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Monday, April 28, 2014

Extraordinary Moments

One of my favorite things in life is to curl up on the couch with my wife and watch a good movie. I love action or sports movies and she loves romantic comedies, so obviously.... we watch a ton of romantic comedies. I know this will sound corny but I'm okay with the chick flicks because I enjoy spending time with my wife, being close, holding hands, eating chocolate and sharing a good laugh.

Last night we watched a really interesting movie called "About Time". The premise of the movie was that all the men in this one particular family had a special gift, the power to travel back in time. They could only go to past moments in their own lives, but they could relive those moments and change things if they wanted to. Of course, if they changed things in the past it affected how their life turned out in the future. The father waited until his son was about 20 years old before telling him about the special power he had and how to access it. The son was amazed with his new found power and every time he had a bad day or made a stupid mistake, he would go back in time and relive that day....without making the same mistakes. He even used his special power to correct mistakes he made while dating a beautiful young girl that he fell in love with. Eventually they got married and when they gave birth to their first child, the father explained to his son something really important. Once you have children you can't go back in time before their birth... or it may affect whether they are ever born or not. The son began to learn that he needed to use his power wisely and cautiously.

Near the end of the movie, the father develops terminal cancer. So he took his son aside and told him about the "secret" to enjoying the real magic of their special power. It was to go back and re-live each and every day after it happens, but do it with the right perspective this time, not getting overly upset over problems while enjoying and appreciating the "ordinary moments" as they happen. (I can relate to that because there have been plenty of times when I have gotten overly upset over problems that in the end turned out to be not that important.) So the son took his father's advice and started re-living each day with a new perspective.

At the end of the movie the son has an epiphany that really struck home with me. You don't need special time travel powers to find happiness! You can appreciate the extraordinary moments of an ordinary life, each and every day, if you simply realize how special each moment in life really is. The son decided he no longer needed to travel back in time and it wasn't because he didn't make mistakes, it was because he realized even the mistakes in our ordinary lives are "extraordinary moments" that we need to experience.

Rachel Mcadams and Domnahl Gleeson in "About Time"

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
~ William James

Monday, April 21, 2014

Its A Feeling (Part II)

Last week I titled my Monday Message “It’s a Feeling - Part I”. I’m writing it in two parts because the concept is just a little hard to explain in one short page. So let me see if I can finish the explanation.
In last week’s message I gave an example of one of my employees caring about a fellow employee and made the statement, “If we truly care about others and take the time to stop, look and listen with our hearts, people will feel the love in our hearts and in turn feel good about themselves!” So let me add to that statement, “People may forget what you say and what you do, but they will always remember how you make them feel!
Here is another real life example that happened two weeks ago. I went to visit some customers at a large corporation and after the business part of the meeting was over, I had an opportunity to share a story about my faith with two of the people there. My story must have touched one of them, because afterwards he showed me a simple black bracelet on his wrist with the words, “I Am Second” on it, an expression of his faith that God always comes first. I thought the bracelet was really cool and said so. Later that week, when I arrived at my office I found a simple black “I Am Second” bracelet laying on my desk, a gift from a new found friend, who took the time to listen to me. Boy, did that make me feel good!
But the story doesn’t end there… and it shouldn’t because I need to pay it forward. Last week I was in a huge hurry to pick up some groceries for my wife who was hosting a party that evening. I literally ran through the store and even paid cash to hurry things along. After I tossed the groceries into my truck, I ran the grocery cart over to the cart storage area and noticed a young lady standing there who works for Ralphs. She took my cart from me but was staring at my arm. She blurted out, “That’s a cool bracelet! What does it say?” By her appearance and her difficulty with speech it was obvious that she was slightly disabled, but she had this really sincere smile. So even though I was running late I stopped and showed her the bracelet and explained the meaning to her. Her smile got even bigger and she said proudly, “I know all about God and he’s good! Can I have one?” Her question took me by surprise but it made me stop and think. I answered. “Yes of course you can.” I asked her what her name was (Cally) and explained to her that I would bring her one in a few days.
Perhaps Cally was surprised that a stranger took time to talk with her and answer her question, but hopefully it made her feel good and realize that she truly is important. I don’t know for sure how she felt but I do know she was smiling when I left and guess what….so was I! I may have been late for the party but I learned something really important, putting someone else first before yourself is the same thing as putting God first!
Truly I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.
~ Matthew 25:40

Monday, April 14, 2014

Its A Feeling (Part I)

Most everyone will agree that family comes first. We love our family members, so we care about them and do our best to be patient, kind and understanding. We’re even willing to sacrifice our own happiness for theirs. But then we leave and go to work where we spend the majority of our time with other people, some we barely know at all. Most of us spend more time with our co-workers then we do with our family members. So how are we supposed to treat them?
I have to say I feel blessed because the people I work with are awesome. Fortunately, as the owner of the company I recognize it so I try hard to treat them right. I’ve learned over the years that everyone matters and everyone deserves to be treated with respect. If we truly care about others, then we will take the time to stop, look and listen with our hearts. When we do, people will feel the love in our hearts, which in turn helps them feel good about themselves! That’s an easy gift to give and it doesn’t cost a dime.
A few weeks ago our Southern Region Sales Manager approached me and said he was concerned about the health of one of our delivery drivers. He said the employee had been losing a lot of weight recently and just didn’t look well. Although the driver told his fellow employees he was fine, our Sales Manager has a good heart and knew there must be something wrong. So he asked me to check on the driver. Keep in mind that salespeople have a difficult job. They have to put in a lot of extra hours and are constantly on the road, so for a salesperson to care about someone back in the warehouse that they rarely ever see…really touched me.
My wife (who oversees human resources) set up a meeting for us the next day and we instantly noticed how much weight this person had lost. He had been so worried about losing hours or possibly losing his job altogether that he had been afraid to say anything. It was an emotional meeting and when we suggested the employee take a few weeks off with full pay, he had tears in eyes and said his wife would be so thankful. She had been begging him to take time off and see a doctor for weeks. As it turns out, when he went to the doctor they discovered he has a very serious illness and will not be able to come back to work for many months. We assured him that when he does get well, he will have his old job waiting for him…and we let him know that it was one of his fellow employees that cared enough to say something in the first place.
This is only one example of people caring about each other. I can assure you there are many more, which has made me realize that we don’t have to be related to be “family members”.
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.
"I just wanted to be sure of you ."
~ A. A. Milne  
LSI Employees share dinner and a laugh

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Many years ago I made a personal commitment to try to write an inspirational Monday Message every week. My goal was to remind people about the important things in life like faith and family, honesty and integrity. But I also hoped I would be able use my faith and experience (and the many lessons I’ve learned from my mistakes) to draw people nearer to God, which I feel can ultimately bring each of us more happiness. I look at it as one small way of giving back for all the blessings I have received in my life. But it really is a pretty difficult commitment to keep every week and I even receive a fair amount of harsh criticism at times.  However, when you make a commitment like that or any commitment for that matter, I believe it’s important to do your best to stick to it! So I do my best. But…let me ask you, “What are you committed to?”

Speaking of commitments, on Wednesday this past week, my wife and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. I took the day off from work to spend it with her (because I know how important spending time together is to her) and she surprised me in a very special way. She asked me to go for a walk to pick some roses to fill a vase. I didn’t think much about it really, but as we started walking, we kept on walking and she kept on saying we need to go farther. She said we needed to go to the top of Palisades Hill, where she claimed she saw some really bright red roses. That’s a pretty long walk but I wasn’t about to object. As we approached the top of Palisades Hill we came to a Gazebo on a small look-out point where tourists can view the ocean. I stopped before we got to the gazebo because there was a man already there enjoying the view. She laughed and said that’s no man, that’s our friend Don (who happens to be a minister) and if it’s okay with you I would like to renew our vows today…with you…under this beautiful gazebo that overlooks our little beach house by the ocean.

It was a wonderful surprise that I will never forget. Don even brought champagne and we toasted our friendship as well as our marriage. Since Don knows us so well and knows how committed we are to each other, the vows he wrote for us were perfect. Some commitments are hard to keep but I have to say…my commitment to love, honor and cherish my wife is the easiest commitment I have ever made.

So this Monday Message is about making commitments and sticking to them. Whether it’s your marriage vows, your responsibilities at work, caring for your children or caring about your faith - stick to it! If you do, you will become a towering example to all those around you that no amount of criticism can ever tear down.

Commitment is a big part of what I am and what I believe.
How committed are you to winning?
How committed are you to being a good friend?
To being trustworthy? To being a good father,
a good teammate, a good role model?
There's that moment every morning when
you look in the mirror and ask yourself,
“Are you committed, or are you not? 
~ Lebron James