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Quit Telling Me What The Problem Is!!

It was a bit of a rude awakening when we were informed that the ranch we had leased, lived on for nearly 25 years, made our homes, and were assured we’d be there forever, was going to be sold. I’ll never forget that day! Interestingly enough, the day before, I had written inside the cover of my Bible: “God, I want everything You have for me, no matter what it costs me.” I had no idea that the very next day He would begin to shift things in such a way that I could clearly see, at least a little of, what the ‘costs’ might be! It was even more the challenge because Julie and I had absolutely no back-up plan. As far as we were concerned we were going to raise our kids…..and grow old there. So everything was somewhat in chaos and we had no choice but to put our trust in the Lord.

That was in 1988, and we moved only 30 miles away south of Cheyenne, Oklahoma. I worked several odd jobs for a few months, everything from helping take care of cattle (which I was way familiar with), to some oilfield day work but nothing extremely stable or permanent. I saw an ad in the local paper and went for an interview, took an aptitude test….and was hired on the spot by Edgar Sellers (before he even looked at how I’d done on the test), a great guy who’d be my boss for the next seven years. I started with Western Merchandisers the next week!

The president of the company was John Marmaduke whose dad, Sam, had started the company on a shoestring a generation before. John was a brilliant businessman, in my opinion. He took a fairly small company and procured a contract with Wal-Mart that eventually enabled Western Merchandisers to supply all the music (Vinyl LP’s, 8-Tracks, Cassettes, CDs), all the books, all the computer software and most of the movies for the entire Wal-Mart chain, nationwide. After a few years Wal-Mart purchased Western Merchandisers for millions.

John was an aggressive guy in our regional meetings. He knew the business and didn’t tolerate amateurism to any degree. Let’s just say he ‘ran a tight ship’! I remember several meetings with sales reps, district managers and upper level management when people would start to talk of all the problems out in the field. John would rip into them….no matter what level they were in..…and I can remember him saying more than a few times, “I’m tired of hearing about the problems; Anybody can tell you what the problems are!’, “I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!”

I’ve never forgotten those meetings and what I learned from John. And, it’s true; whether we’re talking about the Federal Government, the Little League Baseball Team, the Chamber for Commerce, your marriage or the Church; just about anybody can tell you what the problem is….you don’t have to be genius to figure that out! There’s just not many out there who are solution minded.

So, quit telling me what the problem is…….I want to hear from somebody who has a solution!

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“100”

I was actually kind of surprised to realize that I had made it up to 100 Blog Posts since January 1! That happened fast! I guess it’s a ‘milestone’.  Writing has been something I’ve enjoyed for quite awhile now. I started writing years back when my friend Derek Manning, who owned a newspaper in nearby Elk City, Oklahoma, asked me to write a weekly article for his paper. Although Derek has since sold the newspaper I’ve written over 600 articles! A few years back Melanie Cole, owner of the Cheyenne Star Newspaper, started to put the articles in her paper. I’m grateful for both her and Derek because it has helped me to develop a talent that was pretty much untapped. I was a little intimidated at first but once I got ‘untracked’ I found that I really enjoyed it. I look now at the things I wrote 7 or 8 years ago and I do think that I’m getting better at putting my thoughts down. It has been very therapeutic for me, too. Writing, for me has really helped me get in touch with my emotions. There’s just something about writing from the heart that’s good for a soul!

I try my best to keep the posts from getting long….but there are some stories that you just can’t tell in 300 words. (that’s my target #)  So, I try to keep ’em fairly brief. I’m getting better at condensing! My Blog, “The Way I See It”, has been good for me but my primary reason for writing in the first place is to help others. I’ve learned a lot in 61 years, and still have a lot more to learn, and I enjoy passing along some of those things to people who are interested.

I love feedback so anytime you read something that really ‘speaks’ to you….let me know about it. *Best case scenario.…go to andyrtaylor.com and click the “Follow” link. You’ll get an email every time I make a post. Please feel free to “Share” them with your contacts, too!

Here’s the numbers after 100 posts (in terms of ‘views’):          

          Views: 20,970  *(seems pretty amazing to me!)          

          Visitors: 10,650  *(equally amazed!) For the full stats, click here

**If you do go there…under “Posts & Pages” you can see the Top-10 Blog Posts (# of Views)

Which Blog has been your ‘favorite’……and why??

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VIP # 5 & 6 – Edith Yowell & Nellie Millar

Definitely VIP’s! Edith Yowell was my first-grade teacher and Nellie Millar, my second-grade teacher. No kindergarten for me…in fact I don’t think they even had kindergarten in Reydon, Oklahoma in 1958. I mean, it was in the day of outhouses (fortunately we had indoor plumbing!). We did, however, have some neighbors who still had a dirt floor in their house.

My first day of school was a memorable one; I can remember the excitement of being a little kid embarking on some kind of great adventure. I met a bunch of new friends and some of them are still friends today. I’m pretty sure on the first day of school we got handed the book, “Tip”. It was a story about a dog. When we finished that one it was “Tip & Mitten”; a dog and a cat this time. Then not long after those it was “Fun With Dick and Jane”. Still remember those vividly.

My Mom and Dad already had me in the mode to read so I just devoured “Tip”, and “Tip & Mitten”. “Fun With Dick and Jane” was a little more challenging, of course, but I was really learning to read now. As I look back, and think back, it seems apparent that these two teachers had an incredible impression on me. I think there are several things that they taught and imparted but the most important thing I got from them was the desire to be a ‘reader’. Somehow they instilled in me the desire to read and that reading was fun, enjoyable and, almost always, productive. It’s a desire that I still have today! I’d definitely advise parents to instill the need to read in their kids. They’re going to have to be reading their whole lives. And to be a good reader just does nothing but good!

Writing is something that I really enjoy these days. I think I’ll be doing it for a long, long time. I can’t help but think how valuable to me Mrs Yowell and Mrs. Millar were to this process. I can’t say enough good about good teachers; they’re not paid enough in my books and their job isn’t easy. They have a tremendous responsibility….and opportunity, for that matter. I had some really good ones….maybe I’ll write something about them later. But, I’m extremely grateful for Edith Yowell and Nellie Millar! They got me headed in the right direction. They were some great ones!!

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A Word or Two For the ‘Grads’ Out There

School’s out! I’ve had five grads myself down through the years finishing up with Cameron a few years ago at this time. I continually tell parents with young children, “You better wake up….’cause that part of your life is incredibly short!” Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to speak at quite a few graduation ceremonies. There are some things that I think will help the new grads to take on the world. It’s not a conclusive list but it’s a good start.

1)  Live – Live is short! Learn to ‘live’ it with zeal and excitement.

2)  Give – The world has two kinds of people, givers….and takers. Givers live a much more fulfilling life!

3)  Forgive – You’ll have a lot of opportunities to forgive…..resolve to not miss a single one!

4)  Laugh – Enjoy the trip as much as possible. You’ll have to work at this one but you can do it!

5)  Learn – Resolve to be a learner. “When you think you know it all, you’re as smart as you’re ever gonna get.” Cliff Taylor

6)  Love – Learn to relate to God as Father! As you’re exposed to His kind of love…..you’ll learn to love like He does!

7)  Relationship, Relationship, Relationship – It’s really what life is all about. Value your relationships!

8)  Get Back Up – You’re gonna get knocked down; to be successful  you just have to get up one more time than you get knocked down.

9)  Be Courageous – Swing for the fence! You have the faith for it so it’s up to you!

10) Destiny – God has a plan for your life and He’s willing to disclose it to you. Go after it!

11) Purpose – Find those things you’re good at and put your effort into those things.

12) No Regrets – Older folks say they don’t regret the things they did as much as the things they didn’t do. Do it!

After thinking about it, maybe this advice is not ‘just’ for the grads. Maybe it’s for all of us. Even if you’ve gotten a slow start…’saddle up’ and move on! It’s really never too late!       

 

 

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