Friday, February 29, 2008

Lightning Show

We had the most spectacular lightning show on Tuesday morning at 4 am. I have never seen anything like it. The whole house was lit up and there was no place to run from it, even though I was scurrying around trying to unplug every media, computer and appliance in the house, as power was coming and going and eventually went.

It was the sound of wind and hail though that sent us to the closet wondering if we would have a house standing when we came out. The weather radio indicated a cell located 6 miles north of the Talladega airport. Actually I don't know where the Talladega airport is but figure we must have been a few miles north of that and so we were spared the worst of the weather damage. The roof is still intact and the greenhouse weathered the storm well, all pieces still in place.

I scoured about the area to locate some dry ice since I had actually gone to the grocery store the night before and those of you who know me, know what that means, food in the frig. I ended up making a trip to Gadsden and did indeed buy dry ice. It was a real educational experience and kept our frig and freezer from thawing out during the 15 hour power free zone. It wasn't like I could do anything else and it turned into a nice dry, a burger at Sonic, and my first trip to drive into downtown Gadsden and see the main row there.

Lots to be thankful for. I only wished that I had pictures of that lightning storm. I really thought we might just explode on the spot but looks like we didn't, so just counting all those blessings. God is good!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Cranky Tractor by David Clark

A Cranky Tractor
copyright 2008 David Clark/Cochran, Ga.
For permission to reuse, please contact the author.
P.O. Box 148 - Cochran, GA 31014

My Daddy's old Ford 8-N tractor is a wonderful old machine. She's a beautiful 1951 model, and generally speaking, gives no trouble. She will do anything I need to do.

She is a great example of the finest of American work. I just replaced a rear tire on it, which is an expensive proposition. But, Daddy would say that the bad tire didn't owe me anything. It had been on the tractor since 1951, so I didn't feel bad about it when it fell to pieces one day this past December.

Last week I went out to crank up the old tractor so I could plow some of my little field for cabbages and potatoes.

There's a way to crank this old tractor. You approach from the left side. Put one foot up on the clutch, turn the gas shut-off valve to open so a little gas will flow, switch on the key, and work the throttle lever back and forth twice. Then you reach over with one hand to prepare to pull out the choke lever, and press down on the foot-operated starter button.

She'll turn over, and you pull out the choke briefly and let it back off.

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, she'll fire right up.

But, you know how things go. I'd let her sit for a couple of months while I was up in Chicago and other places fiddling around doing things other than riding Daddy's old tractor.

She turned over just fine, and just began to catch and run. But nope, she didn't fire off. I tried her again. A little bit of cough, following by a whole lot of nothing. I tried 'er one more time with the same result.

The grand old slightly rusty gal had a firm answer: "Nothing doing."
I switched off the key, took my foot off the clutch, and turned the gas valve back off.

I rubbed the engine cowling. "No hard feelings, old girl. I think I got the message." And I put my gloves in my back pocket and went and sat down for awhile in the rocking chair on the front porch.

My Daddy's old tractor is a wonderful machine. She runs best when she's running often. She feels important when I take her out plowing on a regular basis. She likes to work hard.

And like most living things, she gets ill-tempered when I ignore her for awhile. One thing I've learned over the years is when my Daddy's old tractor is ill-tempered, there's one best course of action: Walk away and ignore her for a day. She always cranks up the next day.

Two days ago a friend mentioned how his co-worker was carrying on.
"He's ill-tempered. He doesn't want to work. He doesn't want to get along with anyone. He's valuable to us, but nobody knows what to do about him sometimes."

I told my friend about my Daddy's old tractor. He grinned. "I think I'll try out your approach."


Email David Clark at , or write him at P.O.
Box 148, Cochran, Ga. 31014.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I am thankful today that my family, scattered all over the south, has weathered the storms that passed through here last night and this morning.

There are many who were not so fortunate and the weather front continues it's path across the east stretching from north to south. We pray for those families who were not as fortunate and for those who have lost loved ones in the path of this storm.

I am also thankful to see the bright yellow blooms of daffodils peaking out in my back yard. A cheery reminder and I confess, I needed it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Multi-Tasking; the Illusion of Efficiency


Multi-tasking by it's very nature severely limits high quality results. It is the illusion of efficiency.

All it really guarantees is that you'll 'touch' it. So you have multiples of 'touching' things, issues, projects. This is not the same as dealing efficiently with multiple details in a high quality way. How can it?

That definition is the illusion. It is unattainable, demoralizing in both the long term and short health of the person attempting it, and defeating the purpose and goal of high quality results.

Is your goal to produce high quality results? Do you want projects handled with a high level of attention given to detail?

To use a golf axiom to illustrate my point here. Drive for show, putt for dough. Multi-tasking is the act of driving for show. Tiger Woods putts for the dough. His singleness of purpose is to get to that green so he can putt, for the dough. It doesn't mean he doesn't do what needs to be done to hone the skills necessary to get him to the green. But his craft in completing his mission, closing the sale, so to speak, is to get to that green, so he can putt.

So where does that take us with Multi-tasking? It is true that we need to be able to 'manage' multiples. However, it is unrealistic to set your sites on bringing multiples to their conclusion, simultaneously. Closing the sale takes attention, focused attention. If you are not allowed to give this proper attention to the details of quality, you will not produce quality results. We should not be surprised by this phenomenon.

Important people and projects in our lives deserve dedicated attention. Giving your full attention to a child cannot be substitued with anything. Nothing else measures up to a child like having your undivided attention. Roll that around in your mind for a while. They will go to great lengths to get your undivided attention. Explains a lot about the behavior we witness in children, doesn't it?

If an employer expects their assistant to be an expert multi-tasker. That employer should not be surprised that there will occasionally be areas of weakness witnessed in the results. You sacrifice quality for the quantity folks. Plain and simple. Think about what you're asking for and quit beating up your employees because they don't 'measure' up. Your definition is faulty. That's what I'm saying.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Knowing the Proverbs

Knowing the Proverbs
Proverbs are brief sayings which have in them some concentrated wisdom usually learned by experience.

One first grade teacher wanted to teach her group of 6 year olds some of our American proverbs. She gave them the first part of a famous proverb and asked them to finish the statement.

If you think you understand the mind of a 6 year old, read their answers.

Don’t change horses……
Until they stop running.

Strike while the……
Bug is close.

It’s always darkest just before……
Daylight Savings Time.

Never underestimate the power of……

Don’t bite the hand that……
Looks dirty.

No news is……

A miss is as good as a……

You can’t teach an old dog new……

If you lie down with dogs, you’ll……
Stink in the morning.

The pen is mightier than the……

An idle mind is……
The best way to relax.

Where there’s smoke, there’s……

A penny saved is……
Not much.

Two’s company, three’s the……

Don’t put off till tomorrow what……
You put on to go to bed.

Laugh & the world laughs with you, cry and……
You blow your nose.

There are none so blind as……
Stevie Wonder

Children should be seen and not……

When the blind lead the blind……
Get out of the way.

If at first you don’t succeed……
Try new batteries.

Well, those are fun, but the Biblical proverbs are of real practical help; such as:
(Most everybody’s life would be better if we listened to these proverbs.)

Listen to the instruction of your father (4:1).
If you have signed on to guarantee a loan for a friend, do not rest until you have freed yourself from that legal obligation (6:1-5).
A gentle answer turns away wrath (15:1).
Better is a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city (16:32).
Wine is a mocker and strong drink a brawler (20:1).
The borrower is servant to the lender (22:7).
If you are a glutton, put a knife to your throat (23:2).

Borrowed from: