Friday, January 30, 2009

Cool gadget!

I added a gadget to my blog that creates a pop-up window each time that I include a scripture reference in one of my blog posts. Just run your cursor over the reference and a window will appear that contains that passage. Try it on this reference: Galatians 2:20 NLT.

Cool, eh?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Have you met my kids?

This handsome group of young adults are my kids. The cutie on the left is my daughter-in-law Heather, the cool dude in the center is her husband and my younger son Peter, and the laid-back hunk on the right is my older son Zack. Heather is an RN working in a pediatric ICU, Peter in a landscape architect/land planner who works for a small design firm, and Zack is a graduate student in Social Work who's also a former Special Ed. teacher and technical media specialist and instructor at the University of Georgia.

Zack lives 4 hours to the east in Florida and Peter and Heather live 4 hours to the north and west in Mississippi. We enjoy our visits with them and we're enjoying watching the responsible young people they've grown-up to become, even if it's from a distance. In his book, Bringing Out The Winner in Your Child, John Croyle reminds us that, as parents, our job is to help our kids pack their bags and ready them to leave home. To paraphrase the Peace Corps slogan, parenting is the hardest job you'll ever love.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A divine appointment with Brian

On Tuesday, I had a divine appointment with a man named Brian. It wasn't an appointment on my planner but I suspect divine appointments seldom are. Brian came in our bookstore with a bottle of booze wrapped up in a plastic bag. The scruffy guy about my age settled down in a chair and took a couple of swigs from his bottle while he rested. One of our staffers engaged him in conversation and I was paged to come to the front desk when Brian turned the conversation to his unmet sexual needs.

If this was a test of how a follower of Christ responds to a disturbed person (he described himself as both schizophrenic and bi-polar), I hope I did OK.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And then there's Randy . . .

Variety is the spice of life, right? I must have the most varied (and spicy) group of friends on the planet. Right-wingers, left-wingers, and everything-in-between-wingers comprise my family of friends. God has blessed me with some really funny friends and Randy Lee is one of them. We worked together in my first career but a promotion took him in another direction. We haven't seen each other in a few years but still keep in touch via e-mail. Looking at this picture, you'd probably be surprised to know that Randy has had a very successful career in the mortgage business. He's a lot more intelligent and talented than he looks in this picture. Randy takes humor to a whole new level. He was the first person I knew to own a set of Bubba teeth and is the only person I personally know to have purchased professional comedy props just for his personal use. (By the way, the pearly whites in this picture are his real teeth, not his Bubba teeth.) People like Randy are good for us. They make us laugh and keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. Who are the people in your life that make you laugh every time that you're with them?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Changes at Crossroads

Considering the economic challenges our country has wrestled with over this past year as well as the ones specific to Christian retail, we actually ended 2008 better than I had expected. Our staff did a good job under challenging circumstances and God proved once again that He is always faithful. It's a new year and we're making some adjustments at Crossroads that will allow us to be an effective and self-supporting ministry. The primary areas in which we're making adjustments are staffing, hours of operation and inventory.

Studying when customers are buying showed us where we could adjust our hours of operation to convert to a single shift operation thus allowing us to reduce the number of staff required to deliver service to the customer. Beginning February 1, we'll be open from 9:30 AM until 6:30 PM Monday through Saturday, shaving a half hour off in the morning and an hour and a half in the evening when sales have been the slowest. By having the same staff on duty most of the time that we're open, we'll be able to better deliver consistent service to our customers while achieving a significant and necessary reduction in our labor expense. The unfortunate consequence of this is that we'll have to eliminate some valuable staff members, at least for a time. As the economy improves and we continue to become more effective in meeting customer needs, I'm hopeful that we'll be able to expand our staff. There's nothing I regret more than having to lay-off staff but, in this case, it's unavoidable if we're to remain a viable ministry.