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Monday, September 30, 2013

Second Womb

This weekend both my wife and one of my daughters had a birthday. My daughter turned 24 and is very young and beautiful, so lucky her. My wife turned 52 and she is also extremely young looking and beautiful…so lucky me! Their real beauty though is on the inside (where it counts) because of their good hearts and their sincere desire to help others.
My daughter lives up in San Luis Obispo. So we took a road trip to go see her and with two birthdays going on my wallet really took a beating. But I would have to say it was money well spent. To see the two of them together, smiling, laughing, and having fun was a real treat for me. And it got me thinking about birthdays in general and what it means to be born into this world.
When we are in our mother’s womb for nine months we are progressively developing. Our eyes begin to form, although we can’t really see. Our ears and our mouths start to form but we can’t yet hear or taste. Everything that happens in the womb is preparation for us to be ready to face the outside world. We need that time in the womb to grow and develop or we would not be able to survive in the real world.
Maybe it’s the same way once we begin our earthly lives. What if this earth is simply our second womb? Maybe everything that happens to us here on earth is simply a way for us to grow and develop so we can be prepared to move on to a more heavenly world. It’s hard to understand why bad things happen here on earth but maybe the really tough challenges, the broken bones and broken hearts, collapsed buildings and collapsed lungs, ruptured spleens and ruptured relationships…maybe all of it is just what we need in order to be prepared to be born into the next world, a world without pain, a world filled instead with love. Maybe we should celebrate every single day of our lives…not just our birthdays!

Just remember, once you're over the hill
you begin to pick up speed.
~ Charles Schulz

Brooke on her 24th Birthday
Debby on her 52nd Birthday

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Perfect Foursome

Over the Labor Day Weekend I played in a memorial baseball tournament in Fullerton. We played four games in three days and it was great fun but it was also extremely hot and humid. Due to the heat (and okay, probably due to my age as well) I ended up injuring both of my Achilles tendons. It looks like I won’t be playing any more baseball for at least a month and I can’t even play golf, which is the other sport I really love. So that means last Thursday I had to miss playing in a charity golf tournament with my friend Paul, who by the way is also injured due to baseball, so neither one of us made it to the golf tournament. (I guess misery really does love company.)
I hate that we had to miss the golf tournament because they’re fun for several reasons. They’re fun because you get to take off work to attend, you’re in a beautiful environment spending time with friends, and you’re usually raising money for a good cause. The format for tournaments is also fun because typically your individual score doesn’t matter; it’s the best score on each hole or the total team score that matters. For example, I might hook my drive into the trees, take a drop and then punch it out into a sand trap, blade it out over the top of the green onto a hill and then chunk a chip past the flag, finishing up with a three putt for an awesome 8. But Paul, who is a much better golfer, might easily land the green in two and sink a birdie putt for a 3. Guess which score counts? The 3 of course! My awful 8 is quickly forgotten and our team does well on that hole. I basically get credit for someone else’s great effort just by being on the right team.
And that got me thinking…. If you believe in God you’re on the right team as well. And guess what? It’s a foursome in the most charitable of all tournaments...the tournament of life. Because of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you don’t have to hit a perfect shot every day…chances are they will make one for you! (And all your bad shots are immediately forgiven as well.)

Good Friends on the Golf Course

They say that golf is like life, but don’t believe them.
Golf is much more complicated than that.
~ Gardner Dickinson

Monday, September 16, 2013


At our company we try extremely hard to give great service to every single customer. However, last week we failed on an order for one of our best customers. This particular customer (who I admire because of his great attitude and positive outlook) placed an order on a Friday for immediate delivery. Unfortunately the paperwork was accidentally misfiled into a “Pending Folder” instead of into our “Daily Deliveries Folder”. We did not discover the mistake until the following Monday which made the order very late and caused a major “headache” for our customer.

Nobody likes to make a mistake. But sometimes if you handle the situation properly, it can be a chance to shine and show people how much you truly care. As soon as I received his phone call I went to work researching the problem. My staff helped me to locate the missing paperwork and as soon as we did, we began filling his order and loading it into our Sales Manager’s car, who personally drove it over to the customer. Included with the delivery was a hand written apology that I wrote out personally along with a gift card to help offset the customer’s valuable lost time. I followed up with a phone call and found out the customer was extremely pleased with our rapid response and sincere apology. I also held a Sales Meeting at our office to review the problem with our entire staff and discuss ways to prevent it from happening again.

When it was all said and done, we had a stronger relationship with our customer. And because we made an effort to learn from our mistake, we were able to put procedures in place to help us prevent that type of problem from happening in the future; a win/win for all of us!

Learning from mistakes is crucial in business but it’s just as important in our personal lives. Obviously as human beings we are going to make mistakes and we are going to commit sins. It’s just part of our nature to be imperfect. But when we discover we have done something wrong we have a choice as to how we respond….and how we respond is what will ultimately define our character. The next time you make a mistake, see it as a chance to showcase your true character and chances are instead of a “headache” you will come out “ahead”.

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
~ John Powell

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Lucky Bracelet

Something happened over Labor Day that reminded me that we can’t just have faith; we have to put our faith to work. And the lesson came from the most unlikely of sources, a seven year old little boy.

I played in a Memorial Tournament in Fullerton which our baseball club hosts to honor three of our teammates who have passed away. I arrived at the field early Saturday morning and noticed the manager of our team was already there. He immediately approached me in the dugout and said he wanted to share something with me. He told me about his seven year old son who attends a Christian preschool and how his son recently decided on his own…to share his love of the Lord with other people in a very unique way. With help from his parents the little boy had bracelets made with symbols on them that remind people about Jesus’s love for us. He then went on a field trip to Washington DC and handed out the bracelets to people in the street. That would be an impressive thing for an adult to do, let alone a seven year old little boy!

There was one bracelet left over and my manager said he wanted me to have it because of the way I share my faith through my Monday Messages. Needless to say I was honored to receive the bracelet and greatly impressed by the faithful actions of such a young boy. It reminded me that children have a way of seeing the world in a simple black and white way, not the gray and stressful way we adults see it. In fact, the bracelet itself was gray in color, which is a great reminder that although we live in a “gray” world, if we have faith, things are usually more black and white and simple.

Our team did well in the tournament winning two out three games, so we made it to the championship game on Monday, but it wasn’t easy. During the second game, the one we lost, we fell behind because we ran out of pitchers. In fact, I even had to pitch one inning which was stressful to say the least. As I took the mound, the field umpire approached me and told me I needed to take off my bracelet. As I took it off he asked me about it and what the symbols meant. I said, “It’s a reminder of Jesus and my new good luck charm.” The umpire nodded and said, “I don’t care what it is, you still gotta take it off!”

Up to that point I had played really well, but with my lucky bracelet in my pocket, instead of on my wrist, I pitched poorly and gave up several runs. We lost that game, but after shaking hands with the other team I was surprised to see that same umpire approaching me. He said kind of sheepishly that he was sorry for making me take off the bracelet and asked again about the symbols on it. So I told him the story of the seven year old boy who made bracelets so that he could share his faith with others. I think that umpire was as touched by the story as I was and although we lost that game, I felt like I had gained something far more important - a chance to copy the brave actions of a seven year old and share my faith!

What does it profit us, if we have faith, but do not have works?
~ James 2:14
The meaning of the Symbols
He came, was crucified, buried, rose and will come again someday!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Forever Touched

There are certain people in this world who touch our lives in a special way and ultimately change who we become. Perhaps we have known them for a long time or perhaps only for a moment. But God places them in our lives for a reason and their purpose can be profound.

Betsy White was one of those special people who touched my life in a very profound way. When I first met Betsy in the mid 1980’s she was a Senior Property Manager for the Irvine Office Company, managing some of the nicest, most expensive high rise office buildings in all of Southern California. Her office itself was extraordinarily beautiful overlooking Fashion Island in Newport Beach. On the other hand, I was a long haired, 25 year old kid, who just started his own business selling lighting supplies out of the back of a pickup truck. We could not have been more opposite in our career positions, she at the top of her field and me just starting out.

It was intimidating just to enter the building where Betsy worked. I felt out of place among the high class movers and shakers of the Commercial Property Management world, but when I sat down for my first meeting with Betsy, it was a magical moment. She never stopped smiling! She was warm, funny and engaging. She treated me like I was more important than she was; allowing me to tell her all about my company and products, never interrupting me, never rushing me or acting like she was too busy or too important to listen. By the time I left the building, I actually felt like I was somebody special. That was just one of the gifts that Betsy gave to people. She made everyone around her feel special.

The other gift Betsy gave me was the inspiration to create my Monday Messages. Betsy was the original “Monday Message” person, although she didn’t call it that. What she did back in those days was to fax a funny cartoon every Monday to every vendor she dealt with. She told me she knew her vendors had a tough job keeping all of her buildings operating at such a high level and she knew it was stressful, so she wanted everyone who worked with her to start their week out with a laugh.

Whenever I think about Betsy.… I smile because I can picture her in her custom built wheelchair, wheeling over to her fax machine one more time to send out another goofy cartoon on Monday mornings. You would have never known she was sick with Multiple Sclerosis because she never mentioned it, never complained and never stopped smiling. When I heard she had passed away it tore my heart out.  I sat down and cried but I knew she wouldn’t want that. So I tried my best to smile and remember how she touched my life and made a struggling young salesman feel like he was the king of the world. Betsy, if you’re reading this please know that you touched my life and this week’s message, as well as every other message I have ever sent out, was inspired by your wonderful example!


Whether or not we realize it each of us has within us
the ability to set some kind of example for others.
Knowing this would you rather be the one known
for encouraging others, or the one who inadvertently
discouraged those around you?
~ Thomas Kinkade