Friday, February 29, 2008


I went to the gym this morning. That has nothing to do with this post, I just wanted everyone to know I went to the gym.

When the alarm went off, I was thinking of every reason to reset it for a couple hours later. I got pretty good sleep but I just didn't feel like getting out of my nice warm bed, going out into the cold to drive in bad weather to the gym.

When I don't have to pick Konan up, it is easier to not go. I guess it is no secret why that is - it's called "accountability". If I know he is waiting, I am not going to disappoint him. If no one is waiting, then I don't disappoint anyone - or do I?

When you are doing something for someone else, it may not be the best reason. I need to drag my lazy carcass out of bed and go for me. I need to want it for me, not someone else. I need to do it because it's the best thing for me to do.

Accountability definitely helps, but we need to be self-disciplined enough to do things because they are the best things for ourselves. I am a huge fan of accountability because we all get lazy or stumble or become unmotivated, but we reach a different level when we are "self-motivated" and "self -disciplined".

My point: Have some good accountability, everyone needs it, but your accountability partner shouldn't have to constantly push, pull, drag, nag or beat you into doing what YOU are asking them to help you do. If they have to babysit you, then you probably don't want to do it bad enough anyway.

Did I mention I went to the gym this morning...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I think the sitcom "cheers" had it right. Sometimes we really do want to go where everybody knows your name.

Actually sometimes we would settle for anyone knowing our name. In this fast paced world we live in (actually we create it), it seems like life is a lot more impersonal. Everyone keeps to themselves and it comes off rude and un-caring.

The other day, I went into the gym (I even have a callous to prove I am working out), the guy at the counter said "good morning Gary". I thought wow, this guy has a good memory. Then I wondered if he was somewhat of a fruit. After I got rid of that negative thought, I realized that this guy was being personal and it was a nice touch (no, he didn't physically touch me).

Later the same day, I went and got a haircut. This girl cut my hair before but it has been a few months. Each time I go, it seems like a different girl cuts it. When I sat down, she asked are we still cutting it short in front and keeping it long in the back (can you say mullet? - I am totally kidding). She described it perfectly. I thought, so what, she remembers my haircut style. Then she asked how the church was going and went on to talk about details I told her about last time she cut my hair. Once again I was impressed (it didn't make me tip her more).

C3 tries to be a personal church where we call everyone by first name. We are constantly getting new people so we keep it personal by asking everyone to wear a name tag. It might be cheating but somehow it just feels good to call someone and be called by first name. They don't know if you would've remembered it or not...

My point: do your best to have personal relationships with people. When people talk to you, try to remember something / anything about that conversation and bring it up the next time you talk. It makes them feel really good and you come off like you care (even if you don't).

Make it personal because "making your way in the world today takes everything you got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name....? (have fun getting that song out of your head!!!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


My 11 year old daughter just finished up the regular season of 6th grade basketball. Her team went undefeated. A perfect season.

I love that she is into organized sports. I like that it teaches teamwork, working hard, how to win, how to lose and many other great life lessons.

In sports, you never have to wonder - who is winning. All you have to do is look at the scoreboard. At the end there is not a dispute about who won or lost - just look at the scoreboard. Any time you keep score - someone wins and someone loses.

I think the only time it is ok to keep score is in a game or competition where everyone that is participating knows the rules. Unfortunately, I think we keep score in many other areas of life.

When someone is short a buck or two, if I am able, I will give it to them. They always say thank you or I will pay you back, to which I respond "I don't keep score". When I help someone move or finish a project around the house or just give them a ride somewhere, most of the time they say "I owe ya one" - again, I say "no you don't, I don't keep score".

Too many people do things for selfish reasons. They keep score and when the other person doesn't "repay" the favor or money, they end up mad or bitter. They see themselves as the loser and the other person won. They think "they took advantage of me!"

What would happen if we did things just to be nice. What would happen if we did things randomly and wanted absolutely nothing in return.

My point: please don't do something for someone if it means they HAVE to do something for you. If I can help you, I will. If I can't, I will tell you. Don't start a conversation like this: "remember when I helped you..." That is usually followed by "since I helped you, can you help me..." I tell them, I will help you because I can, not because you helped me.

Stop keeping score. When you keep score - someone always loses. (Don't try to feed me that junk about a tie - no one likes to tie)

Congratulations Shayna, I am very proud of you

locked in the bathroom with socks on her hands

Hannah locked herself in the bathroom today.

She went ahead of me when we were going up to get a bath. When I got to the bathroom door, I heard her inside calling out in a scared voice, "open, door open".

I said, "Hannah, open the door". She said "I can't, can't open door". I then remembered that she had socks on her hands (we keep it cold in our house). She was beginning to freak out so I bent down closer to the doorknob (her level) and said "Hannah, calm down. Hannah, listen to me. Take the socks off of your hands". A few seconds later BOUYAH - the door was opened. The socks were laying on the floor and all was well.

I think this is how we are even as adults. We get in a situation, then freak out. It is hard to think when you are freaking out. It is hard to hear anyone when we are listening to the bad thoughts running through our heads. We panic instead of calmly listening to the voice of reason or even better the voice of our Father.

As a dad, I knew the situation of my child. I knew how to best communicate with her. I was so proud of her for being calm enough (for a red head - that is huge) to listen to her father.

My point: Our Heavenly Father knows our situation. Even when we get into situations because of bad choices, He knows. He knows how to get us out and He wants to help us. We just have to be calm enough to hear His voice.

The next time you are locked in the bathroom with socks on your hands - listen for your Heavenly Father. He will be laughing at you for having socks on your hands.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

microphone etiquette

I have been compiling a list of things that people don't like to hear from the microphone. Most of these can be applied anywhere but for the sake of my "unofficial" list, I have been tackling this issue from a church standpoint.

There are certain things that when said to a crowd of people, it creates awkward moments. Here are a few of my personal dislikes.
  • "how is everyone doing?" - this has to be one of the worst. First of all, if I am in a crowd, I am not responding to this question because I can't speak for EVERYONE!!! Secondly, you don't really care how I am doing, you are just trying to get some feedback.

  • "is this thing on?" or "can you hear me" (or any variation of this)- I hate these because if the microphone is not on, I can't hear your question. If I can't hear you, I am not going to respond anyway. If it is not on, the sound person will notice and fix the problem (a half decent one will anyway)

  • "They don't even know I am going to say this but..." - this one is a recipe for disaster. If you are supposed to be announcing one thing, and then take it upon yourself to change things without clearing it with someone, you are probably going to look stupid and it makes everyone else look unorganized. It usually doesn't turn out the way you think it will.

  • Inside jokes are not funny from the mic/stage - any time you tell a joke or make a comment that is not intended for the entire listening audience, it is probably going to warrant the sound of crickets. It is not going to be funny to anyone, even you, because you will probably end up embarrassed and mess up the rest of what you are supposed to say. It won't turn out as good as you rehearsed it in your head.

Those are just a few of my personal dislikes. I have received some great feedback from others and will continue to compile a list.

My point: if we strive for excellence in every other area of the Sunday morning experience, why do we pay so little attention to what people are going to say from the microphone. If we are putting people in the tough spot of getting up and speaking without notice, it is our fault. If you have been notified that you are speaking and been briefed on what to say and somehow still goof it up... It's your fault.

Please feel free to email with any you would like to add to my "unofficial list" or you can leave a comment and I take them from there.

stupid disclaimer: you will not be cited or named for any contribution to the list. You will get no recognition or credit

Friday, February 15, 2008

the big "BUT"

I am reading a book where the author talks about the power of the "but".

Now be careful, I know it would be extremely funny to talk about the power of the butt, however, that is not what I said. Don't get me wrong, my butt has some amazing power, "but" that is not what this post is about. I may talk about that another time (I am sure you can't wait for that).

Isn't "but" a funny word. If someone says "you look nice but..." - it doesn't matter how nice the first part of that sentence was, you are only going to remember the part after the "but". Why do we do that?

In the Hebrew language the word "but" cancels out everything that is said prior to it in a sentence structure. That means if you say: you look nice - but, you smell like cheese", you are only going to focus on the part where you smell like a dairy product. Get it?

Let's try another one. See if this one has ever happened to you. "I would love to go out with you - but, I have to braid my armpit hair". (haven't we all heard that one!)

What are you saying - then canceling it out with your big "but"?
*I know I should get in shape - but...
*I know I need to get out of debt - but...
*I should go to church - but...
*I want to have a relationship with Jesus - but...
*My dream is to have a sock full of nickels - but...

My point: we all have a big "but" and they all stink. Stop thinking about your "but" and get busy doing what you need to do. Your"but" is just getting in the way.

Pay attention to how often you say the word "but". We already notice when people say it to us, now start noticing when you say it to yourself & others.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Hi, my name is gary and I text.

Now that I have admitted it publically, I can talk openly about it. I don't think it is a problem, I can quit whenever I want, I just don't want too.

I text everywhere. The last time I was very sick (years ago), I was texting between bathroom runs (pun intended).

I text in church (gasp), in the car while driving, while I am going to the bathroom (you knew I was going to say that), while I am bathing my kid, at the dinner table... anywhere & everywhere.

Konan and I were at this meeting and it was so stinkin boring that I texted him (he was sitting right next to me) to get up and start slapping the crap out of me. We sat there and texted back and forth. I text people when they in the same room, right next to me (is that a problem?).

Texting has become a primary way of communication. I love it.

My point: Things change whether we want them to or not. We can adapt or just complain about it. For those of you who complain about "texters", chill out! If you don't text, you probably liked climbing the rope in gym class.

Gotta go, I got a text I have to read

Friday, February 8, 2008


I am eating 11 tangerines today.

My point: 11 tangerines that would otherwise rot, will be eaten today.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the parallel

Yesterday was my dad's birthday, it also just happened to be Ronald Reagan's birthday.

I would like to parallel the lives of these two great men. There are some amazing similarities. I trust you will be amazed by them.

Ronald Reagan - first name is "Ronald"
My dad - has a brother named "Ronald" (he is in the pic in the background)

Ronald Reagan - loves jelly beans
My dad - can spell "jelly beans"

Ronald Reagan - known as the "great communicator"
My dad - communicated great with a belt

Ronald Reagan - was on tv
My dad - loves to watch tv

Ronald Reagan - was the 40th president
My dad - is the president of the Barry Manilow fan club

Ronald Reagan - was married to Nancy
My dad - is married to Kathy (they both end with the letter "y")

Ronald Reagan - in office during the "Iran contra scandal"
My dad - had to go to my principal's office during my "spitting scandal"

Ronald Reagan - his wife was known for "just say NO"
My dad - his wife always says "NO"

Ronald Reagan - was on a postage stamp
My dad - has mailed many letters with postage stamps

Ronald Reagan - was a man of influence
My dad - was the greatest influence of my life

These are just a few of the amazing parallels of two great men.

My point: Birthdays are a great time of reflection. There are so many great memories I share with my dad. I can only hope my children love me half as much as I love my dad. There are so many lessons I am still learning from my dad. He made so many sacrifices for me and my family. As a dad myself, I can now appreciate some of those sacrifices he made out of love.

Thanks dad, for everything. Happy birthday. I love you very much.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I went to staples the other day to pick up some W-2 forms (yes, I waited until the last minute). The guy showed me a pack of 30 for only $20. I told him I only needed 3...

He said, this is the only pack we have, have you tried office max? I said - wow, you are referring me to your competition. He said, I just want you to get what you need and if we don't have it, I want to send you somewhere that does.

I was very impressed. I became a staples fan. There is a book by Ken Blanchard called "raving fans" and it talks about being so good that your reputation spreads by word of mouth. That is the best advertising you can get anyway.

We decided to shoot for "raving fan" service as a church. We don't offer all the typical "programs" that other churches in our denomination offers. When someone comes and asks about one of those programs, we simply tell them, we don't have that but if that is what you are looking for, I can help you find a place that does.

The way I see it - if they come to us thinking that we are something we are not, they are going to be disappointed and leave anyway. Why not help them find a place where they will be happy to begin with.

My point: you can't make everyone happy. Know who you are and what you can do and do it better than anyone else. If that isn't what someone is looking for, help them find it. They will be grateful and you may just make a new friend (sappy smile).