Ross A. Hill: September 2010

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is The Economy Getting Worse?

I get this question almost daily.  In fact, one of my board members asked me this question earlier this week. I think the answer is YES.  What do you think?

Today, one of my long term customers came to see me. He told me about his business and told me things were very difficult.  Just a few years ago they were doing very well.  Now, things are different.  Times are tough and not getting better.  It was hard for him to tell me and It was hard for me to hear it. I care about him and his family.  It was hard to see him hurting, hard to see him scared. He was hoping I could help him.  I sure want too and I hope we can figure something out for him.

One thing I did do for him was pray for him.  I believe God can change his situation and I pray God will bless him.

Here is one principal that I believe strongly.
"It takes twice as long for the country to recover from a financial recession than it took to get there." -Ross A. Hill
So, what does that mean for you and me?  We have now been in this financial recession for over 2 years. Just recently the U.S. Government announced that the recession is officially over.  Do you believe that?  So, if they are right, sometime in the past few months we turned the corner and are crawling out.  There is a long, long way to go before things return to normal.  Be careful, conserve your cash, pay your debt down, cut your expenses, don't take on new debt. Be conservative.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just Because a Bunch of People Say It Is So, Doesn't Make it So!

I have been reading Numbers the past few days.  One of the things that just jumps off of the pages to me is leadership is not a popularity contest.  Just because an overwhelming number of people get together and complain about a leader or about the direction he is leading, does not mean the leader should change course. A leader should not just roll over and change because a group of people complain.  In other words, just because the leader is out number and people are against him/her does not mean the leader should change course.  Nor does it mean it is time for a new leader.

Leaders lead.  Sometimes your position is not a popular one.  Sometimes you find yourself in opposition to the people you lead.
In the Book of Numbers it says that Moses prayed and asked God to prove to everyone who God had appointed as the leader. Moses was sure God had appointed him as the leader and so he did not need to argue about it.  He decided to just pray about it and ask God to reveal it to the people.  And God did! If you are having trouble leading maybe you should follow the example of Moses.

Being a leader is difficult. You have to have backbone. You have to believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing. I rely on God to help me lead. I don't always get it right.  But, It is amazing to watch how He clears the path so I can keep leading.

"Leaders need to lead.  Followers need to follow.  When you can not follow the leader you need to find a leader you can follow". -Ross Hill
Pretty simple and true.


Monday, September 27, 2010

In the Beginning, Do You Believe You Can?

"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than a anything else, will affect it's successful outcome".  -William James

I believe William James statement is accurate.

"When you know you can at the beginning, you will in the end." -Ross Hill

You are way more likely to win when you first believe in yourself and believe in what you are doing. You have to believe it at the beginning for it is the only way you will overcome the discouragement of the defeat(s) that come along the journey to success.  Having a positive attitude at the beginning gives you the stamina to keep going when you want to quit.

Life has taught me that how we view challenges is the one attitude that separate the successful from the unsuccessful. It is most easily seen when we look back at great athletes and great teams. When I was young UCLA had the greatest college basketball program in the nation. They believed they could win. It was true of Roger Stauback the famous quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.  It was true of Tiger Woods when he ruled the PGA. They believed they were going to win long before they competed on the field.

This attitude, this belief, is the magic ingredient that separates the winners from the pack.

If you want success, you have to believe in yourself and your task before you get started.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweet Sunday

Sunday started with getting to sleep in a bit.
My weekly phone conversation with my mom was a bright spot.
A fantastic sermon at church about the boy with 5 barley loafs of bread and two fish and how Jesus used it to feed thousands.
Then lunch with some of my beautiful grand kids.
A little work.
The day ended with an incredible concert by Sandi Patty and some of her friends. I especially liked the song Sweet Exchange. The concert was at Crossings Church.
I am a blessed man.
Thank You Lord,


Friday, September 24, 2010

***SPECIAL EDITION***Do You Think This Could Work?***SPECIAL EDITION***

Is There Anyway This Could Work?
Does this make sense to you?

Could you operate a business if you had to manage it within all of this stuff to the right?

Does this look like anything has been improved in banking or does it look like a formula for more problems?

This is our governments idea of regulatory reform for the banking industry.  It looks like total confusion to me.

Can you believe this stuff?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Washington Reflections-One Last Thing

Dr. Tom Coburn For President!

The guy is incredible.  He tells it like it is.

He is smart!  Articulate!  Doesn't pull any punches!  He doesn't care if you don't agree.

As a United States Senator he has exposed billions of dollars of waste in the Federal Government.

He has also encouraged the Federal Government to stop wasting billions of dollars a year of our money.

He has run his own business and knows what it takes to run one and how to make a profit.

He is for small government and he is for freedom for Americans.

He is for YOU.  He is for AMERICA!

Dr. Tom Coburn President of the United States of America.

That has a great ring.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Washington Reflections

Here are some of my reflections on D. C.

Fantastic weather, temps in the 70's and no humidity.

The White House is as beautiful as ever, beautiful grounds, flowers and fountains.

The White House Still stands for freedom.  I walked completely around the White House and in spite of all of our political upheavals and short comings there was no other place in D. C. where more foreign tourist gather. They all want a picture of themselves standing in front of the White House. It made me feel great. People around the world still admire us.

The Federal buildings are huge, beautiful and expensive.

Panhandlers abound every place and very close to the White House.

Our Oklahoma Congressional Delegation continues to be depressed about what has happened over the past two years but they believe the end is insight.  They believe we are going to be able to restore American by limiting government after the upcoming elections.

The security around the White House and the president was overwhelming. I think it is sad.

I heard more sirens the last three days than I have heard in the past 3 years combined in OKC.

I think D. C. has more cops than the entire State of Oklahoma.

The Federal Government is exploding, as a result there is no recession in D. C.

Many, if not all of the bank regulating agencies we met with are out of touch with the problems the new regulations have created.  Most regulators have no idea that the cost of banking, the cost of borrowing money is about to go sky high for the consumers and small businessmen.

The bureaucrats want more government.  Why?  Job security, more turf, higher pay.  All SELF serving, not serving the people.

I did not hear ONE solitary conversation on the street, in elevators, in restaurants that was in support of the actions of congress and the president over the past two years.  I heard tons of complaints.  I mean tons.

Ben's Chili Dogs are world famous.  They are great!

National Community Church Rocks.

Mark Batterson is absolutely the real deal.

Everyone needs to attend a Robbie Seay Band concert! They are awesome.

The Oklahoma Banker Association is an organization that all Oklahoman's can be proud of.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Renewing Old Friendships

Sunday I attended a birthday party of a good family friend in the DC area. Clay turned 90 and I was able to attend his party and enjoyed seeing his son and his daughter again. His daughter Jane and I were friends growing up and her brother and my brother were friends. You remember how it works, your parents are friends with another couple so the kids have to be friends even if they did not like each other! In our case, it was not a problem, we all liked each other and got along. I had a great time meeting Jane's husband and her son. I also had fun meeting Bob's wife and one of their daughters and her husband. We shared pictures and stories and even though we had not seen each other for decades!...Yes, I said DECADES, it was like we started over where we had left off all those years ago. How does that happen??? Life is too fast, childhood friendships are way to fleeting, but I am blessed to have renewed these friendships. I would encourage everyone to try to reconnect. It is very special. Ross

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I am in DC this week for an American Banker/Oklahoma Banker meeting. I love DC. It is a special place. It makes you proud to be an American! It is like a booster shot and especially needed by me right now. On the ride in from the airport I had the good fortune to meet Yemi. Yemi was my taxi driver and he is an outstanding man. Married to a nurse, father of five, one in college. Yemi is a very upbeat man. He came to America about 10 years ago and recently became a citizen of this great country. He loves this country and he loves the freedom and the opportunity. Now I am really proud! Ross

Friday, September 17, 2010

**SPECIAL EDITION **Get Ready for the Tax Waive**SPECIAL EDITI0N

This was checked out on Truth or Fiction and it is true. The bill
is HR-4646 introduced by US Rep Peter deFazio D-Oregon and US Senator Tom Harkin
D-Iowa. It is now in committee and will probably not be brought out
until after the Nov. elections.Suggest that you pass this along and also to
your state senator and representative and US Congressman and Senators. Tom C.
  One percent
transaction tax is proposed
Obama's finance team is recommending a transaction tax. His plan is 
to sneak it in after the November election to keep it under the radar. This is a 1%
tax on all transactions at any financial institution i. e. Banks, Credit
Unions, etc.. Any deposit you make, or move around within your account, i.
e. transfer to, will have a 1% tax charged. If your pay check or your social
Security or whatever is direct deposit, 1% tax charged. If you hand carry
a check in to deposit, 1% tax charged, If you take cash in to deposit, 1%
tax charged.
This is from the man who promised that if you make under
$250,000 per year, you will not see one penny of new tax. 
Keep your eyes and ears open, you will be amazed at what you learn. Some will say "aw it's just 1%"... remember once the tax is there they can raise it at will and almost always do. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Growing Up Is Hard To Do

Have you notice, it is hard to grow?

Think about watching a child learn to walk.  How many times do they fall and bang their heads before they get it?

Think about learning to ride a bike.  How many times did you fall over before you learned to balance?

Think about learning to drive.  I heard about a girl that took her driving test the other day.  The first thing she did was back into a car!

Think about learning to pray.  It was really hard for me at first and still is sometimes.

Think about growing a business, especially now.  Talk about hard!

Think about your relationship with your wife.  It is a process and over the years it should get deeper and stronger.

Think about your faith.  For most of us I think it comes with as much or more challenges as the things I mentioned above.  Why do we think we should have a full measure the day we begin the journey?  Nothing else in life works that way.  Our faith should grow as we experience life and learn to have a relationship with God.  

One of my kids asked me to post a special prayer request for Martha Rhodes.
Martha had a heart attack and is in serious condition.  She is a wonderful Christian lady that runs the
children's department in their church.  She loves the Lord and loves the kids.  Please pray for her recovery.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Grandmother - Part 3

Part-3 Living legendary lives takes more than wishing.  It takes commitment, purpose, intention, and action. Welcome to living life to the full in God's great kingdom!  By George R. Skramstad, 2010.

I like that word "intention" for that is exactly what describes my grandmother.  Her intention was to bless people.  My mom told me that grandmother took care of everyone, did for everyone and never asked for anything. What an example! She had to have commitment, she had to have purpose and of course she had to act. If she never accomplished more than planting the seeds of faith in me I am eternally grateful to her.  But, I know she did more.

Grandmother was a very unassuming woman.  She was born in 1895.  She was poor when she was born and she was poor when she died in 1985. I never heard her complain about her lot in life. Just think of the things she witnessed in her life time.  From horse and buggy to men on the moon!

Besides watching the storms we always ate at least one pepperoni pizza when I visited her. She liked it as much as me!

I flew my mom and grandmother out to Oklahoma in 1984. Grandmother had never flown and the flights out and back were thrilling for her.  God blessed her on the flight out. The pilot treated her like a queen.  He took her into the cockpit and he gave her his wings right off of his shirt. She could not stop talking about it.  A year later when I went back home for her funeral the wings the pilot had given to her were pinned to her lamp shade next to her favorite chair.

I guess you can tell, Grandmother left footprints firmly in the sands of time for me and a bunch of other people to remember and cherish. I hope I can follow in foot steps.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Grandmother - Part 2

Thanks for the many notes I received about your grandmothers.  It was heart warming to hear your great stories about your grandmothers.

Picking up where I left off yesterday;

Part-2, James Bryan Smith says it this way in his book, The Good and Beautiful Life, " Those who are in Christ become living beatitudes, walking, talking blessings to the world.  Immediately after the Beatitudes Jesus says, 'You are the salt of the earth...You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven' (Mathew 5:13-16). Those who live with Jesus Jesus in His kingdom are destined to be witnesses for another way of life, where the last are first and the greatest are least."  Written by George R. Skramstad, 2010

I love that line "living beatitudes, walking, talking blessings to the world". Why? Because it reminds me so clearly of my Grandmother.  I think about the way she went about her life.  It was a life of service to others. She loved people, she loved to serve them, to take care of them and to be kind to them.  She loved to encourage them.  I can remember sitting on her front porch watching thunderstorms.  We would watch the lighting and hug each other waiting for the crack of the thunder to follow.  Every time the thunder roared we would hug each other even tighter!

She always managed to get me to do the right things by encouraging me and telling me to make her proud, to make my parent proud, to make God proud.  She would say, "you know God would want you to be kind to Johnny" or "you know your parents expect you to have character and so that means you don't take what is not yours".  She was never too tired to hug me, never too busy to listen to me, never to worn out to be a great example to me and others.

"Living beatitudes, walking, talking blessing to the world", I pray somehow I can be that for my kids, grandkids, my employees, my customers and my friends.


Monday, September 13, 2010

My Grandmother - Part 1

As you may recall I was in my home state of Ohio a week or so ago to celebrate my mom's 86th birthday.  As part of the celebration I took mom to Portsmouth, Ohio.  It is my moms hometown, the city of my birth and where my Grandmother placed the seeds of faith deep within my heart. I loved my grandmother very much.

This past Sunday as I sat in church and read the Morning Thought my mind went back to Portsmouth and to my Grandmother.  She changed my life forever. I would like to share what was written in the bulletin with you but broken into several parts.

Part -1, "People who leave their footprints firmly in the sands of time for people in future generations to remember and cherish, do so only by living well in whatever circumstances they find themselves with God's help and ultimate blessing.  These folks are legendary in their vision in their service, and in their character".  These words were written by George R. Skramstad.

As I reflect on these words and on my trip back to see my roots I was amazed at the poverty my grandmother lived in.  Even back then as a very young child I realized she was poor but only as I have matured do I comprehend the depth of her financial poverty.  Grandmothers home site was surrounded by the railroad yards, three very old shoe factories and a warehouse that was still painted a dull red some 45 years later.  We both realized the depth of her poverty and by contrast the richness of our own material blessings.

Yet, poverty nor her life circumstances ever seemed to phase grandmother.  She cared for her sick dieing husband and at the same time her alcoholic brother who lived in her basement.  Her faith was rich, she was upbeat, she made me pancakes and homemade syrup.  She took me to church and read her bible to me.  She told me the things of God especially where nature was concerned.  I miss her more than I can express in words. Without her life example I would not know Christ today.  She taught me many more things, like being honest, polite and to be gracious.  She taught me the importance of "living well in whatever circumstance".


Sunday, September 12, 2010

College Football

What a treat! Saturday night OSU football at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Saturday night RJ and I had the good fortune to attend the OSU football game.  It was the first time we had  been in the newly remodeled stadium and we were VERY impressed.  The stadium is first class compares to or is better than OU, Notre Dame or Ohio State's stadium's in every way.

We had a great time with our friends that had invited us. Danny and Jeannie took us to a tailgate party with lots of great food, drinks and good company.  Our friends have tickets on the 45 yard line in a BOX about 10 or 15 rows up from the field.  The seats are simply the BEST!

To cap the night off we went to Hide-Away-Pizza in Stillwater, arguably the most famous pizza house in all of Oklahoma.

The game was very exciting and OSU won by 3! Can you believe we have such good friends!!!


Friday, September 10, 2010



We will never forget.


Numbers the Book Written for Bankers and Everyone Else!

I am reading Numbers and it is rather fascinating to me.  I had not remembered that numbers are so important to God.  I guess He would be the best banker or accountant the world has ever known. He loved to count and number things, especially people.  In fact, through 6 chapters he has only counted people, nothing else.  As the 6th chapter comes to an end it is as though God seems to settle back and He speaks a very sweet blessing to His people.  In  Numbers 6: 24-26, God gives a blessing to His people:

"The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace."

May this blessing be yours today and forever more.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Little Boy Named Reid

Recently we have formed some new friends.  We met them at the pool earlier this summer.  They had their grandson with them and his name is Reid.  Reid takes after his grandpa and has one of those bigger than life personalities!  Reid started calling me "Mr. Ross".   Reid, his grandfather and I have had some squirt gun shoot outs that would have made some of the old time wild west shows on TV look like child's play.  It has been fun.  In fact the last time Reid was in town we got one of RJ's grandson's over and the four of us had a big time shoot out. Yes, the girls got in the middle of it too!

We (the grandparents) were all laughing about it over dinner tonight.  Jimmy said Reid was going to be here this weekend.  Did I mention Reid is 3?  Jimmy asked his grandson what he wanted to do this weekend.  Reid said that he wanted to find Mr. Ross at the pool and have a squirt gun battle!  Too Funny!!!

I thanked God Jimmy told me that story.  It is fun to know that Mr. Ross is somehow special to a three year old boy named Reid.  I think Reid is pretty special too.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pitch Your Tent!

The following is Mark Batterson's blog from yesterday.  It is a must read.
"I will pitch my tent in the land of hope."
I love The Message translation of Acts 2:26. I love the imagery because I just went camping with my boys last weekend. And I know that where you decide to pitch your tent is a critical decision. If you pitch it on unlevel ground or on rocks it'll be a long night! You also need to make sure you've got all the tent pegs secured.

Here's the question: Where are you pitching your tent?

Too often we pitch our tent in the land of frustration or the land of disappointment or the land of pride or the land of jealousy or theland of pity or the land of anger. We make our dwelling where we have no business being! We need to pitch our tent in the land of hope. That is where we need to hammer our tent pegs. Why? Because God is Sovereign. And He has good things in store for us! How? The promises of God are the tent pegs. And prayer is the hammer!

I can't help but think of my hike on the Inca Trail. We had porters whopitched our tents for us. They would make us breakfast. Pack up our tents. Pass us on the trail. And get to our campsite before us. Lunch would already be made and our tents would already be pitched when we got to the campsite they skillfully selected. That is a picture of the Sovereignty of God isn't it? Praise the God who pitches our tents!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Are You in Neutral?

Are you?

What I mean is are you waiting around for that new job, or pay raise, or promotion, or marriage, or graduation before you start to work for God?  It seems like many times in life I have noticed that people seem to be waiting for some artificial mile stone before they start doing something for God.  So, they are in neutral.  Are you waiting on something to happen before you start to work for God?

Neutral is not a good place, some would call it no man's land.  It is a place where we sit and wait for the future. While we wait, we miss ton's of opportunities God puts in front of us everyday.  Opportunities to do good for Him and His Kingdom.  Opportunities to serve man kind for the Lord.  Opportunities to make a difference in the world. Are you in no man's land?

God does not want us to be in neutral.  He does not intent for us to be on hold.  God wants us to do something. What?  Doesn't matter, just start doing something to serve Him. Opportunities abound everyday so just do what God has puts before you today. He wants us to get out of neutral and get on with making a difference in the world.

Are you in neutral?  If the answer is yes, get into gear NOW.  Make a difference NOW!