Aug 30, 2010

Restoring Honor Rally - Reflections and Suggested Reading

Abigail and Dolley readers I was moved to tears several times while watching the Restoring Honor Rally.  I am not much of a crier, but will often weep before the Lord and for the love of my Country.  I had many opportunities on Saturday, August 28, 2010, to do so.  I was shocked at the overt aspect of Faith that was on such a public display.  Usually, the only time I hear any of that sort of thing is at my church and my church is not a typical one in that it is not politically correct and my pastor is not afraid to speak the truth.

I read a couple of books, many years ago, that changed my life.  Frank Peretti "This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" show how the natural and the supernatural intersect in ways that you have probably never thought about.  They are parallel stories of the battle of good and evil here on earth and within the realm of Angels and Demons.  These novels opened my eyes to the realities of spiritual warfare and the mighty power of the Word and prayer.  If you have not already, I highly recommend that you read these incredible stories.

We are in our own Peretti novel right now and epic battle between good and evil.  The choices we make must be made with prayer and circumspection.  We must adopt a worldview that is not blind to good and evil.  We must hold our country up before the Lord and truly beseech Him for restoration.  No political movement, candidate, or government program can change the course of this nation - only the true Founding Father can do that.

Aug 27, 2010

Townhalls - What A Difference a Year Makes

Abigail and Dolley readers has it occurred to any of you that this summer has been relatively quiet on the Town Hall front?  Compared with last year's headline grabbing rants, rages, and smack downs this year has seemed relatively tame.  There are a couple of reasons for that: primarily, embattled Congressmen have avoided them like the plague.  Some may suggest it is because people are disengaged and no longer care.  I think the exact opposite is true, people are so far engaged they are no longer talking to those who will not listen.

The protesters of last summer are the candidates and volunteers this summer.  They are in Washington this weekend for the Restoring Honor rally.  They are volunteering at their local candidates offices.  They are blogging and sharing articles with their friends.  They are more involved and informed than I have ever seen in my lifetime.  Ordinary folks have turned off CBS and tuned into PJ TV.  They are mobilized, informed, organized, and ready to reassert a Government, of the People, by the People, and for the People.  A Government of laws and not men.

The Political Class takes the calm at the Townhalls and their disregard of the Citizenry at their own peril because come January they will be coming home to live amongst us again, fortunately for them, we no longer Tar and Feather.

Aug 24, 2010

What's With the Chain License Plate Frame?

Abigail and Dolley readers I was driving home today and noticed a chain license frame on the back of a nice minivan driven by a black woman. For years I did not know what it symbolized and thought they were actually quite stylish (yes, I know, naive...) until my husband informed me that it was a symbol of slavery. I must confess I was confused why anyone would want to sport that on their car - the last time I looked, slaves had been free for about 140 years.

There are a couple of Bible verses I have memorized over the years: "All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." There is another that says, "What the Devil meant for evil, I have used for your good." Should those verses not be applied to every person who was brought to the USA in chains? Should we not be grateful that we are here and let go of the pain and the victim mentality?

I mean seriously, have you looked at Africa lately? Not exactly a bastion of freedom, opportunity, and long life, if you know what I mean. Anyone born in this country has been given a gift of immeasurable worth, why do you want to go back to slavery? Why do you put that on your car? I just don't get it.

Aug 20, 2010

Nancy Pelosi is Insane

Abigail and Dolley readers the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has said some bizarre things over the years:  her comments about the Tea Party, her ramblings over passing the Healthcare Bill to see what is in it, but the latest gaffe shows her mindset very clearly.  My news junkie readers will have seen it over and over again, but some of you may not have.  See the video embedded below:

The mindset of this woman is amazing!  Think about it - in her world people don't independently come up with ideas without money supporting them.  Let that sink in for a moment.  This means that what SHE believes to be best for the public has to be sold to them, backed by money, and they need to be convinced it is the best thing.  Nancy Pelosi believes that YOU are incapable of independently coming to a conclusion that is opposed to what she believes and that you have to be funded by some special interest.

This explains her comments about the Tea Party, her insistence that it is a fake movement being bank rolled by some one else.  This explains why she was so disdainful of opponents of the Healthcare Takeover as shills for the Insurance companies.  If this finally clarifies her mindset, then what does it say about her?  Folks are you really comfortable with this woman being 3rd in line for the Presidency?

Update: Apparently, I am not the only one who thinks she's a lunatic!

Aug 19, 2010

How Do You Measure Success?

Abigail and Dolley readers, I resigned from my job this week.  I procured a better opportunity and have decided to move on, but the sadness that goes with departing is always something you have to deal with and this one was really tough.  You see, I am not your typical corporate executive;  SHOCKING, huh?  I love "my people", I sincerely do. 

For many years I prayed, "Lord, please give me a ministry."  I wanted to do something grand and honestly, I think I was really praying, "Lord, get me out of Corporate America."  Day after day, I headed to the office not satisfied but obligated to my family to make a living.  To that point, I had enjoyed moderate success in my career but had stagnated for several years after the birth of my son.  I plugged along and was biding my time waiting on the Lord to move and to move me.

One morning, getting into my car in the garage I prayed the prayer again, "Lord, please give me a ministry."  As clearly as if He was in the room with me, He replied, "I already have."  I was stunned!  All the way to work that day, the words kept rolling around in my head.  This wasn't going to be some grand ministry to feed the homeless or go to Rwanda, this was simply being Christ to those I worked with and giving of myself to them.  I had been doing that for years but just thought it was WHO I was, nothing grand, just being myself.  From that day forward, I looked at my work differently, I looked at my people differently.

I do not proselytize at work, unless someone seeks me out in that area.  I just do the right thing, care about their lives, and try to honor Jesus in all that I do.  I am so flawed, but the Lord uses that to draw folks to me.  I am a contradiction - I am an on fire Christian but I cuss like a sailor.  I am extremely professional and can play the game yet I tell funny stories, loudly.  I am serious about my work, yet I laugh constantly.  I write well and communicate better than most but I do not send rah rah corporate messages and hold stupid meetings to simply hear myself talk.  I will wear a business suit and stripper shoes.  I work hard, but only 40 hours a week.  I am ALWAYS late.  I make mistakes and will share them with my staff and laugh about how silly it was and how embarrassed I am.  I will bust their asses when they screw up and hold them when they cry about a situation at home.

The company I worked for, when I got my "ministry" from the Lord, did not value all of the crazy contradictions that made me who I am, but I cannot be anything other than that, so needless to say, I would have been stuck in a corner in middle management forever if I hadn't left.  Whilst I was still there, my boss attended some motivational seminar and returned with these words on his lips, "How do you measure success?"

He was all over the place with this buzz phrase, popping into my office unexpectedly to blurt out this question and then pop out again.  I must confess I rolled my eyes because we were drowning in work and the sarcastic side of me wanted to say something like, "When I get you to quit spouting this stupid shit and let me hire somebody."  I never took it seriously.

As it happens though, when I resigned from that job, all but one came into my office, hugged my neck and cried.  They told me how much they had enjoyed working with me, how much I had taught them, and how much they loved me.  They told funny stories about me and teased me about things I had done and said that touched them.  Sitting in the parking lot, crying the night I left, I realized THAT is how I measure success.  I am blessed to have encountered the same reaction yesterday as I departed a job that I have truly loved.

This time was a bit different, though.  This time, I had been the leader not merely a supervisor.  This time, I had been able to create a "Dolley Madison" culture and environment and my folks responded in kind.  I am touched and humbled by their outpouring of love and support.  If I never do another thing in my corporate life, I can honestly say, THAT is how I measure success.

Aug 15, 2010

Brand Loyalty and the Real Hope for America

Abigail and Dolley readers I have written previously about Brand Loyalty and how the Republicans lost the faith of the American people when they abandoned their principals of small government, low taxes, and protecting the individual liberties of the people.  This morning though, I began to think that this sword cuts both ways.  The Democrats, you see, are forging their "Brand" with much of the American public that believed their advertising, but are vastly disappointed in the actual product.

They are much like the shoddy advertisers of years gone by that promised kids if they would send their money they could have a Sea Monkey farm, only to discover afterward that the Sea Monkeys were so minuscule no one could actually see them and they didn't look anything like what the ad showed them - they had been taken.  The bitter taste of deception is one that the vast majority of the American electorate are feeling about the Liberal Progressives in Washington.  You see, they didn't read the fine print that says, what you see is NOT what you get.

They are astounded at the arrogance, the spending, the corruption, and the complete and utter disregard of the will of the American people.  I can only hope that the American people have realized, they bought Sea Monkeys.

Aug 14, 2010

I Still Cry About 9/11

Abigail and Dolley readers I sometimes wonder if I am the only one left that still regularly cries about 9/11.  I sometimes wonder if on 9/12 all those in favor of a Mosque near the site would have been for it then.  A Mosque at Ground Zero is like a Japanese Memorial at Pearl Harbor or a Nazi Clubhouse at a Concentration Camp.  It is not about rights it is about what is right.

Can you make it through this 911 call?  Can you?  Can you tell me after you listen, that it is okay for our President and our Government to fund a trip of a cleric to raise money for this incredible slap in the face?

Aug 8, 2010

Speaker Pelosi's "Cash for Democrat Re-Election Program"

Abigail and Dolley readers have you wondered why we have to pass MORE stimulus money when so much of what has already been passed is not spent?  Well, here you go:

Speaker Pelosi's "Cash for Democrat Re-Election Program"

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann issued the following statement regarding next week's special House session to spend $26 billion for supposed "state aid":

"Next week, Speaker Pelosi is calling the 435 Members of the House to DC next week for the purpose of spending another $26 billion we don't have.  We were on a six week hiatus, and members had scattered to the four corners of the Earth.
"The reason she wants to do this is because her members are in political trouble and she knows they will need the financial support of the public employee unions.  This $26 billion represents a circle that works like this:
"Take $26 billion away from the productive private sector, deposit it in the US Treasury.  Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat majority will then vote to send the money from the Treasury to politicians across the nation.
"State and local politicians then give the money to employees of public employee unions.  The public employee union skims their share off the top of the worker's check first in the form of union dues. Part of the dues are funneled into the union's political action committee, which in turn will be spent on political TV, radio, Internet, and print ads, as well as union "boots on the ground."
"Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have already spent $3.6 trillion on stimulus.  For them, $26 billion doesn't rise to the level of a day at the beach, so why bring us all back to DC after we were scattered?
"Could it be because their most loyal constituency and political foot soldiers, many of whom could be facing the never before seen horror of a government employee let go due to lack of state and local tax receipts, need to be reminded whose hand quite literally feeds them?
"Spending is the least popular item on the public's mind right now, but it looks to me like this $26 billion has more to do with fully funding the union political action coffers and making sure the left's political "volunteers" get the message to get out the Democrat vote.

Aug 1, 2010

Oh, Honorable Customer...

Abigail and Dolley readers I am a metaphorical thinker.  My brain just seems to work that way and I am not sure exactly why.  I often draw parallels between past and present or draw upon my historical lessons and apply them to current situations.  I think it is relatively unique, since no one in my immediate circle of friends seems to do much of this.

My latest musings surround a large client where our corporate cultures just don't match up any more.  You see, my company culture says that I need to make money.  Their corporate culture says that, "I am the Boss and you are my Beaotch!"  They say this kindly and tactfully with the buzz word:  Partnership.

Beware folks of the word "Partnership" when it is excessively bandied about in a business meeting, by the client.  In my experience, if a customer insists they want you to be their "Partner" that usually translates into:

  1. I am going to continue to shop the competition and force you to give me the cheapest price for everything.  I don't care if you have invested human resources specifically designed to service my account, that is what partners do, because we are SO important.
  2. I will demand from you excessive reporting (that I will not read or action).
  3. I will not pay your invoices on time and when I do I will short pay them by any amount I deem necessary.  You will, of course, have to deal with my payment company whose clerks are recruited from Idiots Incorporated.  They will have not a clue as to what they are doing and what they are auditing.  You will need to spend hours on conference calls with them explaining that while the contract reads "Pick up" - "Inland Freight" IS the same thing and the invoice needs to be processed. 
  4. Accounts Receivable issues will be as a direct result of your inability to bill me correctly and will not be a reflection of my companies deficiencies in timely processing of invoices. 
  5. You will provide invoice copies and back up to me and my payment company three times for every invoice.
  6. You will do tons of free consulting, arrange tours and junkets, give me analysis, and you will provide this information to me at any time and as many times as I tell you, for free.
  7. You will treat me to fine dinners and gifts.
  8. I will immediately assume if something goes wrong that you are the culprit.  I will not show contrition or regret when you prove to me it is my own companies internal dysfunction that caused the problem.
  9. I will make you participate in useless process meetings.  I will never follow up on them or even provide you with one written word about a day long meeting.  Never mind that you spent $1000 in travel expenses to attend.  You are my partner.
  10. I will force you to assume all of the market fluctuation risks, well, that is only if prices go up.  That is your risk after all.  I will demand concessions, though, when the market goes down.  You are never really supposed to make THAT much money on me, I am your partner after all.
  11. I will expect you to be financially responsible for all of my products.  In spite of the fact, that as my vendor you makes a small pittance on each transaction and I and my customer are the principal parties of interest in the transaction.
  12. I will not take your advise and buy the requisite insurance and will expect you to pay me in full in the event of a claim, which I will report to you three months after the fact.
  13. I will blame you for every storm, every strike, every delay, even if it is the hand of God, as MY partner you should have processes in place that protect me from that sort of thing.
  14. I will mismanage my business and expect you to pay up - significantly and as often as I see fit.
  15. I will assign an accounting intern to scrutinize your invoices and will expect significant refunds for past over charges, regardless of the fact that my analysis is flawed and corrupted.  I will expect you to provide me with years worth of back up so I can prove how much you have been cheating me.  I will want you to do this at a moments notice and for free.
  16. I will waste hours of your most important and brightest people and then I will trash them on a regular basis, my unhappiness is of course because of them.
  17. I will expect that you will travel to see me on a weekly basis and fly where ever I deem our next meeting should be, I have no care that the entertainment costs, travel expenses, and extra services actually make me a "Looser" for your company.  I AM important and you WILL service me.
  18. I will not care if the market shifts thousands of dollars a unit, I will hold you to rates negotiated before the market went crazy.  I will ignore your missives about pending rate increases and then accuse you of breaking our contract when you are forced to pass them to me without my precious approval.
  19. I will not subscribe to your news letter that gives important market information, but will lambaste you when I am not made specifically aware of changes that effect my business.  
  20. I will impose on you laborious and detailed RFQ's.  During your presentation, I will bring up all of your short comings, bully and belittle you, and then leave the conference room without shaking your hand.
  21. In the end, I will hate you, because you will have failed to live up to the spirit of partnership and our NEW partner will be SO much better than you are.

So kind readers, all of the above made me realize I have been faced with this situation before.  When I was in the 11th Grade, my BFF and I started a house cleaning service.  We were, The Partners In Grime. We had been in business for about 6 months, working after school and doing really well.

Enter our new client... "The Chinese People".  It was a disaster from the beginning.  It was our practice to tell clients when we were selling our service that we only did, "Skeleton" cleaning.  Our prices were cheap and we were quickly in and out.  We requested that the house be empty when we cleaned because it was faster and more comfortable for everyone.  If a regular client needed us to do something special, every once in a while, we would do a "Special Request".

Chinese culture vs. American culture in the area of "Special Request" required a clarification that neither party knew needed to occur.

Every other Wednesday began to be dreaded with a fierce sense of, "Oh, I don't want to go THERE!"  You see, there was nothing normal about this client.  First of all, there were about 20 of them living in a 1500 sft house.  They did not leave when we got there and sometimes would just stay in the room you were trying to clean.  My BFF is a red head and a beautiful one at that.  I think I heard somewhere that red heads are thought to be witches in some parts of China.  The ancient Chinese Grandmother seemed to think so because she would follow my BFF around, sit in the dark across the hall, and chant in a low angry voice.  I suppose it was some sort of evil spirit repellent.  It was unnerving, to say the least.

One afternoon, we were complaining to another friend, and if memory serves me correctly, getting organically prepared for our "Chinese People".  Our friend laughed her head off at the story of the Grandmother and suggested we press our hands together with our thumbs on our noses, bow, and say, "Oh, Honorable Grandmother, shut the fuck up!"  It was one of the biggest laughs I ever had.

You see, what made the Chinese people intolerable was that they ALWAYS had a "Special Request".  Most of clients had never even had one, so we were ill prepared to say, "No."  They got progressively worse, the last one was a doozy.  They handed my BFF a paper sack and a shovel and told her to clean the fire place.  By this point, we had decided the $25 was not worth all the hassle and this was our last job.  I wasn't much of a business women at 17, but I was a quick learner!

What we did not know, was the ashes were not totally cold.  The embers ignited in the paper sack and the whole kitchen and living room filled with smoke.  There were Chinese people screaming everywhere and all we wanted to do was get our money and get the hell out of there.

You just can't win with these types of clients.  They are time suckers, productivity killers, morale destroyers, and not big enough to support all the resources that have to be poured into making them happy and making you money.

I had to say goodbye this week to one such customer, I was told after the fact that it was the most professional kiss off they had ever read, but what I really wanted to say was:

"Oh, Honorable Customer, shut the fuck up."