In a nutshell ...
I am a retired healthcare executive who has a passionate interest in trying to get my country back onto a sustainable path for the future. This country is crumbling financially and morally, and I want to speak to anybody who will listen to me about the issues we face and what we can do about facing them successfully.
Although I have been successful in life from the perspective of how I view success, I’m not extremely wealthy, I’m not famous [or even well-known beyond my family, friends and some of my former colleagues], and unless this blog and other things I’m trying to do “take off”, I don’t have a “platform” from which to express my views. What I am is simply one of what I honestly believe are millions of Americans who are deeply concerned about their country, and who want to see our country reunite around the values on which it was built.
More about me …
For anyone interested in my background and why I am concerned about my country, here’s a little more in-depth information about me …
It is my WORLDVIEW — my VALUE SYSTEM — that drives me, and the background I’ll share here will give you a perspective on how that value system developed [see Why I’m Doing What I Do for how this value system has motivated me to become more actively involved in trying to make a difference in this country’s direction].
My father was the only one of eight children in his family to attend college. On money loaned to him by one of his brothers, he graduated from college. Later, he earned a Master’s degree. He started his career as a teacher. The first decade of his career and his and Mom’s marriage was during the Great Depression, and that had an influence on his view of financial matters.
Dad ultimately rose to become Superintendent of Schools in the parish [like county] in Louisiana where he was born. Although very successful in his career despite high odds against a person from his beginnings rising to that level, he remained a humble, generous and caring man.
My mother was one of thirteen children. For all of my childhood, adolescent and teen years, her parents lived in the house that backed up to ours. Her family was very close, and I knew all of my aunts and uncles and their children well, even those who lived in other parts of Louisiana and in other states. I have fond memories of this very large family standing around an old upright piano singing hymns. At least two of Mom’s brothers played guitar, and some “jam sessions” would usually occur, too, with them playing and singing mostly country songs.
Mom was all a person could ask for in a parent. She was absolutely devoted to her family, an excellent homemaker, and very talented.
From the perspective pertinent here, my wife’s parents were very similar to mine, and her upbringing and value-system development paralleled mine very closely.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior when I was 7 years old. I was baptized at First Baptist Church, Franklinton, Louisiana [population at that time, about 3,000].
My personal testimony is one of how God can take a person who is at the bottom of a pit of despair, make his steps “ordered of the Lord” [Psalm 37:23], ensure that “though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand” [Psalm 37:24] and make “whatsoever he does … prosper” [Psalm 1:3] if he will just commit to get his priorities right in the eyes of God [Psalm 24:1; Matthew 6:33; Micah 6:8; Colossians 3:23-24].
Two mission trips to South Africa [2007 and 2008] had a tremendous influence on me, and completely changed my views on what is valuable in this life and what is not. Prior to those trips, I thought I was pretty well-traveled. Seeing what I saw and experiencing what I experienced there made me realize that I had seen only a small fraction of the world — only those places to which people like my wife and I could afford to travel. Those trips significantly changed my outlook on life, and helped me see situations and view people from an entirely different perspective.
About 35 years ago, through a difficult time for my wife and me, we both entered into a deeper understanding of God and a deeper walk with Him. Over the years, He has blessed us beyond what we could have imagined at that time. Our goal at this point in our life together is to find ways to serve Him that acknowledge His goodness and show our thankfulness for all He has done for us.
This has been our guiding Scripture:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things. … I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. … My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” [Philippians 4:4-8, 11-13, 19 HCSB].
It took a few months after seeing my wife at a seminar at my high school during my senior year [her junior year — she attended another school in a town about 30 miles from mine] for me to get up the nerve to ask her for a date. We dated until about mid-way through college at LSU, got engaged as sophomores, and were married during our junior year [she graduated in three years so we could graduate together]. There is not a doubt in my mind that this woman is God’s gift to me, and that I’m a better man for having spent my life with her. Although always yielding and adapting to my career, she became successful herself in a career in Education, obtaining higher levels of education than I have and retiring as a Licensed Professional Counselor. More importantly, she has been a wonderful homemaker and mother to our two children.
In retrospect, I can see that my “career” actually began in my Junior High and High School years. I was very active in the Boy Scouts, earning the rank of Eagle Scout and the God and Country award. I was Salutatorian of my High School class. Although I was never required to do so, I always wanted to “earn my own way”. I mowed lawns and delivered newspapers, and in my High School years I worked in a locally-owned grocery store two afternoons and all day Saturday. I believe I learned at least as much in these early work experiences as I did in any one year of college — valuable things that one learns through experience, not from textbooks: dealing with the public, managing relationships with customers, managing my personal finances, understanding how a business works, etc.
After completing a degree at LSU in Industrial and Systems Engineering, I continued my education while working as an Engineer for DuPont, adding skills in Math at Texas A & M University and Accounting at Southeastern Louisiana University and LSU, and completing PE certification. After running my own business for almost a decade, I worked in IT positions in Retailing before becoming a CIO in Healthcare. After 20 years as a CIO, during which I also became a CPA, I was a self-employed Executive Consultant for five years, based in Nashville. My career took our family to Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
My Travels and Experiences
As “empty nesters”, my wife and I decided in 1998 that we would travel extensively while we were young and in good health. We’ve never regretted that decision. Our travels have taken us many places in the world: 47 of the Lower 48 Continental United States [someday, I’ll probably go to Idaho just so I can say I’ve been to all 48 :-)], Alaska, Hawaii, England, France, The Netherlands, Czek Republic, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, South Africa, Canada, the Yucatan Peninsula and the U. S. Virgin Islands.
[We are going to Scotland, Ireland and Wales in August 2016]