Three Chords

Three Chords

Many times, less is more.

There is merit to the KISS principle:
Keep It Simple Sweetheart.

For music aficionados, the minors and majors add a dimension of emotion to the foundational key. Variety is the spice of life. Yet, the basics of scale and note must exist before flavor is added.

So, it is with the melodies of the heart.

We can achieve harmony with a commitment to always: Honor the Past, Respect the Present, and Trust the Future.

The Basic Functions of Harmony

At its core, all music can be considered an interplay of tension and release. The degree of tension can come from dissonance vs. consonance, orchestration, dynamics, or a hundred other musical elements. The key to using tension and release is balance. With too much tension and no release the tension can become unbearable and the music unlistenable. On the reverse side, if the music is too neutral with little to no amount of tension it can be dull and lifeless.

The Perfect Country Song

He sits with his elbows on the table, mellow and relaxed. He smiles a lot, and his deeply lined face is dominated by serene brown eyes. “A lot of country music is sad,” he notes softly. “I think most art comes out of poverty and hard times. It applies to music. Three chords and the truth — that’s what a country song is. There is a lot of heartache in the world.”

Honor

We are the beneficiaries of those who have gone before. By their sacrifice — the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort — we enjoy opportunities, otherwise impossible. Everyone has done their best, with what they have known and the resources available.

Respect

Right here, right now, it’s great to be alive. This is the only moment to boldly make our decisions. By setting aside the regrets of the past and the anxieties of the future, we can focus on the choices available at this time.

Trust

With preparation, comes opportunity and success. By doing our best to become all of which we are capable, we can confidently look forward and know that goodness waits for us. It might be in the form of lessons to be learned; or, it might be a celebration of accomplishment. Either way, it will be right, for us.

Three chords and the truth is the melody of a life to be enjoyed.

For generations to come, that song will endure.

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Straight Talk

Straight Talk

How many times last week did someone tell you one thing and, then, did something entirely different?

Have you ever made plans with someone, who at the last minute changed their mind and did not participate?

Why is it essential to say what we believe and believe what we say?

Reputation is what others think about us. Character is who we truly are — at the core. Sterling qualities of these attributes are nurtured into existence as a result of consistency in word and deed.

John Wooden in his book, The Wisdom of Wooden, shares with us what his father shared with him.

Two Sets of Three

1.) Never lie.
2.) Never cheat.
3.) Never steal.

1.) Don’t whine.
2.) Don’t complain.
3.) Don’t make excuses.

Words, if inconsistent with actions, are blatantly misleading. Recipients of this deceit are cheated out of belief. The most precious of resources — Time — is stolen.

As a result, the cover-up is camouflaged with a combination of whining, complaining, and excuse making.

Take a few moments to imagine a world in which individuals are careful with their commitments.

By default, commitment is entirely void of one word: Maybe.

In fact, commitment is either: This, or That.

Just say a simple, “Yes, I will.” Or, “No, I won’t.”

Then, after giving our word, one way, or the other, just, “Do it.”

The only downside risk of doing what we say is that the Drama Kings and Queens will need to find another venue for their acting. Theatre can be a pleasant diversion from reality. Honesty in thought and action is a perquisite for building trust and respect.

Straight talk and a straight walk lead straight to dynamic relationships!

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Techno Numbers

CPA.CITP

A Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) is a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies.

Unlike other certifications which are presented to the marketplace based on a wide scope of skills, the CITP credential is awarded to an accounting professional, who focuses on information assurance and management; thus, making a CPA among the most trusted business advisor.

The CITP credential is predicated on the fact that in today’s complex business environment, technology plays an ever increasing role in how organizations meet their business obligations, and that no single professional has a more comprehensive understanding of those obligations than a Certified Public Accountant.

An increasingly competitive global marketplace has organizations clamoring for better information assurance or additional business insight. While IT professionals have the technical expertise necessary to ensure that IT hardware is secure or technology solutions are properly deployed, they lack the CPA’s perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology.

The CITP credential demonstrates the CPA’s ability to leverage technology to effectively manage information while ensuring the data’s reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. The CITP credential program provides tools, training, and support to help CPAs expand their information management-related services and provide greater benefit to the business and academic communities they serve.

As a client, your CPA’s CITP credential will enhance your confidence in their ability to apply both business and information technology consulting skills to solve your unique business challenges. In addition to meeting stringent experience and education requirements, CITPs are required to continue their professional development through continual professional education, and must meet the professional standards dictated by CPA profession and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

CITPs have the business experience and specialized knowledge that enables them to:

  • Identify and enhance critical success factors in your business.
  • Communicate the business technology information you need, when you need it, and in the form you need to make critical business decisions for your business.
  • Implement information technology as a catalyst to achieve new levels of success in your business.
  • Apply real world knowledge and experience to ensure a return on your technology investment.

The AICPA has compiled a referral directory from materials submitted by its members. The sole purpose of this directory is to provide a method for locating Certified Information Technology Professionals, to procure the value of their services for your benefit. Find a CITP

Or, you can simply use the CPA, CITP, and QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor, who has been recognized as an Achiever by the Billings Gazette and a Trailblazer by VeraSage Institute.

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Greatest of These

Faith, Hope, and Love

Some days we’re the windshield; some days we’re the bug. The roller-coaster of life can take its toll on our psyches. As a CPA, for the last thirty years, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity, and privilege, of guiding others toward the destinations of their choice. My focus has always been on that word in the center of Certified Public Accountant; I believe “It’s all about the people.”

The “it” is life itself; abundant, fruitful, rich and vibrant life.

Faith is “The substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” Gravity is a prime example for us to consider. Each morning, we awake to find ourselves firmly anchored to the bed; some mornings more so than others. As we roll ourselves out, our feet touch the floor with complete confidence that we can journey successfully through the day.

Hope is “The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Many tease that accountants have no feelings. While words can express logic, they are inadequate in the expression of feelings. As children, we all made wishes. Many times, adults tempered our hopes with, “If wishes were horses, we’d all have a ride.”

Love is “The greatest gift; and, is a chosen, purposeful effort, often done in the face of fear, to nurture our own growth and the growth of others.”

Since faith and hope are intangibles outside of our control, let’s focus on what is within our sphere of influence. While we can think Faith, and feel Hope; we can do Love.

Love is patient, Love is kind, Rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.

Question: Can we be patient, kind, happy, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and perseverant? Answer: Yes. Even beyond the simple affirmative, we can do that for ourselves, if all alone; and, for others, when given the opportunity. The secret is in the four-letter word: give.

When our faith is shaken and our hope is tattered, the road back to both is paved with love. We can begin immediately to offer it to ourselves, first; and, then, to others. As we do, we will find that love “Always hopes” and through that discovery, our hope is restored. Then, because of that hope, we find the substance of faith making it, all, possible!

Since perfect love casts out fear, we can boldly proclaim, “Now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; the greatest of these is Love.”

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Alpha and Omega

Thoughts to Destiny

An oft quoted slogan is, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.” There are two sides to that coin, I know. Yet, there is merit, in consideration of love being defined as “Love is patient, Love is kind, It rejoices with the truth, Always protects, Always trusts, Always hopes, Always perseveres.” None of that needs an apology.

What needs a little thought, though, is the question, “Where do we begin and end?”

One day when Lindsey and Ryan were grade school age, we were in Billings at the Applebees in the heights for lunch. As we were waiting for a table, we were also enjoying the signage. I’d seen it several times, before. Yet, it must have put the exclamation point behind the lesson for the day: “Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes.”

Maybe, that’s just another way of saying, “We get what we allow.” Many will try to feed us the crumbs of their time and affection. The result is a loss of energy and eventually the loss of our freedoms. How much better to sit at the banquet table of life and enjoy our God given right to be nourished.

In the animal kingdom, there is the Alpha Male, who struts his stuff and makes more noise than the competition. He tends to forget that there will always be a meaner gorilla, somewhere, who will grind him into dust and, eventually, be taken down by an even meaner gorilla, and so on, ad infinitum.

Refreshing is an Omega Male character like Bruce Willis, who, in his movies, is the epitome of the “Last Boy Scout”. He isn’t necessarily the strongest physically; yet, he simply refuses to accept defeat. Even when beaten until he’s bloody, he doggedly pursues the enemy; when tempted to take the easy way, he refuses to compromise; and, when we beg him to quit, he reminds us that the alternative to success is worse than death. He wins because he is the toughest: mentally and emotionally.

The years horseback taught a lesson that I use to guide others to destinations of their choice. A cowboy guides his herd by riding at the rear, moving up and along the sides, offering course corrections at the appropriate pace. Since cows never go in a straight line, the cowboy is alternating from one side, back across the rear of the herd, around to the other side, and so on, until the journey ends. Some of the cows offer appreciation for greener pastures; others give the impression it was their idea.

A shepherd, although different in philosophy from a cowboy, is also found behind those in his care. Rather than approach his flock with the intent of driving them, he comes prepared with a dog and a hook. Once noses are pointed in the direction of the day’s destination, sheep will be sheep, and the adventure begins. Wasting no time in thinking, they just do, as they rush to play “follow-the-leader”. They have implicit trust in the shepherd’s ability to rescue them from any misfortune.

Beginning to end, this is true: Thoughts lead to words; Words lead to actions; Actions lead to habits; Habits lead to character; and, Character leads to our Destiny.

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Mirrors & Teeter-Totters

Many define their quest for a life partner as searching for their “other” half. Any definition of the word “half” refers to a state of “less than whole”. I’ve tried rolling half an orange across a table; it goes roll, thump! I believe we are of greater value to ourselves, and a partner, when we are “whole” and able to “roll” smoothly.

The thought du jour: I think the answer is found in mirrors and teeter-totters.

Regardless of how attractive we are to others, when we look in the mirror we see someone with whom we are comfortable. We see our flaws, give a sigh and fantasize what it would be like to be different. In a way, that’s a good thing. If within our control, we have the opportunity to grow. Yet, before we turn away, we are accepting, forgiving, and, if mature, confident of what we have to offer the world.

Think of how our reflection, although reversed, responds to our every action. If I extend my right hand, the guy in the mirror offers his left hand in return. If I need a smile and offer one, he gives it back. What we give is what we receive. I believe when we find our partner, the same will be true. We will be looking at a mirror image of who we are. It is part of that universal principle, “Like attracts like.”

Equally as true is another universal principle, “Opposites attract.” Although it seems as though we have a paradox, I believe these opposing and contradictory statements actually offer a glimpse into what holds our world in orbit. The earth hangs perfectly in balance between North and South, East and West.

For electricity to flow there is a Positive and a Negative, for accounting systems to balance there are Debits and Credits: the principle of the magnetic Plus and Minus. It takes both. Remember when we were kids and it was OK to have teeter-totters? Sometimes they were fun and sometimes we walked away with a pain in the rear. It all depended on the partner, right?!

If an equal was on the board with us, fun was to be enjoyed. Up and Down we went. It was a relationship which required two, whole and relatively equal participants. In essence, the relationship was mirrored, opposite, and balanced. At the center of the action and our board was a fulcrum. In any relationship, that is Trust and Respect.

There is one reality to these reflections and tummy ticklers, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we voluntarily give of ourselves to receive the love of another.”

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