

 

Freedom Day 2012

Happy Independence Day to all of our fellow U.S. citizens.  On this day take a moment to reflect on what it means to have freedom. 

Our family thanks all of those who work to uphold our freedom each day.

Since we've been asked so many times to record the 50 States Song, we figured today was as good a day as any to make it happen. 

Take a look below and feel free to share with others.

What are some days you will be celebrating freedom today? Share in the comments area.

Announcement:  Creating a Household Tech Plan – Kindle Version

I've been asked several times whether my book was available in a Kindle version.  I spent some time looking into what it would take to make that happen, and I finally did it.

As of this morning, my book, Creating a Household Technology Plan is now available in Kindle edition for $3.99.

Buy your copy now by clicking here