Sunday, January 31, 2010

Quote for the Week

Resting on your laurels is as dangerous as resting when you are walking in the snow. You doze off and die in your sleep.


Ludwig Wittenstein

Monday, January 25, 2010

Interesting Article for Aspiring Authors

Some time ago, I was having a conversation with my wife and one of her close friends.  This young lady is an author, with several published books to her credit.  During our conversation, we talked about how hard it was to break into the publishing business.  We talked about vanity presses and literary agents, as well as her own experience in the industry.

I wondered then, and still do, if there are basically two types of books:  those that are meant to be written, and those that are meant to be read.  For some people, putting their thoughts onto paper is a therapeutic exercise, but will sadly be nothing more than that.  For others, the books will not only be written, but also be read, to the enjoyment or education of others.  I know that a large factor will be the writer's skill level and chosen subject, but lately, that does not seem to be enough.

No matter how you look at it, the book problem is an issue of supply and demand.  Too many books and not enough readers, stores, shelf space, money, etc... The problem is complicated when we consider the growing competition for time, and the many new gadgets and formats that fuel that competition.

Anyway, my mind started chasing this rabbit when I ran across this article:

The Ugly Truth About Getting Your Book Published

As usual, someone else has said it better than I could.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quote for the Week

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficient... The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Changes

This seems like so long ago. If I had to be exact, 1,544 days ago—four years, two months, and twenty-two days. And yet, at the same time, it seems like only yesterday when I first walked in, not having much clue as to what to do, but eager to get started.

I was a partner at a general practice law firm. I had been practicing law for six years, when, after much prayer, I left to come on staff as Chief Administrative Officer of an 8,000 member megachurch.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with some incredibly special people. I have learned a lot about how to lead, when to be firm, and when to give. I have learned that I am ultimately not that important.  A leader needs followers and no matter where I go, I will rely on those I lead. And here, those that I lead have done a tremendous job of making me look good.

There comes a time, though, as a leader, when I have to recognize that I have taken this as far as I can. In order for my team to continue to grow, it must become someone else’s team.

So, here we are. By the time this is posted, I will have resigned from my position at the church. I will have worked out my notice period and done what I can to ensure that whoever replaces me has a smooth transition.

As with most farewells done right, this is a bittersweet moment. I am excited for a new, timely, opportunity that has come my way. On the other hand, I leave behind the first job I truly loved doing. I’ve enjoyed the people I worked with, and I’ve met some truly wonderful people. I can only hope I have treated them as well as they deserve.

But now, the time has come to return to the practice of law. On January 25, I will start the day sitting at my old desk, in my old office, where my old phone still has my name on it. Only this time, I'll start as the managing partner of the firm. 

Now, I’ll still be connected with the church, as I will remain on their governing board as well as the board of their credit union.  Of course, I’ll continue to practice my novice skills as a writer here on my blog (yeah, I know, I’ll make sure I keep the day job for my family's sake). So in a sense, I’m just changing hats. Perhaps my writing will showcase more courtroom and client stories.  I'm still playing with how much information to share.

But for now, I'm dealing with these mixed emotions.  I'm excited about the future, but I also know that I will tremendously miss those I worked with.

Well, it's time for change.  Here we go.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Language Barrier

Recap:

Scott Brown's campaign in Massachusetts goes into overdrive as soon as the country gets wind of his opposition to the health care disaster.

National polls show overwhelming opposition to this health care destruction bill.

Message?

Voters were excited because the Massachusetts upset was sending a clear message to Washington:  We are upset with the way Congress and the White House are running this country (into the ground).

Silly rabbit.

We thought the message was to lay off the health care, work to preserve and not erode our rights, and start paying off this debt.

Nope.  Turns out the message is a lot simpler than that.

According to our President, the message is that he has not spent enough time talking to us.

Let me get this right.  The problem is not your actions; it's that we haven't heard enough talking.

Really?

There's plenty of talking already.  But it's as if we're are speaking a different language.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The 5th, Yet Again

During the Congressional hearing in which the Salahis were questioned for their gate crashing at the White House, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D—New Jersey) said, “So, I don’t respect your right to take the 5th amendment. Not at all.”


Of course, Congress has not given the Salahis immunity, and I don’t care whether they ever do. But since anything the Salahis say can be evidence against them, they need to keep quiet.  Regardless of who agrees.

The Constitution exists so that the simple opinions of those chosen to represent do not trample the rights of those represented.  I don’t give a flying flip whether Mr. Pascrell agrees with the 5th Amendment of the Constitution. That’s his issue, and one for the voters to deal with.  He sure better respect it, though. The Constitution and the rights guaranteed therein are more important than one Congressman from one state.

I wonder, are there any other Constitutional rights you find inconvenient?  Anything else you think we should eliminate?

I also wonder how many will react to his statement.

I should probably stop wondering.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whaddya Mean, We Lost?

There's a lot to be said for being oblivious.  None of it good.

After repeated losses in recent elections.  Democrats have blamed everyone and everything but themselves.  The latest round of fingerpointing is disheartening.  There's even talk that Bush is to blame.  Since the Democrats claim they inherited all evils from Bush (though they were running Congress at the end), and they haven't been able to fix it, it's still Bush's fault.

Move on, folks.

Never mind that they wanted to inherit our issues.  That's why they ran.  They wanted to have a crack at fixing this mess.  Now that their policies are making it worse, they blame the mess, not their policies.

It seems like a large part of this country understands that their leadership is not working.  It's not a party issue, it's a direction issue.  So, we are systematically removing arrogant, tax-payer funded members who believe it is better to pass an unwanted law (to preserve their legacy) than to listen to us in the first place.  They know it is unpopular, but they want to pass it first, and then fix it (maybe).  They want to ram it through, and then tell us they know better than we do.

Politicians do not appear to be getting the message.

The solution is simple.  Remove them and replace them with those who listen.  On both sides.  As I have mentioned before, I am a registered Republican but have not voted a straight ticket in years.  I have and will continue to vote for Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.  I will vote for those who will listen and work for us, not for their party.

If Massachusetts can do it, so can we.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Allegory

I sit on the dock, staring absentmindedly over the quiet lake. The canoe is tied down, gently bumping against the pier, as if impatient. It’s almost as if it knows it’s time to go.

There’s not much sound in the air, other than the occasional fish splashing through the surface or the gentle breeze rustling the few leaves left on the trees. The same breeze washes across my face, cooling my skin, but doing nothing to clear my mind.

Four years ago, this canoe was new, and I knew little about how to use it. I had stepped into it and taken off. I knew where I was going, but had no idea what to do when I got there.

Now, my time here has come to an end. I’m not sure that I’m any smarter, but looking at my canoe, you can tell it’s had some use. Some of the scratches are superficial. Others are too deep to be scratches. Scar may be a more accurate word. Now, I know which areas to avoid when I step into it, and I also know which parts hold secrets. It may be a while before I clean those areas out. It’s not new anymore, but it has been faithful and constant. I trust it will get me where I need to go.

I glance up.  The sun is setting. I must get moving.

I’m really not taking much with me. Just my oars, and thousands of memories. Once again, I know where I am going, but not much of what will happen when I get there. Perhaps if I knew better, I would pack more. But I don’t, so I can’t.

Quietly, I step into the canoe. The water splashes gently as the canoe settles in. I untie the rope and feel the rough hemp run through my fingers as I drift away.

I look back at the dock, amazed and shocked that this day has come. I did not expect that it would be so soon. I did not expect it to come at all. There are trips that are taken for the joy and fun of it. Then, there are those trips that are a necessity. We are drawn by forces greater than we are, compelled by impulses that must be followed. Growth, if truly sought, is not always easy.

As I drift, I contemplate the time I put on the dock. I sanded and painted and polished the areas I could reach. Some piers I replaced, others were strengthened anew. Some planks needed patching, others were changed out altogether. And yet, still other parts were beyond my skills. Now the time has come for someone else to get to the rough spots I was never going to reach. No, although I will miss the dock, I am not worried about it. I have left it in good hands.

But now, just as I trust others with the dock, I have to head to where others await me.  I hope they will learn to trust me just as much.  I hope I will be, for them, a worthy leader.

After a moment of quiet reflection, the oars break the water. I set my face and look ahead.

It’s time to go.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making it Right

I've added Lagniappe's Lair to the blogroll, which I should have done some time ago.  My apologies! You've got to visit this blog!  Great writing, pictures of planes, and even the dog has a gun.  What's not to like about that!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quote for the Week

You do not lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Don't Say Anything

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
John 8:3-11 (English Standard Version)

Mr. Pat Robertson,

Tragedy is never the time to adopt an “I told you so” mentality. If we truly have a direct line to God (and I believe we all do), let’s use it to find out the most effective, efficient way to lend a hand to those affected. Let’s pray for healing, peace, supplies, etc... Let's go help if we can, let's donate if we can.  But let’s not stand over them like self-righteous zealots and heap further condemnation on those in pain. That’s not our job.

In the passage above, the self-righteous sought to bait Jesus into condemning her.  He was wise enough to decline the bait.  Instead, He reminded the condemners that we are all imperfect and all have our issues.  Rather than condemn, it should be our job to restore.

Instead, as we lovingly speak the truth, we will grow up completely in our relationship to Christ, who is the head. He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (God's Word Version) 

Now, I do believe that if we are given a warning to share, we must do so. But, Biblically, the warning would come before the judgment. To bring up the warning after the judgment is meted out is a failure. It's disingenuous to offer help, while with the same voice condemning, as if we are better than those that are hurting.  If God has truly told you this is judgment for Haiti, then God must have also shown you a way to bring healing, peace, and restoration to them. Be quick to share that message, because we really, really, really need to hear that message right now.

Otherwise, please, don't say a word.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Maintenance

I updated my blogroll.  I've removed some blogs that have stopped posting, and I also added My Road to Freedom.  Please go check it out.  My apologies for not having added you sooner!

Busted!

Those red light cameras can really zoom in on your license plate!  Make sure you keep an eye out for those "No Right Turn On Red" signs.

Ummm...never mind asking how I know.

Or, as my girls love to sing:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Frustrating

I'm listening to the scanner, again, and here is what is unfolding, based on the narration by the dispatcher and the radio conversation between officers. 

The call goes out as a robbery at the bank.  This gets supervising officers involved and radio traffic gets a bit interesting.  At least it is until the dispatcher clarifies that the robbery is to an indivual, not to the bank.  This, apparently, is not as important, so all but one officer return to their regularly scheduled programming.  The remaining officer is assigned to the call and he receives this narrative:

A lady is leaving the bank carrying a deposit bag,  According to the dispatcher, the lady notices a man watching her from the driver's seat of a large SUV.  She says she noticed the same man also watching her when she first went into the bank.  As she gets into her vehicle, the man leaves his vehicle and walks up to her window.  All dressed in black, with a ski mask and gloves, he pulls out a gun, points it at her and demands the deposit bag.  She complies and then calls 911 (of course, she can only do so once the incident is over).

The responding officer confirms and heads out for the call.  For the next several MINUTES, the dispatcher and responding officer go back and forth about the location of the robbery.  For some reason, the officer cannot understand the building number being given by the dispatcher.

Once they finally get on the same page, the officer is able to arrive on scene.  Of course, there's only one thing for him to do--take a report.  The criminal has long left the scene--well before shaking hands tried to find 9-1-1 on a cell phone. 

Thank God the lady is physically unharmed.  She will be fine, I imagine. 

Unfortunately, so will the crook.  He is free to rob again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quote for the Week

Everything you now do is something you have chosen to do. Some people don't want to believe that. But if you're over age twenty-one, your life is what you're making of it. To change your life, you need to change your priorities.

John Maxwell

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Israelified" Security

The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

I've never been to Israel, so can't vouch for the veracity of this, but it sure does seem like it must work.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

End to Political Partisanship?

I'm so glad our President and Congress are abandoning partisanship and working hard to eliminate the political divisiveness of the past.  Isn't this what they promised during their campaigns?  Didn't they commit to work with all to "move the country forward?"

Democrats Plan to Cut Out GOP in Final Health Care Negotiations

Nice.  I'll be contacting my representatives to let them know exactly how I feel.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quote for the Week

Divorced from ethics, leadership is reduced to management and politics to mere technique.

James MacGregor Burns