Wednesday, December 29, 2010

GPS Watch, finally got one

I have wanted a GPS watch for a long time and finally purchased one with Christmas gift money. Check out this price on the Garmin 405! comes through again!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Personal service continues the story

Below is the coorespondence that I had with Dish Network. I am reminded as I do my work, that personal touch is vital. Not just in relationships, but in business as well.

Probably my biggest issue with Dish Network was my treatment. I am more than just a call on a switchboard or an annoying email. I am a customer, YOUR customer and I deserve to be treated as such. Without people like me you don't have a business.

However, Brian came through by answering my questions personally and offering his apologies for his company. That is huge. If Dish Network continues with this type of work with customers, then I think they have a long and prosperous future. I look forward to working with them again someday!

Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 12:50 PM
Subject: Follow up regarding Customer Service

Charlie and Company,

I have been a Dish Network customer since 1/02. We have paid on time and been a reliable customer for the service we received.

A few weeks ago, I began thinking about lowering our monthly bills. I could cut service, but did not want to do that, so I began looking at offers from Dish Network and even considered jumping to Directv. My preference was to stay with your company.

I wrote an email to customer service about offers for existing customers. I had hoped that I would be dealt with Personally, but clearly it was "copy and paste" response in the reply email. The link they sent did not work.

I submitted this to you via the "Charlie Chat" website. I also replied to the customer service representative.

In addition, I posted on Facebook, twitter (including @Dishnetwork) in my tweet and blogged about my issues. These three were all attempts to see if Dish Network is paying attention to customers. No reply on any of these channels.

After 3 weeks, we decided to drop Dish Network because of the poor service.

Perhaps I have been labeled a "bad customer" or something, but the follow-up call to get me back was bad. The caller sounded mad at me.

Your company wants the equipment back, Okay, but then I get an email stating that I will be charged $15/box to send back the DVR & LNB. Plus two additional emails and a phone call stating that I will be charged for the equipment if I don't get it back.

I am speechless. I have never been treated in such a hostile way! In my work I oversee Sales, Marketing and Fund Raising for a non-profit church camp, so I know customer service. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I would hope that Dish Network would try to do a better job in taking care of customers.

In my opinion, this could have gone a completely different way. Dish Network had a chance to keep my business with a more dignified approach and even turn me into a huge fan helping to promote Dish Network.

I am not looking for anything other than an opportunity to tell you my story so that others might not have this experience. I would be happy to write or speak to you over any of these issues if that would be helpful.

twitter id: coyneop

Acct #:

Here is Dish Network's response:
Good morning,

Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns and frustrations with your attempt to stay with us here at DISH Network.
Let me start with thanking you for all of the years that you were with us; I truly wish I had been involved with your attempts to stay here.

In just the past 2 weeks we have started a new team that is trying to keep up with internet chatter, tweets, blogs…etc…..Hopefully we will see a dramatic improvement in response to these forms of communication.

The phone calls regarding return of equipment are in no way singling you out from any other customer, when a customer disconnects service our system gives them 30 days to return equipment. If it is not received by then the value of this equipment is charged to their account and most of the time it is debited from the credit/debit card used to originally secure the account.
The calls are intended to assist with making sure this equipment is returned not overlooked and then creating a much more unpleasant experience.

The $15.00 return label fee is a new initiative from this year, disconnecting customer are supplied with a prepaid label to return equipment, if they use it $15.00 is charged to the end balance of their closed account.
I am going to issue a credit to cover this charge for you, if you don’t mind letting me know when you have dropped off the receiver at UPS I can watch and make sure it is removed from the account.

Last, you currently have a credit balance on your account of $26.13, I am issuing a refund for that right now, and you should see this in the next 2-3 business days.

Again thank you for all of the business, you guys were fantastic customers, I just wish we had reacted better to your attempts to stay.

Please keep my information, let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.


Brian Martinez
Executive Communications
Dish Network L.L.C.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here is how Dish Network finished our relationship

After 9 years of paying on time and seeing the best programs go to new customers, here is what happened at the end.

Objective 1: I wanted to lower our bill and not loose programming if possible.
Objective 2: Keep the relationship with DishNetwork
Objective 3: Perhaps upgrade to Hi Def TV in the process

I wrote in to Dish Network an email asking these questions. Instead of treating me like a customer, I was treated like a "number" and was given a link to see if we qualify for any discounts. THE LINK WAS WRONG.

I then sent that information to Charlie (CEO of DishNetwork) and heard nothing for 3 weeks.

I then contacted Directv and made other arrangements which covered our objectives except #2. When I wrote in to cancel Dish Network, it was really nothing to them to loose me. They did not act like it mattered. Even the follow-up phone call a few days later indicated the same.

Lastly, I received an email saying that I have to return the equipment AND I HAVE TO PAY FOR IT'S RETURN! Wow...I cannot think of poorer customer service. We spent of $5,000 in the last 9 years and your company can't pay for the return of your equipment.

It's a wonder that you can stay in business. I do customer service as part of my work. I would loose my job if I did what you did! Hope you read this, which you probably don't. I even posted on Twitter and Facebook to see if you have anyone looking. Probably not since on one commented.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to treat people well!

I was in Starbucks in Tucson on Tuesday morning. One of the ladies working there was busy making drinks and talking with people. It was fun to watch as she called those that she knew by name. She would ask a question that was more than small talk. "How is your son?" for example, and she was asked about how she was doing (pregnant) by another lady.

I sat in the corner drinking coffee and checking email while this lady conducted a church service right there. She was listening, engaging people, laughing with them and talking about real issues. It was a great reminder to me!

If we REALLY CARE about people, then an outsider (like myself) can see it unfold! If the Church REALLY CARES about people, then outsiders will love to watch and become involved because in that place, you are really important. Your story, your life and the things you value are heard and responded to!

I recommit to treat people like the Starbucks lady, how about you?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How do you treat a long time customer?

I have been thinking about changing our television provider. Currently we use Dish Network and it has been a good experience. We have been good customers since January 2002.

My story begins with me desiring to lower our monthly bills. I could cut programming, cut TV outright or shop for other providers. I thought about it all.

Directv would save us just under $450 over the next 2 years, and they would upgrade me to HD. If I was paying for Dish Network with HD it would save me $696 over the next 2 years. Before I jump ship to another provider or cut our programming down, I thought it would be best to allow Dish Network to make an offer to keep my business.

Seems sad that loyalty is not valued by pricing. If you don't belong to the "club" then you are not valued financially. What do you think they will do?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The real problem behind our economy

I subscribe to Money magazine and in the most recent issue is an article that I want to recommend.

What I like is that the article is how simple Raghuram Rajan lays out his thoughts regarding Income Inequality. As a blogger who desires to gather lessons from life and communicate them, here is a great example.

We often treat the "symptoms" rather than the "disease". Perhaps it's time that we Americans evaluate what is important, how we want to get there and take a long term view of our future success and/or failure. One this is very clear, it's time to make some decisions, no matter how difficult they may be!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who you are vs. What you do

Listening on Kilmeade and Friends this morning I heard part of an interview. The man being interviewed was asked about body scanners, pat-down searches and screening. His statement was very profound, basically he said, "America searches for what people carry, other countries search for WHO PEOPLE ARE".

Yes, it's called profiling, but if we don't pay attention to the tendencies of people then we will always be "reacting" after an incident. I find it odd to object to this type of planning, forethought or profiling if you will. It does not mean that someone is guilty, it just raises flags to say, "we should inquire more".

I remember flying one-way from Fresno to Phoenix years ago. I was given extract scrutiny. Was that offensive? NO. I hope that we are smart enough to have markers that help determine, not if someone is carrying something, but do they desire to harm the USA or American people.

Is it offensive to acknowledge that 30% of those who have been sexually abused will  abuse other people? I hope it's not offensive, but as a camp director, I have to know these tendencies as we hire staff to work with kids. Knowing this information helps ask appropriate questions.

The greatest issue is "Who are these people?". If I know WHO YOU ARE, I can better determine what you are capable of doing. Fail to understand this and you will be cleaning up devasted lives and much more!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Verbal traditions

I have a friend who is a flight instructor (Tye). He has recently returned to a former job teaching young people to fly. Currently he is going through the re-certification process with a concept called "Check Ride". Basically a pilot with greater certification watches you operate the aircraft and "Checks" that you can do it correctly.

This reminds of the the verbal tradition of stories. I was discussing with Jordan his birth as we drove by the Hospital where he was born. I was telling him about how special he was and how we felt that day. I want to make sure my kids, my wife and friends know the stories and can retell them for the future.

This is the way that Jesus set up the Gospel to spread and the way that we can more intimately share life with those around us. Consider a "check ride" for you stories of family and life. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Teaching a wise man

I was recently reading in the book of Proverbs. In fact it was Proverbs 9 and it spoke about instructing people. Check this out...
 7 Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
   whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
   rebuke the wise and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
   teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

I hope that I am "wise" and can be taught in ways that add to my learning. I hope that I am not a "mocker" and blow off what is communicated to me. I have wondered about the issues of life that I go through and I am trying to grab what I can from each of them.

I pray that you can learn to embrace the lessons as a wise person does...add to your learning.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's next for the American people?

Election day has come and gone! In some ways, it's a relief because of all the ads, commercials and phone calls end!

Republican politicians were voted into the House, Senate and State governments in record numbers. It must feel like the gains the Democrats made just a few years ago when they took control of the House and Senate, plus the Presidency. However, these individuals CANNOT HELP US. We, as Americans, must help ourselves.

If you are Liberal or Conservative in your political thinking, BEHAVE LIKE A CONSERVATIVE. Save your money, pay down debts, live as inexpensively as possible. Be responsible for yourself and your family. Work hard!

These actions will help stabilize our communities, regardless of what politicians do. If they do not act in your best interest, vote them out, but we must do our part. Join me!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Always learning

I don't read as much as I should. I do enjoy Television. Mostly, I am a participant in LIFE. That's where I learn. Then I process what I am thinking or observing with wise people in my life. What do they think. How would they react in times like these.

It's not really "group think" or that I cannot make up my own mind, I am just reminded that God has placed lots of other experienced or smart people in my life and I should ask them for help!

So, as Proverbs says over and over, "Get wisdom" and I am finding that in lots of places around me. Always keep learning and growing!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is desire enough?

This picture was taken at the end of summer. We end our summer with a shaving cream fight with the kids.

Since I was covered with shaving cream I decided to create some art! This is the closest that I will come to a "six pack". Funny!

While I was having fun, it makes me wonder if desiring something is enough? If I want something, the beginning might be a dream or a desire for that, but it can't stop there.

In America today, I see way too many people content with wanting something, perhaps hoping that it will magically appear, rather than work for it! For me, I often think of being a doughnut salesman. To make money, reach your goals or whatever selling doughnuts, you take a long-term approach. You make only a few cents on each doughnut, so persistence is the key to success!

I will likely never have "six-pack abs", but I do know that sticking with something over a long period of time does pay off. Start with Desire, but put some action and a plan with it!!! You won't be disappointed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Who are you like?

Ok, I wake up freakishly early at times! I admit it. My mind can just take off and early in the day is better for me to be creative and get things done.

Now, I don't recall my Grandma being an early riser, but I would guess she was. What I do recall is her "motor". Her capacity to work hard and fast was a huge part of her identity. She passed that on to my mom and apparently on to me. My wife calls me D.E. (Damn Efficient) at times because of the pace of my work. I can frustrate her by putting things away that she was not finished with, etc!

Anyway, the point is...Who are you like? Where did you get your traits, training, habits and more? I am not defending being an early bird, but I honor my mom and grandma by continuing this way. Honor those in your life as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's the purpose for what God has given us?

At church this weekend we celebrated a time of worship. Not the music only, but the whole theme was WORSHIP. The band was a 3 piece and the put up a stage in the center of the room. All seats faced the middle and there were diagonal aisles running from the back to each corner of the stage.

Instead of the pastor speaking for a chunk of time, they used Elders from the body to cover different aspects of what it means to worship and after each we would sing more songs. It was a great time!

Eric Nelson asked the question that I put in the title. "What's the purpose for what God has given us?" Great question! It's the kind of thing that stops me in my tracks. It may mean nothing to you today, but I know that this is a fundamental question that we should be asking!

Why do I have the things I have? Why do I get to live with Lori (my wife)? Why do I get to be the father of 3 great (not perfect) kids? Why do I live in America? Why do I get to be rich when compared to the World? What does God want me to do with all He has given to me?

Answer these types of questions to ensure you are on the right path, or you may find a new path unfolding as you consider all that you have been entrusted. Even that bad stuff is good when we trust God.

Eric told of a friend who had cancer that killed him 2 years later. At his diagnosis he said, "this is the biggest thing God has ever entrusted to me". Wow. I am speechless about his understanding. What's the purpose for what God has given to YOU? Enjoy the thoughts, I hope they help you today!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Living at what level

Last week in a home Bible study we were discussing elements of our faith. Kip was speaking about the level that Americans live at. He was saying that the "bottom" of the standard of living keeps moving up! I can see that clearly. Working at a church camp, I do not make a huge salary, but we are well taken care of! We have lots of great stuff, go on great vacations and our kids really don't need anything, and many of our wants are satisfied.

However, during an economic time like we are living in today, many people, including myself don't want to go "down" the economic ladder. Some don't have a choice, but Americans seem to feel like "we have arrived" at this level and should never go below it again. UNREALISTIC!

Perhaps, it's times like these that keep us focused on the important things and it's not a great vehicle or nice home. It's family, friendships and God!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finishing a promise

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is my local representative in the US Congress. Having not met her I cannot comment on the type of woman she is. I have some friends down the street who enjoy her and the work she has done.

I have heard some of her ads on the radio and her list of accomplishments are good, however I will not be voting for her in November! REASON: health-care.

Our health-care system needed work, but this bill was so bad that I vowed to vote against anyone who supported it. Trying to be a man of my word, I will not be supporting Ann Kirkpatrick this fall.

Have you made promises like this? Perhaps you judge my promise as shallow, that's okay! I have one vote to cast and I am going to vote in the future, remembering that I was frustrated then and made this commitment to myself. While I don't have the same anger/frustration now, I made a promise then and I am going to finish what I started.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hold on loosely

This phrase is not only lyrics from song, but it's a great way to live. Sometimes, we desire to direct EVERYTHING in our life = frustration! Perhaps we should relax our grip on life.

Sometimes, family issues are overwhelming and we just want to get out...but we are still related. So, you go back to the beginning, "I love them" and try again! You can't make anyone, especially family, do anything! You just have to work WITH them.

Work can be affected! None of us control the economy or how people react. We cannot guarantee our own jobs! So, we hold on loosely and do our part.

For me, I hold on tight to Jesus Christ, because He is one of those for me that is an anchor! I can hold tightly to Him and hold on loosely to everything else.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Time with old friends

For the past 3 days, we have hosted the Poore's. They are old friends from our time in St. Peters, MO. Greg has been serving on staff at a great church in League City, TX.

Here is what I noticed about them! Time changes things and then again it doesn't. The Poore's have all their kids out of the home and they are on to a new phase of life - CHANGE! Then again, time with Greg and Kay is just like it was 10 years ago when we lived near each other- SAME.

I guess the point is that although we grow and change that if we allow ourselves to remain consistent, then we can continue where we left off! Lori and I are in different places in our parenting as well, but we are still the same people.

What about you? Are you growing and changing AND staying the same? Take a few minutes to analyze where you are and make adjustments if you don't like where you are going!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Owning your stuff

Spring 2010, the Coyne family bought a 2 night vacation near Sedona, complete with timeshare presentation. We completed our stay and presentation, but did not buy anything.

Package Details:
Your Highland Resorts Vacation Package Includes: 3 days 2 nights at Verde Ridge Resort in a 1-bedroom condo or studio, 3/2 w/ airfare to Vegas/Orlando, $300 Grocery rebates.

At the end we did not receive the highlighted items above! I called a few times and tried to speak with the owner of the company, but they were unwilling to provide what they promised. So, I use this as a reminder to DO WHAT YOU SAY, and SAY WHAT YOU DO!

Also, don't do business with Vacations Unlimited or Vacation Station. They will not honor their commitments.

Vacations Unlimited LLC.
5555 Irish Lane
Fitchburg, WI 53711


Monday, August 30, 2010

Priorities explored.

My son was watching "Whale Wars" yesterday. I don't he had ever seen it and I certainly have not until then. We watched about 20 minutes of the show. Later I was thinking about a show, a crew of people, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to stop people from killing whales. Hummmm????

A few years ago our camp tried to purchase private land in AZ to develop a new camp. We were denied because of the proximity of the Mexican Spotted Owl. Hummmmm???

There are times that it seems like animals are more valued that people! While animals cannot speak up for themselves, neither can unborn children, or children starving in other parts of the world. Hummm????

Perhaps it's time to reevaluate our priorities? What is truly important? What is truly worth giving your life for? As always, it's your decision, I just hope you choose wisely.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hilarious sign on the side of the road!

I had just finished coffee with Jim from work. We were driving back to camp and noticed this sign. Actually, it "screamed" for our attention. We were dying laughing so I quickly turned around and took this picture.

You know that we teach our children to practice some discretion. Well, this is the definition of the opposite of being discrete! In context, this sign sits at the entrance to the rodeo grounds in Prescott. This whole thing screams irony to me!!!! Anyway, this may be a reality for all men but I had to find the humor in it. After all, it's going to be a pain in the A#*, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vouch for you

On Tuesday afternoon I met two youth pastors for lunch down in Goodyear, AZ. Steve Graham has been attending camp for years and he is a huge supporter. I met the other youth pastor (Jeremiah) for the first time at the meeting. While we were looking around their church campus, we walked into an office and there was Sean Smith!

I have known Sean since he was a high school student and in recent years he was a youth pastor who brought kids to UCYC. Here is the point. Jeremiah was considering what to do for summer camp in 2011 and Sean spoke on behalf of the camp! Thanks Sean.

While the concept is not new, vouching for someone or something you know illustrates a powerful point. People listen to other people. I suppose one of the best endorsements of YOU, would be from another person!

I challenge you today to speak on behalf of those you care about, the things you believe in and become more vocal about your thoughts! Vouch for the things that are important.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moving forward

I attended the Global Leadership Summit last week. One part of Bill Hybels opening talk that sticks out in my mind was that "leaders move people from "here" to "there". He went on to explain that leaders cast vision about "there" and how good it will be when we arrive "there". Then, reality sets in!

You begin to receive email that your team doesn't want to go "there", because "we like here". Sound familiar? It should. Moving people, whether your family, co-workers, friends of other relationships is never easy! You can paint a great picture about how much better this new place is, but you will miss a step unless you address "here".

Wisely, Hybels reminds leaders to openly discuss how staying "here" is bad. It might be the death of our organization to remain "here", so we must go "there". Step 1 is to make sure everyone understands why leaving is essential, it's not only about going TO some new destination, but we are leaving FROM this place that no longer serves us as it should.

Good luck moving people. Thanks Bill Hybels for the reminder

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A huge change in our son from allergies

Jordan is 5 years old. He has suffered from allergies his whole life. Recently we heard about a Doctor in Phoenix treating people for allergies so we thought we would check it out.

The doctor diagnosed the items that Jordan was reacting to and corrected the problem. I will not attempt to explain to you how or why it works, I can just tell you that it does. Here are the top few things that we have seen different in our child.

1. His skin is clear. His legs would normally be dry and itchy, especially in the bath...all gone!
2. His stomach does not bloat or feel bad any longer.
3. He has been trying new foods and his overall behavior has been better.

What's that worth? To us it's worth every penny we have spent so far. This Doctor can help and if you mention my name I will receive referral will you when you refer people to him as well. Try it out, what have you got to loose except bad health!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Seeing something new in something old

I went on a mountain bike ride this morning. It was overcast and I was riding alone. I put on some music and started up the hill. Just before I reach the top there is a great view of Granite Mountain. I have seen it hundreds of times from this location and it's always amazing.

This morning however, it had begun to rain and the clouds were hanging lower than normal. I was equal to the clouds riding in the rain and Granite Mtn. Well, it was shrouded in dense fog and was the most beautiful way I have seen it. Funny how we can see something many times and if we look again, we can discover something new to appreciate.

Perhaps that's why the Bible seems to unfold before our eyes, at times, like we have never read it before. Perhaps it's why your spouse is some amazing and complex that you continue to discover how amazing they are as well.

My suggestion? Keep looking, you may find some NEW inside something OLD.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Always teaching

This is a snapshot of Austin learning to skimboard. If you are unfamiliar it's a very thin board that you throw on the sand just as a wave is receding or building and jump on and ride it.

Some people call it a "toe jammer", because...well, you jam your toes.

He had been working on this and I walked out and told him WHEN to throw it...success.

He had the equipment and the ability, he just needed a little more information to be successful. How many of us are in the same place? We can do something and experience success, but we need just a little help. Join me today and help someone really excel by giving them some help.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Changing and growing

It's normal for us to grow. We expect our children to grow up, we ourselves continue to grow in experience and relationships. There is constant movement.

One of my favorite things about working at UCYC is the life-change that continues as part of our story along with many churches. This camp is 86 acres in Prescott, AZ dedicated to serving churches and other ministries, but without children and students, it's just a piece of land. However, when churches attend with their kids, and we plan our part of the program to teach student about Jesus...Life-Change occurs.

So far this summer, God has changed the following lives, 350 kids have accepted Christ and another 605 have made recommitments to continue to follow God. These are just the ones we know of but there is more.

What has changed in you lately? Are you growing in ways that make you better? Are you moving backwards? Hope you are making good progress in life.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The men and their motorcycles

During my recent trip to Colorado, I had lots of time to think. It occurred to me that the bikes we like match much of our personality as men.

Dan: rides a 1300 sport touring bike. It's fast (very fast) and sporty, like Dan. He moves at a great pace in everything.

Terry: rides a 1800 Goldwing. It's dependable, has some quickness and overall speed. Take care of this bike and it will keep rolling for years...just like Terry. Sometimes I forget he is 68+ years old.

Matt: rides a 1700 Yamaha Warrior. It is SO LOUD and fast. It was described as a "drag bike" at the motorcycle dealership. Like Matt, it's loud and it's a blast. It's purpose in life is evident...go very fast and have fun! Sounds like Matt how works very hard and plays even harder.

Me: I rode a 1100 Honda Shadow. It's a true cruiser. I could roll easily at 80 down the interstate or relax the winding roads in CO. Like me, it just cruises through life.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where we come from

Over the past 5 days I rode a 1998 Honda Shadow 1100 across Arizona, Utah and Colorado. There were four of us on the trip and we covered more than 1,350 miles. Spending that much time with anyone will grow your friendship. Over the next entries I will related some of my thoughts and lessons learned as we rode for hours across amazing country in all kinds of weather.

My first lesson came late in the trip. Saturday evening we were at dinner at Carver's Brewery in Durango talking about our lives. Matt Kinsley leans over and says, "Davey boy, our lives starting out are so opposite." His point was to talk about how wild and crazy some of his early years were and how plain my life was.

You know, each of us start out in different places. The beginning is not important. How you end up is what matters. Are you going to stay in the places where you begin? I am not talking about physically where you live. I am talking about the choices you make in how you live, speak, treat others, have family, make commitments, become a better person, participate in our society, train your children well and so many other things.

We laughed on the trip because we all had near death experiences and yet here we are. Perhaps we should acknowledge that God has saved us for something better. As for me, I choose to try and learn from my past and others. I will try to honor my wife, kids, parents and the God I follow. My goal is to finish this one and only life well. Good luck with your life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Believing the "lie"

Sometimes we get anxious. Sometimes we get hurt, nervous or frustrated. These are all normal parts of the human experience. In fact, they carry the label of being a bad thing, but most often they result in good things IF we learn to work through them correctly.

My friend said a long time ago that when he feels some of these emotions coming on that he asks himself, "what is the lie that I am believing?" This simple but powerful mental exercise helps ground him and remind him that things may not be as he perceives them.

Example: Anxiety comes as he prepares for a trip. Will he ride in the front seat? Will he get along those on the trip? What if...??? So, he methodically answers the questions with the above question in mind. Front seat? hummm? What is better or worse about the front seat? Is there a lie hidden in my thinking? When you spot the lie it eases the anxiety.

We are held prisoners to our thinking. What is we thought differently? Hope this helps you begin to look through what is going on.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Punishment or not?

Memphis schools are considering a return to "spanking" as a form of punishment after 5 years away from the practice. Of course this is a hot topic and people can get very animated about this discussion.

My biggest question in this debate (regardless of which side you take) is; "where is the guidance"?

My children have been disciplined in many ways over the years by my wife and I and the basis is "guidance". We want our kids to operate inside certain boundaries and we guide that process by rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior.

In some ways, this mirrors the frustration at the border. If I cross into Mexico illegally, I will be put in jail for 2 years. Sneak into America and it's a misdemeanor with little teeth.

Bottom line: you can guide people, especially children with punishment. You can guide adults the same way with laws and punishment for violators. However, when those doing wrong have nothing to fear, our society is headed down a bad road. When people from other countries can sneak in with little if any consquence then again we are moving in a bad direction.

I believe and practice that discipline is good...very good. It is a reality in life and should be practiced by parents, schools, cities and countries.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I am a teacher

It's not new. I have known for a long time that I enjoy "teaching" or passing on information. My wife has endured over the years as I explain what makes something work or a new understanding that I have found.

With my kids, I love to answer their questions and figure out how to use kid language to help them understand something. So, I AM A TEACHER. So, as I continue to grow up, I am a salesman, teacher, pastor and big kid.

Hey, perhaps by the end of my life I will figure out a few more things about myself. I hope you are having fun learning about yourself as well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Everyone does it

A few days ago I was speaking with our camps internet hosting company. My intent was to get some pricing on changing plans, but it went a little farther, okay, a lot farther. I ended up changing service and that change took down two websites (essential to our ministry and during our busiest time) and our email service.

I was very angry at myself. There was about 24 hours of tension, but the websites are back up and running again and we have a temporary email solution until we can address the other issues.

Okay, so here is the point. Sometimes we make huge mistakes and it affects people. Sometimes, we make mistakes and because the impact is limited we think it's not that big of a deal. Trust me, it's a big deal ALWAYS.

This accident was a great reminder of the power of being humble. I had nothing to hide and when I explained it to the staff, they responded with understanding. Here I am a grown man appologizing to our College summer staff that I goofed up a few things and I am sorry.

It wasn't hard to be humble because we all make mistakes. How we deal with mistakes is where the differences begin to emerge. How are you dealing with mistakes? Could you do better? How is your pride when you face a mistake you have made?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being lifted up

I had this cool picture of getting lifted up yesterday. Jordan (5 years old) and I were hiking a trail at camp. He is wearing flip flops and I have running shoes. It's a hot afternoon walk on this trail with boulders and loose gravel.

We made it up to the top and were heading back down. We were talking and looking at lizards and listening to birds. It was great. We come to a short uphill section with step stones on the left and the smooth rock face on the right. Jordan chose the rock face and I thought he would slip...he did.

Anticipating his problem I moved closer and reached out from just as his feet gave way. I was able to place my hand under his arm and keep him moving. It was nothing big, except that it saved a scraped knee or greater injury.

It made me think how many times has God caught me. I did not think of it as much, but it likely saved me from LOTS OF PAIN. Thank you God for having my good in your mind and protecting me. Jordan said thanks and the hike continued, but I wanted to capture that moment for you.

Hope it helps with your day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Honored for being a Dad

Yesterday was Father's Day. Let me just wish all the dad's a "Happy Father's Day", and for the first time in a long time, I actually saw some ads praising dads. You know, it's rare in our culture for fathers to be praised. They are normally made into idiots on TV & movies. Well, as a dad, I am not always an idiot. I take my role seriously and work hard to provide a home for my family, plus I invest in my wife and kids relationally and practically through training, etc.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about how my kids honored me. They planned with mom about how to "love me" in my own language, so they each gave me coupons for service. I default to serving as a way to show love and they met my love language with acts of service for me! Thanks kids for loving your dad. Without you, I would just be husband to Lori. Thanks for making my life more complete!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Leadership, good and bad

"Leadership means getting things done", was a comment I heard this morning on the news. Erica Payne made the statement in an interview. She was being asked by the host about "ramming health care legislation through" and responded with the quote above. Hummm?

So Erica, leadership, by your definition, sounds like a dictator or a tyrant. The majority of America was against the proposed health care legislation, so passing it anyway is LEADERSHIP. I don't think so. While people throughout history have lead this way, I would prefer leaders who listen, understand and take all that information and make difficult decisions.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Passing on the Faith

Last night I watched a friend baptize his son in their hot tub. It was an amazing site. I got to read a few verses and pray for the family and Isaiah as he takes this next step in his relationship with Christ.

What caught my attention most was the influence of family and faith! First you have mom and dad who have been teaching and training their children about Jesus Christ. For this event, the mother's parents were there as well, so it was 3 generations of faith celebrating. Add into the mix the children,s pastor and people like us as friends and you see the whole picture of family and faith unfold!

Thanks Andre & Krista for asking me to be part of this celebration! Keep it up, you have 3 more kids to go!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Simple thoughts to fix the economy

To fix the economy is difficult. Duh! To encourage people to participate in fixing the economy is not so difficult.

Seems like there are two extremes. 1) Create more federal workers or 2) help private business to create more private sector jobs. I firmly believe that #2 is the better way to go. If you want businesses to create jobs then you have to pave the way for them. You have to soften some restrictions, provide benefits because they are taking risk and hiring people. Sadly the culture of business is the opposite. I have friends who own private businesses and do very well. Their reality is "work your butt off to pay more taxes that go to people who sit home and do nothing". Sounds stupid to me. Why try???

Perhaps we should all remind Congress and the White House that people "vote with their money". If you tax them more, they will find ways to get around the taxes if possible. If keeping money in America is too expensive, it will go "offshore". If the government is willing to extend unemployment indefinitely, then were is the need to look for work?

Let's have some leadership that helps people take responsibility for themselves and provides support to that end!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Developing Faith

Saturday night I went to Heights Church. Austin went into the main service with me and after the music, he was dismissed attend the Middle/High School class. When the service was over, Austin began talking about his experience. Last week he attended and was bored and did not get "it". This week was very different. Austin began to talk about the discussion.

The students were discussing if they ever doubt their faith. As Austin began to process the questions, he publicly asked, "How can God be everywhere at once? How can He be in all of us at the same time?" That question was music to my ears.

I don't have an answer, because God's ways are way beyond my understanding. As a parent I could not be more thrilled that Austin is beginning to grasp his own faith. He has moved from an elementary understanding to a faith of a young man actually trying to follow Christ. Keep it up Buddy!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ticked about money

In America today it seems like individuals who manage themselves and their finances well are penalized. If you don't have debt, then you are missing out because the banks will forgive your debt. If you have worked hard and saved, managed to live within your own means, you will now be paying more in taxes.

I know you cannot control all aspects of your employment, but we need to practice some discipline as individuals and as a Nation. Here is the most basic message I can muster: CONTROL YOUR SPENDING.

That's it! Personally and Nationally, we cannot always create more income, so CONTROL YOUR SPENDING. Hey Congress and the White House, did you hear that? I hope we are all getting the message. As a Nation we need to get this figured out before it's too late!

Friday, June 11, 2010

High Standards for God's people

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14

While God's Word is clear at times, we add context or understanding as we make application to modern life. Our intent is to take what was written in ancient times and apply it to our lives today. We try to conform OURSELVES to HIS WORD, not the other way around. In that effort, we come across passages such as this one. No explanation needed...Just a high call to live in a way that goes against our nature at times.

My prayer is that WE would live like this and the world would notice the Love of God IN US!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We have gotten lazy

Over the past few weeks, it seems like our youngest (5 years old) child has become a real bear to deal with. He whines about most things, he doesn't eat like we want, he isn't kind to his friends, etc. You know where I am going.

Jordan is a great kid! We are crazy about him, but truthfully, I have been lazy as his dad! So, mom and I are going back to the beginning! #1, we are praying for his heart and attitude. #2, we are working on obedience and verbal response like, "yes dad" when asked to do something. #3, we are working on how he treats others, specifically looking at their interests FIRST.

I will keep you posted, but it has already begun to make him happier and me too! Sometimes a "do over" is just the ticket! Do you need a "do over" today?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The power of the stars

The other night (Saturday) we had lost power for the day (7am - 11pm). The power loss is not that important but the day finished with a hot house and no lights. We brought some cushions out of the trailer and laid them on the porch in the cool evening.

We just laid there on the front porch and looked at the stars. You know, the loss of power was not fun, but I would not have changed that time for anything. All five of us were on the porch...priceless. If you have a chance to unplug and look at the stars with those you love as well.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Running for office

I heard a radio interview yesterday with Ben Quayle (Son of Dan Quayle). He is running for office in the State of Arizona. He was being asked about how "idealistic" Freshman members of Congress are before they arrive in Washington, but then they change because of all the pressure. Wisely, he began to talk about having "core values" that don't change regardless of pressure. He also spoke about leaders who are not afraid to do what is right instead of preserving their job.

I could get behind candidates who put others above themselves. The reality is that the issues in a divided nation are complex and not quickly solved. I don't care how difficult the issues are, they must be addressed and the best way to handle them is through a deep resolve to care for the country first and standing on the principles you believe in. Good luck Ben and many others. Your work is admirable!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Help us connect the dots

I serve on the staff of United Christian Youth Camp. It's a camp in Prescott AZ that began in 1952. Over the years we have probably seen over half-million students and adults come to camp here.

It's hard to imagine the impact of so many people who have had their faith encouraged as a result of God doing something in them while they were here!

I have recently become involved in the Fund Raising efforts at UCYC and was shocked to find out that the camp has ONLY 13 MONTHLY DONORS. That's right...13 people contribute monthly to this amazing ministry. I can't figure out why so few donate. I can't make the dots connect between hundreds of thousands of people attending and so few supporting.

Perhaps we have not asked correctly? Well let me ask again..."Would you consider giving monthly or annually to support this ministry?" Would you consider telling your friends who might have UCYC experiences as well?

You can sign up and donate online. You can set-up automatic gifting with a credit card, etc. My hope is to increase our donor pool to 100 people giving monthly this year. You can be on the ground floor of helping UCYC continue to reach the next generation of young people.

Friday, May 28, 2010

AZ immigration law really works.

I have been frustrated by the accusations of wrongdoing or profiling. Look at the actual results of a law like Arizona's since 2007 in Virginia. Read this short article and make up your mind. Favorite part in the article is..."In 2008, the University of Virginia conducted a survey to see what effects, if any, the Prince William County law had. It concluded initial fears about racial profiling did not happen."

Also, if you have not read SB 1070, here it is. Unlike the 2,500 page health-care piece of crap, this bill is 17 pages.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beginnings and endings

Life has this way of continuing. Have you noticed that we can't do much about it? Last night was the final Tee ball game for Jordan and Maddie went through 8th grade promotion. Today Austin receives and award at school during his last day in elementary school.

The kids are doing great and can't wait for summer break. All three finish their current school and begin a new phase in August. I suppose the end of one thing is the beginning of another most of the time.

When you are moving into something new. Ask this question. What do I want the end to be like? Get the answer squarely in your head and take steps today to begin to see that idea become reality! Have fun!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Way to Escondido

California and Arizona are at odds! More California cities are trying to "boycott" businesses in Arizona in an attempt to punish US, the residents who live in this great state. Escondido, CA is supporting Arizona because they are using their brains.

I could get mad about this issue because Arizona is actually trying to enforce the federal law. We are tired of border issues and AZ residents being harmed so if the Federal Government is not going to enforce it's laws, then we will. It's simple.

70% of Americans agree with Arizona, yet Los Angeles and other cities will boycott. Have an opinion? Talk about it, support it. First I would ask that you read the law on the AZ books and think for yourself, before you are influenced by someone commenting on the law. Once you read the law, you will realize that it's not at all what you were told it is!!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Encouragement to LIVE

This is a small section from the final pages of "Gospel According to Lost" by Chris Seay. It is written by a pastor who died just before he was able to preach this as the closing to a message. Keep it in mind that the final words how would have delivered are the following...

Live. And Live Well
"Breathe. Breathe in and breathe deeply. Be present. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now

On a crystal clear, breezy seventy degree day, roll down the window and feel the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.

If you run, then allow those first few breathes on a cool autumn day to freeze your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be alive.

Get knee-deep in a novel and lose track of time.

If you bike, pedal hard...and if you crash, the crash well."

There is much more, but you get the idea. Get the book. If you enjoy the show, you will love this different view of the characters, development and plot of the ABC show, "Lost".

If you are a human, then take heed to the pastors words and LIVE WELL.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How we see the World

Yesterday I wrote about the Arizona Immigration Law and Miss USA pageant. How we view many of these items in our culture is based on a World View. Our world view is how we perceive the world. Our view of God, humanity, politics and much more are affected by this World View.

In modern America, media shapes the world view of many people. I am conservative, but it's not because I watch Fox News. I am conservative because it matches the sum total of my life experiences and how I view the world. You may be conservative, liberal or somewhere in between and you too make decisions and see life through those lenses.

Think for yourself. Be informed and if you disagree with what is happening, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If you agree with how things are going, the SUPPORT THOSE making good decisions. Don't let CNN, Fox News or anyone else shape your thinking!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Read it for yourself

Here is the link for the Arizona Immigration law. Read it...You will find that it's not "contraversial" at all. You will find that it works WITH existing Federal laws. Hmmmm? Why is it so bad? I don't know, but I couldn't find anything worth all the fuss!

There are two sides to many issues. I think you should decide by being informed. Today, for example, there are two stories covering the Miss USA Pageant. CNN online has the Miss Michigan winning and Fox News online has Miss Oklahoma loosing. Read both and decide...although they don't necessarily have to contradict, just two different ways to spinning news to make a story come alive. Interesting!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

"How could I not go"

We were speaking with Dave & Laura last night. He has worked in the inner city of Cincinnati, OH. "Over the Rhine" is the area that Dave lived and worked. Statistically, 1 in 4 residents in this area will be the victim of violent crime.

As he described visiting the area he looked around and saw all these kids outside and said without hesitation, "how could I not go and live there". Did you hear that? Most of us would say the opposite, but he saw something that we don't often see. He saw people that he could love and encourage and it was simple conclusion. GO!!!!

Will you go? Will you see and respond to needs? My prayer is that we would learn to run to help! See you out!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lists, long days and crazy schedules

Not too much to say in my life these days. I have lists upon lists. The guys that I supervise have lists as well. All of it points toward one BIG GOAL...Summer Camp. We are 16 days away from the start of camp and in typical fashion we have to hold many expenses until just before the start, we have to wait for weather to accomplish much of the outside building projects.

We prepare housing for the college staff, build sets, order sound/lights/video, recreation equipment and so much more. The pace of camp begins to pick up and your pulse is pounding for many days.

We begin our buildup in Mid April and it peaks as Summer camp remains high until Mid-August then crashes down as we undo all that we made back in May! Crazy!!! Worth it? Absolutely!!! This year we will see over 4,500 kids and perhaps will reach our capacity of 5,000 in the summer! Lots of students and adults. I will keep you up to date as it unfolds.

Do you face seasons like this? How do you deal with them as they build, peak and subside? For me, it's just another "season" that will come and go. Each of face times of happiness or sadness, but it will ALWAYS pass away into another season. Be patient, no matter where you are today, it will change for the better eventually.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Don't worry

This is from Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

There are many things to be anxious about in my world and probably your world as well. So, how do we deal with it? The Bible offers some wise counsel as we face difficulty. As Paul wrote this, he was in prison. His words are practical because he was facing a grim future, yet he pens these profound words.

Notice that he never suggests IGNORING the issues you face. He says we need to push our worries onto God and allow Him to work! We can experience unbelievable peace if we hand God our worries. Try it today! My prayer is that God would show you how He is right with you in your trouble!

Monday, May 10, 2010

So the food is to blame...

I find it ironic that "soda" and other candy/snacks are being removed from schools because it causes obesity in children. Funny, I have candy, cookies, chocolate, sweet cereal in my household and not any of our children suffer from obesity. Why?

Perhaps it's a combination of training that our kids understand the choices they make and enough activity to keep them healthy. Whatever the reason for childhood obseity, I believe that LORI AND I PLAY THE PRIMARY ROLE in keeping our children healthy and on a good course!

I refuse to blame the food for my kids eating. I refuse to blame the TV or Computer for poor school work. I am a parent, I am responsible for these children to provide guidance and direction as they learn to navigate in our world I just get tired of placing the blame on others for ultimately is just us. We can blame no one else but ourselves.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No Not One

Brandon Heath wrote a worship song called "No Not One". It's powerful and expresses many truths! My favorite line is; "With his life you have forgiven us, hope has come, hope has come".

I cannot put into words that God chose to allow Jesus to die, that I may live! This song helps a little, but my riches are not now, nor have ever been in what I own. My greatest riches are found in the hope that I have because of Jesus!

While music helps many people express their heart what helps you? Is it poetry, nature, the Bible or something else? The point is simple, IN ALL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS EXPRESS WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Speak the truth in love today!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How do you choose?

The immigration issue is complicated. There is healthy debate going on all over the country. In Arizona, the NY Times reports 1,200 illegal immigrants are in State Prisons for crimes committed in Arizona. It's a little like a Merry-go-round. People like these come across the border, get caught and sent back, only to return. Eventually, they are arrested and put into jail because there are few options.

How do you choose? What would you do if the child from another family is constantly coming over and breaking toys at your home? They show up unannounced and stay too long. They ask for food and you wonder when small things disappear if they are with this child. So, you speak to the parents but they don't do anything. In a over simplified way, this is the scenario, except it cost 5.7 million dollars in 2009 to pay the bill for illegals committing crime in Arizona.

I read that in 1995, that there were 14,000+ illegals who committed crimes in the USA. If we build a better fence, commit more people to border security, the states could return those illegals and save MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. There is a lot more work to get this thing right!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Isn't "illegal" a bad thing?

The irony for me about immigration is the first word in the argument that is being discussed today in America. I thought that ILLEGAL means something bad, but perhaps I don't understand (sarcasm).

As I have said in previous entries, I don't mind people coming to the United States, but we should enforce the rules of fairly or correctly for coming into the USA to live/work, etc.

While people will come across illegally, they should be dealt with appropriately. They should be caught are returned. But there is more we can do!

I am on record saying that if the U.S. makes it MORE PAINFUL to be here illegally (not physical violence), but when the bad of being here outweighs the good, then perhaps "illegal" immigration will be changed because those sneaking across will come through proper channels.

This is not difficult to address! If we REWARD BAD BEHAVIOR, IT WILL CONTINUE! I feel like shouting this at National leaders so they correct the REAL ISSUES! Join me and lets send a clear message to our leaders. Fix what is really broken! People can come, but let's not make it better to sneak across, let's make it better to come through the correct way!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When life doesn't meaure up

Mike Erre was here at a Pastor's Event that our camp hosted. First, he is hilarious and energetic, especially before he speaks. Our desire was to have a conference for pastors that would be less about techniques or trends in HOW TO DO MINISTRY, and more about WHY these men and women ever chose to serve in a church in the first place. We discussed heart issues!

One of the best talks for me was about the "gap" between life that we catch glimpses of when we directly experience God's presence and the reality of life that we live in each day. Mike suggested that we have choices as laid out by John Eldredge. There are three options about how to live this life with a "gap" and Mike challenged all of us listening to strive to be "Alive and Thirsty". Not satisfied with the distance between our lives and God's presence, so we strive to close the gap, but recognizing that it's part of God's design to not always make it!

I'm in! I am willing to strive to be like Jesus, but recognize that life itself will render my efforts useless at times, but rather than give up, I choose to keep trying! Someday, in His presence in Heaven, I will no longer need to strive, but until then...I choose Alive and Thirsty. What about you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Funny what goes around, comes around

I remember seeing 1/20/09 stickers for President Bush's final day in office.

Just saw this on a car and had to laugh. Wow, it's only been 17 months!

We will see what happens, won't we!

There is always a CHOICE

We provide a home for our children. We feed and clothe them and teach them how to operate in our world. Part of that training is in the area of "character". A few years ago, Maddie won a character award at her school. It was very cool, and Lori and I were proud to be part of her success, BUT there is always more to the story.

Maddie had the choice to embrace the training that her mother and I provided or not! In fact, each day she has the choice to BE who she wants to be. It's the same with all three of our children and even Lori and myself. In America we have lots of freedom. Consider other countries with less freedom, even there people CHOOSE WHO THEY ARE.

Today, if you don't like WHO you are or WHAT you have become, then make a different choice today! There is always time to change for the better. You can make changes in relationships, your body, your thoughts, your language and your family. Whatever is not correct, MAKE A CHOICE today and change!

I wish you well!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Starting well is the key

After about 12 weeks of training for the half-marathon, Greg and I ran yesterday morning in the Whiskey Row Marathon. It's a tough race because it starts about 5,200 feet in downtown and climbs to about 6,500 feet at the turn. The weather was cold, but it was a great race.

Over the years, we have both discovered that "starting well" is how we accomplish our best race! If we begin with 9:30 miles, then we will finish at 9:30 miles. If we start off at 8:30 miles, then we finish about that same way! Is it any different in other parts of our lives? NO. I believe that we "rise" to the level that we are called to! Greg's pace was 8:29 for a 1:51 half-marathon, my pace was 8:45 for a 1:54 total time.

We started the race with mile #1 at 8:20! That paved the way for our best race ever! How can you start better in everything you do? You are capable of much more...Start now!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Amazing response when people are against you!

The Apostle Paul wrote the following words from Prison (Philippians)

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. 

I highlighted "stir up trouble for me" because that phrase stopped me in my tracks. Paul was so focused on preaching Christ that even those who would preach Christ and it would hurt Paul, that was good? Even if their motive was poor, Paul rejoiced!

Wow! Not sure I could respond the way he did in the face of direct opposition.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Learning the basics

Jordan is my 5 year old son. He is playing Tee Ball and I am coaching the team. It is hilarious to watch these 13 little guys figure out how to play baseball.

Baseball is one of those games that requires hard work and attention to the basics. There is a great deal of skill, but the foundation is clear. ALL baseball players start out learning how to catch and throw the baseball. They also learn how to swing a bat! Fielding will always be fielding and batting will always be batting.

Sure, things change but when we lay a foundation it allows for greater success at the next level. Today, I am reminded that just reading my Bible (foundational for me) gives God a chance to speak to me. After all, reading my Bible is just that...reading my Bible. It's a "basic" part of my life.

What about you today? Have you forgotten some of your basics? Perhaps it's time to go back to the beginning! Enjoy the journey and the good foundations that you building.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Immigration issues

Not sure where you stand on the issue of Immigration, but it seems to me that if you want people here legally that you have to establish why people come here in the first place.

If being in the USA is better than their home country, then people will figure out HOW to get here. If being in the USA illegally is "costly" to the individual then they will more likely come through legal channels.

So, what does it take to cause enough pain to ensure proper immigration? That's the question our National leaders should be working on.

If we offer FREE healthcare at any emergency room then why not risk coming ove the border? I want to share this Country with others, but I don't want to "GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE".

Once again, let's get to the bottom of why people come here. After that, let's figure out the pain threshold (financial or otherwise) that makes becoming a citizen of the USA a better choice than being her illegally. Then, let's act! Got it National Leaders? I get it, but do you?

Come to Prescott

I live in Prescott, AZ. It's a mountain community with a downtown area that's second to none. The old Courthouse on the square could be easily found in small towns like Carthage, Missouri, but it's right here where we live.

I am not paid by the city to promote Prescott, but I love our city and most of all I love the interface of outdoor adventure and small town living. From my home, I can be on a mountain bike trail, at 2 miles. You will love the weather and the 5,500 foot elevation helps beat the heat in the summer.

I challenge you to find a better place to bring your family to vacation and have some fun. Hope to see you here someday. Love trails? Check out this map.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Family extended

Last weekend my family drove over to Hemet, CA (about 5 hours away) to meet up with my wife's family. The purpose was to celebrate Aunt Nancy's "unnamed" birthday. It was just two years ago that we met for a family reunion at UCYC! Well, instead of getting together at funerals only, they decided to meet for any occasion they could. So, Nancy's birthday was next and here we go.

Enough with the details, here is what occurred to me. Sometimes we love being related to our family (by blood or by marriage) and then there are "those other times"! You know, family can push each others buttons in amazing ways. No family is exempt all the time so why not try and make the best of it!

After all, we celebrate a common purpose and name! In this case, I am part of the LeGros family because I married Lori LeGros almost nineteen years ago! Now, they (the LeGros family) has a choice to make. They can either love me and accept me or not, either way I am in the family. We are only negotiating how welcome the environment is. Does this sound familiar? Is there tension in your family at times? Sure there is!

What will you do about it? Are you willing to be honest and accepting? Are you willing to offer forgiveness if necessary? All these skills and more are vital if your family is going to healthy.

So, to my other family, Andrew, Sunshine, Jennifer, Dean, Debbie, Todd, Ashley, Chad, Dick, Carol, Jim, Charlotte, Scott, Shelly, Kaitlyn and Ben. I love you all and thank you for making this "outsider," feel like and "insider". Knowing all of you makes a huge difference in my life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two options that WE have, what about our leaders?

Budgets are managed in my household, likely yours as well in two ways. 1) Make more money, 2) Reduce our spending. If you are having trouble in this area, my family went through a Dave Ramsey seminar a few years ago and it changed everything.

Since most us are on a "fixed" income, meaning that we are not in jobs that have incentives, we are forced to work on item number 2- Reducing our spending. One of the the best parts of going through the Ramsey Financial Peace University was how we learned to live on less.

In Arizona, we are facing huge losses in our educational system unless a 3 year sales tax is passed. I hate more taxes, but I can't imagine loosing so many parts of my children's education. So, it might need to happen. However, I am more passionate about REDUCING OUR SPENDING. That's my frustration with our Government leaders who are not really making hard cuts in spending.

In my family, we made hard choices and gave away some things we enjoyed in order to get out of debt. It's time for our National leaders to do the same.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marketing, Rhetoric and General Motors

The GM CEO was announcing that they have repaid the 5 Billion dollar loan w/ interest back to the US. Sounded very good. Wow, they are back or are they? Look at the following....

The U.S. government still owns 61 percent of GM. The automaker is counting on a public stock offering to allow the U.S. government to begin recouping its remaining $45.3 billion investment. The Canadian government's $8.1 billion stake, which equals a 12 percent ownership interest, also could also be unlocked if GM sells shares to the public. From

I like GM. I loved my Chevy truck (used to own) and we love our old Suburban. I want the company to do well, but I was a little bummed out that the message from the commercial indicated that they were all paid up and it's just not true!

Rhetoric is powerful, especially when put on television. If I had not checked, I would have assumed that GM was completely out of debt! Good progress...YES! But paying back $5 billion when you still owe $53 Billion to US & Canada is only a step in the right direction!

For me, it's a reminder to accurately as I can represent myself and the camp. How about you? Is your yes really yes? is your no really no?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A little help from my spouse

This is hilarious picture of Lori and I. I had skin cancer in my left eyebrow and lost most of the hair of that same eyebrow. This picture is Lori's attempt to "loan" me some hair. Just writing it down makes me laugh!

The point of showing you this pic is that it illustrates a deep truth found in Ephesians 5:21-33. The whole section is a discussion about the relationships of husbands and wives. The best work I have seen on this topic comes from "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs. (Great book and seminar).

Verse 21 is the story behind this picture. It says that husbands and wives should SUBMIT to each other. Another way of stating is, "I will give or give up whatever I should to benefit my spouse". In this case, it's a humorous look at Lori giving me some extra hair to cover up my imperfections.

Perhaps we, as married people, would do better if we sought the benefit of our spouse first! Enjoy your day and I hope the picture makes you laugh...It does for me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I went to Bagdad yesterday

It was a beautiful cloudless sunny day in AZ yesterday. We left about 1pm and rode 70 miles over to Bagdad, AZ and returned. The desert is so green this year with all the winter rains and snow! It was spectacular.

I was riding a Honda Shadow 1100, similar to this one.
Once we arrived in Bagdad and stopped at a grocery store for a drink then began the ride home. Many times, you travel to get TO THE DESTINATION. We were more excited about the TRAVEL and the destination was secondary. Literally it was just a place to rest and turn around.

What about you? Are you so focused on the destination that you are missing the travel. I hope you open your eyes and enjoy life as it passes.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Do you like the President?

Interesting question. Do you like the President? Well, I have never met him so I cannot comment. Some would say "he is great" others might say, "he is aweful". Funny, because most people taking sides have acutally never met the man.

I have a huge amount of respect for the Office; President of the United States and this is true if I like or don't like the person sitting in that position. Before President Obama, it was President Bush and again people were making assessments of the person but doing it by means other than personal/direct knowledge.

Most of this information used as a basis for opinion is based on BEHAVIOR. We see the actions of people and figure backwards to determine motive or heart. Difficult at best since none of us can know what makes people tick. Yet, that's what we do. We do it with our children, we do it with co-workers and we make the same judgements on politicians.

What is teachable is ACTIONS speak the loudest! I am going to remind my kids that just because you say something, doesn't mean anything if your actions undo your words!

So, do you like the President? Wrong question. Do like the Presidents Actions? Right question. Behavior matters, especially in our leaders!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Frustrated with taxes or not...look at this

I found a tax calculator at the FairTax website. You should take it...You will likely be blown away by what it reveals.

For years I have thought FairTax was a great concept because it's a "built-in" tax on every good/service purchased in America. If you are an American citizen then you receive rebates based on the size of family on necessities purchased.

Here are a few benefits of this legislation
1. Visitors to America pay into our Social Security system when they purchase anything
2. Anyone here illegally pays a larger portion and would then be encouraged to actually become citizens. (there is "cost" to sneaking across the border).
3. Any money earned through illegal means is now taxable. (drug dealers, etc)
4. You control the amount of tax you pay by what you purchase. (if someone is poor, they can purchase resale items at NO TAX). If you are poor and practice bad money habits then that's your choice and you have no one to blame for paying higher taxes.

Do some research on FairTax. By the way, you keep all your paycheck. There is NO IRS or tax day (April 15) any longer. 

Hopefully, this will spur some good thinking. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I just took this quiz

I have heard the term "Libertarian" many times lately and I did not know that much about it. On the Libertarian Party website I found this link. Take the quiz, it's interesting.

Not sure how I will vote in AZ yet, but I am paying attention to what is going on in my state and Nation.

On a side note: IT IS TIME for our National leaders to "sack up" and make a budget that actually works. I have to live on my income, so do you, let's demand that our national and state leaders do the same!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Put it to death

"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" 

 Scott spoke last Saturday night at Heights Church. This was the text he spoke from. He talked about when Christians want to change something that is not pleasing to God in their life that they say to that sin, "would you die please?" He used a volunteer in the front row to demonstrate as he asked, "would you hurry up and die".

It is funny to think that a bad habit that we might have would die because we ask. NO, Paul writes that we need to "put to death"...and Scott jumped off the stage and choked a volunteer attending that night.

It was a great picture of the ACTIVE role we should take when attempting change in our lives! Doesn't matter if your change is spiritual or not. Loosing weight is an ACTIVE choice, you don't simply say, "weight please go away", neither should we in our spiritual lives if we want to act as God has called!

The Spirit of God plays a role and so do we! Both are present in the verses and both are necessary to see something changed! I just loved the picture of the pastor jumping down and choking this unsuspecting really drove the point home!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This one made me laugh

In the latest issue of Fortune Magazine there is an article called, "25 Truths about Green". Item #4 deals with Greenhouse gas emissions. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, vehicles account for 13% of the emissions while 18% come from Cows!

That's right, Cow farts cause 18% of the greenhouse pun intended. It made me laugh and reminded me that it's okay to laugh at some of the issues we face on our planet.

Hope you enjoy the thought of trying to reduce cattle emissions (hmmm? is there a muffler for that?).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Capable of much more

On Wednesday our entire staff rented Jeeps in Sedona, AZ. My group of 4 was in four-door Wrangler called "Clara" and aside from Chris Holohan, none of us had driven off-road like this!

Seems like this was the scene over and over. One of us would be driving up to a large boulder and slow down. As the wheels rolled forward and touched the rocks, a little "throttle" and Clara would climb straight up and over without any trouble. As we talked, we became aware that our fear was unfounded because the Jeep was capable of so much more than we knew. That same concept reminds me of my Faith.

Jesus said our faith is capable of much more, listen to His words in John 14:12, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

Perhaps we need to take our Faith out and try something larger or more daring? Jesus said our Faith is very powerful, yet we use it like many people who drive their Jeeps only on pavement. It's time to go big with our Faith!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brand "YOU"

I took my 5 year old to Sonic for popcorn Chicken the other day. On the way home he was asking what this word was, "S...O...N..." I replied, "Sonic". He was asking why the word Sonic was on this toy that came with his Whacky Pack? I explained that Sonic wants you to think about them, their food and come purchase again.

Later I was thinking about my brand or our brand as people. What do we "advertise" on ourselves? As a Christian I believe the name of Jesus is stamped on my life, but I wonder if people see it? What kind of person am I really? Is what I claim to be about really what I am about?

My words (which I use a lot) may say one thing, but my actions can prove otherwise. So as I explore more about Brand "ME", will you think about Brand "YOU"?

Hopefully at the end of this life, people will say with certainty that David Coyne was about following Jesus Christ, loving his wife and children, trying to make a difference in the lives of people. He loved to serve, play and sing. He loved the outdoors (running & biking) and most of all, he WAS who he proclaimed to be!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trololo Man - EDWARD KHILL

Saw video of this man singing. He clearly has an amazing voice, I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Oh it's just the 2nd Ammendment

U.S.reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and Said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as Long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every Nation a veto.

The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush 'S Administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national Controls were better.

Having discussed this possibility with a friend a few months ago, it seems like someone is being TOLD A LIE and there are only two options; 1) The International Community or 2) the American people.

Because of how Health-Care reform was pushed through while 55% of the American public was against it, I think we Americans are in line to get shafted again! Perhaps the Constitution and the Bill of Rights don't matter anymore to some, but they matter to me!

Seems like this Administration really has an Agenda and I for one don't like it...Good thing there are millions more Americans who agree with me! It will be interesting to see how this plays out!

On a side note: President Obama is in favor of Nuclear Power or is he? Look at this article from the Los Angeles Times regarding the closing Yucca Mtn. (the place where nuclear material is stored). I don't know how you can promote Nuclear power and close the only storage location for it's fuel. Hmmmm?? Something is fishy here!!!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I want to be "The Batman"

We rented Lego Batman for Wii for the past week. Austin and Jordan have been playing a lot during that time. When they play together, Austin (11 years) ends up being Batman and Jordan is forced to play as Robin or someone else.

It was Saturday morning and Jordan declares, "I want to the Batman". I laughed because Batman is the cool character in the game, he is the #1 player and at 5 years old my son already desires to be in charge or #1 over others. No one taught him this it comes to all people naturally. Unfortunately not everyone can be in first chair, the leader or #1 player. We each must play the role that we are made to play.

Consider your gifts and passions, your strengths and weaknesses and play the role you are created to play. In the end, you may be "Batman", but mostly likely you will be "Robin" just like me and play a unique role in your family, organization or life. Have fun!!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Take it all in

There are times in life where we have this rare chance to do something really BIG.

For me I had a chance to visit Grand Canyon with my son's 5th grade class. The Nat'l Parks department has a school curriculum based on the theories of how Grand Canyon formed. We looked at fossils, hiked around the South Rim and discovered the layers of rock formations on the mile of exposed vertical rock.

Now, back to the BIG thing. While the Grand Canyon is hard to describe, that was not the really BIG event I am speaking about. For me, it was this once in a lifetime chance to be with my son. Later in life I can go back to Grand Canyon, but I can never have Austin as a 5th grader again.

My encouragement today is to grab these moments in life because they are gone too quickly...Drink them all in!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Young people and "work ethic"

In my circle of friends, it is very common for the topic of young people and poor work ethic to be discussed. Perhaps I am trapped in a time warp where I have become an old fogy and compare how I worked to the kids I see today. Perhaps it's just me, but I think there is more here.

As a dad I wonder if parents are just protecting their children by supplying all their needs and teaching them to not try hard to achieve something. Actually the reason is not that important, what is important is to influence the areas we can control.

In a blog a few days ago I wrote about Stephen Covey's 7 habits. Well, it is useful here as well. I want all three of my kids to know how to work hard and have success. So, we train them to clean up after themselves, they will learn to do laundry, budget and spend the money they earn. They will try hard in school, get jobs and work, they will learn to communicate well with others, and much more.

Lori and I alone are responsible for helping to aim these kids and prepare them to be successful participants in our American culture. It's not a perfect plan and we know each child must CHOOSE to follow the plan, but it's where we are going. If you are looking to hire a hard working young person, I hope you will consider our kids.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Working together

Well, the trip to Kansas was amazing and productive. Here is a quick review of my last few days away! Monday 5am, drive to Phoenix (2 hours), fly to Denver, drive to KS (5 more hours) and work till midnight on demolition of a kitchen.

The group of 7 I was traveling with proceeded to work 40 hours in 2 1/4 days producing nearly 300 man/hours of labor. 300 hours is equivalent to 8 - 10 weeks for the camp director working by himself.

You know that when we partner together the accomplishments are AMAZING. Perhaps we should work harder on getting WITH other people instead of working harder FOR other people. Greater results and relationships because we work together.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sometimes I complain

Perhaps you and I are similar. We get frustrated and complain, well I hope that I am normal. A little whine with my cheese and then I am good to go. Mostly, I find myself putting my head down and pushing forward. Perhaps it's the years of running that help with the attitude. I still have to finish the miles, so just shut up and do it!

Well, this week is a chance to really help someone. In America today, there are people speaking of HOW TO HELP and those who are actually DOING SOMETHING about it! For the next 4 days, a team of 7 people from our camp is traveling to a sister camp and helping. It's going to be fun!

I hope you find things where you can "lean into help" instead of just complaining about the problems or hoping someone else will fix it! Good luck.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For leaders in America

I would like to suggest a few things that will help our country. Issue #1: Begin with the end in mind (Part of Covey’s 7 habits…).

As leaders, think about what is best for America at the end, and then move backwards so that each step you take will move toward that final goal.

Let me suggest one goal for Americans at the “end”. Americans need to be empowered to provide for themselves, but not given everything. Of course there are exceptions, but if the goal was to provide a country where people can pursue their dreams.

The Bible talks about caring for people in need by giving instructions like not harvesting the corners of your property but to leave it for those in need (poor, widows, orphans and the hungry). Interesting that the poor still have to participate by harvesting for themselves, they are not part of a government program nor do sit at home waiting for the food to arrive. If they are hungry, they are allowed to harvest from the field. People were EMPOWERED to care for themselves.

Understanding American behavior is not that difficult, people vote/think with their MONEY. So lawmakers, if your laws cost business money in one state, they will move to another state that helps them keep money. If the country is expensive then don’t be surprised when companies move overseas. Once again, if you think about the END, it’s much easier to be successful at each step along the way.

Thanks Stephen Covery for a great book!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Words mean far less

Over the past week I have spoken with my kids about Obedience. Quickly, it was just in the context of "not saying you would do something, but actually DOING IT".

The New Testament records a story told by Jesus where he basically explains that a father asked two sons to accomplish a task. Son #1 said he would do it, but did not. Son #2 said he would NOT but later did the task. Here comes the big question..."Which one was obedient?" Son #2 because he did what was asked, even though he verbalized opposition.

In the current political environment I am watching for who actually does what they say. I am watching those who listen and represent their constituents. I am not angry, but I will definitely be more direct in the political arena. 55% national opposition to the Health-care bill was ignored, and it will have a bearing on the next election.

All this provides a great teaching moment for me as a parent. It doesn't matter nearly what I say, my behavior speaks louder than my words. I am grateful for all these examples, both good and bad so I can help prepare my children for life.