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.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Surge from Iraq

I had dinner with a friend last night who serves in Northern Iraq. He was home on a leave during his 1 year deployment. Over dinner we were talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. He explained what worked during the surge and I had never heard this before.

In his words, soldiers would leave base, execute missions and return. It was that way during his 2003 time in Iraq and up til the Surge, that's how it went.

The Surge worked because soldiers DID NOT return to base but US forces stayed out with the Iraqi soldiers and police officers. That made a noticeable difference to the soldiers/police and the general population of Iraqi citizens. Interesting, it was more than extra soldiers, it was being WITH THE PEOPLE that made the largest difference.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Message to my local Representative

Representative Kirkpatrick,

Vote NO on any current health-care bill. The cost is too high and our country to do a better job with health-care costs and coverages by starting over.

If you want to represent me, then vote NO. If you are not convinced that I am in the majority, then vote with the minority and see what happens to your political career.

The constant pressure to ignore the majority of Americans is going to backfire and the "silent majority" is going to rise up and remove all those in power and begin again with elected officials who will listen...

Thank you for reading....

Health-care may pass and then the real fun begins. Stay tuned and get ready for some action. I can't wait to get more involved in the process!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Proud to be from Oklahoma

The past week has been great! The weather finally warmed up and we were able to get some needed work done on some buildings at camp.

To help with the projects, 30 people traveled out from the Miami, OK area to work with us. That's right, they drove 18 hours to serve UCYC and make a difference in the lives of anyone who would stay in Hawk, Eagle or the newest cabin conversion, The Willows.

I could not be more proud of their efforts. In 3 1/2 days they scraped the ceilings, textured and repainted them. They removed all the bunks and repaired/repainted them as well. Then all the walls were painted, carpets cleaned and new ceiling fans installed. Looks amazing!

The Willows (the old camp office) was turned back into a cabin for housing. It will have a full kitchen, extra bathroom added and be the perfect place for speakers, bands or group leaders.

As I reflect on the whole process, why would anyone travel that far to help? Why would anyone come that far passing many other camps on the way to come to UCYC? It all comes down to relationships...and in this case, my relationship with Lonnie the group leader. Thank you CSF, Lonnie, First Christian Miami, Afton and Grove. Your efforts will help shape the lives of many who attend our camp. Your example as hard working people from Oklahoma, makes me say, "I am proud to be from Oklahoma as well".

Friday, March 5, 2010

Money trouble in America

I often write about personal responsibility and understanding/predicting behavior of people based on money. It seems like money is the most powerful influence in American culture. We want more of it but don't handle it well sometimes and get into trouble. We want it to come easy or we cry for fairness and think I should be able to make that much or have those things.

In our household, the two oldest kids don't get allowance. For a period of a year or more they had weekend jobs and if they DID THE WORK, they were paid $5. $2 they saved, $2 they could spend and $1 they would give to help other people.

They learned patience but ultimately they did not care about having money all that much because they stopped working...btw I stopped paying them because they were not working.

Now Maddie is 14 and has a regular job and works a little on the weekend, those same lessons apply and she is saving much of her income.

Here is the point, her expenses are covered by us, but we feel like it's our responsibility to help her learn to manage those funds and learn patience to save and pay "cash" for items...

What if our government officials thought like parents? What if they would strive to educate and empower Americans to be free from debt and to manage themselves well? People could choose to live simple or to live extravagant if they can afford that as well.

It seems like our current system is based on an advertising model that EVERYONE ELSE IS HAPPIER THAN YOU BECAUSE THEY HAVE _____ THINGS. Well, I am happy and I don't have half those things even though I could afford them. What about you? Could you be happy with less???? It's a great mental exercise. Try it, I dare you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grand Canyon trip in my future

A week from Friday (12th) Austin's 5th grade class is going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There were 12 volunteers for only 5 spots and I was one of them chosen, YEAH!

Should be a great day in the bus and on the Rim. If you have never stood on the edge and peered into the canyon, this place is breathtaking! Living in AZ has allowed me to be on both rims a few times and it's difficult to describe the size and scale of this amazing hole in the ground.

It's fun to be invited by your child to participate in activities...thanks Buddy!