December 2008


phelps

 

I Googled the top 10 news stories for 2008 to find something to write about.  With all the press that the top stories are getting (the election, high gas prices, the financial crises, low gas prices, Britney Spears…) some otherwise huge news items have been completely missed.  For example, Number 10 on the list was the Russia-Georgia war.

 

Here I am just a few miles outside of Atlanta and we hardly even talk about our war with Russia.  I do recall hearing some low flying aircraft from time to time last year and there was that awkward moment between President Bush and Putin at the Olympics, but I don’t remember seeing any Russian paratroopers filling the morning sky like they did in Red Dawn.  Nor do I recall hearing Patrick Swayze’s battle cry of “WOLVERINES”!  

 

 red-dawn

 

It’s amazing how such a huge story could get placed on the back burner just because everyone’s 401(k) is tanking.  Speaking of tanks, I didn’t see any of those either.  Maybe the Russians came by boat and attacked Savannah.  Wait… the story says that they attacked South Ossetia.  Never heard of it… must be on the Georgia/Alabama boarder.  I’ve been saying that boarder has been way too lax for years.  Bama fans just come and go as they please.

 

I live northeast of Atlanta, so my guess is that the tanks rolled across western GA then got stuck in traffic on I-285 (what I would give to be driving a tank on I-285).  This story took place during the gas shortages this summer, so I can only assume that once they got stuck on 285 they ran out of fuel and diesel was nowhere to be found.  With nothing but 24 hour coverage of the Olympics to watch, they probably became engrossed in the Michael Phelps story.  By the time he won his eighth gold medal, I am sure they were enamored by the rich commentary of Bob Costas and lost interest in their attack plans.  Thank you, Michael.  If you are ever passing our way, I’ll cook you up a few dozen pancakes.

santa

 

‘Twas the post before Christmas,

            with no gift for my spouse

My mind was whirring,

            not another lame blouse;

 

The stockings were hung

            by the chimney like a dare,

In hopes that by morning

            they’d be filled with more than just air.

 

The children just wrestled

            with the thoughts in our heads,

We’ll buy them some gifts

            if there’s a rate cut by the Feds;

 

Ma, with spit up on her kerchief

            had the baby in her lap,

As I began to frown

            at a gift I could not wrap-

 

It was almost dawn

            when I heard a little patter,

I wanted to stay in bed

            but the kids began to chatter.

 

I looked out the window

            and there was not even a dash,

Of light on the gutters

            I felt my teeth gnash.

 

I lazily got dressed

            more slowly than slow,

I wanted nothing more

            than a large cup of joe;

 

When, what to my wandering eyes

            should appear,

 But my daughter’s little face

            that filled me with cheer,

 

With little bright eyes

            and a smile laid on thick,

I knew in a moment

            she’d done just the trick.

 

More rapid than eagles

            the gifts all became

Scattered, strewn, and ripped open,

            so I jumped in the game-

 

Now, Barbies!  Now, Books!

            And toy bowls to mix in!

On, Cars!  On, Trucks!

            And football helmets to blitz in!

 

Now under the tree,

            the children all crawl,

To tear into the remaining gifts,

            and just have a ball!

 

I know deep inside

            no matter how hard I try,

Most of the gifts will be forgotten,

            before next July.

 

So what can I give?

            It must be true,

A great gift for your children-

            is the gift of you.

 

And then in a instant,

            I realized my goof

If you don’t believe me

            here is the proof.

 

The toys and the presents

            that lay on the ground,

Were nothing compared

            to the gift that I’d found.

 

When looking for gifts

            to lay at your child’s foot,

Try giving something that won’t tarnish

            and will always stay put.

 

A bundle of toys

            are not what kids lack,

They need time with their parents

            without a panic attack.

 

My eyes they now twinkled!

            My future less scary!

I knew what was important,

            and had been living contrary!

Careers are less important

            than children we know,

Yet we spend most our time

            making more dough!

 

We work very hard

and give ourselves grief,

But this just piles up more

money to bequeath.

 

I’ll spend time with my kids

            and savor peanut butter and jelly,

Instead of only paying attention

            when diapers are smelly.

 

I’ll ignore selfish ambition-

            putting my ego on a shelf,

And focus on something other

            than the advancement of myself.

 

This Christmas will not be filled

            with anxiety and dread,

But with peace and meaning

            and purpose instead.

 

I will not waste my life

            focused solely on work,

High-strung and stressed out;

            and acting like a jerk.

 

So don’t be the person

            who sticks up their nose,

At the brave few

            who find some repose.

 

Even though this world

            is filled with thorn and thistle,

There is no need

            to shoot through it like a missile.

 

Stay true and stay strong

            and fight the good fight,

Remember what Christmas is about

            and you’ll be alright!

My book is now available online. You can link here or click on “My Book” in the right margin to place an order. You probably won’t receive your copies before Christmas, but they make great gifts anyway. Other possible uses include: table levelers, fly swatters, posture training (with the book balanced on your head), door stops… the list goes on and on. Who knows, it may actually contain some little life-altering nugget.

Buy a copy, read it, and get another copy for someone that you think will benefit from this book’s message. If you don’t want to buy another copy, give someone your used copy. My goal is not to sell a ton of books, but to help change a few lives. Each of you knows of people who are sick of their careers and following the wrong path. This book may or may not help them, but it will get them to think about why they are pursuing success while living a life of insignificance.

Please feel free to comment on this blog after you have read the book and please spread the word. My marketing budget is too cheap to hire Billy Mays.

billy-mays

gris

 

The Christmas season is upon us. If you didn’t know that, let me also inform you that we recently had an election, the economy stinks, and the world is not flat. Now that we are officially in a recession (duh!) and many breadwinners are trying to figure out how to win bread, a lot of you are particularly stressed this year. Maybe you have lost a job, had your hours cut, or are just fearful about what the future holds – regardless of the reason, there has been no better time to reconsider your gift-giving practices.

The economic doom and gloom does give rise to some great bargains out there. The way bank stocks are falling, I’m thinking about buying my wife a bank branch as a stocking stuffer – hey, it’s cheaper than an i-Phone. Seriously, our family decided to cut back on the gift-giving this year. We are going to take some of the money that we would have spent on superfluous “stuff” and anonymously give it to a family that is struggling. I’m not telling you this to boast, but to hopefully motivate you to do something similar.

Another alternative is to get creative with the gifts that you are giving. Instead of spending money, consider spending time on your gift recipients. What do you do well? Whether you are a physical workhorse, a nurturing caregiver, or the creative type, there is probably a service you can render or something that you can make that will brighten someone else’s Christmas this year. Who knows, maybe combining your talents and abilities in a way that is a service to others will help you understand what will offer you true success in life.

By now you have probably heard about the employee that was trampled to death in a New York Wal-Mart on “Black Friday”.  The 34 year old seasonal worker was killed by a stampede of frantic shoppers eager to find a bargain, some of which had been camped out since 9 pm on Thanksgiving night.  In the aftermath of this event, shoppers and the local police are pointing fingers at Wal-Mart claiming that the store “could have and should have better prepared for the large crowds” and a New York Councilman announced plans to enact legislation that will require retailers to provide greater security during major sales.

 

What happened to personal accountability?  As far as I know, no one has been charged with any crime and the people responsible for this tragedy will have to live with the knowledge that they took another human life so they could save a few dollars on a present that will probably be forgotten by next year.  Do we really need security personnel to tell us that it is not ok walk over a human being?  I’ve got news for those people claiming that security was inadequate – Black Friday was not limited to this single store.  Retailers all over the United States held similar sales and they were able to do so without trampling a person to death.

 

From people borrowing more than they could afford and CEOs taking private jets to Washington looking for handouts to shoppers acting like sharks in feeding frenzy, this is just the latest news item to underscore something that is becoming more apparent:  we are a society of blame.  Listen to politicians, corporate leaders, your neighbor, or yourself and you will usually hear about what someone else should have done or how the government should provide more “regulation”.  That is not the sentiment on which the country was founded!  If we continue to pass the buck and ask the government to regulate home loans, retirement plans, and Christmas shopping, we will continue to erode the freedoms that we enjoy all because we lack the personal accountability and moral responsibility to do the right thing.  It is time we stop pointing out all of those specks in other people’s eyes and get to work on the log in our own eye.