Friday, April 21, 2017

Clues From Cash


KnowBe4
 
KnowBe4 Security Tips - Unexpected Emails
 
When you receive an email from an online service or business partner that you are not expecting, proceed with caution.
For example, if you receive an email from eBay stating that you have just won an online auction, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself.
  • Are you a member of eBay? (This goes for online banking as well. If you receive an email from a bank you do not have an account with, do not click any links)
  • Did you bid on any auctions recently? (If you did not bid, you cannot have won)
 
This does not apply to eBay alone. The bad guys can use any online service such as banking, shopping and social networking to try and trick you.

Remember to Stop, Look, and Think before clicking on any email links.
When in doubt, open a web browser and visit the company website of the person who sent you the email. From there you can log in to your account to verify any activity that has taken place.
Do not click a link in the email to visit the site... Open a browser and type in the address of the company.


Stop Look Think - Don't be fooled
The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thoughts for Spring

As I write this it is raining and April 5th, 2017. It appears things are pretty soggy right now. The weather is cold and gloomy out and most people are longing to see the sun shine. Some years at this time the farmers are running hard and some of the early birds already have tried planting a little corn. Two weeks ago it looked as if this could be the case this year. It is interesting how things can change essentially overnight! It appears that it could be a week or two before we even have the opportunity to get in the fields! Right now I am thinking about the Rye that I need to kill on my farm and how it is getting taller than I want. How much will this affect ground temperatures? How quickly the corn will be able to emerge? Will the corn act sluggish on emergence like it did last year? How will the markets react to the threat of delayed planting? So many questions with so many different outcomes! As farmers, there is one thing that we can count on and this is the fact that everything is constantly changing! Just when you think you have it figured out, Mother Nature changes the plan!  I feel so fortunate that farming is an industry where there are so many different paths that an individual or a business can take to get to the same outcome. It is a very rewarding feeling being able to plant a crop and help it grow to its fullest potential. No matter what the prices are it is always a rewarding feeling when you get to the field and have the opportunity to harvest a bumper crop!  I feel very fortunate that I get to share this experience with my customers and understand the challenges that they face with agronomics and marketing. I would like to wish all farmers luck in this coming year and please be safe!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Culture:

Culture, in business, is one of those new terms that is fuzzy, warm, and challenging to define.  LSB has spent the last decade developing, celebrating, measuring, and preserving our culture.

It started slowly, approximately 10 years ago, when we began to write and define standards for different areas of the bank.  One by one these standards were developed, practiced, shopped, and celebrated. Our culture team experimented and learned through success and failure.  The staff created a code to live by at work.  

Each year this culture team creates their own strategic plan on how to improve and maintain the LSB culture. They meet regularly to move projects ahead and are relentless in their vision.
 
LSB has been selected a “Top Places to Work in Iowa “three years running. We have also been ranked as one of the top culture banks in the nation through independent 3rd party surveys.  I am proud of our staff, culture team, and leadership team for their dedication in making LSB a fantastic place to work.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Live Your Life A-Z


Live Your Life A-Z

Attitude-is half the battle

Believein yourself and others

Change accept and embrace it

Dreamdream big; the opportunities are endless

Exerciseyour mind and your body

Funhave fun with everything you do

Gratefulshow appreciation and be grateful for what you have

Healthtake good care of yourself; it all starts with you

Independent –don’t depend on someone else to take care of you

Joy–always find joy in your life

Kindbe kind

Live, Laugh, Love –live every moment, laugh every day, love beyond words

Manners–always use good manners

Natural–excel in what comes natural to you

Optimistic – be and think positive

Productive accomplish things in life

Quiet –enjoy some peace and quiet

Responsible –be responsible

Successful–make good things happen

Toughbe able to handle adverse or difficult situations

Unique–make yourself different

Valuevalue your life; you only get one

Wisebecome wise, keep learning

Xanadulife is really a place of luxury and contentment

Yourself–don’t be someone you are not

Zanybe eccentric

 

God knows my life is not perfect, but I strive to live my life with these thoughts in mind.

   

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I Survived My First Semester of College


That is something I said 30 years ago, when I was a freshman in college.  Today, I am saying it as a first-time mom of a college freshman.  Of course, I was warned that I would have breakdowns as Shelby’s high school graduation approached.  I am not a person that cries easily, so of course I flew through that time without shedding a tear.  I think it was due to being extremely busy getting things ready for graduation and the graduation party being held at our house.  Then came orientation at Iowa State University.  I may have gotten a little teary eyed thinking about how this new experience will change our family dynamic, but once again no tears were shed.  We were told at orientation, that we should say our good byes to our college bound student before arriving at move in day.  Being a person that tries to follow directions that I am given, I took Shelby aside a couple of days before move in and shed my tears as she patted me on the back to comfort me, stating that this is what she has worked for her entire life.  She was happy, did not have any tears, and was ready for the new adventure that was awaiting her. Whew!  My mission was complete, the good-byes were said and we can now get her moved in without crying.



Move in day came.  It was a whole family adventure.  We loaded up the Suburban and climbed in early that morning to move her in.  We arrived fairly early to campus and didn’t have to wait in line to unload the SUV.  We had 5 students from the Move in Crew help us lug everything up to the 3rd floor.  We got her room set up and even met her roommate and suite mates.   We hung out for awhile and went out for supper.  We were having fun, but that was to change very quickly.  Terry and Zach both hugged Shelby and said their good-byes.  It was my turn and I was holding my own, but as I hugged Shelby, I felt her tremor.  The fear of what lied ahead had just hit her.  She started crying and I had to go.  That is not a good way for a mom to part from her first born.   The little girl that was a preemie.  The little girl that was diagnosed with a rare birth defect of her brain (bilateral peri-ventricular heterotopia).  The little girl that I was an advocate for during her years at Fairfield Community School District.  I was leaving that little girl to fend for herself in a strange new place and I couldn’t stay to help her. 



As we left her dorm, I started crying.  We stopped at Dairy Queen and I was still crying.  I cried the whole 2 ½ hours home, not touching the chocolate malt that I had gotten in Ames.  (To those that don’t know me well, that is a bunch of crying, if I couldn’t even drink my chocolate malt.)  To my surprise, Shelby and I texted each other all of the way home.  Shelby was never one to use her cell phone (most of her high school career, it stayed in her backpack turned off) and if a smart phone wasn’t a requirement for school, she would still have her flip phone.  The next few days were tough, with many texts back and forth, but no physical calls.  We both knew that if we were to hear each other’s voices, it wouldn’t be good.  Through the semester, we texted each other good morning every morning, every day at lunch to see how our days were going, and then in the evenings to find out how we survived the day and to say good night.  Shelby came home 4 times during the semester, each time taking her back became easier.  Neither one of us would cry, we knew that it was something that had to be done, especially for her to accomplish her goal in life. 

Terry drove up to get Shelby after her finals were over.  When I saw her, I could see she had changed.  She had grown from the little girl that I left in the dorm in August, to a young woman that knew her place in the world and what her purpose in life was.  We both survived her first semester.  She and I both grew.  As we delivered her back to ISU for her second semester, I left knowing that I had done everything I could in her first 18 years of life to prepare her for this adventure.  I left looking up to my daughter for all that she has accomplished in her life, all the hardships that she has overcome (many on her own, with great perseverance), and all the great things that she will accomplish in the future.   

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mission Trip

By:  Linda Werger 

We all have those times in our lives when we said yes we would do something and it made a great difference in our lives. 

About 6-7 years ago I was out doing some yard work when Duane Sprouse stopped and asked if I would attend a meeting about starting a youth group. I was hesitant because I had no experience with working with teenagers. My two Boys, Brett and Brian, were way past the teenage years. Times had changed considerably since my boys were teenagers. After attending the meeting, I decided to get involved with starting the youth program. 

Time has flown by and I look back and reflect on all the things youth group kids have done in the community as well as other communities. It has been very rewarding as a leader. The kids have worked hard and have gone away with experiences that they will never forget. 

The youth group has done various projects: Haunted houses, door to door food drives for the local food pantry, Christmas caroling, hayrides, raking leaves, yard cleanup in the spring and fall, fund raising suppers, shopping for Christmas presents for needy families, making a meal at the Ronald McDonald house, and working the games at Keota Fun Days. As you can tell it was not all work, a little fun was thrown in amongst the working projects.

The youth and adult leaders have gone on three mission trips: 2014- St Louis, Missouri, 2015- Jefferson, Iowa and 2016- Nashville, Tennessee. The Community has been very supportive of the youth group.  The fund raisers have been very well attended and there have been donations to the group from various people and organizations.

I attended the St Louis and Nashville trip as an adult leader. It was a lot of work getting ready for the trips and raising money for the trips but it was well worth it in the end. There is always so much excitement when you leave Keota and are heading to the mission trip.

This last summer our mission trip to Nashville was the first time that we actually went through an organization, Youth Works, that took care of all the details of the trip: where we were staying, meals, and projects for the trip. The organization does a great job!

Before we left on the trip to Nashville, I told the 13 youth that were going they would experience something on the trip that would change their lives.  I think that most of them doubted me. We left Keota on a Saturday afternoon, two vans, thirteen youth, and four leaders (John, Cindy, Pastor Mike, and me.) 

We were fortunate to have a church in Wesserville, Missouri host us on Saturday night to breakup our trip to Nashville. Deb Sprouse Witzman and her family attend the Methodist Church. Deb is formerly from Keota.  Her parents, Duane and Pat Sprouse, are also youth leaders.  There was also another youth group being hosted at the church. We invited them to be our guest for breakfast on Sunday. Under the direction of Cindy the group prepared breakfast casseroles to be enjoyed by all. 

Our youth spent the evening playing games with the other youth group.  Spoons was a popular game.

Sunday morning after breakfast the group packed up to finish the trip to Nashville. A big thank you was given to Deb and her family for all their help with the shopping of groceries for supper, breakfast, and lunch. Duane and Pat also came to Wesserville to spend the weekend with Deb and her family. They were very helpful with preparing meals and clean up in the morning, Duane and Deb’s husband, Cory, grilled burgers and hotdogs for our supper.  We were fortunate to have such great support away from home.

Arrival at our host church in Nashville, was a buzz of activity-unloading the vans, setting up sleeping quarters with air mattresses and meeting the staff and other two youth groups from Wisconsin and Minnesota. We enjoyed supper together and had large group meetings which included music and devotions.

The youth leaders were the only ones allowed to have cell phones. Cindy collected all the phones from the youth upon our arrival in Nashville.  Such began the week without cell phones. How were they going to survive?  I will let you know how they survived, you might be surprised.

The days were scheduled from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The day started with breakfast and devotions.  Each group was assigned a work project for the day. The Keota group was split into two groups.  John and Cindy had seven youth and Pastor Mike and I had 6 youth. 

Monday, Day 1

Our group headed off to help at an elementary school. Projects included painting, maintenance work, organizing, moving items to storage closets, and moving furniture. We met an art teacher that was making the school a happy place through her art work on the walls. She wanted the kids to feel welcome in the school and make a happy place to learn. She was a very caring person. The maintenance man was high energy and was so thankful for the projects that were able to be accomplished in a short time because of the helping hands.

Our next stop was eating lunch with the homeless at Centennial Park. Each day a church furnishes lunch for the homeless. There we were able to meet Pastor Mark. He does a lot of work with single moms who have drug addictions. His goal is to get to get these women off of drugs so their daughters don’t become addicts or victims of trafficking. We also had a homeless man share his story.

Next stop was a low income housing project that Pastor Mark is very involved with. The occupants take great pride in where they live. Each afternoon with help from volunteers he goes in and plays with the kids in the housing complex. Pastor Mark told me that 90% of the occupants are single parent families and a large percentage of the kids are being raised by grandparents. He encourages the kids to do well in school.  Almost 80% of the kids are on the honor roll at their schools and if someone struggles, Pastor Mark has college students from the colleges come and tutor the kids. Pastor Mark said that if one of the kids from the complex could graduate from college that it would break the cycle of not going on to get a college degree. The kids were so much fun. We played ball, did chalk art, played on the playground equipment and one of our youth game shoulder rides.

After the day was completed everyone headed off to shower and back to the church for supper.  In the evening after supper, we did some site seeing in downtown Nashville. The evening concluded with large group discussion and our own group discussion. Each of the youth and leaders shared their experiences for the day.  John and Cindy’s group worked at a nursing home. Three of our youth met a resident by the name of Mary that they thoroughly enjoyed visiting with. Mary was very strong in her faith and shared that with the youth. 

Tuesday, Day 2

After breakfast and devotions, our group headed out to work at a daycare for adult children.  The residents were so excited to see us. We went for a walk with them, played games, and later after lunch went bowling. They took their bowling very serious. These residents had different degrees of disabilities both physical and mental. One of the residents could only communicate with an iPad, while others could carry on great conversations. 

That evening after supper at the church, we went back to Centennial Park.  The temperature during the day was in the 90s. On the way back to the church, the ice cream shop was calling us to stop.  It was a welcome relief from the hot day. Back at the church again was large group discussion and our own group discussion. John and Cindy’s group worked at a rescue mission where 18,000 meals are served weekly to the needy of Nashville. 

I mentioned previously how I told the youth they would change during the week. It was very apparent in our group discussion. They were so eager to share their experiences and talk about different people that they had contact with during the day.

Wednesday, Day 3

Our group headed again to work at the daycare for adult children. We spent the morning playing games and interacting with the residents.  The trip for the day was a movie and eating at the mall. 

This was to be our last day of working with the adult children but the youth asked if we could go back the third day.  I told them I would talk to the site director, Drew.  

When the day was completed it was off to shower and back to the church for supper. After supper, we went site seeing at the Grand Old Opry Hotel. What a magnificent hotel.  You have to see it to appreciate the grandeur of the hotel. Ice cream was again the treat of the evening before going back to the church for large group discussion and our own group discussion.  John and Cindy’s group again worked at the nursing home and everyone in the group shared their experiences for the day.  My group found out that we would be allowed to go back to the adult children daycare.  They were very excited!

Thursday, Day 4

This would be our last day in Nashville. The day started with breakfast and devotions. After breakfast, John and Cindy’s group headed back to the rescue mission and my group was off to the adult children daycare. 

When we arrived at the daycare the residents were playing basketball with hoola hoops and a beach ball.  The residents were so happy to see us again! We had said our goodbyes the previous day because we thought we would not be coming back. 

The activity for the day was to eat lunch at Golden Corral and go to an arcade that had bowling, bumper cars, and arcade games.  During lunch at the Golden Corral, I got the pleasure to meet the mother of one of the residents.  Her son, Patrick, is very physically and mentally disabled. He also isn’t able to speak.  She told me that he enjoys coming to the daycare and that he was a gift from God. We talked about the mission trip to Nashville and the youth that were on the trip.  She told me that they were a great group of kids and I agreed with her.  The one thing that will always stick in my mind is that she said that the adult children are the most caring people, they don’t judge, they are happy to see each other, and that we could learn something from them. 

The arcade was so much fun. This was the greatest day because the kids had a lot of interaction with the residents. Each of them found something that they decided they wanted to do with the residents, whether it was bowling, bumper cars, or arcade games. 

Unfortunately we did have to say our final goodbyes.  The goodbyes were not without tears and wishing that in the future we could come back again. 

Off to shower and back to the church. Since it was the last night, there was a picnic with grilled burgers, hotdogs, and other goodies. The groups were allowed to invite someone from the week to attend the picnic. Cindy and John’s group invited, Ken, from the rescue mission.  Ken had given his testimony to the group earlier in the day on his struggle with drugs and alcohol. Ken was going through the program at the rescue mission to help him recover from his addiction. 

Ken sat down with the Keota group and any of the other groups who wanted to listen to him. He told the group about his journey and how one bad decision could change their lives forever. Tears were also shed when Ken said his goodbyes to the group. What an impact he had!

Large group discussion and devotions followed with each group having their individual group discussions. Abby, Jill, Jamie, Jacob, Justin, Addison, Raigan, Lauren, Lindsey, Trey, Bianca, Grace, Taylor, John, Cindy, Pastor Mike, and I had experiences in Nashville that changed our lives and lives of others.

Friday, Day 5

Vans packed, breakfast eaten, goodbyes, and pictures taken.  Pulling out of the parking lot of the church was bittersweet.  We were all anxious to get home but hated to see the week end. 

Friday was a long drive home but was uneventful. We left Nashville at 8:30 a.m. and arrived in Keota a little after 7:00 p.m.

We were fortunate to have such a great opportunity and have been so grateful for the support of the community. All I can say is what a great group of youth. 
Side note: Wondering about the cell phones? Cindy gave them back to the youth on Thursday night before supper. They survived the week. My observation was that without the phones there was more interaction with others on the trip.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Be Good


I am a believer that everything happens for a reason. I know people can’t think that way in the event of a tragic incident.  I recently heard a story from the Boston bombings where a man was severely burned that required months of surgery and rehabilitation.  During this time he developed a relationship with a nurse.  That man later said that he now understood why he was involved in that tragedy.  It was to meet his best friend and the love of his life.

Marilyn Monroe was quoted as saying, “I believe that everything happens for a reason – People change so that you can learn to let things go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one buy yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

For your enjoyment here is a clip from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button about a series of intersecting lives and accidents ultimately out of anyone’s control. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTDs0lvFuMc

It just makes you think about how your actions do to affect other people.  Good or bad.  Look at serendipity, an outcome of something you did, but not actually intending.  Penicillin could be considered serendipity.  Alexander Fleming’s intention was not to discover medication effective against bacteria.  He actually was investigating the properties a certain type of bacteria which are mostly harmless to humans.  This happy accident happened for a reason, right? 

I do believe mostly that if you do good things, good results will happen and if you do bad things, bad results will happen.  I am not saying that every bad thing that you do will end in punishment.  I am also here to say that every good thing that you do won’t always end positive.  Bad things can also happen even if your intentions are good.  What I am saying is that if you are doing the right thing, the majority of the time good things will follow.  So, with that said I try to live by doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do.  The more I try to do the right thing, the better I feel.  I know that I cannot control others, so bad things might happen to me and I understand that.  However, the more good choices people make, ultimately should result in more good in the world.  Besides Santa is watching.  Be good for goodness sake.

You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.
- Gandhi (In other words, the wrong thing to do is nothing)