Have a Plan! Change is about to happen!

The problem with the statement, ‘Change is about to happen,’ is that by the time we notice it’s arrival we can do very little to affect it. We have to ride the wave of change but only if we have not prepared for it.

Change has momentum and power. Change is not evil, good, or bad. The results of and our actions towards that change, however, can be.

Since the seasons change we can assume life changes. Where we work, how we work, live, play will also change.

Some change we see coming and some we do not. Change can bring fear and often does. Peace, however, is a great combatant against fear, but only if grounded in a great foundation of truth. Hope, that is real hope, breaks the fear of change. But it takes courage …and lots of it to endure that change- especially when it is something we had not seen coming or the road before us just go so foggy you can only see inches down your path.

If peace is the great combatant against change, How do you find peace? I gained peace by surrounding myself with certain internal as well as external guards. I completed my will. Then my estate plan, then finances were gotten in order… all the while I increased my attitude upward and began a deeper relationship with my heavenly father. It spiraled upward and became very well defined once I found a little book by Michael Hyatt.

Michael Hyatt has a wonder e-book on Life Planning that you should go check out. It’s FREE, and I love FREE! Also go review his site and Dan Miller’s site about Master Mind groups…

It’s so simple to gain peace in a changing world, we just have to take those actions we know we need to take. Now more than ever, is the time to gather stability that remains stable even when everything around you is falling, shifting, moving…

Question: Would you be any worst off if you made a plan and change never came? But change is coming… If you have gotten Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan book and filled it out I’d love to hear the effects it has had in the peace of your life- Please leave your comments below!  Thanks!! 

…and then, there was LJ

First Published 4/30/2013:

On the completion of the second year of an amazing journey!

To whom my heart belongs and trusts securely; Strength and Dignity are yours…

“…many women have done excellently, but you surpass then all.”

LJ: Your husband loves you greatly~

3/29/2015

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I was total happy being single.

I am total happy being married.

The amazing adventure, new leg of the journey…

LJ and I married on Good Friday… and Great Friday it was!

Back to the Basics…

In reading on the lives of millionaires, biographies of historical icons, and listening carefully to those who are far more wise than myself, there is one common message that rings true over and over again– ‘go back to the basics.’

Getting back to the basics may be translated differently in different environments. Terms like, keep your eye on the ball, watch the ball in, and soft touches are all terms that athletes hear day in and day out from coaches who understand the importance of ‘the basics.’

Off the pitch, the court, and the turf the terms are different. These are terms frequently overlooked and forgotten because they are hard to spot at times. At times these terms mean less revenue in the short term but render millions in the long term. They are tough to see right off because they are, when in their purest form, woven into our character. The fiber of our make up. Most who possess them and have honed them stand out from the crowd in one way or another.

In The Millionaire Mind, The author Thomas Stanley looks at hundreds, if not thousands of millionaires and successful business owners. The number one word that more successful people attribute to the backbone of their success is of the basic of basics: Integrity.

Webster’s defines the word as a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values:  incorruptibility; an unimpaired condition:  soundness; and the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

Integrity does not know your family any different than it knows your business dealings. Integrity does not know about your job any different than it knows about your wife or your husband. Integrity fails to see anything different than itself; Firm, Incorruptible; Sound; Complete.

So how does your integrity stand up? Is it time to return to the basics? What would happen if you did? Would it be worth a potential short-term loss for a long-term gain? If the answer is Yes, to any of these, you are a welcomed traveller in a new journey that will yield its fruits in due time. Take courage, this road is hard, but you have what it takes, because you got back to the basics.

It Might Take Some Time

If you have ever wanted something now, rather than later, you are not alone. Most of us have and honestly, I cannot name anyone who has not. Delaying gratification is hard, not fun, and frankly something we’d rather not do most of the time.

This conversation is more than an encouragement to not eat the extra piece of cake or read the last chapter first in a best-seller, which both could be seen as superficial. Rather this conversation is one we all wrestle with over the long-haul; weeks, months, or even years.

I have developed a practice of reading (rather listening) through the bible each year. I simply start at the introduction and finish in the maps. This morning, while still in the Old Testament, something struck me. It seems that each leader, Abraham & Moses for example, appointed successors long before their deaths. This practice was even seen with King David when he was anointed King long before (years and years before) he ever took the thrown.

This is what would happen, the priest would stand with the passing leader (or on behalf of God) in what seems like a semi-private affair, pray a blessing over the successor, offer sacrifice and…. that was it. No party, no celebration, nothing… except a long silent wait to ascend to position.

Joshua would not lead the Hebrews for months or even a year; King David was a boy when anointed and he, after his anointing, simply returned to the fields as a shepherd for the next near- decade.

Such is the story sometimes in our own lives; we have a dream or goal or passion and then we start down this road only to find it longer than we thought… and darker …and bleaker …and fearful.

Something of note that should brighten your path, and something that brightened mine was this: Moses was in preparation some 40 years before ever seeing the burning bush; Joshua was being prepared for his greatness by being the admin’ assistant to Moses for decades; and David was killing lions and bears long before his encounter with Goliath.

That silence you hear, that emptiness you feel, that is insurmountably huge, might be the preparation you need before you step into your own greatness…your calling. These just might be your prep-years. It was for Moses, for King David, and it definitely was for Abraham, who waited about 100 years for his prep-years to come to an end.

While I hope we don’t have to wait 100 years to step into our calling, waiting until the prep-years are over is critical to your success once those years are over. You would never skip out on practice in order that you might win a game, so don’t do that here. Do not harbor hatred or resentment in these years of preparation. Run the extra-mile, do the extra push-ups, read the additional book, take the other class, …say the additional prayer.

Be encouraged, even the calling on the life of Jesus as a man was only three years, but 30 of those, in human terms, were in preparation for an eternity. Those 30 years of prep-time changed the world. Why cannot this also be you?

Your calling might be huge and freakishly unorthodox, but if your fellow man or woman were at stake would you dare to try to accomplish it? If your family was at stake would you do it? If your why is bigger than your hurdles, then Yes, you would do this. But take heart and stand strong; enjoy and endure the prep-years, your calling coming, but it just might take some time.

Gratitude

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”

There is never a bad time to be grateful. Platforms should be used from time to time to render proper thanks and appreciation to those well deserving folks who practice such a fleeting trait as gratitude. As such, I wish to dedicate this post to two, of the many, who have blessed me with instruction, mentorship, friendship, & great honor.

LTC Thomas H. Carlisle Ret. (US ARMY): No manner of words could ever express the amount of gratitude I have for this man. Separated by time and distance, this man still stands as a bastion and pillar of what a Soldier, a Man, Father, Husband, Christian, Leader, Giver, and Teacher should strive to become. While in the throngs of service under this personal icon, I doubted myself countless times only to find this 6’6″ giant standing aloft whispering (and sometimes shouting) you can do it! roll with the punches… take the heat-round… serve your men well. I am glad to say, I did just that. His is a legacy that will never be forgotten. I am where I am today because of the leadership, mentorship, and prayers of this man.

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Staff Ride – Vicksburg, MS – LTC Carlisle, Center Front

Anthony DeKarski: I had the honor and privilege to work for him for two years. In this two years we were able to develop a roofing program that would be first in class. We established programs and units of measure that would be used in several other trades and industries. Under Anthony’s leadership and guidance the roofing program grew a list of solid companies that bought into our brand / model of business and both parties have become better for doing it.

But that is not who Anthony is.

Anthony DeKarski

Anthony DeKarski

Anthony is a quiet guy who does great things for others. He see things for what they can be and makes them that way. He is the linch-pin in which the door swings. With no promise of gain and with no expectation of returned favors, Anthony is an ultimate networker who loves to give; he is a servant leader who loves his family and his friends and the work he does. His belief in me has lead to no shortage of blessings for which even the term ‘gratitude’ might be found lacking.

The Vendor Base: Recent events demands an equal shout out…

Like most, I ware multiple hats in my life. Upon a recent event I found myself the recipient of many congratulatory phone calls and e-mails. Baffled at how the information in one area of my life leaked out to so many; I found the primary culprit–Anthony DeKarski.

With that, a special shout out to several folks who congratulated me for a recent accomplishment. Without some very key folks in the following companies, headaches would be bigger… a lot bigger, and the roofing program would not look as it does today. Please know you add value to yourselves, your companies, and to me. My roofing world is made better because you are in it! Many others should have knowledge and experience of your value and drink-deep the service there of. Thank you again for all you do!

Retail Construction and Signage, GAF, Batten & Companies, Rogers Electric, Simon Roofing, Baker Roofing, IRWPR, B & M Roofing, Dowell Roofing, Superior Structures, NRP, Brighter-Image, North American Roofing, Merit Roofing, SRA, StormBlok, DOC Maint, Lutz Roofing, Peck Brothers Roofing

Hurry Up and Wait!

Life simply moves too fast and too slow…at the same time!

13 January 2011 003

“Hurry Up and Wait” is a catch phase many of us first learned in the Military. It really did not matter if it was for chow or for a patrol, we would rush as if the world was ending and then wait as if it were a meditation exercise to actually watch grass grow!

Those with children, if honest, said under their breathe countless time, I wish you’d hurry and just grow up! I know I have!

But as of late I have slowed down to re-group.  There has been a great desire to set things in motion for the future. While completing and updating the wills, trusts, investment accounts, etc… I was reminded of the brevity of life. How fast time moves and how seemingly less I know. Now, Before I get too somber here, let me say that growing older with and in grace is the way to do it and most of us have many years ahead of us!

Time can be a great rewarder of excellence if we just let it! Time can yield a harvest of riches, but only if we plant the right seeds.

Seeds of peace, love, joy, trust, education…planted in the right season may take weeks, months, and sometimes, years to yield a harvest. The same is true with money, friendship, and legacy.

In my post C/T=R, I mention that Consistency over Time will always get Results. But the process demands action today and then requires you to wait for well after tomorrow.

You will not see any fruit of your labour if you rush in and out of investments, friendships, careers, or even hobbies.

Be prudent; that is, mix your wisdom with your experience and stay the course.

Take the risk and move!

But you have to hurry and wait!

I’d love to hear from you! 

When have you hurried and waited on something and it yielded something far greater than you could have imaged?

The USCIS… a Personal History

The United States Customs and Immigration Service  (USCIS) began in 1891 under the Department of the Treasury. Only a few short years later (1895) it moved in to the Bureau of Immigration; then in 1903 the Department of Labor; 1906 Naturalization Service…and the changes and confusion did not stop there.

ImageThey would change names and departments another four times prior to being called the Immigration Naturalization Service or INS in 1940.

World changes in 2001 created a new Service. In 2003 three departments were created under the Department of Homeland Security; USCIS was one of those three.

Prior to 2013, I had never had an overwhelming need to understand the inner workings of the department. I, of course, had personal views of immigration but never had to directly deal with immigration services.

During the courtship of my wife (Yes, it was a courtship. Dad’s teach your sons!) I did everything I could to learn about immigration from the USCIS website. I might as well have been learning Hebrew. This is anything but a user friendly site for Americans… much less for those who have not grown up in the US.

My wife has spent more than 200 hours in preparing documentation for a single 45 minute interview. But it gets better. The US History and Civics test is a requirement for the infamous Green Card and Citizenship authorization. Funny thing is, immigrants know more about US History and Civics than our school kids, college graduates, and professors in most universities. Don’t believe me? You take the test!!!

Where were you when you learned: the 18, 19, and 23 Amendment, how many seats are in the House? The Senate? How long terms are… and the big one; What are the THREE Branches of Government and what are their functions?

(I’ll pause for dramatic effect for that last question)

I have died at least four times while helping my wife fill out forms and read complex instructions on what to fill out and what not to fill out. There is nothing positive to say to the USCIS folks in the arena of forms nor the volume of information collected. My wife, though, is and should produce the scores of documents required. Albeit, it’s killing me!

Far too much information is collected from the US Citizen sponsor. “Proof of my Citizenship,” Really? No thanks, you get to take my word. I feel like a Roman being challenged in his home town by a sojourning peasant farmer from a far away land–a Gaul.

Look, from the beginning, immigrants are what America is about. Not illegal, but legal.

The facts are this on immigration :

  1. It’s confusing, complicated, and convoluted. It is hard and you (the sponsor) will HATE IT!
  2. It can be a good thing (or bad)
  3. You will fill out more forms than any other group of people on the planet
  4. If you do not know who represents you in congress AND have never written them, shame on you– go correct your ways… Most immigrants DO know this information and have written their future representative. You will be better for it!
  5. Love your awesome spouse in this process.  They are doing this for you.

starbucks-bw

 

A note on LJ:

My beloved wife reads, writes, and speaks, Afrikaans, Xshoa (spelling?), and English. She could brush up on her Dutch and master it again, very quickly. She is famous in her circle of influence. She has taught 1000’s kids; from the great grandson of Robert Louis Stevenson to the kids of senators and of well known rock stars. Trained and skilled on two continents as a certified Aux Pair; she is a tireless worker who loves Jesus, me, and the United States. She is clocking in her 2nd hour tonight pulling information together of our interview with the USCIS while I type away on this very long blog.

So, the next time you wonder about the Immigration topic, go read and learn about your own country… You’ll be glad you did…

LJ- You are a Rock Star and I am crazy about you!

Thanks for all the crazy hard work!

A Reading for Dad

My dad has over 2000 books right now in his house! He has read all of them and many more than one time. He has books from every genre; some prints from the 1890’s and others published this year. Books on astronomy to books on world zoos; Need a book on Wine, got it; Soviet Government or on the life of Napoleon, got it! What about a book on knots or survival methods of the British SAS; YES!

Hugh Howell III - Ham Radio Operator Meeting

Hugh Howell III – Ham Radio Operator Meeting

His favorites are the Stories of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson of the English Royal Navy— Naval Warfare on the Open Seas and Races of Sterling Moss.

Though the thought of selling books start to cause hives,  the used book auction he could have would make him tons off of first editions and whole collections, rare authors, classics, etc… I saw him sell 5 books for 5 Ben Franklins once. His collections seem to always be in motion; sellers buying, adding to, letting others borrow… it never really stops.

Today, if you walked in to the Howell House, you would find the Patriarch doing two things:

  1. Reading a book
  2. Watching soccer

Rarely looking up for anything else, and now days, giving both equal measure of time.

I might have heard the saying, “Leaders Read” at the age of eight; if that was really the case, then at age eight, I knew my father knew everything there was to know.

While this comes from the Atlanta History Center, the original of with the Family

Hugh Howell Sr. Atlanta History Center, Original of file (circa 1929)

My dad was born at the close of World War II. He is the grandson of the late Hugh H. Howell Sr. to whom Hugh Howell Road is named. I learned that my dad was an Army-Brat growing up; seems that watching French TV is great…if you know French… thus his love of reading.

He is, without a doubt, a Baby-Boomer. He and his bride are doing well spending the inheritance of his 3 kids, 5 grand kids (as he should be… well… maybe)  by traveling on cruises to the islands and buying expensive Porto and Caribbean Rum. And in a few short hours, Pops will celebrate his 67th birthday.

The well traveled and well read leader of this branch of the Howell Clan will be at home, enjoying a Sunday afternoon, at The Howell House.

We should all so lucky to have a dad who loves to read; whose name is so associated with ‘Books,’ ‘Books,’ and more, ‘BOOKS!’

Yes, Leaders do read… a lot!

…but no, his present is not another book!! (or a 21 year old Scottish beverage) (shhh!)

Question: What leadership attribute are you choosing to leave? 

The Exercise of Thank you

High Quality folks deserve high quality thanks.

Really, it’s that simple. 

It’s also not very important on how you do it… just do it. Have fun with telling someone THANKS! I promise you will get better… but don’t wait to tell your super-stud performer, “Thanks,” only when you think you have perfected its delivery.

The Exercise of Thank you

Telling someone ‘Thank you,’ when you feel awful is H-A-R-D! Got it! You are completely normal. But like anything new, this may hurt a bit. 

Practice this exercise (if you are in a CarPool while reading this, you are excused..for now):

  • Repeat out loud, “Thank You”
  • Recognized you might have actually felt better
  • Repeat it again, but this time, 25, 50 or 100 times
  • Then be bold enough to tell someone who may, or may not, have helped you – your wife, kids, parents…even your boss counts

We get good at what we practice. Read up on Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley, Bill Bowerman, Herb Brooks, Jose Mourinho…  These men got good and then they duplicated themselves.

Parents, you are coaches and your kids will duplicate you…

Team Leaders (boss’), your team will follow you… 

…and you just might feel the weights lift up a bit, and I think we all could benefit from that.

 Question: What would happen if you tried this exercise and it actually worked? How would this impact the way you do life?  Let me know if you do this exersise and the results you find! Comment below! …and THANKS!

So there I was…

Life happens here at the speed of Chaos. Percentages count like horse shoes and hand-grenades! Close counts. 

After a fun filled day at the office today I walked into the realm of ‘close does not count!’ There was fire after fire after fire. But peace draweth niegh as the day was done.

Thinking I had one small victory today to atone for my many errors, I was sorely mistaken. For my blog, read only by the best of the best-(thank you!), contained a mine-feild of misss-spelleded words…

Thus I write to say thank for the grace of Falling Forward and learning lesson from life!