Let’s Do Better

For the last fifty-seven years my birthday has been on New Year’s Eve, I suppose it will be for the next fifty-seven to now that I think about it. In all of those years, I’ve always been prompted with the idea of making the new year better than the last one. I think we’ve all done it, written down our hopes, dreams and aspirations only to fall back into the routines of life in just a few short weeks. Or at least I hope I’m not the only one this happens to.

Many people have complained, whined and cried about the year 2020, I truthfully have seen some pretty amazing things; haven’t missed a day of work, continued to see the blessings of God in my life and was introduced to the most beautiful baby girl which has earned me the title of Pop Pop. There have been some sad things as well; my dad passing away (not due to Covid), friend’s family members having died (due to Covid) and our family vacation being extremely too short. But with all of this, I guess 2020 wanted to get in one last kick.

So yesterday was the most miserable day I think I have ever had at work. Usually, I’m pretty upbeat and optimistic with whatever is going on, but yesterday I guess I was off of my game, and unwilling to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, which is funny, because the day before I did, and did well. Anyhow, yesterday just sucked. For those of you who know me, for me to even use the word “sucked”, it should be obvious how bad a day it was. For starters, I had to fix a situation at the very beginning of my shift (6 am) in order to keep the mill from losing production. And I had to do this, while trying to do the things I already have to do at the start of my shift, so I was behind.

Also with it being the end of the month and year the sales department decided to bombard us with an abundance of shipments going out. Funny how at the end of the month trucks magically appear to take these loads, but are hard pressed to be found during the actual month. And yes, before you say aren’t you being a little whiney? If this was a situation which only happens once in a while, I’d just accept it like a champ and move on, but when it occurs each and every month, there becomes a pattern which makes my life and the lives of the rest of the guys I work with more difficult.

As I ran to meet each and every need requiring my assistance I found myself around 5:00 pm thinking, “Hey, we might get home by 6:00 pm.” That’s about the time we were told we needed to get another load ready for the truck which had been overlooked. The truck arrived two hours earlier than that, and it would have been cool to get the load ready while it was daylight and not raining, but instead we had to tally the load in the dark, holding flashlights, clipboards, and umbrellas trying not to get the paperwork wet, not to mention ourselves. Now I don’t hold this against anyone, I really don’t. Accidents happen, and I’m a big enough man to forgive, especially when I make enough mistakes in my own life daily. I’ve only written about it so you can get a glimpse of yesterday from my perspective.

By the time we were loading the last three trucks for the day, the rain was coming in sheets, with a stiff north wind making the temperature about twenty-eight degrees. It was brutal. As part of my job, I have a vehicle to drive from place to place, but as luck would have it, it was broke down. I was driving another buggy, but one with only a windshield (thank God for that) but no doors, so I was parking it facing the wind to as minimize the amount of cold and wet I would get. Out of the blue, one of my coworkers starts yelling, I didn’t know he was aiming this barrage of words in my direction until he stormed closer to where I was sitting. It was at this point I realized he was mad at me for not loading the truck, or even offering to help. Should I have, probably, but with the day I was having I was just trying to make it until I could go home.

Now in hindsight, I did not handle the situation in the correct way. He shot off a bunch of cuss words at me, and I fired right back. To say I was mad is an understatement. Was this guy justified? In his mind he was. Was I justified in what I said back to him? In my mind, yes. Now a day later, reviewing this in my mind and applying God’s Word to it, obviously the Holy Spirit has been reminding me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-39 Amplified:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise].”

Yeah, great words to live by, wish I would have done that yesterday. But this is what I am writing about with my blog today, “Let’s do better!” I’m going to work at driving the words of Jesus further and deeper into my heart, by not only giving them mind space, but actually living them out in the real world. It obviously doesn’t happen just because I read it, I must put it into practice. Like Jesus said in James 1:22:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

I will be making my part in the way 2020 ended right with my coworker, because regardless of how right I may have felt I was justified in my behavior, I was wrong and need to make it right. How about joining me this year? Let’s do better, and see God work in our lives in a larger way in 2021. For the Kingdom and the King, Shalom and welcome to the new world!

Holy Two Face Batman!

I’m sure if someone didn’t know me personally, but made decisions about what manner of man I am from my social media postings and blogs, then who I am and who you think I am would be painted with two different brushes. While the truth is, who you see before you in this blog and on all of my social media posts is one and the same guy, obviously if you were to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and we discussed the very same things I write and post about, you would probably think I was not the same man who wrote them. Mainly because of the difference between reading what someone says, and actually listening and having a conversation with that person.

As a matter of fact, this very subject came up over a lunch conversation with my bride and a friend today. People are constantly getting upset with things people post online, and usually what the upset person gets aggravated with isn’t even what the author intended. Without being able to hear the inflection in a person’s voice, or see the intent within their eyes, it is hard to actually understand what they are saying.

It’s like why punctuation is so important when you’re writing something for people to read. For example if I write, “Let’s eat grandma.” versus, “Let’s eat, grandma.” even though I use the very same words, without putting that little comma behind the word eat, it turns my words into a heinous act. Hearing how someone says something is like putting the comma in your sentence; it helps to get your point across.

One thing I’ve seen so much of over the past few months is how many people are giving us all a piece of their minds. And while I am all for talking about what you believe, I have to ask myself is this really worth the effort I am going to put in before I post it? Does this mean I get it right every time? No, absolutely not, but this shouldn’t keep me from sharing my thoughts and ideas. Instead, if I end up posting something I should have taken a little more time seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit about instead of plowing ahead, I need to own it and make it right to anyone I’ve offended.

Now this brings up a whole other thing, in today’s society, we have people who get offended at every little thing out there. And as a fifty-six year old man who gets up each and every day and spends my entire day outside doing things I don’t really want to do in order to feed and provide for my family, I don’t have a lot of patience for anyone who gets their feelings hurt and needs a special room for coloring and petting puppies to help them feel better about themselves. (Too much, too harsh?)

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” So understand when I write, post or say something, it will always be the same. Now you may not like what I have to say, and you know that’s okay. Nobody ever said life was about getting everyone to agree with you. But one thing you will find out about me is these things I believe, I believe because of what I’ve found in the Scriptures. I have a basis for what I talk about, and I would hope you do as well. Again, this is not to say I’ve never made mistakes before, but I do always own them, as I would hope you do as well.

To wrap this blog up, I hope you understand everything I say will come from the place of letting my yes be yes and my no be no. No wishy-washiness here, no just repeating what other people say without owning it. I’m going to own each and every word or picture I share, you can believe this, and if it turns out I offend you, then don’t hesitate to tell me. Because I can’t make it right if I don’t know I offended you.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Are You Part of the Working Dead?

“Time to make the donuts.”  These words were uttered by the Dunkin Donuts spokesman, Fred the baker for sixteen years.  Their commercials showed Fred getting out of bed early each morning and as he was leaving for work he would say this famous catchphrase.  I used to say this when it was time for me to go to work as well, and I think for a while my kids thought I worked in a donut shop as well as the shoe store.

Going to work and doing the same thing day in and day out can be monotonous to say the least.  In a conversation at a graduation party the other night, I was talking with the grandfather of the girl we were celebrating, and he told me in August, it would be his thirtieth year employed by the company he worked for.  He said, “Last week, I was driving to work, like I’ve done five days a week for the past thirty years, and as I pulled in the parking lot, I thought, ‘how did I get here’?”  He said he felt like he was on autopilot; he remembered leaving his house, but nothing else.

Have you ever felt like this?  I call it being part of the working dead.  You’re moving through your work life like a zombie with no real sense of direction or purpose.  You clock in, do your job and collect your pay check.  But before you know it, thirty years have passed and what do you have to show for it, a gold watch?  Do they even give out watches at retirement any more?

I understand as men we have to provide for our family; this should be one of our primary goals in life.  But this doesn’t mean we have to trudge through each day without a little zest in our lives too.  You need to be looking for little things which can bring joy to your work life and revel in them.  It would be awesome to get on a cruise ship any time I want, but this isn’t realistic.  However laughing hysterically when a co-worker hooks a fake snake to another guy who is scared of them can make your day.

I guess to bottom line it for you; you’ve got to find things to help you make it through the monotony of your work life.  Planning big events in life are great and you should, but don’t spend time only waiting for those big events and miss out on the little opportunities to find some joy every day.  Don’t stay a part of the work place living dead, come to life while doing your job. After all, it’s the little things which make life worth living.






It’s Not Personal…It’s Strictly Business

In the Godfather movies there are a lot of great quotes, but my all time favorites is, “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.”  Michael Corleone says this to his brother Sonny in response to a comment about his emotional state.  To me this is the defining moment when Michael actually shows he has what it takes to lead the crime family.

One of the greatest challenges I face when working with people is the misconception I am mad at them, when in fact I’m not really even thinking about them, I’m just trying to accomplish the goals set before me.  As a man, I like to get the tasks assigned to me done in as an efficient manner as possible.  I don’t like to play around; I just want to get my job done.  I guess you could say I’m a driven individual.

When I’m at work, I want to get my work done and then play.  The problem I run into a lot of times is other people want to either play then work, or they want to chit chat while they work.  I am my least efficient when I’m talking while working, not to mention I tend to make more mistakes because my focus is not fully on what I’m doing.

Having been both a business owner and an employee I’ve been on both sides of the fence.  I know as an employer I wanted the people I hired to do their best work for me; after all this is what I was paying them to do.  And as an employee, I want to give my boss the best bang for his buck.

There is such a lackadaisical attitude any more when it comes to people doing their jobs.  It’s almost an entitlement mentality, like the employee is owed something because they work for a company.  The only thing the boss owes you is your pay check at the end of the week.

Perhaps I’m just old fashioned, maybe I’m just a jerk, but I really feel men should give their employers a full day’s work; making sure all of the work is done before doing anything else.  I mean, once I’ve completed all the tasks at hand, I’ve got no problem socializing with my co-workers.  I’ve just got to get the work done first.

I’ve been called out on more than one occasion because people thought I was angry, when I really wasn’t; there was work to do, and I was just trying to do it.  It’s in moments like these I want to say, “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.”

Happy 4th of July holiday, have fun but be safe too!  Now you know what I think, what do you think?





Let It Go Indiana!

Grasping his son’s wrist with both hands, it was everything Henry could do to maintain his hold. He was acutely aware of the danger with each passing moment as his grip loosened.  Reaching out with the arm not being held by his father, the professor stretched to recover the prize they had spent weeks searching for.

Disregarding the danger, his mind focused on the cup and only the cup, it took his father’s words to bring him back to reality.  “Let it go, Indiana.”  Snapping out of it, he turned and with his loose hand grabbed a hold of his father’s arms and began the process of saving his life.  This is one of my favorite scenes in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, and I’ve quoted this movie line to myself and others more times than I can remember.

Just a few days ago, while I was working, a situation came up with my boss which set me off.  I was doing my job, and had a plan in action when he came and changed it up.  While I don’t mind micromanaging sometimes, yesterday I felt it was a dumb decision and as I worked through it I had to tell myself, “Let it go Indiana.”  I even went as far as to write this little phrase on the windshield of the Polaris I drive at work so it would be a constant reminder to me throughout the day.

There are times when things just aren’t worth the fight; at work and also in life.  When situations like this show up, what do you do, how do you handle them?  I’ve seen men who will not let it go if they feel they’re right; they will fight for it regardless of what it might do to them in the future.  Being right is more important to them than anything else, and it blinds them to what is going on.

Fighting for what you believe in is a noble thing, and there are times when you should stand your ground, but when you take a stand for every little thing it begins to look less like fighting for what you believe in and more like rage.  And rage is just uncontrolled anger, which especially in the work environment will cause you more grief and way less return on your investment.

There is nothing wrong with taking the high ground in situations like these; which is what I did the other day.  I did have a good venting session with one of my friends, working to get it off of my chest, but even though my way was a better use of resources and time, it was definitely not the hill for me to die on.

When you find yourself in one of these situations, tell yourself, “Let it go Indiana.” and do just that, let it go.  Don’t expend energy going over it again and again in your mind.  It will go a long way to helping you at work and with your relationships.  After all, no one likes the person who always has to be right and fights every battle placed in their way as if their very lives depended on it.  To quote Shakespeare from his play Henry the Fourth;

The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life.

There will be times in your life where using discretion at work or in your relationships will benefit you more than choosing to fight the battle and ending up losing your job or a friendship.  Don’t let your attitude blind you to what could end up being your destruction.

Now you know what I think, what do you think?