Thursday, November 4, 2021

Welcome to Blue Skies, a space for all of my ramblings!

The menu bar to the right has a contact form as well as links to my various social media sites. Stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Positive Attitude

Happy New Year!

Before we get too involved with all of our resolutions for 2016, I wanted to share some thoughts on leadership and attitude. While the underlying theme applies directly to my peers within the volunteer fire service community, I believe that the concept can be applied holistically to anyone working in a team driven environment. A positive attitude is critical to the development of personal fulfillment and happiness, and is a primary component to effective leadership. With the new year upon us, now is the perfect time to adjust your attitude to align with what you want to be in the coming years.

Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of our senior fire department members. He emphasized to me what draws him to being a volunteer firefighter. There were two important themes and I think we can agree on both. First, we all have a desire to serve our community, especially when folks are in critical need of our services. Second to that, we all want to find some type of personal fulfillment and happiness in our roles at the fire department. As leaders, I think we have the responsibility to help our members meet this second objective.

As leaders, our focus needs to be on developing a positive attitude throughout the organization; one that promotes both fulfillment and happiness. Before we can foster such an attitude in the department, we must first develop that positive attitude within ourselves. This can often be a difficult task, but if we want to be successful, we must begin by having our own positive attitude, all of the time. A positive attitude will be a game changer for us both personally and within our circles of influence.

Developing a positive attitude is not as simple as flipping on a light switch, and the process can be a lengthy one. One of the most important aspects of a positive attitude is being happy with who you are and what you do. In most cases, happy people have positive attitudes, and unhappy people are just not fun to be around. But sometimes even happy people can become frustrated and develop unhealthy, negative attitudes. It is important to stay focused on what makes you happy, and at the same time stay focused on what you are able to control. Sometimes we can get ourselves in trouble when we let those things beyond our control affect our attitude.

As leaders in our organization, we must work together to promote a positive attitude – in ourselves as well as within our department. We set the tone with our attitude and others will follow our lead. If we want to create an environment of fulfillment and happiness for our members, we must be the ones to consistently model a positive attitude. We must be disciplined in our efforts and mentor each other when we struggle. To be successful, we must work together as a team. I can assure you, our positive attitudes will positively shape the attitudes of others.

There are a multitude of articles, books and materials to help develop a positive attitude. I encourage you to take some time to search for some sources that work for you. In the meantime, I have listed some ideas below. And I encourage you to develop a list to share with your colleagues. Here are a few items we should consider:
  • Don’t let the little things or those beyond your control get you down
  • An attitude of gratitude is always good
  • If you have a problem with someone, go to them directly with your concerns
  • There's good in everyone if you look hard enough
  • Don’t judge or gossip about others
  • Acts of intentional kindness promote goodwill
  • Backstabbing hurts everyone
  • Teamwork makes the dream work

I hope you found this article useful as you explore what’s in store for your 2016. I welcome your comments and feedback. I look forward to further developing our positive attitudes as we journey through our growth in leadership together.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Living the Dream

It has taken me some time to craft a message as I want my first post of this blog re-launch to be rich in passion. As we enter the Advent season, I strive to be intentional in my patience and discernment, and now the moment to begin is upon me.

Several months ago the passion to serve was reignited in me by a young man whose life was cut tragically short. Although Travis Gryder is no longer with us on this earth, for those who knew him, Travis will live forever in our hearts. In our time together, Travis and I discussed plans on how the two of us would combine our talents to help train other firefighters and rescue workers across our great state. His enthusiasm was like a shot of new life in my tired soul.

Travis was “living the dream” in his work in fire and rescue services, as well in the way he lived his life. Even before his heartbreaking accident, I knew that I wanted to live the dream too. Not only did Travis help me to envision that destiny, he instilled in me the significance of passionately following that dream. He reminded me that you’re never too old to follow your passion and live the dream. He helped me to appreciate that we should embrace the gifts we receive from God to serve and help others.

So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas in the coming days, I am reminded of the gift of passion re-ignited, bestowed to me by Firefighter-Paramedic Travis Gryder… a gift that resides in my heart, a gift that motivates me to serve others with compassion, a gift of love and faith from a friend who will always be a hero. We miss him terribly but there is comfort in knowing that he continues to encourage us from above.  In honor of Travis, I ask that you take a moment for reflection. Are you living the dream?

I truly believe that God wants each and every one of us to live our lives with passion, following our dreams by using the gifts granted to us. My Christmas wish for you is that you may follow your passion and live your dream too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Awoke this morning to a couple inches of snow already on the ground with another 2-4" underway. Winds are whipping the snow to and fro, with gusts anywhere from 30-50 mph across the High Country.

Here are a couple of pictures... one of the house and one of our four legged friends weathering the snow and wind. The wind chill is around 5 degrees above zero at present!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Winter's View

The 2013 Winter has been an active one for the High Country! Here are some pictures...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Blustery Day!

Some pictures from the snow and cold on January 3, 2012:

From the front porch...

Water Wheel on Highway 105 in Boone...

Little man, big icicles...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Montreat Lesson

I hope you will not tire of my thoughts from our youth trip to Montreat. It was such a wonderful experience and there is much to share from our journey. This week I would like to address the theme of God’s love – an important lesson for young and old alike. As a youth at heart trapped in the body of a 40 something year old, I have a unique perspective. For the youth, God’s love is often overlooked as one of His most special gifts.

Life as a teenager has its ups and downs. It’s a time of great transition from childhood to adulthood. Yet there is much turmoil during this period of change, for both the youth and those who care for them. Youth are often insecure and uncertain about their future. They can be emotionally unstable at times. Every now and then they may make poor choices as they test the waters of responsibility and authority. We have all been teenagers but our memories of these trying times have faded over the years.

Perhaps now more than ever, our youth need affirmation. During our time at Montreat, the adult leaders stressed to the youth that God will always love them. Through the good times and the bad times, through the right decisions and the wrong choices, God’s love for them is a special gift. It is not something that must be earned or purchased. It is something that must simply be accepted. In return, we should all learn to share His gift.

As their congregational guardians, we can demonstrate God’s love for our youth. We can take a moment to reaffirm God’s love to the youth (as well as to one and another) through our positive comments, through a hug or pat on the back, or simply through a smile of encouragement. I am confident that the outcome will be quite favorable for the youth and for you too! It’s a lesson we can all take to heart.

“O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136.26)