Loud Smith Media and Publishing


The Public Adjuster

The Public Adjuster

Insurance claims consultants, also known as public adjusters, are easy to find when you have had a fire or a water damage situation.  These desperate times make us react quite quickly, but I want to suggest that you use one company that rises above the masses – Abba Claims (www.abbaclaims.com).  This national company is filled with highly skilled insurance claims consultants who can work with your insurance companies from damage appraisal to the end of the process.  They are not just professional, they are passionate about your problems and want to over-deliver if possible.

I live in Lubbock, Texas and I know that Abba Claims has a very active office here.  The head of the company – a guy who is named Ches – is an excellent leader and his employees follow his lead in providing the best of service.  These tough times that sometimes hit and ruin our properties to some level need to be handled by top-notch people so that you can get your proper return.  If this is you, don’t wait – contact Abba Claims as soon as possible.  They will hold your hand throughout this entire process and make you feel good about what sort of money you get back from your insurance company.

I am biased toward this company not just because of the testimonials from others, but because I saw how they handled my in-laws claim after they had a terrible fire hit their house.  From their temporary home at a local hotel, they were served quickly and were back in their house in just a few months.  And the thing that blew me away, was that when they got their insurance claim covered, this family had a brand “new” house that looked even better than it had before.

So this is my recommendation and I want to hear from others of you out there who have had the opportunity to work with them.  I think it is always good to read what others have to say about their experiences with a great public adjuster. 

Just wondering – have any of you had fire damage or water damage that caused seemingly irreparable damage to your home and possessions?  What did you do?  Did you try to work with the insurance company by yourself?  How did that go?  Do you wish that you had contacted insurance claims consultants to help you?  What would you do next time?

Please comment on this and let me know if there are other highly skilled companies out there who were excellent at their jobs.  Why not be fair and let more of you weigh in on who to hire?  Feel free to send me your recommendations if you have any about public adjusters.  Thanks in advance…

Avoiding Work Stresses

Avoiding Work Stresses - Week Thirty-Nine

Josh was a bit late to prayer today – He said that he a pressing matter with one of his Christmas lighting staff that needed to be taken care of early in the morning.  Liz and me had just been talking about catering in Lubbock and my business while we waited for our third mate to join us for prayer.  We could tell that Josh was in a bad mood and that he was trying to shake it.  So we took it to prayer so that he could relax despite the morning’s circumstances.  Actually all three of us needed to receive some peace, because all of had had tough weeks – bumps in the road.  Just a reminder to us that in this world we will have troubles – just because we pray doesn’t mean that everything bad doesn’t disappear.  Anyway, we focused our prayers on the person sitting to our left and we all felt better and calmer when we finished.  I have to say that I love my prayer team of three.  It’s amazing how people can really bond their lives together when they pray.  Oh and I forgot to say – there were thirteen groups who were there to pray early after subject of the talk last week.  I think that is cool how people who may have not thought about bringing the supernatural to bear on the natural were moved to try this after last week.

As for the larger business gathering, it was really well done.  We were all asked to take an index card and to write on it what our three main work stresses are.  Then whoever was bold enough was asked to share them.  It was interesting that almost everyone who shared had put “employees, profits and leadership.”  Of course there were other things mentioned, but those three were the common three.  After we were led in this exercise, the speaker named Paula told us some ways that we could reduce our daily stresses and be better leaders.  She said that as leaders we were prone to burnout and even bleeding ulcers (bad health) if we let stress do its thing day after day.  She recommended hooking ourselves with YouTube to practice guided imagery.  She said that there were a lot of videos out there that teach you how to shut your eyes and be taken out of your current stressed thoughts.  She said that by giving ourselves five to ten minutes of “mental time-outs” we could get a better handle on our stresses.  She also told us that there were good yoga exercises that you could do at your office – just brief stretches to do while alone in your office to get your breathing right and your head calmer.  I thought that this was a cool talk especially after Josh, Liz and I had mentioned in our prayer time that we had extra stress.  I knew that I needed to practice deep breathing – from the diaphragm – but I had never done it at work.  I’m planning to now.

So readers, how do you manage your work and life stresses?  Do you have any other techniques that you have found that work to bring yourself calm in the midst of your days?  I have prayer, yoga stretches, guided imagery and deep breathing to work on, but I am wondering if there are other things I can try in my moments at work when I am in the privacy of my office…Let me know when you can.  Thanks in advance…

Young entrepreneurs

Week Twenty-Four


Prayer with Liz and Josh was good – We had all been reading from that marketplace ministry book and we talked about it for a bit.  We all committed to using it to start entirely new cultures at our businesses by implementing the words from the text.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this will apply to lawn care, Lubbock catering and my heating and cooling biz.  After we talked about how to implement this in our businesses, we got down to prayer and asked God to lead us.  We didn’t know exactly what to pray for so we did what the Bible suggests and asked the Holy Spirit to pray for us.  As the Spirit of God we know that He would pray for us according to God’s will and thus we surrendered our time to Him.  We mostly stayed silent in our prayers so that we could focus on listening for guidance.  This silence was refreshing.  Sometimes this sort of silence can be uncomfortable, but since we had become friends and since we trusted one another, we were able to listen.  After about fifteen minutes of this, we stopped and asked one another if we had received any guidance during this time.  Liz said that she felt really moved to lift up Josh.  She said that she just felt that he was carrying around some big burden.  This was right on – Josh admitted that his father had become very sick and that he didn’t know whether he should take time off of his business work to go be with him – to take care of him.  So, we went back to prayer and asked God to reveal to Josh what he should do.  That pretty much ended our prayer time and we all felt better for having it once again.


The speaker for the whole business gathering was a manager at a paint store who talked about not letting a business get stagnant.  He presented a picture that showed how businesses typically begin with excited growth but then level off, plateau, and then hit a descent that affects profits and customer satisfaction.  He explained how to avoid this descent and he told how he had managed to go from plateau to a whole new level of momentum.  He said that it was key to take the opinion leaders from your staff on a strategy retreat so that they could offer their opinions about how to better the company.  During this time away, the speaker said that we would notice how company leaders feel empowered by being asked to offer their ideas.  He said that in his experience, this sort of retreat breathed life into his company and he also gave a few other examples of other companies who had had similar experiences.  He said that to put company strategy into the hands of employees really made a difference in how they approached work.


It was an eye-opening talk.  I know that I had never considered taking my staff on any sort of retreat much less one that asked my employees to weigh in on “what’s next.”  What do you readers think of this idea?  Have you ever done something like this with your business?  If so, what were the results?


That’s it for this blog – I will write to you next week.



Week Twenty-Five


It’s so amazing to me how this group is affecting my business.  I sent out a memo, if you will, to my staff about possible dates for a strategy retreat where we would discuss the future of “our” business.  I let them know in the memo that they would be given full rights as my business partners who could offer opinions that would be heard and implemented.  I also mentioned to them that we would be discussing raises for all of them.  It was funny how quickly they responded.  To a man, everyone sent back their best schedules and I went ahead and set this retreat for three months ahead.  Just by sending the memo I shook up the ground of my business – I could see that my employees were excited about what I was proposing.  I mean who wouldn’t want to talk about raises.  I had already sat down and figured out my own pay cut so that they could each get to a living wage.  I can’t believe that I never thought of paying them better.  No shame or guilt, but I don’t want to ever let them struggle when I have plenty to feed and shelter my own family.

As for prayer, we checked in on landscaping for Josh and catering in Lubbock for Liz.  They reported that they were still experiencing rises in their client bases and so we took a lot of time just thanking God for bringing us together and for answering our prayers.  We all talked about how God exists in the praises of His people and we set out to be more grateful on a daily basis.  Josh reported that he was going to go ahead and see his father and he thanked us for helping him get wisdom on the matter.  I asked them to pray for my and my retreat.  They were impressed that I had already put that talk into practice and they said they were going to do what I had done in the coming week.

The major meeting of the day was actually led by a 16-year old entrepreneur.  This kid had started a painting business and talked about how he had built his business the old-fashioned way – by going door to door in older neighborhoods and asking people if they wanted their houses painted.  This kid was bold.  He reminded me of a an friend of mine from high school who got way out the edge of the business curve to initiate profits from a Lubbock lawn care business.  Anyway, this kid didn’t have much more to offer than to tell us to hold onto the fire of entrepreneurship – he said that we needed to always be building our client bases even if it meant hitting the streets to gain business.  We all agreed with him that we shouldn’t take our business growth for granted.  It was a nice shake-up to our typical meeting.

So how about you readers – Did you start your businesses from a young age and continue to build from there?  Were you bold in your style?  I know I started my business from nothing and I am wondering where you were when you got your business going…

Business Leadership

Week Twenty - Business Leadership

This week we shared our prayer time with the two other groups who have been joining us thirty minutes early to pray.  We all circled up and introduced ourselves and then we got down to prayer.  It was amazing to feel the extra power going on as a result of our larger gathering.  The Lubbock Pre-K director seemed to have a special gift of knowing what people around her needed prayer for – none of us mentioned what we needed prayer for but Josh, Mr. Lubbock Lawn Care, told me afterwards that the administrator nailed it for him.  I could also attest to this.  She lifted me up especially and hit on something that I had not ever mentioned to my group of three – my sense of insecurity as a boss and how that was affecting my leadership.  I was blown away.  Anyway, we all agreed that we would gather together like this once every six weeks or so – It was a great time.

 The business meeting itself was very interesting to me too because it was all about being a strong leader for the sake of the employees under us.  This woman (Janice) was an architect who said that because she was a woman she had felt that she was not going to be respected by her employees.  She said that she succumbed to some of the men on the leadership team even when she thought they were saying things that she was sure would take the company to a lower level.  After doing this several times, another woman who worked for her took her aside and reminded Janice that she was the head of the company and that she needed to assert control.  With this encouragement, Janice took firm reins of the company and began to lead with a security and a strength that took some people aback.  She said that it took a while for the other men to respect this shift, but that they soon saw the value of her experience and position.  As a result of being a strong leader, she said that the company started living up to its vision and mission.  She said that within six months the company grew its profits by over twenty percent.  After telling her story, she gave us the same encouragement she was given and pushed us all to lead with power.  She recommended a book by Bill Hybels and several books by John Maxwell that she thought would help us get to a whole new level of leadership.  It was a great talk.

Hey bosses out there…Are you strong leaders who can allow for advice but not cede your position?  What kind of leader are you?  Do you have any book recommendations for me in this area?  Thanks in advance for giving me your tips and counsel.  Until next week…

Business Incentives

Business Incentives - Week 16

 I missed our early prayer time this morning because I accidentally/on purpose hit the snooze on my alarm clock four times instead of the usual two.  When I got there, my Lubbock lawn care buddy and my Lubbock catering friend stared at me disapprovingly.  They had been praying for me because they thought I was sick or dead – for why else would I miss our weekly time together.  They weren’t actually mad – they just messed with me about missing.  I won back their love by telling them that I had been praying for both of them daily.  They did catch me up on their prayer needs before the big meeting started – Liz wanted us to cover her for the employee evaluations she was about to have with her staff.  She said it was never easy for her to evaluate everyone as well as she wanted to because she didn’t see some of them as often as others.  Anyway, she just asked for wisdom about this – Josh asked for prayer for his wife because she was having some problems getting their kids to accept new rules that she had just given to them – chores and increased responsibility for several things in their lives.  Josh said that she played “bad cop” and he had the pleasure of balancing it all out with some “good cop.”  He said this was causing friction between them and he wanted things to smooth out as he started to share the burden of rebellious kids.  My prayer request was that I wouldn’t be so tired all of the time (busy).  Anyway, I felt bad for missing the thirty-minute time and actually felt less connected to my friends and colleagues.  I assured them that I would not miss again unless I actually was sick or dead,

The main business speaker for the day was a visiting guy from Austin who ran several food trucks that sold various types of cuisine.  He was a friend of one of the weekly joiners and was encouraged to speak to a group of us “small towners.”  So, while he was visiting family in Lubbock, he agreed to tell us his story.  This guy was laid back and more casual in his presentation but he taught us some good stuff about how to encourage and coach the Millenials he mainly managed.  He said that it was important to have regular “huddles” with his employees so that he could collectively “pat them on the back.”  He also said that beyond the collective encouragement, he would reiterate what he expected in a clear way so that nobody could forget the mission and vision behind the overall company.  He also said that he made sure to move his workers around fairly regularly – from one truck to another – so that they had to keep learning and keeping interest.  He said that this kept his workers from getting bored or stuck in a rut with one food truck.  Finally, this guy taught us to make sure that we reward everyone – even if our workers were slacking some.  He said that these rewards help get workers to live up to the reward after it was given.  With all of the entitlement embedded in this generation, he said he saw positive reactions from each group as each person felt that they were getting incentives they thought they deserved.  The talk was kind of all over the place, but even in its scatter shots I learned a lot.  It was cool to realize that even Austin colleagues were able to relate to us.

So, what do you think about these rewards being given before exemplary work is done?  Do you think that people tend to work harder when they see that they will be blessed?  Hit me with your comments about this if you have the time – thanks.

Accounting Basics

Week Eleven

Well, we have been doing this business group for ten weeks and I am amazed at how much it has grown.  Word of mouth and invitations have brought in some really big fish to our group.  This is just great because with every added member from all kinds of industries, we all get more perspectives on all sorts of things.  Even though some of these new members are not the main speakers, their comments and questions are really opening up my eyes to new ways to do better business.  Couple that with the prayer group with Josh, the Lubbock lawn care expert and Liz, the Lubbock catering guru and each week I am growing in my understanding of how God works in the marketplace and how a gathering of experienced business people can help one another flourish.  We have even gotten several people from the same industry and it’s cool to hear them give advice to their “competitors.”  Nobody holds back information so they can be the only ones who do better.  Everyone here seems to work for the benefit of all.  It feels good to be a part of a group like this – I will admit that it is surprising to be amongst such generous people.

Pre-meeting prayer was good this week.  We focused our attention and surrender on specific people in our workplaces that are having hard times with one thing or another.  We all have hope that we are given wisdom as to how to handle these struggling workers and we also hope that God moves in powerful ways on their behalf. 

As for today’s teaching, a businesswoman talked about how important it is to have someone who is extremely organized handling the paychecks and the books of the company.  She said that she once had hired a cheap option who was not very organized and at tax time there was a significant mess that cost the company a lot of money.  She said that since that troubled year she had hired a large company to do everything for her business.   She said that even though doing this option is more expensive, it has actually saved their company the headaches they had before. 

During the discussion time, several other business leaders admitted that they too tried to go the cheap route with book keepers who weren’t professional enough and they agreed wholeheartedly with the speaker that it’s definitely best to bring in a larger group to handle everything from paychecks to end of the year taxes.  I needed to hear this because I leave a lot of this stuff for my wife to handle.  I am going to take this burden away from her and put it on the shoulders of well-trained workers who will do a proper job of organizing my finances.

 Anybody else out there have any horror stories regarding this?  I’d love to hear how you handled it and what you did after it was all said and done.

Feng Shuing

Week Eight

Prayer with my Lubbock landscaping friend Josh was solid once again.  Liz, the Lubbock catering guru, also made her third appearance and she said that she had been praying for us.  I had to admit that I forgot to pray very much for their businesses.  I promised to do better this next week.  Both of them gave me grace and kind slack and we got into some really good sharing time.  It seems that both of them are having some optimization issues with their website and they asked me if I had ever used a company to optimize my business.  I told them that I used a firm called DreamTaxi who did a fantastic job for a reasonable price.  They both took the company’s number down and committed to call them.  After all, why have a website that isn’t exposing a business to the public?  If you are going to have a web presence (which I think everyone should) you should make it as good and relevant as possible.  Anyway – to the group itself.

The group speaker today was from a larger corporation and she spoke about using Feng Shui inside of your offices to make employees and customers feel balanced and good.  The lady who did the talk was quite eloquent in her presentation, but it just didn’t apply to me since I have very little “office” time.  I do have an administrative assistant that keeps the books, sets appointments and sends out invoices, but I don’t think that he is feeling imbalanced.  He doesn’t need Feng Shui at the office – at least that is my assumption.  Maybe I should ask him if he needs it.  Anyway, the discussion was mainly led by those with larger office spaces and they questioned the actual effectiveness of using this design style.  I thought the woman speaker handled the tough questions very well and she even made the case for people using Feng Shui in their homes.  I ended up going over to her after the meeting was over and asking her to show me how she would re-arrange my living room so that I could try this new idea out.  She was happy to help and so she took a drawing I had made of the stuff in my living area (I had doodled this out while losing interest in the meeting – bad student – shame, shame) and she showed me how to move things around to achieve this balance.  I told her that I would try it out when I got home and see if the family noticed more than just furniture relocation.  Maybe this will make my kids obey better.  Maybe it will make me a better dad as I watch my television shows.

 What do you think about the concept of Feng Shui?  Have you ever put it to use in your work offices?  If so, what was the result?  Have you ever re-arranged your home furnishings to fit this sort of model?  I think that a lot of us salt of the earth Texans doubted that this would work, but several of us said we would try it.  I’m interested in what you think so hit me back with some comments.

 Thanks – until next week…