Blog post #254 Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched

There are times that we can see the goal line; we can see the profit; we can see the results of our hard work.  But, this adage suggests that even if it seem eminent, make sure you finish the work all the way.

There have been football players who are all alone after an interception – and somehow two yards before the endzone start celebrating and drop the ball and don’t score the touchdown.  There might be racing cars where the driver sees the finish line and ‘knows’ he has won the race and all of a sudden, a car that wasn’t anyplace near him zooms by to claim the prize.  A pole vaulter has just set an Olympic record with only one person yet to jump.  That person who has never finished in the top ten finishers ever, all of a sudden does a jump five feet over his best finish ever before and he upsets the new record holder and wins.

Maybe the girl is so sure that the boy will ask her to the prom.  He has been hanging around her for a couple of weeks like he is trying to get his nerve up.  The girl is so sure, she goes out and buys a prom dress.  The boy finally asks her a question “Do you think you friend Mandy would go to the prom with me?”  

Even if the odds are totally against something happening, it ‘could’ happen.  

The basketball team is up by 8 points with 10 seconds to go.  They are sure they have won the game.  The opposing team intercepts the inbound pass and hits a three pointer – now with 8 seconds left – and a five point lead.  Again as your team passes the ball in, they intercept and hit another three pointer – now with 5 second and a 2 point lead.  And, as inconceivable as it might be, they intercept the next inbound pass and hit a three pointer at the buzzer to win by one point.   It can happen – not very probably, but wait to celebrate when it is all over.
What do you think?  Where might “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched fit into your life?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #253 Love Thoughts

There are many quotations about love.  Love makes the world go round; all you need is love; and even the fun ones – like this from Charles Schutz of Peanuts cartoon fame: “Add you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”.

From Ann Landers (the late newspaper relationship columnist) we have:

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”

And from 1 Corinthians 13 of the Bible:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (…) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Love is a choice.  You can choose to love a person (or not).  

We have seen people choose hate over love; people that take guns into schools or bomb into buildings; people that choose to divide us by our race or religious beliefs.  

And … we have seen people who have chosen love over hate – even when that love has to be supernatural and not natural.  In the recent movie “The Shack”; (and years before, the book by the same name); the main character wants to kill the man who abducted his daughter, rapped and killed her. He encounters God (as the Trinity – with a Black Woman as God the father; a young man as God the son; and a hard to see – flitting Asian as God the Holy Spirit) who try to tell him to let it go.  Ultimately the judgment has to come from God.  “Who am I to play God” is a good question.

We have seen parents whose daughters were abused by an Olympic trainer / coach – and one that wanted to hit and kill him.  

I am amazed at people who can say “I forgive this person” after that person has done a dastardly deed.  

Two days ago was the fifth birthday of our twin granddaughters.  I’m not sure how loving and forgiving I would be if a person abducted one (or both) of them and abused them.  I’m sure my human nature would want “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”.

But, I am convinced that (a) God is the judge – not me; (b) that I don’t want to be judgmental and (c) this statement is true: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 

I hope as I age, that I can be an instrument of peace and of love!!

What do you think?  Could you love and forgive somebody who has done a great wrong to you and your family?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #252 Complaining

One of my friends is very serious about health.  She has a blog and does programs on health and wellness.  She also is a very serious Christian.  For many, Lent is a time to give up something and instead reflect on God and God’s love and grace towards us.  Some give up things like chocolate, or television.  Some, instead of giving up something, add something – such as more prayer, more time spent with God.  

This friend writes in her blog that she is giving up complaining for Lent.  

She writes in her blog:

“I decided to give up COMPLAINING.  In today’s world of negativity, it is easy for all of us to find ourselves complaining about something.  We want things to happen the way we want them to, and we want people to do what we think they should or should not do.  Who put us in charge?

Instead of complaining, I’m going to make my best effort to look at the positive side of all circumstances.  I’m going to try to be an Alice Herz-Sommer.  Alice was a Holocaust survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, but her husband and mother were killed.  Before she died in 2014 in England at the age of 110, she was interviewed by many, including Tony Robbins.  He asked her: “Don’t you hate the Nazis?”   Her reply: “Everything is a present.”  Alice refused to live a life of anger, hatred, and misery.  Instead, she elected to find the gift in life’s event, no matter how unwanted or unfair or atrocious.  Rather than live in the past, she elected to live in the present, finding peace, joy, and love.  By doing so, she gave inspiration and hope to millions who have also suffered from wrong doings.

As we encounter life’s difficulties, which we all will, let us strive to make peace with those events that are not in our control.  None of us have gone through anything unique.  Whatever unwanted event has happened to us has also happened to thousands, maybe millions.  The difference:  how we let the unwanted event affect our future.  We can live in misery or be an Alice and think of life as a gift.  If we do not let the past rule our lives, we are much more likely to make healthy / happy decisions, be less stressed out, and maybe make it to 110!  Let’s be BOLD. Let’s be different. Let’s look at all the positive things in our lives.  That’s my goal.  Every day say:  I am Blessed.  I am Grateful.

(taken from: by Patricia J. Sulak, MD

I like that – while I don’t think I really complain that much, but I do.  Even the things I can’t change – like the weather – I complain about.  “I’m tired of this cold and rainy weather”; “I wish my wife / (my husband) would be different”; “I’m tired of <whatever>”.  

If I can’t say something nice about something – I need to stop; reflect; and NOT complain – but give thanks and rejoice.

Like Patricia, I’m going to give up complaining – I’m going to rejoice instead.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 say “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  I’m going to give thanks for rainy and cold weather.  I’m going to give thanks for my spouse.  I’m going to give thanks for my situation(s).  Rejoice – give thanks – and stop complaining!!!

What do you think?  Do you complain too much?  Do you talk about others?  

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #251 Special Day – Grandchildren

Today is the fifth birthday of our two oldest grandchildren (Abby and Leah); our other grandchildren have their birthday on October 1st (Asher, Ada and Genesis).

One of my favorite quotes about grandchildren is: “If I know how much fun grandchildren are; I would have had them first”.

There are others like:

  • My grandchildren are fabulous and funny. (Erika Jong)
  • I’ve always enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of my grandchildren (Neil Sedaka)
  • The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. (Billy Graham)

We see the twins (Abby and Leah) very frequently.  We moved from Connecticut to the Austin area to be close to them and help our daughter out.

Last weekend, the girls spend Friday and Saturday with us (including overnight Friday night).  Grandpa took them to the park; played dolls with them; watched Peppa Pig videos with them; and loved them a lot.  In thirty years, when asked about me (their “Papa”), I hope they will say “He really loved us”.

I remember fondly my first time holding them – with the happy tears streaming down my face.  I remember many piggy-back rides and more.

piggy-back rides (they are getting close to being too big for grandpa to carry them on my back). Too many times of pushing them on swings “faster Papa”; then chasing them on the climbing structure and going down the slide (or helping them climb up the slide).  

They ‘own’ me.  “Papa can I have some ice cream?” is almost always answered with a dish or cone of ice cream.  They still are young enough to want to sit next to me and cuddle.

I know that next year they will go to kindergarten; then off to school and college and marriage.  I know that their will find their own strides and activities – and Papa will not be quite the centerpoint of their lives.  I’m sorry for that; but I realize that they have to grow up.  Grandpa will be on the sidelines cheering them; comforting them; listening to them; and hugging them.  

Around our house we have many pictures of both the twins and the triplets.  When we were young parents, having mobile phones that took pictures was not even a thought – other than Dick Tracy on the comic pages.  We don’t have as many pictures of our children as we do of our grandchildren.  I’m putting two pictures in my blog today of this event.


A last quote: “That’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, bar none, is having grandchildren and living by them and being part of their lives. Helen Garner

What do you think?  Do you have children and grandchildren?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #250 A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Another adage today – A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

That takes a little more thinking.

I have a bird in my hand – what does that mean?  Why do I have a bird in the hand?  Let’s go back to South Dakota and go Pheasant Hunting – which is a very popular sport in South Dakota (by-the-way, I’m not a hunter and I don’t have a gun – and want gun controls for assault rifles – but allow good old standard South Dakota hunters (and Nebraska / Wisconsin / Minnesota / Iowa) guns for pheasants, deer, geese, even rabbits guns for hunting.

If I have a bird in my hand (that I must have already shot) but hear two (or more) birds in the nearby brush.  I could leave my bird on the ground and continue to hunt to get the two (or more) in the bush nearby.  

Maybe it is later in the day for hunting season.  Maybe hunting season ends at sunset tonight.  Maybe I really enjoy hunting – and maybe my family really loves to eat pheasant meat.  Maybe I’m thinking – ‘another half hour and I can get those other two birds’.  Maybe I saw them fly and think I know where they are.  

But, it might be that I don’t get the birds – and while I’m out hunting those other two birds, a coyote sneaks in and takes the one I have.  So, I spent more time, and really ended up with nothing.

There are times when you can take a risk.  Maybe you have one fantastic restaurant and the opportunity to take over the locations for two struggling restaurants in neighboring towns / areas and have three fantastic restaurants.  Hey – there is a risk, but I know what I’m doing.  I could expand my business reach by buying these two and making them successful.

Or, maybe as I get into running and managing the two new restaurants, that I spend so much time effort, money and I just can’t make them successful (like bad neighborhoods) and while spending that time on the two new ones, I neglect the one fantastic restaurant that I already have – and I end up with none.

So, there are times when the time and effort to get the business that is ‘close’ might cost me more than just staying put.  

Or times and effort to get the extra two miles on a run; or times and effort to get the extra two rounds of golf done; or similar.

What do you think?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #249 Can a leopard change its spots?

Another adage today – Can a leopard change its spots?

On the surface that is an easy question.  No, a leopard can’t change its spots.  The spots on a leopard are genetic – and even as a young leopard grows, its spots are the same.  (by-the-way, I fought making its into the apostrophe it’s – but the apostrophe version is the contraction of ‘it is’ – the ownership version like “Bruce’s car” has the apostrophe ‘s’ – but since it’s means the contraction, in this case, the ownership does not get the apostrophe!!)

I agree with this in principle – but not for human beings.  Humans DO have the ability to change.

While we might want to think that sometime like ‘once a crook, always a crook’ might be like a leopard not being able to change its spots.  A person just can’t change who they are.  

BUT humans CAN change the attitudes, beliefs and more.(And … thank goodness)

At one time, I was a fairly rigid person – even judgmental.  As I have blogged several times, I have decided to let the judging belong to God.  Now I can ‘avoid’ a person that might have a nature or thoughts / opinions different than me, but until I really ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ I really can’t judge them and say they are jerks.  No, I can’t judge Muslims as terrorists.  A friend tells a story of playing soccer with a group of Muslims.  They left the middle east because of the strident views of the non-tolerant fundamentalists.  

Humans through reading, listening to speakers, trying to go deeper with themselves can really change their views and value systems.  

Humans can even ‘change their spots’ in terms of appearance.  We can lose weight, we can gain weight, we can have plastic surgery, we can change our hair, in fact we can even change our gender.  

Now it might be that a person can act as if they have changed – but really haven’t.  We have seen those with mental illnesses get guns and shoot up schools; those with sexual predator backgrounds after ‘rehabilitation’ commit another sexual offense.  But, we do see some successes as well – as drug addicts, alcoholics and others can and do change.  A minister friend was once a drug addict and found God and changed his life around.  

So, what do you think?  Can a leopard change its spots?  Can a human can his/her life around?


What do you think?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #248 Measure twice, cut once

Blog Post #248 Measure twice, cut once.

Another adage today – Measure twice, cut once.

While the basic aspect of this adage is to carpentry, it can apply to most things.

Let’s say I was making a table top as a carpenter.  I have a nice piece of oakwood that I need to cut down to the right side for the table top. pull out my trusty tape measure and measure what I need (say 36 inches) and I put a mark there.  Then I measure the other way (say 24 inches) and put a mark there.  Then I’m interrupted by the phone.  I’m on the phone for a few minutes as I talk to my 30 years old nephew (note the 30) – who reminds me of his 30 birthday party, where he has invite 30 peoples and talked of famous people who were 30.  I go back to my project, and start measuring 30 inches across.  I make a mark.  I do this for several other points and make a mark.  I’m ready to draw a line connecting my marks so I can make my cut – and one mark doesn’t line up with the others (the original mark).  I ignore it and finish drawing my line.

I start my table saw, adjust the height of the cut and cut my new table top – at 30 inches by 24 inches.  I’m proud of my work.  The cut is smooth.  Then I take it to the base I have already built – and OH NO – the table top is not long enough!!!  

I have to discard the nice (and expensive) piece of oak; drive to the lumber yard; find a suitable piece of oak – and go home and do.

Now, if I would have checked my work – measure the wood, go back and measure the basis, double check my wood and cut away – I would have the good piece the first time.

At my church, when I help usher, I am to count the people in my area.  It seems like I count the first time and get a number; then later I count again – and I get a different number – then later I count again and get a number that is just two higher than my second number; so I count a fourth time and I get the same as the third time.

Now, it probably isn’t vital that the attendance in that section has to be precise.  Maybe a mother (or father) had to take unruly child out.  But, you would think I could count accurately.

Some years ago, NASA was sending a probe to Mars.  The analysis was good, they determined the gravitational pull and set the thrusting mechanism to stop on the surface of Mars accurately – without crashing into the planet.  BUT – as it did crash, they went back to determine where they had gone wrong.  There were two teams working on the project.  One team did the measurements in metric; but the other team did the measurements in the English measurement system.  So, when the metric team said use the thrusters at 10 units per second; that wasn’t enough to stop the probe based on the English system.

In practical terms, check over the information.  We have calculators on our smart phones.  We should be able to do basic math – but double check our information.  When we submit our tax forms (the old fashioned – non electronic way) – what if we added our income wrong and we didn’t pay enough tax – and we get called into the IRS office to say “Oops – I didn’t add that up correctly”!!  I’m sure that excuse will not get you much sympathy – but you will be expected to pay your penalties anyway.

So … measure twice and cut once; double check your analysis – be sure before you launch out with incorrect measurements (or incorrect analyses).

What do you think?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog Post #247 Practice Makes Perfect

Blog Post #247 Practice Makes Perfect

Yes – practice does make perfect!!  (Doesn’t it?)

It depends on the practice!!!  

I might practice my tuba – but work on scales instead of some difficult parts and difficult fingering in Mahler’s Sixth Symphony.  My scales are good, but I have trouble playing the fast parts in the finale.

I could practice free throws in basketball all day long – but neglect to work on jump shots, passing, and playing defense.

I could do one variable algebra problems for hours, but that wouldn’t help my ability to do systems of equations or quadratic equations.

As used before, I like Malcolm Gladwell’s concept of 10,000 hours for mastery (or more).  If I spend 10,000 hours on figure skating, I might be good enough for the Olympics (or … if I spend 10,000 hours on one particular jump, but don’t do all the jumps, I’m probably not going to make the team.

But, practice is important.  Like another adage “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”; if I don’t practice my tuba (or piano or violin or whatever), I’ll probably miss the difficult notes when the concert occurs.

What are you trying to master?  Coding?  Music?  Some particular athletic event?  Keep on practicing – don’t give up – don’t say I can’t do it – because if it is possible, with enough time and effort you CAN do it!!!

Keep practicing!!!


What do you think?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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blog post #246 Unintended consequences

Blog Post #246 Unintended Consequences


Sometimes we do the right thing for the right reasons and while that works, it also has a negative effect on something else.

Two stories:

Columbia (the South American country) had a strong drug producing economy.  (Illegal drugs that is).  Their climate was very good for growing cocaine and marijuana.  With so many Americans (and others) hooked on illegal drugs, the United States worked hard to help Columbian farmers / growers find another crop.  And they did.

The found that the same rich soil was good for plants – and especially flowers.  As it turns out, it was ideal for growing huge amounts of roses for Valentine’s Day.  Over the years, the sales of roses (and other flowers) replaced the drug growing in Columbia.  HURRAH!!!  Less drugs on the streets of the United States; more beautiful roses for Valentine’s Day – at much less cost.

In the days before Valentine’s day, giant cargo planes landed in Columbia.  Flowers were sorted, labelled appropriately and shipped out.  Giant containers arrive in Florida marked especially for Walmart – and almost as quickly as they landed – because of the labelling (RFID probably) they were shipped out all around the United States (and the world).  

I went to Walmart yesterday to see the displays at my local Walmart store.  There was a giant cardboard container with all kinds and colors of roses.  

Success for limited the drug traffic; success for providing a new (and maybe better) crop for the drug growers.

BUT … an unintended consequence was that the domestic American Rose growers – growing in greenhouses and in places like Southern California couldn’t complete as well with the Columbia roses.  And, so the United State’s flower grower suffered – an unexpected consequence!!

My second story.  Yellowstone National Park is a unique ecosystem.  There are bears, elk, trout, wolves, bison, and much more.  For income, the Yellowstone Department of the Interior people will sell Elk hunting licenses.  That became a good source of income for the park – and the number of elk were being depleted.  Hmmm … how to get more elk, so they could sell more hunting licenses and keep the hunters happy?  

Maybe if they removed just some of the predators of the elk herd.  

That was successful (maybe).  There were more elk, more hunters, more licenses sold and more revenue (and happier hunters).  

But, the elk needed more food.  They started to eat more of the tree shoots around the ponds.  In the spring when the beavers built their ponds, there were less of the trees they used to build their dams.  With less beaver ponds, there were less trout swimming in the ponds.  

And … that offended those that went to Yellowstone National Park to fish for trout.  

So the good done by helping the elk herd grow became a negative to the trout population – an unexpected consequence!!!

How about you – and your business.  How can you increase your business growth – and not hurt something else?  Fifty years ago, the garment industry was largely centered around New York City.  But with cheap labor in southeast Asia, most garment makers moved out of the United States.  The consumer got cheaper clothes, but the jobs went outside the US.

Maybe there are environmental impacts.  As your business grows you get more employees, and more traffic and more pollution?  Maybe as your reputation grows as a wonderful city; that crime increases?  (Some of these are problems for the Austin Texas area now – more people, more traffic, more traffic jams, more frustrated employees.)

So think through your situation – will it benefit you and your company?  But will that benefit hurt others along the way?

What do you think?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


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Blog post #245 Civility

Blog post #245 – Civility

We all know people who are passionate about certain things.  Unfortunately, sometimes that passion steps across a undefined boundary. Where did the concept of being civil go?   On this Valentine’s Day, maybe some more love might be appropriate!!!

An online dictionary defines “civility” as:

formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

“I hope we can treat each other with civility and respect”
Synonyms are:  courtesy, courteousness, politeness, good manners, graciousness, consideration, respect

I see the national debate over so many things deteriorating into name calling; strawman arguments and attacking the speaker.  A week ago, I wrote about hatred and this post fits into that category.  People on both sides of the political spectrum attack each other with seething remarks.  One friend calls the current American president “Sh**gibbon”; and of course the current president calls the opposition party “treasonist”.  Those are only examples.  Do these people go to a church / synagogue / mosque on a regular basis?  Do they proclaim love and forgiveness?  

Taking the quote about defending a person’s right to say something is free speech, but there have been those (on both sides) that will yell down somebody whose opinions are different than their own.  Now speech that is hate speech or inflammatory with the intention of disruption might not totally fit under ‘free speech’ concepts.  

Can we ‘agree to disagree’ without being disagreeable?  

The rhetoric escalates quickly. Instead of saying “Hey, let’s get together for a cup of coffee (or a beer) and see what we can do when we work together”; becomes a ‘war of words’.  

The old children’s expression “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me” – when somebody calls you a swear word – or an untrue word it does hurt us – emotionally.  What pleasure does a person get by called somebody an idiot?  As I am writing this I am hearing a political advertisement on television with a candidate hawking himself as a ‘true conservative’ and how the ‘liberals’ are trying to undermine our morals, values, government.  

Yes, that candidate had 30 seconds to tell us why he is a good candidate for a particular office – and he used the time to show that he ‘dislikes’ the opponents by innuendo and slurs.

In some respects, it is like the school bully – attacking, saying hurtful things.  

In this blog I’m urging us to take down the walls, be civil with others.  You don’t have to love them, just put some courtesy and politeness into our lives.  In the last presidential election there was enough mudslinging and hate for centuries and it has not ended.

So, can we watch our words?  Can we be more understanding and tolerant of others who we don’t agree with?  Can we be civil?

What do you think?  Let me know at:

Thank you!!!


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