Storm Damage

Summer brings with it, fun, relaxation, and excitement….both good and bad.

WIth summer and hot weather comes storms. Storms can cause a lot of havoc on our homes, lawns, gardens, and trees. Be sure that you assess the damage after any storm and here are some things to look for.

Anytime we experience high winds you should look for missing shingles, loose trim, such as fascia, and soffits. Take a look at any of your roofing vent systems to see that they are properly working such as whirly bird ventilators. Trees should also be looked at especially if there are branches on the ground. Look up into the tree to see if any branches have broken and are in jeopardy of falling. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if a branch or limb is damaged right away, but if you wait a few days and see the leaves of one branch or limb are curling and dying, this is a good indication that it is damaged and needs to be pruned.

If you have experienced hail, you should look for signs of damage such as a lot of shingle aggregate at the bottom of your downspouts. Also look for dents and pings on siding, trim, and doors.

If you notice any of these signs of damage due to storms, it is advised that you get a professional or to take a look at it, or contact your homeowners insurance agent, and of course make sure that the storm has passed before venturing out to inspect and keep your personal safety in mind at all times.


Some cool home maintenance ideas even when it’s hot

July is here and so is the heat. It is really tough to be thinking about home maintenance when a cool beverage and a shady spot to sit are much more appealing.

Take advantage of the hot weather as a time to get wet.

Consider pressure washing your homes exterior. Pressure washing your homes exterior is something that should be considered as regular upkeep, especially if you have permanent siding. Giving your home a good pressure washing does a couple of things, first, it removes some of the accumulated oxidation that has built up over the past year or so, and gives your siding a freshly painted appearance. It also removes unwanted deposits from your friendly birds that may cause permanent spotting if not attended to. and lastly it gives you time to take a good close look at your exterior and notice any other repairs that may not be noticed with a casual glance.

A couple of words of caution when using a pressure washer on your siding; be careful not to spray up and under the siding, start at the top and work your way down, be careful not to spray directly into the openings around your doors and windows, this may cause damage to the weather stripping and cause leaks, and be sure not to get too close or get too aggressive, especially with wood or hardboard siding as you can really damage the surface. It is advisable to try in an inconspicuous spot first to be sure that you are able to get the results you are looking for.

If you do decide to use a cleaner, be sure to protect your plants as some of the cleaners can be a little harsh on your tender vegetation.

A little fun with the water can clean your house, keep you cool, and even water some of your lawn.


The “Vowels” of Relationships

Many times we use vows to solidify a relationship, let me suggest that maybe we can look at using vowels to do more than just solidify a relationship but to also improve and grow that relationship.

Here are my suggested vowels of relationship:

A – Ask -Are you satisfied? Are your needs being met? What areas are in need of improvement? What are we doing exceptionally well? What is it that we need to stop doing immediately?

E – Educate – Who we are? Never discuss who we were as that is no longer valid, we       have grown. How are we evolving? Where are we going? What makes us sing?

I – Imagine – Creating and obtaining our goals. Defining and securing a win-win situation. Possibilities.

O – Offer – Opportunities to grow and learn. Resources that can benefit the overall success of the relationship. Council, remember that advice is given to protect, but council is given to benefit.

U – Understand – Difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations. Understand that sacrifices are made by all, don’t just dwell on the sacrifices you have made but be sure that you appreciate all the sacrifices that others have made too. Show compassion and caring in all matters of the relationship.

There is nothing written that says that relationships are easy. It has been said that coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, but working together is success.


Matthew 2:11 KJV
“And when they (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Can one person really make a difference? Can one person positively affect the lives of others? I believe the answer is yes. If the power of one is mighty, what power would a group of likeminded individuals be capable of?
I challenge you to participate in the Matthew 2:11 gift exchange. Just as the wise men gave gifts to our infant savior, let us give also.
The premise is simple,
Step 1. Take three envelopes and label separately, one “Gold”, one “Frankincense”, and the last one “Myrrh”.
Step 2. Inside each of the envelopes place a dollar or two, or even one hundred, depending on what your heart leads you to do,
Step 3. Add a note telling the recipient to post a message to Facebook Community ” Matthew 2:11 Gifts” telling how the gift made a difference in your life.
Step 4. Give those envelopes away.
Give one to a friend in need, one to a local charity, one to your local library. Be original, give the gift of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to whomever you feel will benefit the most from it. It can be the local Salvation Army kettle, your local church or Sunday school, even to a complete stranger, the choice is yours. Who will be the recipient of your gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh?
We never know the path that others are traveling, their path may be smooth and scenic, or their path may be rough and dusty. Some paths are lonely, some congested, and some are dark and frightening. Some paths are new, some are soon ending. Only the traveler and God knows the path they are on. A simple gift may be all that is needed, or maybe it is just the thought that will brighten the traveler’s day.
What do you do if you are presented with or you discover a gift of gold, frankincense, or myrrh?
Step 1. Thank the giver and/or thank God for the blessing.
Step 2. Decide
Yes, or No. Do I need a gift in my life right now?
Yes, accept it gracefully and put it to good use, the gift is yours.
No, I have plenty in my life right now, give it away just like you did with the others.
The Choice is yours, no questions asked.

I have set up a Facebook page called Matthew 2:11 Gifts, please share your experiences and thoughts as we go through the process and then starting Christmas Eve through Christmas Day, share the changes that these gifts brought you in both giving and receiving and we will see what a bug difference just one person can really make.
Merry Christmas and God Bless

Making that All-Important Connection

I have talked about the importance of connecting before, and remember that connecting involves communicating, and communicating is something that we all can use a little improvement in.

John Maxwell provides us with five practical skills to improve our ability to connect with others:

  1. Finding Common Ground
  2. Making Your Communication Simple
  3. Capturing People’s Interest
  4. Inspiring Them
  5. Being Authentic

Let’s take a closer look at these five practical skills.

Finding Common Ground- Co-Founder of Master Networks, Chas Wilson insists that the first thing that we all do when working on building an opportunity is to build on common interest. We must first find a reason for us to have a conversation, and what better way to do that but to start with something both parties enjoy or are knowledgeable about. It can be something as complex as a business strategy or as simplistic as the weather. Either way it is common ground, and it is that foundation that our relationship can be built upon.

Making Your Communication Simple – It has been said that if you can not say or explain something simply, you do not know the subject matter well enough yourself. Politicians seem to have cornered the market on saying thing in such a complicated way that you can’t pin anything to them directly. Communication in that style is not only frustrating, but very ineffective. If you truly want to get across and idea or a thought, the best way to paint the picture clearly so that all can see it is to say it simply. Or as the acronym goes, KISS Keep it Simple Stupid (please don’t be offended by that.)

Capturing People’s Interest – What better way to get someone interested in what you have to say than to simply tell a story. We all have a story and everyone loves to hear a good story. How can you use a story to convey the information or the ideas that you have than to tell a relevant story. We can all draw a story out of an experience that we have encountered, and because it is our story and our experience, we can and are allowed to take a creative license to it and embellish it to our advantage. The point is, use something as simplistic as a good story and use it to your advantage to draw a person’s interest to hearing what you have to say.

Inspire Them – The best inspiration is a living testament to the idea that you want others to follow. You can’t be something on the outside that you truly are not on the inside, and your facade of a false front will quickly erode and leave you standing vulnerable and with a total and many times an irreparable credibility. You are truly unique and that there never has been, never will be, or currently is another individual as unique as you. Own that person who is you. I challenge you to write down your top 10 strengths and own them. Be able to describe them to others and be willing and able to demonstrate them at all times regardless who is watching you.

Being Authentic – Remember, you are unique and that being unique gives you permission to be the best you that you can be. Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t know what struggles that person is dealing with or the circumstances that have been awarded them that will never be awarded to you. Joel Osteen has said that someone else’s gift or talent would be a hindrance to you. Be real, be true, be yourself. The only person that you ever need to be better than is the person you were yesterday. God doesn’t make second rate goods, he has given us all the talents and gifts that we need to be truly successful in life.

By taking these five principles and putting them into practice, you will be able to better connect with people and every good leader needs to have good connections.

“Keep Those Fingers Dirty!”


A candle brings light

A candle brings warmth

A candle eases fear

A candle helps guide

We can learn much from looking at a candle, what it does, we should do. A candle in its simpicity can do so much to improve less desireable situations. We are so much more than just a simplistic candle, wouldn’t it be in our best interest to do for others what the simple candle does.

We only get one chance to make our lives a light, just like a candle can only give light while it is lit. Let your flame burn brightly as a candle and see what a difference we can make.

Be a candle for all!!


Paul Meyer is quoted as saying, “Communication-the human connection- is the key to personal and career success.”

I am in the midst of preparing a presentation on communication based on John C. Maxwell’s book “Everyone Communicates Few Connect”. As I have been researching material for the presentation I learn even more, I have always tried to make my communication as effective as possible but I do know that there is still considerable room for improvement.

John Maxwell says that “people cannot succeed in life without communicating effectively.”

What are some of the key components of communication?

I have listed what I call “The 5 Be’s of Effective Communication”:

Be Authentic- If you are not speaking from your heart, it won’t take long for others to see that and lessen the value of what you are telling them. You are the only person who can tell your story.

Be Clear – Lessen any chance of being misunderstood by being absolutely clear in your message. The consequences of being misunderstood or misinterpreted can be quite severe.

Be Certain- If you lack certainty in your self how can you persuade others to take you with any sense of authority.

Be Open – Don’t be afraid – sometimes what we have to say may hurt, but what we say should never be hurtful in any way.

Be Receptive – Sometimes to be a great communicator you first must learn to become a superior listener.

Place a high degree of importance on your ability to communicate and practice doing it, as Jim Rohn says, “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.”



Living on the vast prairie of ancient Lake Agassiz I have a true appreciation of trees. So few of them to be found other than along the rivers, around farmsteads, in towns, or in shelter belts. Trees have a very useful purpose as they provide shade for us to sit in to rest, they offer landmarks to help us find our way, and they provide protection from the relentless winds that we experience year round in this part of the country.

I remember my Grandpa talking about the dust bowl in the thirties and how the topsoil would be piled deep along the fencelines and in the few tree lines that were in the region and how afterwords much work was done to plant shelterbelts to prevent the massive erosion from occurring.

Today it seems that these former guardians of the soil are now being removed in the name of agricultural progress. The machinery is large and needs more room to maneuver and the increased use of pesticides on crops has brought much destruction to the trees that we may once again soon be wishing that we had better tended to.

When we use paper foolishly we say that we are “killing a tree” but I think we kill far more through inappropriate management of our resources in the name of progress.

Once the trees are gone what will stand in the way of progress?  Lack of oxygen?


How Dare You?

Have you ever tried something unique or maybe outside of the mainstream, and have had folks wonder how you could be so irresponsible? Well, irresponsible may not be the appropriate choice of words in many of these situations. Let’s see if the word daring would better fit.

If we are truly trying to do something that is of benefit to ourselves or to others, there should be little room for shame in trying something that others have not. When some one voices a concern such as “how dare you,” don’t be worried that you have offended them or that you have done something inappropriate, think more along the lines of being daring, willing to step out in faith to obtain a goal that for many others is entirely out of grasp.

If we don’t dare to reach for a goal, we will never achieve it, so it takes a lot of daring to stretch out that arm, to take a step into the unknown, to be daring enough to take a chance. We can only accomplish a goal if we try and many times it takes more than ambition to get started towards a goal….it takes being daring.

What is Behind the Facade?


How often do we look at things and only see what is on the surface? When we are dealing with struggles in our lives, many times we look at others and think that if we could be more like them our lives would be so much better. Would it really?

One of the biggest problems we face when comparing ourselves to others is that we are comparing our insides to the facade that the other person allows us to see. Many times what appears to be well put together and highly functional is in reality just as big or bigger a mess than we ourselves are dealing with.

We may be walking our paths thinking that things are bad and then we meet someone else who looks at us and wishes that they were as organized and in control of their lives as we are in ours.

We are good at appearing to be in much better shape than we actually are and fooling ourselves into believing that others would only show their true feelings. The only person that we need to be comaring ourselves with is the person we see in our mirror each morning….everything else is just a facade.