Sunday, May 24, 2015

Grace and Truth

The message by Brian Tome (Crossroads Church)  this Memorial Day Weekend was about Grace and Truth - John 1:14.  Almost like a Myers Brigg personality test, he categorized everyone into two categories - either predominately tendencies to Truth or alternatively to Grace. 

Then in classic analytical style he illustrated his point about relationships with a four quadrant visual.

The most healthy of relationships is where we are both high in truth and high in grace.  Families can show this in the fun of interacting and tolerance (Grace) together yet understanding the family values and rules of order and accountability (Truth). 

Relationships ebb and flow in all three of the quadrants (Consume, Contract and Covenant) but it is the Covenant we seek long term.  The word covenant can me misinterpreted as LAW (like Contract) but I prefer the ecclesiastical definition:

"A solemn agreement between the members (of a church) to act together in harmony with the precepts of the gospel."

Relationships are all about harmony.  Two people (one with Truth and one with Grace) can sing together from the same sheet of music - perfect harmony.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Focus on Plan not Results

"Stick to the plan and let the results take care of themselves" was the instructor's advice in the Investools course that I signed Jenna up for.  Taken from the quote:  "I focus my total attention on trading well and let the results take care of themselves" by Tom Basso in his book "New Market Wizards". 

The mantra I remember at Accenture during my days of implementing manufacturing software (specifically the MRP module - Materials Requirements Planning) was the saying -  "Plan the work and Work the Plan (see blog  Sept. 30, 2010). 

The power of this advice is that the plan provides an objective way of stepping back from the pressure of deadlines and emotional stress about the results.  In trading, the emotions of volatility in stock prices can tempt a trader to react and ignore their rules (e.g. the plan).  That creates unfavorable results from the logic and strategy developed during the planning stage of investing.

Another way of justifying working the plan is that it preserves the investment of time you spent developing the plan in the first place.  If you are questioning results - look at the plan and spend the time thinking about why you change the plan first before taking action.

A constantly changing plan will drive constantly changing results.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Truth or Consequences

I don't typically like to redundantly blog about a recent news article - but I couldn't resist propagating and virally duplicating the points of Michael Ledeen in his May 17th WSJ commentary "Bridge - Not Chess is the Ultimate War Game".  Mom and Dad taught me card sense (although I think card sense is a DNA gene), and the game of Bridge.  The real teacher I had was Rich M. (my college buddy) who was a top ranked chess player also. 

Michael Ledeen's observation about player feints is exactly why I love the game:

"Frequently a player will have to decide whether he would rather tell the truth to his partner (thereby informing his opponents) or deceive the enemy (thus running the risk of seriously fooling his ally across the table).    Nothing like this exists in even the greatest board games. They permit some feints, to be sure, but not outright lies. Great bridge players are great liars—as are brilliant military leaders and diplomats and politicians."

Luckily Rich M. put up with my lies that I claimed were true and legitimate "Goren" methods of playing.  Our friendship was sealed when I declared that our Bridge partnership was officially over in a dispute over an exception to the Blackwood convention after a cue bid of an ace.   Reflecting back - it was my error but Rich was the bigger Bridge partner to apologize. 


Now S.S. is my regular Bridge partner and he gives me great "Bridge Mercy" also in my lies (or convention ignorance).  When asked by opponents what my bid means he always responds - "I have no clue".   It supports what I have put on my convention card under Special Conventions:  "Don't trust anything this guy says .... he is a Cowboy bidder:  :)  "

A Bridge game is quite a intriguing practice of ethical paradoxes.  Every bid and play of the hand is a choice of Truth or Consequences. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Archimedes or Plato

Ellen packaged up her Rhombicosidodecahedron to take to school for her extra credit project.  Of course, I had to dig out (yes I saved it) my own Icosahedron that I constructed when I was her age.

Clearly we can see the difference in educational progression (and prodding) of 45 years.   The Icosahedron looks like a Model T next to a Lincoln. 

My old Icosahedron is more precisely a regular convex or Platonic Icosahedron consisting of 20 equilateral triangle faces with five meeting at each of its twelve vertices -  hence the colored pentagon look painted upon the vertices.

Now Ellen's project is actually  a "Great Rhombicosidodecahedron" one of many Archimedian solids.  This one has 30 squares, 20 hexagons, and 30 decagons with 120 verticies and 180 edges.

So 10 times (e.g. verticies) better than Dad :)

Well done Ellen!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ellen's Gar--d--en

Could it have been the Go Cincinnati volunteering that motivated Ellen and I to get going on the Garden project that she and I started five weeks ago after planting the seedlings?  Today was another back breaking day of tilling soil, digging holes and moving tree stumps to level the drop in the hill.

Part one was planting the watermelon seedlings after preparing the main garden for other plantings.  There is something satisfying about gardening - watching the patient process of plant growth.  Two years ago the pumpkins were a big success, so that gave us confidence to try out watermelons.  Eight holes five feet apart - it takes a lot of space for watermelon vines.

Part two will be planted next weekend as Ellen is still in the planning phase of selecting what to grow. 

Now we await nature to take charge with proper doses of water and sun. 

Go Cincinnati

11 man years (4000 person days) of improvements in Cincinnati were performed on Saturday by 8,000 volunteers at Crossroads Church. Susan, Ellen and I were a part of this 9th annual tradition by Crossroads Church.  This was not our first time we participated but this could be an annual tradition for the family now. 

Out assignment was mulching tree beds on Mulberry street in OTR (Over the Rhine).  It was hard back breaking work - but immensely satisfying.  As we were working even some residents came out to help.  Just walking through this old area of Cincinnati gave us all a sense of the magnitude of the challenge of keeping Cincinnati beautiful.

So Saturday May 16, 2015 was declared by the Mayor of Cincinnati  as Go Cincinnati Day.

It shows the power of what Community can do when people come together to do good.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Points of Nudging

Today was a walk down memory lane with a lunch with T.H. (an old Accenture alumni from Dallas).  The "chance" meeting occurred in a multivariable equation of relationship connections.

(1) Wednesday Tennis Group E.F introduces me to T.M.
(2) T.M moves into an office next to me
(3) A Saturday evening Crossroads service plants me one row behind T.M. in balcony one
(4) A spiritual discussion about the Braves Journey between T.M and me results in discussion each of our small group participants
(5) T.M mentions T.H. (an Accenture alumni) is in his group
(6) E.N (Miami Student) asked me if I knew T.H. when I was at Accenture
(7) T.M sets up a lunch between the three of us

I have come to believe that random coincidences are rare in this journey.  The mystery is understanding why they occur - which we will likely never answer.

 Is it a "master designer" with a plan already known?   Or a "master nudger" creating points of connection in an intelligent way of letting free will determine next steps?

Nudges occur for a reason. That's the point!