Day 137 – Sunday Ups
Another week ends in my corporate housing suite and my treadmill speed is up to a five. I’ll leave it there for a long time. No need to get cocky as I did before. Today was a strange day and night. I felt a lot of internal pressure as I prepared for the Monday through Friday movements. It was as if my work responsibilities, which are usually no problem, were raising their fists to my face – trying to knock me out before I even got started, especially with my Lubbock catering clients. This happens once in a while to me – maybe twice a year but usually at the end of the year as things get ramped up after the holidays. When this happens, I typically write down some truths that will deflect the lies that make me feel like I am going to fail. Does this ever happen to you? What do you do about it when pressures that have no foundation mount and take over your mind? Do you ever give in to these pressures and decide to stay in bed until the bad feelings go away? I was close to doing just that – despite the amazing day yesterday I felt as if I needed to escape everyone and everything. When this stuff happens I fear that it might last forever. What would happen if this became a normal thing? How would I earn a living? It reminds me of the guy I wrote about a few journals ago – Maybe having him in my mind and in my recent journals has brought this down on my head and shoulders.
I drove by my new house this evening and checked out the holiday lights that my Lubbock landscapers had put up pro bono. They were perfectly positioned – I was impressed by the way they put them up and how brightly they shined. I’m not bragging or anything (because I had nothing to do with it) but my house lights looked better than the ones on the rest of the block. I took that drive by visit as an actual opportunity to go knock on the door of my future house. I said hello to the tenants and asked them if I could do anything for them (I know that the management company handles this but I wanted to be a good owner). They appreciated me coming by and invited me in. I looked at how they decorated and was not surprised by the sparseness of it all. These people were not settling in for the long haul – both of them were just going super minimalist because they had to focus more on their studies than on what couch would look best in a certain room. I didn’t stay long at all but was glad that I did go – it sort of had the effect of releasing my pressures. Knowing that I would be living there with my Melissa in a short time made me burst with a happy energy.
That being said, I don’t have the energy to write much more about this day – I might revisit it tomorrow and then again maybe I won’t. I just hope that these strange pressures stay away in days to come.
Have a great day good people!
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Day 133 – Wednesday Shrinks
Morning at my short-term furnished housing workout room: I listened to my audio Bible which took my mind off of the evil treadmill. I was able to bump up two speed levels today – I am at the 4.2 fast walking stage. I am happy to have at least that movement upwards – I have a new baseline from which to begin from. All progress is appreciated. Once again, Melissa joined me and I watched her crank out fast miles on the elliptical. She is a superstar with pretty much every thing she does. I’m glad I will be connected to her and I sort of feel bad for her having to be connected to me. But, she has freewill and she has used it decide on the one and only me. I guess I am a decent guy.
Meditation: Faith has to have actions tied to it or it is a dead faith – the book of James makes that very clear. Sure everything after Jesus is built on grace, but the New Testament doesn’t play around when it comes to doing the Word – not just studying it. And I’ve got to say that there is so much in that Word that I haven’t even considered putting into practice. Turn the other cheek – maybe after smacking the offender across their cheek with a harder blow. Be content no matter if you are in plenty or in want – I have more capital than 95% of the world and I am discontent all of the time. Don’t argue? – During this political season? Yeah right.
Speaking of that, it looks like we have a new President-elect and lots of people have decided to argue about that as much as possible on social media. It kind of makes me laugh to see people get so passionate about something that won’t be that big of a deal in a few months. I don’t judge any of them for whatever side they are on – that’s at least one thing from the Bible that I am putting into practice. Check mark for me, baby.
Work: I went to visit with a potential client at a pretty large medical clinic today and I think it went well. They want me to come up with a full proposal before they commit to a six-month or one-year full marketing deal. I showed them several examples of our successful campaigns as far as optimization (internal) of websites and how we use search engine optimization (external) on various keywords to make sure our clients rank well and gain the exposure they want. The leaders who I spoke with were not very familiar with any of that lingo so I promised them I would shoot them a full laymen’s guide to how we do work. I actually already have a template set up (I first used it when I was landing the Christian school (Pre-K Lubbock – 12th Grade). Now all I have to do is plug in the potential client’s name and make sure I don’t leave in old references. When I got back to my new office, I sent them this easy to follow proposal. They said they would bring it up at their next staff meeting and have a decision for me within the next ten days. Very cool to land this clinic in the land of pop-up urgent care clinics and small Emergency Rooms. They know that they need to be on the first page to grab sick peoples attention. Makes sense – if I was ill I would grab the first one or two clinics that Google recommended. I’m fairly sure they will jump on board once they see how affordable it all is – not that it is cheap but I know just how much return on investment they will get from being “referred” by our company. As well, after seeing the shiny new clinic they represent, I have no doubt they can afford it – no problem.
Okay – that’s it for now. My bed awaits my entry.
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Day 131 – Monday bites the dust
Following up a fantastic weekend and re-entering the work force “wheel of death” (sarcasm) was not that much of a challenge for me. In fact, it’s rarely a challenge because I have a lot of room to move – what I mean by that is my company gives me space to do things without holding my hand. They know I get my work done successfully and so they don’t mess with me unless there is a big policy change that I need to be aware of. As of this Monday, the company went ahead and set up a Lubbock office for me to work from – or at least an address to put on my business card since I am rarely at a certain desk for long. Still, it’s good to have this done since it is a formal move that gives me even more of a sense of security – they are trusting me to run an actual office in a new locale. Pretty cool as far as I am concerned especially since I have a corporate housing space that feels like mine too. I wonder if Lubbock business will ever grow enough for them to send another human to exist with me. I think we are far away from that but it might be fun to share the load someday with someone who is also experiencing what I am. He or she could gather up different levels of Lubbock lawn care companies and we could corner that market in town – though there may be a slight conflict of interest in marketing for all of them. (I don’t know why I chose landscaping as my focus there – maybe it came from my talk with Melissa about it – and I guess it doesn’t matter why – it’s my blog).
This morning was a lunge back into reality as I took my extra weekend energy into the workout gym. I got cocky and I bit the dust. I decided to turn my fast walking at speed level 4.0 to a light jog at speed level 5.5. I thought, why not? It’s only a 1.5 level difference and I’ve walked fast for long enough. Time to jog. Then after five minutes at this level, my chest was burning and my legs felt like thick Sequoia logs. There was another person in the room when I was there and they were doing the treadmill next to me at speed level 7.0 with no problem. All of my pride screamed at me to keep “jogging” until this other person got off of their machine. But I couldn’t do it. And as I backed up the speed level to my regular 4.0, I felt judged by this superhuman runner next to me. I saw him glance over at me and I bet he was wondering why I slow jogged for such a short time and then went back to walking. I wanted to go and get some barbells and do some curls while walking fast to make the other guy think that I was practicing some new workout. But then I thought I might not be able to walk fast and curl ten-pound weights. If I tried that and failed after two curls, the assumed judgment would be doubled – possibly tripled. So, I just gave the guy a foolish thumbs up and mouthed, “Nice!” He didn’t see it. Maybe he was blind, deaf and mute – that was my only possible escape from personal embarrassment. I couldn’t even outlast this guy. He was pushing 7.0 for an hour according to his timer and I was aiming for twenty minutes. I just sucked back my humiliation, completed my short-term walk and threw a towel over my head as I left shame behind. I hope this guy is not going to be there every morning from here on out or I will have to get there at 5 a.m. to avoid him. Oh the ever-silly man I am…
Meditation: It was all about holding onto hope – no matter what the circumstances. It lined up with what the pastor said on Saturday afternoon (Joseph). I love the feeling of hope and according to the book of Hebrews you have to have this sort of hope and you have got to be certain about it paying off or your faith is minimized. I still have to work on this area of life.
That’s it for Monday.
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Day 130 – Sunday somewhere
I am sure you have noticed that I have passed my three-month corporate housing stint – I forgot to memorialize it with a song or a poem. But I renewed for a huge nine months a few weeks ago at this fine Lubbock establishment – Why change locations now? I love where I am and they seem to have grown accustomed to having me here. It’s actually nice to be remembered by almost all of the staff here – No one likes to be an unnamed shadow for long. I have learned their names as well and sometimes some of them share their backstories with me. One of them, Elise, was pregnant for a while (the dad disappeared as a lot of “dads” do) but then she miscarried. She cried a lot about it to me and I just hugged her as she wept. It was weird to have such emotional sharing but I thought about it and recalled that she doesn’t have a close family to be there for her. So, I became the surrogate. Anyway, she is just one of the most memorable of the staff because she has put her tears on one of my favorite shirts.
I hate the feeling of being alone and I also hate that there are people like Elise who feel it so deeply on a daily basis. I think of my support system that even goes as far as several of my clients and I thank God that I am not left to cry on a relative stranger’s arm. I wish everyone had at least a few people they could count on. I wish everyone had people who loved them unconditionally. Unfortunately, there are millions of desperately lonely people who don’t have anyone who cares about them. It’s too bad really.
This leads me to Melissa who also signed the same length of lease as I did so we could move out together and move in together to our cool house post-marriage. She told me that she had some ideas for our Lubbock landscapers to implement – some decorative rocks and some specific flowers that she would love to see added. I told her that I had ideas about nothing in particular. I just said that whatever she wanted she was going to get – I know this might be giving her carte blanche to run all over me as we progress into marriage – that I might be setting her up in a system of being spoiled. But, I don’t think she is the sort who is going to take advantage of me. After all, she has said basically the same stuff to me. We both want each other to be happiest with what is most important to the particular person. The decorations on the front lawn don’t concern me as much as they do her – therefore she gets to make the call. The same goes for me – she doesn’t care where we go on yearly vacations but I do – thus I get to pretty much decide where we will travel. And if she messes with me about it in the future, I’ll just file for an annulment (a joke).
I did my treadmill workout as Melissa watched from her elliptical machine and laughed afterwards because she said I looked angry the entire time I walked fast. I told her that I was angry and that this anger fueled me to beat my treadmill in this daily fight. I shall triumph…
That was Sunday in Lubbock – another fine day.
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Day 127 – Thursday workouts
So after whining yesterday about having to leave my precious corporate housing swimming pool behind in favor of workout machines located indoors, I got up like normal, threw on some appropriate clothes and headed to the small but adequate gym that is provided for residents. I then climbed onto a treadmill machine and set it for level one, which had me chasing over the occasional hill. I thought it would be pretty easy for my legs to handle running straight away, so after a two-minute warm-up I threw the machine to 7.0 speed and almost fell off of the machine. I had my headphones on and I was listening to Fleet Foxes, but they weren’t helping me survive the speed. Within one minute my legs were burning and my chest was heaving. Against my screaming ego, I had to slow it down to a fast walk. I guess swimming doesn’t prepare someone for a totally different exercise motion. I felt like a weakling who had been defeated by a great foe. I hated this stupid machine, but after it had issued its challenge to me, I was determined to overcome. I will beat you treadmill and all of your machine cousins. I’m a man on a mission.
I left the gym sore from walking fast and got myself ready for a full day of work. I put my clothes on in shame but I decided not to let my early workout failures determine my attitude for the day. So, I went to visit the Christian school (Lubbock Pre-K – 12th grade) and delivered great news to them. Their joy over my marketing acumen restored some of my manhood. I also went to visit my Lubbock landscapers and showed them how SEO was improving their overall exposure on the web. They appreciated the full explanation and gave me more assurances of my good work. The treadmill was almost out of my head as I delivered some other good news to my other clients via email. I sent them reports that detailed their overall movements and how those have been the reason for the large increases in raising up potential customers. I think I worked at a 7.0 speed and was not winded by it.
Meditation: Coming from Philippians where it says to do everything without complaining or arguing, I had to sweep through my life to see whether I was on target with these commands or off target. No complaining? Yeah right. I just got finished complaining about a dumb treadmill. And I am certain that I pretty much complain about some of the dumbest things on the planet on a regular basis. I would blame my culture for training me to do it, but I can’t go around always blaming my culture. At some point I just have to buck it up and obey these things. I’m not much of an argumentative guy and so I am doing okay on that one, but I really need to get that attitude of complaining replaced by constant thanksgiving. It’s the right way to go.
Melissa is great and we have pushed through something called the Pain Cycle – it was assigned to us by our counselor and will take us a few weeks to figure it out. I like relationship homework because it feels as if doing it is increasing our chances for marriage success.
Good day today. I won’t complain about treadmills tomorrow. I promise.
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A Truly Legendary Business
A reputation is built by being consistent in your actions so that others can perceive you in a particular light. This goes for personal relationships and for corporate ones as well. I think that businesses that are successful enough to be franchised have earned good reputations that allow them to spread across the country. They are able to multiply because they are founded on consistently good or even great actions that make customers want to be there. That being said, not all franchised businesses reflect the original and foundational characteristics of the initial business, and thus they mar the overall feelings that people have about the “chain” organizations. While this is true and is typically a leadership problem at the single franchise having to do with poor training and poor hiring (even bad communication of the overall vision and mission of the pilot store), I have seen several franchises succeed based on the original reputation.
Anyway, I have experienced a truly legendary franchise in my town that probably has stuck to its original brand better than any other I have dealt with. It’s a famous company that is all over the country (and maybe event the world) and I’m sure you have heard of it. Chick-fil-A has quite an amazing reputation and I think it is because those who are allowed to buy a franchise have to go through rigorous training and are only allowed to run a singular business according to the well-built word of mouth and marketing infrastructure. The particular franchise that I am calling legendary is in Texas and it does both in-store and community work with excellence. Any time I go into this one store (actually there are probably two of these franchises run by the same owner) I am greeted with sincerely friendly employees who work hard and fast to make sure I am left with a good taste in my mouth (see what I did there). Their food is fantastic and their cleanliness should be rewarded year after year. They stand out and they go above and beyond any expectations I have ever had. What really blows me away about these stores is the way they offer their goods to non-profits who need Lubbock catering, but cannot afford to spend money on it for special events. I have been involved with several events that were made “delicious” by this catering in Lubbock that delivers and even serves the people who come to donate money to desperate non-profits. And beyond the community service, their in-store food and their catering for parties is always incredible. I love dealing with these stores because they intentionally attempt to stand out among so many other choices of restaurant. They care and they make me feel great whether I’m coming through the drive-through or sitting in their store.
I don’t usually take time to write reviews of businesses because most of the time I feel like people are doing the minimum to serve customers. But since these two franchises are so amazing, I thought I would include them on my blog. If you are ever in Lubbock, make sure to hit the Chick-fil-A’s on Slide near the loop and/or on 82nd and Milwaukee. I can assure that you will be blown away by how they manage their reputations.
Thanks for reading – I am out.
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Day 119 – Wednesday Work
As per my usual schedule, I still hit the pool as soon as I climbed out of bed. I asked the management how long they were going to keep it open. They turned around and asked me if I wanted it open through the fall if the temperatures remained in the sixties. I told them yes and they said, “Well then, it’s a done deal. We’ll leave it open for you and the kids who dare brave its cold in the afternoons.” I was happy about this – just one more reason to love my corporate housing situation. They are the coolest here. Maybe they will let me come visit my pool once in a while after I move into my new house just for old times sake…I think I’m addicted to their brand of chlorine or something.
Today was a good work day because I got to sit down with new owners of my Lubbock landscaping company and to show them how well they are doing in comparison to their competition. For a long time, they were not willing to invest in a new website, but when I got to Lubbock I talked them into replacing their old school one (non-responsive) with a really cool WordPress site. And they also started Search Engine Optimization, which has boosted them a lot as far as business coming in. The head of the company and his COO joined our meeting and they both told me thanks for handling them so well – that I had pushed them in the right direction without being “pushy.” Anyway, they said they wanted to invest some more money into SEO for the keyword phrases, “Christmas Lights” and “Christmas Light installation.” I told them it made a lot of sense to do that since Christmas is right around the corner. My company will be happy once I tell them all of this – By the way, did I tell you that my company did approve setting up an office for me to run here in Lubbock? I am so glad about this because now I won’t have to quit and find another digital marketing job. I can stay right here in Lubbock with my amazing future-wife. I am a blessed man. Speaking of marital issues, we decided on who we were going to use for our rehearsal dinner. There were a lot of options for catering in Lubbock, but I think we found the best one. All of our friends agreed with our choice so we felt good.
Meditation: More Ezekiel and more God-driven destruction – This time the reading was all about how the world famous city of Tyre was going to be brought down. Tyre was a major port city and it shipped out all sorts of goods to other nations. God said that this city had gotten too proud of itself and thought of itself as a god since the other nations loved and depended on them. This led Him to unleash some pretty major “reforms” which would humble them completely. What stuck out to me about this was how powerful God can be when He deals with a nation. There is a Psalm that says to God, “Let the nations know they are but men.” I think about how America is so proud of itself and I wonder if any of this sort of judgment is on the schedule for us someday. Are we as bad as Tyre? Do we think we are untouchable like they thought? What would judgment look like and how would it affect me? (Of course I wonder about me because I am fairly self-centrered.)
Okay – enough judgment talk – Let’s just say that I am aware of the possibility now.
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Day 117 – Monday again
Nothing against this Monday but it felt empty and anxious from the start – I woke up in my Corporate Housing bed and didn’t feel like getting up. I don’t know where this heavy tiredness came from – maybe it was that I was nervous about the Bible Study I was facilitating in the evening. Or maybe I was just due for a challenging day. The brain and the heart sometimes rebel against me and leave me struggling to find a firm grip. I hate the sense that I am running against a powerful wind from the start but what human has great and easy days every single day? Maybe Warren Buffett but maybe not – maybe he is Richard Cory behind the scenes.
Anyway, I skipped my pool workout and just took a long, cold shower to shake off some of the beat down feelings. Cold showers are horrible to step into but they do something good for me – I typically go from dead to bouncing around with energy. This time was no different. I still felt down but I lost the lingering tiredness. I went by Melissa’s suite and gave her a kiss goodbye. I asked her to be praying for me and she assured me she would. She told me that I shouldn’t worry about the Bible Study because God always handles His word and makes it do its job even when we blow it. I had to agree. She is growing so quickly in her understanding of God’s word and His nature.
I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t stayed in this short-term furnished housing – Would I have still met Melissa somewhere else? Would I still be loved and in love? Were we destined for one another? How much does location and timing affect relationships? Those sorts of questions always seem to fascinate me. I don’t think I will ever have the answers for such things – maybe it’s best not to ask them.
I checked on three of my newer clients and I gave them their newest analytics reports. They were all happy with what I showed them and all three of them told me that they could see a marked increase in business as a result of my work. I was happy that they could attribute it to some hard computer work on my part. But I still knew that it wasn’t all me. And even if it was all due to my computer placements, I would have to give God the credit for favoring my work. It’s really all God if you think about it – He enables us to do everything. Think about that the next time you are about to pat yourself on the back – you might want to throw up a prayer of thanksgiving to God while you stretch your hand back to your shoulder.
Bible Study: The same ten people came plus two more which were brought by one of Melissa’s nursing friends. We talked about Ecclesiastes 2. It made us all a bit jealous that the author could indulge hedonism in the name of wisdom. But once I told them that Solomon wrecked his life by doing this, we all backed off of our desires. It was a good group and Melissa was right – God covered it.
The day ended much better than it began.
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Day 114 – Friday counsel
The day started as per usual at my Lubbock corporate housing spot with breakfast and the pool time. I decided to wear some cool new clothes I just bought the other day – I decided to bring back the hipster look to Lubbock – some torn jeans and a skinny black tie over a shirt that I didn’t tuck in. This outfit takes at least ten years off of me because people would not be able to accept that someone as old as me might take such a fashion risk. Oh yeah, and I also had a nice new fedora on – how could I forget that topper? Sometimes I just have to bounce out of my normal to remind myself that I actually do exist amidst humanity – for now. Plus, Melissa helped me pick these clothes out and dared me to wear them to my meetings with clients. I took that dare and I think my clients were pleasantly surprised that I was risking looking like a punk twenty-something for a day. We will call this my Halloween outfit since we are in the month of October.
Just a fast update: Lubbock homes for sale and homes for sale in Lubbock are doing well for Coldwell Banker (www.coldwellbankerlubbock.com). I’m making use of external blogs and internal blogs to keep Google crawling happy on this site. These realty folks have already had their back end (administrative) side of things fixed up and so I feel free to build up solid links for them. Really, I do that for everyone now because I have ‘mature’ clients that just need great links coming from all over. I basically could say all of the same things for my restaurants (Lubbock catering mainly), my commercial company, etc. Anyway, work is going well. I need to make some cold calls some time next week to get some new companies on the list – take them through my process so that their businesses can have the Google love in web exposure. Okay, enough of my jargon. I’ll take my skinny tie and fedora to another subject.
Even though Melissa had a late night shift scheduled she wanted to go ahead and have our pre-marital session with that counselor. We did that and it was good even though we had gone through some of the subjects on our own. It was nice to have that third person voice to add to our voices. We both gave a rundown of our “relational weeks” and that proved interesting because I thought I knew everything about how Melissa was feeling. Turns out I didn’t – She was feeling sort of insecure about her placement in my life (priorities) and a bit nervous about the house we had bought for ourselves. She said that it seemed like I was being impatient with her in my tone lately. I apologized and said I would try to not be such a rushed jerk. My report was simply that I felt great to have Melissa in my life and I felt that she got me in ways that others never have. The therapist listened well and asked good questions about these things. She was good at drawing out answers that were hidden deeper in our beings. We are certainly not wasting our time – it’s worth the time and the money.
Meditation: “Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” This verse came from Ephesians 6 and stuck out to me because I rarely feel the strength of the Lord – probably because I am leaning on my own version of strength. I am still not sure how to access God’s power. Most likely, I need to ask more and wait more.
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Day 112 – Wednesday Willies
The pool was still open today at my short-term furnished housing space but I have to admit that swimming in 55-degree temperatures is much harder than mid-eighties temperatures. I have to jump right in now and start powering into my freestyle stroke as fast as possible to get my body accustomed to the cold. And today, after about five minutes of suffering, my body stopped screaming at me to get back in bed or at least to retreat to a hot shower in my Lubbock corporate housing spot. I figure that the discomfort of the cold is worth it since it wakes me up and gets me fully aware of the new day. Today I still wondered when the management was going to shut my workout place down. They haven’t posted anything as of yet and the monthly newsletter to tenants didn’t say anything. I guess I’ll just keep showing up until they drain it – or until ice forms on top.
Are you tired of me talking about my times in the pool? Are you sick of me talking about my corporate housing wonderland? Well, too bad, sucka – this is my journal. You don’t like it, you can start your own…
I took Melissa to breakfast at a local spot (where they usually focus on Lubbock catering) and we enjoyed talking about how much we love each other. We also talked about our next appointment with the pre-marital counselor. What would he suggest to us? What will he challenge us with? Does a stranger have any clue about our possibilities and our probabilities? I guess we will see in a few days. Melissa told me what she was learning from her third time through The Love Dare and she asked me what I was learning. I told her honestly that I hadn’t picked it up since we listened to the CD’s on the way back from Ruidoso. This did not please her and I made the wise decision to pick it back up. I knew I needed to basically read it and re-read it for eternity, but I was being lazy. I told her that I would get back into it so we could be practicing its suggestions daily. It is such a solid book that I could see it helping us from now on if we stay consistent with it. The love it proposes is the sort found in I Corinthians 13 and thus it will be good if we are able to put it into play for each other. I guess God’s word is good for every sort of training.
My work yesterday on “Lubbock homes for sale” is already paying dividends. The realty company’s foundational rankings for Google jumped two spots and the ranking jumped one spot. That might seem like tiny moves, but any move upward is a move to be celebrated. I haven’t spoken much to my church architects lately because they have settled into the top ranking spot and don’t seem to need anything but reliable analytics reports. All of my other clients are getting my daily foci (I love the word ‘foci’ even though I misuse it all of the time in my writing). Anyway, that’s my work report.
My meditation time was good if not a little confusing. I jumped right into the front of Ezekiel and that is not an easy book to apply to my life. Sure, I break God’s commandments like the Israelites, but I don’t see national judgment coming anytime soon.
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