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200,000 miles!!

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I am proud to say that our car has made it to the 200,000 mile mark.
Now I pray that God will help it to make it to 300,000 miles and beyond.

This Ford Taurus and our middle son are both 14 years old.
We bought it 3 weeks before he was born.
It’s been nicknamed “The Big Red Car” for a long time now thanks to The Wiggles.

I would be awesome if this car could stick around long enough to help our kids through high school and college. Oh the stories it would be able to tell.
I lay my hands on the dash just about every day and ask God to help it last another 10 years.

Why am I so excited about a 14 year old car hitting 200,000 miles?
Because I have no car payments and do not ever want one again.
We have been driving this car for over 10 years now debt free and that is why I thank God every day for making it last. He is good!

Do you have a car that has made it to the 200,000 mile mark or beyond?
Please share your story by commenting below.
What kind of car is it?
How old and how many miles?

We will be looking for another used car soon as our kids make it to driving age and would love your recommendations.

Thank you.


How To Wake Your Kids Up In The Morning

As parents, we set the tone for the whole day, good or bad, starting with how we wake our kids up.
It is never easy getting kids up in the mornings, especially on school days, if you hope to do it without making them grumpy in the process.
At the end of this article I share a method for waking my kids up that Becky and I have found to be most effective, but first I want to share with you what I have learned NOT to do.

Do not SING
This one was doomed to work from the start because I am a horrible singer.
And to make things worse, my choice of songs were not always the best, like…

“Get up, Get up, get busy, busy…Get up and move that body! Get up, get up get busy, now the night is over”
“Rise and shine, and give God the glory , glory”, clapping my hands loudly as I sing of course.
“It’s time to get up, it’s time to get up, its Monday morrrrrrrrrrrrrning”. I think I made this one up myself.

For some reason, when I sang, they just pulled the covers over their heads and screamed “STOP!”
Stay away from singing.

Do not YELL
Yelling is typically not intentional, but on occasion it has been what I thought was the only way to get their attention.
Normally, it’s because we’re running behind, got up late or we thought the kids were up, only to find out 10 minutes before it’s time to go that they never got up in the first place. Now everyone is in a frantic rush and it’s next to impossible to have a good start to the day with this scenario.
Yelling doesn’t put anyone in a good mood.

Do not TURN ON THE LIGHTS
I’ve tried this a few times and although it does wake them up, they instantly pull the covers over their head and just scream.
This doesn’t seem to get them in the best of moods either for some reason. Let them turn their own lights on.

Do not BLARE MUSIC in their ears
Somehow, I really thought that this method would be fun. Who doesn’t like music right?
I even went as far as to download a song on my phone just for the purpose of waking them up.
You know the song from the movie Madagascar….”I like to move it move it”?
Who doesn’t like that song? It was the perfect song to get up to, so I thought.
WRONG! For some reason hearing this song blaring in your ear first thing in the morning is not how my kids like to be woke up.
I have to admit, that I thought it was kind of fun at first, but it didn’t last long once I realized that they were not enjoying it as much as I did.
Maybe a softer, more gentle, song choice would have been wiser.

After all this experimenting, there is one method that we have settled on and determined to work the best.

How to wake them up in a good mood…

  1. First, wake yourself up 15 to 30 minutes earlier than normal. You want to be up and ready ahead of the kids so that you can put your full focus into them. If you get up late yourself then you almost have to revert to the “Yelling” or “Turn the Lights On” method and that is never, ever fun.
  2. About 15 minutes prior to the time that you really need the kids to get up, turn a light on that is near their room, but not the one in their room. The hallway, bathroom or closet light should work. Go into their rooms, gently touch them on the shoulder and, with the softest voice that you have, simply say, “Good Morning”. They should at least shuffle under the covers a little or turn over.
  3. Now just walk away. They will not get up yet, but that’s ok. This is Stage 1 and the point is just to get them stirring.
  4. Now, go spend some time packing their lunches or getting breakfast going.
  5. Stage 2: Come back to them after about 15 minutes. This time speak to them in a normal voice, letting them know that it is time to get up. Stick around until you see them actually get out of the bed. Don’t say anything else, just stand there for a minute. Most of the time they will sense that you are there and know you mean business. Don’t let them drag things out; give them a minute at the most. If you walk away without seeing them out of bed and moving, you could come back later only to find that they have fallen back to sleep. Then you have to revert to yelling and the whole day gets off track.

This method may not work to perfection at first, but if you do it every day they will eventually get used to the routine.  You may even be pleasantly surprised on occasion and find them already up before you make it back for the second wake up call.

Think about how you woke your kids up when they were a newborn and simply continue to treat them the same as they get older.

Determine in your minds today that every day will be a good day and it all starts with me.
Make it your purpose to start the day off right, by waking the kids up gently and in a good mood.

I would love to hear from you.
How has your experience been in waking your kids up? Good or bad?
Do you have another method that seems to work well?


Check it Out! Pictures and Resources pages added

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I am still learning all that can be done with my WordPress website.
Like how to add pages or tabs to the site that are available to you at anytime.
Today I’ve added new pages for pictures and resources.

I enjoy taking pictures and would like to share with them with you through this website.
The first pictures added are from a recent trip to Charleston.
All of these pictures were taken with an iPhone 5S and are unedited. I was impressed with how they came out.
The picture above was taken while walking down the streets of Charleston.
You are welcome to use any that you like for whatever reason you may have.
I’ll be adding more so come back often to check for updates.

The resources pages is something that I plan to continually add to as well.
I want to be able to share with you things that have been helpful to me.
These will be available at any time at the top of the page.

Another page that I hope to add soon is a list of recommended books to read.

Check things out and let me know what you think.
If you find anything that you feel may be helpful to someone else please share.


Why We Cut the Cable

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This week we made a conscience decision to discontinue our cable TV service.
It was an easy decision for Becky and I, but difficult for the kids to absorb.
In this article I will share why we cut the cable and later will share how we were able to adapt and survive. 🙂

Why?
First of all, our cable provider, Charter, decided to go all digital and require setup boxes for each TV in the house.
$6 per month per box! When you have several TVs in the house that adds up. On top of that they increased our cable bill 20% without any heads up or warning at all.

We are budget minded people and do not watch enough TV to justify paying that kind of money for it.
There has always been a no TV rule in our house Monday through Thursdays because of school and with youth activities on Fridays the TV is not used most of the week anyhow. So I made the call and on Monday they came and cut the cable.
Our Charter bill will drop from $185/month to $69.99 per month for just phone and internet. That is over $100 per month in savings!!

Second of all, I actually look forward to seeing how we will adapt.
It feels good in a sense to be one of the weird, abnormal guys without TV service.
Maybe we’ll spend more time outside, playing music or reading.
I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

The most difficult part about cutting the cable will be losing ESPN and Disney. My boys and I enjoy watching college football together on Saturdays and my youngest’ favorite shows are on Disney. We also enjoy the Duck Dynasty series.
When I first broke the news to the kids, it was not taken easily, especially knowing that there are Bowl games coming up and most of them are on ESPN, but sometimes tough decisions have to be made for the better of the household.

I already have some ideas on how to adapt and still be able to catch some sports and Disney shows, but I’ll save that for a future article.

How about you? Do you have cable?
If so, have you ever considered cutting it in order to save money?
I would love to hear from your experiences.


The Importance of Raising Great Adults

Andy Andrews says, “We’re not trying to raise great kids. We’re trying to raise kids who become great adults.”

Our role as parents is larger than most might think.
The future of our country and this world will be shaped by how we are raising our kids today.
Kids are going to be kids for only 25% of their lives. The other 75% they will be adults functioning with whatever core values and fundamentals they have learned from their parents.

We have our kids under our control, like a boat tied to a dock. As they grow older we give them a little bit more slack in the rope at a time until eventually we have to untie the rope and set them free? All of our hard work and time spent with them then gets put to test out in the real world. Will they float or sink? Will they drift aimlessly in the open waters or will they be like a speed boat aimed in a certain direction and gunning it as fast as they can? (Hopefully in the right direction)

In order to raise great adults that are going to be able to sail in the open waters and impact this world positively we must teach our kids to have faith and trust in God, to love your family, to have a great attitude, how to face and conquer problems, how to react when things to go their way, how to deal with conflict, respect for others, work ethic, serving others and the community, to never stop learning, good morals, integrity, how to be a problem solver instead of a problem creator, how to think positively and so much more.

God has blessed my wife and I with 3 boys. I love them and cherish every moment that I can get with them.
But I realize that they will not be kids forever and that their most important and influential days are ahead of them.
They really are great kids, but my goal is that they will become great adults.

How about you? Have you ever thought about it that way?
Please share what you think by commenting below.
If you would like to be sure to receive future posts from me, enter your email address in the “Follow” link to the right.
Thank you and God bless.


Cold Fries: Another Lesson from the Drive-Thru

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We’ve all experienced it at some point.
You order a hamburger and fries through the drive-thru.
As you are taking off you reach into the bag to steal just a taste of the fries.
And why not? They always place the fries on top of everything else and they are not in a wrapper like the burgers. It’s just too easy.
What’s worse is the kids are watching your every move from the back seat, salivating and wondering if you are taking one of their fries or not.
There is nothing like good, hot, fresh french fries from the drive-thru.

You happen to pull the longest fry from the bunch and as you place it into your mouth and take the first bite your excitement turns sour when you find that they are stale and cold or luke warm at best.
Not good!

So, now what? No one likes cold fries.
Do you just drive on and deal with it?
Do you have a pity party, fuss and complain?
Do you go ahead and eat the cold fries and hope that this was just a one time event?
Is it worth the hassle to turn around and go ask for more fries?

Let’s think about it from another perspective and then decide.
What if you are the manager of the restaurant and you had no idea that your customers were getting cold fries and not happy?
Maybe there was an equipment malfunction or a new employee who just needed to be trained properly?
What about the people in the car behind you, who are going to get cold fries as well?

You have the power to change it all if you will just park the car, grab your fries, go inside and make the manager aware.
You don’t do it in a mean way, but with an attitude like you would take when helping an elderly person across the street.
You are there to help.

Now everyone is happy. Not only do you end up with freshest, hottest fries possible, but so do your kids and the people next in line that you don’t even know. Even the manager should be happy that you made him/her aware of the problem.

What if you decided not to go back and make the matter known?
Could you be mad or upset if you get cold fries the next time? No, because you didn’t do anything about it.

It’s not all about the cold fries…
It’s about thinking of others, rather than yourself.
It’s about making a difference and effecting the world around you.
It’s about helping others.
It’s about doing something about the situation you’ve been given, instead of just dealing with it and waiting for someone else to take charge.

So the next time you get cold fries, literally or figuratively, do something about it. You can make a difference; You can make your life and those around you better.
Even if it’s one fry at a time. 🙂

What do you think?
Have you ever received cold fries and gone back to get them replaced?
If so, did you have the right attitude and intent?
Please share by commenting below.

If you liked this article, the greatest compliment that you can give me is by sharing it with others.
If you would like to receive future articles, enter your email address in the “follow me” link to the right.


Wherever You Are; Be There

We live in a fast paced world.
Life is just a constant movement of one thing to another.
There is so much to do in a day that it is hard to be in one place without thinking about where you need to be or what you are going to do next.

While in bed, trying to sleep, you’re thinking about tomorrow.
At breakfast you’re thinking about work.
At work you’re thinking about lunch or what needs be done after work.
During the drive home you’re thinking about all that needs to be crammed into the evening.
When finally home, you’re thinking about getting back to bed and the cycle continues.

In all that we have to do, all the place places that we have to be, my challenge to you is this…
Wherever You Are; Be There

If you’re at work, be at work.
If you’re at home, be at home.
If you’re at church, be at church.
If you’re eating dinner with the family, focus on the family.
If you’re playing with the kids, give them your undivided attention.
If you’re out on a date with your spouse, be there with him/her.

Try not to let your mind wonder and worry about what’s next.
Its coming soon enough.
Enjoy the moment and get the most out of every opportunity that you have.


Budgeting 101: Why Saving is So Important

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Saving money is very important.
Next to tithing, saving should be the next most important item in your budget.
Also, like tithing, your goal should be to save 10% of your income.
It must be at the top. If savings is at the bottom of your budget then all it gets, or all you get, is what’s leftover, if anything at all.

Why is saving so important?

Savings is like preventative care.
Savings is Murphy repellant.
Saving prepares you for emergencies.
Savings keeps you from having to use credit cards.
Saving gives you freedom.
Saving keeps you out of debt or from from getting further in debt.
Saving gives you peace of mind.

Saving must be a priority. After giving back to God, pay yourself first.
10% of your income adds up quickly. You will be surprised how much money you can have if you will just discipline yourself to save.

Proverbs 21:15. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

The surest way to save is to make it automatic.
Have it auto drafted into your savings account from each check.
If it’s taken out before you can even get your hands on it, like taxes, then it’s easier to get used to not having that money to spend.

You can do it. You can be a saver!
Take action and start today. Do it now!


How to Speed Without Getting a Ticket

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I have been trying for over 20 years now and over time have come up with a formula for speeding without getting ticketed.

Highways = speed limit plus 10, minus 1 mph*
City = speed limit plus 5, plus 1*

*Disclaimer: Driving over the speed limit is breaking the law. This formula is not a guarantee and the moment I post this it is sure not to work for me any longer. 🙂

But here is my theory for the above formula and why it has worked…

When driving in the city, most cops are not going to mess with someone only going 5 mph over the speed limit, so I just add 1 mph to that to push it a little. Speeds in the city are lower than the highway, so naturally the allowance over should be less as well.

When driving on the highway, cops are not going to bother with pulling anyone over unless they are going more than 10 mph over, so I back off one mph just to be sure I don’t stand out.

Another key is to just go with the flow. Do not make yourself stand out from the rest.
When cops pull someone over it takes a lot of time. My reasoning is that they will not want to mess with the little bites on the hook and will wait for the bigger, more obvious ones.

I have to admit that I have received 2 tickets for speeding in all my years of driving, but in both cases I was not following the formula explained above.

One case was when I was still young and running late for school. Busted for doing 65 in a 45.

The other was more recently, about a year ago; I was doing 73 in a 60.

Drive safe and always be on the defense watching for the idiots out there on the road.


What Our Nation Must Do To Be Blessed

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Psalm 67

1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon the earth. Selah.

5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

America has been blessed because this country was founded with God as the center and we give Him the praise that he deserves.  It will continue to be blessed only as long as our praises to Him continue.

Please pray for our country, that it will never stop praising God.

Please share this with others and help me to spread this beautiful Psalm.


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