One man’s retirement ceremony

Yesterday, John and I were blessed to watch as Captain Adam Opava retired from the Air Force with over twenty years of combined enlisted and commissioned service. What fun it was to sing the Air Force song and to share in the fun with his family, friends and colleagues. The ceremony involved organizational and personal…

The long jumper

This kid who wore leg braces and is the clumsiest person you will ever meet was given the assignment of Head Coach of the Bonner Springs High School Women’s Track Team – amazing. I had been the Assistant Coach the year before and I had a stop watch and whistle. Most importantly, I was blessed…

It is only $1

The older couple in front of me at the “Everything is a Dollar Store” had a cart full of food, most of it frozen, with no “junk food.” I had only three items in my basket, so I had plenty of time to watch them finish their transaction. They pulled out an EBT card (food stamps) and told the clerk that they would pay whatever was not covered by the EBT card with their credit card. The clerk told them that they would need to put $3.23 on their credit card, swiped their card and then asked the question that has become routine at the checkout line, “Would you like cash back?” The gentleman said, “Yes, give me $10.” The clerk checked her machine and said, “There is a $1 service fee for that.” And, he replied, “Go ahead.” That $1 has bothered me all day.

I don’t begrudge them the EBT card. I have no doubt that they are living a tough life and need public assistance. But, I wondered about paying that $1 fee. It made no sense to me. And then I wondered how often I have paid a ridiculous price for convenience.

The financial and time management consultants all agree: little things matter. Most of the things that eat up our dollars, our time, and our talents are pretty small in themselves. It is when we add them together that we see how expensive those little things are.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned as a leader was to manage my time carefully.

  • Meetings should rarely last 60 minutes; 30 minutes keep everyone (especially me!) focused on the task.
  • I could do “other work” during conference calls. For instance, my signature went on many “second pages” of letters. Signing these generic pages required no thinking on my part. So, a stack of “second pages” was kept ready for the next conference phone call.
  • When asked to meet with someone face-to-face or via phone, the scheduler would inform the caller that I had only __ minutes (the amount depending on the subject). By having a time limit, the caller was forced to structure their presentation. We got more done in less time.
  • When traveling, my job allowed me to limit my “after hours” social activities. I would have dinner in my room and spend my evening doing needlework, writing personal correspondence or making personal calls (at my expense). By staying in touch with the people I love, travel was less burdensome and disruptive.

The next time that someone asks you for that $1, or 30 minutes or your assistance, think hard. Use wisely what has been entrusted to you.

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and try me in this, said the Lord: if I open not unto you the flood-gates of heaven, and pour you out a blessing even to abundance. (Malachi 3:10)

It’s soup weather

The entire continental United States is in the middle of an early cold snap. In 32 years, I have never seen a Pensacola November as cold as this one. And, so today I ordered chicken soup for lunch. Last winter was tough on most of us. And, Americans ordered soup. In fact, in February 2014, Campbell…

So, there will be no Barry Manilow?

Some years ago, we implemented a 1-800 number for high school students to use in checking on their application to our program. For activities like ours, this kind of attention to the customer service was unheard of. We were pleased with the variety of services the system provided including being available to students 24 hours, seven…

Safe in the middle

Several years ago, I was traveling home from San Diego. I was in the middle seat of an emergency row. Not the worst seat, but not the best one either. A middle-aged gentleman joined me, sitting in the aisle seat. I was sure that he had served in the military; he was trim, physically fit…

When I was 24 I went through a rough time. Looking back on it, it was easy to see why. For many years, I “knew” what I would be at 24; or, rather I knew WHO I would be. I would be this wonderful lady who attended our church. She had the perfect appearance, husband,…

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