Hope for your financial life and beyond

This Little Light of Mine

CandleHidden Nuggets Series #1

Have you ever lost your way? I have on more than one occasion, including this past year while writing for Luke1428. Unintentionally, I strayed from the vision that sparked the purchase of this domain name in early 2012.

It started sometime this past January when I began to incorporate less and less of a spiritual perspective in my writing. My vision for Luke1428 had been to share what God had revealed to me about money and personal finance through my reading of the Bible. It’s littered all through the Bible’s pages, really valuable and practical applications that anyone, religious or not, could appreciate.

I started out gangbusters on that vision.

I ended blog year #1 fizzling out on it.

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Luke1428 Celebrates 1-Yr. Blog-iversary! A Special Thank You

Designfolio ScreenshotWhat a year! It all started with this post on July 3rd, 2012. If you like the Finding Nemo seagulls, then check out the video at the bottom of the post. See how long you can bear to listen. I give it 30 seconds tops.

Oh, and the post had a uniquely spiritual message about ownership that I continually have to revisit to this day.

I’m not sure what I was expecting last year when I started this blog. All I knew is that I had an idea, a passion and had finally worked up the courage to share those with others. Some people have no problem sharing on such a public forum like the Internet. I did. It was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome when starting Luke1428.

So in many ways, July 3rd is my personal independence day – the day I broke through some mental and emotional barriers and became willing to open myself up to the world.

Some things have changed here in the past year, including the free theme you see in the screenshot above. I’ve realized since my upgrade how un-functional that theme was. That’s part of the blogging learning process though, and I don’t regret using that because a great looking theme was not part of my original goal. RIP Designfolio.

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Marathon Training and Writing Mental Blocks

Marathoner grabbing waterI’ve heard it said that a runner is not ready for the next marathon until they have forgotten the last one. Whether that is true or not I don’t know. I have not forgotten much about my first marathon last October through the streets of Atlanta. Pretty painful after mile 22. Yet here I find myself beginning training again for another October run. I must be a glutton for punishment.

This time I will be traversing the streets of Baltimore on Saturday, Oct. 12th. My goal is to run the marathon in under four hours. To do that I will have to shave about 9 minutes off my time from Atlanta. I think that is a doable goal but it will still be a great challenge for me.

I’ve been running consistently all year but my official training schedule for the marathon started this past week. To meet my goal I’m putting some extra effort into my training sessions. Here is what I’m doing.

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Thesis vs. Genesis – It’s All About the Cup Holders

2007 Chrysler SebringEvery car that I have ever shopped for has the same basic components. Four tires. Car body. Engine. Steering mechanisms. Those components help me get to where I want to go. Now the quality and configuration of those components varies greatly among manufacturers but the basic essence of the machine itself remains the same from model to model.

If you have ever shopped day after day after day for a new vehicle you know that sometimes all the models begin to blend together and look the same.  So we look for ways, sometimes really silly ones, to differentiate between models to help us make our decision. I’ve seen this happen in my own life and I call it the “Cup Holder Syndrome.”

In essence the Cup Holder Syndrome says that it’s the ancillary things that sell the car. You slide in for a test drive, see 10 places in the vehicle to put a drink and think that’s cool. Or maybe you’re impressed by the lights on the dash, the color scheme, the power seats, or the way the stereo sounds. These things have little to do with the functioning of the car and are not the main reasons we purchase a car. But they do stick in our mind and can help sway our decision.

I found the same principle at work when trying to decide between the Thesis (by DIYThemes) and Genesis (by StudioPress) frameworks for my recent blog upgrade.

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The Secret Goal About My Blogging Only Two People Knew

sunriseWelcome to a new day at Luke1428!

Don’t fret…you are in the right place. After 11 months I’ve decide to take the plunge and upgrade this site with a new framework and theme. The creation you see here is just the beginning as I gradually tweak and enhance the site in the next couple of months. At least that’s the plan.

The theme I have chosen is the popular Eleven40 Theme developed by StudioPress. The theme is designed to work in conjunction with their Genesis framework, which I have also purchased. Total package deal for the Genesis framework and the Eleven40 theme, $79.95. I’ll be sharing Friday some of the unusual reasons why I chose this theme. Stay tuned.

For the foreseeable future this has what I need. I could have gone the route of having someone else design my site. That would probably have saved a lot of time and effort and maybe will be something I do in the future. But I love the challenge of learning new things and building something from the ground up. I think that is why I liked my construction job in college so much. Plus I have a couple of months now to devote to this task, as I will be free from my school responsibilities for the summer.

It’s taken me 11 months of blogging to get here. So why in the heck did it take so long to make the change from a cheap, free theme to something with A LOT more quality? Couldn’t I have upgraded back in February or last September? The answer to that question is of course “Yes”, but for a commitment and goal I made to only two people.

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How Do You Create Time to Blog?

Disclaimer: This post is part very calm rant (over my predicament), part probe (asking advice from you the reader), and part self-help (just getting this out of my mind and thinking it through so I can move on).

HourglassHello. My name is Brian. I’m a part-time blogger.

(I’ve actually never seen standards for what classifies someone as full or part-time. I just assume that because I’m not posting every day of the week that makes me part-time.)

This July 3rd, I’ll celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary. I’ve consistently posted twice a week for the past year. (Which actually was my personal goal.) On a great week I can sneak in an additional post or maybe compile a weekly roundup of awesome posts I’ve read.

I haven’t done many additional posts and no roundups recently because I have lacked the time. That’s frustrating. I LOVE reading what other people write and sharing comments in their blog world. And I love passing on what I think is good content to my readers.

I’ve seen an even more disturbing trend happen in the past month. I’m really having trouble keeping up with my writing schedule. I learned from John at Frugal Rules the importance of putting a blog calendar together. That’s been a ton of help. I’ve got a slew of stuff planned out to write on for months to come.

But keeping up with that calendar with all my other personal responsibilities is the challenge. As a part-timer this is what I’m up against:

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What I Learned About Blogging From My First 50 Posts

Blog WorldWe can learn by reading and studying a topic, but nothing serves as a better teacher than experience. There comes a time in any endeavor when you are required to gain that experience by jumping in with both feet. I chose to jump this past July when I started Luke1428.com.

Last Friday, I wrote about the 4 things my first 50 blog posts taught me about myself. Today, I would like to share 6 things my first 50 posts taught me about blogging.

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What My First 50 Blog Posts Taught Me About Myself

shakespeare bloggingOn July 3, 2012 I started writing this blog. It’s taken six months of part time posting to reach this, my 50th blog article. So in honor of this personal milestone, I am writing a two-part series on what my experience has taught me thus far about myself and what it has taught me about blogging.

So, for part one – 50 blog posts have taught me these things about myself:

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