Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mixing It Up

Learning is a Drug and I must say that I am addicted.  Some get a rush or a high from drugs, adrenaline, art, or travel but for me its Learning.  I get a rush from Learning something new and I love it. 

I started writing this blog over a year ago and I have Learned a ton.  After writing 130 posts or so it is time for a slight change.  When I started this blog I planned to write about whatever I was Learning at the time.  This sounds good in theory.  The problem is I'm pretty random so therefore my Learning is random which means my writing is random. 

I have Learned that successful magazines, radio stations, and channels on TV have a target audience.  This is why you will find similar topics and articles in your favorite magazine and similar songs and shows on your favorite radio and TV stations.  The same is true for blogs.  The most popular and successful blogs have a laser focus on a particular field, which is what I am going to attempt.

I will no longer be writing on  I've launched my new blog Learn. Live. Lead.  The focus will be threefold:

1.  Learn.  As a teacher, learner, addict, and assistant principal, learning will always be a major part of my life.  These posts will primarily be about the learning process.  It will be for educators, spouses, parents, and anyone else that is interested in the process of learning.

2.  Live.  I don't know about you but I love life.  These posts will be about living life to the fullest and some will be about my personal life and experiences.  Because I live for Christ, many posts will be Christian in nature.  These posts will be for anyone that is alive.

3.  Lead.  Many posts will be on the topic of leadership.  Leadership is not about a title but about leading people (employees, families, friends, students, etc...).  These posts will be focused on ways to take people from where they are to where they want to be.

Thank you again for reading my blog.  Check out my new one at:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How To Implement Change

Change is tough.  Changing your behaviors and habits is hard.  Changing the behavior and habits of others is even harder.  Or is it?

The book Switch shows how to create environments, emotions, and triggers that promote change.  Here are 3 quick principles:

1.  Create New Environments - Changing your environment makes changing your behavior much more likely.  If you're trying to eat healthy, your environment should include more fresh fruit and vegetables and less candy and chips.  You need easy access to healthier food choices in your refrigerator, pantry, and even office/desk at work.  The less choices you have to make the more likely you are to make better decisions.  As a leader, it is important to develop environments for success.

2.  Appeal to Emotions - If you have ever watched Biggest Loser, Intervention, or any other show that involves someone making a big change in their life, you know that people rarely make changes for themselves.  They are always making changes for their kids, spouses, or family.  The more you appeal to your emotions (or as a leader the emotions of others) the greater your chances for change.

3.  Develop Action Triggers - It's not enough to say that you're going to change behavior, you need to set up an action trigger to remind you.  Craig, a friend of mine, prays for his wife everyday at 4pm.  Each day an alarm on his watch goes off and he stops what he is doing and says a prayer for his wife.  The alarm simply reminds him of what he wants to do and dramatically increases his chances of doing it.  As a leader, develop action triggers to remind others to make successful choices.

How do you successfully implement change in yourself or in others?

Monday, July 25, 2011

There Is No Place Like Home

Breckenridge, CO
At the beginning of the summer I was super excited about all of the traveling I was going to do.  Vacations, visiting friends & family, and conferences filled over half of the summer.  I enjoyed my time away and all of the learning, conversations, new experiences, and memories.  However, I must agree with Dorothy that there is no place like home!  

Here I am with one week left of the Summer before I head back to school (most people call it work).  I'm so thankful to have a Summer Break and I do cherish it.  And although there really is No place like home, sometimes it takes trips, vacations, conferences, and the land of Oz to realize it.

Remember Me?
Lazy River

Fence in Saledo, TX

Pine Cove in Tyler, TX

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Ways to Beat The Heat

It is ridiculously hot outside!  Here are a few ways for you and your family stay out of the heat, stay out of the house, and stay out of debt doing it!

1. Wake up early.  We can learn from roofers and construction workers.  Change your personal hours during the summer to wake up earlier to get outside work done before it gets too hot.  You can go for a jog, work in the yard, chip and put on the practice greens at your local golf course, or take your kids to play in the park all before 8am. 

2. Go to the Library.  The library is one of the most under utilized resources in America.  Not only is it fully air conditioned, but you can also check out books, audio books, DVDs, and CDs all FOR FREE!  If they don't have what you want you can request it and they will usually get it for you.  Let me say that again.  You can read any book or magazine, watch almost any movie, and listen to almost any music absolutely free.  Do you understand what that can do for your budget?

3.  The Mall.  People watching, mall walking, and window shopping are classic mall activities.  You can also Google mall scavenger hunts and come up with a ton of other fun ideas.  Also, many places offer extremely cheap matinee movies and some stores like Apple offer free training sessions. 

4.  Day at the Museums.  I know museums can be boring but everything can be boring with a bad attitude.  If you really want to stay out of the house and stay out of the heat then check out your local museums.  It's a great way to learn about local history and expand your mind. They usually cost money but there are always discount coupons online.

5.  Serve.  Ever wonder who puts all the pens and envelopes on the back of every chair at church?  Or who puts the extra insert into the bulletin?  It could be you.  Small tasks like that effect everyone and can make a big difference to a secretary or to a volunteer who needs a break.

[For more ways to beat the heat, ask the Dallas Mavericks.  :)  ]

What are some free/cheap ways you like to stay out of the house and out of the heat?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Can You Be Trusted?

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much..." 
                                                                  - Words of Jesus in Luke 16:10

I am learning that this biblical principle has a ton of applications.

What does your refrigerator look like?  Is it filled with month old leftovers, empty soda bottles, and unopened ranch dressing that expired in 2009?  Or is it organized so that each shelf has a purpose and everything is still edible?

What does your closet look like?  Do you have a large pile of shoes at the bottom, your kids presents from 2 Christmas's ago, clothes that you haven't worn in years that are jam packed so tightly that when you pull out one shirt you get three or four?  Or are your clothes separated by long and short sleeves, organized by color like a rainbow, with shoe, jewelry, tie, and belt racks?

When was the last time you washed and cleaned out your car?  Is it covered with bird poop and filled with fast food wrappers and other trash?  Or do you have a regular routine for washing and cleaning it out?

What about your desk?  What about your garage?  What about your purse or wallet?

Am I saying that the more organized you are the more money you'll make?  Its possible. Or the cleanliness of your refrigerator or garage has something to do with your bank account? Maybe a smidgen. Is cleaning out your closet or organizing your desk going to make you a better person? Who knows? 

All I know is Jesus said, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much."  I think I need to pay more attention to the little before I think about the much.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Church Diversity

I recently finished the book Church Diversity by @ScottWilliams.  The subtitle and one of the inspirations of the book is based on a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that says, "Sunday is the most segregated day of the week."  Unfortunately, this has always been my experience.  I was raised in a Christian home in the Bible Belt by Christian parents, my Grandpa was a Christian Minister, and I attended a Christian university.  Throughout that time, I visited dozens of churches and all but one would be considered a "white church".

As both a Christian and an Educator, this is very strange to me.  Throughout my public schooling, sports teams, college, and now at work, the majority of my day is spent with a diverse people made up of different races, political and religious beliefs, and social classes.  Yet on Sunday, the vast majority of the people at church are white and middle class.  As both an Educator and a Christian, it would seem like the Church would have been the group that pioneered desegregation.  Professional sports, public schools, local businesses, and even the government made strides 50 years ago but the Church, the group of people that one would think to be the first to gladly join together with other brothers and sisters in Christ, is still not there.

Church Diversity is challenging.  @ScottWilliams does a great job of not only describing the issue but providing solutions.  In fact, this book is full of wisdom from multiple leaders of churches that are ahead of the game when it comes to Church Diversity.  More importantly, reading this book forced me to truly examine my life, my background, my beliefs, my actions, and my perspectives.  My eyes were opened and I now see the world a little differently.  I believe the same will be true for you.

The best part about this book is that it reaches far beyond "church world".  You could easily substitute the word Church for School, Workplace, Team, Organizational, or Office Diversity.  I would recommend this book to the leaders of any organization. 

Finally, I want to give props to @ScottWilliams for all of the creative marketing surrounding the release of this book.  I mean who promotes a book with blog tours, book trailers, poetry, and t-shirts?  And what kind of weirdo does so much social media marketing that he uses his Twitter handle on the cover of his book?  I guess someone who 'Dreams Big and Thinks Bigger.' 

Pick up Church Diversity from pretty much any store, Amazon, or your local library. 
Check out @ScottWilliams blog and follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Power of Keys

There is something powerful about keys.

I remember the excitement of buying a house or a car or getting a new job. You get excited when your offer is accepted, when the closing date is set, when the loan goes through, when the appraisal comes back, when you get the phone call, and when you sign your name thousands of times. But you never really feel like that car or that house or that job is yours until you have the key.

I recently resigned from one job and changed positions in another.  In doing so, I had to turn in my keys to my offices, all the classrooms, and to get into the building.  Although ready to move on, each time I was always reluctant to turn in my keys.  It's not that I needed those keys anymore, but there is something about keys that makes you feel important. 

The same is true when selling a house or a car.  You may be ready to move out or ready to get a new car but there is just something about physically giving up the key that says, "this house, car, office, classroom, school, ___________ is no longer under my control."

At the same time, there is something freeing about giving up your keys.  Its a great feeling when people call you for something and you can say, "Sorry, I don't have keys to that anymore."

Weird how responsibility, power, freedom, and so much more can come from a single key. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My New Job!

Putnam City Pirates!
I am pleased to announce that I will be an Assistant Principal at Putnam City High School!!

I thoroughly enjoyed my time this past year at Kenneth Cooper Middle School as an Intern Assistant Principal.  And I will always cherish my 4 years of teaching at Western Oaks. (Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior!)

I am excited about this new opportunity to work at Putnam City High.  I look forward to building new relationships with teachers and students.  With a bigger school and more students come bigger challenges and more responsibilities and I gladly accept!  It's going to be a great experience!

(See LeBron, that wasn't so hard.  It doesn't take an hour.  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Importance of Companions

I have been recently reminded of the importance of companions.  Here are 2 examples:

1.  My wife was out of town for a week, learning new things so that she can continue to excel as a leader of college students.  Not only did I miss her cooking and cleaning (I was reminded of how much she does that I don't even see) but I missed her voice, her conversation, and most of all her presence.  Sure we talked on the phone everyday, Facebooked, sent texts, etc... but there is no substitute for the real thing.  I just missed having my wife, my companion with me on a daily basis.

2.  I'm currently doing the exercise program Insanity.  If you have seen the infomercial or done it yourself you know that it really is Insane.  My Insanity partner is @ChadMcKamie and we are doing our best to make our schedules work for 60 Insane days.  Some days we can't make it happen and we have to do the workout alone, which makes it so much harder.  There is something about looking over and watching someone else struggle through the same thing with you that makes it easier, or at least more doable.  We are also able to encourage each other through words or actions as we go through this insane process.

Regardless of the context, I have found that nearly everything is better with a companion.  (This is crazy coming from a loaner, only child.)  The conversations, accountability, memories, stories, encouragement, and fun is at least double with someone to share them with.

Who are your companions?  In what areas of your life could you use one?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Never Say Never

I recently watched the movie Never Say Never which is the story of Justin Bieber's success.  I must admit that I really enjoyed it and after watching it I developed theory (with the help of my wife) as to why this kid is so insanely popular.

Justin Bieber is so popular because of his wholesome, uplifting music.  Every one of his songs is positive and is something that everyone can, will, or would like to relate to.  His lyrics clearly value girls.  How many songs on the radio talk about love without mentioning sex or being degrading to women?  Not too many.  He is not singing about girls, he is singing straight to the hearts of girls.  Songs with lyrics like "When I smile, you smile", "One less lonely girl", "I just need somebody to love", "Your world is my world, my fight is your fight, your breath is my breath", etc...  I could literally list lyrics from every single one of his songs. 

Add this to the fact that he is talented (he plays the drums, guitar, and piano), young, and most would say good looking and you have the pandemic of Bieber Fever.

Thanks for keeping it classy Justin Bieber.  As you mature as a musician, don't think your lyrics have to mature as well.