Category Archives: Resources

Veterans Program Launches Today!

I am thrilled to announce the launch of A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans

Round-the-clock chaplain access to veterans and their family members
Helping Hand for Veterans

By dialing toll-free, (800) 80-VETS-4 [800-808-3874], any veteran from World War II to the Gulf Wars can speak to a chaplain. So can their family members. They will not be asked in which branch they served, whether they were wounded or disabled, what type of discharge they received, or if they have a religious affiliation. They will have to answer only one question:

“How may I help you?”
For many service members a chaplain was their lifeline at a time of dire need. Spiritual crisis, emotional trauma, physical debility, a chaplain is there for active duty personnel. But such difficulties do not end when a veteran sheds his uniform for the last time. Confronted with transitioning to civilian life, the need for chaplain support can be greater. But . . .

  • Active duty chaplains are busy taking care of their soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen, and Coastguardsmen. Many of them are deployed with their people. They simply cannot shoulder the responsibility of caring for veterans.
  • The Veterans Administration does not have enough chaplains to minister to the patients in their hospitals, let alone their clinics and other facilities.
  • Wounded Warriors, The Soldiers Project, and other worthwhile organizations are taking care of the critically wounded, physically and emotionally, or training heath care professionals to do so better.

What about the veterans who do not have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or are not disabled to the point where they rate care at a VA facility? To where can they turn at a moment of crisis and know they can speak to someone who understands their situation, has shared their experiences?

Two of my colleagues, Father Christopher Allen and Dr. Bryan Dove, and I started A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans to fill this gap. You can learn more about this exciting new venture at the website for the Institute for Living Intentionally.

Do you know a veteran who needs help? Pass along our number, (800) 80-VETS-4 [800-808-3874]. Heck, tell anyone who is willing to listen we are here to help veterans and their families.

Would you like to support our work? Come on active duty with us. You will not have to go to boot camp and have a drill sergeant scream at you day and night (unless you want to – we will arrange it)! By contributing a minimum of $18 per month, the cost to help one veteran, you can enlist in A HIGHER CALLING – Chaplains for Veterans Active Duty Program and be our partner in helping veterans secure a share of the American dream they fought to preserve. Donate here.

Please pass our number along to one veteran that you know and then join us on Active Duty here! Comment here.


New Look, More Great Content

With this week’s post my blog takes on a new look. While my old theme was attractive unfortunately the developer did not keep it current with today’s functionality. So with a new year comes a new theme.
New Look, More Great Content
It features a fresher appearance and improved readability and navigability. Also, I have reorganized my material to make it easier for you to find the information you want:
Personal Development: Here you will find material to help you design a purposeful, balanced life. My suggestions for strengthening specific aspects of your Three Pillars of Fitness – Physical ∞ Mental ∞ Spiritual appear as subheadings.
Entrepreneurship: Before joining the navy I spent 20 years as an entrepreneur and built five businesses. My sixth gets underway in a few days (hold tight, we are almost there). Having learned countless lessons (still am), I share them here.
Spirituality: If you are a fan of Parsha Nuggets, now you will find them here. In the future my guest bloggers and I will delve beyond Scripture, addressing other aspects of religious and spiritual development.
Sea Stories: Did you like my posts about life in the navy? Concerned about veterans and service members? Love to learn about things military? All these are covered here. I am planning more behind the scenes posts, pulling back the veil as far as my clearance allows.
History & Tales: History can shed light on some of our most difficult challenges. Several articles I have written about history will be published later this year. Here is where I will be continuing with this work, especially the history of everyday life.
Resources: Are you looking for information on sleeping well, guidance on eating, motivation for exercising, material to improve your mental resilience, tips on bettering your marriage and relationships, spirit enhancing thoughts, or help transitioning from military to civilian life (so close to my announcement)? You will find these and much more here.
All right, you're up-to-date on my blog.
I am practically intoxicated by the launch of my first major civilian program since I started my blog. It happens this Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Watch your email for the official notice.
By the way, you are going to have the chance to go on Active Duty with my colleagues and me. I do not think you will want to miss this opportunity. Remember the date, this Wednesday, January 22, 2014!
Please take a couple of minutes to look at my new blog. I really want to know what you think!

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Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Tonight we ring in a new year. Are you as filled with anticipation and hope as I am? After spending a week reviewing 2013 and planning 2014, I have never been more excited about the start of a new year.

Because of you I continually strive to improve my work so that you get the best ideas and information for improving your life, starting and running a business, and sometimes just being entertained. Hopefully you will find the new initiatives coming out the beginning of this year to be beneficial and enjoyable.

So I raise my glass to celebrate you, my reader. I am deeply grateful for your friendship and the meaning you bring to my life.

May you, your family, friends, and social media connections enjoy a new year of health, happiness, and success. Together may we go from strength to strength.

Happy New Year 2014!

All the best,

Kevin "Rabs" Bemel
Los Angeles, CA

10 Books that Will Improve Your Life

Every year I read at least 50 books. With so many goods ones even at one per week it seem to make hardly a dent. My reading focuses on the three categories below (my guilty pleasures are detective and historical fiction).

What are you reading?

While I generally keep abreast of current works, I also look back to see what classics I have missed. Here are the best:

Life Design and Business:

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Dr. John E. Sarno

A year ago I was so badly laid-up by back pain my doctor told me it would be six to nine months before I could consider running again. Six weeks after reading Dr. Sarno’s book I was back doing roadwork. Today I average 25 miles a week. When my friend Bill Gross told me this book changed his life I was skeptical. He was right.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

A writer for The Wall Street Journal, Duhigg gets to the heart of how habits are formed. More importantly he explains how to use his research to break your bad habits and form positive ones.

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway & Katie Yezzi

Riffing the old saying, Lemow and company opine that if you are practicing incorrectly you will not approach perfection. Their 42 rules are clear, sensible, and proven in the real world. This truly is the textbook for getting better at getting better.

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John Maxwell

If you are a regular reader of my blog then undoubtedly you are working to improve yourself. A master on this topic, John Maxwell distills his wisdom into actionable principles that you can readily integrate into your life.

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen

Harvard Business School professor, and aspirant to editor of The Wall Street Journal, Christensen asks powerful questions to stimulate your thinking about what success is and ought to be to you. Among the important themes of his book is how to better integrate your values and work.

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History and Biography:

Patton (Great Generals) by Alan Axelrod

If what you know about this controversial, powerful icon comes from the caricatured portrait in the 1970 movie, Axelrod’s short, well researched, incisive biography will introduce you to a man who devoted his life to identifying and overcoming his character flaws and weaknesses. Patton will show you how to live intentionally.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Though I am not a fan of Stephen King’s books, his memoir is enormously educational. If you have always wanted to be (Fill in the Blank), whether a writer or whatever, King will instruct you. His story of overcoming a horrendous accident will inspire you.

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson

So much of World War II history focuses on the battles and major characters that influenced the conflict. Olson’s book examines the impact three lesser-known Americans had on creating and maintaining the American-British alliance at the senior and at the person-in-the-street level. Each had a different character, style, and motivation. You can glean a lot from this study of how they created and nurtured relationships.

My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir by Dick Van Dyke

If you love The Dick Van Dyke Show and Mary Poppins then you have reason enough to read Dick Van Dyke’s autobiography. Neither salacious nor gossipy, it is an absorbing portrait of a flawed man who has done his best to live life honorably. Most impactful is how despite many setbacks he maintained a positive attitude.


The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

A work of historical fiction for juvenals, I read this book to my six-year-old daughter who was fascinated by a teenage girl’s life in Colonial America. Exciting and thought-provoking, this 1958 Newbury Award winner will delight and engage your children and you.

What worthwhile books did you read this year…

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Keys to Effective Productivity – If You Seek Balance in Your Life

Productivity. Don’t you love days when you get a lot done? I certainly do. But lately, I have been taking time to reflect on what I have completed to decide if my accomplishments were worthwhile. Have you examined the gap between productivity and effectiveness?

Keys to Effective Productivity – If You Seek Balance in Your Life

A few Sundays ago after my wife and daughter left Point Loma I sat down to draft a couple of blog posts. The previous 72 hours had been very busy and it wasn’t until I had frittered away a couple of hours that I realized no matter how much I produced that afternoon little of it was going to be useful. As much as I am intentional about being prolific, I need to be equally intentional about my work being valuable.

Based on research and personal experience, here are some conclusions I have drawn about productivity versus effectiveness:

  1. Productivity wanes. Even if you take breaks for meals and exercise, after 10 to 12 hours of work in a day, especially if it requires a lot of concentration, much of what gets produced is not very valuable.
  2. There’s a weekly limit. After about 50 or 60 hours of work in a week, the same thing happens. While occasionally you may need to put in a 15 or 18-hour day, working 80 to 100 hours a week probably means your life is out of balance and effectiveness slumped halfway or two-thirds of the way through your week.
  3. Clarity of purpose. Does the elation of task completion quickly melt away? Do you resent the numerous hours you spend at work? It may be time to re-examine your life purpose. Do you really know what your life is about? If I asked you why you are on this planet do you have the clarity to immediately reply?
  4. Conflicting goals. Minimally once a week you need to make sure that the work you are doing is moving you in the direction you have planned for yourself and your family. Productivity is not only measured in tasks completed or income. It is just that these are easily quantified. Are your goals in sync with your purpose? Is having a solid marriage one of your goals? How is spending 80 hours per week at the office helping you achieve this?

Productivity at the expense of effectiveness is a particularly attractive trap if you are paid by the hour. When I was a real estate appraiser I remember getting together with a friend who was as overworked as me. We made an agreement to raise our hourly fees by one-third. Interestingly my income increased even though I worked less. What’s more, the quality of my work and my job satisfaction improved.

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One of the wonderful challenges of being an entrepreneur is the opportunity to set your own terms of employment. Understanding the difference between being productive and effective will help you make sure that you are living the life you have designed for yourself.

Question – What signs do you look for to make sure your productivity is effective?

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