Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rogersville Football

Oh so many years ago I played football for Strafford High School, and although we were not that good... I'm not sure how many games we won in the four years I played...(it would be single digits) and many of our losses were huge defeats. Even after all of that... I look back on my Football days fondly... And occasionally I even wish I could put back on a helmet & shoulder pads.

However, this magical football season that the Rogersville Wildcats are experiencing this year could not be any better. As a parent, you know that you take your greatest pleasure in seeing your children do good. I am so excited and happy for Barrett & his teammates about this run. You could not want more for your son than to be a part of a winning program. And part of a team that has an opportunity to fulfill a dream they have had for a long time.

I remember back when Barrett was a freshman, and we picked up a game against the Waynesville JV team.... The year after they were the state champs. After the game... Their coach came over and asked Coach Smith if he could adress our team. The Waynesville Coach told them that they were the most talented freshman team he had ever seen, including the team he just lead to the state title last year. He said if they applied themselves, worked hard, stayed together...they could do something special.

As the boys prepare for this week, I can't express how thankful I am for the coaches, staff & everyone that has supported this team for the last 4 years!

It's been a great time & I can't be more proud or more happy of my son...And all these boys that are playing their final game in the Dome... For the State Title.

It's been a great run... But we're not quite done.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Joplin Tornado 2011

This is a 24' Box Truck from St. Johns wrapped around a tree...

I've finally gotten around to uploading my #Joplin Photo's onto my Picassa album. You can view them here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hey Hater.

Hey hater, it doesnt honor the Creator to always be the debater, strong opinion stater, or agitator; build up, encourage, be a verbal elevator. When you tear down your brother, become a theological gladiator, or anonymous commentator; your words make you a traitor to the very Love that should inflate. They should know us by our Love... Not by our hate!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Better than Better Homes & Gardens; more livable than Southern Living

One of our favorites peoples house was reviewed on Smile & Wave. Enjoy!

"Not only is her house flawless, impeccable and adorable....Rachel Burch herself has an endearing personality that is incomparable in quality...highly principled, honest, loving and bursting with creativity and stamina. Thank you so much for featuring her, Rachel. We love her...and we love your blog!"
Amy Boyd

Well said Amy... Who wouldn't want to be spoken of so favorably by there peers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remembering Tom Strand

By Kyle Heironimus
Feb 12, 2011

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

Some of you may know this as lines from a song sung by the Byrds 40 years ago. Others as verses from Ecclesiastes in the Bible, that the song was based on, written 3000 years ago. Either way, we all know that it is true. A time to be born, and a time to die... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.Today, we have come here to remember and honor the life of Tom Strand. Some of us knew him as a hard working, dedicated coworker. Some as a great musician to jam with. Some as a computer enthusiast or occasional trout fisherman. But we all knew him as a quiet, friendly, kind man. There's nobody that didn't like Tom.

As his coworker at DMP, I and many others remember him as a hard worker. He designed the hardware and circuit board for nearly every product that DMP sells. He was always very meticulous, making sure every detail of every part was correct before signing off on it. This meant that oftentimes, he worked long hours to get something out the door on a deadline. He never missed a day of work in his first 10 years at DMP.

Before coming to DMP, Tom also worked on custom stainless steel designs, electric motor designs, and the design of heating and air conditioning units. On the side, he had an advanced HAM radio license and built himself a new computer every few years. He was always involved in some kind of technical thing or gadget.

However, I haven't told you about his most interesting job. Anyone who knew Tom well knows that he was very interested in music. As a boy, he couldn't wait to get out of school so he could go home and play guitar. He was in a band throughout his school years. Of course all that had to come to an end when he graduated and got married. He needed to work a real job and move past the rock and roll band ideas, at least that is what usually happens. Not in Tom's case. His wonderful wife Mauna Loa encouraged him to quit his “real” job and give the band a shot. Even though the band didn't take off like they had hoped, Tom would always remember the adventures they had.

Whenever I heard him reminisce of those days, you could see the love and respect he had for Mauna Loa for supporting him during those days. He also told of the first days of their marriage when Mauna Loa got up early every morning to fix him a big breakfast before he went off to work. His love for her was apparent anytime he spoke of her.
 This song was important to Tom
Love is the Answer by Todd Rundgren
Many of you here may not be familiar with all that I have just told you. However, there is one thing that everyone here does know. It's that Tom was a genuinely nice, caring person. In the days since his passing, I have had many, many people come up to me with their memories of him, and consistently, the comment I heard was how kind he was. He got along with everybody, even during stressful times with deadlines at work.

He was not just pretending to be kind. If he thought you were off base about something, he would tell you straight up, usually with humor thrown in. I remember several times when I was his supervisor that I would get uptight about a looming deadline and he would tell me to settle down with some kind of quick, dry humor thrown in. It was frustrating for about two seconds, but Tom's smile and the realization of his humor would cool me off immediately.
Over the last several months, I had the pleasure of getting to know Tom, as well as Mauna Loa and his mother Mrs. Owens better than I ever had. During that time, the thought that occurred to me over an over again was “Why did it take him getting cancer for me to get to know him better and appreciate his friendship?”

In the Bible, James, Jesus' half brother says You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We talked on many occasions about God and we didn't always agree on things. However, he always appreciated the prayers that I and many others prayed for him. He knew that God was a God of grace and that for us to be saved, it must be by God's grace.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul says...For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

He also knew that God cared for us and that he was a God of love. Jesus says... For God so loved the world that he gave is one and only son that whoever believes in him shall be saved.

Jesus also says...Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

When Tom asked me to speak here, he didn't tell me what he wanted me to say. Even though I don't know exactly what Tom would want me to say, I'm pretty sure it would be to live intentionally. Don't wait for an illness or a tragedy to make you show how much you appreciate the ones in your life. Don't wait until you, your friend or family member has terminal cancer before you give them a hug. Tell your friends and family how much they mean to you.

Hopefully, we can all live by his example of not getting too worried about the things that seem urgent now, but really are not important. Hopefully we can be like him and keep a sense of humor in all circumstances. Hopefully, like Tom, we can enjoy the blessings God gives us in this life, like music, family and friends. And hopefully we can be loving, caring and kind to all those we meet.

The apostle Paul says... If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Four Things to Consider Once Your Company Opens Up Social Media Access

Interesting read considering I am at the SocialIRL Boot-Camp discussing such issues today. --Hillenblog


As the percentage of companies allowing access to social networks grows, you need to realize there are strategic things related to social media that you’ll need to figure out as a progressive HR pro.

By Kris Dunn

When it comes to social media and your organization, you probably fall into one of two camps: You’re either sick of hearing all the hype related to what social media can do for your firm, or you’re frustrated that your company doesn’t trust you enough to allow you to check your personal e-mail or Facebook account at work.

Because I can’t help myself, I’m offering up the following morality play performed millions of times daily within the bowels of corporate America:

Your employee: Opens up browser to post something witty on Twitter or Facebook.

Your network: Blocks the employee from accessing the social network in question, perhaps with the digital equivalent of a little finger wagging at the employee (bonus malice points if the message the employee sees refers to the social network in question as “the” Facebook/Twitter).

Your employee: Promptly swivels in chair to access the social network in question through the browser on his or her smart phone. Your company isn’t blocking cell towers in your buildings, right?

The verdict: Employee continues to think they are smarter than you. Based on this morality play, they have a decent case.

But I digress. With all the workplaces blocking social media, it’s evident that the irony of the social media workaround outlined above hasn’t hit home yet. But it will. It just takes time.

As the percentage of companies allowing access to social networks grows, you need to realize there are strategic things related to social media you’ll need to figure out as a progressive human resources pro. No one else in your organization is thinking about the issues necessary to have a meaningful approach to social media related to human capital strategy.

What issues, you ask? Consider the following gems that will kill you if you don’t figure them out:

1. Purpose. When you grant access to social media across your company, are you doing it because you’re benevolent, or do you think there’s actually a business opportunity in that decision? If you’re simply doing it because it feels good, stop reading now. If you think there’s a business opportunity in granting access, read on. You need to figure some things out quickly.

2. Portability. If you thought portability only referred to moving your cell number across wireless providers, you were wrong. Portability in social media refers to who owns what related to social media, and whether the intellectual capital related to social media moves with employees when they leave your company or stay with the firm. As you might expect, portability is reflected in the following details of ownership:

• Do accounts used in any way for company purposes belong to the employee or the company? The most effective use of social media seamlessly blends company brand and individual personality. While that works from a branding perspective, it’s hell when attempting to lay claim to social media accounts initialized by employees or the resulting networks built over time.

• Who owns the networks established by an employee on company time? When team members capture new members of a social network or a utility like LinkedIn, who owns the network? Do they own it or does the company? You need to figure out what you’re comfortable with now before a recruiter leaves with 60 percent of your recruiting network on his or her LinkedIn account, then disables the ability for you to view the connections. Ouch.

The earlier you figure out portability, the better off you are. Once you figure out the importance of portability, you’ll want to pay attention to the next item on our list—naming.

3. Naming. As you open up access to social media across your company, you’ll find that there are three types of activity, including the following:

• Totally personal. I just had a Pop-Tart for lunch. Who cares? You are correct—no one. Move on, because there’s nothing strategic to do with this segment. You opened it up, so they use it, like the toilets in the bathroom.

• Totally corporate. You couldn’t wait to activate the ACME twitter account. Congrats, it’s active and has the personality of Ben Stein on downers. Play on, because there’s no sizzle to this steak—no one will ever try to steal it from you. It’s yours.

• A mix of personal and professional social media activity. Danger! Here’s the type of social media activity where a naming strategy really comes into play. Looking to engage recruiters or marketing pros to start using social media in a way that develops them professionally and builds the company’s brand? Naming is the main issue you need to figure out before they start. If you’re going to underwrite the investment of time and focus related to social media, get in front of portability issues with a naming convention that makes sense.

Here’s an example of naming issues in the corporate social media realm. Let’s say you engage one of your recruiters to become active on Twitter in hopes of augmenting your recruiting efforts. Her name is Jen Smalls and your company’s name is ACME. Do you require her to do all Twitter work under the twitter handle @ACMEjen or @ACMErecruiter, or do you allow her to do the work under the decidedly personal @jensmalls?

Each name means something different related to portability and Jen’s ability to develop an interesting and compelling presence related to your company’s brand and her personal credibility. Allow the presence to be built via the @jensmalls handle and you have no shot at claiming the brand equity on behalf of your company.

4. Personality. Once you’ve analyzed your purpose for opening up social media access, sorted out portability issues and the naming decisions for social media accounts that follow, you’re free to develop some personality related to your company’s social media presence.

Remember one thing: Unless you plan on doing all company business through a fully corporately branded social media presence, there’s always some probability the social media equity that’s built belongs more to the employee than to you.

If you decide that’s the best path to getting business results for your company through social media (and many companies have been successful with that strategy), play on.

Just make sure you ask the questions before you get started.

Workforce Management Online, February 2011

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, January 14, 2011

Awesome NYC Video

NYC - Mindrelic Timelapse from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

-- Post From My iPhone

Just a funny little story about a boy named Kent...

As you can see...its been so long since I have blogged that they actually have changed the astrological signs...I am now a Capricorn. What the What? But that is a topic for an entirely different post.

As with almost any day, something really funny happened in our family over the course of the last few weeks...and it is too good to not share.

First you must know that at the Hillenblog house we have a strict rule about using curse words...They are absolutely, positively prohibited, with one exception...for humor. If you must use a bad word for the sake of humor...its allowed. We strictly enforce this rule...and it works pretty well, except for occasionally one of your daughters gets married and moves out...and makes up her own rules as to when its acceptable to throw around an expletive...and that might be more often than, say a sailor or a dock worker...(just joking, she is the very picture of civilized, finely mannered conversation).

This long and winding tale has to do with the rules for cussing that are set forth in different branches of our family tree.

First, I must say that in my parents house growing up, the rule was...none, zip, zero use of four letter words...but since my sister and I have both moved out...and possibly since they get to watch us raise their grand kids, an occasional heck or darn or shucks might be heard under the breath of the my Mom & Dad.

That leads me to my sister...since she lives in Italy, they learn all kind of funny its a bit harder to control...but Jon and her have kept a tight lip, we will say, so anytime their kids hear a slip of the tongue...they take great exception to it...and as the good Missionary Kids that they are...they scold whoever the guilty party is.

That brings us to the Annual Family Christmas Poem  That my sister did a wonderful job writing this year. The Christmas Poem Tradition goes back to 1917 in our family...and its a fun little thing that I hope to pass down to my kids & grand kids (yes I have considered that possibility). So as you can read from the link above, my sisters poem contains a certain four letter word in it, that when read aloud as part of our family Christmas, immediately after hearing my Dear Sweet Mother reading the Christmas Story from Luke Chapter Two, yielded harsh looks, utter disappointment from her kids...and of course laughter from mine. (you know the humor rule). At the end of her reading, in the midst of the scolding that she was taking from her kids, she explained to them that "you get one bad word per year" and as the mother she was using hers for the poem. This seemed to content them, and we went on with our Christmas celebration with no more utterance or "stubbing of toe language", pardon my French (or Italian) blue words.

Flash forward to last week. As many of you may know, Kent has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome which is a mild strain of Autism that basically causes him to occasionally be socially silly, crave consistency (as far as his schedule is concerned) & become fully focused on a given activity for longer than you or I would care to & spend time by himself. His generally rambunctious behavior comes from being an otherwise perfectly healthy young boy...because those traits are shared by his brother Ethan, and sister Natalie. We think that it comes from the Liles side of the family...if you think I'm joking...lets talk. :-) (Love you Jon)

So, last week, as Bec was rushing Jon to the hospital with crazy high blood pressure (see more proof of my assertion above :-) Kent was lined up in the hall at school to go to music class, undoubtedly one of his favorites, since lately in his "fully focused" tendency he is teaching himself to play the piano...and he's doing a pretty darn good job at it to, I must say. (shout our to my Mom who has given him a few starter lessons I think). So, while in the hallway at school, lined up to go to music, there is a sudden change of plans...not music, mixed up schedule...were going to PE. But first...we must wait in the hall here a few minutes till the gym clears out. When what to Kent's Wandering eye's should appear, but a fire alarm pull station, just next to his ear....Head height and right beside was too tempting.  "What does this do?" I'm sure he wondered. "It has a lock on surely its locked in place" he thinks...but how will one ever know, unless you pull it.

So yes...He pulls it. And...happy to report that the Fire Alarm at Strafford Elementary School works just as it should, bells, sirens, Emergency protocol swiftly drops into full motion. The teachers the faculty are evacuating the school...and Kent...sensing what he has just done...starts freaking out a bit. He tells his teacher that he pulled the pull station and he knows at this point that he is going to be in trouble.

After the fire trucks get there, and the administrators (who didn't have a key to reset the pull station) finally get the alarm shut off and the panic resumes to what must be the normal dull roar of an elementary school...The Principal has a talk with Kent...that ends in him being put in In-School-Suspension. (that means made to sit alone in the principles office and do his school work) There is nothing greater than this for Kent...he even got to meet the Strafford Fire Marshal...he probably thought this was the greatest day of school ever...and may very well be plotting at this next moment the best way to land himself in ISS again, after all being left alone in the principals office to do his work is what he would prefer any day. (for my sisters sake I hope he is not).

Now...this story on its stand alone...pretty darn funny...and I could stop here, and you would have gotten your money's worth. is more. More to this story that ties it up...nice and neat. Here is the rest of the story.

So...a couple of days go by...and Kent is on the School Bus heading home from school...some of the kids are teasing him (that socially silly stuff) and he is not taking it very well...and after almost enduring the entire ride home, with these older boys teasing him and calling him names...Kent has enough. He decides there is one thing that I have in my bag of tricks that I haven't used...and since its a new year...I have one to burn.   So yes...he lets if fly....he says..."You boys are a**holes!!" 

To this, the bus driver said, "Kent I'm going to have to tell your mother about this." and he says..."I'm going to tell her right now". As he comes bursting into the door of my parents house...he proudly announces... "Mom!...I used my cuss word for the year" !!

I think after that they had a long talk...however that night at the dinner table...Natalie announces to the family..."I've decided that I am saving my cuss word, for my Birthday..." is to waiting for Natalie's Birthday...and to see what she has to say. I can't wait.

PS. Jon seems to be doing OK, pray for him, I have no idea why he might have high blood pressure :-)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Favorite NYC Photog


So I've been following a NYC photographer on Twitter...and I just love her I decided to blog about it on my new Blog. Her name is Inga Sarda-Sorensen and you too can follow her on Twitter @isardasorensen.