Thursday, March 31, 2011

90 Percenter



A few years ago when I was running my own  computer store in a little town of 5,000, a good friend/mentor was running a auto body shop. One day at lunch, he was describing a dilemma he was dealing with in his business. He began discussing one of his employees by saying he was dependable, hard working, and  easy to work around. I could sense the impending "but".

"But",  he continued, and he began airing his frustration with the body man's finish work.

The guy could disassemble the car, perform structural repairs, straighten frames, weld, bolt on new body panels, and all the heavy lifting parts of the job. But  when it came down to the fine details of bondo or fiberglass, filling, sanding, and preparing to paint, he seemed to come a bit short. The owner said it seemed that "aww, that good enough" seemed to be the sentiment on detail work.

The owner said he spent hours on end showing him the process, sanding, smoothing, test painting, sanding again until it was right. But turn him  lose and the car would have obvious high and low spots after being fully painted and clear coated.

The owner then said something that caught me off guard, "I give up. I'm beating my head  against a wall with him." I thought  for a second he was about to tell me he was going to fire the bodyman. But instead he said,"I have just realized he is a 90 percenter and that is all he is going to do."

After earnestly trying to coach him through the last 10 percent of the process, he had realized  it just was not ever going to happen. So why try to continue to fight it? It was not accomplishing anything. It was just frustrating the owner and aggravating the body man. So, the owner decided to let the body man do the 90 percent, and then the owner would finish the job himself.
Are we guilty of being a 90 percenter? Are there areas of life where we decide, this is too much work, I am not going to put a full effort into this, this is good enough. Is an incomplete effort really good enough?

Colossians 3:22-24 says,
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Can we really be 90 percenters? Is anything we are tasked to do open for just good enough? Are we 90 percenters with our friends? Are we 90 percenters with our families? Are we 90 percenters in our marriages? Are we 90 percenters in our jobs? Are we 90 percenters in our churches?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Funny How Times Change

For several years, if you went shopping for a motorcycle, the one thing you would not have been offered was a test ride. It was just a non-negotiable due to insurance issues. A few years ago, that began to soften a bit. Harley-Davidson dealers began to have "Demo Days" a couple times a year where they would put out eight or ten bikes and anyone with a valid motorcycle license could take a guided ride on any or all of the selected models.

With the economy tanking and sales of motorcycles at an all time low, test rides have been on a come back. Even Harley-Davidson dealers are advertising test rides and providing scheduling of test rides for potential customers. Harley-Davidson Try a Bike



Victory Motorcycles raised the stakes on test rides recently. Victory Test Ride Victory is making a $100 wager with potential customers. Take a test ride on one of their Victory models, then take a test ride from a competitor. If you buy the competitor's motorcycle, Victory will give you $100. Victory $100 Test Ride Challenge

If you are considering buying a motorcycle, I would suggest taking them up on their offer. They offer some good looking bikes and seem to have impressive performance. And even if you do not think you are remotely interested in buying a Victory, everyone could use $100, right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Struggling

Over the last couple of weeks, I have talked to friends and family that have been struggling to deal with the events that life has been dumping in the laps as of late. A co-worker who just buried her best friend the weekend before last was at her parent's for dinner last night, and her father had a heart attack.

Another friend is struggling with a son's addiction and pursuing intervention. Another struggling with customers who drop of tons of work but then duck and dodge him when its time to pay and pick up their work. Another dealing with a son debating dropping out of college. The list goes on and on.

At times, we can get caught up in the events of day to day life and begin to feel like its a frustrating struggle. But be of good cheer. Remember what Jesus told his disciples at their last meeting?

John 16:33:  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

There is light just past the darkness, press on through.

-Peace

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good Motorcycle Reads

So what do you do when it is too cold or raining too hard to be out enjoying riding your motorcycle? Read about motorcycles of course :)

Here are a couple of books I have enjoyed reading over the last couple of years on motorcycles:

Leanings by Peter Egan


In case you have lived under a rock and do not know who Peter Egan is, he has written for Cycle World since 1977. Leanings is a collection of his tales from his failed attempt at a cross-country riding trip on a British Twin to his journey along the abandoned Route 66. Egan sprinkles in his frustrations at motorcycle maintenance. His humor and adventure makes it worth the read.








Leanings 2 by Peter Egan


Another grand collection of stories and adventures from a man who loves motorcycles and playing in a garage band.











The Old Man and the Harley by John J. Newkirk


In 1939, a nineteen year old man sets out on a Harley VL Big Twin to see the New York's World Fair and the San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition. Numerous mechanical issues crop up as do sudden suprises while camping in the woods crossing the United States.









Across America by Motor-Cycle (1922)


In 1929, a British Royal Air Force Captain, C. K. Shepherd set out to ride a motorcycle across the United States. At the time, the interstate system did not exist. In fact, a great deal of the highway system was dirt or gravel roads. Shepherd chronicled his adventure and kept a tally of how many times he had to rebuild the engine on his bike.

This story gives you grand appreciation for the interstate system we enjoy today and the realibilty we enjoy with modern day motorcycles.




These are few good reads that I have enjoyed. How about you? What have you been reading?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How's Your Prayer Life?

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.


I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard someone decline praying in a small group or in public because they say "I don't know what to say" or they are concerned about their public appearance. A few times I have seen it go so far that a father did not want to pray in front of his young children because he did not know what to say. I am not trying to judge, but I cannot help but wonder at times what their private prayer life looks like when I hear this excuse. Because if not knowing what to say is the real reason that is stopping them from praying aloud, then it may just stop them from praying period.

Do not get me wrong, I can fully understand that speaking to the God that created the heavens and earth, who named all the planets and knows the numbers of hair on my head could be a bit intimidating. But check out what David says in Psalm 139, verse 4: "Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely."


How cool is it that God knows the words before you even speak them? In actuality he knows the desires of your heart and every thought going through your mind. So if you are praying and stop in the middle of the sentence, he hears that prayer and knows what the thought was. He can complete your sentence!

Now check out Romans 8 verse 26: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

Check that out! The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. If we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us using "wordless groans".

That should take a load off your mind when you are wanting to pray and do not know what to say. Because one: God knows what is on your heart, and two: if we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will do it for us.

So relax, no pressure. God created you, He loves you, and He wants to be your friend. And, He wants to hear from you. No pressure!

Jesus said,"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." - Mark 11:24 (NIV)

So how do I do it? I pray like I am talking to a friend as we are driving down the road together. It is very conversational.

First I express thanks for the blessings in my life. Not seeing any? Cannot think of any? Slow down and consider, is the sun shining? Do you have food to eat? Do you have people in your life that love and care about you? Are you employed? Are you able to pay your bills? Do you have a dry place to sleep? If so, you have things that you can be thankful.

Then I ask for God's intervention in people's lives. Those I know that are struggling with illness, cancer, loss of love ones, loss of jobs, marriage problems, and other struggles of life. Sometimes I do not know their whole names, sometimes I may not even know a name. But remember Psalm 139:4? He knows who I am thinking about, where I saw them, what the situation is - even better than I do.

Finally, I ask God to use me however he wants to be a blessing to the people I encounter each day, to be a positive influence and an encouragement.

So, how's your prayer life?
-Peace

Friday, March 11, 2011

And Then the Rains Stopped...

The weather guessers predicted rain this week, so begrudged, I commuted in the cage. One morning it was a deluge and traffic was horrendous, but by the afternoon the sun was out. And to add insult to injury I saw a couple motorcycles on the highway on the commute home. But I was holding on to the prediction that the rain would end Wednesday night and it would be clear, windy, and colder Thursday morning.

WRONG! I awoke Thursday morning to rain beating on the bedroom window. The first thought through my mind was I am not willing to fight metro traffic in this weather on the bike. So another commute in the cage. And again traffic was maddening, a 42 mile drive took and hour and 20 minutes. But at least I had time to pray for friends and family dealing with illness and co-workers suffering the loss of a friend.

This morning it was cloudy and 37F. That was all I needed. A Sweater under my riding leathers, a fleece scarf, and a insulated half mask under my fullface helmet and I was adequately prepared for the cooler temps.

Merging onto the highway seemed so effortless on the bike. Moving thru traffic was easier as well. I always marvel at the difference. Driving the pickup seems so clumsy when compared to riding a motorcycle. The bike has better throttle response, better maneuverability, and heck you feel so in tune with the world, so alive.

Arriving at the office, I could feel a lighter spirit and a smile. Therapeutic commuting I would say.

I stopped to get a cup of coffee before going up to the office and a guy in front of me greeted me. He noted I still had my Joe Rocket jacket on and asked, "Is that your Burgundy bike downstairs?" I acknowledged it was and an enjoyable conversation ensued. He rides dirt bikes and his girlfriends son has bought a 250 street bike and has been riding for 6 months with no license or training. This week the teenager announced he is selling the 250cc bike and buying a 929cc bike. Needless to say this gentleman is trying to convince the girlfriend that this is not the best idea in the world.

I suggested lobbying her to require the young man to attend motorcycle safety class and obtaining a motorcycle license. And, I submitted that a 600cc upgrade should be the next move not a 929. I added the situation to my prayer list as I remember my approach to driving when I was 16 and can only imagine what life would have been like if I had been allowed to have a motorcycle at that point in my life. It is only by the grace of God that I survived my teenage years as it is.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Now That There is a Truck!

It seems last year Mario Batali hosted a charity event at Texas Motor Speedway in November called "Asphalt Chef" and threw down a challenge to Guy Fieri (you know the Camaro driving guy from Divers, Drive-ins, and Dives).

Well Guy responded accepting this challenge with this video. Apparently Mario Batali likes to wear orange crocs. And, apparently, Guy owns a big truck!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Where to From Here?


(Image Source: maineguidesupply.com)

Maybe it's because I am approaching the 50 year mark, maybe it is something else, but over the last year, I have begun to assess where I have been over the last 47 years and then started looking ahead.

It is almost like De Ja Voues. I can remember enrolling in college all those years ago and wondering what the heck should I take? What the heck am I going to do as a career? What do I want to do with my life?

At this point, it starts out more like, "What have I done with my life?" and "What would I like to do different?"

I have taken advantage of numerous opportunities over the last 25 years to supplement my education with various courses of study that have continually opened doors along my career path and have prevented me from running into the stonewall of a particular path that was dying away. In the technology world, I have seen that happen multiple times and have been fortunate enough to step over into another path and continue moving.

Right out of college, I was writing compiled BASIC microcomputer programming code and COBOL mainframe programming code. I began to see the handwriting on the wall that PCs would eventually take the place of the bigger systems and began to grab any opportunity to learn more about the connectivity of PCs and assembly and repair.

Eventually I took several Novell networking courses and began to work networking PCs, building PCs, repairing and upgrading PCs.

Microsoft made a full scale assault on Novell, and I began to work in both circles supporting Novell Networks and Microsoft Windows Networks. I managed to take courses on various Microsoft technologies and have since been supporting various Microsoft technologies.

In the midst of all of this, I have sought to find a meaning for my life. Seeking it through my career seems pointless. Every three years, everything I assemble or create gets ripped out and replaced. It is the nature of technology and has been for years. It is just the natural cycle of the industry. Nothing about it has staying power and nothing about it is positively impacting peoples lives.

So, I have volunteered with Kairos Prison Ministry, various motorcycle ministries and with Habitat for Humanity. And this is why I am going to Venezuela this year and why I have applied to volunteer deeper within our church. I want to impact peoples' lives in a positive lasting manner.

I am currently attending night school. I have a general idea where I am going with my supplemental education, but I am still pondering the emphasis. As I ponder the direction of the final 15-20 years of my career, I feel like I am in Statesboro 25 years ago wondering, "What should my major be and what do I plan to do for the rest of my life?"

I am continuing to pray and give careful consideration to these important questions while researching matters.

Have you ever been at a crossroads and had to make these kinds of decisions?

How did you go about deciding the emphasis of your major?

How have you decided your career path?