Oct 28, 2011

A Child's Drawing

Yesterday, as I was driving to work, I was in prayer before the Lord.  I was surrendering my day to Him and asking Him to use me in anyway He saw fit.  As I sat at the stop light, I was struck by how absolutely inadequate and fallible I am, even in the midst of obedience and faithfulness.  In my human skin, this is as good as I am going to get.  I am doing all of the things we are directed to do as Christians: I am praying, reading my Bible, going to church, surrendering my will to his direction, and humbly worshiping before the Lord, yet I am still so full of sin.

He gently stroked my head and brought this image to my mind.  As a parent, often your small child will come and present you with a wonderful drawing they have made for you.  Perhaps it is a card or a picture that they have sat at their table and lovingly made you something special.  They present you with the art work.  They are proud and hopeful that you will love it, it was the best they could do.  You smile broadly and gush over how beautiful it is, you hug them and thank them for the wonderful gift.  You do not look at it and judge it for what it is not, for most certainly it is not the Mona Lisa!  Even so, you recognize that the offering is precious because they are incapable of doing better and you love them and the picture, exactly the way it is.

That is the way God sees us and our offerings to Him.  Not as a critic, but as a loving parent.  I am so grateful for that.  I must try to remember, when I look down at my little offering, that I should not be a critic, either.  For one day, I will stand before the King and the offering I give to Him will be more magnificent than any artwork ever created by human hands.  I will be perfected by His hand and molded in His love and we will rejoice together in this marvelous thing He has done.

Oct 17, 2011

Newt Gingrich - The Candidate I Did Not Want to Like

Abigail and Dolley readers some of ya'll might remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about dating the GOP candidates.  I concluded the blog with the statement that I was not even considering Newt Gingrich because he felt like an ex boyfriend and I was not going back.  Well, keeping with that theme let's just say that Newt showed up at my door this weekend with flowers, candy, and a bad ass old sports car that I certainly would look good driving around in.

He smiled his big ole smile and sweet talked me into taking a ride with him.  I had forgotten how much fun he could be and most of all I forgotten how darn smart he was and I do so love a smart man.  The more we cruised around, the more I remembered our first romance.  I remembered the balanced budgets, I remembered the reforms, I remembered all the great times... then he started telling me how he had changed since we broke up.  He told me of his plans for our future and the thing about Newt is, I believe him.  Not only do I believe his intentions, but I believe in his ability to get the job done.

We spent a lot of time together this weekend.  He wooed me with talk of judicial reform, lean six sigma, training and governmental transformation, repealing Obamacare and Dodd/Frank, and the appropriate executive orders... that new 21st Century contract with America, well that will get this Tea Party Girls heart thumping.  Stay tuned.

Oct 15, 2011

Manufacturing in America

Abigail and Dolley readers I have had a wonderful opportunity in my new position to sit and visit with business people from across the spectrum.  While confined to a geographic region, these business folks hail from companies large and small and cover the gambit of industries represented in the Southern USA.  I thought I would share some of the insights I have gathered on these conversations.

"We are doing very well but we are just waiting to see what this economy will bring..." - this is the overwhelming sentiment among business people.  Company health is solid, there is plenty of cash in the bank, and they have fundamentally changed the way they do business.  Risk and capitol investment are on hold, expansion is not in the cards right now, and even if they wanted to the banks are not lending.

"American manufacturing is returning.  Companies that had previously moved production to China are reopening factories in the USA.  We shipped an order to a factory in Mississippi that has not made this product in over a decade."  This my friends is good news.  The cost of fuel and labor has made the Chinese goods much less attractive.  If you factor in the absolute corruption in the communist run country you get a picture of a collapsing model.  I have written about the labor market in China before (Chinese Manufacturing) and how American workers and firms have a huge intrinsic advantage.

"We are always hiring at the plant but it's hard, dirty work and nobody wants to do it for $10/hour."  Hmmm, this one surprised me.  I guess when you get down to it, unemployment pays about the same wage and a lot of folks figure they are better off waiting for a higher paying job.  The thing about that is the benefits that this company pays equal about $8/hour and unemployment doesn't give you that.  Imagine though, if the income tax rate for corporations was cut to 9% what could happen to wages in this plant.

"Lead times on finished products have gone through the roof and retailers are still making Christmas purchases."  This plays into the first point but is quite telling.  Christmas purchases are usually completed and shipping commences in July - October.  Here we are in mid October and they are STILL buying.  For the first time in a decade, we did not have a peak season surcharge out of Asia.  This is a significant and fundamental change in the business cycle.  Folks are not producing on anticipated demand, they are producing by the order.

The companies that have survived this Great Recession have hunkered down, changed their behavior, mitigated risk, and saved their money.  The weak, inefficient, and poorly run enterprises have been weeded out.  Many misplaced workers are busting with ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in America, just cash starved and waiting for a break.  A repeal of the stifling regulatory climate, tax system overhaul, and new leadership is all that is missing.  November 2012 can't get here fast enough.  When this thing turns and it WILL turn we are going to see an explosion.  I guess I picked a good time to go back into sales...