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Somehow along the way we have become a society that enjoys drama. I tried watching some TV last night and every channel that I flipped to had some level of drama in it. The primary activity in most of these shows is some form of gossip. The show participants are either a target of gossip or are participating in gossip.
I know if you took all the gossip and drama out of these shows, they would not be the same, but it would be refreshing. It’s easy to get trapped into gossip, but it is also easy to say to whomever is gossiping that maybe they should have a conversation with the person that they are talking about. As my father used to say, if you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all.
Find something amazing about another individual and tell them in person that they are amazing.
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John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, the following on July 1, 1976:
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
As it turned out, he was off by 2 days as it did not officially approved in a closed session of Congress on July 4, 1776. None the less, we live in a free country as a result of this great act. We are free to work where we want, live where we want, have opinions and speak as we want. We truly live in a Great Country. Be careful and enjoy the Fourth of July on Thursday.
Find something amazing this week. It's out there waiting for you to notice.
Thank you for stopping by.
As most of you know Lynn and I were in Alaska for the last two weeks. Our daughter and son-in-law were able to spend the first week with us on our adventure. We spent the 2 weeks in a rented RV traveling around the great state of Alaska. We put on over 2100 miles and barely scratched the surface. Yes we did experience just about everything that you can do wrong with an RV, but that just added to the allure of the adventure and I am convinced that either by RV or motorcycle are the best ways to experience the state. We enjoyed great weather of highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's with blue skies almost every day. I am glad to say that I left the fish population just like I found it when I got there with the bonus that I am sure I entertained the fish for hours with my lack of ability at fly fishing, but I enjoyed every minute of it. It is a great state and has more to see than you can possibly imagine. As many told me before we left, pictures will do it justice and they were right. If a trip to Alaska is on your list, then make sure that you go because it is an amazing state and you will not be disappointed.
I do find it interesting that where every we travel, there are always people that love where they live and applaud them for their positive attitude, but there are also those that hate where they live. When I meet the people that hate the area, the first thing that comes to mind is that if they would leave the area, then the people that love the area could actually enjoy the area even more, but then some other area would inherit those people and well, you get the idea. Lynn and I met a man in the Anchorage airport that said that he had lived in Alaska for 40 years and proceeded to explain in detail how he had hated every moment. I wanted to say, "Well you are getting on a plane to go somewhere else now, do the residents of this Alaska a favor and don't come back.", but I refrained. The concern is that even if he moved somewhere else, I am confident that based on his attitude he would hate that place too.
The key to all of this is that we have a choice as to where we live. We also can make a choice to make it the best place we ever lived or the worst. We have all experienced unhappy people that lived in what appeared to be paradise and happy people that lived in pretty rough places. The place does not make a lot of difference, but our attitude does.
Find something truly amazing in your place. It's there waiting for you to notice.
Thanks for stopping by.
Ah yes, vacation time. The time that we save for, plan for and look forward to for
the entire year. We have visions of that perfect place of solitude or
adventure. We dream about the cool breezes, warm sun, or unbelievable views. It
may be the perfect road for the Harley ride or playing and landing the perfect
fish, but what ever it is it will be unbelievable, because that is the way that
vacations are supposed to be.
The day finally comes, it's vacation time. The final to do list has more things
on it than you would normally due in a week, but you are confident that you can
get them all done by tomorrow at noon, because you have to be out of the house
and on the road by 12:00 sharp. We have all been there and we all know that we
are probably don't quite get everything done on the list or we don't quite get
on the road by 12:00 sharp. The temperature and voices rise before we get on
the road and then for about the first few hours on the road it is unbelievably
quiet in the car. At this point everyone in the car is wondering it we are
having any fun yet.
The best vacations that Lynn and I have ever taken have been the ones that we
plan the least. As I have told many, the beauty of a motorcycle trip is that if
the weather forecast shows rain on the left, then turn right, that was easy. I
realize that we have to do some planning, but let's not over plan and forget to
schedule in some time for nothing. The whole idea of a vacation is to relax and
re-energize. You didn't take time off, so that you could practice worrying. You
can always take time off some other time to get caught up on your worrying.
Take some time off to find something truly amazing, but if you go too fast or
don't have a clear mind, you may miss it all together.
Thanks for stopping by.
Memorial Day is always a special day for me to reflect on the people in our lives that
made a difference and are no longer with us. We can always think about lost
family members that made a difference. This is natural, because with out them
we would not be here.
I like to also think of the special people that made a difference. It may have
been that special teacher that influenced you to take a specific academic path.
It could have been a coach that made it crystal clear as to why you needed to
take care of yourself. The good Samaritan that you did not know that helped you
when you were in need. That friend that said the right thing at the right time
that just happened to change the rest of your life.
At this point, we have remembered most of the people that we knew that specifically
affected us directly. I think the important part of Memorial Day is remembering
and giving thanks to all the people that we did not know that gave their lives
so that we could have a better life. This includes all of our fallen soldiers,
police officers, civil servants, and elected public officials that made the
tough decisions and did the right things so that we could live in this Great
Country. These were the people that truly made a difference and to that, we say
Go out and find something truly amazing! In the process of finding it, you
never know, you could make a difference.
Thank you for stopping by.
I used to tell my daughter “Pay attention there is a game in progress” . Most of the time she would either not comment or smile and go on about whatever she was doing. One day she finally said, “ I have no idea what “Pay attention there is a game in progress” means. I proceeded to explain that it merely means that you need to be both physically and mentally present in whatever you are doing. I believe the origin of this statement came from a coach of a little league team. Anyone that has ever watched a little league or for that matter any sporting event that involved young children would understand the statement.
In the busy world that we live in today of too many things to do, incoming text/email messages vibrating , cell phones ringing, Ipads chiming and numerous other distractions it becomes almost impossible to pay attention to whatever you supposed to be doing. All of these things are supposed to help us be more productive and help us “multi-task” to get all of the things we needed to get done, but often that is not the case. Often the result of all of these distractions is that tasks kind of get done, communication is just ok, and frustration.
Instead, imagine how much more we could get done or how much more productive conversations would be it we were truly present and free of the distractions. If we shut off all of the chimes, bells, vibrations, music, etc. that are emitted from our electronic devices and we were both physically and mentally present, the results would be amazing. The “game is in progress” whether it is at home, work, or civic and you will enjoy it a lot more if you “pay attention”.
Find something amazing today. It’s out there and it’s just waiting for you to pay some attention to it.
Thank you for stopping by.
Gateway State Bank
I read an article on Friday about cybercriminals that were able to steal $45 million from ATMs. The ring leaders of the crime were based in New York and had established a network of fellow thieves in 27 countries to carry out the heist. The master minds were able to go into two foreign bank databases, eliminate the withdrawal limits on pre-paid debit cards, and create access codes. Others then loaded the access codes onto any kind of plastic card with a magnetic stripe that they could find and used those cards as ATM cards. They used old hotel keys, expired credit cards, or any type of card that could have the account data and access code loaded onto the magnetic strip. Next the hackers established a common date and time that the group would “flash mob” the ATMs to withdraw as much cash as they could in set time period. They apparently were able to steal $45 million from ATMs in 27 countries in just 10 hours. Wow! The article went onto say that none of the money was taken from customer accounts, but from special accounts at the foreign banks.
At this point you might say, ok, what does that have to do with us. The point is that the hackers are getting really good at coming up with new and more creative ways to commit cybercrime. As a result, it becomes more and more important to guard your personal information from would be thieves. Banks, or credit card companies will never ask for your account information in an email or over the phone. When you shop online, make sure that you are purchasing from a company that you know and when it comes to asking for your credit card make sure it is through a secure site over a secure computer or network that you know is safe. This only scratches the surface of things that you can do to protect your information, but the point is that the criminals are getting very good and you can never be too safe with your information.
Have a Great Day and find something truly amazing. If it seems too amazing to be true, then it probably is.
Thank you for stopping by.
Friday’s stronger than expected employment numbers helped push the stock market higher to all-time highs. It has been a wild and crazy ride since last fall. The proponents of a stronger market will cheer it on and say the bear market is over and that this rally is long overdue. The contrarians will say that this is just the bear market taking a break and it will not be long before it breaks and goes lower. I always wonder how the contrarians look at a sunny day, it may go something like this, “Sunny day, big deal, it won’t be long before it will be cloudy and rainy”. Thank you, Professor Gloom and Doom. All I know is that when the market is going up, everyone seems to be in a little better mood. It’s a lot more fun to see that our main companies that make up either the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) or the Standard and Poor 500 (S&P500) are enjoying stronger sales, better income and talk of expansion. Those are numbers and teams that I like to cheer on from the stands, because we know that the conversation in stands can turn ugly as it has for the last 3-4 years when our economy was not doing so well.
Customers will ask me where should they invest their money. Should they buy real estate, stocks, annuities, gold, antiques, etc.? My response often is “What do know about the investment and what do you feel comfortable investing in?”. If you understand the investment and you do not lay awake at night worrying about whether it is going up or down in value, then by all means invest. Does that mean that just because you understand gold, then you should invest everything in gold? Short answer, no. It always make sense to diversify your investments.
Is the market going higher or are the pundits going to be correct and the top is near. The last 3 years the saying has been “Sell in May and go away”, because May has been traditionally a poor month for the stock market. The easy decision is to sell, the hard decision is to decide when to get back into the market. I always tell customers that if you are a long term investor, and the investment is fundamentally sound, then holding on to it as a long term investment is a good practice.
Have a Great Day and find something truly amazing. It’s out there waiting for you to invest a little time in the process and cheer it on.
Thanks for stopping by.
A wise individual once said that without rules we would have chaos. Ok, it may be debatable how wise, but it is a true statement. The question is what is the tipping point from not enough rules resulting in chaos and too many rules resulting in chaos. The banking business is regulated by a lot of rules. When I started in the business 30 plus years ago there were substantially less rules and regulations than there are now. As American citizens, we understand very clearly that if you do not play by the rules, then there will be consequences. It is the same in banking. At Gateway State Bank we spend a lot of time and money making sure that we are compliant with the rules and regulations.
If you borrowed money lately for a home, you may ask why does the bank need me to sign all of those forms. Shouldn’t it be as simple as signing the loan and mortgage on my house to secure the loan. You are correct, but throughout the years numerous rules and regulations have been passed by our legislators to help protect our rights as consumers. The majority of the forms that you sign to borrow money besides the loan and the mortgage are the result of years of consumer protection legislature. At Gateway State Bank we take all the rules and regulations very seriously and you can rest assured that we will be up to date with the most recent rules and regulations. We will also gladly explain any one of the forms that you may have questions about to make sure that your loan is in compliance. When I first started banking in 1982, we had a pad of notes that were about the size of a standard business envelope and the most important statement on the note was “I promise to pay”. We still have that language in today’s loan forms, but we just happen to have a few other forms that have to go with it.
Find something truly amazing today and try not to break any rules while you are looking for it. It’s out there.
Thank you for your business and for stopping by.
We all have a choice. We can live where we live or not. We can go to our church of choice. We can belong to organizations or not. We drive where ever we want or stay home. We can choose to work for one company or for another. You get the idea or not. I realize this makes it all sound like choices are simple. They are not. Sometimes, we make the wrong choice, but even then we can make a choice as how to correct a bad choice. Sometimes even the right choice does not seem real great after all the fanfare wears off, but even at this point we can make the choice to make the best of the situation. Most of you have heard me say at least a hundred times, “It is what it is, now what are you going to do about it”. At this point, you may be considering making a choice to not waste your time reading this, but stick with me for just a little longer.
In light of the happenings of the week, it brings out that we have a choice to live in this country or not. It seems at times that our rules and regulations can be oppressive at times, but I believe this is probably still the easiest and greatest country to live in. Our ancestors made the choice, often with great hardship, to move to this country many years ago because it was the land of opportunity, which also meant they were afforded many more choices than were available in the old country. Now today the media tells us that one of the Boston Marathon bombers publicly acknowledged in the past that he did not have American friends and furthermore, did not care for America nor our values. This individual had the right to have his opinion, but he also had the right to make the choice to leave America and go home. That would have been a much easier choice and less deadly.
Make the choice to find something truly amazing today. It’s out there waiting for you to notice.
I attended a wake last week for businessman that I have known of over 30 years. I would not say that I knew him well, but I knew of him well. Carl lived a full life of 90 years. I know from keeping in touch with the family that maybe the last year or so he did not have great quality of life, but generally the rest was a full life of family and business. In the early years, I know he was very active in the businesses that he ran and though out the years I would venture to say gave wise advice to hundreds of clients. As some said at the wake, Carl had an amazing mind for business and a willingness to help clients with his counsel. The best comment besides how much everyone would miss him was that “Carl was larger than life”. I am sure that much like all of us Carl would have had his faults, but I would say that his legacy would be that “he made a difference”. Well done Carl!
What is your legacy going to be? As we get older, we tend to think about these things more often. The tendency is to think that leaving a legacy is only for the super stars, successful business people, famous leaders, humanitarians, or maybe it is as simple as a lasting smile or act kindness. I can think of one lady in particular that was one of the kindest people I knew and could melt a room full of tension with her smile. She left a legacy and made a difference. What is your legacy going to be?
Find something truly amazing. It’s out there waiting for you! Thank you for stopping by.
Lynn and I watched Zero Dark Thirty this weekend. I would not say that it is the best film I have watched. I had a difficult time hearing the dialogue at times, but then may be an age thing. There were other times that it appeared to drag a bit and I found that time as an opportunity to practice on my napping skills. It is a difficult film to follow at times due to understanding who all the players were in Bin Laden’s army of supporters and terrorists. At this point, you would say enough said, I’m not renting this one, but there is a more important reason to rent this movie.
The true value to this film, in my mind, is the underlying messages that this movie conveys. This is a different type of a war. We learned from Vietnam, often times the hard way, that it was not the same kind of war as previous wars. The enemy used totally different kinds of tactics than previous wars. After viewing this film it was very obvious, if I didn’t previously realize it, that the war on terrorism is a totally different war than any war before. The film makes it very apparent that the terrorists have different motivations and tactics. The one common theme as in any war is that the terrorist have a very strong passion for what they believe in and are willing to die for it.
The other message that I got was that our intelligence agencies and soldiers also have a passion for what they were doing. They spent countless hours fighting the battles. They put their lives on the line every day and often times lost their lives fighting the battle. In the case of the movie, they were successful after fighting the battle for over 10 years of finally finding and killing Bin Laden. This was a huge victory for the United States and a crippling defeat for al-Qaeda, but definitely did not end the war on terrorism.
As a civilian it is easy to set in our living rooms watching the evening news and complain that it doesn’t appear that our government is doing enough to fight terrorism or crime. This movie helps us understand that this war is very complicated and that our people are doing everything they can at a great cost of life and limb to fight this war. In summary, the movie in my opinion is just ok, but the messages that it conveys are very powerful.
Go out and find something amazing today! It’s out there waiting for you to notice.
Thank you for stopping by.
On Wednesday, March 13, the Catholic population of an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics got a new leader, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis. Pope Francis will is the 266th pontiff in the last 2000 years and the first non-European pope in more than 1200 years. Pope Francis is the first member of the Jesuit order to lead the Church.
We have become a society that talks about passion a lot, but often genuinely lacks passion for most everything except ourselves. I have had individuals say that passion does not matter. If you set your mind towards something and you have the skills, you will ultimately achieve it.
What does World Class Service look like? We have heard of the really expensive steak houses that have phenomenal service. The department store clerk that took back a set of tires even though the store did not sell tires and the customer actually bought the tires somewhere else. The coffee shop that is on about every major corner in both large and small cities where the baristas know frequent customers by name and exactly how you like your coffee. The Japanese luxury car dealers that come to your place of work or home to pick up your car when it needs service. The hotel chain that will not only provide you with items that you forgot to pack, but will go out an purchase the items if they do not have them in the hotel. These are just a few large customer service companies that I can think of and I am sure you can think of many more.
With interest rates at record lows, you face a number of choices for managing your money. Whether you want to save, spend or invest, consider your options and choose the strategies that best suit your particular financial circumstances. Here are five tips for low-interest-rate periods:
Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business' finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing types of financial fraud. Without stealing your wallet, a crook can steal your financial identity with as little information as your Social Security number. Use these tips to help avoid having your identity compromised: