Positive Attitude

Look Again to Understand Better

Sometimes in life we may look at something and might not understand it’s importance or value.  Sometimes we need to look at that thing again to better understand.

Take my old hat.  (no don’t really)  But you probably wouldn’t want it anyway.  Just at first glance at my hat you would see that it is just a worn out old hat that doesn’t have much value.  And you would be right, but let me help you look at it so to better understand why it means so much to me.

You see this old hat was given to me at a trade show.  A freebie!  Probably had to listen to a sales pitch at the time, but for the most part it was free.  I brought it home and would mow with it occasionally.  Then I took a mission trip to Guatemala and decided to hand sew the John 3:16 tab over the original logo.  So as to “look” like a Christian.  That’s what we do on our first mission trips – at least I did.  So the hat made three trips to Guatemala and one trip to Montana.  It has been on several hikes and been my shield on during many blackberry picking adventures!  And yes still tries to keep the red neck out of me when mowing (but that is a whole nother story).


So you may not appreciate my hat any better, but by looking at it differently you see that it means a lot to me.

We all have items, keepsakes, family and friends that mean a lot to us, but even they can surprise us sometimes when we look at them differently.

This brings me to my daughter Danielle.  When Cindy and I married in 1996 Danielle was 5 years old.  Her birth father was never really part of her life after that, so I got to do all the good things with her growing up

I participated in the PTA in elementary school.  I was a youth leader of her youth group at church.  And I just generally watched her grow into a fine young woman.  I consider her my girl – and I just know her.  I thought….

After her senior year in college she went with me on a business trip to Maine.  When I wasn’t working we spent a great week looking for great places to eat lobster and drink coffee.  We went exploring for water falls and perfect ocean views.  We even rode bikes on the beach (for just a short time – but ask her to tell you that story).fullsizeoutput_7d

What I found out about Danielle on that trip was about her big girl decision making.  I found out what really makes her tick by letting her make some of the decisions on what we would do every day.  I was able to look at her in a different way to better understand her that week.

Then she came home with “the” man.  Well she actually picked a good one I have to say (hope he doesn’t read this and get the big head).  Tommy and Danielle were married in June and were good for each other.  They compliment each other, and strive toward the same goals.  Then around Thanksgiving they shared that they were expecting a baby!

So I thought I knew Danielle and I am learning Tommy, but during the delivery of our little grand baby I saw something in both of them that helped me understand them better as a couple and parents.IMG_0028

In Danielle through the labor pains I saw two characteristics that made me proud: Toughness and Determination.  Danielle went through a lot of pain during the process.  She took it so well.  I was surprised and comforted to see how tough she was.  I also saw that she was so determined to not take any medication to help with the labor – she wanted it all natural.  She had already made that decision, and she was sticking with it!

In Tommy I saw a couple positive characteristics after his nervousness wore off: Encouragement and Coaching.  He was consoling during the early parts of labor.  Always telling Danielle what a good job she was doing, keeping her calm and was attentive to her needs.  Then when the pushing got tough he turned on his inner coach!  He remembered what they had learned in preparation and knew what he need to do to get her through the last stages.

Then on 7:38pm on that July day Adelyn Grace was born into this world!  I think she was the prettiest baby I have seen since Austin came into the world!

She is a good baby.  She eats good, sleeps good and man can she poop good!  Cindy and I are both looking forward to seeing her grow and become all that God has designed her to be!

And I just know that one of these days she is going to look up at me with those beautiful eyes and say “Granddad, why do you wear that old worn out hat?”

And I’ll say, “let me help you look at it so you can understand it better”.



New to Toastmasters

Well I have started on a new journey in my life.  I have joined Toastmasters!

In March I joined a local Toastmasters club to improve my public speaking and to network with like minded individuals.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our organization has more than 352,000 memberships. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 16,400 clubs in 141 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.  To learn more about Toastmasters click here.

On July 2nd I prepared and delivered my first prepared speech – the Ice Breaker speech.  In this speech you are to introduce yourself to the club and speak 5 to 7 minutes sharing details of your life you want to share.

For me five minutes was not near enough!  I can talk all day about me.  I am a subject matter expert on myself don’t you know, and have a few years with myself as well.  But for the sake of the other members I shared in less than 7 minutes.

Now I have been a leader, teacher, singer, master of ceremonies and coach for most of my life.  I really don’t have a problem talking in front of other people, but this crowd is different.  They all are trying to better their speaking abilities and know when I am messing up – they are just looking for it!

There is someone at the meeting who counts the number of times you say – uh, ah, so, and so, use improper grammar and repeat yourself.  This person had a field day with me.  I know I have a problem with my dialect and use of the English language, but I don’t care to stand up and share what I know.

My speech was titled “Blackberry Wisdom”.  Wonder where I got that idea.  Through the speech preparation I found my life can be best summed up by sharing a few details from the different seasons of my life.

Toastmasters 2Jul18

So now with the 1st speech behind me, I am ready now to aim toward becoming a Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM).  Let the journey begin!



Yes – Jesus still heals!

Do you believe that Jesus still heals people?  I certainly do – because He healed me!

I had hurt my neck and shoulder from doing some yard work and was in some kind of pain.  I could not get comfortable to sleep at night and it hurt me during the day to the point of affecting my work.

The week after we happened to be in revival services at church and I was in our prayer room with a few good men.  After we prayed for the revival and for others, I asked if they would pray for my neck and shoulder.  They agreed and anointed me with oil and prayed for my healing from the great physician.

I went to bed that night already feeling better and prayed as I went to sleep that the Lord would continue to make my shoulder better.  He told me that He would heal me, and that I needed to do three things:

  1. do pushups in the morning
  2. thank the men who prayed for me giving credit to Jesus
  3. write this article

So here I am- thank you for reading.  And I do want give Jesus all the praise for healing – even if it didn’t happen to me.

About 5 months ago I was doing yard work of a different sort and I hurt my elbow.  It limited some movements that I do such as even picking up a coffee cup.  So I finally went to the orthopedic doctor and he gave me some meds and said that I had tennis elbow and it would eventually go away.  Actually the elbow was still hurting some when my neck and shoulder became aggravated.

So when I hurt my neck and shoulder I just knew I would be in for another body part that would be drawn out with ache and pain.  I just could not go through this kind of pain for very long I felt

You can imagine my excitement when just a few days after hurting my neck and shoulder it was actually feeling better from His healing.  I was for some reason surprised.

Then I got to thinking about why God chose to heal me.  Why did He give me three specific things to do in response.   And how did Jesus heal while He was in body form here on earth.

I believe that Jesus does heal.  Even today.  The examples we learn in the Bible show us that He heals and it is over, and sometimes He heals and expects the person to do something to accept the healing.

In Luke 22:51 we see that Peter cut off the ear of a soldier who had come after Jesus.  Jesus rebuked him for his retaliation and healed the soldier’s ear.  He just did it.  The soldier did not ask for it and neither did Peter – but Jesus healed.

Then we see plenty of examples where Jesus heals and tells the person to do something that I think make them accept the healing by asking for it or an action after the healing.  We see this in John 9:7 where Jesus heals the blind man, but tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  When was the man healed?  When Jesus put spit and mud on his eyes, or when we washed it away?

I know that Jesus doesn’t always heal either.  We don’t always understand why He does or doesn’t heal.  But I do think He expects us to demonstrate our faith in Him.

Are you in need of healing?  I suggest that you pray to Jesus asking for specific healing and then listen if He wants you to do something to receive that healing.  If we don’t listen and then respond I am not sure that He will heal as we have asked.


So today I turned 50…

On my 50th birthday I thought to reflect on the things in life that meant the most to me and the life lessons I have learned.  I wanted to write them down to remember, reflect and share.

Below is my top 10 list of the things that have meant the most to me from my first 50 years:

  1. Deciding to repent from my sins, ask Jesus in my heart and follow Him was the single best decision I have and will make in my life.   The life of a Christian is not easy, but we know it will only be for a little while until we spend the rest of it in Heaven in a new glorified body!
  2. My parents set good examples and instilled some good traits into me.  If there is any good in me is from the mercy of Jesus and my parents.  From mom I learned patience and kindness.  Dad taught me to work hard and be generous.  I am so thankful for the way they have showed love to me.
  3. We never talk about the pictures we took on the couch.  Life is full of such great adventures, but I have never experienced them from the couch.  I like to get out and experience – bike, hike, hunt, take pictures, cut wood, garden, swim, pick berries, smell flowers and get a sunburn.  (ok not good on the sunburn part, but it meant I was outside!)
  4. I tried things even if I was not certain I would succeed.  I have tried so many things in life that I didn’t know if I could do or accomplish.  I feel my only failures in life have come from not trying the things I wish I would have.  For example in the Army I went to Airborne school without a clue if I could do it at all, and guess what – I succeeded!  On the other hand; I was asked to go to Ranger school but I let my fear and circumstances get to me, so I did not even get to try to succeed (one of the biggest regrets in my life)
  5. I went on a foreign mission trip and loved it.  I was afraid of what my stomach would do in a foreign place, but God took care of me.
  6. I coached little league sports teams and had a blast.  I never knew what fun coaching would be till I tried it for the first time.  I didn’t always like dealing with parents, but working with the kids was so much fun.
  7. I have loved someone with all my heart.  God gave Cindy to me, and I am continually learning to love her with all I have.  Loving is not always easy.  I have failed her and continue to disappoint, but I am also trying  to learn to love as Jesus loved and that will only grow with time!  I am learning to love her the way she most feels loved and that is an adventure!
  8. Be a friend – I am really not a good friend at times.  I am faithful and will always be your friend if we have build a bond.  But I don’t call or visit my friends like I should.  I have been surrounded by some great friends in my life, but I just don’t take the time to spend time with them like I should.  Maybe that is something I can work on in the next 50 years.
  9. Spend time with family – well here again I do not spend time with my family like I should.  My sister and I get together almost every week, but that is because she pushes the issue – and I am thankful for that.  I have other family that I love dearly but I just don’t spend time with them like I want to.  But I enjoy my family – cousins, inlaws and outlaws.  We really do have a good time together.
  10. Serve Jesus according to my giftedness.  Here is the secret to a happy life – serve Jesus with the gifts and talents He has given me!  I find all the joy and fulfillment from listening to Him and obeying what He says to do.  There is no drug, drink, ride, or experience that can ever make me feel complete like serving Him – just as He made me!

Parenting: Discipline to brokenness

Does discipline ever get easier as a parent?

After nearly 20 years of parenting I would say no.

I know that kids today have so many things thrown at them that giving into temptation just seems easier.  I don’t recall it being that way when I grew up.

Maybe my life was just sheltered growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Maybe it was because we lived out in the country where we could ride our bikes on the road and could wander in seemingly unlimited fields and woods.

I don’t know.

I do know that my son is a pretty good kid, but has so many influences around him that I know he has to struggle with seeing the right path to choose at times.  I sometimes wonder if as a parent I am helping him enough to choose the wise path.

But in those times that he makes an unwise decision I still struggle with knowing the right amount of discipline to adjust his attitude and behavior.  I want to correct him, but not weaken him.  The Bible says in Ephesians 6:4 to bring up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, and not to provoke them to anger.

That’s where this dad struggles sometimes.  I can really come down on my son to the point where he becomes angry.  I don’t want him to be angry – I want him to be broken.

In Psalms 51:17 it says that God desires the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart.  A heart that says I am truly sorry for what I have done.  A heart that says I repent for what I have done against you and am turning to go another way so as not to do this again.

That is what God desires of us, and that is what I desire from my children.  I want them to understand where they have disappointed me, be broken for the wrong, and set out on another path.

God please direct me as I discipline my children toward brokenness.


How about you?  Do any of you parents have this discipline thing figured out?  If so – I’d like to hear from you…


Fast Forward 30 years

On November 12 of 2015 I and some of my Army buddies celebrated our 30th anniversary of joining the US Army.  It truly seems like somebody pressed the fast forward button and here we are today.  So much has happened in the past 30 years, but my life was changed drastically starting on that November day in 1995.

On the first van ride we had while leaving Knoxville I sat by myself in a seat.  Some exuberant smart mouth behind me yelled at me and said “Gibbs, ain’t nothing good come out of Gibbs”.  Gibbs was the high school which I graduated, and was on the back of the jacket I was wearing.  The keen observation was made by someone by who I would soon know as Wes Tankersley.  Wes became my best friend in and out of the Army starting that first November day.

I remember laying in a bunk bed the first night in Ft Benning, Georgia with two burning questions on my mind – why was I here, and what in the world was I going to be doing?  Neither of which were anywhere clear that first lonely night.

The next day was the beginning of processing and basic training.  Those two questions would soon be a distant memory and I was told everything I needed to know moment by moment and exactly how to do it.  So the routine continued through basic training and Army life in general.

But I gained so much from my years in the 10th Mountain Div.  I thank God that we were not at war nor were facing war during my time in the service, because we were absolutely ready for battle and they would have sent us first.   Looking back I see that I learned so much more than I asked for by joining the Army.

There are a few lessons I learned from my time in the Army that I could not buy or get from college, and they have shaped me into the man I am today.  Here are some of the bigger lessons I learned while in the Army.

  1. Family is important:  I remember that first Thanksgiving during basic training we could not go home, but they would let us call home for just a few minutes (on a pay phone).  I was overwhelmed with how much I missed my family.  I really didn’t realize it until I was gone.  I do love my family!  With a son of my own now I sort of know the pain of separation my parents must have felt.
  2. With the Lord’s help I can do almost anything:  I am not overly talented in anything.  I can play sports, play a couple musical instruments, and sing, but I am not really good an any of them.  When it came to military training I found that I was pretty good at those tasks, but it was because the Lord guided me and I drove myself to be the best I could be.  In Philippians 4:13 the Bible says I can do all things through Him (Jesus) who strengthens me.  And that is how I made it through my time in the Army.
  3. I really like to be organized and lead:  I did not have these two talents before I joined, but God developed them in me while I was in the Army.  Now it is just part of who I am to organize what I do, and I feel so comfortable when leading a group, team or organization.
  4.   Jesus was always there:  I carried a small Gideon’s Bible in my cargo pocket whenever in my BDU uniform.  That didn’t make Jesus be with me – Jesus was always with me because He was in my heart!
  5. True friends last a lifetime:  There were a few of us who were friends through basic training and permanent duty station of the 10th Mountain Division.  We went through a lot together, and we stuck together for support.  Some of those guys I am starting  to find today on Facebook, and feel today that we still have a tie to each other that time, distance or circumstance can erase.

Yes there has been a lot happen in my life over the past 30 years, and all of it to mold me into who I am today.  The Army was a good starting point for me in 1985.  But it sure seems like somebody pressed fast forward, and here we are 30 years later.

Dad giving me my “blood wings” after graduating Airborne school
Wes and Me at his home in Powell having fun
Morris, me and Frank somewhere in Ft Benning, GA acting as the bad guys
Me and a M60 machine gun (those were fun to shoot!)
Me and Brad Hixson in Columbus, Ga
Thompson, me, Byers, and Foley about to hit the links



Brag on my Wife

JohnCindy McCloudMtnDo you know who I can brag on the easiest? Me. I know all about me, and I know the great things that I have tried to do with my life. If you would just listen and see what a great guy I am you would agree as well.

Now in reality, the conversation above happens in my head at times – subconsciously of course. But in reality, I cherish myself more than anyone else. Or at least I appreciate myself more than anyone else – and so do you.

As a husband I should be consciously giving those same accolades to my wife. I really should not be bragging on me – I need to brag on her. I do so because I am to love her just as I love myself. I should not brag about me, but I certainly should her.

The Bible says: So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. Ephesians 5:28-30

So I should brag on her because she is a part of me. I need to nourish her with my words. I need her and others know that I cherish her.

I believe there are at least 6 different people that need to hear me bragging about my wife.

The first and foremost place I need to brag on my wife is to her directly. She needs to hear the words of affirmation that I love her. I need to nourish her soul with positive words in private and in public. Like a plant needs water to keep it healthy, I need to water her with uplifting words directly from me.

Her family
Her family needs to hear me lifting her up and complimenting her. I made the mistake of chastising my wife in front of her parents the other day, and later I felt so bad. I had to go apologize to her that night. My negative words were bad for her and her parents – nobody was encouraged. Her family needs to see that I cherish the baby girl they raised into a woman.

Our Kids
I need to model lifting my wife up with my words in front of our kids. By doing this they see the correct model of a marriage. They also see that I honor her and respect her, and will expect the same attitude from them. As the leader of our family I also set the correct attitude of my family by lifting up my wife.

Our friends need to hear me brag on my wife. Not overly bragging, but positively giving her compliments. It steers our conversations in a positive direction, and encourages them to do so with their spouse.

My coworkers need to hear me brag on my wife for a couple of reasons. First when I brag on my wife I announce to other women I come in contact with that I am a taken man. Flirting and advances from other women quickly stops when I give positive light to my wife. The second reason is for me to be an encouragement to others in their marriage. I think we all have times that we could use some encouragement in our marriage.

Of all the people who need positive reinforcement about how great my wife is – I am the one who needs hear it the most besides her. I am the one who sees her flaws – I smell her early morning breath, I hear her complaints about work, I see the struggles with family and friends, I know where she hurts and why. So there is no doubt that I need to focus on the great ways she cares for our kids, how humble she is, how giving she is, and that she really tries to respect me as her husband and the covenant of marriage that we made.
Shoot – if nothing else, she is the only one who has to put up with me! So kudos to Mrs. Grigsby!

So how are you bragging on your wife or husband? If you are not sure – ask them. Your spouse will be the first to tell you if your compliment bank is full or empty.

If it is empty; try setting down and making a list of the great things about your spouse on a sheet of paper. Then find a way to communicate each one of those positive attributes of your spouse.

My Leave Behind

It is said that some people light up a room when they enter it, and then there are some people who light up a room when they leave.  There are also those who will light it neither way, they come and go with no impact.

I think we each leave an influence on everyone we come in contact with.  Some of us will encourage, inspire or brighten the day of those we come in contact with.IMG_0556

Some of us will depress, repel or darken the day of those we come in contact with.

Then some of us will not effect others in any way.  We neither encourage or depress – we just sort of become part of the backdrop in their observation.

As a Christian my influence is also drawing people closer to God, further away from God, or I make no impact on their relationship with Jesus.  Now I don’t know about you, but I consider it shame if I do not bring those in my influence closer to Jesus as a result of the things I say and do.

I told my son that when he takes his girlfriend out on a date he will influence her in one of these three ways.  And she will also influence him in one of these three ways.  When he drops her off she will have become closer to God, the same with God or further away from Him.

Daily we have opportunities to influence others with our social media presence, by passing people in a hallway, phone conversations, eating meals together and intentional time we give the people we love.  I took time to consider this week how do I influence the people I come in contact with.  It made me want to change the way I greet people, and also in the relationship building I do with my family.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

What do you think?  If we do not positively influence others toward Jesus then what good are we?

Where do you turn?

This week has been really tough for me for a sundry of different reasons.  My personal, professional, spiritual and family life have all been attacked by satan.

My wife knows my struggles and we talk, but sometimes I need to bounce ideas off other people.  As I have went through getting over the trials I have had the thought – where do I turn for help?  Who do I look to?  What helps me feel better and see clearer?IMG_5117

Through this week’s experiences I had a chance to step back and look at my situation and judge how I reacted.

So it all came together last night at church.  Our Wednesday night services are a help to me in a lot of ways, so I know I needed to be there – that was my first right turn.

While I was setting there by myself listening to the sermon I could not help my mind wondering back to my own situation.  What do I need to do to make things right?  Who can I talk to?  Should I get in my vehicle and drive till I have an answer?  What would I listen to – something to excite me or sooth me?

Then a question really stopped me.  When the service is over – do I bolt out the side door or talk with my church family?

To bolt out the side door I would avoid any questions, showing my current emotions or having to act like nothing was wrong.

If I chose to talk to friends I would surely show my emotions and have to answer questions.

Where do I turn?

Well, I chose to turn in and talk to my friends and church family.  And it was a wise decision.

I did put on my “happy” face and talk, but soon I was caught up in hearing about others that I forgot about my problems.  We made plans for the coming week and talked of blessings that God has showered us with.

I wound up practicing with the praise team and was blessed by my time there!

As the night wound down and the next morning came I realized that I was leaning into God’s word and worship music.  And you know what?  I was feeling better!

The problems didn’t go away, but the became less amplified because I chose to turn to God and His blessings instead of giving satan another battle win.

Psalms 121:1 says

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
A good reminder to me – where do I turn – I turn to God!!

Merry Christmas

I wish you a Merry Christmas !

Merry Christmas wreathWe hear it this time of year, but what does wishing a merry Christmas mean?  What does it mean to you?

To me there are several things in mind when I wish you a Merry Christmas.

First and foremost I am wishing you well wishes at a time we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus the Christ, who came to earth as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Without His birth in the way and the manner in which it happened, then He would not be qualified as a perfect sacrifice.

John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” No other man do we celebrate this way, and no other man should we celebrate this way.

Secondly wishing your Christmas to be merry means I hope that the way you celebrate His arrival brings joy and peace in a festive way!  I hope you celebrate His gift by giving to those you love!  Sometimes that means we buy things they would like and present them as gifts, but it also means giving of your time and attention.  That is why I am glad we eat and play at Christmas parties and family gatherings – enjoy each other with lighthearted fun!

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Lastly I wish you a merry Christmas season.  Not just a day, but a time to celebrate, give thanks and share love.  To do that right it will take more than just a day – it will take a well orchestrated season.  A day can be built up and fall so anti-climatic, and you will have to stuff so much into one day.  But in a season you will have time to enjoy and share with more people – more time to spread the love as Jesus taught us!

So from me and my family of four – we wish you a Merry Christmas!