Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Tomorrow (at 6 AM!) we begin our annual inventory here at work. Inventory means different things to each person familiar with the word. There are many kinds of inventory we do and should at times take of our own lives or our possessions or desires and goals. Those types of inventories can be done at your own pace and will benefit your life. Taking an inventory of your desires and comparing what you desire to the actions you take on a daily basis may cause you to change your actions and develop different habits that will more closely align your actions with your more important desires.

Of course this is really a post about a different type of inventory. In this inventory, my coworker and I are in charge of making certain that over 2000 different part numbers are correctly counted. This doesn't sound too difficult (except for the quantity of part numbers). But when you add in varying degrees of accuracy and human error and the fact that auditors do come behind you and if too many errors are found will require the entire inventory to be done again (as in 2004), the weight of the responsibility grows a bit heavier.

We have fine tuned the way inventory is taken for the past four years. We've found that the best way to ensure accurate counts is to have two independent counts taken of every hand counted item. We then compare those two counts. If they don't match, we will send another sheet out with a third counter. If that doesn't match a fourth can be sent. This method seems to give us what we desire - an accurate inventory in which the counts are almost always repeatable when we are audited. Of course, it means that we handle a ton of paperwork and checking. We even have the counts typed in by two individuals and compared in access for data accuracy. All of this takes time. Sometimes (like tonight while I wait for one computer to finish downloading data and another to open a different system for me to make adjustments) it seems to take too much time. But, the results - an accurate inventory that can be trusted by our materials department as they pull parts, by our project management as they commit to customer orders, and by the finance people as they state with certainty that we really do have a certain amount of inventory as an asset is worth it.

Finishing a task like inventory (as I hope to in by no later than Friday night) feels good. Tasks like this can be broken down into small jobs done by each of the 25 people involved in this endeavor. It's a task much greater than one person, and only succeeds when each person does their part. One person who doesn't care and choses to do a sloppy job counting will have a huge impact on the progress of finishing inventory. In the same way, choosing to allow a poor habit to rule you life can impact your future in ways you never imagined.

So if you're doing inventory in any way this week, don't let it be in vain. Give it your best!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sibling Breakfast!

Yesterday, I experienced the madness of all of the after Thanksgiving sales first hand. I've hear of people who give up sleep for a bargain, but never thought I would be one to try it myself. But, excitement is infectious and new experiences with family are fun, so Friday morning at 4:45 I found myself at Walmart with with rest of Prattville and my very excited sister-in-law Michele as well as my somewhat sleepy sisters Lydia, Anna and Jubilee. We did find some bargains and it wasn't actually as crowded as I imagined when I first saw the full parking lot. I found a thumb drive, a gift for Zach, some gift bags, items for the AWANA store, a sweater and more. Actually it was a very successful shopping trip.

After about 3 1/2 hours, we were finished with all that Walmart, Goodie's, Belks, Michaels, and Target had to offer so we headed over to church to have a sibling breakfast! Luke and Michele have never been able to join us for one before so it was fun to have them with us too! I decided we should have it at church since Mrs. Alma who I live with had family of her own over for Thanksgiving. The girls were teasing me because I invited all of them over and then didn't end up cooking much. I started making the bacon and then Michele took it over and I started taking pictures and just watched from that point on! They didn't seem to mind and I told them that I had a very important part in buying the food and pulling it out of the refrigerator!

Shopping and the breakfast was a good start to another family-filled day of more games , food, walks, jumping on the trampoline (and a nap!).

If you can't see the slideshow, click here to go directly to my picasa site.

Thanksgiving Pictures

Thanksgiving has been a lot of fun! Luke's family has been here for a week, and the kids have added a lot of excitement and smiles to our time together. The Pace's came over on Thanksgiving day and their children played together well with Luke and Michele's. I think the kid's ages are as followes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8, 9, 11, 12 (if you count Jubilee as a child!). You would think with all those kids, the adults wouldn't have much fun. But we enjoyed time to play several games and talk together. The food was wonderful! Anna, Mom, Michele, Lydia, Jubilee and Trisha (and her girls) did a great job. Everything tasted great and there was an abundance!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Elijah sent me a link to this video. It's a great reminder to me of how much we have to be thankful for! I often forget about that amazing things that God gives us every day. Every good gift does come from God - both large and small!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

5K Update!

It's been a good and busy weekend! Sometime you may get more of an update, but right now, I will at least update you all on the 5k results. I was hoping that the Turkey Burner 2007 results would show up somewhere online so I could be sure of our times, but I guess I'll just go ahead and post our unofficial times.

My time was 26 minutes, 18 seconds. That was faster than I thought I would be! Boy was I tired at the end of that race. I felt totally wiped out, but after a little rest, I did recover. I ran the first mile in 7.5 minutes and the second in 9 minutes (which leaves 9.5 minutes for the last 1.1 miles). So, I did slow down throughout the race. I'm not very good at pacing myself and since I started near the front of the line, I kept getting passed by people. I thought I was running fast, but didn't realize how fast until the time at the first mile was called out. That's when I realized that I was getting really tired for a good reason. I'm glad I heard the time because I then slowed down a little. If I hadn't done that, I probably would have just collapsed somewhere along the road.

It was fun to run with a group of people. I don't know what I thought a 5k would feel like, but it felt less official than I imagined it. We just ran through a neighborhood - just like I run through neighborhoods at my house - the difference being that there was more than just me running!

The rest of my family did quite well too. Luke and Michele ran together and got a time of 27 min 47 sec (about 1 min 20 sec faster than Michele's time about a month ago - way to go Michele!). Jubilee ran the race in 29 min 30 sec! That's quite amazing! She's 12 and has not been running much. The first time she ran this far was only a practice 30 minutes two days before the race.

I enjoyed this new experience! Thanks to those who braved the cold to come and watch! Thanks also to Michele for having the idea and suggesting it. Though I was dead tired when I was done, I am very glad to have finally done one!

Oh, Anna's time was closest to right at 26 minutes! Way to go on guessing so close. I'll bring you the book tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Air Car - The Car of the Future?

Dad just sent me this video (Thanks Dad!) - who knows, maybe we'll be filling our car tanks with compressed air in the future? I think it would be awesome. There is still energy required to compress the air, but it seems a lot less expensive to compress air using electricity than to run an engine on gasoline.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

5K and Science - A Contest with a Prize!

I am actually going to run a 5K this Saturday! I have been encouraged to do so by Rob and my sister-in-law Michele for a while now, but have resisted the idea. I didn't want to do it unless someone I knew would run it too. Anyway, Luke and Michele and their kids are coming here for Thanksgiving. They decided to get here early and told me they were going to run the Turkey Burner here in Montgomery this Saturday. Since they are running in it, both me and my sister Jubilee are going to run with them. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Let me switch subjects now. In September, I was looking at my AWANA stuff and couldn't find my Science and the Bible volume 2 book. Deciding that I didn't want to tear apart my room to find it, I just ordered another copy. Well, as I thought would happen, as soon as it came, I found my copy safely hidden in some of my science experiment stuff.

I just had this crazy idea! So here's my proposal. I will give or mail the book to the person who correctly guesses closest to the time that I will run the 5k. You can't just tell me your guess, but have to post it in the comments before 6AM on Saturday morning. You can't guess the exact time that someone else has already guessed.

In order to give you some idea of times, this morning I ran for the first time in a week and did 2.8 miles in 26.5 minutes. Now, I didn't run my hardest, but I don't really know how fast my hardest is. Maybe in a race, I will run too fast and then slow way down at the end. I've never been in a race before. Now for those of you who might not know, 5k is 3.1 miles. So if I run exactly the same pace I ran this morning, my 3.1 mile time will be 29.3 minutes. Now, a few months ago, I ran 2.8 miles in 24 minutes which given the same pace gives 26.6 minutes for a 3.1 mile run.

So who knows? I don't really think I'm as fast as I was a few months ago. I have no idea how fast I really run. All of my distances are based on google's distance measurements on google maps. Those might be off for this area.
So, if you're interested in this contest, post your guess as a comment. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Good Test Results!

Thanks for all who were praying about our test! The test went very well. Though our project manager can't tell us anything officially until he talks with his supervisor, he did not find anything out of specifications. He said it was "hugely better" than our last test! The parts that failed last time did well - the modifications we made seemed to work just as intended!

Praise the Lord!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reading in Ecclesiates

I've always enjoyed the book of Ecclesiastes. For a couple days, I've been making my way through it and as always have found a few verses that stuck out at me or that I hadn't really noticed before. Solomon was a very wise man able to correctly describe many aspects of human nature.

Here are a few of the verses that stuck out to me:

Ecclesiastes 5:3 As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

Usually I have no trouble sleeping, but not this week. I didn't really have dreams, but rather just kept waking up in the night Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. I'm sure it was due to concerns over the installation. Last night I slept fine (I think since that portion was done). Tonight - who knows? Hopefully with all the walking, I'll sleep like a rock and not think about tomorrows test.

Ecclesiastes 8:6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him.

This one makes me laugh! There are certainly many procedures at work. Some of which I've written myself. We have certain times at which things must be done and certain rules that have to be followed. These times and rules do probably seem only to bring misery to some who must abide by them.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

This is something that Solomon realized thousands of years ago, but we here in America seem not to have yet learned. Our prisons are overcrowded and it takes way too long for the punishment to be carried out.

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If a ruler's anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.

I don't have any personal example to share here. But this verse is a reminder that even when bad situations happen around you, be calm and act deliberately. Allowing anger or impulse to control will make a situation worse.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Do you ever have so much to do that you don't know what to start on? Sometimes I have trouble doing anything because I keep thinking about all that I should do and try to decide which task to do first. This verse reminds me that it's best to just start working instead of spending so much time wondering what to do and if it is a good time or good circumstance to begin.

Ecclesiastes 11:6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

That's a good reminder to be active in many areas. I think being involved at church and with friends and family is a healthy way to keep work in its proper perspective. If all one did was extend all energy at work and something were to happen there, it would seem that the whole world were over with. But if properly balanced, you will realize that there is more to life than just work.

A Day in Chicago

Rob, Trisha and I had a fun day in Chicago today. The day started early as we had to drop off Ricky at the airport and so had to leave our hotel at 6 AM! But having to leave early was good since we avoided much of the traffic between here and downtown. By 7 (or so!) we had made it to Lou Mitchells, a famous breakfast place our friend Connie from work had recommended. We ordered jumbo omelets and enjoyed them tremendously. One thing Lou Mitchells is known for is handing out donut holes to everyone and little boxes of milk duds to the ladies as they are seated!

After breakfast, we intended to immediately go up the Sears Tower, but we soon found that they didn't open until 10AM. So, we begin walking . . . First we saw the fountain (which unfortunately had no water since they drained it for winter), then some cool statues as we walked around the museums.

Later we headed over to Navy Pier where we took pictures in front of the funny mirrors and saw some nice great views of the city. By then we were getting hungry so we headed to Buca di Beppo for a good Italian lunch of salad, lasagna and some chicken noodle stuff (which I can't remember the name of - Trisha's better at restaurant food names!). I think Rob and Trisha have exposes me to more new restaurants this week thank I've seen in such a short amount of time!
Finally we got back to the Sears tower and were able to go up it and see the city. It was fun to be able to see from one place all the areas we had walked. If you look at the picture on the left, we walked from as far to the left as you can see (the museum area) to pier sticking out on the far right (Navy Pier) and then back again to the Sears Tower. According to my pedometer, we walked 17,300 steps in downtown Chicago today (which is about 8.3 miles!). Needless to say, we were all a bit tired. The weather was a little chilly though not too cold for walking. However I think the wind made our eyes tired. Rob's been kind in doing all the driving since we arrived so I got a bit of a rest as we drove back here to our hotel.

Our test is tomorrow. It starts around 8:30 or 9, so we may know by 12 or 1 if we passed or not. Keep praying!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chicago update

Installation has been going pretty well - just a little slower that I had anticipated. I thought we would be finished by yesterday afternoon, but now it looks like we should finish by sometime around noon today.

Last night for dinner, we went to the Cheesecake Factory below the John Hancock Center (we went there in August too). The food was great (I think my cheesecake was called "Chocolate Oreo Mudslide!"), and it was interesting to see the tower at night this time. Chicago is such a busy city. It's cold here, yet still there were people walking and driving all over the place.

212º Video

Elijah sent me the link to this video. It really makes you stop and think about the little things!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Drive to Chicago

After 12 hours in the car, we have made it to Chicago once again! The trip went really well. Usually I end up reading most of the time in the car, but this time didn't open my book once. It was nice to just talk with Rob and Trisha as well as to get some sleep and drive some. I don't think a 12 hour car trip has ever gone so quickly. So, we're back again and ready to start installing our product first thing in the morning for our test on Friday. Please pray that all goes well - from materials to actual testing!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dirt, Colds and Running

For the past week, I've had what seems to be a mild cold. Maybe it's just a regular cold? I'm not really sure since I don't get colds that often. The last time I had a cold symptoms (about a year ago) I actually had the whooping cough. I suppose compared to that, a cough associated with any cold is quite mild. I had read at one time that running and exercise in general lessened the severity and frequency of illness (such as colds). I've woken up sniffling or with a sore throat and found that after a 30 min walk or run, the symptoms are just about gone. So, I decided to see if anyone has researched colds and running. This morning I found an article that did mention that the frequency of colds tends to decrease when a person runs a moderate amount, but goes up if a lot of training is occurring. Here's a quote from the article:

"Those who run or walk briskly for 35 to 45 minutes per day, five days a week, spend about half the number of days per year suffering from cold symptoms, compared to sedentary people. In addition, about 60 per cent of recreational runners experience fewer colds after they initiate a running programme, compared to when they were sedentary . . . .

And mum probably forgot to tell you that if you run about 100 or more km per week, your risk of illness is about double, compared to the individuals who log less than 32 weekly kms. That suggests, of course, that immune function declines as training volume increases, yet we also know that runners tend to be healthier than sedentary people. So, a very reasonable question would be: what number of kms per week is best for overall health? Even mum herself doesn't know the answer to that question. The epidemiological evidence indicates that running a moderate amount of km is better for your health than staying on the couch. However, running lots and lots of km is worse for your health than being moderate: mega-mileage is associated with lots of sniffles, coughs, and perhaps other problems. Basically, the graphical plot of illness frequency versus mileage is a U-shaped curve. If there's no mileage, there is quite a bit of sickness, middle mileage leads to little illness, and high km let the microorganisms rule again. The 'middle ground' of best health may well be 25 to 50 km per week or so, or 35 to 45 minutes per day, but no one knows for certain, and the optimal amount no doubt varies from person to person."

The way the article (and that last sentence) was written made me think of my Dad and his theory on dirt. He's said many times that dirt is actually good for you, we just don't know how much or what kind!

So, we can probably all agree that exercise is good. But as in most things, too much of a good thing is not a good thing!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I took a look at my google analytics report and saw that not as many people are coming to this site these days. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I haven't been posting regularly, or does it? Life has been busy in every area since the camping trip. Among other things, I've got some new projects at work, am getting ready for a trip to Chicago for another test, continuing to work on the church website (check it out here) and dealing with car problem as well as talking quite a bit to a friend of mine! I guess as the year comes to a close, it's easier to see that time really does pass very quickly. It seems like just a month or so ago, I was contemplating the new year and wondering what it would bring.

So, I've been letting this blog slip. It's not what I want to do, but something that tends to happen as other areas fill up. One of my ideals is to post every day or at least every other day on this blog. Obviously, we don't live in an ideal work and we must make choices with our time. We can't do everything we may want to do.

So I guess this is just a post for those of you who I don't see very often and are wondering what's up in my life. I will try to post more this weekend. So far nothing is scheduled in to fill Saturday though I'm sure I will fill it with plenty of things!