The Home I Want To Recreate, Oh Wait, I Did!

A cousin just posted this photo of my grandparents home this morning. There was discussion of what “type” of design this house would be. I believe the consensus was a dog trot or breezeway design where the dog trot or breezeway was eventually closed in. I began typing a description of the house on the post. It grew from a description of a structure to memories to a blog post. It moved from describing a house to describing a home. It moved from architecture to joyful emotions. In fact, I created an entirely new design name for this home; the HOGM Design; Home Of Great Memories.

I thank my cousin, Dana Cash for posting this photo. She mentioned how she would like to recreate this house. It encouraged me to write something for my journal. I want my kids and grandkids to know about this HOGM.

This photo inspired so many memories. Sandy and I have also thought about recreating this house. We just talked about the house last week.

I loved the wide breezeway. It was my favorite part. There was room for kids to run and play and not disturb the adults. It accommodated furniture and a large deep freeze. Some know this as a freezer. This breezeway ran nearly perfectly west to east from front to back. It ended at a door that led to a screened in “sleeping porch” at the back of the home.

The sleeping porch was home to another dining table for extra guests or the kids, a wringer washer, a large sink and counter with shelves below that were covered by curtains. Of course it had a bed. It had a great breeze when both doors were open in the breezeway. The front door had a screen door to keep bugs out. This back porch also produced some of the best two kid homemade ice cream. I call it two kid because one kid was the sitter, one was the cranker and then you switched. I never remember an adult sitting or cranking. I think the electric ice cream maker and parents may have produced a generation of too many sitters and not enough crankers. I think this was my earliest example of sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting or reaping the rewards of your efforts.

Two kid ice cream was also an early lesson in problem solving. If your butt got cold, you got another Grit, (which I sold, delivered and pocketed a nickel for each sale) or Hope Star newspaper as insulation for the posterior.

On the right of the breezeway was a den and kitchen. They were separated by a door that was only closed to contain the heat in the den later in the evening. The kitchen had two dining tables. One large and one smaller. I’m not sure that 16 people couldn’t sit around those tables. If the weather was nice, the back porch overflow came in to play. If it was too cold, out came the TV trays and in came the porch chairs. I’ve never heard or spoken the three words, “I’m still hungry” under that roof.

On the left were four bedrooms with a bathroom in the middle. One of the bedrooms was where I slept with Papaw when I was young. He told me “bear stories right before he went to sleep. Notice I said “he went to sleep.” I’ve shared these bear stories with my kids and grandkids. So far, none have requested a safe space. 

There were a few gas heaters through the house. Luckily, one was in the bath room. Whoever used the bathroom first had to light the heater. My dad and I replaced the water cooler in the den with a window air conditioner in my grandmother’s later years.

The concrete posts on the front porch were worn smooth by the propping of feet as you leaned back in your chair. Two things I remember about those feet. I don’t remember the adult ladies propping their feet up. It might have not been ladylike back then. Most of the adult men’s feet propped there were in boots. They were not the fancy, polished “wish I was a cowboy” boots; they were work boots.

Sadly, today, those posts would be used as we propped up our feet while scanning our phones or tablets. Good old fashioned conversation, dialog and storytelling would be missed. The WPH, Words Per Hour, have been greatly reduced by technology. 

The front porch was also where millions of bushels of peas and beans were shelled. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of fake news. It might have been a few shy of millions, but not many.

The front yard had the best St. Augustine grass. It was great for bare feet or grounding as they call it now. It also had very few stickers. The back yard had many shade trees. Two were great for climbing. I just had a horrible thought; I don’t know if my kids or grandkids have ever climbed a tree.

Behind the backyard, was the chicken house. One of my daily chores was gathering eggs in the morning. Sometimes they came from the chicken house and went directly to the skillet. Granny said those eggs will be passed twice in a day. After she explained that one to me the first time, it became funny.

Across the road was a barn with a stall for the corn sheller. I’ve spent countless hours in that stall playing or shelling corn. The room was also where my Granny’s pet deer, Jenny, was kept during deer season. There was once a photo in the local paper of Jenny and our collie, Sport, in this house by the Christmas tree.

This barn also had a loft. I spent countless hours there as a kid. You could build a great hay house in the colder months. It was just a great place to play. I think the art of “playing” has disappeared. Also, my love of a loft waned a bit when I started hauling square hay at age 13. 

To the south of the house was always a huge garden. I remember it being plowed by my Papaw with a mule. I still remember the Gee and Haw commands to the mule for right and left. Papaw said the easiest way to remember is right has a G in it. Until I moved from home at 19, I don’t remember ever not “working a garden.” I remember the land also producing cotton and peanuts. 

The place had a few Catawba trees. These were great places to get a few Catawba worms to fish on one of the two ponds. If there were no Catawba worms, there was always that board on the ground by the chicken house. You could always lift the board and with one shovel full, gather enough worms for a afternoon of fishing.

Sometimes I would walk to the pond. Sometimes I would go horseback. Sometimes Granny would drive me in the truck and we both fished. Fishing was done with cane poles back then. Normally, when I tired of fishing, I stripped to my underwear and went swimming. 

When I think of the truck, my grandparents never had two vehicles. Papaw worked at a plant and carpooled from six miles down the dirt road. Every morning during the week, I had breakfast with my grandparents and rode to Fulton to meet the carpool by 7am. Every afternoon, we had to pick up Papaw by 5pm, so chores, fishing and playing had to be completed before this daily trip. I don’t remember this ever as an inconvenience. It was just part of life. They had to have a truck because when they wanted to sell a cow or calf, sideboards were put on the truck. The cow or calf was loaded and hauled to the sale barn in Hope. 

By the time I was 10, I had hiked every acre of this place by myself. I was armed with my pocket knife, a hunting knife, a boy scout hatchet and a plastic Daniel Boone flintlock rifle. Many times I’ve made homemade bows and arrows. I have dug foxholes and probably cut my grandparent’s timber sales by 10% because of the number of pine saplings I cut to build a lean to in different parts of the place.

I can’t imagine allowing my young grandkids to roam these woods at 8-9 years old. I know my parents and grandparents loved me just as much as I love my kids and grandkids. I just don’t think they worried as much years ago. I think media and the news has caused much of that.

Sometimes I would saddle up Raider or Tony to ride through the place. If I was in a hurry, I would skip the saddle part. 

I’ve flown homemade kites with tails of old sheets while laying in the field to the west. I let the kite fly while tied to my foot while I made shapes of the clouds with a stem of grass hanging from my mouth.

Last week during spring break, my favorite youngest grandson and I flew a store bought kite across the road from that field. I told him my story about tying the string to my foot. I told him sometimes I would go to sleep, a big wind would come up and I would wake up a half mile down or up the road depending on the direction of the wind. He’s been around me enough to not buy this story but I have two more granddaughters coming along. I’ll catch them a little younger.

Wow! This all came from a photo. I’ve always heard “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This picture was worth over 1900 words to me. I hope you have stuck with me.

A lyric in one of my songs, “What Are They Leaving With?” is “Do they have a loving home?” This was a loving second or third home to me for many years. 

Now, to break down my thought of recreating this house. Today, as I typed this memory, as tears began streaming down my face, it hit me. I realized, it has already been recreated. In fact it’s been recreated many times. It was recreated when Thomas and Virginia Gilbert had Greg and Teresa in Hooks, Texas. It was recreated when our family of four moved less than two miles down the road from the home I’ve just described.

It was recreated when Sandy and I married and moved into our 14 x 65 mobile home and later rented the Tyler home at Cross Roads.

It was recreated when Amber joined us in Blytheville, Autumn joined us in Fayetteville and we all four moved to North Little Rock. It was recreated when Sandy and I moved back to the farm. It’s been recreated by my sister, Teresa and her family.

It’s been recreated by Amber and Keith, Autumn and Adam and their families. I hope the love and memories will continue to be recreated through many generations. 

I know it will be recreated wherever I end up. Who knows, I might even recreate the structure someday but that is secondary to the loving home environment.

I urge you to recreate this home. Not necessarily the design or structure, but the HOGM, the Home Of Great Memories. In fact, many of the problems in this country could be solved by recreating the home in the photo.

Thanks to Buddy and Tommie Gilbert for creating what we can all recreate,

Greg Gilbert


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What Is Your Story? Farewell Dr. Dan

Sandy and I just had our last annual physical with Dan on 02-27-18. He retired the next day. We began going to Dan in 1989 when we moved from Fayetteville to NLR with SW Bell. He was referred to us by our friends John and Pam Andrews. His nurse, Denise, got very forceful with me in 2014 which led to early detection of cancer. I truly believe many people would stick around longer to make more memories with their family if they have a Dan and Denise in their lives.

As you read Dan’s farewell, notice a life of service to others. Also notice this. So many of us sit around and complain about Healthcare but Dan is not Healthcare. He is a person with a servant’s heart that has cared for thousands over four decades. In his farewell, he did not even drift towards the negatives, he remained true to the positives and advancements in medicine. That’s why he has cared for Sandy and I for nearly three decades.

What will we write someday? Will it be a story and legacy of positives or will it be a story of whining, moaning and complaining? It all comes down to our choices. Best wishes to Dan in the next chapter of his story.

Dan Dillard

After 44 yrs as a family physician in Little Rock, my wife Pat and I (4 dogs!) are retiring to Clinton, AR. Our cabin sits on a hill with 23 acres looking across the rolling Boston Mountains (foothills of the Ozarks).

It’s been a very satisfying career with a multitude of changes and we’re ready to kick back and relax! Office call back then was $6 and there were no CT scans, MRI’s, ultrasounds, laser or robotic surgeries, arthroscopic or laparoscopic surgeries, arteriograms with stents, or joint replacements. No organ transplants were available. Very few drugs were available for hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, severe infectious diseases or cancer (none for high cholesterol). All records were written (no dictation systems).

“Taking call” meant staying at home by your phone as there were no cell phones to allow one to go watch one’s child in school activities that particular night. HIV wasn’t known then and hepatitis B or leukemia was a death prognosis (now possibly curable). No trauma centers were in Arkansas where the trauma surgeons were on site in the hospital rather than being called at home. No limbs were reattached. .

“Premies” born too early rarely survived. And, the list goes on….Children I saw back then are grandparents now (I have one grandson, Indiana Dillard, age 2 in Seattle but another grandson coming in 2 months- – -it’s a late start as a grandfather but aren’t they wonderful and precious! My 2 sons (Daniel Jr and Case) are in their 30’s. I truly appreciate my family, classmates, friends, and neighbors over these many years and wish everyone only the best in the future!! – Danny (Dr Dan) Dillard

Best wishes and thank you for a life of service Dan Dillard,

Greg Gilbert
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Well Done = More Margin

This was in my morning devotional. Something very strong hit me.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ – Matthew 25:21 NIV

It did not say;

Well said

or

well thought out

or

well planned

or

well organized

or

well brainstormed

or

well journaled

or

well posted

or

well blogged

or

well presented 

or

well anything

but

Well Done.

It says “Well done.”

Another way to look at this Scripture is Well Done; not medium well, medium, medium rare or rare. In life, Well Done normally means we have been burnt a few times, scorched a few times and felt the heat many times.

Oh, I almost forgot. I read this after finishing my morning exercise. That means it was DONE!

 The only road to “More Margin and More Memories” is through “Well DONE.” We have to first get good at a few things and then we can move on to many things.

A great day is when you can look back on your accomplishments for the day and tell yourself, Well Done. That’s when you will begin to see margin increase and when Margin increases, Memories can increase.

Raise your glass to “More Margin, More Memories.”

Greg Gilbert


We will not bombard you will emails or sales. We want you to receive items that will help you obtain Peace Of Mind And Bigger memories. We also want to hear your success stories of implementing changes that increased Margin in YOUR Life.

We want you to be able to answer the question;

Who Has My Margin?

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Stay With Me. It’s Time For A Change. Let’s Find Out; “Who Has My Margin?”

Welcome to More Margin, More Memories!


Click below if you had rather listen to the Online Radio Broadcast of this blog.


Some of you have joined me over the years as I shared leadership lessons and “Mr. HR With A Guitar” from St. Louis to San Antonio, Boston to Biloxi and Paris, TX to Pennsylvania. Some have joined me through my books at GregGilbertAuthor.com  Thank you for trusting me with your time. The more candles I put on my cake, time becomes even more precious.  That is why in 2016, I began a new chapter in my life.

I have spoken to hundreds of audiences and thousands of attendees about the principles of leadership. In 1978, an attorney scared me when he said, “If it’s not written, it did not occur.” I began journaling immediately. I recorded the ah ha and the oh crap moments of my life and what led to each. I recorded the successes and failures I witnessed over decades of leadership, Human Resources and life. The material in my presentations and books came from those real life experiences.

I’ve been privileged to share these lessons with thousands. The feedback kept me doing it but one of my slides and 72 attendees convinced me it was time for a change. This is the slide;

I had no way to measure if I was making a difference. I wasn’t willing to fall for the overused motivational speaker starfish story of “I made a difference to that one.” (Google it if you haven’t heard it. It’s good the first time but gets old after the 50th speaker tells the same story.) The only thing I could measure was the number of attendees. Over the years, I was fortunate enough to share the lessons of great leaders and mentors in my life to over 7,300 people. Here is how 72 people convinced me that it was time to do something different.

I was speaking at a three day conference that was attended by 80 leaders from all over a particular state. I had them for only 90 minutes and there were many speakers that could help them become “Better” in their jobs. I heard a few of the speakers and took notes from the other speakers. I watched the crowd. I counted only eight attendees taking notes at any given time during the time I watched and listened. The others didn’t even have pen and paper or an electronic device to be able to take notes.

When I spoke, it was no different; the same eight took notes. It’s not that I have earth shattering leadership news but I promise, I shared lessons that could improve their quality, quantity, safety, moral and attendance if taken home and applied.

I called them on it. I challenged each one to return to work and show their manager what it cost in transportation, meals, salary and conference fees to attend the three day seminar. I then challenged them to show their manager how they would return that investment just two times. Not 10X, just 2X. I have the utmost confidence that did not occur. It would’ve been much cheaper for those companies to keep those managers on the job because NOTHING WOULD CHANGE for most of them.

“I’m still the same old me” is a line from a country song. It should NOT be our personal mission statement.

A few months before this event, I began studying to take my Life and Health Insurance exam. I’ve had an interest in life insurance because I have seen the benefit a few times in my own family. I knew it could be measured. I knew if I did a good job, someone would use what I provided and eventually someone would benefit. It could be decades after we sat at a kitchen table and I may not even be here to see the impact When I walked off that stage in St. Louis that day, I knew what I wanted to pursue. I wanted something I could measure. That brings us here.

This sign even made me feel better about what I was doing. I was curious about what I could accomplish and I joined a company that had a list of over 130,000 customers nationwide that were wanting to be served by major carriers. That allowed me to measure my impact and clarify my purpose.

Let me put you at ease. I’m not trying to convince you to sell or buy insurance although we are hiring. I need help getting to those 130,000 potential customers. We will split them; 65,000 each.

I named my company Margin Financial Group. Our Mission Statement is; “Offering Peace Of Mind And Bigger Memories.” I’m very familiar with compensation plans because of my HR background and I know that wages have not kept up with expenses. The salary increases I experienced in the 80’s and 90’s are a thing of..well..the 80’s and 90’s.

Many families have little or no MARGIN between their income and their expenses and there are only two ways to change that; cut expenses and/or increase income. Life insurance will increase Margin in the case of a death but increases expenses immediately. We must have the Margin to plan for the unplanned. Life insurance is more about priorities than a budget. The insured will never benefit from life insurance. It is a very unselfish act because they never see the harvest from their seeds. That is where some of the Peace Of Mind comes in.

The rest of the Peace of Mind and the Bigger Memories come in NOW instead of LATER. I want to help people increase their Margin NOW. It starts with the slide above; “What Matters Is Measured.” The first thing we must do is answer this question; “What is my margin?” The next question is; “Who has my margin?” More detail is covered on the webpage WhoHasMyMargin.com

I want more families to have Bigger Memories like this;

I want more memories like that.

This blog and upcoming podcast will address short ideas (much shorter than this blog)  that we can all use to increase margin in our life. Margin does not only exist in our finances. It exists in our vocations, relationships, marriages and our health.

I can remember the first time I heard one of my HR buddies say; “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room.” It was funny and the entire room laughed but it is NOT the way I want to live my life. I don’t want my life to be like a self imposed haunted house. The more candles on my cake, the less I like surprises.

I hope you stay with me for this ride because I believe we can all make a difference in our families by changing just a few things. As I’ve said from the stage hundreds of times; “My job as a speaker is not to tell you what to do. Most of the time you know what to do. My job as a speaker is to inspire and encourage you to ask yourself four questions;

  1. What can I stop?
  2. What can I start?
  3. What can I improve?
  4. What can I repeat?

That will remain my job as a speaker, writer, Online Radio Host and Insurance Consultant. My goal is to increase my Financial Margin to 100%. That means my expenses are half of my income. Join me on the journey. Let me know of your successes AND your BIGGER MEMORIES when they occur. I can’t wait to hear from you. If you know others that could use a Big Ol’ Slice Of Margin, tell them about us. Just send them to MoreMarginMoreMemories.com

Greg Gilbert


We will not bombard you will emails or sales. We want you to receive items that will help you obtain Peace Of Mind And Bigger memories. We also want to hear your success stories of implementing changes that increased Margin in YOUR Life.

We want you to be able to answer the question;

Who Has My Margin?

Join the “More Margin, More Memories!” Community

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Our Rodeo; Our Rules!

our rodeo

We were extremely vetted tonight. I’m OK with it now but I was not OK with it during the process. It started with Sandy, Kasen and I attending Championship Bull Riding at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.

To start with, they had built a wall around their rodeo. In order for us to get inside the walls, I had to apply for and purchase entry a few weeks ago. That was the first vetting. They checked my debit card to insure there were funds for the tickets plus $10 for ticket master and $3 for the event center on each ticket.

Once I passed this vetting system, I was able to print 3 tickets. Then, as we were walking out of the parking lot, there was a sign that said no purses over 6X9 inches. This was our second vetting. This resulted in us returning to our country, I mean car, and doing what the police tell you to never do. We left the purse in the trunk of our country and started our journey again.

Once we made the extremely uphill trip to the top, (everything worthwhile is ALWAYS UPHILL), Sandy’s clutch bag was opened and vetted by the security person. I was then asked another vetting question. I guess it was on the sign after the purse but I didn’t see it.

You see, I’ve carried a pocket knife since second grade but I couldn’t lie to security man. The metal detector wand man was waiting for me to assume the “give me a T” cheerleader position. I could not pass this vetting.

I told Sandy and Kasen to enter through the walls without me. I said I would do what I could to meet them on the inside, someday. I waved as they passed through the glass wall. They waved as they stood inside. They had been cleared to be inside the walls. I was willing to do whatever necessary to meet their requirements and be reunited with my family. It was their rodeo, their rules. I had requested entry.

55. That’s how many steps were on the three tiers back to the parking lot. I walked down the stairs and through the lot again to leave my 16 year old Case John Deere pocket knife in my country. There was also 55 steps back to the top. Forget that motivational, worthwhile uphill stuff. I wasn’t in the mood. I was having a few choice words with the 9/11 religious idiots that started this mess.

I reached the top, assumed the “give me a T” position and passed this vetting. I was reunited with my family and we hugged. (Not really but we will in the documentary.)

This is a late night report because I took Facebook off my phone weeks ago. This was good because it allowed me to clear my head. We were in our seats 45 minutes prior to the rodeo. This would’ve been plenty of time for a Facebook venting session on vetting and would’ve taken my attention from my family.

But here’s what changed my mind and heart. The lights were dimmed. Fireworks began as they introduced 25 young bull riders. I saw my grandson’s smile as he watched and listened. I was witnessing his first rodeo.

Then we were asked to stand and remove cover. (Remove your hat if you are wondering.) The rodeo announcer with a voice that compared with Paul Harvey said the sweetest prayer and asked for blessings and safety for each cowboy, our military, law enforcement and our country. Then our flag appeared on the big screen waving ever so gently. I don’t know if I’ve ever sang the National Anthem so loud and proud. P.S. No one took a knee.

After two hours of great action, some prayers for an injured bull rider and watching my grandson laugh and clap, it was over. You know what? Inside those walls was a pretty special place. Yes; I had to jump through some hoops to get there but as I said earlier; their rodeo, their rules. Yes, the rules have changed since I slapped Stoney Burke’s hand as he rode his horse around the Four States Fairground Rodeo arena in the 60’s. He didn’t know or care that I had my pocket knife in my pocket.

The world changed on 9/11. We have to change. I’m not the guy that likes to see our freedoms and liberties whittled away but I’ll share this with you. If I have to go through a few inconveniences to increase the safety of my wife and grandson inside the walls of a rodeo arena or the borders of our country, that’s not too much to ask.

In fact, I’ll do whatever it takes to see my grandson bow his head in prayer and his hand on his heart during our National Anthem with a few thousand others. Honoring God and country; I believe that’s how a country was started that people around the globe are drawn to.

Our Rodeo; Our Rules!

Greg Gilbert