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Be Encouraging by Removing Your Layers


By Bill Lewis

IT is quite amazing that one of the smallest parts of the body, the tongue, can have such a powerful impact on us and others.  The number of Proverbs and statements about the tongue are vast.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue  (Prov. 18:21)
 A soothing tongue is the tree of life  (Prov. 12:25)
The tongue is mightier then the sword ( ok I know its,pen, but the pen just writes what the tongue would have said )

Even though the tongue physically speaks the words, it is the heart that creates the words before they are spoken.  Luke 6 :45  “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.   Since it is the heart that produces the words we use and the way we use them, then we really need to solve the heart issues to become a true encourager to others.  You see, what happens is we are living our life and words are spoken to us and about us.  Those words have a great effect on our view of ourselves.  We will start to build up protective layers around the fear in our heart that we are trying to protect.  As we speak, our words are affected by those layers.  When we build up enough layers we begin to speak from the layers instead off from our core self.  This can lead to creating blind spots.  These blind spots are areas that we don’t even recognize as causing issues in our life.

Let me give you a personal example of how layers affect your life.  My mom and dad were divorced when I was eight years old.  Not having a father figure produced some protective layers that I did not recognize until my 40’s.  Not having a father or any other male role model created a fear of  acceptance in me.  Now to protect that fear, I built up a layer of toughness and anger.  I was always noticing people that I thought were looking at me funny, reacting because of what I



By George Guzzardo

Born around 730 B.C., Lycurgas is known as the creator of the Spartan constitution. He was credited by historians as the Spartan lawgiver who brought three Spartan virtues into the commonwealth.  They include: equality, the military and self discipline.

Legend has it that after a falling out with his family, he elected to leave the country for a time to let things cool down.  He first set sail for Crete where he befriended several of the local leaders.  There, he became acquainted with the laws of Crete.  He was exposed to several forms of government and he became intrigued by them.  He was resolved to make use of them back in his own country. Before returning home, Greek writers have it that he took a voyage to Egypt. There he was taken with the way of separating soldiers from the rest of the nation.  While there he visualized the concept of a professional army.  Meanwhile back home many  of the more influential leaders of Sparta began to request his return home as his quality of mind distinguished him from the Monarchy.  

Once home Lycurgas rose to power and began to implement changes by establishing a Senate. He gets credit for the first to create the concept of a mixed government and representation by the people.  This was known as the Lycurgan system.  Before this development, the government was an absolute monarchy. This was the first time the people's voice was heard.  Historians feel that this was the first major political innovation.  Representative government shook things up and sent a blow to the wealthy aristocracy by passing ordinances against the luxury and riches of the wealthier men.  

Because of the influence by the Egyptians, the Lycurgan system gave Sparta the the first professional army.  This was the first professional army in all of Greece. Lycurgas was apparently one who also lead from experience as the historian Hippius said, "He was a great soldier and an experienced commander.  He ins

Perspective is Everything


By Claude Hamilton

One of my military leaders was a great storyteller. At the time, I was spending a lot of nights in a helicopter with a team of Americans. Some of those nights were long ones, so our leader helped us pass the time by talking about our missions, and why we were doing them. Those talks had the potential to be pretty boring, but his stories had a way of giving me goosebumps. He made every mission feel significant, even if we were doing something as simple as taking pictures. In fact, his words were so inspiring, I felt like even if I weren’t being paid, I would still be up there, doing whatever we were doing that night.

Why did this man evoke so much commitment and loyalty? Because he showed us that we had a cause. By the time he’d finished talking, we already felt like we were making a difference, just by sitting in that helicopter. And our leader was right—what we were doing did matter, but we didn’t realize how much until he found the words to express it.

After my perspective changed, my attitude improved almost automatically. Now that I had a cause I understood, I had something to work towards. I felt committed to accomplishing a task that would better the world, and that was more motivational than anything else could have been.

Just think about it. In World War II, were soldiers fighting to earn money? Not a chance. They were fighting for freedom, a greater cause that provoked passion, commitment and a sense of duty.

I’ve carried that lesson with me as I worked to build my business. Even though some days were incredibly tough, I was working towards a cause that kept me motivated. And my cause wasn’t money, either. More than anything, I wanted to give my wife a way to stay home. Most mornings, she was in tears as she left for work, in anticipation of being mistreated by her co-workers. So there was nothing more important to me than helping her out of that situation.




By Tim Marks

I am re-reading The Talent Code by author Daniel Coyle.  It gives the example of how the Brazilians dominate in soccer; in no small part because they’ve found a way to train their players before the youngsters even begin playing the sport.  Many of the kids never even step foot on a grass field until they are 14-15 years old. Quite strategically, they’ve been honing their craft using another game called futsal.

Futsal is different from soccer in several ways.  It is played on a smaller playing field, so a competitor is always in the player's face, thereby increasing the intensity and competitiveness of the game.  It is played on a concrete or wood floor, not a grass field.  The biggest difference, though, between futsal and soccer is that futsal uses a smaller and heavier ball.  Why is this important?  Because the players can’t kick the ball down the field away from themselves; they must learn to control and manipulate the ball to a much higher degree than is demanded of them during normal soccer play.  As author Daniel Coyle says in his blog,,

“Futbol de salao [“futsal”] develops skill circuits far faster than the outdoor game, because players:

Touch the ball more often—600 percent more often, according to one study. More touches—in other words, more circuit-firings—creates more skill.
Are forced to develop more moves. Merely booting the ball down the field—often the first option in the outdoor game—doesn’t work. Futbol de salao players practice lots of fakes and tricks—because they have to. As one Brazilian told me, “Futsal is our national laboratory of improvisation.”
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Social Security – What Happened?


By Orrin Woodward

When I was eighteen, I had, in one day, two life changing experiences, both coming on my first day of work.  One for good, the other, not so good.  All of the new co-op students for AC Spark Plug, then a division of GM, gathered around a long wooden table in a conference room, to learn of their roles and responsibilities.  It was at this meeting that I first met Chris Brady, my good friend and business partner.  This was the good life changing event, as Chris and I have partnered in business over the last fifteen years, producing results and memories that will last a lifetime.  I will save my Brady stories for another time, mainly, because I want to discuss the other life altering experience that day.  I was an A section student at GMI-EMI (now Kettering), so I went to school during the summer while B section students worked in the summer, with each section rotating between work and school every twelve weeks.  Because I was A section, I was only at work one day that summer for my initiation, meaning AC had to cut a check for that day before I headed to school the following Monday.  You can imagine my anticipation, after leaving work, making my way to my rusty Chevette, when opening my first ever paycheck.  I made a whopping sixty-four dollars minus,  Federal withholding, Michigan State withholding, Flint City witholding, and FICA, leaving a grand total of around forty dollars.  I couldn’t believe the taxes taken from my check, over one third of my check vanished, but still a nice amount for a broke eighteen year old.  I quickly reviewed the taxes and acknowledged some legitimacy (the tax, not the amount) for the Federal, State, and City, but what is this FICA (