Why Wal-Mart's sales should have everyone worried

(Fortune) -- It certainly looks like happy days are here again. Many of the nation's biggest retailers, including Saks, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, and Target have released cheery sales reports. April's jobs reports showing a slight increase in the workweek and pay for workers, and more hiring across the board.

And then there is Wal-Mart, whose happy yellow face switched to a grimace when it released first quarter sales on Tuesday.....read more

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates hit yearly low

By J.W. ELPHINSTONE (AP) – 1 hour ago

NEW YORK — U.S. borrowers can get the cheapest mortgages this year, thanks to worries over European debt, and that could keep homebuyers active even after the expiration of a tax credit designed to lift sales.

Mortgage rates fell to their lowest level of the year this week as yields on U.S. government securities fell, Freddie Mac said Thursday. Fixed mortgage rates tend to follow the yield of 10-year Treasury notes....read more...

Cancellations rise in mortgage rescue program

(Reuters) - More borrowers could be expelled from the Obama administration's premier home rescue program in coming months as mortgage servicers make final decisions on trial modifications started under looser rules last year, U.S. Treasury officials said on Monday...read more

Ahead of the Bell:Housing Starts


New home construction is expected to rise for the fourth consecutive month in April. If the report comes in as expected, it's likely to raise hopes that the building industry will help sustain the economic rebound.

Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect housing construction to rise by 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 650,000 in April. The Commerce Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

The housing industry in good times is a major generator of jobs and economic growth. But builders have had to compete with deeply discounted foreclosures and have been leery about starting new building projects.

The report also is expected to show that applications for new building permits...read more

Hope? Just want things done...define the Box...

Succeeding in the box will only happen if we have the box defined and work hard at staying in the box.

We get outside that box when we try to shoot from the hip, or...when we attempt to circumvent writing policies and procedures, and/or following those policies and procedures.

We JUST WANT THINGS TO GO WELL. We want people to get along and JUST GET IT DONE.

Yet....we don't do the basics of defining the box we have to work in. We don't write the policy or procedure, we don't explain what we want to happen, we don't hold people accountable to their actions, or we attempt to hold them accountable to "things" we haven't explained very well..if at all.

Drucker wrote, way back in the 1967, He said that a good manager has to manage by walking around, and he has to repeat his desires over and over again. And if he doesn't keep repeating himself people will not believe he is serious. This has been quoted by management and leadership gurus many times since.

I've been told there is a book titled "Hope is Not a Strategy." The book is probably about managers that think they lead by hoping someone will adhere to a policy or procedure that hasn't been written. There's very likely a chapter on those that think something really needs to get done but doesn't take time to tell anyone else and instead hopes it happens.

I bet there's even a chapter on two people working on a procedure together, implementing that procedure, and hoping it is correct....even though other people in authority over the procedures actions haven't been consulted.

Thus, hope does not bring Joy at Work.

Work, Faith and Integration

Integrate faith into work, or integrate work into faith?

Much has been said and written about faith and work in recent years, yet, most of it seems to be about integrating our faith into our work. Googling the subject also shows numerous intro lines with...."integrate faith into work" or something to that affect.

Is that not backwards?

Aren't we supposed to be integrating our work into our faith?
Originally post on http://godandworkmatters.blogspot.com/

How Credible Are You?

A previous posting on Self Trust at Inside-the-Box-Success has brought up some interesting conversations, including the whole concept of credibility and ethics.

I'll say first that ethics has gotten distorted because of the technical teaching of how to be technically ethical without lying and cheating. Additionally, or second, I'll say the whole idea between what you believe to be credible and another's view of the same is, well...probably distorted.

So, how credible are you? On pages 50 - 53 in Covey's book The Speed of Trust there are a series of questions that form an assessment of your credibility. If you are honest, it will give you a fairly good idea of where you stand with yourself. and if you have others that will be honest with you, have them score you. The gap between your personal score and their score of you will give you a good idea of how much you need to improve.
If there isn't a gap? Well, to be blunt, but trying to leave the right impression, someone is lying about something.
Six Wall Street Excuses for Shady CDO Sales That Won't Survive Criminal Probes

A federal probe into whether Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) deceived investors in mortgage-backed derivatives has exploded into a full-blown criminal dragnet. And the banks on the receiving end of this unwelcome attention have a lot to be worried about. Read more...

Practicing Christianity: Notes from "The Joy of Fearing God" by Jerry Bridges

Notes from "The Joy of Fearing God" by Jerry Bridges

page 162 - If we express our fear of God by keeping all His decrees and commands as Moses said (Deut 6:2), then we must give attention to our interpersonal relationships.

Consider, for example the following from Romans 12:

Love sincerely (v9), Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (10)

Honor others above yourself (10)

Share with others in need (13)

Practice hospitality (13)

Bless those who persecute you (14)

Rejoice with those who rejoice (15)

Mourn with those who mourn (15)

Live in harmony with one another (16)

Do not be proud or conceited (16)

Do not repay evil for evil (17)

Seek to live at peace with everyone (18)

Do not seek revenge (19)

Overcome evil with good (21)


Let's Stop Complaining About The Day Our Lord Has Made

There's a prayer that goes something like...this is the day our Lord has made, let's be glad and rejoice in it. Maybe it's in a song.

What a statement of truth though - this is the day the Lord, our God, our Savior, has made. If you are anything like me, you pray for God's will to be done in your life and then go about trying to make IT happen. Yes, we're to do our part, I'm to work as to the Lord, but, when things are tough, or their's conflict, something goes wrong, I/you start to complain. Errrrrr....why did that have to happen? Or, why did SHE have to say that, did you hear about what HE did.....? We even use disguises of prayer to complain and gossip.

What is God's attitude towards grumbling, whining, and complaining? read more

Staying on Purpose

Staying on purpose is hard to do in this age of emails, blogs, Google and Wikipedia. I remember when the fax machine relieved stress, but now, we all want what we want and we want it....NOW.

I'm working in the box and not trying to be everything to everybody, but just doing what I can with what I have to work with. We can only do what we can do, pray like it depends on God, and work like it depends on Him also. Trying to work outside that box is more like a pipe-dream, a wishing well.

Looking back over my shoulder, reviewing the days events....I didn't get some things accomplished I intended, yet, I worked with what I had to work with and succeeded to the best of my abilities.

It was a good day. Challenging, but a good day.

Thank you Lord.

Original post at Inside-The-Box-Success

Lots Of Action On FHA With New Mortgagee Letters And On Capitol Hill!

Written By: Stacey Sprain,

Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (CALP)

It’s been a busy few weeks on the FHA-Front with the release of several Mortgagee Letters as well as movement on the FHA Reform Bill on Capitol Hill in Washington. Let’s review:

Mortgagee Letter 2010-13-Appraisal Update and/or Completion Report (Fannie Mae Form 1004D/Freddie Mac Form 442/March 2005)

It was definitely a positive that HUD issues this communication because the content of this bulletin most certainly clears up confusion on appraisal validity when an existing FHA appraisal is extended by the appraiser with FNMA Form 1004D. HUD communicates one fact in ML 2010-13 that was not so clear in the first communication issued via Mortgagee Letter 2009-51: That the original FHA appraisal may only be extended one time with the use of the Appraisal Update Report.

It was also clarified that the maximum validity of the FHA appraisal......http://bit.ly/d9IPrZ