Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Lost a Friend Today


I Lost a Friend Today





 
I found out today one of my oldest friends died. Henry (Hank) B. Bland was born on July 25, 1953 and died on November 27, 2012 after battling cancer and several other illnesses throughout his life.

Hank was possibly my oldest friend. I cannot remember a time we were not friends growing up in Edward, NC. In some of the pictures I have of us together we were only 3 years old.

Most of our early years were spent living across the street from each other and we spent many hours at the others home. The Bland home in Edward was one of the first places I where I was allowed to go alone. We spent most days playing together and exploring our world.

We had our own little gang which included Hank, Billy, Al and I. Edward was a very small town and we were it. We played together, went to church together, and rode the bus to school together. We had lots of adventures together.

One of those adventures occurred after church one night. As I said Edward is a very small town with only a couple of streets. We lived on the main street through town and the church was on the back street. Between our house and the church was a small wooded area with a path through it maybe a 100 yards long. I remember going to church with my friends, Al, Hank and Billy and one of them suggesting that we walk home through the path in the woods. It was like a badge of courage we were each trying to earn and this would be the first time we attempted it. I am not sure about the other guys but that 100 yard walk was on the longest walks I have ever taken. That should have been a short distance, but it seemed to go on forever. The woods were darker than on any moonless night. It was quite, not even the wind was blowing. After walking for what seemed like hours without saying a word between us, we finally made it to the other end near Al’s house. It was like the moon come out and the stars were shinning and we started laughing and teasing one another. From that night on we always took the short cut through the woods, I guess we earned our badge.

At first my friends and I only played at each other’s houses, but as we got older and braver we ventured out into the area. Behind Hank’s house was an old abandoned barn. This soon became our clubhouse and our base of operations from which we explored deeper and deeper into the woods.  Finally around age 1o or 11 we began exploring the creek and for the next couple of years Hank and I had many great adventures along the banks of Durham Creek.

Hank and I started school together in the fall of 1959 at Aurora High School and for the next 12 years we went to the same school building. I remember how it was so great riding the school bus with the big kids and we felt grown up. We were lucky that there were a couple of “High School” girls who kept an eye on us. Thanks Miriam and Deanna, Hank’s sister.
 

One Christmas day Hank’s sister Deanna took us to the movies in Washington at the Turnage Theater. The movie Swiss Family Robinson had just come out and we got to see it that first week.

Hank was part of the group that went with me to be on the Romper Room TV show in Greenville, NC on WNCT. We both worked hard back then to be good Do Bees.

After high school I got married and moved to Florida and only saw Hank a few times. He came to Florida for a visit once and we talked for a long while about old times. On several occasions I saw Hank when I went back to North Carolina for a visit, but these times became rarer and rarer.

Even though we had grown apart, separated by time and distance, it is hard to lose an old friend of almost 60 years. I will miss Hank and the world has changed now that he is gone. I know he suffered many illnesses in his adult life but I also can rest assured he is resting peacefully now in the arms of God.

A joy I have today thinking about Hank is all the great times and memories we had together. He was and still is a great friend.

 
This too is part of growing up in Aurora, NC.

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Words from a Wordsmith

An old posting but a good one.



My Wish for My Grandchildren


We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.



For my grandchildren, I'd like better.



I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches, I really would.



I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty

by being cheated.



I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn, and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.



It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.



I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.



I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.



When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him.



I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.



On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.



If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.



I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.



When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.



I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.



May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.



I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it.



And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.



I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.



May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.



I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.



These things I wish for you -- tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.

To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.



Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.



-Paul Harvey














Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Decision Makers Need to Make it Happen



This is one of my older post which needs to be revisisted from time to time.




Decision Makers Need to Make it Happen

 

In today's business environment teams, groups and committees are all the rage of the modern corporate structure. It is all about empowerment and flattening out the hierarchy and with more acronyms describing how to do it than grains of sand in an hour glass. Every year new gurus come out with their programs, which are just warmed over last year’s programs, but with a few new letters put together to make the latest and greatest acronym ever. Yet, sometimes you have to step back and remember past advice and apply it today.

When I thought of myself as a young corporate ladder climber and the team concept of management was just starting I had a manager who gave me two pieces of advice on how to implement these practices.

1. “A committee of 3 gets more done when 2 people are absent.”


2. “You don't call a committee to kill a rattlesnake, just kill it.”


In our daily business lives there are times we just need to make a decision. Not stand around and wait for others and see which way the wind is blowing. There comes a time when we need a decision maker who can step up and is not afraid to make decisive decisions. True leaders in business are becoming a rarity. I believe this is in part due to the way we are teaching our young people that everyone is equal and everyone deserves a trophy even if they lose. Leaders lead and should be recognized as such.

In the end we are the only ones responsible for our success or failure and as leaders it is time for us to step up and lead in our area of expertise.

Make it Happen Today!





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not Politically Correct


Not Politically Correct


The other day I had to prepare a short talk to give at a meeting. It wasn't that difficult to prepare because it was a subject familiar to me.  But the length and time is always a concern.

Many moons ago when I was taking Agriculture 1 as a freshman at Aurora High School in Aurora NC we had a short chapter on public speaking. Our teacher, Finnly Lewis, gave this simple rule which has stuck with me and guided me in every speech I have made:

"A speech should be like a woman's dress, long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep the interest."







Get Your Copy Today at: http://www.amazon.com/I-Have-Give-Speech-ebook/dp/B0068PH6IK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322485409&sr=8-1












Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Granddaddy -An Excerpt From "A Boy From Down East" by Larry B. Gray


Granddaddy
An Excerpt From My Next Book, A Boy From Down East
(Due Out Whenever I Finish It) 



I had a special relationship with my grandparents growing up. I spent many hours with them having fun, learning and working on the farm.  Much of the person I am today comes from their teachings and example.  I was blessed to have great parents and grandparents who helped guide me to adulthood.

I idolized my granddaddy and spent as much time with him as I could.  We even shared the same birthday, April 24th. He was born on April 24, 1903 and I was born on April 24, 1953, fifty years apart.  He was born in Bonnerton, N. C.  to Michael Meager Gray and Sallie Stilley Gray and lived his whole life in Bonnerton.

On the day I was born he was transplanting tobacco.  Grandmomma always told me that on the day I was born she told Granddaddy she wanted to go to Washington to the hospital to be there for the birth. He responded, “I don’t have time for all this foolishness; there is work to be done.”  Yes, this was the beginning of that special bond.

He was always working around the farm and house, except on Sunday.  I cannot remember him ever sitting still during the work day.  In the evenings, if he didn’t have to check his tobacco barns, he would sit in the living room and read the paper and it was off to bed early because sunrise didn’t wait for anyone. 

He always wore a hat when he left the house whether a clean dress hat to church or an old worn farm hat.  He smoked a pipe and I can still remember his sweet smell of aftershave and pipe tobacco. He kept a cigar box of Tampa Nugget or Hav-A-Tampa cigars in his truck and would smoke them while out in the fields.

When riding around checking on the farm he offered rides to people from the community who were walking and take them to the store or home.  I have seen him go out of his way to drive someone home who did not have transportation. I can remember him telling me “If you want people to help you then you have to be willing to help them.”

It was not until the late 1960s that my grandparents got an indoor bathroom in their house.  I remember Granddaddy bathing at the sink on the back porch and they did not have hot water unless it was heated on the stove.  During the very coldest part of the winter he bathed at the kitchen sink.  He had an old safety razor and powder to make his shaving cream.  Grandmomma made sure we all bathed every night when I was there and at times it was cold.

I can only remember my granddaddy losing his temper twice in my life.  The first time was with me when I punched my brother Mark.  He took me out back of the house and put a belt to my backside.  That was the only time I can ever remember him punishing me and I am glad of that.

The other time I saw him lose his temper was at the cucumber grader at Porters Creek.  After picking cucumbers all day we would load the truck and go to the packing shed to sell them each night.  On this particular night it was late and we were in a long line of trucks waiting for our turn to unload at the grader. I remember I was sitting on top of sacks of cucumbers in the back of the truck watching when another man tried to drive and cut Granddaddy off.  He came out of the truck yelling things I had never heard come out of his mouth and he had a great big old fashion pipe wrench in his hand.  The other men in the area came running over and grabbed him before he reached the guy. They all made the other man go to the back of the line and I can remember one old man saying as he walked by “He should have known not to cut in front of Mr. Willie like that.”

My dad and Granddaddy were active members of the Richland Township Ruritan Club when I was growing up.  I remember each year they had a Father and Son banquet and Granddaddy, Dad, my brother Mark and I always went. It was held in the cafeteria at school and I often wondered how they got such good food out of that kitchen after what we had during the school day.

The other Ruritan event that I attended each year was the annual fish fry at Jarvis Landing.  This was held in the summer and was a lot of fun since many of my friends were there and we would go swimming in the river and play. The fish, slaw and hushpuppies were good also.

When I was in the 7th or 8th grade I remember getting out of school one afternoon and walking up to the pool hall.  When I entered I saw Granddaddy sitting with a group of other men talking and drinking beer. I had never seen Granddaddy with a beer and I remember thinking, “cool,  I bet Grandmomma doesn’t know where you are.”  But, then there was that bottle of whiskey I found in the back of her closet.  When I asked her what it was,  she said cough medicine.

Granddaddy had a sure fire cure for anything that bit you.  If you got stung by a bee or wasp you soon learned to keep it to yourself.  If he found out he would grab you and spit chewing tobacco juice on it.  But now that I think about it, it did take the sting out of the bite.

Another memory I have of my granddaddy is that at night when he was asleep he could snore up a storm.  He would make the windows rattle.  I guess that explained why he and Grandmomma slept in separate rooms.

After I got married and move to Florida Granddaddy would always ask me, each time I went home, why I moved so far away.  I would always answer him, “I looked on a map and saw how far south tobacco grew and I moved 100 miles further south.”  He would always laugh at this but I knew the truth.  He felt the same pains of missing each other that I did.  The funny thing about this little joke we shared is I have spent my entire working career in agri-business.

Granddaddy was and will always be one of my role models and mentors. Some of my earliest memories of life are of the times I spent with him and I have many great memories of us together.













Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CYA - The Basic Rule of Leadership

CYA – The Basic Rule of Leadership

While attending Florida Southern College I took a night class entitled “Industrial Psychology.” The teacher was a retired Vice President of Human Resources for a major international heavy equipment manufacturer. The first day of class he walked into the room, went to the blackboard and wrote in large letters “CYA”. He then told us if we did not learn anything else in his class we would learn what CYA meant.

He went on to explain that in the real world of business this is one of the most important and basic rules to success and survival. Whether you find yourself in a positive or negative position, using CYA gives you an advantage over your competition. In all areas of business you needed to CYA or Cover Your Ass.

Every class after that he wrote CYA on the board and left it up for the entire period. Then he taught the fundamentals of industrial psychology while weaving in his own personal experiences. Throughout the class he referred to the board and ask, "How can you apply CYA to this situation?"

When broken down CYA involves two processes.

1. Documentation
 

2. Follow-up

Documentation

Documentation is simply “put it in writing.” Whether it involves communication or an event, write down what was said and/or what happened. Too often not remembering exactly what happened or what was said results in a totally different outcome than what you expected.

In a conversation what was heard by one party may not be what was said by the other. Often the conversation is held in a noisy or busy area with lots of distractions. Other times the conversation is held while one or both parties are in a hurry and there is no true communication occurring.

To help avoid misunderstanding take notes during the conversation or as soon as possible after the conversation write down what was said. I have always carried a little note pad in my pocket to jot down memory notes to be used later to help retain or recap the conversation. Often when I get a few minutes I will send a note by email to the other party summarizing the conversation. This will also serve a record that we had the conversation.

At times I have kept a business journal or log of my daily activities. This is a great tool for keeping notes on the day’s events and important communications. Several months later if you have to review an event you will be glad you have this information documented.

Another good habit to get into is to save all correspondences in a file. You never know when you may need it. This is one of the great things about email. It is a written record and easy to save.
 
Follow-up

One of the phrases I hate to hear from one of my managers is, “I assumed ….” I was taught very early in my business career the old adage that when you assume, you make an “ass-u-me” and I get very upset when it happens to me. This can easily be avoided by learning to follow-up on events you are involved with.

If you make an assignment don’t assume it will be done, follow-up.

If you have assignments don’t assume you have done it correctly, follow-up.

If you are involved in communication with another person don’t assume there is an understanding of what was said, follow-up.

If you do anything, take the time to follow-up to insure it is done correctly. This extra step in your work process can eliminate a lot of wasted steps in the future.

If you write it, proofread it, another form of follow-up. Years ago I asked my assistant to type a letter to the Vice President of Operations of the company I worked for telling him of the production record that was broken the previous night by our second shift team. She typed it up and brought in for me to sign and I did.

Several days later I got a call from the VP asking if I had read the letter I had signed before I sent it. I learned a big lesson on follow-up that day. I pulled out my copy of the letter and read where she wrote, “The second shift set a new production standard for the operations.” The problem was she had left the “f” out of shift. Needless to say I now read what I sign.

It may sound like you are being paranoid by keeping all of these notes and constantly checking up on people, but it is not. It is a valuable tool to help make you a better leader and manager. It will help you evaluate your past performance and help you make plans for future improvements. By applying CYA in all areas of your work you will reap the benefits.

So, everyday “Cover Your Ass.”



(First published April 2011)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preparing for that Big Interview



Finally, it has finally happened! Your stellar resume and cover letter has landed you an interview. Now what? This is the moment you have been waiting for, the moment when you can sell yourself and get that dream job.

A successful interview is divided into two parts: the preparation and the actual interview. Each part requires time and effort.

Remember an interview is a two-way street. Not only are you being interviewed by the company but you are also making a decision if you want to work for them.

Prior to the interview, research the company and learn as much as you can about the following.

- Its history.

- Its Mission Statement and goals.

- Its philosophy about its people, the community and the environment.

- Its products, services and markets.

- Its locations.


This information will help you shape your answers to the interviewer’s questions. It will make you appear really interested in the company and the position.

You also need to research how to be interviewed and what are typical questions asked by potential employers. The internet provides many examples of interview techniques and sample questions. Practice your answers to the basics questions and always mold your answers to fit the employers’ philosophy wherever possible. You will find it easier to answer the hard questions when asked.

Review your resume and be prepared to expound upon each of your bullet points.  Most interviewers will ask you to elaborate on your accomplishments and successes. This is a time for you to brag.

Another key element to the interview is your appearance. Remember the old rule of “Dress for Success.” It is true that most interviewers form a lasting opinion of you in the first few seconds of meeting you based on your appearance. Here are a few tips.

- You need an interview outfit.

- It should be conservative, tasteful and not a fashion statement.

- It should be appropriate to the job level to which you are applying.

* I recommend dressing one level above.

* Business casual will be appropriate for most non-executive job      interviews.

- Wear appropriate shoes.

* Polished and clean.

* No tennis shoes, flops, or casual sandals.

* Depending on the nature of the job, ladies may want to avoid wearing high heels. This is for safety reasons if there is a facility tour.

- Limit jewelry and especially limit cologne.


Arrive on time. Being late is the kiss of death for an interview. If you are running late call and let them know.

Now all you have to do is WOW them with your brilliance.




Order your copy of How to Find a Job by Larry B. Gray today:




















Friday, July 20, 2012

Using Props during a Presentation – The Wow Factor


Using Props during a Presentation – The Wow Factor
(An excerpt from I Have to Give a Speech – Now What by Larry B. Gray)

With the advent of computer generated presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint it is now easier to make a professional presentation. Speakers now have the ability to present a lot of information in a format that emphasizes and reinforces their message.
This has also created a phenomenon that I call the “Wow Factor.” It can have a positive or a negative effect on the message. One negative effect can occur when the speaker has added so much “razzle dazzle” to the material being displayed that it distracts the audience from the true message.  When the audience is more interested in the display they tune out the speaker and miss the key points.

Here are a few tips to help improve your next presentation:

Follow the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid. Try not to make it more complicated than it has to be.

Avoid the temptation to WOW.

Keep your presentation slides as simple as possible. 

Use large and legible fonts.

Spell Check!!

Practice with your slides.
Keeping it simple means don’t overdo it. Cover your subject and make your slides interesting but relevant. It is easy to over describe a topic when one or two sentences and/or slides have covered it. Don’t lose your audience by boring them with needless information.

When you over emphasize the “Wow Factor” you run the risk of causing two problems. Your audience may become more interested in your slides than in you and too much “Wow” may be mistaken for a lack of knowledge of the subject. Be sure your slides emphasize the subject of the presentation without distracting from it.

There is also the temptation to put too much data on a single slide. This can make the slide unreadable or confusing.  Remember, your audience is trying to read the data from a distance and too much data will make the slide look jumbled.




Order Your Copy of  I Have to Give a Speech – Now What by Larry B. Gray










Monday, July 9, 2012

He Was A Good Christian Man


The other day I was standing outside my work with a couple of guys when a funeral procession drove by. One of my co-workers said, “He was a good Christian man.” I then asked him did he know the man. He responded “No, but he was a good Christian man.”
I thought to myself what a marvelous way to be remember, “He was a good Christian man.” One of the definitions of Christian is to be more like Christ. We all think about what our epitaph will be when our life is over. How will people remember us and what will we have accomplish with our life?
Will I be remembered as a good businessman and hard worker? Will I be remembered as a good teacher or leader? These are lofty aims and I work hard to achieve them every day.
Will I be remembered as a good husband and father? I have worked hard to accomplish this but have I done the right things?
Have I been a friend when needed? Am I someone who is there in good times and bad? It is good to have friends and to be a friend.
What kind of impact have I had in other people’s lives? I once had a young man come up to me in a grocery store and thank me for being his Boy Scout Leader years ago and that I had made a difference in his life. Recently I had a man thank me for being his mentor in the past and giving him the courage to try new things. This felt good, but have I been able to influence others.
Yet, the true test of our impact on other people’s lives is not what we think we have done, but what other’s see in our life. There is a saying, “not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.” When someone looks at my daily life what do they see? The way I handle myself daily is my greatest witness. In the end it doesn’t matter what I say I have done but what I actually did each and every day.
People are watching our every move. It is not only your friends and family that are watching you but strangers, people you hardly know. Your entire life serves as a witness to everyone you come in contact with, even people you are just passing in street. As is often said, “You may be the only Christ someone ever sees.” What do you want them to remember about you?
I hope when I die strangers are able to say, “He was a good Christian man.”



My prayer: “God, help me be more Christ like, more Christian, in every aspect of my life.”












Friday, July 6, 2012

Saturday Mornings With Dad




Here is a little snippet from my next book, A Boy From Down East, do out late this year.



Saturday Mornings With Dad

I was on Facebook today and came upon a group for Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington NC. Memories of my Dad and me eating there in the early 1960’s came flooding back.
Back then Dad worked for Beaufort Equipment Company as a mechanic and later in the Parts Department. He worked Monday through Friday and a half day on Saturday. When I was young I often went to work with him on Saturday morning. There was always something fun to do.

Some Saturdays Dad took me to the Turnage Theater, which often had Saturday morning kid movies. Back then parents could let their children go to movies and not worry like we do today. With 25¢ for admission and 10¢ for a drink and popcorn you had a couple of hours of great entertainment.

On other Saturdays I went on equipment deliveries with the sons of Mr. Snows, the owner. This was always fun. I got to travel all over the area and at times I got to ride on the new tractors and harvesters. We often stopped at a little country store on the way to get a Coke and a pack of Nabs. It is amazing to think back on how filling a couple of crackers and a 6 oz. Coke were. Now you need 32 oz’s. No wonder this country has an obesity problem today.

Almost every Saturday, when Dad got off work, we went to Bill’s Hot Dogs for lunch. When I think back to that time I remember the hot dogs tasting better than they do today. Maybe it is because going out to eat was a special treat, especially when it was ME and my DAD.












Friday, June 22, 2012

The Circle of Life



Over my first cup of coffee this morning I was thinking about the long summer ahead of us. Yesterday was the longest day of the year and the first day of summer. The Florida heat and humidity is beginning and the air conditioner will be straining to keep up. I am already looking forward to cooler weather.

With this thought bouncing around my 5:00 AM empty brain I opened Facebook on the computer to check my updates. The first one I read my friend Jo Wanmer stated; “It’s the shortest day of the year but some kids don’t feel the cold.” Jo lives near Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

I had to laugh as the reality hit, we live in a small world. We, and myself especially, get so wrapped up in ourselves and our issues we forget there is a world of differences just beyond our doorstep. When it’s day on one side of the world it is night on the other. When it is the start of summer in Florida, it is the start of winter in Queensland.

My wife and I spent a few days at Walt Disney World earlier this week and we saw the show “Festival of the Lion King”. Excellent show if you ever get chance to see it. Part of it was the song “Circle of Life.” Jo's posting this morning reminded me of this. Whether it is summer or winter it is all part of the Circle of Life.

Isn’t it a great world God has created for us to live in?











Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Editing




I found this on Facebook and shared it. I hope this helps my editor to better understand what I am trying to say in my writing. Maybe this will help make it easier for her to strike through and add real words to my stories.









Monday, June 11, 2012

Latest Reviews Are In




Latest reviews are in:

Larry B Gray offers the best advice in its simplest form. I've read many a 300 page text on these topics and they don't give up nearly the amount of simple, clear advice that Gray offers in these short works. They are a quick read and offer easy, tangible ways to deal with employees, write a speech or find a job. Well worth the price of the texts.
Brenda J Wood author of Meeting Myself- Snippets from a Binging and Bulging Mind













"How to Find a Job" Now Available In Most Digital Formats



"How to Find a Job” by Larry B. Gray is now available at Smashwords.com in most digital formats.

Description:

I have been coaching a recent college graduate on how to find a job. It is amazing and frustrating to see how unprepared most college graduates are when it comes to finding a job after graduation. But, looking back, so was I.

With the constant change in the way we exchange information and conduct business today it is hard to keep up with all the new tricks to finding jobs. From massive job sites such as Monster and other electronic job bulletin boards, to social media, the landscape of finding a job is continually evolving. Even with this, the simple basic rules still apply and must be followed.

Let’s discuss some of the basics to conducting a job search and landing that perfect job. Some of the information covered will be:
- How to conduct a job search.
- How to write a resume.
- How to write a cover letter.
- How to handle the interview.
- How to follow-up





Order your copy today: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/170912














Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Now Available at Smashword.com in Most Digital Formats





I Have to Give a Speech - Now What” by Larry B. Gray



“I have to speak in front of how many people?” This realization sends chills through the toughest and smartest people. The fear of public speaking is real and we all face it at one time or another. Here are some simple tips to help you prepare and deliver your message.














Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Be Still and Know That I am God



I my youth I often sat on the banks of Durham Creek at the Bonnerton, NC bridge and thought about life. During times of soul searching or dealing with teenage pressures I found this little piece of heaven on earth the most inspiring place to ponder life and its mysteries. It was one of those special places where I felt God’s presence and peace.

I remember sitting on the creek bank and daydreaming for what seemed like hours. The cool breeze and the soft lapping of the waves brought a calming peace and a clearing mind to any situation.

Today is one of those days when I need to sit on the bank of the creek and feel God’s love and peace. Thanks to a picture I found on the computer (by Joe Bud Jones), I can now sit and stare at this little piece of heaven. No it is not the same but,  God’s word is remains true: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a.)




Monday, May 21, 2012

A Blogging Milestone


My Blog "A Boy From Down East - Growing Up In Aurora NC" just past 30,000 pageviews yesterday. The most popular article was about living in the segregated south with over 6,614pageviews. Who would have every believed people would read about a snot-nosed kid from tobacco road.


Check it out at:   Growing Up In Aurora NC - Segregation




Author Larry B. Gray and Smashwords Announce His Latest Book Is Now Available On Virtually All EBook Readers

Bartow, Florida April 4, 2012 - - Author Larry B. Gray has published “Problem Solving – Dealing With Employee Issues,” an 18 page booklet which is a must read for all persons in a leadership and management role.

Everyone in a leadership position will have to deal with employee issues. Whenever people work together friction occurs. How you deal with these issues will have a major impact on your success as a leader. “Problem Solving – Dealing With Employee Issues” lays out a systematic approach to dealing with employee issues and the associated problems.

“Problem Solving – Dealing With Employee Issues” can be downloaded at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/148680

About Larry B. Gray

Larry B Gray grew up in Eastern North Carolina in the small rural town of Aurora. His early years were spent working on his grandparents' tobacco farm and exploring his world of family, friends and school.

After marrying his high school sweetheart in 1972, he moved to Lakeland, Florida where he spent his adult years raising a beautiful family and working in the citrus industry with over 39 years of manufacturing management experience, selling real estate and being a writer wannabe, all at the same time. In his spare time he attended and graduated from Florida Southern College while working full time and starting a family.

He is still married to his high school sweetheart and has 3 beautiful children and two wonderful grandchildren. Life is not always easy but in the scheme of things it is fun and gets better every day.

Come join him on this great adventure, remembering the past and building the future.



Contact:

Larry B. Gray

larrygraysells@live.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Never Give Up

Never Give Up

How often does it feel like you can never win and you decide it is not worth your effort. How often does the next challenge end the same way.

There are times when you have to move on but it is important to review all your facts before making a decision. Basing a decision on emotion and frustration can often lead to failure. Worse it can lead to lost opportunities.

The little picture below says it all.




This is one of my favorite motivational pictures. "Never Give Up. Never Surrender." (Do you remember where that came from?)






Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Supervisor's Paryer




Thirty years ago mom found a copy of a prayer and stitched a needle point from it. She then framed it and sent it to me. Ever since then I have hung this prayer on the wall directly behind my desk as a reminder of what I need to strive for.

A Supervisor’s Prayer

Dear Lord,Please help me ..........
To accept human beings as they are --
not yearn for perfect creatures,
To recognize ability --
and to encourage it,
To understand shortcomings --
and make allowances for them,
To work patiently for improvement --
and not to expect too much too quickly,
To appreciate what people do right --
not just criticize what they do wrong,
To be slow to anger --
and hard to discourage,
To have the hide of an elephant --
and the patience of Job,
In short, Lord, please help me --
be a better Supervisor.







Friday, April 13, 2012

Timing Your Speech

So you have to give presentation and you are trying to determine the length of your talk. Here is an old tip I use all the time. It may not be politically correct but it works.



The other day I had to prepare a short talk to give at a meeting I had to attend. It wasn't that difficult as it was a subject I was very familiar with but you always wonder about the length and time.


Many moons ago when I was taking Agriculture 1 as a freshman at Aurora High School in Aurora NC we had a short chapter on public speaking. Our teacher, Finley Lewis, gave this simple rule which has stuck with me and guided me in every speech I have made:


"A speech should be like a woman's dress, long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep the interest."



For more information public speech order your copy of my book "I Have to Give a Speech" today:


 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Author Larry B. Gray and Smashwords Announce His Latest Book Is Now Available On Virtually All EBook Readers

Bartow, Florida April 4, 2012 - - Author Larry B. Gray has published “Problem Solving – Dealing With Employee Issues,” an 18 page booklet which is a must read for all persons in a leadership and management role.
Everyone in a leadership position will have to deal with employee issues. Whenever people work together friction occurs. How you deal with these issues will have a major impact on your success as a leader. “Problem Solving – Dealing With Employee Issues” lays out a systematic approach to dealing with employee issues and the associated problems.
“Problem Solving – Dealing With Employee Issues” can be downloaded at Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/148680
About Larry B. Gray
Larry B Gray grew up in Eastern North Carolina in the small rural town of Aurora. His early years were spent working on his grandparents' tobacco farm and exploring his world of family, friends and school.
After marrying his high school sweetheart in 1972, he moved to Lakeland, Florida where he spent his adult years raising a beautiful family and working in the citrus industry with over 39 years of manufacturing management experience, selling real estate and being a writer wannabe, all at the same time. In his spare time he attended and graduated from Florida Southern College while working full time and starting a family.
He is still married to his high school sweetheart and has 3 beautiful children and two wonderful grandchildren. Life is not always easy but in the scheme of things it is fun and gets better every day.
Come join him on this great adventure, remembering the past and building the future.

Contact:
Larry B. Gray
larrygraysells@live.com

Friday, March 30, 2012

Job Hunting - Confidence


One of the keywords in job hunting is “confidence.” It sounds so simple but it is a stumbling block for many job seekers. Confidence can be defined as the ability to describe yourself, your skills and your experience with self-assurance, knowing you are the right person for the job.

Your resume and cover letter should exude confidence making the reader want to interview you. Use an active voice in your writing, never a passive voice. Every statement should be positive and confident.

At the interview, be prepared. Walk into the room with the confidence you are the person for the job. Know your skills and experience, ready to explain and expound on them in detail. Turn every negative into a positive.

Smile. This has a positive effect on all forms of your communications. Smile when you are writing and it will be reflected on the paper. Smile when you are talking on the telephone the listener will hear your smile in your voice. Smile when talking face to face with the hiring manager and he will hear the confidence in your voice and see confidence in your body language.

The job search process is one of those rare times when it is okay to brag about you. Have fun with it and enjoy getting your dream job.