This week my Lubbock lawn care friend and me got to the meeting a bit earlier so we could start praying for our businesses to grow and to be run for Kingdom purposes. We both thought that this would be a great addition to what we are learning and so we ramped it up. Even though we were both hesitant at first, we got going and it felt natural (or should I say super-natural) after about 10 minutes. We both expect to see good changes as we put this into play.
As for the meeting itself, we got to hear from a very successful businessman who specializes in Lubbock catering. Catering in Lubbock is a big deal and this guy has really done some cool stuff to become the best at it. Anyway, this businessman taught about how being extravagantly generous with giving away freebies to customers can establish long-term goodwill and thus long-term loyalty. He spoke about how his business has been generous with non-profits who are trying to raise money for their services and how this has not only made non-profit events much-needed money but has also earned a very strong community word of mouth that goes beyond just being a great catering company. He asked us to dialogue about how we might offer some of our services to various non-profits on a pro bono set-up to get the same results as they have gotten. It was a great speech and an even better discussion in the entire group. Almost everyone at the group thought that they could do similar things and most also committed themselves to implementing these ideas.
Beyond that, it was a wonderful meeting of men and women who seem to be bonding as friends as well as colleagues. I think that this group is making me a much better businessman and person. I am learning so much that I would have never thought about doing to build my business.
I wish I had been a part of a group like this since my company’s inception. I think all businesspeople would benefit from such gatherings.
Anyway, that’s my update for this week. I hope all of you are finding success in whatever you have put your hands to do. We have all been blessed with abilities not only to make money but to make a difference in our communities. Pretty exciting if you think about it…I’d love to hear your comments about this guy’s idea to be more generous and also what you think about adding prayer to the mix. Hit me up when you can –
Until next week…
Day 140 – Wednesday jobs and Job
After the rush of yesterday, I made it a point to set a double alarm so that I wouldn’t sleep in – I hate feeling rushed because it makes me doubt my calendared events and makes me think I am doing a poor job. I know that yesterday went fine, but sometimes when I am rushed I don’t connect with people as well as I need to so that improvements can be made. I don’t need to have that happen anymore no matter how comfortable my corporate housing mattress is – By the way, it is amazing to me how people don’t invest a good chunk of money on a high-quality mattress. Think about it – we spend about a third of our days in a horizontal pose – We sleep for a lot of our lives and yet we don’t think about how to make that sleep as good as possible. After getting this new mattress from my corporate housing management, I can assure that when Melissa and I move into our house, I will be purchasing a top of the line mattress. It’s more important than a cool car because a mattress affects you physiologically in so many ways. I imagined my lawn care clients who work so hard during the day and I thought, “How much better would their lives be if they had Tempur-Pedic mattresses to crash onto in the evenings?” I think they would be so much more rested and thus much more likely to enjoy their sweat-making job during the days.
How do you like that tangent? My gosh, sometimes I am amazed at my level of tangential thinking – commenting on mattress buying and Lubbock lawn care is just weird and yet it has been done – and I feel better for it. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it…
Meditation: As I said yesterday, I am studying the book of Job and I’m noticing so much more in this book than I ever have before. I used to just so caught up in the exchanges between Satan and God and I would wonder why God would allow such terror to strike this very righteous man. But, I think I am past that now – it is what it is – God’s ways are higher and He knows what He is doing. We are owned by Him and He can do with us as He wishes. These realizations have helped me get past a lot of the tough stuff in Old Testament stories. Anyway – Job – This guy lost a whole lot of things all at once and despite his difficulty, he maintained his trust and love for God. He said that God can give and that God can take away – it’s His call. I react to this by saying #1 I wouldn’t even have to go through Job’s trials because I am not the most righteous man and #2 I cannot imagine dealing with massive losses like Job did. I get frustrated when I am separated from my cell phone for one day. This makes me wonder how I would respond if I was in Job’s shoes. How much could I take of this struggle before taking myself out? How much could I praise God while being left alone to deal with such pain? I need to learn from Job’s endurance – not that I am asking for Job-sized trials, but still the New Testament calls on me to look to Job’s ability to put up with difficulty and to imitate his attitude.
That’s going to take a while for me to digest.
So, mattresses, jobs, God and Job – All in one day. Hope your day was good!
Day 139 – Tuesday late
I don’t have much time to journal today – I woke up late in my extra comfortable corporate housing bed and could not seem to kick the covers back. I was just given a new mattress by the head of my temporary suite because she said it was time for an upgrade. Well, this upgrade has me sleeping too good it seems. I did rush out and get half of my treadmill work in – but I was in a rush all day. I was able to enact some excellent changes to the Lubbock lawn care business I am working for and it should end up in a great place. Still, when you are flying from here to there trying to catch up from a late morning, it’s difficult to settle down and live in an atmosphere of peace.
Melissa update – she is the same wonderful person she has been. She thought our last marriage therapy was sort of a waste of time, because we had already gone over most of it on our own. Still, she values having a third person look in on us and I do too. We started talking about the details of our upcoming marriage and it made me happy and a bit overwhelmed – I cannot believe our love is going to turn into a lifetime of companionship. I am blessed.
As for my meditation, I tried to fit it in which is never good. I always want my meditation with God to be the most important time of the day, but today I let it slip to a five-minute rush. I am in the early parts of Job and I am humbled by what this righteous man went through. I think I will do the same verses again tomorrow so that I can get the truth of endurance into my heart and soul.
Well, that’s all I can say for today – Anyone else feel rushed?
Day 125 – Tuesday Mudslingers
It’s funny to me that Election Day is so close to Halloween – It always feels like there are masks galore that the candidates wear to win whatever demographic they are speaking to. I also think it is funny that people get so involved in trying to elect a particular person for president when the Executive Branch is so much weaker than the Judicial and Legislative branches. I know that people say this is a “turning point” election and a crucial election because there will be several Supreme Court Justices being appointed. I do agree with that but I don’t think my vote is going to make much of a difference – Texas is always going to go Republican and my two cents addition is not going to alter that result. I will vote anyway because I am sure there are several issues that are going to be decided as well – ones that are not as settled as for the Presidential Election. Like In California, I know they are voting on whether recreational marijuana is going to be made legal. That would be a big deal for the legalization lobby and might get the rest of the United States to move in that direction. But still I very seriously doubt that Texas would make this legal. If they did I bet my Lubbock lawn care folks would be dealing with different sorts of grass – not that they would sell it or grow it but maybe they could become consultants to those local people who want to grow a garden of the stuff.
Speaking of my clients who do landscaping in Lubbock, they are so happy with how things are going with my work that they are going to hang holiday lights on my future house for free. I thought that was quite nice of them – I hope my tenants don’t mind having people climbing around on their roofs putting cool lights on the tops of my house that they rent. This kind of generous “going above and beyond” offer makes me want to work that much harder for them (not that I work less hard for those who don’t give me free gifts – just saying…)
Melissa and me are getting along swimmingly (Yes I did also swim at my corporate housing pool this morning despite the freezing waters) – We had another pre-marital counseling session this evening and it went well. So far, the counselor has not been able to create any sort of doubt between us. The counselor says that Melissa and I seem to be much more mature in our preparation for marriage than most. Our counselor did ask us whether or not we wanted to have children early on in our marriage and we both looked at each other with blank faces. I don’t think either of us had discussed timing on that issue. We told the counselor that we would get back to them next time.
Enough for Tuesday – I’ll see you tomorrow.
Day 124 – Mondayween
I am finding it harder and harder to make myself journal about the comings and goings of my corporate housing days. Is it because I have started writing for an audience rather than for just myself? Do I think myself too boring when writing about pool visitations and my relationships with clients and with Melissa? Why am I not using this as a spiritual discipline? Why am I being so hard on myself? Maybe this is just a speed bump but if it is more than that I don’t know if I can continue writing. This just hit me this morning as I pulled on my swim trunks and went out to dive into the still filled pool. And it’s sad because it is not just the writing or not writing – it’s the life being lived day in and day out that provides the foundation for the words that is troubling. Am I hitting a bit of a seasonal depression? Am I just being tough on my life and beating myself to death for not being more exciting? I think I am mainly whining about nothing because to whine is one of my favorite hobbies.
Beyond those difficult thoughts and questions I did have a lot of fun with Melissa at the hospital Halloween party. This party wasn’t actually at the hospital – it was held at one of Melissa’s friends house, which was well decorated. Right when we walked in there were ghosts and ghouls – bowls full of spaghetti and grapes behind paper walls that we had to stick our hands into (representing brains and eyeballs – scary stuff for a kid). It brought back a lot of old childhood memories. Everyone was costumed – I was Jessie Pinkman and my girl decided to go as his partner, Walter White instead of being the blue meth. She went all out and made me nervous every time I saw her fake moustache. Would I still love her if she caught some disease that forced her to have a moustache? I don’t think I could bear it – I am a shallow man at my depths. Anyway, we danced a lot and listened to traditional ghost stories – like the one with the guy who shines bright lights into the back window of a frightened girl who was driving home and the one where a guy with a claw hand does something or another. Dry ice filled the air with the classic smoky feel as tombstones covered the walls. At the end of the night, I returned my Walter White to her doorstep and kissed her hairy lip. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I guess I would keep Melissa if she had a moustache – as long as it wasn’t like a Magnum PI version.
Oh I forgot to mention that my workday was good – I really impressed those workers who are doing all of that landscaping in Lubbock. Their analytics are proving that they on the right path and they admitted to seeing good growth in their business. I also heard good reports about the Midland Corporate Housing clients. I wasn’t sure they would ever catch up with Lubbock’s high rankings, but it seems that they are nipping at their heels finally. Their point person told me that they were really glad that they had hired me. This of course made me feel very good.
Okay – that’s Mondayween. A good one to be sure. Now if I can just shake this seasonal downturn…May God restore me to a desire to write about life.
Day 123 – Sunday Weeds
It was a calm day with the temperatures in the mid-80’s. Since tomorrow is Halloween and this is the fall season, I am a bit shocked by the weather. Maybe it is wearing “hot” as its costume. If so, that weather sure is clever. Halloween is actually one of my favorite days of the year – the pumpkins and the costumed kids and adults make me feel all excited for some reason. I recall my childhood days wearing my plastic C3PO garb and gathering candy from neighbors. It was fun and I wish I still had the guts to dress up as someone different. I have mad respect for those adults who don’t give a crap and who go nutty with their costumes all day long. The Lubbock lawn care president was one of those brave adults – he told me that he was going to wear a half Princess Leia/half Chewbacca disguise all Halloween day and into the night as they had their company party. I don’t know what a man dressing like a woman Wookie looks like, but I bet he pulls it off very well. He has a good sense of humor and he knows that he can get away with it because he leads the firm. I wonder if he will be hanging holiday lights in Lubbock in that tomorrow. If so, I bet he will get some strange looks.
I know a lot of Christians think Halloween is evil and should be avoided at all costs. And I am sure that Wiccan festivals and cat sacrifices are happening all over the place but I’ve never seen one and I’m not worried that I’m going to catch a curse. I do appreciate the churches who go ahead and have something fun for the kids – like the fall festivals that allow children to dress up and get “safe candy.” (I know my Pre-K Lubbock Christian School client has this really awesome festival for the kids – much respect for not giving up a fun thing.)
I will admit that I am sort of a punk about giving away candy on the night of Halloween because I am too lazy to buy any. If I am stuck at home, I typically just keep the lights low and the TV turned down so the kids are warded off by my darkness. One year I did feel generous and I changed out 100 bucks at the bank for one dollar bills that I gave out to kids. I gave most of them two dollars each and they were very happy – they had plenty of baby Snickers and little Kit Kats. I was the coolest because I handed out cold, hard cash. There was probably some people-pleasing mixed in with my generosity – it’s fun to see kids’ eyes light up when you hand out something surprising. This year Melissa and me will go to a hospital party where I will go as Jessie Pinkman from Breaking Bad (everyone says I look just like him) and she will go as the blue meth I make. So, we won’t be around to give anything away. But I forgot to mention that last night at church I saw a little girl dressed up as a Disney princess and I gave her five bucks. Probably made me look like some sort of weirdo, but she sure appreciated it.
Meditation: Everything that is done in the dark will be brought to light on the day of Judgement – God misses nothing. You can’t disguise your real self from God. He sees who we really are even behind the masks we tend to wear. I sure am glad He sees me behind the blood of Jesus…
Day 120 – Thursday Turntables
Corporate Housing 101 – Make sure to pay for the weekly cleaning – I didn’t start with that little package but it has become a must-have. When you are in a smaller space, you think it will be easy to keep it clean, but I was wrong. It’s good to have someone else clean your toilets and your tub and replace your sheets with fresh ones. Just thought I would make a quick recommendation – I had my room cleaned today and it was really nice to experience good air and the sense of newness. It’s not worth saving a little bit of cash to do it yourself – plus signing up for it pays people who need it. Aren’t I the benevolent and generous and lazy resident of this corporate housing unit? I’m going to nominate myself for the Nobel Prize for Goodness. I bet I win. I do tip well when they come and clean. That should count for something…
Maybe they have a prize for odd, tangential writing…
I had a good workday – My Lubbock lawn landscaping crew is especially happy as are my other clients. I think I will hire this Lubbock lawn care group to go ahead and handle my Christmas décor – holiday lights and such. The new house I bought could use some festive cheer. I guess I will have to check with my tenants to see if they are cool with having this done. Speaking of my tenants, they haven’t been there long but I can tell they will be perfect for this year before Melissa and I move in. My management company did a great job at choosing the correct group.
Melissa and I had a good lunch together at Freshii’s – We both got a Metaboost salad with chicken added and each of us got our own fresh juice. It made me feel healthy to jam a salad and a juice down my gullet, which is used to meat and pasta. As well, the conversation between Melissa and I was purposeful. We decided that we needed to nail down our honeymoon spot. After several options were discussed we finally agreed on going to New Zealand. We both have always wanted to hang out in this country and so we thought it would be a wonderful place to begin our life journey. (I know we had talked about eloping but we figured the church’s new chapel would be more special.) We also talked about if Melissa wanted to go part-time at her nursing gig once we got married. I thought she might want to either do this or find a different nursing job at a doctor’s office – something outside of the crazy hospital setting. She wouldn’t need the money she is pulling in now once we are united and I want her to be happier on a daily basis. But Melissa said that she would keep working the same number of hours because it keeps her balanced. She did say that she would try to get day hours at a doctor’s office to relieve the pressure of the graveyard shifts she currently deals with.
Everything about this day was good – I’m thankful for it.
Day 111 – Tuesday Tells
Another day working on “catering in Lubbock” and “Lubbock Pre-K.” I know it must seem funny to you non-Search Engine Optimization people out there. Using specific keyword phrases to get a company to rank higher for words that potential customers will most likely put into their search bars requires a lot of research. It also requires a lot of consistent work and most of this work is creating content. As they say in my business, content is king. Those who can place strong content on high-ranking websites typically win the day. There is a lot of backend administrative work that has to be done in the initial steps, but most of the rest of it is writing powerful and keyword-rich content. If you can’t write well then you definitely should not get into my business. You will suffer with frustration because you won’t see many gains and the clients who you signed up with promises of ranking improvements will probably fire you in short order. Oh, and you also need to be able to sell your services to potential clients – introverts don’t do very well in this business either.
Wow – that sounded like I just patted myself on the back for my ‘skills’ in this area. I am the Spartacus of SEO – Truth is, I am pretty good at the above, but I am certainly not the best. I find myself running out of things to write that sound relevant and this leads to bad content. Google is the judge of my writing and my placements and I don’t do well quite often. I can admit my weaknesses. I am humble, right?
Melissa and I went to our future house and did one more look through to determine what furniture styles we wanted to be keeping our eyes open for – we made notes relating to all of the rooms and then we went to shopping. We found a couple of couches and a recliner that we wanted for the den. We went ahead and bought them to put into our future house storage place. I found out from the management company that they had already rented this house out to an orthopedic surgeon and her family – they were having a house built and so they needed a place to settle in Lubbock until their house was officially finished. I was happy that I would be receiving extra revenue from that source and happy that the management company had found the perfect couple to live in my house.
Good news all around!
Day 107 – Saturday nights are okay for sliding
Since I took a day and a half off with my food poisoning sickness earlier this week, I wanted to get at least a few things done on Saturday morning. I worked on the keyword phrases “Lubbock catering” and “Midland Corporate Housing” and felt good about what I did – There’s that Bible verse that tells me to work on things as if I working on them for God – which means full attention and full energy. Sometimes I pull that off and sometimes I don’t. It depends if I feel like throwing myself into a project or not – That’s not good. God deserves my best in all of my doings – even if they are done alone for secular clients. That wasn’t even my meditation for the day – It happened to be the topic of the sermon at Saturday evening church. I had to attend this service by myself, because Melissa was working. She has been working a lot lately – I think to make up for her missed time due to the accident. This shows her dedication to her craft and I bet she lives out her work at full energy. She probably didn’t even need to hear this sermon because is already doing it. My respect for her grows more and more by the day. It’s one thing to fall in love with someone and an entirely different thing to respect this same person. I am a blessed man.
Meditation: We have a devourer who is out to lie to us, steal from us, kill us and destroy us. We have an enemy of our souls and spirits and bodies and he waits for “opportune times” to come after us. When we get bored, hungry, angry, lonely and/or tired we are most susceptible to fall into temptation that works – the kind of temptation that matches our desires with well-marketed evil. I forget this truth most of the time – I get my eyes on this world that is dominated by the senses and forget that there is a powerful spiritual being who is just waiting for me to open my life to his schemes. I don’t have to open a Ouija board or attend a séance or go to a Wiccan meeting to welcome him in to my world. I just have to forget he is around and lose my awareness of where I am in relation to my God. If I stay close to God, I have a refuge that protects me from such attacks – I forget to do this as well. But, now that I have been reminded of the reality of an evil that wants to put me on its menu, I plan on running back to my godly base and staying there. Good meditation today – especially as Monday night Bible study draws closer.
That’s all I have for this day of restful work and prayer. How are you in your world? How do you deal with the enemy of your soul? I recommend a book by C.S. Lewis entitled “The Screwtape Letters” for more on this topic. It’s a creative and powerful book.
Day 104 – Wednesday Recovery
Didn’t have to hang out with Mr. Toilet today, but I am still on the slow mend. You know how it always takes a day or two after such a stomach turning event to be able to return to normal life activities.
It was sort of weird having Melissa take care of me seeing as how she has been recovering herself. I felt kind of selfish because I only had food poisoning and she had a major car wreck. But, she told me to shut-up and to just let her be who she is – her very identity is “Helps.” And I am the lucky recipient this time. As far as our relationship goes, it’s full steam ahead. We are keeping our promise to not have anything but PDA and we are better for it. I am less likely to grab at private parts or lay on top of her at the supermarket or at the Laundromat – it’s a stupid but great rule.
By the way, does the song Loser by Beck ever get old? I think not.
Also, I don’t know if I mentioned it but I got Corporate Housing Midland accounts and a Corporate Housing Amarillo account that has made up for losing those others. I am relieved by those additions because I hate feeling like a failure. There is nothing like feeling defeated and beaten – even especially at work – maybe especially at work. When you are unemployed and you cannot get an interview no matter where you put your resume is a butt-kicking feeling. I feel terrible for those around me who have lost their jobs and cannot find another one that will pay the bills. It’s easier than you think to become a chronically unemployed person. And trying to start your own business using your entrepreneurial skills is super difficult. I actually took some time to pray for those in my world who cannot find work. I have a good job and the company always evaluates me favorably, but it only takes one year of budget deficit and I would be out of work. Ughhh. What a miserable thought…
In other good news, my Lubbock catering clients are kicking some butt…
Meditation: With these things in mind, I went to the verses that talk about how Christians should rejoice when others rejoice and weep when others weep. It’s a show of community that is filled with compassion for one another – We should share the emotion and also try to help the weepers stop weeping by meeting their needs if possible. I don’t think I usually care enough about those around me – I care for those who I love, but when it comes to Christians I don’t know I don’t have compassion. This is a problem I must fix.
That’s it for today – hope you had a good one!