Dear <First Name>

31 Jul

I just received this marketing email from WebEx

Hi <First Name>,

Do you still have current needs in the WebEx area? From a pricing perspective, the 7/31 timing would work well for you. Terms, rates and scale of commit are the primary areas of flexibility…

Let me know if it makes sense to discuss details.

Best,

Now, they want me to get all excited and purchase their services when they can’t even figure out mail-merge? The sad thing about this is that this isn’t the first of these types of letters I’ve received from WebEx. I can’t believe that an organization that wants to attract new customers expects that this is an appropriate way of finding them. I have decided to add WebEx to my spam filter. I don’t need the hassle.

Looking for Passion

31 Jul

Among the many books that I am currently reading is John Maxwell’s, “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader“. It’s a short book and I’ve committed to read a chapter a day. Today’s quality is Passion.

Passion is something I have longed for. I don’t really have passion for anything – at least not in the “keep you up at night” sense. I enjoy doing a lot of things but nothing really keeps me up at night. I may have bursts of enthusiasm but it quickly fades and I’m back to being Mister Even-Keel. Never too excited about anything.

So, I’m not happy with that part of myself. How do I change it? The book gives me a few suggestions:

  1. Take your temperature – How passionate are you about your life and work?
  2. Return to your first love – sometimes events in life distract us from our true calling.
  3. Associate with people who have passion – it’s contagious.

I’m currently at step 1. Trying to identify step 2 and looking for people in step 3.

What is your passion? What keeps you up at night? If you have developed a passion for something, how did you do it? I am interested. I’m ready to lose some sleep!

Practicing Patience

26 Jul

Two days ago, Apple (AAPL) stock lost 6% of it’s value. As a loyal Apple stockholder, I have learned not to put too much weight in peoples perceptions. Apple has taken hits over the years but has always bounced back. I’ve been tempted to sell many times but I kept riding my gut feeling. This time I was nervous.

If you haven’t slept through the last few months, you most likely know that Apple released the iPhone which from everything I’ve read, has pretty much lived up to the hype. The problem is that AT&T, who is the only cellphone carrier for the iPhone, reported small activation numbers. The market panicked and the stock went down. With all of the experts being disappointed in the activation figures, shouldn’t I be worried also? Should I sell off my Apple stock?

Patience is something that is hard to practice – especially when it comes to things we consider important – but necessary if we want to be successful. Patience makes sure you have more information before making decisions. Patience makes sure you don’t act out in an emotional state. Patience allow you to take a breath. Patience gives the time for the pieces to fall into place.

I am reminded that patience is one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22). Patience can also aid in persuasion (Proverbs 25:15). John Quincy Adams said, “Patience and perserverence have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” Patience is a difficult but, good thing to practice.

I didn’t sell. I practiced patience. As of this writing, the stock price has gained back all it lost and then some. It’s a good day!

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

23 Jul

Rich Tatum at the Blog Rodent just posed the question, “What’s Different? Church vs. Bar” on his blog. He asks basically the same question I have about church? Why isn’t church more like the neighborhood bar? His experience and question is very similar to an article that I have been working on entitled, “Jesus, Beer and Rock & Roll”, he just articulated it better than I could. 🙂

Read Rich’s post and leave him a comment! I’d love to read your thoughts on the question!

Weight Loss Update

19 Jul

I know it’s been a long time so I thought I’d just post a short update on how I’m coming with my weight loss. It’s actually an anniversary of sorts. 26 weeks! 6 months! And how am I doing?

Well, I’ve lost 77.4 lbs!

My main goal is to lose 149 lbs so I am a little over half way! I am still averaging over 2 lbs per week. I am out of my XXXL shirts and into just XL shirts!

What’s my secret? Diet and exercise! No really! And….. it doesn’t hurt to have someone to be accountable to. For me, it is a room full of ladies at the local Weight Watchers meeting. Most of the time, I’m the only guy there so I’ve got to represent!

Lately, I’ve started running again. I was always too heavy to run and my joints just wouldn’t take it. Now, I’m starting and I actually feel pretty good. I’m at the run/walk/run/walk/walk/walk stage right now but gradually I’m working my way up. I even told my wife that I think I would like to run an triathalon (swim,bike,run). OK – I’m dreaming there but it’s good to have a goal!

Oh.. and one more thing that keeps me going?

I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Speaking of Philippians, we’re starting a new series on Philippians. I’ll be writing the daily emails for the study so if you’re interested, check out our Shine Like A Star series and sign up for the daily emails!

Warrior Tales: Sergeant Jeffrey L. Kirk

4 Jul

More than 1,000 members of Sergeant Jeffrey L. Kirk’s Marine Corp family gathered March 5 to honor the fallen Marine with the Silver Star.  Sgt Kirk’s wife and parents sat beneath a tent next to the lectern.  His fellow Marines stood in formation before the traditional rifle and helmet memorial.  He was “a true Marine, a true warrior, a loving husband and a loving son,” said the battalion chaplain.  Kirk’s widow, Carly, accepted her husband’s Silver Star from the battalion’s Commanding Officer.

On Nov. 10, 2004, Kirk led his Marines against a machine-gun position inside an Iraqi building in Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Phantom Fury.  Insurgents manning the position repelled Kirk’s squad with heavy gunfire and grenade attacks.  Kirk replied by regrouping his men, and upon the second assault hurled a grenade into the room and eliminated the enemy machine-gunner with his rifle.

“I’m living proof of his heroism,” said Staff Sergeant Kenneth A. Distelhorst, a platoon sergeant for 3d Platoon, Company L.  “Without his quick reaction, I wouldn’t be here today.”

During his squad’s second attempt to take the enemy position, the Marines were again repelled.  This time, Kirk was wounded.

On the final assault, Kirk ignored his injuries and took the point position to lead his Marines against the insurgents.  This time, they cleared the building all the way to the roof.  His actions in the face of imminent danger destroyed a key defensive position and prevented serious casualties among his fellow Marines.

“Jeff will always be a role model and an inspiration,” said Sgt Dave H. Hawley, fire team leader.  “If I had to describe Sergeant Kirk in two words it would be ‘Semper Fidelis.'”

Sgt Kirk died in other combat action on Dec. 12, 2004.

-from Leatherneck, July 2007

Warrior Tales: LCpl Christopher S. Adlesperger

1 Jul

Lance Corporal Christopher S. “Sperge” Adlesperger, who was a Marine for less than a year, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for valor in Iraq.  The Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest combat award, was presented to the 20-year-old Marine’s parents.  The award cites the valor of then-Private First Class Adlesperger as a rifleman in Company K, 3d Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, 1stMarDiv in Fallujah on Nov. 10, 2004, during one of the largest and most intense battles of the war in Iraq.

The 30-minute gunfight started when a heavy burst of insurgent gunfire killed Adlesperger’s close friend Lance Corporal Erick Hodges and brought down LCpl Ryan Sunnerville and Hospitalman Alonso Rogero.

According to the citation: “With the majority of his platoon pinned down by insurgent positions, Private First Class Adlesperger single-handedly cleared stairs and a rooftop to move the injured to a rooftop where they could receive medical attention.”  The citation also states: “On his own initiative, while deliberately exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, he established a series of firing positions and attacked the enemy, forcing them to be destroyed in place or to move into an area where adjacent forces could engage them.”

Although wounded, he took the point for his platoon in a final assault on an enemy machine-gun position.  Adlesperger charged into a courtyard, firing at insurgents at close range with his rifle and grenade launcher.  He is credited with killing 11 insurgents.

Later, on Dec. 9 after he received a meritorious promotion to Lance Corporal, Adlesperger was killed in action while leading his fire team.

“He was the greatest Marine I ever met,” said Corporal Carlos Batista, who arrived in 3/5 with Adlesperger.

First Lieutenant Michael Cragholm, the platoon leader, now a series commander at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, told reporters that he makes sure every graduation series knows the name and story of LCpl Adlesperger.  “He is the warrior that the Marine Corps will remember.”

– Taken from the Leatherneck, July 2007.