Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who Do You See When You Look In the Mirror?

Today at the Farmers Agency Development Center I had a special seminar for all of the Agents that I train.  I had a special guest speaker, Joe Schoenig, from Lubbock, TX.  Joe is one of the greatest agents in the history of Farmers Insurance, but more importantly, he is a great man.  I have heard him speak many times and every time he has made an impact on my life.  Well it happened again today.  I make a living by teaching salespeople how to hammer out a living in a highly competitive industry.  Unfortunately for me, I am usually the one speaking to people rather than being spoken to.  I learned a long time ago that you learn more from listening than you do by talking.  I believe this is the reason God gave us two ears and one mouth.  Since my business requires me to talk all the time, I don't get many opportunities to get to hear other people and learn from them.  Today was a good day.  I got fed!

Over the last 7 years of my life, I have seen a lot of agents come and go.  So what is the difference between success and failure in all facets of life?  One of my favorite quotes (and a quote that I try to live my life by) is, "Successful people are successful because they form the habits of doing things that failures don't like to do."  This quote is from the essay "The Common Denominator of Success" by Albert Gray (take time to read it, it may change your life).  I believe this statement to be true in business, marriage, raising kids, sports, and the list goes on.  We all want success in everything we do.  The question is not whether or not we want success.  The question is are we willing to do the things that we don't want to do in order to obtain success.  I don't like doing laundry or washing dishes, but if I don't, the wife is not very happy with me.  If the wife is not happy, well...I will stop there, you probably get the point.

OK, so where am I going with all of this psychological mumbo jumbo?

While I still hope to continue to live my life by the quote I referenced above, Joe shook things up for me a little bit today.  I have probably heard Joe make this statement before, but it just didn't register.  Maybe I wasn't quite ready for it before?  The foundation of Joe's business and life lies in the following paraphrased quote:

"When you look in the mirror, who do you see?  Our job is not to __________ (fill in the blank) our job is to serve our fellow man.  Our responsibility is to help our fellow man by improving their lives.  If you focus your time on serving your fellow man, one day you will look in the mirror and you will no longer see yourself, but you will see your fellow man."  

My thought after hearing this today was, "Man I'm selfish."  Whether it is our business life or personal life, what is our responsibility?  This is a hard one for me.  This is one of those things where I know the right answer, but man it's hard.  I hope someday I look in the mirror and see my wife, my kids, my parents, my brother, my brothers in christ, my business associates...........

Friday, February 15, 2008

Nothing Interesting

Well I don't have much to say, but it has been a while since I blogged.  I notice everyday that my stalker total goes up (I surpassed 1000 hits) so I guess somebody out there is hoping I post something.  There is not much new going on in our family.  Everyone seems to be well...FINALLY.  Payton missed a whole week of school last week and ran fever for 8 straight days.

Uh, what else...I went to a Men's retreat last week and had a great time and was really challenged by our guest speaker (our speaker was from OK and like most Okies he was extremely gifted).  In a nutshell, we discussed how our world seems to be under attack and the christian men of this world need to step up.  Why is it that we are so passive about our beliefs? Why do we always feel the need to be politically correct?

Part of our retreat included PaintBall.  It was fun, but I would much rather shoot a real gun at ducks, pheasant, quail, dove, or clay pigeons.  Those paintballs can leave big marks.  I have a bruise the size of a silver dollar on my left bicep.  A paintball hit me right in the vein and broke the vein.

Wow...what a boring post!  Sorry, but that's about all I have to say.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Talking dogs

Too funny. Maybe you have seen this before. If not, enjoy!

Everyone's Sick!!!

Well for several weeks now our family has dodged all of the illnesses that have been going around.  It has finally caught up with us.  Jill and Presley have been fighting off sickness all week and Payton started running fever last night.  She woke up in the middle of the night with a high fever and then woke up this morning with an even higher temperature.  I am waiting on Care Now to call us back so I can take her in.  Before calling Care Now, I called our Doctor friend Cody and even he is sick (Strep).  You know times are tough when the Doctor is sick.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Perfect Ending

Well it is all over until November...Duck season closed today and I am already feeling withdrawal symptoms. While I am sad the season is over, I am excited to spend more time with my family...and Jill has 3 pages of "honey-dos" for me.

While many of you may not care about my hunting exploits, this is a special story. Larry and I went out to our ponds that we have leased on Friday and hunted what we call "the big pond."
We have two very well thought out and clever names for our ponds. One is know as "the big pond," and the other is known as "the small pond." We had an awesome hunt and shot a our limit of 10 birds (1 Mallard drake, 7 Gadwall drakes, and 2 Gadwall hens). We still had birds working when we left and could have killed more but a limit is a limit.

Since the first duck hunt I went on this year, my nine year old daughter Payton has been begging me to take her hunting. Well, her wish came true on Saturday and she got to tag along with the "boys." Five of us (Larry and his two sons, Payton, and myself) headed out at 5:15 for the lease. In addition, there were two other buddies that were going to hunt as well. We decided to split up between the two ponds. Larry, the kids, and myself went back to the big pond and our other two friends went to the small pond. If you don't know much about hunting private ponds, it is difficult to kill many birds on the same pond in back to back days. Therefore, Larry and I did not have great expectations for our Satuday hunt. The hunt was all about the kids! Wow, were we ever surprised by the day we had!

Our morning started off really slow. We had a few groups of birds working above us but none of them wanted to commit and come in. After a while, we had a small group of Gadwall buzz by our decoys and I took out a drake. Then nothing. We sat for quite some time without much action. We just sat and listened to shots ringing out from our buddies over on the small pond.

And then....we had a large group of Redheads come into the pond. It is a rare thing to see Redheads in North Texas especially this late in the year. I have never shot at or seen a Redhead. They normally get to the Texas coast as quickly as possible.

This is where the story gets good. Larry's 9 year old son Zach got a shotgun for X-mas this year and harvested his first birds earlier in the year. To try to get Zach a shot, we let the group of Redheads land on the pond. Zach lines them up and pulls the trigger. Immediately Larry and I start shooting and when we look out at the carnage we all have Redheads down. Then it was Payton's turn.

Payton's favorite Christmas gift from last years (2006) X-mas was her Red-Rider BB gun. She loves to shoot it and I have to say she can probably out-shoot me.  Until Saturday she has never shot a "real" gun. However, Zach was kind enough to share his shotgun with Payton. Imagine that you are 9 and you just got to shoot some ducks with your new shotgun and then you pass it off to a 9 year old girl to let her have a try. Wow, what an awesome kid. That is something to be proud of as a parent (Good job Larry and Deanna).

Back to Payton...we wait for a few minutes and in comes 3 more Redheads.  We allowed them land so Payton could have a shot. The birds land in front of us about 25 yards away. I take the safety off of the gun and whisper several times to Payton to "shoot." She did not hear me so I had to repeat myself louder and louder several times before.......BOOM!

One shot, one kill! 

Dead Redhead the first time she ever pulled the trigger! Awesome!

I then took out another Redheads and turned to her to give her a hug. Her first words were "Did I hit it?" In all of the excitement and the recoil of the gun, she did not even know that she hit the bird.  I expected jubilation and excitement from Payton, but all I got was a look of wow...I can't believe I did it!  I think it took her several minutes, if not hours, to process everything.

After we were done for the day, we killed a total of 5 limits (25) of birds on the two ponds. This limit included a full limit of 10 Redheads (you are only allowed two per hunter). In addition, Josh killed a Goldeneye (rare duck) at the small pond. 

All in all it was not only the best hunt of the year, but the best hunt of my life. Parenthood is an awesome thing.  Of all of the things that we take pleasure in, there is nothing better than parenthood.

It was such an awesome outing that Larry and I dropped off two Redheads at the taxidermist Saturday afternoon. Along with some pictures, Payton and I will have a special trophy to remember her very first hunt.

Lots of pictures below.

My "Girl" and me!


She is going to be an awesome wife someday.

Josh's Goldeneye

The Group

Who needs Disney World?

That's not dirt on her face...That is camo paint.

These birds are getting mounted.

Beautiful Redheads

Imagine this...She likes football too!

The original female Duck Commander

1st Chair

If you know me at all, you know that I am extremely passionate about people I love.  I am also extremely passionate about other things including my business and my hobbies.  Almost to a fault I immerse myself in my business and my hobbies.  If you read my blog any you can probably tell that one of my "fanatical" hobbies over the last few months has been duck hunting.  When I sat down to start typing this blog entry, I was going to talk about the closing weekend of duck season and my final two awesome hunts.  Then I realized that I had something more important to say.....

Thank you Jill for putting up with me and my hobbies.  I love you with all my heart and soul and I am thankful that I have such a beautiful and wonderful partner.  You are by far and away the most important thing in my life and I cherish your love.  Maybe I don't always show it, but you are and always will be my 1st chair (band reference in case some of you don't know).


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Beauty School Dropouts

Jill's cousin's husband (I know...sounds confusing) is the lead singer of a band called "The Beauty School Dropouts."  The band is from Nashville, TN which we all know is the mecca of Rock-n-Roll music!  From all accounts his band is very popular in Nashville and has quite a following.  As a matter of fact, their EP, "Murder by Radio", was just recently made available for download on iTunes.  I downloaded the EP a couple of days ago and I must's pretty good!  If you are into alternative rock, you might enjoy.  If you have a few extra bucks help support my wife's, cousin's, husband's rock band by downloading their album from iTunes.  If you like it, tell some of your friends about them.