Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Unconventional Workout at Sea....

Ragnar continues to set the example…..

Monday, November 27, 2017

Robert Louis Stevenson Quote....

Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Weekly Retrospective.....

What I’m reading:  Tools of Titans and Tim Ferriss

What I’m listening to:  Pandora - my wife’s music playlist has been in my head for days….

Where I’m failing:  Sleeping in…. having the week off has been horrible for my morning time…

Where I’m succeeding: Working out…. having the week off is actually very helpful for getting to the gym consistently, however…

What I’m grateful for:  Where we are in life at the moment….

Quote that has me thinking:   Success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right. – Gary Keller

What I’m excited aboutMeeting with my financial advisor Tuesday and getting started on the next phase of my financial life….

What I’ve been pondering: My next big home project….

Friday, November 24, 2017

John Carmack Quote....

Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re NOT going to do. – John Carmack 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Productive Day....

I started today by writing 1,000 words for my historical fiction novel, followed by a hike up Kennesaw Mountain with my son. Seeing that I was at 41 flights of stairs on the way down, I set a goal of knocking out 100+ flights for the day. I was also able to read 50+ pages and get a desk put together for my office. Productive day….

Monday, November 20, 2017

Challenge Accepted, Devin....

Yesterday morning, one of our pastors challenged our Church family to a “Priority Check,” with the following questions to consider for the past week: Figure where the majority of your time was spent and what you were doing. How much of your time was spent serving others? How much time was spent in prayer or Bible study with someone else?

Following are my answers:

·       I spent the majority of my time driving to work, working or driving home…to break my day down further, too much of my time at home was spent online, even if intentions were good. Lesson here for me: spend more of the time I actually own with loved ones or plan/prioritize my time better to ensure my efforts produce results. Action items: limit computer time during weekdays to one hour in morning and 30 minutes at night and dedicate more time to specific activities with my wife.

·       My week was actually fairly productive from a serving others angle. I helped my wife prepare for a family gathering throughout the week, completed some projects around the house and continued efforts to coordinate a community garden for a local food bank. Action item for this week: Find a Church family member and complete an act of service.

·       During this week, I said my obligatory prayers when leaving for work and when laying down to sleep. I occasionally prayed for others when receiving the daily Church emails about members of the congregation in need or when thinking about family members. Saturday morning was my weekly long-distance Bible study with Kadar. Lesson here is to add time in prayer and study. Action items: Adding one additional prayer time each day (morning) and a Thursday evening long-distance Bible study with son who is away at college. 

Alternative Workout #5....

Ragnar getting after it with  a battle rope workout…..great scenery as well.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Weekend Projects....

Borrowed an idea from Pinterest: Cut PVC pipe and use wood screws to fasten to wall. Store long-handled tools off the ground. 

Also added to my brick walkway around the fence outside of our pool.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m reading:  The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

What I’m listening to:  Stacking Benjamins personal finance podcasts

Where I’m failing:  Procrastination…I need to prioritize and get busy…

Where I’m succeeding: De-stressing….

What I’m grateful for:  Mi Familia….

Quote that has me thinking:   There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. – Ernest Hemingway (keeping this one another week)

What I’m excited aboutThis blog: I made some recent upgrades (more forthcoming) and it generated the most pageviews ever the past month….

What I’ve been ponderingStarting both a business and non-profit in 2018….

Friday, November 17, 2017

Personal Finance....

A few helpful tips I picked up the past year on my debt-free journey:

  • ·       Establish and stick to a zero-based budget: Planning how to spend every dollar forces you to make good decisions about what to do with your money.
  • ·       Use cash as much as possible: Handing out paper is way more painful than using plastic.
  • ·       Track your net-worth: It’s a more positive way to look at eliminating debt. Subtract your debt from your assets and see how you progress, month to month.
  • ·       Let your money goals segue into other areas of your life, like getting into shape or improving your standing at work.
  • ·       Celebrate: Each time you pay off something big, reward yourself.
  • ·       Have an accountability partner or group: Telling others of your goals can be incredibly motivating.
  • ·       Side hustles: Look for opportunities to sell stuff you don’t need or do some side jobs to generate extra cash to throw at debt.
  • ·       Use FSAs and other tax shelters to keep more of your money.
  • ·       Avoid additional debt when you are trying to get out of debt.
  • ·       Give, give, give, give…..

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Yue Fei

Regarded as a national hero in China for his illustrious 25-year military career, Yue Fei fought in 126 recorded battles with an undefeated record. Rising through the ranks from private to Commander of the Imperial Forces, he also invented many martial arts styles, and wrote poetry about how he was going to defeat his enemies. Nowadays, the Chinese regard him as the ultimate symbol of integrity, patriotism, and loyalty.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Buying or Selling Real Estate....

If you’re looking to buy or sell real estate in Kentucky, look up my man, G-Dub, for excellent service and mentoring on home ownership, short and long-term personal finance planning, and wealth-building. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2017 Goals Through October

Continuing to make progress on the three high-level goals I set this year. After three months of stagnation on weight goals, my average weight was 2 pounds lighter in October than September. 

·        Net Worth: Up 16.1%
·        Debts: Down 89.2%
·        Weight: Down 8.6%

We’ve also given away over 11% of our bring home pay this year and used the time we spent broke due to paying off bills bonding in ways that have made us stronger and more united for the future. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rachel Wolchin Quote....

Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord, and set themselves free from the fools. – Rachel Wolchin 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m reading:  The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren E. Buffet

What I’m listening to:  Dave Ramsey personal finance podcasts

Where I’m failing:  Stress…life is way too good right now to not be relaxed…

Where I’m succeedingBack in the gym consistently….

What I’m grateful for:  My wife….

Quote that has me thinking:   There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. – Ernest Hemingway

What I’m excited about: My design sprint yesterday for the community garden we will be starting soon….

What I’ve been pondering: Changes to my historical fiction novel based on some new insight about my family tree….

Friday, November 10, 2017

Community Garden Design Sprint...

Met with some highly intelligent Master Gardeners, Business People and Community Servants to plan a community garden today. More to follow….

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Emperor Menelik....

Watched a documentary on this guy last night and then did some internet research of my own. Talk about a true warrior and man ahead of his time:

  • ·       Led Ethiopia as the only African country not occupied by foreign powers during the 19th century
  • ·       Defeated the Italian Army during the Battle of Adwa
  • ·       Established diplomatic relations with Russia, leading to the modernization of Ethiopian society, including its first hospital
  • ·       Abolished slavery in his area of influence
  • ·       Established a banking system, trade route and railroad
  • ·       Spoke 7 languages fluently, including Ethiopian, English, French and Italian

Old School Pic...

Still one of my favorite all-time pics….found it an old box belonging to my paternal grandfather (Pappy). 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November Gardening Tips....

From The Old Farmer’s Almanac….
  • ·        Continue planting winter vegetables, such as beets, broccoli, cabbage,      onions, radishes, and spinach.
  • ·        Continue planting herbs that like cooler weather, such as dill, sage, thyme, cilantro, fennel, and parsley.
  • ·        Plant cool-season flowers, such as carnations, pansies, petunias, and snapdragons.
  • ·        Now is a good time to plant ornamental trees and shrubs. Use dormant oil sprays to control scale on ornamental plants, trees, and shrubs.
  • ·        Protect citrus trees if freezing temperatures are predicted. Water a day prior and you may also use covers.
  • ·        Avoid any heavy pruning jobs, as they will encourage growth that may be damaged during the winter.
  • ·        Remember the birds. As you prune, make a small pile in the back of the yard for your feathered friends.
  • ·        Remember to water your lawn during dry weather to keep it healthy.
  • ·        Plant hardy annuals, such as poppies, pansies, and larkspur.
  • ·        Top-dress your perennial beds with a layer of compost.
  • ·        Be sure to water your shrubs and trees throughout the winter, especially if the weather is dry. Refresh the mulch around your plants to help retain moisture and control weeds.
  • ·        Remove the leaves from your lawn, as they can encourage disease.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Eisenhower Quote....

Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run him over. – Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Debt-Free Lessons....

I recently wrote out a check to pay off my car, the last consumer debt, including my home, that I owed. Being debt-free is incredibly invigorating, and I can now look forward to my prime wealth building years that lie ahead. A friend asked me to outline some of the lessons I learned along the way, so here are just a few of them….

Burn the Ships: When the Spanish Captain, Hernan Cortez, landed in Veracruz, he knew that some of his crew were scared due to rumors of the viciousness of the local ‘savages,’ so he had his men burn the ships. This ensured his team would either conquer or be destroyed, but the option of quitting was now off the table. My wife and I burned our financial ships by putting all but $1,000 of our savings towards debt January 1, 2017 and then conquered by also doing the following:

Be a Team: You and your significant other is a partnership when it comes to finances, and a house divided truly will fall when it comes to monetary goals. You have to be on the same page. The best advice I heard before approaching my wife about committing to getting out of debt in 2017 was “Explain the WHY, not the WHAT or HOW.” Thanks, GW!

Budget/Plan: If you fail to plan, you are essentially planning to fail. Use a budget plan to see how you are spending your money, then work to reduce or eliminate as much excess as you can. There is a free online budgeting tool called www.everydollar.com  and several online sites (www.daveramsey.com and www.mrmoneymustache.com to name a couple) that are incredibly helpful in reducing inessentials that can drain a family’s bank account.

Give: We started the year giving away only an average of 4-5% of our bring home pay, while making minimum payments on all debts and spending the remainder. By October, we were averaging giving away 12% for the year to date. Somehow we were able to pay 48.5% of our post-tax income to debt this calendar year and increase our giving by 7+%. Is it coincidence that I somehow ‘found’ 56% more of my money to put towards debt and giving? I don’t think so. The better steward you become of God’s money, the more he gives you and the better you get at distributing it in a manner in line with HIS will.

Educate Yourself: If you want to be successful, there is likely already a blueprint out there if you’ll just look for it. I read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, which sparked this journey, but I then read half a dozen other books on personal finance along the way that also helped. 

Side Hustle: There are a lot of easy ways to make money in the world. Refer to www.sidehustlenation.com for some clever ideas to increase your income and have more money to throw at debt. Or, just grab your lawnmower and walk over to that yard in your neighborhood that seems to always need to be cut and offer a good deal.

These are but a few of the lessons I learned the past 10+ months on this journey. I’ll detail more tips in the future if you’re interested. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Weekly Retrospective....

What I’m reading:  The Essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren E. Buffet

What I’m listening to:  The Side Hustle Show podcasts

Where I’m failing:  Working out consistently….I’ve got to quit making excuses for not getting to the gym…

Where I’m succeeding: Planning and finishing what I start….

What I’m grateful for:  Grace ….

Quote that has me thinking:   “It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.” ― Eric Hoffer

What I need to work on: Acceptance (still)….

What I’ve been ponderingA Design Sprint (planning session) I am coordinating this coming Friday at the city library with local business-people, master gardeners, friends and the county food bank to plan a free community garden