Follow this blog today, and become eligible for a $25 Visa gift card to be given at 6 p.m. CST tonight. Following does have its rewards.
And oh, yes, thanks for reading!
It’s hard not blogging.
It’s been just more than eight days since my last post, and since I abhor the blogs that “apologize” for having been away so long, I’ll not do that. My absence was intentional, for a purpose, and I honestly didn’t expect to return so soon.
But I’m alone. On business, in Effingham, Illinois‘ Hilton Garden Inn, my only friend a frisco melt and onion rings from across the street, and I’m bored. So I’ve returned to the blog, my trusted sidekick.
Yes, the break from blogging was by design, for a purpose, and the job at hand is finished, so I’ve returned in my loneliness while in this two-queen, no-smoking suite.
It was a productive eight days. Book-wise I:
In another area of life:
And in other news…
and that I had a voice like thunder. Said post substantially escalated my testosterone levels. You can read her work at www.mywindow2theworld.wordpress.com
Ya’ll expect another post soon. It’s pretty boring here.
I guess there’s always the third-floor view of Wal-Mart.
Yes, it’s great to be back on the blog. Even if it is from Room 309.
“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art, and working is art, and good business is the best art.” ~ Andy Warhol
Years ago, in the world of self employment, I was fortunate one of the most successful local businessmen I know was willing to give me an audience on certain occasions to solicit his sage advice.
He’s one of the wealthiest men in Arkansas, diversely entrepreneurial and a wealth of knowledge.
Out of respect for his time I would call on him only when I needed advice the most.
In passing one morning, he said this:
“The key to making real money is to learn how to make money when you sleep.”
Ever since, I’ve aspired to master the art and science of “making money when you sleep.” It’s surely something to think about.
I’ve never made a dime from a blog post. But my three blog sites do have a future monetary purpose. They’re a platform designed to build a community of followers (more importantly friends) for a book release in the coming months.
And for the record, I just purely enjoy being a part of the blogging community.
But as the release of Light Wins approaches, I’m taking the platform building process more seriously – with a more strategic approach.
And I’m learning more about how to get blog hits when I sleep.
Here are just a few things I’ve learned:
For me, it’s a cheap thrill to get out of bed and find I’ve had a hundred views over the night. It’s just one of the things that gets my day off to a good start.
Today is summer solstice.
There are 15 hours and 36 minutes of daylight in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
With so many hours in the day, I’ve been thinking, and hereby resolve to:
1. Watch more sunsets.
2. Read more.
3. Write more.
4. Limit the number of blogs I have to at least 10. Too many topics and not enough categories…
5. Keep an eye on the weather and watch for a long weekend of rainy days. That’ll be my next binge writing session.
6. Finish my book by October.
7. Start running again.
8. Set a few
rules guidelines for living out the years ahead.
9. STOP and take a picture when I want to take a picture. No more driving by and regretting.
10. Kiss my family members when the urge hits.
11. Question myself a little less.
12. Stop and help people more often.
13. Enjoy freedom.
15. Strive to learn to relax.
16. Define success.
17. Remember good things.
18. Right wrongs.
19. Sleep just a few minutes later.
20. Learn more about forgiveness.
Check out today’s post on my secondary blog at http://wp.me/p2tJ80-1O
Malzahn Quote: “I’m the head coach of the Arkansas State Red Wolves.”
Interpretation: That’s what I am today. For the moment I’m avoiding what tomorrow may bring, and you know I’m not gonna say anything about this, anyway.
Malzahn Quote: “I’m sticking to ‘I’m the head coach here (ASU) and I’m not worried about anything else.'”
Interpretation: I’ve had no DIRECT conversation with UA, but our representatives are talking. I’m not worried about anything. Hey, I come out a winner either way!
Malzahn Quote: “I’m committed to being here.”
Interpretation: Just as much as I was yesterday, but hey, a dream job is a dream job, and I could be committed there too.
Dr. Dean Lee (ASU Athletic Director) Quote: “We feel good about who we are and what we have to offer…”
Interpretation: I’m worried.
ASU Quarterback Ryan Aplin Quote: “It’s just something we’re going to have to try to deal with as a team and try to look over it and stay focused on practice.”
Interpretation: I’m doing my best to keep my team in good spirits (because that’s part of my job) but the whole team is really worried. This could be bad.
The Perfect Storm in Arkansas continues to brew. Lightning’s gonna strike somewhere.
Traditional tips you’ll read about effective blogging will typically tell you to write about the things you know, choose a niche and pitch yourself as an expert and an authority.
It’s good advice. Everyone’s an expert in something, and there’s definitely something to be said for consistency in your blogging topics. It’s the best way to build a strong platform and a loyal audience. Your readers should come to expect a certain style in your work.
But the adventuresome blogger, will, from time to time, will make a gutsy move and go outside his comfort zone for the sake of curiosity, and just to see what happens. That’s exactly what I did yesterday.
My brand of writing is designed to make people think. Not necessarily to change their minds, but to think differently with new perspectives about certain things. Mostly, I enjoy using Biblical metaphors and writing about the application they have in our present lives. But every so often, I’ll jump outside my writer’s comfort zone to experiment, and yesterday’s blog, titled Here in Arkansas – It’s the Perfect Storm http://wp.me/p2bjEC-8j …. was just that. An experiment that proved interesting.
The blog’s topic was the national attention that’s been drawn to the University of Arkansas’ football program and the subsequent firing of head coach Bobby Petrino. Moreover, it speculated the Razorbacks would attempt to lure Arkansas State University coach Gus Malzahn (just 300 miles down the road) as his replacement.
It’s a topic ripe for speculation and controversy, and so I ventured into the unknown to see what attention might be drawn to my theory of how the scenario might play over the next few days.
The results: A record number of hits for a single post with readers in seven countries.
In thinking about writing outside our comfort zones, I wanted to offer seven tips, lessons learned, if you will, for how this post generated record traffic. Consider these tips in a future venture outside your own blogging comfort zone.
Niche, consistency, expertise – yes – it’s the best way to blog. But stretch yourself sometimes and get in the thick of something wild.
Two good friends recently turned me on to the works of A.W. Tozer, who in 1919, began 44 years of Christian ministry. His works are among the most insightful I’ve read. It’s as if they were written just yesterday.
Among the more than 40 books he authored, at least two are regarded as Christian classics: The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. His books impress on the reader the possibility and necessity for a deeper relationship with God.
I wanted to share selected exerpts from the preface of The Pursuit of God, written June 16, 1948. See his insight just as it exists today:
“In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are thirsty for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water…
“There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals of the faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, or anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy…
“I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: ‘The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.’ It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: ‘Orthodoxy, or right opinion is, at best, a very slender part of religion…
“Thanks to our spendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold ‘right opinions,’ probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us…
“Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness ofr the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts…
~A.W. Tozer – The Pursuit of God
Last Christmas eve I attended a candlelight service where 50 or so people came together to prepare their hearts for the celebration of Christ‘s birth.
I’ve attended many of these services over the years at many different churches and I like them. I like that we sing the traditional Christmas songs; I like that kids come in their pajamas in anticipation of the wild morning ahead; and I like how it makes me think back to more than 2,000 years ago when the world received the miracle of miracles.
As I walked into the foyer for that particular service, one of the sweetest ladies I know was the first to greet me. I was prepared to give her a hug and wish her a warm Merry Christmas.
But before I could extend a hand and offer a warm greeting, she took the initiative with this:
“Don’t tell me Merry Christmas. Say happy birthday, Jesus.”
And she meant it.
I remember the strong movement a few years ago against the “Xmas” phrase. And for the record, it’s a movement I support. It does, in fact, take the Christ out of Christmas. But Santa Claus isn’t the devil, and neither is the Easter bunny.
It’s certainly true enough. Among all things, first and foremost, Easter is the time when we recognize the one aspect that makes Christianity unique among all other religions. We serve a living God, not one who is dead in the tomb, or worshiped as a stone carving. Christ is alive, and it’s a belief I hold to be as true as the air I breathe.
So Resurrection Sunday – it’s a good thing.
But what of the extremity of this … because I like Easter.
Ninety percent of the references I heard in my church yesterday were to Resurrection Sunday – not Easter. That’s fine, but when did Easter become such a bad thing that we go out of our way to avoid the word?
I don’t hate the Easter bunny…and I don’t believe Jesus would either.
He’s soft, cuddly and has that really cute cotton tail.
My grandmother loved flowers. She particularly loved the Easter lily. I wonder if it should now become the Resurrection Sunday lily?
I’m not anti-Resurrection Sunday.
But I am pro-Easter.
Hop on Peter Cottontail. Jesus loves you too.
Happy 39th birthday, my sweet love. What would I do without you?
39 Reasons I Love You…
But, alas, I believe I will now embrace it.
Several weeks ago, I hired a coach to help keep me disciplined in specific areas of my life I deem important. We’ve had interesting conversations about dreams, goals, and mostly he has helped me take a view of things not just from the surface but from an “elevation of 20,000 feet.” It’s given me a new perspective on the totality of life.
In our last conversation as time came to a close, he pitched the idea of the importance of living a balanced life. He explained how too much focus in one area can detract from another, and the danger of creating “deficits” in some particular life compartments.
The balanced life.
I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve decided, as good as it sounds, it’s not for me.
I’m 46 years old. Had some major highs, and some of the lowest of the lows. Each high and low has been a great lesson. There have been some mistakes, and I’d take a “do-over” on some things, but I’ve had a great life, unbalanced as it may have been.
And I’m not sure I can change that now. The last thing I want to be is milquetoast. I don’t want to pursue a little bit of anything.
I want to stand on the equator, close my eyes and marvel at the magnificence of God‘s creation.
When I can wrap my mind around running again, I don’t want to exercise for 30 minutes a day. I want to train for one last marathon.
I want to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.
I want to exhibit the radical love that Jesus showed to the woman caught in adultery.
I want to feed the hungry, comfort the hurting.
I want to collaborate with a small group of committed people…and change the world.
I want to lavishly spoil my wife, kids, mom, best friend and other friends with love, kindness and gifts.
I want to write books, not for the sake of calling myself an author, but to be a best-selling writer, and to offer readers a new perspective on things that really matter.
I want to drink thousand calorie milkshakes whenever the urge hits me.
I want to live life to the RADICAL EXTREME.
A balanced life. It sounds so right…and yet so boring.