There are 168 hours in one week.  It does not matter where you are in your life right now…in school as a student, young adult starting a new career, a spouse with a family, a single parent or grandparent raising the grandchildren, empty nested, or retired and in your twilight years; what are you doing with the 168 hours you all have in a single week?  Are you just spending the time you have or investing the time?


Harvey MacKay said,  “Time is free, but it is priceless.                                                                                             You can’t own it, but you can use it.                                                                                   You can’t keep it but you can spend it.                                                                               Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

So how do you determine what should have your attention each day? What about each week?  The answer should be simple…by what is most important to you at this time, this week, this day, where ever you may be.  Deciding on the most important tasks of the week during a weekly review and then scheduling those tasks during the week to be completed at the most opportune time is time management at its best!

The answer to an “overloaded life” is not trying harder, but to comprehend the work we have to do with wisdom and perspective.  When we have the capacity to live, give, and serve according to our priorities we experience great satisfaction with each day.


It does not matter where you are in your life right now…in school as a student, young adult starting a new career, a spouse with a family, a single parent or grandparent raising the grandchildren, empty nested, retired and in your twilight years…what are you doing with the 168 hours we all have in a week.  Are you just spending time or are you investing time?


Here are my numbers for my idea week:

  1. Sleep                        53 hrs
  2. Vocation                  46
  3. Car                              1
  4. Family time            11.5
  5. Church Activities   11
  6. Chores                        7.5
  7. Leisure                       7
  8. Eating                       10
  9. Personal Spiritual time   3.5
  10. Shower & hygiene   3.5
  11. Exercise                     3
  12. Plan                            4
  13. Study                          7
  14. Total                         168.0


We all have been given one life and the good Lord above has filled it with resources—time, health, finances, relationships, influence, and more. How you steward these resources will determine whether or not you are successful.  In other words, don’t say, “I don’t have time!”  Yes you do!  We all do!  It’s simple…just ask yourself what are your priorities?  And how you invest time shows those priorities whether you like it or not!

T   I   M   E

  1. The Bible says,  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”.  Psalm 90:12


Treasure every moment that you have!

                                                          Yesterday is history.                                                                                                             Tomorrow is a mystery.                                                                                                                   Today is a gift….                                                                       That’s why it’s called the “present!”

A.W. Tozer wrote:
“Time is a resource that is nonrenewable and nontransferable. You cannot store it, slow it up, hold it up, divide it up or give it up. You can’t hoard it up or save it for a rainy day–when it’s lost it’s unrecoverable. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

  1. The Bible says:  “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”. Ephesians 5:16


It’s very simple—where you invest your 168 hrs is totally up to you!

The average person will spend about 56 of those hours sleeping, about 24 of those hours in eating and personal hygiene, and about 50 of those hours working or traveling to work. That means there are only about 35 hours a week of “discretionary” time left over. That’s about 5 hours per day. Where are you investing those hours?  I have read one study that tells the average American watches TV for that amount of time each day!!

  1. The Bible says:  “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time”  Colossians 4:5


Now look, we cannot manage our time but we use this concept to help us “redeem” the time!

We must manage us!!  Walk in wisdom! We can’t save time or even waste it but we will use those 168 hours somehow!  Focus on opportunities to invest in people and things that really matter in your life.

  1. The Bible says:  “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3


DON’T SPEND 168 HOURS WORKING!  YOU WILL DIE A PREMATURE DEATH IF YOU DO! Enjoy your week by investing some of the 168 in activities you enjoy doing!  This kind of investment pays great dividends!  Life is short, so include in your 168 hours some joy-fill hours.


So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.      Psalm 90:12

In my next post I will share with you my tools that I use to manage my 168.


What are you planning to do tomorrow?


Robin and I love planning our camping trips.  A couple of weeks ago we traveled north a few miles with our camper to enjoy the extended Labor Day weekend and to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary!  It was a wonderful trip with no cell service and a nice camping site at Barren River Lake State Park.

You know how vacation trips usually end up with you forgetting something?  Well, it happens to the best of us, but not to us if Robin can help it!  I am so blessed to have a wife who knows how to plan.  Ever since that first camping trip many years ago, she has created and used a checklist.  Before we  leave the house she will make me sit down and ask me if I have loaded each item on her checklist.  It is very thorough and you might think we were getting ready to fly a 747 passenger jet!  When we sit down there is no joking around…she is serious about getting this checklist “checked off!”  I’m glad she does this for it keeps away many a headache!  Oh, and you should see her holiday meal list, and Christmas gift list, and grocery list, and , well, you get the picture.  She loves to plan and does it well.

A few months ago I posted about my father’s love for his calling in life.  My father was a planner.  He purchased a life insurance policy in the 1970’s after he had purchased an adjoining farm.  When he passed away in 2002 he still owed on a loan that began with that purchase.  The balance was paid off from the life insurance benefit!  He was 71 years old when he died.  That sure was a blessing to my mother!  In the 1980’s, he and mama each purchased a Long Term Care insurance policy.  He never used his as he died suddenly in 2002, but mama is now using the full benefit from that policy and her farm is safe from having to be sold to fund her care at the nursing home!  We three boys would be in trouble now if it wasn’t for our father’s planning many years ago.  Daddy and Mama would always put some cash back in case of an emergency.  They had to used it many times when I was still in the home.  His planning taught me a lot and I have tried to be faithful to implement this concept into my life.

I love to plan, but acting on that plan is when I get the real benefit from the work I do in planning.  Planning for today, tomorrow, next week, next year, retirement, …and yes, death is important.  Even the Bible states that King David planned before his death that his kingdom would remain.

I would like to encourage you to do the same.  September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and I am here to help you plan for the unexpected.  Just as my wife does and my father did, acting on your planning (not just thinking about planning but actually implementing your plans) will give you much peace of mind.

So, what are you planning to do tomorrow?

What is the difference between blanket and scheduled coverage for my farm equipment?

I know most of you will not read beyond the picture in this post, but I got to thinking the other day as I drove through our Robertson County farmland areas how great an investment farmers have in their equipment.  I saw combines combining wheat, no-till planters planting soybeans and milo, tractors pulling

Farm equipment is a great investment
Farm equipment is a great investment

round balers baling some late hay, and large bush hogs being used to clip pastures.  Our county is blessed to have many acres of agricultural land that good farmers managed well.


These farmers have a lot invested in this equipment and it just makes good sense that it is protected properly in case of damage incurred from fire, collison, wind, etc.  Properly insured is the key phrase here.  Case in point is the following true story:  (names are not the true names)

But a Sad Story:

Clyde ran a very successful hay business that marketed hay throughout the state and region.  He became very busy as his farming business grew.  He and his insurance agent, Steve, got together at his farm shop to write his farm policy.  With three hay fields maturing fast and a disc mower that needed repaired, Clyde was pressed for time  Therefore instead of scheduling the equipment Clyde wanted insured on the farm policy (this would have taken some time) he decided to instead give his agent a dollar amount for a blanket coverage to save time.  Fast forward a few years and a lot of growth in Clyde’s farm business which included corn by now when he experienced his first claim.  One of his new tractors caught fire and became a total loss of $50,000.  As procedure on a claim with any farm policy with blanket equipment coverage the insurance company’s claims adjuster asked for a complete list of Clyde’s equipment and total value of each item.  Long story short, Clyde’s complete list totaled over $500,000 but the blanket coverage on his policy was for $200,000.  Clyde had underestimated the total value of his equipment while his policy was never update.

Therefore keeping with the insurance contract, the company could only pay Clyde 40% of the value of the tractor, i.e. $20,000!

Now we can point fingers at the company, the agent, and Clyde himself as to who is to blame.  The company simply said they had been receiving premium all these years to protect only $200,000 worth of farm equipment.  The agent said that Clyde was confident that day that the value he gave was sufficient.  Finally, Clyde stated that the agent should have updated that value at least yearly with him. In the end, Clyde transferred his farm policy to another company.

What is my best option?

In conclusion, if you have a small farm with just a few pieces of nice equipment maybe scheduling your items one by one would be the safest way to go.  On the other hand, if you have many high dollar worth pieces of equipment on your large farm maybe a blanket amount would be good.

This amount should be a true total of the value of all the items you own.  

Update it regularly, i.e every time you purchase a new piece would be a good rule to follow.  An annual review of every piece of equipment insured should be routine for you and your agent.  Don’t live Clyde’s story!

Making a career a joy and not a job

Sunday was Father’s Day 2016.  I was blessed to have my children and grandchildren visiting for the weekend.  I also spent time reflecting on the life of my own father who passed away in 2002.

W. C Sparkman was a very hard working man who loved his family and desired to provide the best he could for them. He worked to put all three of us boys through college. We always had enough. He also desired to lead his family to do right in all we pursued and to give our best. When I would hurriedly half do a job just to finish it quickly he would always say, “What if everyone did that?” He was a man of integrity and godly principles. These principles were passed on to us children and grandchildren. He was self employed as a dairy farmer all of his life. Why?…because he loved what he did…the farm life brought him joy! He told me many times how after a hard day’s work he felt a great sense of accomplishment and worth which in turn would create strength to make it through the tough times and lean times. It was a joy for him to get up early and work hard all day to produce milk products for folks he didn’t even know!

My father

So I will make this post short by concluding with a question. Is your insurance agent a joy to work with or do you dread when he or she calls you? Not all insurance agents are created equal. In other words, insurance gets a bad wrap many times. As I stated in my second post this year I find this profession to be a noble one.  What I do brings me joy…and not only to me but I desire to help those I serve experience the same emotion.
Joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.
My career is not a JOB, it is a JOY!

I enjoy helping people protect what is important to them; from their family to their business, to their autos and home or farm. When we know we have done our best, we bring joy to all we touch! …and that’s the way it should be!

Thanks Daddy!

Backyard Chickens can lay an insurance egg!

 Backyard Chickens can lay an insurance egg!
Being raised on a dairy farm one of my first 4H projects was having a flock of laying hens.  I loved taking care of those hens and it taught me responsibility as a 10 year old.  My dad even helped me build a new chicken house with an attached fenced yard for the hens to get outside and exercise.  Fast forward forty years to when my college graduate daughter came back home to live with us, she and I decided to get a flock of chickens and build us a nice modern chicken house.  She ordered the plans and one cold February the project took over the inside of our garage and we built the large chicken coop pictured above.  I cherished that time with Brooklyn just as I had as a boy helping my dad build a chicken house.
Today, chicken coops and houses can be very complex and elaborate.
chicken coop2
And they can cost upwards to $2000-$4000 to build.  Brooklyn’s chicken house cost us $1500 not including our labor and it was a small project.
chicken coop
More and more folks are getting backyard chickens because you just can’t beat the taste of fresh eggs.  But as we build these mini chicken castles in our backyard there is a problem that could surface unknowingly to us.  Do you know if your chicken house was damaged by a storm or fire that it would be covered by your homeowners insurance policy?  Many insurance companies (if not all) define poultry as an “agricultural exposure” and therefore any structure associated with poultry would not be covered.  Claims on backyard chicken coops have been denied because of this reason.
So think about it.  It may be that you could take the loss and not worry about it.  Then again you might want to look at the option of adding a farm policy to specifically cover the structure.  After all, if a fire destroyed it, I would hate for you to lose all that you had put into building that elaborate hen house!
And I didn’t even talk about the liability risk if your hens damaged your neighbors’ property…
…remember Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”?
Be safe and add a farm policy or an endorsement.

Why I do what I do


Why I do what I do2027-01-24 13.18.12

Every Monday morning at 9:30 I have a reminder that pops up on my computer, tablet, and phone.  You may think this is crazy or a little overkill but I, as an insurance producer who is compusated according to 1) how hard he works and 2)how much business he has and keeps on the books 3)and how well he services and cares for that business, enjoy being motivated and encouraged each Monday morning by this pop up.  Not that it is a “super pill”,  but that I need a little kick.  Most of my life I have been self employed, and I know that hard work is rewarded…that’s what’s so great about living in the USA!  What a blessing to be paid to help people and enjoy what you do!   Here’s exactly what “pops up” every Monday morning:


Remind myself the “Why” I do what I do:

  1.  To give God the gloryWhether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31
    1. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Col 3:23
    2. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  Ecc 9:10
    3. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks…For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  Rom 14:6,8
  2. To help people with their insurance needs
  3. For Robin’s sake
  4. To leave something to my children’s children

Some of you may think of my scripture references here as “out there”, but to me these words bring me strength.  We all have priorities and because we are all different our priorities are different.  They change throughout life also!  So for right now, where I am in life, these are my “whys” I work daily.

As a Christian number one should be number one always, regardless of what stage of life I am walking.  I find the verses above motivating, for God is the source of all my strength and knowledge

  • I have to do what I do as an insurance producer.  When I realize that the very Creator of the universe sustains me day by day, I strive to do my best for Him and His glory.  “Nough said!”
  • Insurance producers often experience rejection, angry policy holders, explaining higher insurance premiums to clients, or cancellations because policy holders found a “cheaper” price.  I have been cussed, discussed, and chewed up and spit out at times and have wondered why I became an insurance agent after leaving the dairy farm.  But then…I meet with a widow of a farmer who was just killed in a farming accident and hand her a check for $250,000.  I can’t tell you the peace that comes to me when I have done this!  To be able to encourage that same farmer two years earlier to increase his life insurance policy because of the debt load reminds me of the “why” I do this.  To stop by a house that is still smoking and walk up to the family just to give a hug and word of encouragement and help in their difficult time of need reminds me of the “why” I do this.  To sit down with a couple and review their coverage and then to see the peace of mind they have when they walk out of my office because now they know they have the best protection they need at the best price reminds me of the “why” I do this.
  • When I was a high school agriculture science teacher and afterwards a dairy farmer, Robin and I were raising and homeschooling three children.  To provide for our kids’ needs then and for their future was our “why” then.  Now, being empty-nested, Robin is a big reason I do what I do.  My love for her has never been stronger, and I want to do my best for her.  And now with grandchildren in our family, I desire to leave something for them when I leave this world.

You know, I find it frustrating to hear people talk about how they never saw their last insurance agent or never heard from him or her or never discussed their policies.  I don’t know how those agents sleep at night.  I love helping people and seeing smiles when they feel good about their policies and protection.  I don’t sell insurance policies…I help provide “peace of mind” and that makes all the difference to my clients and me!

That’s why I do what I do.

My hope is this…

IMG_20160113_054352176The hope of “making a difference.”

My first grandson was just born in January.  As I looked at my son, Daniel, looking into Ryan Paul’s newborn eyes, I couldn’t help but pray that both Daniel and I could have the wisdom to make the right difference and influence in this little boy’s life.  What a blessing!

“Making a difference” are words used much today.  Everyone should make a difference in those lives they come into contact with everyday.  I would like to use this blog as just one tool to accomplish that in you who come here from time to time.

As an insurance producer (agent) I not only work to provide my clients the best savings but I also work to provide value.   I hope I can do this through the best availability, better communication and understanding of what they want and need in an insurance policy, and finally being at their side when they need that special help (friend) the most.

As an insurance agent I do not want to be like the bank teller at your bank or the associate who helps you at Wal-Mart or Lowes.  I want to go the extra mile in order to make a difference for you because that’s what friends do!  Friends can contact friends via phone, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instant Messaging, and texting.  I refuse to be an agent hundreds of miles away in a cubicle wearing khakis when you may have to call at 3 a.m. in the morning.

There’s a lot of noise out there folks…can your agent help you decipher it all?  Ask and then listen…do you still hear noise?

My desire is not to deliver the same ole service that creates all the noise but to be different in going the extra mile…and “my hope” is that this would be music to your ears!