Sunday, August 30, 2009

Recommended Reading

I never have enough time in the day to read all the things I want to read. I don't pay for a newspaper. It usually ends up spread out all over the floor and it is full of mostly bad news (and I'm a journalism major!) and advertising many things that are not necessary. And I'm in advertising!

I get books recommended to me all the time and I've bought several of them or check them out from the library. They usually end up just sitting on a shelf. Fiction is not an option as the books I want to read I'm seeking a purpose to giving up my time in the hopes of gaining knowledge and improvement in return.

But you know what? I still don't read much. Between my day job, homeschooling my brilliant 13 year old son; taking care of my two boys after school, monitoring the dogs; trying to start a new business venture; dealing with a long-term chronic illness; making most meals around the house and trying to be a loving husband. It doesn't leave much time for reading. But, I do believe you make time for what is most important to you.

Our family started attending a new church over five years ago. It was time for a change in churches as we weren't being fed by our current church family so we started to look elsewhere. Nothing against our old church... I even served on their council and chaired several committees and even taught 6th grade Sunday School before I had my own kids.. but we weren't feeling supported.

The first church we tried was also the last church we tried. We noticed a strange "occurrence" when we were walking into our first service. Almost everyone walking into church was carrying a "book" and we weren't carrying anything. What could this book be? Upon further review we found it to be a Bible. I didn't even know where mine was. It was pretty humbling.

You see our church teaches directly out of the Bible and encourages daily Bible reading. Something that my old church didn't really emphasize. So... we decided we wanted to be a part of this new church so we better track down our Bibles and dust them off and open them up.

But... where should I be reading? What would help me the most? Some of my friends and one of our pastors encouraged me to read in Proverbs every day. As many of you know Proverbs has 31 chapters and that matches up nicely with 31 days in many months... sometimes I have to read more than one chapter in the shorter months but their short! :)

Read one a day... month after month and it will transform the way you think. Proverbs was written by Solomon - who many believe to be the wisest man to walk the face of the earth. Most chapters take less than five minutes but I caution you to slow down and evaluate every word.

Some of my favorite verses include "grey hair is a crown of splendor" and verses about "quarrelsome wives". Mine is not! But also "iron sharpens iron" and "motives are weighed by the Lord".

Our design "A Proverb A Day" encourages me to read my Bible every day and I hope it will for you as well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Old Game Shows

Truth or Consequences
A couple of years ago I participated in a Truth Project class. This is produced by Focus on the Family and hosted by Dr. Del Tackett. I really enjoyed the 13 weeks of the class and highly recommend it to anyone interested! They cover a Biblical view of many aspects of life including science, American history, and politics. It was very enlightening for me and our class had many great discussions.

The key point in this class is that the Bible is Truth and you either believe that it is 100% truth or it can't be truth at all. Jesus stated that he is the truth and told Pilate that "for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." There are many people out there who want to take parts of the Bible and say this is truth but that is not; or this used to be truth back in Jesus' day, but it's not really applicable now, today.

The Bible also says "small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." So it truly is Truth or consequences. Choose truth! Choose life!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Helping Others Help Others

Our world would not survive without non-profit organizations. What would we do without schools, churches and other not-for-profit civic organizations? They help others...

It's no secret the economy is hurting right now and people are scared about their futures and cautious with their monies. Giving to these organizations who help others is down significantly and they can't help as many as they would like (or need to). It's a vicious circle... actually a downward spiral.

As our "mission" has been stated before we want to improve the way the world thinks. We started our designs - and continue to develop designs - with that purpose in mind. We have had an overwhelming response to this blog and I want you to know that I pray for each visitor that comes to this site.

As some of you know... we had our designs but we didn't have a way to market them in a way that we could manage and a method turned up. If you haven't seen our online stores check them out at and Also, see our first post the story behind the stores. We're so excited to have that store tool to offer our designs to the world through the internet - and improve the way the world thinks - in a way that we can afford.

Once we got over our excitement we started thinking that there were other organizations that could benefit, too. I've been on many boards and committees of non-profit groups over the years and by far the biggest hassle was FUNDRAISING! Who was in charge? What would we sell? How to handle the money? Who would coordinate volunteers? And so on. But without fundraising the doors wouldn't stay open. Uggggh!

I've also sold promotional products (products with messages, etc.) to many groups over the past 15 years and found that selling them something in advance with the hope that they could resell it and recoup not only their money but make money, too, was a risky venture at best.

And let's not even talk about the kids going door to door selling candy bars, popcorn or cheese balls and loosing the order forms or the check (or both) and the parents losing their minds!

If you can relate to any of this we have a solution.

(pause, for effect)

We'll build an online store/gift shop for your organization that will help you raise visibility and raise funds. Imagine your own designs and messages on apparel (more than t-shirts) and merchandise being made available to your "community" 24/7/365 through the internet. We're building these stores at no cost and their's no "hidden charges" either. All you have to do is tell your "community" about it!

There's so much more detail that I can't go into here but if you're interested check out We've created this "show and tell" type store to present the capabilities. This store concept can be adapted to fit your needs.

The basics are
increase visibility and raise funds...
no charge to set up a store...
no inventory requirements...
no setup charges on orders...
everything is built to order...
all monies are handled by the store...
no distribution of product...
and... you collect your check every month!

Let us help you raise visibility and funds for your organization so you can continue to help others. If you'd like more information e-mail me at I'd be honored to work with you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Make a Joyful Noise!

Make a Joyful Noise
This design has a lot of history behind it. I love to sing and crank the music in my car. Music has always been part of my life - my mom played the piano and my dad played the ukelele and both sing well. My nine-year-old son has been composing music on the piano and keyboard for a couple of years and is fabulously talented! My mother-in-law is a great singer and piano player and my father-in-law...well...he can't carry a tune in a bucket but he still makes a joyful noise.

I love the music at our church. The first time we attended, our older son commented on how much he liked the music and asked if we could come back. That was tremendous progress for him to be excited about church. And it's so much fun to hear the same worship music on my favorite radio station KNWI 107.1. It helps me keep focused as I drive to and from work; it reminds me of what is the most important part of my life and what I want to concentrate on throughout the day.

This was originally designed for my sister-in-law Jean and nieces Tracy and Sarah. They are all fabulous singers! I was planning to make a Christmas ornament for them with this design but our family system got changed up a bit and we ended up with different people. But those three certainly inspired me on this one.

Psalm 98 paints such a vivid picture of worship being joy-filled and loud! It doesn't say "make a perfect noise" so don't worry about your pitch - just sing with a worshipful heart!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Right and Wrong

Most of the time the right thing to do is also the toughest thing to do. It usually makes for an interesting battle inside my soul.
As I've grown to be a stronger follower of Christ, I see multiple examples of this in the Bible. But nothing is more evident than when God gave his only son to die on the cross for our sins. Now that wasn't easy! But it was the right thing to do. Jesus died on the cross to save us because we were incapable of saving ourselves due to our sinful nature. Jesus set the ultimate example.
I am challenged to do the right thing everyday. In my job... in my parenting... as a husband.
Why has it become so easy to lie and cover the truth today? If given the choice I'm tempted many times to not do the right thing. I need a constant reminder. I need to go to church. I need to read my Bible. I need to surround myself with good friends that will hold me accountable for my actions.
Most of all, I need to realize that I will not always to the right thing but I need to want to do the right thing. When I don't do the right thing I need to beg for forgiveness and call on the the mercy of family, friends or the person I've wronged but ultimately beg for God's grace and do everything in my power to learn from my mistake so that I don't do it again.
It is said we should learn from our mistakes. I agree completely. What do you think? Where would we be if we didn't? Do the right thing even though it's likely not the easiest choice. See where the world ends up. See how you turn out.
Buy this design on many items at to serve as your reminder

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic

Pledge of AllegianceIt's back to school time! I find it to be an exciting time; I always loved school! My kids aren't so thrilled... But I love fall, sweatshirts and jeans, the changing colors of the leaves, football (better yet, the marching band!)

This design started percolating around the 4th of July. I had wanted to have a new patriotic shirt to wear for the 4th and started thinking about what I would want that to look like. The pledge of allegiance popped into my head and I started wondering what I could do with those words. The flag was a natural - easily patriotic - and provides a great backdrop for the text. I didn't get the design done in time to have my shirt for the 4th, but I'm planning on wearing my new red shirt for casual Friday at work this week. And with school starting across the country (my niece and nephews started yesterday!) this is a perfect design to talk about!

I don't know what the policies are in school these days. My son says they still say the pledge each morning. I found an online map that indicates that some schools have a law that states kids have the option of saying the pledge or not. I can see pros and cons about that. Mostly I feel that as a citizen of the U.S. we should all be proud and thankful to live here and the freedoms that we have! I'm thankful to the people serving in the military willing to lose their lives if necessary to defend our rights and freedoms and protect our country.

Our country was founded by great, God-fearing men who set up a wonderful democratic system. It is my hope and prayer that we can move closer to their vision for our country.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Self Discipline

This is a tough one for me. I think I designed this as much for myself than for my family or others.

I started my own business back in 1994 and found that becuz it was a one person business I was basically a full-commission salesperson. Someone had to sell my products and services and that someone has to be me. Uh-oh... no more goofing off on the 8 to 5 job. I had to become DISCIPLINED!

Well, like any full-time commission scenario there are the usual ups and downs. Some checks were very good and some weren't so good. If only I could stay consistent all the time (read: disciplined) I would have a great check all the time. Sounds easy...

Well, I shut my business down in 2000 and you don't shut down a business becuz you're making too much money. We weren't! I was working 80 hours a week but living in the poverty level. I grew tired of working for my employee's paycheck and although I thought I was disciplined, I wasn't. Things were inconsistent and run by the seat of my pants. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul and just barely hanging on financially. It was time to pull the plug.

The decision hurt. When I look back on it I question what happened? I was a hard working, caring boss who wanted what was best for my clients and my employees. But, I think what I wanted most was what was best for me. I was disciplined and determined to show the world how I could make it and my discipline was geared toward everyone else.

I never took the time to look inward to see what my true motivation was. Proverbs 16:2 says that all a man's ways seem innocent to him but the Lord weighs his motivation. What was my motivation? I started asking why I do the things I do and found that my discipline was a self problem and I needed to stop blaming everybody else and accept the fact that it was up to me to change things... Lord willing. Once this became clear to me I started looking at my kids and wife and found that we all had a similar problem. Taking it further if all of us in this world would just practice discipline of the self rather than point and poke at others what a difference this would make.

So... how about we all take responsibility for our own actions and keep our discipline to our self. Watch what happens!

This design can be found in our I-cubed brand at Take care and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To Boldly Go...

I'm Following the Leader
We've been going through the book of Matthew at church. I am really impressed by the calling of the disciples. In each case, Jesus invited them to follow and they did. No questions asked. I especially like Matthew 4:20, "At once they left their nets and followed him." But later, a rich, young ruler approaches Jesus to find out what he can do to get eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell his possessions, then follow Jesus. The man went away sad, unwilling to follow.

I find myself questioning why I need to follow. I tend to be more of a leader than a follower and find that role hard to give up. Recently I felt God calling me to follow him and give up some things in my life. I was willing, but not able. Today I find that every day I'm in prayer asking God to show me what I can do THAT DAY to follow. I see that I'm interested in a big change; a drastic change. I see that God is interested in daily, sometimes minor, but consistent change.

I am following my leader. It's not easy and I'm not like the disciples - I ask questions. But I'm learning, and I'm changing.

This design is set up to declare boldly to those who see you that you are following the leader - that Jesus is the leader in your life. And on the reverse, an invitation to follow too.

Come Follow Me - Matt 4:19Who are you following?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's in a Name? (part 2)

A couple days ago I explained the rationale behind our Inspirational/Motivational line of apparel and merchandise - I-cubed. You'll have to read earlier to learn about that.

I don't want to leave out the other line/brand that we call FoG Apparel and Merchandise. FoG stands for Fear, Fan, Friend and/or Follower of God. Hopefully, you're at least one of these and we pray that you're all four.

Note the importance of the capital G in FoG. We do this out of respect to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His name is always worth of capitalization and nothing less. The tagline is "Our Choice is Clear" meaning if we're wearing or using a FoG item than we are Christ followers. These items serve as reminders to act in a way that shows our commitment to Christ. Hopefully, they will also serve as possible motivators to others who see them and God will use them in unique ways to lead others to him.

If we are fans of the Iowa State Cyclones or the Chicago Cubs we wear their logos, messages, and color proudly. Most of us work for a business or organization and have several items with that logo. My question is this... if we are fans of God and want to work God than shouldn't we do the same for him? Let me know what you think?

This is why FoG is our clear choice.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin