This race was going to finish off a busy year of racing for me.  I had already ran 2 full marathons, a duathlon and four half marathons in 2015.  My half marathon times have all been within a minute and a half of each other for the past 5 races.  I decided that this race was going to be different.  I was going to try for a personal record.  All I needed was to run the race less than 2 minutes faster than what I ran in two races in October.

I started the race the way that I start most races.  I prayed.  I prayed that God would keep me healthy.  I asked for a fast race, but told Him that I would understand if that was not His will for me today.  Either way, I promised to use the race to bring Him glory.  I was planning on blogging about the experience.  I had no topic in mind, but knew that something would come to me.  It dd.

First, let's address that humility thing.  I had gotten complacent in my training and eating schedule during November.  I thought that I could dictate my future based on my effort.  God showed me who was in charge of my life. It is not me.  No matter how hard I mentally tried to run faster, my body had another idea.  I struggled more today than any race in the past two years. My time ended up ten minutes slower than my average race.

My focus changed the further I went through the 13.1 miles.  I knew early on that trying for a record was going to be impossible.  This race is a major fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. None of the patients or their families ever receive a bill for their treatment.  The race  course went through the middle of the campus.  My heart was opening up as I worked my way through the hospital grounds.

Here is where the gratitude kicks in.  Danny Thomas had a vision.

"Show me my way in life and I will build you a shrine."
-Danny Thomas' prayer to St. Jude Thaddeus

Unsure of his life's direction, a young Danny Thomas sought guidance from St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of hopeless causes.  If the saint would point to the path he should take, Danny vowed to build a shrine in his name.  Success followed Danny's plea and soon after, the legendary entertainer set about fulfilling his vow to St. Jude.  The result was St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Even though they have increased the survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20% in 1962 to over 80% now, there is still so much more to accomplish.  Too often, we take our health for granted while others are fighting for their lives.  God has blessed me with good health and I am truly grateful.  I have two sons that have grown into fine young adults without having to worry about their health.

Today, was just a race, or was it?  It put everything back into perspective for me.  I was focused on myself and my own accomplishments. That is such a small distraction that took my focus away from God's will.  I am unsure what His will is for me in my life, but I doubt if getting a personal record in a half marathon is it.  Please join me in praying for those that are less fortunate than ourselves.  Do not take your blessings for granted.

All of us have God given talents.  I have met people throughout my career that went to work everyday to make a living.  It was just "what they did".  They were never satisfied.  If only I could ".............." is what they would be thinking about. 

Take the time to talk to a successful small business owner and you will typically see someone that is passionate about their business.  They explains part of the reason that they are successful.  It is not work that takes up their time.  It is having the ability to do something that they love to do.  It is their passion.

Your passion does not have to be something that makes you a lot of money.   It may be doing something that improves the lives of others.  There is a sense of emotion that shows through in your actions when you are doing something that you are passionate about.  It is what gets you up in the morning and you are still thinking about it at the end of the day.

These are your God given talents.  When you use them to bring glory to God, He will give you even more passion.  You will know in your heart that He is calling you to share your passion with those around you.  He will put you in situations where you can share your talents with others.

I see musicians with an amazing amount of talent.  A small percentage are the ones that fill stadiums with fans.  That does not mean that the others are less talented.  It may be a trumpet player on the streets of Savannah that can bring a smile to families passing by. That is how you can use your passion and touch others.

I know some teachers that have such an amazing talent when it comes to working with kids.  I see how the children grow up and explore their own talents because of the influence of a single teacher.  Teachers are in one of the lower paid professions that require a college degree.  Talk to one of them that is passionate about the work that they do and you realize that they do it because of the rewards that they get from their students.

Are you doing something in your life that you are passionate about?  Let us know about it by posting a comment below.

Think about how you feel when you are surrounded by people that you love and trust.  How does that change your behavior?  Are you more open?  Do you let your true self shine through in your actions?  Are you capable of greater things with the support of these groups of friends?

You are not trying to be someone you are not.  The confidence is in the fact that those around you accept you for your strengths and your weaknesses.  No one is being pretentious.  You have their unconditional love.

When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you are always surrounded by Him as that type of friend.  You can put your full Trust in Him.  He knows everything about you.  There is nothing to hide.  God knows all of your faults and loves you unconditionally.  He also knows your strengths and some that you are not even aware that you have.  He will guide you through life.  You will not be led down the wrong path.

As He leads you to new areas of your life, trust that His will is best.  He will never let you down.  You will take on tasks that let your talents bring Him glory.  Sometimes this means stepping out of your comfort zone.  Some call this a leap of faith.  As you leap forward, God will be your safety net.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Take comfort in being able to lean on Him.  He is available to talk to 24 hours a day. Take the time to pray and express your love, questions and fears about what the future holds for you.  He will guide you to your greatest potential.  All you need is trust.

Our nation is going through some struggles right now.  We just celebrated the Fourth of July which is about our independence and freedom.  Our forefathers fought for the rights that we enjoy today.  Why is it then that today we only believe in these rights if they are for what we believe in?

There is no better time than today to pray for our nation.  Pray for peace.  I am not telling you to change your beliefs of what is right our wrong.  The purpose of this blog post is not to express my opinions about recent political events that have taken place.  It is about how to get through them and handle them the way that Jesus would.  The Bible is filled with stories of how Jesus spent time with those that some people would call the enemy or sinners.  As Christians, we know that God loves everyone (not every action) and wants us to handle ourselves the same way.

Proverbs 16:7 states, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” 

This is my prayer.  Dear Lord, help me to love others even though they do not believe the same way that I do.  Teach me to not be judgmental of others because only you can judge.  Assist me in being acceptable of other people and their beliefs while allowing you to show through in my actions.  I do not need to force my opinions and beliefs on others.  My actions will plant the seeds of Christianity and open the doors to discuss how having you in my life has blessed me tremendously.  Please forgive me of my sins and put me in a place where I do not focus on other people's sins.  Please help us, as a nation, grow closer together.  Our differences in beliefs is what makes us a free nation as long as we do not try to force our beliefs on others.  Teach us how to respect others regardless of who they are.  I see so much hatred coming through in social media and I cannot believe that you like what you see.  I cannot change others, but I can change myself.  Please work through me to be the best in honoring your principles.  I pray this in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Please join me in prayer as we go through these difficult times of unrest.  I want to see change.  I want to see a nation coming together instead of being pulled apart.  Think about how Jesus would handle this and be aware of your actions in all that you do through out the day. 

Please provide your comments.  I would love to hear your respectful opinions. 

Everyone is in too big of a hurry.  We are in the age of wanting everything right now.  Do you get upset when someone does not answer their cell phone?  Are you always trying to find a faster lane on the highway so you can get to your destination a few minutes sooner?

I was driving home from work and was sitting in traffic at an intersection and witnessed an accident.  The person was trying to time the green light and take a right hand turn as soon as the light changed.  The problem was that the car in front of him was not timing the light.  He hit him from behind when the front car did not move soon enough.  This ended up costing the guy time and money for his impatience.  He could have used some patience.

You can apply the same philosophy in the work place as well.  Think back about the training programs that you have participated in over your career.  Were there set schedules and routines that were followed?  What happened if someone did not learn at the same pace as others?  I have witnessed a wide spectrum when it comes to training staff.  These philosophies can be applied to training hourly staff and salaried managers alike.

          Be thorough

          Do not shortcut due to being short staffed

          Adapt the pace based on the trainee

          Follow up, follow up, follow up

Be thorough in your training.  Do not assume that someone can read your mind about the expectations in the position.  If there are certain standards, then make them known and train the person how to achieve them.

Do not shortcut due to being short staffed.  Too often we need someone to fill a position immediately and give them an abreviated training program.  The problem does not arise because of getting them started in the position.  The problem is that they do not get all of the training needed.  In this case, we need to continue to train during the next days/weeks until they have all of the tools to be successful.  You will have to work the training time around their work schedule and time restrictions, but it needs to be completed.

Adapt the pace based on the trainee.  Not everyone learns at the same speed so why do we expect them to all come out of a set training schedule with the same amount of knowledge?  Have a system in place for continual refresher training for those that need it until they meet your standards for the position.

Follow up, follow up, follow up.  This is probably the biggest mistake that managers make.  They wonder why you are not doing everything right a month or two out of training and can not figure out why you did not have 100% retention of all of the training materials.  You need to follow up in the first few weeks and months out of training with a refresher of the information.  By then, they will not be so overwhelmed and will be able to absorb the information better.

By not having the patience to train properly, you will have the high cost of loss of productivity.  You will have a higher turnover rate which costs you the hiring and training costs of another employee.  It all comes down to patience.  Be aware of your patience level in all aspects of your life.  What are you impatient about and what can you do to improve?

Repost from May 2013.

Philippians 4:13 NLT 
For I can do everything in Christ, who gives me strength.

It was about 5 years ago that I was attending a regional retreat for leaders of a catering association that I belonged to.  One of the sessions was led by a non-denominational minister who was teaching us how to meditate.  At the start of the session, she had us write on a notecard a long term goal/dream of ours.

I wrote that I wanted to write a book and be a professional speaker.  At the time, I thought that this idea was far fetched, but still a goal of mine.  She had us meditate over it and told us to continue to do this daily for three weeks.  My translation of meditation was to eliminate the daily distractions and to have one on one time with God.  Have a conversation in the form of prayer and share with Him what is on your mind.

Three years later, I started to write my book on leadership, but the words were not coming to me like I wanted.  I was frustrated and ready to give up.  I decided to pray about it again before going to bed one night.  I woke up in the middle of the night with the idea of Faith Guided Leadership.  I had always thought about writing a generic book on leadership.  I was being told by God to apply my religious faith to my goal.  I had never thought about becoming a Christian writer.

This is the power of sharing your goals with God.  With Him, all things are possible.  He then, placed before me all of the tools needed to learn how to self publish a book.  The words of the book started to flow quicker than I had ever dreamed.  I put more faith in what He had plans for me to do.  I had a renewed confidence in my goal.

"Faith Guided Leadership" was published in September 2011.  I had  a new mission in life.  I felt the urge to share how God had changed my life and would proceed to do it through my writing.  My stress in life was starting to disappear.  That is where my book, "Stress Free Living" was born.  It all started with a goal of mine that I shared with God through prayer.  "Stress Free Living" was published in February 2013.

Goals are easier to attain if you share them with God.  He can give you the direction that you need if you follow His guidance.  What are your long term goals?  I would love to hear from you.  I am available for speaking appearances and would love to share my story with your group.

Why do some people have more integrity than others?  Is it something we are born with?  Is it a product of our environment of the community that we live in?  Is it affected by the friends we pick?

Our parents have a bigger factor in what we are like later in life than some people give them credit for.  I am writing this blog in honor of my mom on this Mother's Day weekend.  I can thank her for teaching me the value of integrity.  A story from my childhood sums it up.

I grew up in a small town and my brothers and I used to walk to a small grocery store to buy penny candy.  We would be given a quarter or so and could get a small bag of candy to enjoy as a special treat. Back in the sixties, kids used to check the coin return of pay phones, vending machines, etc., to see if we could find some change that a person left when they were in a hurry.  This particular day, I was a typical kid.

I was at the store and had bought my candy.  As I was leaving, I checked the change return on the soda machine and did not find any money.  I also pushed the buttons for the sodas and to my surprise, I hit the jackpot.  A soda came out.  I proceeded to drink it on the way home.

When I got home, my mom, knowing how much money she had given me, asked me how I got the soda as well as the candy.  I explained that I just hit the button and it came out.  She told me that it was wrong because it was not paid for.  I smartly told her that someone had paid for it, but it came out when I hit the button.  I did not see anything wrong with that.

Wrong answer.  She taught me a lesson that day.  She told me that I did not pay for the drink so it was like I stole it.  She gave me the money to buy the drink and told me to go to the store clerk and pay for it.  I walked up to the store and told the clerk what had happened.  The clerk thanked me for my honesty, and told me that I did not have to pay for it.  I told the person that they had to take my money.  I was not going to go home and have mom find out that I still had the money.

This teaching moment from my mom stuck with me.  We have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children.  They are paying attention to how we handle situations.  We set the standards that they will live by for the rest of their lives.  Do not take this responsibility too lightly.  Teach your kids about integrity.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms reading this.  You mean the world to us.  Thank you!

In May 2013, I completed my first half marathon.  I struggled at the end of it with sore knees and bad cramping in my calves.  I remember telling some friends of mine, that are runners, that I not only had no desire to run a full marathon, I was incapable, because of my knees, of completing one if I wanted to.  It was not going to be on my bucket list.

I thought that I had reached my potential as a runner.  Looking back, now, I see that I was getting in the way of what my true potential was.  Philippians 4:13 tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I had to change my attitude.

If you have the right attitude and commitment, you can do anything.  I continued to run and slowly built up my strength, lost 40 lbs. and committed to doing more than I ever thought possible.  I decided to journal along the way.  This journaling turned into my book, published this past fall titled, A Marathon Journey: Lessons in Goal Setting

I ran my first marathon in April 2014 at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN.  The photo is from this years Country Music Marathon as I completed my third marathon in just about a one year time span.  Just two years ago, I would never have thought that this was possible.  I was stopping myself from reaching my potential.

I have spoke to many people that said that they would love to run a half or full marathon but did not see how it was possible because they were not runners.  I did not run more than a mile until the fall of 2012 when I started running at the age of 52.  I let them know that it just takes the right attitude and commitment.  This approach to goal setting does not limit itself to running.  It can be applied to all areas of your life.

What areas are you wanting to grow in and do more things?  What is stopping you?  Is it you?  Ask for God's strength and guidance in your life and experience your true potential.  This does not mean that everything that you do will be easy.  It takes commitment on your part.  To be able to run a marathon, it took many hours of training and logging numerous miles on the track at the gym and along the greenway in Nashville.  I signed up for a training program and ran with a group every Saturday for 4 months.

I am a motivational speaker based in Nashville, TN and would love to come speak to your group or organization about goal setting or just be able to share my story of how my life has changed as I put more trust in God's will in my life.  Let me help you realize your potential.  Please e-mail me if I can help you or you would like to talk to me about speaking possibilities.

We had a discussion at work about the long term managers sharing their expertise with the newer managers in the business.  To the average person, the elder staff should be mentoring the younger ones.  It just makes sense.  But does it?

I believe that both parties can gain from the mentoring of the other.  I can share my experiences over the 18 years of working for the company, including what has worked and what has not.  This may be in regards to management style, customer service, and training programs to name a few.  My fellow manager can teach me about the capabilities of the different computer programs, how the younger generation thinks about work environments and/or how to communicate better with the technology that is now available.

As you can see, there is a benefit to having both parties mentor each other.  I was reading the golden rule that comes from Matthew 7:12.  “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.  This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”  When we first read this, we think about how we treat others.  Do we treat them kindly?  Do we treat them fairly?

Mentoring can be applied to this scripture.  Would you appreciate someone helping you out in a new situation or a new job?  They will have these same feelings if you offer your time and talent to help them be successful.  There are opportunities every week to help others.  Do not pass up the opportunity to mentor others.  You will be blessed in return.  In turn, be appreciative in the areas that you are mentored in your life.  These happen just as often.

Who has been a mentor in your life that made a long-term impact? Leave your comments below.

We have seen so many news articles and publicity on the need for equality.  We get very passionate when discussing this topic.  I am not saying that you should treat anyone unfairly.  Everyone should be equal in the opportunities and rights.  You should treat people with respect and dignity, but not the same.

One of the best things of the human race is that we are all different.  God created us as individual as a snow flake.  We are unique, so why would we want to or need to be treated the same.  You can have two people on the same team that have the same role within your organization.  Their approach to the job may be completely different.  One person may need you to lay out all of the steps needed to complete the job.  They need to be guided through the process and do not want to make any mistakes by trying to guess what you want them to accomplish.

The other person is a self starter.  Give them a vision of what you want done and they will get the job done.  They are the person that comes up with a more efficient way to do something.  They are the future leaders of your organization since they can develop new and better systems.

What would happen if you treated them both the same way?  The first person would struggle.  They would be lost if you just let them go on their own to figure it out.  The second person would get frustrated with you constantly telling them what to do.  By doing this, we limit their potential to grow as a person and to help the organization improve.

Develop those around you to their fullest potential.  That potential means something different to each of them.  Celebrate the uniqueness of others.  Don’t treat them the same.  They deserve an individual approach.