10 Qualities of a Great Leader

While everyone has their takeForbes on the qualities of a great leader, I recently found an article at Forbes Magazine’s website that laid out 10 qualities of a great leader.  Of course you could argue some points of this article.  You could add to the list.  You could take away.

I think the list is pretty solid.  I know I’m constantly learning how to be a better leader and fall short on a few on the list. See how you stack up to their list as a leader by reading the article for yourself.


Finding Best Online Pricing

Clark HowardWhile surfing the net trying to figure out if Amazon Prime is worth it (remember my previous life experiment of cancelling my cable TV) , I ran across a great article by Clark Howard.  Now if you’ve never heard of Clark Howard then you’re missing out!  He’s been branded a tightwad but you can decide for yourself.  All I know is if you skim his website periodically you’ll bank coin (save money).

Now the majority of us are always wanting to save a little money whenever we can.  Often we spend considerable time on the web price shopping various products.

While on Clark’s site today he had several suggestions on how to Find the Best Prices Online.  You can find that article here.  You might find the last paragraph concerning Amazon very interesting. Enjoy!

Airshow Anyone?

Ribbon Cut - DecathlonThis was an interesting life experiment that started in high school.  I’ll write about it in another post.

Long story short, I found myself with a private pilot license right out of high school – yep the real deal.  Official and everything!

The airport that I ran on weekends in college – scary thought right, held an airshow once a year.

One day they asked if I’d hold the ribbon for the Flying Mayor of Maples Florida, to fly his Decathlon inverted and cut it with the tail of the plane during the show.  Are you kidding, of course I will!  The abundant life – remember!

I’d watched this stunt many times.  I’d seen the Mayor fly many times and he was awesome.  What I’d not seen was the view from the runway while the plane was bearing down on you just a few feet away.  From the stands the plane looks pretty stable.  Not so much while holding a short PVC pole with a small ribbon on it just feet away from a speeding upside down airplane!  As the plane starts to get close you realize how hard it must be to fly low and inverted!  The plane from ground level is all over the place.  A handful to fly!

At the end of the day the ribbon was cut and all had a good time. Some pretty exciting stuff that I’ll never forget!

Most Productive 20 Minutes in Your Week

watchHere is productivity tool that I was taught that I continue to find worthwhile.

The most productive 20 minutes in my week is the 20 minutes I spend planning my week on Sunday night.

Simple as that.  When I take that time and plan my entire week – those parts that can be scheduled, it consistently produces dividends.

Don’t believe it?  Just try it for a month.  It will consistently result in focus and clarity.  Try it and see if it’s not the most productive 20 minutes in your week.

BTW, if you like this watch, you can purchase it here.

3 Ways to Learn Humbly?

Well, went to church today to hear about living a no regrets life.  Why not go, I mean who doesn’t want to live with no regrets – right!  I mean, even if you’re not totally into this Jesus,church and religious thing, who doesn’t want to live with no regrets?

Why not go?  Well it was raining cats and dogs – mostly dogs cause I’m a dog fan!

In the midst of the deluge a man comes riding up on a motorcycle – in the pouring rain.  Makes me feel kinda guilty when I’m thinking about sleeping in because of the rain…. Just proves the fact that church isn’t something you gotta do but instead it’s something you get to do.

Thought I might share some of the points from the message for what it’s worth.  Who knows, maybe as you read this you’re thinking about living a no regrets life.  So here ya go…

The teaching was about Peter – apparently he said that he would go all out for Christ but when fronted after Christ’s arrest, turned a blind eye- 3 different times. So, the message centered around Peter’s denial and what could be learned from it.  It was noted that these came from the materials provided by Kerry Shook who wrote the book One Month to Live – 30 days to a regret free life

Peter shows us how to learn humbly:

1. Learn from my losses

2. Surrender to God’s strength

3. Pursue God’s path

After the message we had 27 people become a part of the church in 3 services.

I’m actually enjoying this series and looking forward to the next installment – Leaving Boldly.


Holocaust then and Now
















As I write this it’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. How could anyone forget the horrible atrocities that took place in 1933.  And yet if we don’t study history then it’s bound to repeat itself.

As I thought about this event and searched the facts I was reminded of a documentary I saw a couple weeks ago on Netflix.  It was called Hitler’s Children. It was a solemn reminder that we should never forget.

That was then but what about now?  At the Dailymail.com Bettina Goering talks of her need to be sterilized…

Hermann Goering’s great-niece: ‘I had myself sterilised so I would not pass on the blood of a monster’

This event continues to have an impact to this day and how could it not?


I even took a virtual tour of Auschwitz.
I would encourage you to take time today, whatever day you read this, and pray that this type of atrocity will never happen again.

Mountain Mist 50k Trail Run 2015


Over the weekend I decided to run what is claimed to be the premier ultra trail run in the Southeast.  31 plus miles would need to be covered to reach the finish line racing on Monte Sano in Huntsville AL.

Here’s the way I saw it.

To set the story up it will help to understand that I barely qualify to run this.  Here is a notice from the Mountain Mist site:

Those demonstrating no previous endurance activities will be denied entry or have your entry to this race removed and no refund will be issued. If you have a question about a qualification standard, please contact eric.charette@yahoo.com

  • Any previous Mountain Mist 50km finish
  • Any ultra marathon finish in previous 2 years
  • Any marathon finish under 4:40 in previous 2 years
  • Any 70.3 Triathlon finish under 7:00 in previous 2 years
  • Any 140.6 Triathlon finish in previous 2 years
  • Other endurance running activities on case by base basis

I barely qualify, but I qualify nonetheless.

Weather:  A couple of days before the start it rains cats and dogs.  I can only imagine what the trail will look like after several hundred runners trample over it.  Night before the start, it snows – sure why not!  Guess with snow on the ground I don’t need to mention it’s cold.

Race Day:

Dress:  I decide as I usually do in really cold running to go with shorts, calf compression sleeves, long sleeve running shirt with a short sleeve running shirt over it. Visor, no boggin’ for headgear. Camelback for hydration.  Gloves.  It’s cold but hopefully I warm up after a few miles like normal.

Breakfast:Cup of Coffee.

Arrival:  Arrive at the lodge early for the start.  As I survey the other runners I’m reminded that I barely qualify to run this one.  Everyone looks like they showed up for a skinny person’s convention.  Me, I’m looking for anyone that I can hang out with that looks like a rugby player.  Just a few.  The rest appear to be serious ultra runners from all over the country.  Several men are sporting ultra beards which intimidate me.  Find some bacon, probably eat too much but I’m ready for the race.

Racing:  Racing is a relative term for me.  As with most ultra competitors it means a lot of running with periodic walks in-between – you must develop a strategy.  It’s an endurance race.  How you get to the finish line is up to you.  But there’s a catch.  This race has cut off times for the safety of volunteers and runners.  This means you must make certain aid stations by a certain time or get pulled off the course.

Aid Station One Cutoff – Start goes off without a hitch.  Run on the pavement for a little while to allow faster runners to get a head start on the trail.  I hit the trail.  It’s soooo muddy!  Several hundred runners were ahead of me and the trail was trashed from the beginning.  Then there was the first big climb – lovingly referred to as K2.  That climb just kept on giving until your legs were trashed and this takes place just a few miles in.  I was sliding in and out of mud like it was an ice patch for much of the race.  But, I make the aid station with only 5 minutes to spare.  I realize that I will probably be pulled at the second aid station due to this small margin.

Aid Station Two:  Many people got pulled from the course at station one.  So now I find myself running for miles without ever seeing anyone.  At one moment I thought I was off the trail and wondered how they would ever find anyone that far out in the middle of the forest.  Right when I started to seriously question it I saw a red trail marker – and it felt good to see it.

The Fall:  My last ultra on the mountain I found myself kicking rocks and falling.  Thought I had masted it (you never will) and was floating along (my fantasy) when I slipped on a downhill, no one within miles.  Did I mention mud?  Also this trial is littered the entire way with rocks as well!  Back to the fall…  On my way down I grab a sapling of decent size to stop my impending fall, it snaps like a toothpick and the inevitable happens.  I actually land on a dead tree after a few summer-salts, which crumbles and actually cushions my fall.  I get up hoping nothing is broke.  My ribs on my right side are aching – bad, I have a cut on my leg and a few scratches.  After getting back on track I decide I don’t care if I make the next cutoff time or not!  That hurt!

Aid Station Two Cutoff – As I pull up on aid station two and ask if I made it (I’m good if I didn’t as this is a brutal race) they said I made it by 25 minutes!  What? Darn! That means I’ll have to continue and so I do.  I am now thinking that I may actually finish the Mountain Mist!

Problem: To get to the next aid station I will need to climb Waterline.  The climb that this race is known for and you do it toward the end with tired legs.

Aid Station Three Cutoff – Things seem to be going fairly well.  Mud and rocks everywhere.  Thought I saw a dinosaur stuck in one of the mud pits. Then I see Waterline.  It just goes up and up and up.  No switchbacks.  Just up!  It became so demoralizing that I had to keep my head down and look at my feet – one step at a time. This happens after you’ve already run close to 24 miles. Then, here’s the kicker.  About 3/4 of the the way you have to climb a short rock face!  It seemed dangerous to me.  If you fell then you would fall a looooooong ways before anything could stop you.  Here’s a pic from runyourfirstultra which has many pics of the race.

























Once you finish this climb you still have a steep climb to go.  But I make it.  I have now been racing over 6/12 hours as I come up on the LAST aid station.  If I make it here I will most likely finish the Mountain Mist.

The Results are In

As I run in to the aid station the wonderful volunteers are offering encouragement.  I ask if I made the cut off and in a sad voice she says no!  I scream THANK YOU, BEST NEWS I’VE HEARD TODAY!  I was trashed and felt I got my money’s worth.  Did I mention you have to pay for this experience?

After 26-27 miles running on a trial for over 6 hours I missed the last cutoff by 10 minutes!  10 minutes!  Small things matter and if you don’t want to get pulled off the course you should RUN FASTER!

So in the end I had a great time, in a weird way.  When riding back to the lodge (the ride of shame) I said I’d never do that again – with the mud, rocks, and that rock climb, it wasn’t that fun.  But on the way home I was already thinking about how I could do better next year.

But, I did accomplish a few goals:

1. I did meet the qualifications to be able to enter the Mist

2. I did climb Waterline

But when all was said and done I didn’t see this:









As I write this with hurting legs I’m already in the process of choosing my next ultra! It looks like either a 12 hour endurance race in Decatur, AL or a 50 miler in Alex City AL.  If your an ultra runner you must give the mist a try!  Maybe I’ll see you next year.  I’ll be the one that looks out of place.

Life Without Cable?

Can there be life without cable?  I wasn’t sure, but I thought what another great life experiment let’s try it and see!

Here’s the real back story.  We had AT&T U-verse and loved it!  But then we moved – just a block away.  Turns out the house we moved from was the last house on the U-verse line?  What?  How can that be?  It was.  No U-verse! How could life ever be the same?  No more taking my TV outside on the deck.  What would we do?

Well, glad you asked.  We decided to go without.  Just go with the internet and Netflix. And that’s what we did for a while.  Then one night while learning all I could about “whatever” on the internet (I love learning new things, currently it’s linguistics) I learned that local stations were required to broadcast in HD for free.  So I bought a cheap HD antenna and started getting local stations in HD for free.  FREE!  This may be one of the best kept secrets ever.

We continue to live without cable TV and yes it’s possible.  I watch less mindless TV and mostly focus on Netflix documentaries (actually learn things).  Yes, I hate not having ESPN as we missed all the great SEC games this year.  But I got a lot of practical things done by not watching cable TV for hours on end.  At this point the advantages of not having cable far outweigh the advantages of having it.  More time to read, run, ride my mountain bike, go for walks, go to the lake, spend with my wife,etc…  Then there are the financial savings each month.  Add up your cable bill for a year and see what you spend.  You may be surprised. No, seriously add it up – right now!

You might want to try this experiment for yourself. In fact I’d recommend it. If you do, my antenna looks like this and hangs on wall but has other options.



No Regrets Take 2

I caught the second part of the new series where I attend church and thought I might share some of my notes.  While I suspected that it might be a lot of morbid stuff it has actually been anything but that.  Tons of practical stuff. Some of it might even be helpful to someone who reads this blog.  Her ya go.

Remember, based on the book, One Month to Live.

Basic premise:  We were meant to live the life God gave us to the fullest.  Kerry Shook noted, if we follow Jesus we will see a life

1.  Lived Passionately

2.  Loved Completely

3.  Learned Humbly

4.  Left Boldly

We should do the same if we want a life lived to the fullest.

Living Passionately may mean:

1.  We need to do something drastic

2.  Expect the unexpected

3.  Create God space every day

4.  Keep a constant reminder

The service ended with a young lady that seemed to live these out.  It was titled Catching Kayla and you can see it here.

Last week we were encouraged to create a bucket list.  I was inspired to spend time talking to my wife about bucket list items that we can do now.  This weekend I hope to check one of those off.  Then in a few weeks another.

You might want to do the same.  Take some bucket list items that can be completed in the short term and do it while you still can.  Otherwise you may regret it later.

The Experiments Begin!

So, how did the experiments begin? Early in life I decided to try some interesting (read stupid!) things that I thought would be exciting – living life to the fullest.

After spending time with my parents over the weekend, my mother told a story that may be the original experiment. This is probably where it all began.

I stayed with my grandmother during the day while my parents worked.  Her backyard was the actual playground of Bellinger Hill Elementary School. I had caught wind that other kids were signing up for the first grade but there had not been any talk around the house about me doing the same. What? So I decided to take things into my own hands.  My birthday fell on a day that allowed me to start a year earlier than most, a date change that had just started that year.  So at 5 years old I set out to register myself – without anyone knowing I had gone to the school.  The school called my mother that evening and let her know what happened. She informed them that I had not gone to kindergarten at the time and would be going this year.  The response from the school, he answered all the questions we asked satisfactorily while he was here and he’s good to go.  So that’s how I enrolled myself at 5 years old.

There have been repercussions to that first experiment…

–  Had to ride my bike everywhere while friend who were already 14 rode their motorcycles – I know, BIG DEAL

–  Mother dropping you off at high school every day your entire 10th grade year.  I eventually had her drop me off

a block from school and I walked the rest.  Not sure I have recovered from that to this day.

–  Drivers license didn’t materialize until 11th grade – when I turned 16.  Everyone else had been driving for a year.

–  The license issue meant a lot of double dating, Which meant you had to find somebody who would let you

double with them.

– High school graduation came when I was 17 and I started college just a few days later at 17

So, according to my mother that was perhaps the beginning of a long string of experiments in life that continues to this day.

What kid even wants to go to school, much less attempt to enroll themselves?