Socks And Other Issues

Stupid Socks

Socks

I saw a friend reference an article on Facebook recently about spending time with your kids and balancing that with cleaning the house. It’s a bit of a sarcastic read but pretty good. It reminded me of some things I dealt with as a single parent, trying to juggle work, school, raising kids, homework, house cleaning (never did very good here), paying bills, doctors, sports, church and anything else you can think of that you run ragged and become exhausted.

Every day.

All the time.

Take a look at that picture above of all the socks. Can you believe how many different styles, colors, and sizes of socks there are?

Crazy!

Saving Time – Anywhere You Can

Save Time

When you are a single-parent, you look for any way that you can save 5 minutes. Ask my kids. I was always exhausted. I could save a few minutes by doing certain things to maximize my time.

Here are just a few things I did to help simplify things.

  1. I bought the exact same type of socks. I had two colors. Black and Grey. Since they were all the same, I never bothered putting them together in pairs. They all got shoved into a drawer and that was that.
  2. Why bother folding your underwear? Do you really plan on stripping to your undies every time you see someone? No one is going to see if your underwear is wrinkled. Again – throw them in a drawer and call it good.
  3. The wash was started when I went to bed. The washer can run overnight without my help. I would get up a bit earlier in the morning and put the laundry in the dryer while I got a shower, dressed, had breakfast (maybe), made coffee, and got the kids moving for school. If I had time, I would fold or hang clothes before heading to work. If not, then they were tumbled and folded or hung when I got home.
  4. I was the only one that ate leftovers. When I cooked the evening meal (sometimes that was around 9pm), I would make extra so that I could pack a couple of lunches for work during the week. I like a hot meal for lunch.
  5. Quick meals. So, maybe it’s not the best diet but we always had $1 pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers and boxed mac & cheese in the house along with soup. If I was running late getting home or if I was just too out of it to cook, it became “fend for yourself” night. Everyone would pick a quick item and cook their own. Thank goodness for a dishwasher.

When you have no time, you find ways to cut down on time consuming stuff. Even grocery shopping with a list saves time (and money).

Having plenty of available snack foods is important too. As long as that doesn’t become the lunch for the kids. A tale for another post perhaps.

Advertisements

Writing Again

A Little History

I wrote a book several years ago. It took me several years to actually publish it too. I guess I was concerned about what other people would think about it so I kept coming up with excuses of why I wasn’t ready to have it published.

In June 2014, my wife asked me if I was going to publish it. You see, I had picked the end of June that year to publish it. Well, June came and went. When my wife confronted me about it, I said I would have it published in July.

She said “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Ill believe it when i see it

That really got to me.

I put it off as long as I could and on July 31, 2014, I submitted the book for publishing through Kindle. This placed the book on Amazon as an ebook.

By the end of the year, I also had a hardcopy of the book available on Amazon and published through CreateSpace.

The book was a resounding success with 10 copies sold.

Ok. So maybe it’s not the next best seller but all the anxiety associated with putting the book out there was gone. It was what it was. There was no turning back now.

What Has Happened Since?

I ordered a lot of copies of my own book. After all, I had to share what I had accomplished with my family. I signed each copy and tried to get a book to everyone in the family. I think I still missed some but I had them.

Of course, one of my daughters, an English teacher, called me a couple of days after receiving her copy and told me there was an error at the bottom of page 33. Ugh!

Well – too late. The book is out there. She asked if I had anyone edit the book first. I said I had four different people edit it for me and they still missed the error. She told me to have her edit the next one.

I ordered business cards to promote the book. I started leaving the cards at places I went out to eat. I was handing cards out to people when they would find out that I had written something.

I was an author after all.

Then something amazing happened.

Someone found out that I had written a book on personal finance and asked me to give a talk to a group of women who had dealt with all manner of domestic abuse and had finally removed themselves from the situation. Their finances were a wreck and in some cases, they had never had to deal with finances.

The talk was a success and there was a bonus.

I was asked to give a class to these women to show them what I had done to get a grip on my finances. I have now given a couple of these classes and there will be another one later this year most likely. The group that I spoke to has decided to use my book as their guide for the women they help. The last order for the book was for 15 copies. Who would have thought.

Speaking of Speaking

Me The Speaker

Ok. Sorry for the bad Photoshop image. I was in a hurry. But I clean up well.

I’ve given several talks related to my experiences over the last several years. I like sharing my experiences and hope that the content of my talks helps someone. I generally speak about personal finances and domestic violence although there are other topics I am happy to talk about.

As an employee for a Fortune 500 company, I spent a good deal of time teaching others how to work on equipment. I even spend 3 years teaching at a Junior College part-time. I suppose, if you need someone to give a talk about the inner workings of Automation Systems using programmable logic controllers, I’m your guy.

I’m probably not your guy if you want someone to give a talk about how to monetize your blog. Haven’t quite figured that part out yet.

Oh.

I can talk about my book too.

Speaking of Next

I’ve decided that I am going to write again. I have several things that I can write about at the minute. I can write another book about personal finances. I can write about domestic violence. I can write about being a single-parent. I can write about raising daughters. I can write about living with disability. I can write about being an unemployed college graduate. I can write about being married to a pastor.

Or I can write about something totally different.

Right now, I am gathering ideas. Once I decide on the topic, I’ll get to work on it right away.

I’ll let you know what that topic will be.

Maybe you can help me decide what to write about. Leave a comment. I’ll respond.

 

 

We Can Do It!

CAM02021

Erin go Bragh! Éirinn go Bráth! Ireland Forever!

It’s all about the green today. Be safe and don’t drink and drive.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to ya!

Having Much; Having Little

My favorite scripture is Philippians 4:12-13.

“I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – NRSV (New Revised Standard Version

I can tell you from experience that it is a lot easier if you have enough. I have met people who have very little but who are completely happy in their circumstances. I have also met people who have had plenty and then complain when they don’t get a raise. I have had times in my life where I have wondered how I was supposed to make it. I have also had times in my life when I have had plenty of extra and was able to help others, save more towards retirement, etc.

Giving Back

I’m at a point in my life, after going on disability, that I need to start again. I’ve done it before and I know that I can do it again. I’m fortunate that my wife is successful in her ministry and we are paying the bills as we go.

Recently, I gave a talk to some women about domestic violence and personal finance at Agape House. These women have escaped from abuse. Some have kids, others do not. They are literally starting over again with nothing. Some have been laid off or had to leave everything with what they had on their backs.

I’m now in a position to take some time and teach a couple of these women how to manage their finances based on what I have done with my life. I do not claim to be a financial advisor. I am simply sharing the ideas and tools that I have used in the past to get out of debt and start on a positive path.

Back To Work

I receive my degree in Emerging Media and Communications in December 2015. However, my disability runs out in July so my job search begins now.

My wife, Sharon, reminds me to be grateful for the amount of assistance I have received so far with my education. I certainly cannot complain about graduating debt-free from college. All said and done, it will be just about three years from start to finish with a school change in the middle.

I have learned a lot about social media, web development, video production, various software programs and ways to communicate. It’s a well-rounded knowledge base which will serve me and others well.

What have you experienced related to the scripture stated above? How has your life changed during times of plenty and times of want? What have you relied on to get through the tough times and the easier times?

Frustration Ramblings

surgery

I heard the news today

Have you ever had one of those days? A day where one thing happens and it seems to set the rest of your day off on a bad tangent?

I am having one of those days today. As you might recall from an earlier post, I was involved in an accident about a year and a half ago. The other day, I was speaking to my insurance company about it because they had given up on trying to get money from the person who hit us. She was drunk and had no insurance at the time. Now it seems, she has dropped off the radar, moved with no forwarding address and there is nothing else for them to do other than request that her license be suspended. Somehow, I don’t think that will be much of a deterrent but there you go.

That’s not why I am having one of those days though. Instead, my day began with a phone call from the doctor doing my knee surgery. After having it scheduled for months, I get a call one week before it is supposed to happen and am informed that he will be out of town so he cannot do the surgery.

FRUSTRATION!

Now What?

If I had known about this change say a month ago, maybe I could have found someone else to do it in the time frame I was looking for. You see, next week I will be on spring break from school and would be able to recover fully during the time off.

Now, I will have to schedule the surgery during school which will mean missing classes, struggling for a few days to get around and just be inconvenient.

I did not want to call them back right away because it would not have been good. Instead, I started looking up scriptures about frustration. It turns out there are quite a few that pertain to frustration. Two scriptures that stood out to me were:

James 1:2-4 which states “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The other is:

John 16:33 which states “I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

Some translations use the word tribulation instead of persecution. I do not believe that my doctor is persecuting me so tribulation works a bit better in this case.

The challenges

The biggest challenge will be to figure out the best time to reschedule. Spring break is no longer an option. I really need this surgery done. I have a relatively short time frame to complete the task.

Having surgery while school is in session poses a couple of problems. The only days available for the surgery are Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. If I choose Thursday, I will miss a full day of class with one of them being a class that has some challenges for me. If I have it on Tuesday, I only miss one class but will need to do the hardest part of recovery while attending classes.

I know I will figure out the best time frame for me in these circumstances. Writing this has already helped a bit with the frustration. So for now, I will instead look to:

Isaiah 41:10 “do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

The Paperback Is Here

TLDFB-Paper

Long Time Coming

Well, I finally got my book, The Little Debt-Free Book, published as a paperback version. This version was submitted on January 31, 2015 for review. It took another day for the review process to be completed before I was able to order the proof copy.

Next Step

The proof copy arrived at my house this week and I was able to look over every aspect of the book in physical form. After reviewing the book, I had to go back to Createspace.com and authorize the release of the book on Amazon.com and Createspace.com. The book is now available on both of those sites.

Unexpected Outcome

A really cool thing has happened during this process. Recently, I gave a speech to a group of women at a shelter who had escaped domestic violence. Afterwards, the lady who runs the program told me that they would be interested in using my book as part of their program. Now that’s cool!

I have always hoped that the book would be able to help someone who struggles with their finances. Now it is becoming a reality.

Another unexpected thing was that Amazon immediately discounted the price of my book. After some research, I found out that if the book is available in more than one location, then Amazon reserves the right to keep the lowest price. The book is also available on Createspace.com so Amazon has discounted the price by 10%. That’s a good deal for anyone wanting the book. It saves them money.

Ending Thoughts

I know that there are a few people who have purchased the Kindle version of the book who have wanted the paperback for their kids. This affirmation is wonderful. I hope to reach more people with public speaking and this book in the future.

The Little Debt-Free Book Proof

cover1

Progress

Today, I ordered the proof copy of the paperback version of The Little Debt-Free Book. I should receive it in a week or so. Once I receive it, I can finish reviewing it and approve the distribution of the paperback version. That should finalize my work on this book.

Next Step

My next step is to produce a workbook for the book. I am thinking that I can create a 6-8 week workbook for it that will go through the steps outlined in the book. I don’t have a timeline for that yet but will update as it comes together.

Thanks

Thanks for those of you who have supported me through this process, especially my wife, Sharon. Thanks my love. Everyone has been so encouraging regarding this process and I am looking forward to working on my next project.

Although he is no longer with us, I must thank James Lipscomb for the encouragement that he offered. I think we encouraged each other through the process of my book and his CD of music.

My kids, who lived through the ordeal of the topic of the book – Thanks and I love you.

Are Resolutions A Waste Of Time?

Resolutions In Years’ Past

How many years have you been pledging resolutions for the new year?

If you are anything like me, then on those years you make resolutions, you typically do not manage to keep them for any real length of time.

How many of these sound familiar to you?

My resolution is to lose weight this year.

My resolution is to save some of my income towards retirement this year.

My resolution is to improve my relationship this year.

My resolution is to attend church more often this year.

I could name a hundred more but you probably get the point by now.

Why Resolutions Fail

My guess is that if you have resolutions like these, they probably failed at some point in the year.

One of the biggest reasons resolutions fail is because they are not specific enough. Another reason might be that a year is a really long time to pledge to do something. When was the last time you did anything for a year? I’m not referring to a job to make money to have a place to live and pay your bills. I’m talking about things like those listed above?

It sounds extremely difficult to me.

Possibly A Better Way

Maybe a better way would be to come up with very specific short term goals instead. Rather than making a resolutions for the whole year, have a standing resolution to re-evaluate your resolutions each month.

Here are a couple of examples.

I resolve to save 10% of my income and put it towards my retirement in January. Four weeks. That’s it. At the end of January, revisit your resolution and decide if you are going to do it again in February. Maybe in February, your resolution changes to paying off a credit card debt instead. Maybe it is to continue and save another 10% of your income towards retirement.

I resolve to attend church and Sunday School every week for the month of January. Once this is accomplished, you can re-resolve for February. Who knows – maybe by March you will have formed a habit of attending and want to add participation in an outreach ministry for March.

Conclusion

Don’t try to take on too much at once. Start small and add something as the months go by. Having 15 resolutions that all fail is pointless. Why not start with three for a month and then add some as the year goes on.

I think I will start my new year with organizing my office in January. Maybe in February I will take on another room of the house or the garage. I’ll let you know around February 1.

Have a Happy New Year!