Saturday, November 27, 2010

Moving Pegs Around

You know that simple table game you see at restaurants that has a triangle piece of wood with a bunch of holes in the wood? The one with the colored pegs in it, where you have to move the pegs around, jumping over another one, but not skipping a hole? The object of the game of course, is to end up with one peg left. You succeed when you finish the game without baggage or objects (pegs) standing in your way. Well, I realized today that I could learn a great deal from that game. I seem to be moving things around, jumping over other things, putting pegs in places they haven't been before, or at least in a while - - I seem to be realigning my life, and that's a great feeling! I can actually see the end of the game working out for me this time. Somehow, with a little prayer and luck, I'm actually beginning to get the hang of this thing called LIFE! (Did I mention the prayer part?) LOL

Recently my good friend Cindy Papale introduced me to another good friend, Derek Britt, who is involved in many movie ventures, television, publishing, you name it the man has some sort of connection. Like me, he enjoys meeting people, helping others, and making himself available for them and in return we receive joy, love, and admiration, but sometimes we also get hired for really cool jobs, or we have the opportunity to write something for someone who can be furthered by what we write. The upshot of this friendship is that I will always be needed; I will always be able to do what I know I am capable of doing, and someone will benefit from it. I will also benefit from it, as that's what I believe God had in mind when He formed me. He gave me a bunch of writing and connecting talents, but He didn't put the gene in me that required a lot of recognition or money. I mean yeah, I want to work, be paid, eat, get nice things, and be thanked, but I'm not a money-whore or attention hog. As long as I'm being cared for and able to help out, I prefer going that route.

So, I'm moving things around. First I moved my family from Oklahoma City to Gainesville, TX when we believed a movie was being made about our dog Faith. The movie concept was in tact but the funding wasn't, the idea failed and I moved us back to Oklahoma. This year I moved us to Indiana to get away from a bad economy, to find a place where my girls could literally start over educationally, financially, emotionally, as well as spiritually. Indiana, in case you didn't realize it, is a REALLY great spot for that. Some fabulous people live here, and again, supernatural sources came through to find me the best landlord, the best place for Laura to ride, own horses, and work, and the best place for Caity to find work and raise her new baby -- Copeland is due in early May. Indiana's schools are some of the very best, and I'm stoked about the girls going to college, working, and becoming more and more involved with their community. Me? Well, I'm moving pegs again. I'm moving myself to Los Angeles, taking Matrix, but leaving the others here. I'm working on a project or two with Derek, and I'm hoping to break into voice-over work, writing, film, television, and you guessed it - - everything! I'm just so at peace about it. It's time!

So the last few pegs are needing to be moved, I see the holes, I know the game. I could sit back and mentally position each bright colored peg until the game is ended, but that's not how it works...I have to pick it up, jump another, move it to where it needs to be, and most importantly, remove the peg standing in my way to success. It's always been this silly simple game and I wasn't aware of it. There are great things often standing in our way to our own success; we have the courage and the skill set to move ourselves or we don't. I do have the power, the courage, and the training - - it's time to jump...forward! Always forward.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Little Patch of Reuben

When he was little my son Reuben would play "Army" in an area of the yard that was too hard to reach with the lawn mower. Subsequently the piece of land grew wildly and a bit out of control with foliage. From time to time I would try to clear it but each time I did I faced the wrath of a little kid that refused to called into the house until all of his missions were complete. There was a neighbor that I met only when she found me in the supermarket because Reuben was with me. She said "Oh, you don't know the joy this boy brings me every morning." She continued to tell me how she takes her cup of coffee and a breakfast bar nearly every day to the window just to watch Reuben play because from her point of view she can see him clearly - - she explained to me how he was completely in control of the invisible soldiers that he commanded, how he barked out orders, then swung around to play the part of each soldier taking orders. She was sorry to see Reuben go to high school. (Little did she know that he played every waking moment of his life then as well, but it was in the front yard with imaginary spectators watching him tackle the invisible quarterback.)

My parents live on a patch of land in the country where they have at least a half acre of what is called "Reuben's Patch" because over the years he would go into the wooded, overgrown weeds and vines to "hunt", "stake out the bad guys" or just be "at war". It was a perfect place for a kid with his size of an imagination. I remember looking at a piece of property with Laura about a year ago when Reuben was still in the Army. The backyard had 8 acres of land and in the far corner was a spot that would have been Reuben-esque. There were trees reaching to the sky and it seemed that their fat bushy pine branches were hovering over one another guarding the entry way, blocking out the would be humans who may have desired to destroy them for the sake of being able to see to the other side of the property line. This was truly a haven for the boy-man who would be coming to visit and need a place to hide with his mind!

Well, where I live now has four patios and no yard. I live on a golf course with acres and acres of wooded lands, creek beds, and places I know my son could sneak in, hide in, pop out, and scare the be-jeebies out of the golfers if he wanted to. However, something tells me he would refrain a bit at his age; but probably JUST a bit. One of my patios is about 12x15. It is gated, and has a concrete floor if you will. I have not touched it since we moved in. I have allowed it to grow over with vines, limbs, flowers, weeds, and all the leaves and pine needles that can possible gather do indeed gather there. It is a place I find quite peaceful - - and probably a place that raccoons and skunks like as well, I don't know. I call it my little patch of Reuben. When I get the hankering to think about him I open up the curtain and look outside. Since it's gated and fenced off no one sees it from the outside. I've been asked by the association to trim it down, but again because it's behind the fence I don't actually have to. I told them no, and addressed the fact that it brings me joy. If a critter really did live in it I would probably chase it out - - but I don't think it's housing anyone. It's just a little tranquil spot that screams "Hey Mom, MOM, MOM, MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM.....bring me the Oreos please!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Girl and Her Horse

There's just something about men and their trucks and girls with their horses. I don't know where to start with my personal story because it has deep deep roots, but only a few blooms. I'm tell you that when I was little and knew absolutely nothing about horses I wanted one. My parents lived in the city, there were no real barns that I knew about where you could board a horse, and believe me, they weren't the type of people to every pay anyone to keep an animal - - far more pragmatic than that. If we didn't have our own land then we weren't getting a horse. It was that simple. My friends had horses, and that's where I eventually ended up; with my friends who had horses. I can rattle off the names of 5 of my close friends that saw a lot of me throughout the years because they owned a few horses.

As a young adult I did the impossible; I bought myself a horse. I don't know that I told my mom and dad. I may have, I probably did, but I know I didn't tell them the heartbreak of losing it because I was lied to, the man I bought him from was a crook and took my money, then told the police he was leasing the horse to me. I know I didn't tell my parents about falling off from a dead run from a 16.3 hand tall (that's tall in case you're not into horses) sorrel Thoroughbred gelding. I know I never told them that I was planning on stealing the horse back and trying to figure out a way to borrow dad's truck to do it. That much I know I didn't share with my parents. Girls and their horses - - there's a bond that clamps tightly around the heart and it really never lets up. I remember everything about the horse and I wasn't even that much in love with him. I was more in awe I think. He was huge, he was fast, he was gorgeous, and he was gone.

All these years later, and after having a daughter that was born to ride, I have found myself in the position of owning another horse. I almost got one given to me by a very special friend I've only met on the internet. She and I went into business together, and she wanted to buy me a pretty Appaloosa but things just didn't work out for the seller and the buyer to get things together. Timing seems to be a big part of owning a horse these days. I knew I didn't have the extra money to pay for one, but I really really wanted one. This same friend was able to buy my daughter a lesser trained horse, and Laura had the time, patience, and energy to bring to the barn and train her new horse; a bay colored Arab/Quarterhorse named Stryker. He's only three, gelded, and from all looks and tests seems to be an awesome choice for the price. Watching Laura with Stryker, and occasionally riding a barn horse I've been itching to get my own again - - until now. Now I have one.

Laura and I are believers of the Law of Attraction. We begin by accepting the fact that if we believe it whatever we believe in will come true as long as we continue to think about it, live as if it is ours, and pray hard - - really hard. God is so funny sometimes. He really is; I talked to Him openly and reminded Him of the tall, stately sorrel red animal I had in 1983. I reminded Him (God) that I was not an experienced rider, and thought that a Thoroughbred would be a bit much - - you know, too much actually. Did I mention we were believers of the Law of Attraction? You see, according to the Law of Attraction that which you lend your attention to is what is brought to you. That which you bring your thoughts around to is what is received. I thought over and over about how I didn't want a Thoroughbred. I thought over and over about how I didn't want a red horse. I thought over and over again how I wanted a shorter, tamer, slower horse that would be best for me, but it couldn't be a red horse, and it couldn't be a Thoroughbred. (Notice how I said it COULDN'T BE)

Well, the Law of Attraction only hears and understands your emotion. It doesn't separate good and/or bad, yes or no. It just gives you exactly what it is that you are thinking about mostly - - the strongest, and I really really didn't want a red Thoroughbred. I got a RED THOROUGHBRED!! LOL

I got online and found a lot of free horse ads on advertisements that are really set up for horse lovers. You would have to be a horse person to know where these ads are and that's a good thing as the average person looking may or may not understand all the responsibilities that go along with actually owning a horse. I was green as a fresh pine cone when I started out in my 20's. Today I know a lot more, but one thing I know is that I don't know enough. I will tell you the truth, I was not experienced enough for the big horse, and it is probably a blessing that I was only thrown off once! Angels probably held me in the saddle after the first throw. After finding an ad for a horse that seemed absolutely perfect for me; I filled out the contact information form and the first thing I laughed about as I looked over the ad was the fact that this free, well mannered, great temperament horse, the one I would be able to get for free, delivered to me, and she would be an amazing horse for me - - was red. She was too short to race, which is why she was being given away and that meant she was a full blooded Thoroughbred. Law of Attraction!

Well, bring it on! The wonderful woman (Ashley) that brought the horse to me was another amazing person. I honestly feel that we'll be friends for the rest of our lives. The horse is able to be registered, but without being raced, without being qualified to be a race horse, she was never registered. I can do that. I can name her. I can be her first real owner and that means so much to me. At 15 hands tall, my red Thoroughbred mare is named Boomer's Crimson Heart. She is the daughter of a race horse on both sides; Lion's Heart is her Sire and Meadowlake's Star is her Dam. I'm told they were average and I'm told they were unremarkable. These are terms that horse trainers use - - to me they are priceless. They made my baby.

Thanking my Lord today, thinking of the new relationship that started with a quest to see if there would be something out there for me - - I now believe even more strongly in the power of positive thinking. The thing is, I know also to be careful what I ask for - - and what I think about. Because I'll get it. A girl and her horse. It's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RSC - Recruiting and Staffing Careers (Beware)

Let me start out by saying that the following story is MY SIDE of what took place between myself and a possible fraudulent company calling themselves Recruiting and Staffing Careers.

About a week ago I found Recruiting and Staff Careers (RSC) online and filled out the necessary forms to find myself a job in the Human Resource field of employment. Upon doing so I was contacted via e-mail by a woman calling herself Sandra Reese. She claimed to be the personal assistant to Paul Rosen; supposedly this Paul Rosen is out of Chicago, but his virtual office could be anywhere. He has a 310 area code phone number, but when you call it, you are quickly directed to his website. If you insist on leaving a message for him you are not allowed to do so, as his mailbox is full.

After agreeing to set up an interview online with RSC through a virtual site given to you when you apply, I upheld my end of the agreement and met with a group of others at 1:00 p.m. EST today. Of course you are given several options and times wherein you can say you are willing to do the virtual interview. THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO BE ON ALERT.

Throughout the day I was given e-mail and cell phone reminders to be on time, or even to log in early. I did this. I anxiously and eagerly awaited the online interview; even if I found it to be a bit odd that we were not asked to use webcams or have microphones to interact with the principals at RSC. It made sense to me after I saw that in my 1:00 p.m. session there were over 100 names of those also being screened for the 40 coveted positions that were being offered. Obviously if we were all given access to the RSC principals there could be confusion. At one point the interviewer even states that he will speak with you one on one at the end of the process.

At approximately 1:01 p.m. a little pop up screen on the right of the main screen shows a man dressed in a professional manner calling himself Stephen Morton. He is apparently one of the RSC recruiters, and his off-screen assistant "Jennifer" is given directions to put up a screen, take down a screen, to highlight something Morton wants to point out, or simply scroll through a page. They go to great lengths to make you feel as if the interview is real enough. Morton even makes a spelling error and corrects it online.

On the left side of the full screen you have correspondence from an individual known as "Cleo" who gives the interviewees instructions and direction as to what to expect next. At one point Stephen Morton asks you an "open" question and your two-way communication abilities are accessible. They are soon cut off and the answers of most of the candidates are shown to everyone - - I noticed that the two times we were allowed open access that MY answers did not pop up. I wondered about it, as my answers were typed faster than many that were available to be seen. This was the first red flag that alerted me that this was only VIRTUAL and not a real process or at least it was recorded and not live.

Morton calls out names and answers from the left to assure the audience that this is a live interview. For some this is a feeling of security, of being a real part of the process; but for me it meant testing the system. When the next open question popped up and again my answers did not appear, I knew something was up. There are three times in the interview where Morton asks you to click on the radio button to mark your understanding of the process. Interestingly the first time this happens he tells you that 43% of the audience is experienced in the HR business and 57% will be considered entry-level. As a professional I was upset that they would even allow those who were not experienced to interview with those of us who were, as obviously if there are limited positions available you don't give them to those who are not experienced.

The thought occurred to me also that if I was one of over 100 who attended the 1:00 session, and there were multiple sessions set for the day and tomorrow, how many applicants were actually being asked to participate and why would any professional group ask anyone without experience to continue past the first qualifying question of whether or not you had experience in the field of which you were applying for? Another RED FLAG.

As we moved through the session it became clear to me that the graphics on the screen were being set up or used to look as if they were being created on the spot, or at the time of the interview. However, with the knowledge I have of graphics, I knew this was also a program, a timed program, and one that was probably set and recorded to be played and replayed over and over again. This wasn't a live interview - - and to prove it I took it again! (Of course under another name)

Well, as you probably guessed - RSC is not a real company in terms of being what they say they are. They will SELL you the right to recruit for them for a fee of $297.00 which gives you access to vacant positions (or are they) and resumes of those who are applying for jobs (or are they?) so that you can match them up, call and set up interviews, sending out candidates (supposedly like you and I who are looking for real positions) and you are the essential public relations or human resource person of contact for these individuals. YOU are the company contact. YOU make the interview happen, the company places someone, and then RSC charges a 20% fee of the annual base salary and keeps 50% while giving YOU 50%. Essentially this is 10% of the person's 1st annual salary right? EXCEPT -- in the interview Morton assures you that jobs can start as low as $25,000 for an individual and go up over the $200K mark...and he also tells you or rather shows you, that you could make between $1700-8300 per placement. Now, I'm not math wizard, but 10% of $25,000 (minimum) is $2500 and 10% of $200,000 would be $20,000.00. It doesn't add up.

NEXT -- and hold on to your credit cards. The RSC representative wants YOU to pay them $297.00 for the right to use their information to make your appointments, set up the interviews, and he guarantees you that your initial fee will be paid back when the first candidate is hired. Of course. RED RED RED FLAG! BLOOD RED.

I terminated the virtual interview and began a calling campaign to find out exactly who these people are. Believe it or not, they won't answer you when you call - - but I did get one individual to write me back. They signed off as "Admin" and when I asked for their name they refused. They became flippant, arrogant even in their exchanges with me. I offered to have them visit on air with CNN about their practices and of course they agreed, but when it came time to really set it up, they wouldn't cooperate or give me names to contact for the producers to call. Of course they wouldn't.

Just be careful folks. I think they're a bunch of losers, but the sad thing is, they're working out of Chicago! I love that city with all my heart. Just be careful if you come across Recruiting and Staffing Careers.