gifts :: “battered by the waves, but never capsized”

boat waves

Thanksgiving Prayer 2015

The Thanksgiving Tradition means different things to different people.  For some, it marks a time to be with family and friends (and eat!!).  For others, it might signal a fall vacation retreat.  For me, it signals a time to reflect on the gift of life.  You see, the act of giving thanks is a highly spiritual and human act.  The words “Thanks and Giving” become an act of giving thanks because of a deep feeling of gratefulness.  It wells up from within.  Why do we give thanks?  Why do we say thank you?  Because something happened to us that we perceived as a gift.  Because someone did something for us.  

  • The person opening a door for you.
  • A spouse cooking dinner.
  • A son or daughter saying “I love you” without us telling them to!
  • A manager specifically telling you how you did a great job
  • Receiving a call or message from a friend when you were feeling down
  • Getting a great customer review
  • The sales manager working several deals with you and making it happen
  • A tech giving another tech work (I distinctly remember a tech hollering over to another team saying, “Here, we got some extra work…take it!)
  • A mother or father having major medical complications but pulling through

In some ways, these experiences compel us to be grateful and say thanks.  We experience something within that moves us to say “Thank You”.  We perceive mom or dad pulling through surgery as a gift, and one that we will gladly receive and be joyful about.  We are literally moved within to be grateful.  

There is also ambiguity in this world and for many, including our Parisian brothers and sisters, there has been trauma, pain, and loss.  We have experienced little and great losses this year.  I have personally been involved with 17 incidents of an employee losing a loved one this year.  17!  There have been hospital visits, pastoral care sessions due to loss of different sorts.  Some of us have felt battered by the waves (of):

  • losing a loved one
  • not making a deal
  • not producing as much as you’re used to
  • decisions that we have doubted
  • mistakes made
  • personal losses of many sorts

But that is not the final chapter to the Great and Large Story.  Even Paris, during this trying time, is summoning the good within with their motto:  “battered by the waves, but never capsized”  


Our boat is still afloat, trying to make its way home.  

I urge you to be thankful for the gift of inner strength, for courage, for hope.  I encourage you to rightly perceive how you have been gifted this year.  In my faith tradition, we acknowledge that there is a Great Giver who loves us and is for us.  Today, and for the whole of life, let us give thanks for the gifts we’ve received.



We offer thanksgiving today not because we have to or because the holiday tells us we should.  No!  We offer thanksgiving because we are compelled to.  Something within us moves us to perceive what has happened to us as a gift.  We gratefully see all good things as a gift and we ask for the assistance to lovingly receive the gifts.  We receive hope, joy, strength, and courage.

We thank you for our loved ones that believe in us.  

We thank you for the work we’re able to participate in.

We thank you for our sons and daughters who will be the next generation of world-changers and history-makers.

We thank you for the kind words of love and affirmation we have received this year.

We thank you for the little things like rain, the color blue, printers that work, broken cars that we can fix, loyal customers, service advisor swag, and coffee.  Thank you for coffee!  

We ask for your blessing over our dinner gatherings this week and pray for laughter and joy to permeate our homes.  Amen.


Employees’ mental, physical health part of Hoehn Motors’ maintenance program (see source)

The Rancho Santa Fe Review did a piece on Hoehn Motors and the corporate chaplaincy service:

source link

While keeping physically fit is important, Hoehn also places a strong emphasis on mental health. The company has a full-time nondenominational corporate chaplain, Roy Inzunza, who has provided spiritual comfort and counseling services for more than seven years.

On call 24/7, Inzunza’s entire job is to assist employees, whether it’s to take them to Mexico so they can build houses for charity work, or to serve as a marriage or grief counselor.

“Having a chaplain to serve the emotional needs of our employees is awesome,” Sherman said. “It’s a great thing for morale. As employees go through different circumstances, he really helps them get back on their feet.”

Book Reflection: The Entitlement Cure (ch.2)

the deeper story

the deeper story

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way
by John Townsend

Ch. 2 – the Deeper story

We aren’t born entitled, per se.  There are deeper stories and experiences that shape and mold us.  That entitled person in your life chose to be this way for deeper reasons.

Townsend starts off with a story of a young, entitled businessman who confesses that life needed to knock him around before he got his stuff together.  It’s an all-too-often heard story of people who suffered great loss at the expense of their own entitlement and selfishness.  We tend to have a vista of only ourselves and not the other.  It requires a detachment of grandiosity from self to see the other.

If we’re miserable and alienating people, we need to ask ourselves how we’re contributing to it.  We must stop blaming, excusing, and denying the real issue at hand and face ourselves.  

…we change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.” (p.32)

I think we have not learned the tools to properly cope with pain.  We mostly tend to avoid it or skip altogether.  It’s painful to self-reflect and examine.  We may not like what we see, judge/condemn ourselves, and get overwhelmed by the suffering.  

“Entitlement destroys relationships and marriages.  It alienates.  It costs businesses a lot of money, often through a poor work ethic and lack of focus.” (p.33)

The author offers an empathetic approach to describing the problem but giving people a solution and hope.  I think we can oftentimes see the problem of entitlement and be sick to our stomachs over it but not offer any compassion or resolution.  Some Facebook posts are an example of this.  We thrash a company or person over an issue (shaming them) but offer no sense of compassion or understanding.

Townsend offers three reasons to be compassionate with entitled people.

  1. It’s not their fault:  “Entitlement comes not only from a person’s choices and attitudes, but also from the relationship environment they grew up in, especially the key connections that affected them deeply.” (p.34)  We don’t excuse the person’s entitled behavior but we do mine for the reasons behind it.  
  2. We all have attitudes of entitlement, to some extent:  “Everyone has some sense of being owed or of feeling we are better than.”  (p.35)  Some have (global) entitlement that permeates their whole way of being and seeing the world.  At Starbucks, in the office, on the basketball court, in their relationships.  All of us have specific  areas in our lives where we struggle with entitlement.  For example, there might be a manager who is a very nice and well-mannered father.  But once he steps into his managerial role at work, he can come across as demeaning and demanding, without being aware of it (even when he is told by his counterparts).  The point is to be aware of our own areas of entitlement so that we can show compassion to others.
  3. “Change happens only in the presence of compassion.” (p.36)  “If you’re trying to help, you will need to be ‘for’ that person–for their welfare, for their success, and for their growth and transformation.”  We can’t be a caring presence to “entitled” people without the virtue of compassion.  We begin with compassion if we want to bear fruit in the growth process.

Relational Patterns That Drive Entitlement (p.38-43)

I’d suggest, at this point, that you purchase the book to read Townsend’s stories which offer context and real life examples.  I’ll simply list out his section of “Praise and Reward Problems”.  I personally found this section very helpful and practical.  We sometimes praise and reward in ways that creates entitlement.  Here are his 6 ways that we might be feeding entitlement through our praising/rewarding efforts:

  1. Praising what takes no effort.  “Rewards and praise are most effective when they focus on an achievement that took time and energy…and involve a person’s character or internal makeup.”
  2. Praising what is required.  “Praise should be reserved for those times when someone stretches himself beyond the norm, puts extra effort or time into a task, or exceeds expectations.”
  3. Praising what is not specific.  “…take the time to observe and relate to a specific person about a particular praiseworthy behavior or attitude”.  General praises (you’re awesome) show empathy and care to those who are not entitled.  But to those that are, it continues to create the illusion of not needing to change anything.
  4. Praising what takes an ability and creates an identity.  We all need affirmation.  We need to know when we have done well at a specific task.  It will help us discover our strengths and abilities.
  5. Praising what is not based on reality.  Put simply, we can’t do anything we want to.  I will never be an NBA or football player.  I am short fella and don’t have that skillset.  We cannot offer a false sense of hope to others.
  6. A lack of warmth.  “Ironically, entitlement can occur when a person gets little praise, care, or warmth…when a person has a number of cold, detached, or self-absorbed relationship, he often creates what is called a defensive grandiose identity.”  People learn to protect themselves and create an identity of grandiosity to meet self-worth needs.

When we avoid conflict (it’s a dreadful, hard conversation to have), we foster a culture/attitude that conveys people can do whatever they want.  Even if someone has been working for a company for long time, it still doesn’t give them the right to act entitled without any consequences.  Leaders have the task of setting limits, showing compassion along the way, and following through.  It’s firmness with compassion that helps others accept and adapt to reality (or they excuse themselves).

Book Reflections: “The Entitlement Cure” (ch.1)

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way
by John Townsend

Chapter 1: The Disease has a cure

The Entitlement Cure, by Dr. John Townsend, aims at tackling a pervasive issue in our culture that affects families, companies, and communities.  He begins by sharing two stories:  a 25-year old who lives at home, plays video games all day with his friends, quit school, and got let go from every minimum wage job he worked at.  He feels like he has it made at home and why should he leave!  If his parents stop nagging him, then all would be perfect.  Besides, he feels like they owe him because he’s their son.  The parents are hardworking and responsible.  Yet they feel helpless and angry over the situation.

The second story is of a sales manager who is energetic and extroverted.  She gets along with everyone.  But she is not performing and meeting her numbers.  At first, she tries blaming management for not having enough staff or setting clear expectations.  But that’s not the case.  Her relational ability is affirmed but the problem is that she thinks that’s enough.  She thinks it’s enough to be nice and caring without meeting number.  In fact, she feels under-appreciated for how nice she is and feels like she deserves more appreciation for how nice she is.

Some Definitions Townsend Offers:  Entitlement is…

  • individuals choosing to do life the way they want to without engaging in hard or difficult situations
  • believing that one is exempt from any responsibility; deserving and being owed appreciation with special treatment because, after all, they’re special; they feel like they’re beyond the rules of life; easily blaming others for their own lack of success.
  • the person who has the ability to take care of themselves but refuses to because they feel owed; they expect others to care for them.

Entitlement Examples

  • the person whose poor job performance is poor but feels that the company owes her a great paycheck without doing the hard work
  • the young man living at home, not contributing to the household, playing video games all day long
  • the employee who blames everyone else for their lack of performance when, in fact, management has given them all the tools they need
  • the spouse who blames their partner for his lack of happiness, although she is working hard at the marriage
  • the manager who expects results from his team without investing time and energy developing them

Entitlement Characteristics

  • an attitude of being special or of exceptional value above others
  • an attitude of feeling owed or deserving without any true merit
  • a refusal to accept responsibility
  • a denial of their impact on others – they don’t believe their (in)actions affect their employer, family, or spouse

“People’s life experience may influence them toward entitlement.  But they don’t create entitlement.”  p.22

“At some point in life, people choose entitlement.  They direct themselves toward an entitled viewpoint…because it’s the easy way.” p.22

Most people who have “entitlers” in their lives experience the following three emotions (p.24):

  1. alienation:  the entitled person’s attitude and behavior push everyone away.  As a result, a parent will feel alienated and disconnected from the entitled son/daughter.
  2. Anger:  people feel angry because of the way the entitled person behaves.  There is a lack of regard for others by the entitler.
  3. helplessness:  a parent might speak to their son/daughter about responsibility only to hit a dead end.  The parent begins to feel helpless, like there’s nothing that they can do.

Pocket Entitlement:  All of us struggle with some form of entitlement.  It’s part of the human condition.  We must look at our own deficiencies and inner struggles for being owed or deserving.

The Solution to Entitlement

  • Townsend calls it the “Hard Way:  The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome” (p.26)
  • “This habit focuses on doing whatever is best to reach the good goal, even if it is difficult, uncomfortable, takes longer, and requires more energy.” p.26
  • Hard work pays off
  • “God originated the Hard Way, and he lives it.  All through the Bible, he does the best thing, even if it is a difficult thing.  He never avoids it.  The best example of this is Jesus, who suffered and died for no other reason than his love for a world that didn’t want him (see Is. 50:7)…Ultimately, the Hard Way is simply God’s Way.  It is how he runs the world, expresses his own values, and makes choices that affect us.”  p.27

Personal Reflections

  • How did our culture create such a deep-rooted entitlement attitude/behavior?  Any factors that contributed to this?
  • How can companies implement a “hard work” ethic culture and develop this virtue traits?

The hope is that we become people who take responsibility for our own lives and model it through hard work and commitment.  I simply can’t get away from what one executive told me one day:  “Everyone must grapple with the theme of submission”.

Crayola Joy Drive – NEGU


Supporting Children who are Fighting Cancer

CRAYOLA JOY DRIVE : Our JOY DRIVE will benefit children fighting cancer in hospitals worldwide. With YOUR help, we can color their world a little brighter!

“24-pack CRAYOLA BRAND crayons”

(**the size and brand are SPECIFIC and HOSPITAL APPROVED**)

The following stores sell “24 pack Crayola brand crayons”

Office Depot $2.29/box
Toys R Us $1.49/limit 2 $14.75/case of 12
Dollar General $19.80/case of 12
Target $1.37/box

DRIVE DATES:  Monday, February 9th- Friday, February 20th

DROP OFF ZONES:  The Store Receptionist

PACKING DAY:  On February 21st, from 9:30 to 11:00am, 20 volunteers will have the chance to stuff the CRAYOLAS in Joy Jars. If you wish to share this experience, please contact Meli Barrett, to be added to the list.
You can call x1213 (740-494-5213) or email to .

On the day of the event we will meet at Hoehn Honda at 8:00am and carpool/caravan to the factory.


You can purchase a 12-pack on Amazon:

Come Build Hope Evaluation Form 2014

Hi!  If you attended the “Come Build Hope 2014” Mexico trip, would you please take a moment to fill out this survey?  This is for employees from Hoehn Motors.  Email Chaplain Roy if you have any further questions.  Peace!


The Happy Hatter Project: An Interview with Mandie


Happy Hatter Project

An Interview with Mandie Williams (Founder of the Project)

It’s a real joy to serve as a Corporate Chaplain at Hoehn Motors.  One of my joys is to see employees inspired to help others in their own unique way.  Enter Mandie.

Mandie has been working for Hoehn Motors for 6 years.  She has a quiet, assertive demeanor to her. Late last year, she shared a vision she had about helping others.

Check out her interview and get to know more about the project she’s undertaking.  I was inspired!  I hope you are too.

CR:  Mandie, first off, I’m so excited to hear about the Happy Hatter Project’s first drop-off.  I could see the excitement and passion you have for this. I’m so excited for you. 

CR:  Tell us about the Happy Hatter Project.  How did you come up with the idea?  What inspired you?

Mandie:  I came up with the idea in December.  I was on my way to work and there were a bunch of stories of people helping people and people donating to Rady’s Children’s Hospital. One story in particular stuck out to me. It was about a young girl who wanted to do something for the kids that were sick and so she started making bows for the girls and bottle top necklaces for the boys; she had over 400 made. I was thinking right after hearing that, “Wow if a 14 year old girl can give something like that what can I do? How can I put a smile on the little faces of children who sometimes have so little to smile about?”

When I was young my Grandma taught me how to crochet. I would crochet long chains when I went to her house. I didn’t really start to learn stitches until my late teens, but she got me started. From there I learned to knit and use a loom. My Grandma was one of those women who loved to give and she loved kids. So I decided I wanted to use the skills that she had given me to make something for kids.

CR:  Why are you doing this specific project?  What does it mean to you?

Mandie:  I’m doing this project because, while money for these families that are going through these hard times is so so important, I wanted to make something that lasted a little longer. I wanted to make something that would cheer them up and also be useful for them. This project means a lot to me. It keeps my Grandma alive to me! While I’m making these hats I’m thinking about her. The project has also helped me branch out and connect with people that I might not have connected with before.

CR:  Who are the hats benefitting?  

Mandie:  The hats are benefitting children mostly, right now. I want to branch out to others but I wanted to start small.

CR:  What obstacles have you overcome to see this project through?

Mandie:  I had to overcome the fear of thinking people wouldn’t be interested in being a part of my idea. One obstacle I have met was when I went to donate the hats, the lady I was supposed to meet wasn’t there. She had either left for the day or she was unavailable. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to give the hats directly to her and I had to leave them in a donation bin. I feel like these hats, even though I haven’t made all of them myself, are a part of me and to give them to a bin instead of a person was a tough blow, but it turned out alright and I can’t wait to make another donation.

CR:  How can others get involved?

Mandie There are two ways to get involved. ONE is to make hats!! I have taught the girls at Honda how to use a round loom, and I’m totally available to show anyone else who wants to make one. I even have a few extra looms I could lend out if someone just wanted to make one. I have heard “rumors” of other people in the dealerships having crochet experience! Totally cool Crochet and knit hats are totally welcome. The size of hat is important; we have to keep them for ages 3 to adult as they really have no need currently for baby sized hats. The SECOND way is to donate yarn or money for yarn.

CR:  How often will you be delivering hats?

Mandie:  Right now, because we are heading into summer so the demand for hats won’t be as high, I will be donating 40 hats every month to two months (depends on how many I have stored up). Once the colder months come, I have to work it out with my contact of how many and how often.

CR:  Where do you envision this project heading?

Mandie:  I really want this project to take off. I feel like there are a lot of people out there that would like to do something for these children and adults that are sick but don’t have the budget to donate a lot of money. This is a great way to donate!!! Out of a bundle of yarn that costs between 2 and 7 dollars, depending on the size hat, you can make two hats. EVERY HAT COUNTS so if people only have the time for one, that is one more than I had yesterday. I want to make people smile… So anyone that wants the same thing… make a hat pleeeaasseee!!!

You can stay connected with the project on Facebook:

You can also email Mandie directly if you’d like to participate or donate.

email Mandie: