#free 1 day only Life As We Knew It. “Terrorist attacks on distant cities forces a small town to forge its own disaster plan. What would you do?” Book 1 of Transformation Project
I wrote this a while ago, but I think the advice still applies.
So I’m working on the cover for Objects in View, the second book in Transformation Project. Someday, maybe, I’ll be able to afford a cover designer, but for now, I can’t and I am not without skills in this department, so why not use them?
I am not without bravery when I create my covers. I could go with a generic faded background where you can’t tell what the book might be about, but I don’t. I’ve always liked books that gave me a hint of what is inside the cover. Books don’t just speak with words. The way they are designed communicates so much.
I honestly think a lot of authors and publishers miss the point that the cover is a teaser. You want folks to see the cover and say “Hey, I want to read this book.”
The trend in book covers these days is to stick…
View original post 677 more words
There’s a common misconception that if you’re opposed to government services, programs and/or departments, then you’re opposed to building roads, education, people getting affordable health care and even people taking care of the sick and elderly. These misconceptions are becoming more apparent as the free market offers solutions and options using innovation and technology, as the government continues to fall in on itself.
Six months into the pregnancy, we received a letter explaining that due to the changes in the law, our policy would no longer cover maternity services.
I continue to be amazed at the ingenuity of people and individuals working toward solutions in the marketplace, in spite of government. Over time government has assumed more and more control over medical decisions that individuals make everyday.
My Own Experience
I have paid my dentist out of pocket for many years and had private insurance for major medical only. In 2011, my wife and I were expecting our first child and had private health insurance which was slowly being limited more and more by regulations from the Affordable Care Act and Patient Protection Act. It was dreadful!
Six months into the pregnancy, we received a letter explaining that due to the changes in the law, our policy would no longer cover maternity or OB-GYN services. This meant that our insurance would no longer pay for anything related to the birth of our daughter. We searched and shopped for insurance that would help cover the cost of the hospital and birth, but the more government regulations and controls were placed on the market, the more difficult it became to actually get affordable medical insurance and health care.
We spoke with our doctor about it and found that by avoiding insurance altogether and paying the doctor directly, it reduced all costs associated with pregnancy by 60%. We avoided the government-burdened insurance market and paid the doctor directly.
This model of doctors and patients actually working out agreements and paying a flat fee in exchange for medical services is actually very effective. If we could only bypass the government regulations and laws on health care, more people would get better service at a more affordable rate.
One awesome example of markets finding ways around the government’s stronghold on medical services is the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. In order to run their own practice with the least amount of government interference as possible, two doctors formed this practice 15 years ago. The goal was to eliminate the inefficiencies that accompany hospital networks and Medicare/Medicaid networks in order to run their own practice. The practice has done so well, that it has grown to over 40 doctors now.
It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.”
This has allowed them the ability to perform the best quality surgeries at the lowest and most transparent cost. All of their procedures and costs appear on their website. By bringing this level of transparency to the public, it has forced a price war for surrounding hospitals to post prices for procedures, something that is often hidden. This has brought costs down in surrounding areas.
Exiting the rat race of hospital networks and eliminating acceptance of government payments has allowed them to cut the cost and provide a better service.
In spite of what government does, people around the country are finding ways to lower costs and raise quality in the most competitive and realistic manners.
Flat Fee Memberships
The difficulties with getting health care at affordable rates come not from marketplace inadequacies, but from government regulations.
Another great example, are physician’s offices like Irmo Primary Care, Gold Standard Pediatrics and many others that are starting flat fee pricing for memberships and monthly medical services called Direct Primary Care. These practices are helping to once again bring patients and doctors together without interference from government and bureaucratic middlemen. I love streamlining services!
Dr. Bryan Hill, a South Carolina pediatrician, opened his direct primary care practice in September. “Instead of accepting insurance for routine visits and drugs, these practices charge a monthly membership fee that covers most of what the average patient needs, including visits and drugs at much lower prices.”
It’s sad that most of the difficulties with getting good health care at affordable rates come not from inadequacies in the marketplace, but from the many regulations by central planners in government.
History has shown us that free-market forces have the ability to lower costs and increase quality while fostering new growth and innovation. It puts the power in the hands of consumers, where it should be. If government would just get out of the way, then the free-market can fix the problems with healthcare.
This week’s blog hop topic is “What Are Your Top 5 Distractions And How Do You Deal With Them?”
Distractions aren’t fun, but sadly we have them a lot in our lives. Especially with the Internet. There’s always a distraction waiting around the corner. Do you have a way of holding the distractions at bay? If so, share your tips.
An InLinkz Link-up
get the InLinkz code
No kidding! We live in a distracting world and writers are not immune to the siren cry of that other thing we could be doing.
My mother operated a daycare in our home when I was in high school and college, so I’m not really distracted by noise or activity from other rooms. I’m able to mentally screen it out and can write while in the living room watching movies with the kids. This came in really handy when I was a journalist writing in a bull pen. Conversations between my coworkers didn’t really bother me.
These days, my #1 distraction is the Internet. Social media has this crack-like effect on just about everyone I know, including me. I know I should be writing, but I’m in this intriguing conversation about politics … or Alaska … or writing … or quilting … or cats … or whatever. I’m “networking”. Uh, no, probably not. It’s a distraction.
I can’t really stop using the Internet because I use it for research, marketing and, yeah, I do network with it. These days, you have to use the Internet to publish. So, turning it off … even just for yourself, isn’t really possible.
My #2 distraction is television. We live in the age of binge watching, right? Everybody needs a break now and then and sometimes I get good ideas for my books from the shows that I watch. No, I’m not stealing ideas. I get inspired more by television failures than by their great ideas … and so I try to improve them.
My #3 distraction is video games. Do you note a theme? I love to play games on the computer, especially long complicated role-playing games. Next thing you know, I haven’t written anything in two weeks and … yeah, I still want to play more.
My counter to these distractions is to turn them off and walk away. I don’t leave social media up on my computer while I’m writing. I limit my television viewing when I’m working … or I write while I watch, which really does work for me … most of the time. I allow myself a nice juicy video game when I’m between books, but try to say “no” when I’m working. That’s not always easy because Brad loves video games too and those role-playing games are fun to do together. He adventures and I solve the mysteries that get us into be best adventures. But, no, just say “no” when I’m working.
My #4 distraction isn’t a problem in the winter, but it’s headed my way like a runaway train now — summer in the Great Outdoors is where it’s happening for Alaskans. Which is why I have got to finish the first draft of A Threatening Fragility this month, because adventure will be dragging me out the door by late May and I might not wriggle free before August.
You notice I don’t count my family or other people in general as a distraction. I am blessed to have Brad, the kids and the dog, and other people are a great source of writing material, so I don’t find them distracting at all … unless they’re social media. That’s a hard one to separate, but sometimes I just have to know when to say “no.”
My best tip for how to deal with distractions is to schedule them. It’s fine to indulge in something other than writing from time to time. It’s essential, actually. It’s a great pressure release valve. But you should make some rules and stick to them. Don’t let social media consume all your writing time. Same with anything else. Say “I’m doing this for an hour and no more” and mean it. Walk away. Turn it off. Don’t waste your talent in fruitless pursuits. The cat pictures and political discussions will still be there when you’ve finished the first draft.
In 1 Corinthians 4:14-21, Paul proved himself a model leader. The Corinthians were choosing leaders to follow, but Paul was a very different leader from those.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 I exhort you therefore, be imitators of me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. 18 Now some have become arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant, but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power. 21 What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness?
Paul’s response to the Corinthians is nothing less than amazing, an example of what he had just said in verses 12 and 13.
The unholy leaders whom some find so appealing are authoritarian leaders were men who led in the same way the pagans ruled over others (see Mark 10:42). They pushed people around, and their followers loved it.
Paul’s words in verses 14-17 are a dramatic contrast to this kind of leadership. He didn’t seek to shame the Corinthians. Guilt is profitable when it is a response to sin, and when it leads to repentance. But church ministries are not fueled by guilt, but by grace. Paul’s letter wasn’t written to shame the Corinthians, but to warn them of the direction in which they were heading, and to urge them to turn around. Paul spoke to them not as a “lord,” but as their father, which he really was because so many in that church had come to faith through his ministry.
Paul could have commanded them to follow certain rules, but instead he exhorted them to follow him and his example (verse 16). While Paul couldn’t be present with the Corinthians, he sent his finest gift—Timothy (see Philippians 2:19-24). Timothy would remind them of what they had already seen and heard from Paul. He would remind them of Paul’s conduct and teaching, which were in Christ. Paul’s preaching was fleshed out by his practice. Paul practiced what he preached. Timothy would continue to speak the same message as he and Paul taught in any other church: “Just as I teach everywhere in every church.” This contradicts all those who tell us that Paul’s words to the Corinthian church are uniquely fashioned for this one situation, but not for other churches. That is not what Paul said. His teaching and his practice were consistent in every church.
Paul announced his intention to come as quickly to Corinth as he could. His desire was that the saints there had heeded his written warnings and made right the things in which they were wrong. If such is the case, Paul expected to come and be warmly received, forgetting the sins of the past. But if there was no repentance, if those who opposed him persisted, Paul would come in power use his apostolic authority to deal with them. The eloquent speech of these leaders would not be enough when Paul arrived, for he meant to expose their lack of real spiritual power.
By the way, if you read 2 Corinthians, you discover that the church at Corinth attempted to obey Paul, so that his visit would be a pleasant one.
Paul’s words to the Corinthians are for us as well. He speaks volumes on leadership. Sadly, most churches today seek their leadership guidance from the secular wisdom of this world. We seem to hear more from Peter Drucker than from Jesus or Paul. What is said that “sounds” spiritual is usually secular at its core—with a sugar coating of spiritual terminology, proof-texted by some passage, strained beyond its meaning or intent.
Paul cautions us about seeking to please people rather than God, and striving to do things that appear successful and worthwhile in the eyes of the world. There is a time to judge ourselves and others, but Paul warns of the danger of judging others by outward appearances. The Corinthians wanted to possess those spiritual gifts which are verbal and visible and that many think are the best. Paul challenged their system of evaluating the importance of the gifts in chapter 12. He sought to encourage those with seemingly insignificant gifts that they indeed play a most vital role in the body of Christ. Let us be careful that we do not gauge our effectiveness on the basis of what others say, or even on the basis of what we think or feel.
Our task is not to succeed, but to serve. Our work may not seem successful, significant, or effective, but neither did our Lord’s word win the approval of men. Paul looked like a miserable failure. But today is not the time to judge the results of our ministry, and we are not the ones to judge such things. Let us leave these matters to God and faithfully continue to fulfill our stewardship.
Paul exhorts us to live in the light of the Second Coming. To Paul, what we do in the present is very important, but only when considered in the light of eternity. The Corinthians erred in assuming that they presently possessed those blessings God provides and promises for the future. They failed to understand that men and women of faith must be willing to suffer for Christ’s sake in this age, so that they can enter into His glory in the next.
Paul’s teachings in the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians are an example of godly leadership and a model for us to deal with the problems of the church. Corinth had lot of problem, but in the light of eternity, so does every church … including our own.
Finally, Paul’s teachings in Chapters 1-4 lay the foundation of what he will teach in the following chapters. There were many specific problems in Corinth which needed correction. The next matter Paul addressed was sexual immorality in the form of incest in the church (chapter 5). Why didn’t Paul start with this problem? Right thinking precedes right conduct. The Corinthians were misbehaving because they were weak in their grasp of the Word. Paul’s first four chapters are about the right foundation. The Corinthians needed to see God’s Word as true wisdom, and God’s power as displayed through human weakness. They must understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation for all life and ministry in the church. Christ crucified is the foundation and the standard for all church life. And the good news of the gospel is that which humbles us, breaking our pride and arrogance. Only when these fundamental matters are set straight does Paul move on to address particular problems. Right thinking precedes right conduct. Right thinking comes from the Word of God as we are illuminated and empowered by the Spirit of God. May we be men and women of the Word, filled with His Spirit.