You Do What You Believe

Survey Says…

survey-opinion-research-voting-fill-159353.jpeg   Read just about any survey where the respondents said something was important to them versus whether they do it. Everyone has an opinion as to what is important. Question is: is it important enough to do it? Take any Family Feud type question for example. One hundred American men surveyed said this is the most important thing to them. The top six answers are on the board. There seems to be this pat answer in the politically correct order. Can’t you see the top answers as the bell dings when the board flips? GOD! The contestant yells. “Good answer, good answer,” his family claps and cheers. Ding! God/church/religion. Number one. We’ll play Steve, and the game goes on. Spouse. Good answer. Ding! Family/children. Ding! Country. Job. Ding! Ding! Entertainment/ pleasure. Ding!

Priorities

What if we stopped the game right here? Cblack-and-white-people-bar-men.jpgontestants, where do you spend most of your time, energy, and money? If I were a betting man, I would say you could probably flip the list upside down. There’s a saying that goes like this: “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying.” If there is a disparity between what we say and what we do, it begs the question: why? Any problem can be boiled down to the cause by asking “why” at least five times. Usually, it doesn’t take all five “whys.” So let’s take the number one New Years’ resolution: to lose weight. Followed by exercising more so we will take both together. People will join gyms like crazy in January, and then the attendance drops off shortly around February.

The Five “Whys”

Number one: Why do people make these resolutions? Normally, it is because they have guilt or remorse. Some want to do better.

Number two: Why does the attendance drop off in February? People quit their resolutions.

Number three: Why do people quit their resolutions? Too hard, peer pressure, it hurts, I can’t look like that, no really cares, lack of discipline, really not that important. They have tried it in the past and didn’t make it. Certainly not going to make it now, etc.

Number four: Why do people think these things? Because that is the script that is going on inside their head.

Number five: Why do they have this script? The reasons will be as varied as the people themselves. I believe it comes down to this: they have lied to themselves over and over, year after year. They don’t believe the resolutions and therefore do not do what they say to themselves. And you’re saying “Huh?”

The Ant and the Elephant

Vince Poscente has a short, but powerful little book called The Ant and the Elephant. I highly recommend it. In short, the ant is your conscious mind. The elephant is your subconscious mind. The ant tells the elephant that we are going to lose weight and exercise. The elephant laughs at the thought because it has heard it so many times before and knows the ant is lying. Again. So the elephant lumbers on as it did before according to the script as written. We believe something is the truth because we have heard it over and over again. We have ingrained it in our script. We have to change the script to change what we believe which in turn changes what we do. Don’t miss this.

Hit the Target

darts-target-bull-s-eye-delivering-37604.jpeg    Case in point, in an earlier article this year I laid out several lofty goals. I will hit these goals. You how I know? I have hit them before and will do it again. My elephant knows I can, so I will. I am no more special than you or anyone else. How did I do it before? I changed my script. I chose to. Was it easy? Heck no! Was it worth it? Absolutely and you can do it too. Here is how I did it and will continue to do it.

  • Lead. First off, know that you can lead your elephant. You can school the mind, soul, and body. You can change your script. It starts with the “want to.”
  • Feed. Change what you feed your elephant. Your elephant feeds on what you give it. What is the daily diet of your elephant? Is it healthy or hurtful? It is fed through what and who you watch, listen to, and read. If your daily elephant diet is soap operas what do you think your life will be like?
  • Speed. Too many resolutions fail because people want instant success. Know that it takes time to change the script. Know that it takes some work as well. Start small and keep track.
  • Read. Be selective. You should read more than you watch or listen. Listening is important, but a different part of the brain is engaged when you read. Again start small. Start with “The Ant and the Elephant.”
  • Weed. You are what you think, and you are only as successful as you think. Pluck the negative thoughts as if they are weeds. Replace them with positive thoughts. Keep doing this. A perfect example was given to me by a friend about my garden. He said when you till the garden you bring inactive weed seeds to the surface, and they sprout. Kill those weeds and then till the soil again. Then kill the new weeds. It may take many times of this process to kill the weeds, but they will always come back, but not as strong.

Summary

You can do this. It helps if you have someone to partner with you and challenge you. If you are one of the fortunate ones that can find a mentor you will be miles ahead. You also can sign up for several self-directed education courses. I would be glad to recommend books and audios for you. You can see the books I have read and are reading at Goodreads.com. I also have several blogs where I recommend books. As always I welcome your comments and questions. You can reach out to me at thesaltyeclectic@gmail.com.

For Such a Time as This

Let’s Define It

Significant.  Miriam-Webster online has the following definitions with examples:

“1 : having meaning; especially : suggestive a significant glance

2 a : having or likely to have influence or effect : important a significant piece of legislation; also : of a noticeably or measurably large amount a significant number of layoffs producing significant profits

b : probably caused by something other than mere chance statistically significant correlation between vitamin deficiency and disease”

Your Life

pexels-photo-730547.jpeg   But what does it mean to you? Ben Franklin said, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.”  I try to do both. Did he live a life of significance? I think we will all agree that he did. If you ask the average American to name something about Ben Franklin you would get a varied response. You might hear such as he created the potbellied stove; he created the bifocals; he was struck by lightning when flying a kite in a storm, or more likely, he is on a $100.00 bill. But was he more significant today than he was in his generation?

Based on the above definitions, are you more significant today than you will be in future generations? Does your life have meaning? Do you have influence or effect? Do you make things happen rather than wait for a mere chance? The choice rests with you and no one else. I believe you, and I are alive, right now, at this time to be significant. It wasn’t chance. It was God-ordained.

A Biblical/ Historical Example

pexels-photo-783952.jpeg   If you have ever read the book of Esther you know, it reads like a soap opera. A king who lorded over his wife and a wife who disrespected her husband and lost her head in the process. Then the king throws a beauty pageant to pick the next queen. Beautiful Esther wins. It isn’t clear if she wanted to be there, but now she is the new queen. Meanwhile, her cousin Mordechai foils a plot to kill the king (and isn’t even thanked for his involvement).  Throw in a murderous, narcissistic prime minister in the king’s court named Haman, who hates Mordechai because he won’t bow down as Haman passes by. All this time the king’s court does not know that both Esther and Mordechai are related and are Jews.

One thing leads to another and Haman convinces the king to open up hunting season on Jews. Haman builds a gallows to hang Mordechai when the season opens up personally. Mordechai goes to Esther on behalf of their people and tells her she needs to convince the king to spare them. She hesitates. Sidebar: during this period, if someone came to the court of the king without being summoned and the king did not extend his scepter toward them in favor, then they were killed. The king had already chopped off one queen’s head. Mordechai’s response is timeless. He asked Esther if she thinks just because she is the queen that she and her family will be spared.  “Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” he adds.

Be the Change

Who knows why you are where you are in life today? Who knows why you were born to the family in which you were? Who knows how significant your life is to those around you? Who knows why you have had the struggles in life that you have had? God does. He intended for you to be significant in this generation and to those around you. You are not here by mere chance without meaning. You are here to influence and effect/affect your generation. I love the Gandhi quote where he instructs us to “be the change in the world that you want to see.” Your time is now. Your time is here. God formed you and placed you here in this time and generation on purpose, for a purpose. You are here “for such a time as this.” What are you going to do about it?

 

 

pexels-photo-226635.jpeg
Podcast for this blog

 

2018: A Significant Year in Six Simple Steps

How’s your year?

Have you ever had a day or week even, where you have felt like you just muddled through it? How about a year or a series of years? Some might say that this is indicative of their whole life. Or have you just felt like your life is not one of significance? My favorite saying for most issues is that “it’s a choice.” Rather simple and uneventful. Simple, yes, but not always easy. The significance is a choice. But how can I choose to make 2018 a year of significance? Here are six practical steps to head you (and me) in the right direction.

Step One: Define Significance.

As Stephen Covey has said, start with the end in mind. At this time next year what would have to of occurred for you to say that the last twelve months were significant? What does that look like? What would you have to be or, where would you have to be, and what would you have to accomplish? The term significance in of itself is too broad. Set specific goals. This is foundational. Don’t gloss over this. If you get this right then you are on the right track. It is worth your time to really work hard on this first step. Some call it defining the “why”.

Step Two: Plan.

Break it down. Step one is broad in nature. Now you have to break it down into smaller attainable chunks. Can you break the goal down into twelve steps where you can accomplish one each month? Let’s say your goal is to save $1200.00 this year. Some may laugh at that. The average American family won’t save even $200.00 each year. Did you save $1200.00 last year? $200.00? So, that’s our goal. Can you find a way to save $100.00 a month? Or let’s say you want to increase your knowledge on any given subject and you decide to read books that would help you accomplish this. Could you read a book a month or a book every two months? You get the idea.

Step Three: Focus.

Keep the goals you have outlined in front of you. Out of sight, out of pexels-photo-370659.jpegmind is a true maxim. Never underestimate the value of a 3×5 card. List your goals on several and strategically place them so you see that list every day, several times a day. Put one on your bathroom mirror so you can see it in the morning when you get up and before you go to bed. Put one on your refrigerator, one on the dashboard of your car, one on your desk, in your lunch box and so on. Keep your mind focused on your goals.

Step Four: Evaluate.

eye-female-funny-glass-41558.jpeg  You have a goal, and you have a plan. Now you have to measure the plan. There are several ways to do this, monthly, quarterly, biannually, and annually. In some cases, depending on the goal, you may have to measure and review weekly or daily.  For you to save $1200.00 a year, you will have to save around $23.08 a week or $46.15 every two weeks. What if you get paid every two weeks, and you rounded it up to $50.00 a pay period? At the halfway point of the year, you would have $650.00. You would be $50.00 ahead of your goal for that timeframe.

For most of my adult life, I have reviewed how my life was going every six months. I would do these reviews around Christmas and my birthday in June. I have asked myself these questions: am I where I want to be in life? Is my life heading in the direction I wanted it to be? Have I accomplished what I wanted? What am I going to do differently to get myself back on course?

Step Five: Adjust.

What course corrections do you need to make to keep on course? The worst thing you can do here is beat yourself up for not meeting your intended goals and mile markers. Now don’t get me wrong. I agree with you if you are disappointed. If you are not disappointed, then you have other issues. If life has dealt you a heavy blow and has knocked you way off course, then it may take some time and effort to get back to it. I am not talking about that. Pick yourself back up. We all get there, but if you are just plain lazy and making excuses then I have no sympathy for you, and you really weren’t committed to your goals. Too harsh? Not if you want it.

Step Six: Complete it. Repeat it.

So let’s say you weren’t able to meet your goal of $1200.00, but you were able to save $700.00. How much more do you have than the average American? Were you successful? YES! You are now further along than you were before. So you were trying to read twelve books but only finished ten. Success! Your year was significant. Now, let’s do it again. From month to month and year to year, you will create a life of significance. Question is: what is significance? You may have to redefine the answer to that question each year.

P.S. Let’s make it more personal. Here are my goals for 2018 and how I have them broke down.

  • Fifty-two blogs. That’s one a week. I have fifty-one to go.
  • Twenty-six podcasts. That’s one every two weeks.
  • Record four audio books. One a quarter.
  • Read twelve books. One a month.
  • Upload twelve videos to my YouTube Channel. One a month.
  • Publish one book.
  • Increase my prayer life. Spend five mornings a week in prayer. Keep a journal.
  • Reduce my debt by 25%. I’ll discuss this in another blog.
  • Increase my savings by $1200.00 this year. Sounded like a good goal. I have set up a monthly transfer of $100.00 from checking into savings.

 

pexels-photo-226635.jpeg
Podcast for this blog

 

Five Reasons Why You Should Employ the Golden Rule at Work

Golden Ruler  To start, let’s define the Golden Rule, rather than just assuming everyone knows. It was first spoken by Jesus and is a basic principle of life. The premise: treat others as you would have them treat you. If you want respect, give respect. If you want loyalty, give loyalty. If you want courtesy give courtesy. Will you always get what you give? Not always, but here are five reasons why you should still employ and encourage others to employ the Golden Rule in business dealings. They work in tandem with each other.

Better working environment.

If you want others inside and outside of your organization to not only get along but build trust and rapport, then this is foundational. You must build relationships to succeed. It starts with how you treat people. People and relationships flourish in the soil of appreciation, respect, and trust. If you or you allow others, to mistreat those within and without your organization, this equates to abuse. “Even a dog will stop being your friend if you continue to smack him.” Everyone by the very virtue of being a human deserves respect. Insubordination goes only one way – up. Respect and disrespect go two ways. It has been said, “employees don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses.”

Law of Unforeseen Consequences.

A maxim I have used many times is “Be careful of the hell you create today. You will have to live in it tomorrow.” The way you treat people is a decision. A choice. Each choice we make, notice I said, choice not action, has consequences. Non-action is a choice. If we allow or exercise mistreatment, betraying of trust, gossip, or backbiting, then it will come back on your organization. Usually, this is in ways that were unforeseen and to a level, we did not expect. The same is true for treating and encouraging others to treat others well. It’s also the principle of sowing and reaping. You reap what you sow. Sow kindness, get kindness, sow trust, get trust, sow honesty, get honesty.

Structures and relationships will always change.

You do not know today what the structure is going to be like tomorrow. How many times have you seen someone work their way from an entry-level position to one higher than yours or to become your boss? Another saying: “Be careful of who you tick off today, you may need them tomorrow (or they may be your boss tomorrow).” I could probably write pages about this one.   

I once knew a paramedic who was speeding and was stopped by a state trooper. The trooper gave the paramedic a hard time about obeying the law and how he was in the public eye, etc. etc. They got into a heated discussion. The trooper got mad and wrote the paramedic the maximum ticket. Several months later, the trooper flipped his car during a high-speed chase. Guess who responded on the ambulance? The paramedic. They remembered each other. The paramedic took the high road and gave the trooper the best of care.

Seek first to understand.

We all want others to listen and understand us. If something must change in your organization, seek to understand what effect it will have on others. If you must “take down a fence (especially a sacred fence) seek to find out why the fence was placed there to begin with.” If you start a stampede you might wish the fence was still there.

We need each other.

“The turtle on the fencepost didn’t get there by himself.” For fun, people will put turtles on a fencepost (yes I know it can be deemed animal cruelty, but bear with me). The point is that turtle got there with some help. So it is in the success journey we are all on. We need others to help us. If we are too stubborn or prideful to seek or accept help, if we get to the top it will be lonely. If we do accept help, we should be quick to give credit where credit is due. I am not talking about handouts here, but hand ups. Help others and it will come back to you visibly in ways you would have not expected and invisibly in ways, you may never know.

There are many more ways you can improve the relationships you have worked so hard to develop. I have given you five here as a foundation treating others how you want to be treated. Employ these and see how the environment changes. The good thing – these can be used in any relationships to strengthen them.

What Happened to the Blog?

Question MarkRecently, several people have asked me this question. For the first time since September I don’t have a looming deadline for an audio book. It was in August of last year that I started my audio book narration career, stint, what ever you care to call it and through it all I did not have time to write anything. The answer to the title question: It didn’t go at all.

The problem is that I over estimated what it would take to do audio books. I thought it would be a simple process. I mean,  how hard can it be? It’s just reading a book into a mic, right? Wrong. What I found out is for every hour of audio someone records, there is about four hours of editing, producing, formatting, and performing a quality control check. Honestly, I got in over my head.

I over booked my self and then I joined with a great lady who has learned so much in the way of narration and is great at accepting coaching and critique. We formed a team for audio books that seemed to be missing in the medium we chose to use.

So far, I have  completed four books personally and Becci and I have completed four. We are currently waiting on the approval of our fifth and are set to start our sixth book together. Through these books we have learned to back off and have fun doing the books and to leave time and room for the unexpected and the priorities in life.

The unexpected for us included: increased travel for my day job, increased hours and responsibilities for her at her job, sickness, and learning the ropes for both of us. Learning the ropes was probably the hardest part. I have went back and listened to some of our first books. Boy, how I wish we could do those over again.

For those of you have inquired about my writing, thank you. For those who have inquired about the audio books, thank you. I plan to take the time to start blogging again, this being the first for 2017. The next will be concerning a new direction containing reviews in a format I call “The 360 Second Review with the Salty Eclectic.” I also hope to get back to doing the interview type blogs that I had started in 2016. I also plan to get back to the blogcasts. I believe you find they will be of better quality. Thanks again.

Meet Jeremy Bullard: Security Officer and Writer

When I was working on publishing my first book someone told me to join some writing groups. I did some searching around on Facebook and saw one I found interesting. It is one of those groups you have to be accepted in to be a part of it. I read some of the feed and thought this one was pretty interesting. So, I asked to join. Just like that, I was introduced to the group. I was welcomed by the group instantly. One of the administrators, who happened to be a resident of Dothan, expressed how glad he was to have someone from the group so close to home. When he saw where I was from, he reached out to me. I want to say “we hit it off immediately” because I liked his posts and his sense of humor. It was Jeremy Bullard.

We corresponded through posts and IM over the past year or so. Several months back I contacted Jeremy and asked to meet. It only made sense, since we both lived so close and were in the same writer’s group, to meet. He agreed. We met at a local coffee shop and discussed everything from books to theology. I recently asked Jeremy if I could recap some of that conversation and some of the other things we had discussed through the time I had been in the group. He graciously agreed.us

Q: Jeremy, could you give us a little background on you and your family?

Jeremy: I’m 44 years old, and have been married to my wife Mary for 15 years this October. We have three children, Olivia (12), Caleb (10), and Madison (8), who I am convinced, are going to be the death of me. If not from their homeschooling, from their EPIC level in-fighting!

Q: Family history?

Jeremy: History? That could take a while, but just to broad brush things… I’m the product of a broken home, twice over. My biological father left when I was a newborn, not to be seen again until I was 38. My Mom and the man who became my Dad just couldn’t keep their stuff together. But for all that (I could complain about stuff daddyinglike that), it actually taught me to see the OPPORTUNITY in the hardships. If not for my biological father leaving, I never would’ve met my Dad. If not for that broken home, I never would’ve had the benefit of going to school in Illinois and summering in Alabama. If not for the stark differences between my Mom and Dad, I never would’ve gotten my serious Christian walk, which is coupled with a strong “what if” personality. All of the seeming trials in my life flow together to create a unique experience that created a unique me, as it does with EVERYBODY’S life. 🙂

Q: I know you make a living at a career, but also have a side “passion” if you will. Could you tell us what you do for a living?

Jeremy: I’m an armed security officer at the local nuclear plant (and just to dispense with an oft-perpetuated myth; no, the radioactive material at a nuclear plant CANNOT “blow up” like a bomb). I’ve been there for ten years now, having started work there about a month before Caleb was born. I joke about the pay, but it is hands down the best job I’ve ever had.

Q:  But you have a passion for writing?

sisJeremy: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I was always all over the map with how my creativity manifested, but I had “specialties” for different stages of my life — angsty poetry as a teen, songs as a young adult, and fiction as a mature adult. My interests in writing tend toward the fantastical, thanks in no small part to my Dad who raised me on a steady diet of Star Trek and Dragonlance. No, I didn’t get into the Hobbit until I was well and truly grown, and even then, it didn’t really appeal to me. I LIKE it, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t speak to me like other fantasies do. It’s quite like Grape Nuts cereal — hard to chew for an interesting yet unimpressive flavor and it settles thickly in your stomach. I guess that’s the price you pay for being the first in a field.

Q: And you published a book? Tell us about that and what you are working on now.

Jeremy: I self-published a book two years ago, called Gemworld. I’m currently working on the second book in the series, with plans for a third and a stand-alone based in the same world. I’m a movie and TV buff, and my tastes are all over the place — typically the weird stuff. This, I guess, leads me to my more current writing. I tend to write what interests me — sci-fi and fantasy, heavy on the fantasy. My first forays into fiction were fan-fictions based on games I’d played. From that I moved to a Quantum Leap story that I dearly love but have never finished. I’ve also got a Dark Tower fan-fic that I’m convinced is my best work. I do the occasional horror (not my thing) and sci-fi (love to read, hard to write), but mainly it’s all magic and dragons and damsels in distress.

Q: Jeremy thanks for sharing. Where can people find more about your book and find out more about or contact you?

Jeremy: I can be reached on Facebook, either on my personal page or on my book page. I’ve got a blog that I occasionally post on. You “might” reach me at my Amazon author page, but I highly doubt it. And I can be reached through email, though I gotta give you fair warning — my junk mail filter is KING!

I appreciate the writer group that we are both part of called Iron Sharpening Iron or ISI. They are a group of Everyday People who bounce ideas and hurts off each other as well as ask for prayer and advice. They are from all over the world and I have grown to love their posts and their journeys and their humor.

A little interesting side note, shortly after Jeremy and Ichi met at the coffee shop, I saw him again a few weeks later when I was at the veterinarian office for my cat. He came in to take care of some business with his pet. When we spotted each other, we smiled and greeted each other. With “we meet again” and “so soon”. One of those “it’s a small world” experiences because we both use the same animal doctor. As you can tell from this interview and pictures, Jeremy has quite a sense of humor and adventure.

You can find more about Jeremy through the links below and you can also visit the ISI group for more information about them as well.

 

Jeremy’s Book, Gemworld on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MJNSGW0

Jeremy’s Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/facetsofreality

Jeremy’s Blog – https://nashdude.wordpress.com

Jeremy’s Email – nashdude2011@gmail.com

Iron Sharpening Iron Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/417974044985457/?ref=bookmarks

BFF vs. SSF

Are BFFs practical?

You may have heard the idea that we all brighten a room, some by entering it and some by leaving it. You may also have heard the term BFF which is short-text speak for Best Friend Forever. As wonderful as it may sound, is anyone really someone’s friend forever? Okay, there is Jesus, but other than Jesus, can someone be your friend forever? Okay, my train of thought took another direction. Let me bring it back on track by giving you two examples of what I mean.

What is a SSF?

Have you ever had a friend who brightens your day any time you interact with them? You know the kind I mean, the one who brightens the room and your life when they enter it. I call them Sun Shine Friends or SFFs. These are the kind of people who are the most friendly and genuinely love others. We love being around them. When life looks gloomy, they say something or do something that brightens your day. I can think of two such people in my life, Connie and Cheryl. I don’t get to see either of them as much as I used to or like.

SSF Connie

Connie is a fellow church member. I don’t believe I have ever seen Connie when she wasn’t smiling. I think if I ever saw her sad or crying, it would just break my heart. She insists on giving me a hug whenever our paths chance to cross. Actually, if I don’t get a hug from her when we see each other, I feel that I have been cheated out of a blessing in my life and it is incomplete. It feels almost like the stars are out of alignment. It’s not one of those “Oh, I guess I better hug him” kind of hugs that equates to a dead fish handshake. Oh, no, it’s more like I love you and am so glad to see you kind of hugs. One you enjoy and will leave feeling good. It is always accompanied by a big smile. Like sunshine personified in her laugh and embrace.

SSF Cheryl

Cheryl was a coworker. Though she is a hugger, she is more of a doer. She loves to spread her sunshine by doing for people and by giving gifts that make you think about how much she loves and appreciates you. She came back to work for me a short time after she had left our company. Unfortunately, financially we could not keep her position the second time any more than the first. I had already started to refer to her as one of my SSFs and had explained to her what it meant. When she left the last time she decorated my office. On my wall she placed a “Faith Family Friends” plaque and she signed it. On my bookshelf she placed a stuff animal chicken that had a sign stating “Good morning, sunshine.” I had already started to ref20160909_163812er to her as one of my SSFs and had explained to her what it meant. She also left a wind chime hanging from a hook in the corner of my office. It had the usual little pipes that rattled and on top was a metallic sun. Where I work we have helicopters fly over on a regular basis and when they do the wind chime rattles ever so slightly. You have to know what it is when it rattles or you will miss it. It reminds me of Cheryl every time it does and I cannot help but smile. It has brought sunshine on some very down days. I say a little prayer, thanking God for my SSFs.

Who are your SSFs?

Let them know by saying so by sending them a text, email, or tagging them with this article if it reminds you of them. You can even let them know by giving them something with a sun on it, like a chicken, wind chime, or a card. I thank God He created Sun Shine Friends and He placed some of them in my life to spread that sunshine. After all they are more practical.

 

Meet Earnie Faulk: Entrepreneur & Seller of Snowballs

Several months back, my wife and I were in Sam’s Club stocking up on our monthly goods. We had passed several other folks with their buggies who were just shopping. You know the routine. Shopping at Sam’s Club isn’t exactly Date Night. Sometimes it’s just a necessary evil.

Except for this one guy who is I see coming down the aisle as if he is enjoying his club experience and life. I watched him as he came closer and his demeanor made me smile. He had a genuine skip in his step. When he got within range, my wife said hello. You know the range. It is the distance where the person is close enough to you to say something friendly, but not so close that you accidently spit on him; the safe distance. He responded with a friendly greeting and a happy smile. He stopped his buggy for a moment to talk. It was full of nachos, cheese, hotdog buns, and all the good stuff that you would find at a fair or good ole fashioned football concessions. I had to ask about his buggy full and he handed us his card. It was Earnie Faulk, owner of Earnie’ Snowballs. We converse a little longer and then he joyfully moved on. We moved on a little more joyfully too.

I gave Earnie one of my cards that day as well. Later we became Facebook friends. I had read several of his posts and found him to be very interesting. I messaged Earnie and asked for an interview.

Me: Hey, Earnie. We met in Sam’s Club and exchanged cards. I am a blogger and I have a category on my page called “Everyday People.” I started it because I meet so many interesting people with great stories. I like to introduce them to my friends. Would you be interested in an interview?

Earnie: No problem, T.J.

Me: So, Earnie tell us a little bit about you.

Earnie: I am 32, single, no kids. Born and raised in Dothan. I love to travel inside the United States and outside it. I really like mountain bike riding and trips near water. I am the owner of Earnie’s Snowballs on Ross Clark Circle. I started my business as a hobby because I have always wanted my own business. I knew that I was meant to create and not just consume.Earnie on the Rigs2

Me: I thought I had read in a post of yours that you once worked on oil rigs. Can you tell us about that?

Earnie: I worked offshore for 8 years. I traveled to towns like New Orleans, Texas, Mobile Al, Madrid Spain and Canary islands. I worked my way up to Rig Safety and Training Coordinator/ Offshore HSE Advisor.

Me: I bet you have some interesting stories.

Earnie: As far as interesting stories, I was born into farming and livestock, played high school football, became a college level Co-ed cheerleader, worked on a farm a little while, cook at a restaurant, cheerleading and gymnastics coach, Class A CDL driver, drove for Waste Management, and a former dental assistant.

Me: Ah, a kindred spirit. So, back to the Earnie’s Snowballs. How did you get started in that? You said you were born to create not just consume.

Earnie: I started the business 2 years ago. I got started by listening to the people whom I worked with who said I would be good at the Snowball business. I was also tired of the corporate world, traveling, and always being away from home. I was tired of partying and I wanted to settle down and build the foundations to start a family.

Me: Is Earnie’s Snowballs open all year round or do you work another job or have another passion?

Earnie: I am open all year except the end of December first of January. This is my passion and I am focused on it only as far as business at the moment. I will not work another job at the moment. Chili dog consumption should start becoming very popular soon.

Me: Ah, football season?Mobile Unit

Earnie: I think our mobile unit will be booked more due to football/party season.

Me: Do you cater?

Earnie: I have the ability to.

Me: So, tell us more about your mobile unit.

Earnie: I found my trailer on Craigslist. Sold some things to purchase it. It can be booked for just about any party type; kids or adults.

Me: Any advice for anyone who wants to own their own business?

Earnie: My advice would be to find a mentor. They are hard to come by. If they can’t find one buy books and mentoring programs.

Me: Tell us how people can find out more about you and Earnie’s Snowballs.

Earnie: People can find out more about me by adding me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They can even call me on my cell 334-685-5787.

Me: That is all awesome. Great stuff. Thanks for the conversation.Best Ice Treats 2016

You may think you have seen the yellow building for Earnie’s Snowballs, but just can’t quite place it. It is located on the Ross Clark Circle near 84 West. This year, 2016, Earnie’s Snowballs was voted the Dothan Eagle’s BEST of the Wiregrass for “Best Ice Treats.”

And as you may have surmised, Earnie serves more than just snowballs. Like I mentioned at the beginning, he serves all the good stuff you would find at any tailgate party or high school football game and more. Click one of the links below to find out more about Earnie’s Snowballs or to book his mobile unit for a kid or adult party. Earnie told me he has seen some folks take his snowballs and make “tipsy” snowballs. I’ll let Earnie tell you about that.

Earnie’s Snowballs on Twitter

Earnie’s Snowballs on Facebook

Shack

 

Meet Ashley Smith: Accountant & Amish Retailer

Introduction

Meet Ashley Smith, mother, wife, accountant, Hubby and Daughterhorse lover, and seller of Amish goods. I was first introduced to Ashley when we both worked together. I had recently been promoted and was given a budget for the first time in my new position. Honestly, I didn’t understand the process and codes. It was all Greek to me. I was told to “go talk to accounting.” So, the testing of patience for Ashley and her fellow accountants began and continues even to date. And patient she was, as well as understanding and helpful. Truth be told, I do my best to make the folks in accounting my best friends and they truly are.

Ashley no longer works with us, but her friendships continue. As so often is true in life, her passion turned her in another direction. I and the accountants have been fortunate to keep in touch with Ashley and her adventures which often take her and her family to Tennessee to the Amish country. I caught up with Ashley and I asked her if I could share my conversation with her with you. She generously agreed.

 Our Conversation

Me: “So, Ashley, I would like to introduce you to my friends. You good with that?”

Ashley: “Absolutely.”

Me: “Great. So, tell us a little about yourself and your family.”

Ashley: “I’m 42 years old, married to Stacy for 15 years, have one child (13 year old girl-Carsyn). We enjoy living in the country & riding horses. I have a BS & a Master’s in Accounting. I work at Harris Tire Company during the week as their comptroller.”

Me: “How many horses do you have?

Ashley: “We only have two right now.”

Me: “You say you work as a comptroller during the week. I know you ride horses in your spare time, but you also like to travel to Tennessee a lot, especially the Amish Country  there. Do you own a house in Troy where you live and in Tennessee?”

Ashley: “We live in Troy but my parents have a second house in Tennessee.”

Me: “I see. I know from other conversations and via Facebook that you sell Amish items. Mostly handmade. How did you get into that?”

Ashley: “For the past 20 years I have been Acorn Birdhousevisiting the Amish in Tennessee several times each year. I have accumulated several of the things that they make. After having people repeatedly tell me how they like my purchases and how much they would like to have the same thing; I decided to start trying to sell some of the smaller Amish handmade items myself. So, in the summer of 2015 I started selling Amish handmade wooden items such as birdhouses, cutting boards, bird feeders, rolling pins, etc.”

Me: “That’s pretty cool. Tell us more about your experience with the Amish people.”

Ashley: “We love going to visit the Amish and relaxing at the house in Tennessee. Over the years we’ve made friends with some of the Amish. I like selling stuff the Amish make so that hopefully people can learn to appreciate the craftsmanship the Amish have and all without electricity!!”

Me: “Would you be willing to give up being an accountant in making this a full time pursuit?”

Ashley: “I would love for this to turn into a full time job one day!!”

Rolling PinMe: “Somehow I see you loving this too much to call it a job. So, you have a store online. What is it called?”

Ashley: “Going Back In Time.”

Me: “How can people get a hold of you or get an idea of what it is you are so passionate about?”

Ashley: “People can reach me by phone/text at 334-618-3201, Facebook, or email ashsmith.1974@yahoo.com.”

Me: “Great. Ashley thanks for your time. It was good conversing with you again.”

 A Little More Information

If you would like to see more of Ashley’s line of handmade Amish items, click on the link below to go to her Facebook Page “Going Back In Time.” When I approached Ashley about doing an interview she told me that she was excited about it and thanked me for thinking of her. I think you will agree that even though this article is listed under “Everyday People” on our blog site “The Salty Eclectic”, Ashley is an interesting Everyday Person and I thank her for letting me introduce her to you. Be sure to like her Facebook page.

Going Back In Time Facebook Page

Meet Michelle Elkins: Cake Artisan

Meet Michelle Elkins: college student, newlywed, and (though she will not call herself this) cake artisan. Michelle is pursuing a degree in business at Troy University while working and learning what it is like to be a wife. She makes her home with her husband, Jonathan and three cats in Headland, Alabama. I had the chance to sit down with Michelle and ask her about her cake creations. I found out, as I already suspected, that she is very creative in crafts as well. Here is our discussion in a Q & A format.

Me: “How long have you been decorating cakes?”

Michelle: “Since the 6th grade in school. So, a little over ten years.”

Me: “How long have you been doing this professionally? I.e. working in a business.”

IMG_20160722_123135
Cat Cake

Michelle: “For well over a year. I started with Delectable Edibles in Dothan, Alabama and they have just recently went out of business. I currently work at Sweet and Sassy, also in Dothan off of Westgate.”

Me: “So, Sweet and Sassy picked you up, as it were, from Delectable Edibles shortly after their closing?”

Michelle: “Yes.”

Me: “How did you come to creating these cakes? I know you say you are a cake decorator, but these cakes seem to be more like creations than just mere cakes. I would consider you a cake artist.”

Michelle: “Well, I don’t know if I am a cake artist. I had an interest in cakes from watching shows like Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes on the Food Network and it really interested me. My mom started taking cake classes at Michaels and she began to teach me what she learned. Then she would let me create my own. I filled in the rest by internet searching.”

Me: “Was there a lot of trial and error? Did you fail a lot?”

Michelle: “Oh, yeah. I still do, but I have learned so much along the way.”

Elkin's Wedding0660Me: “You have been recently married and I understand that your mom wanted to let someone else make the wedding cake and the groom’s cake, but you convinced her to let you do it. You also created the cake for your husband-to-be’s man shower.”

Michelle: “Yes. I did all three.”

Me: “What would you say is the hardest cake you have ever done? And what made it the hardest.”

Michelle: “A four tier wedding cake. It was all pound cake, so it was heavy, and by the time I was finished with the swirls and scrolling, my wrists were hurting.”

Elkin's Wedding0668

Me: “What would you say is the cake you enjoy making the most and why is that? And could you give us an example?”

Michelle: “It would be the cake where I get to be the most creative. Recently, a lady asked me to do a cake for a coworker who is an accountant. She really wasn’t sure what she wanted, so we brainstormed and I came up with a cake that she loved. I was able to create a cake that was unique to her situation and for her coworker.”

Me: “You also do crafts. Tell us about that.”

IMG_7341Michelle: “I love to paint on canvas and create other things like door hangers. I also like to draw and illustrate.”

Me: “Where can people get in touch with you and/or get a better idea of the cakes and crafts you create?”

Michelle: “The best way for people to reach me is through my Facebook page and they can see more pictures of my cakes and crafts on Pinterest. Both are called “Cakes and Crafty Things.” They can also find me at Sweet and Sassy on Westgate Parkway in Dothan.”

One can see by the pictures of cakes scattered throughout this article that Michelle is indeed more than just a cake decorator. She told me she “decorates” cakes ranging from cupcakes all the way to full sheet cakes for all occasions. For reference, the common birthday cake you or I would get at a bakery is called a one-quarter sheet cake. Imagine four of those put together into one cake.

For more on Michelle’s Cakes and Crafty Things or to contact her, you can click on the link below:

Michelle’s Cake Facebook Page

Movie Time Cake
Movie Time Cake

 

Super Hero Cake
Super Hero Cake