Hope for your financial life and beyond

A New Reason I’ll Avoid the Mayhem That Is Black Friday

Whack FridayMany of you will rise out of bed at 3:00 am Friday, grab some coffee and head out the door to go stand in line at your favorite retail store, hoping to get a jump on the holiday shopping season. It’s an annual tradition, this Black Friday shopping trip that gets so many people worked up into a frenzy. I’m sure many people love the action and excitement of it all.

Me? Meh…I find it not enthralling. I’ll take my extra hours of sleep.

There are a host of reasons I chose not to shop on this day. Thanksgiving turkey hangover. The crowds. Getting prepped for the OSU/Michigan game (yes…I do this a day early…Go Bucks!).

But this year I’ve added another reason why I’ll just never go shopping on this day.

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There Can Always Be Redemption

Hidden Nuggets Series #64 – “For with the Lord there is mercy; and with Him is abundant redemption.” – Psalm 130:7

Andy Dufresne Recently I’ve been talking about some topics that are all interconnected: dealing with failure, making mistakes and asking for help. I’ve been in a reflective mood as 2014 comes to a close. Some great things happened this past year but like the rest of you there are some things that I wish had happened differently.

In my younger days I used to think that every mistake was the end of the world – that there could be no recovery from big time failures. I’m realizing more and more the folly of that line of thinking. There is always room for redemption no matter how hard we might fall.

Not that redemption would come easy mind you. It could be the toughest of challenges to redeem yourself in the eyes of others who have seen you fail. Trust, confidence in and respect for would all have to be earned again.

The possibility of redemption remains a possibility though. Those who understand that can move on. Those who don’t, sink only deeper into an emotional despair. This can be clearly seen in the lives of two of Jesus’ followers who both made mistakes and took completely different routes in dealing with them.

A Story of Redemption

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I Need Help But Don’t Want to Ask

i need help“I can do it myself.” It’s a familiar refrain I often recite in my head. Even though it may seem obvious to everyone around me that I need help, I choose not to seek it. For some reason, my human nature resists reaching out and asking for assistance.

Why is that? What keeps me from admitting I need help? Why can’t I see the circumstances for what they are and then choose to rely on others to help me power through them?

Logically I should always ask for help when I need it. It would make my life run with greater efficiency and reduce much of the stress I place on myself. However, I’ve come to know this…I’m often an illogical person. I can rationalize away the greatest problem and convince myself I can handle it.

Sadly that’s a recipe for a stagnant life.

Why I Don’t Seek Help

From my life, I can quickly identify six reasons why I’ve refused to ask for help. What could you add to this list?

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No One Can Serve Two Masters

Hidden Nuggets Series #61 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24

you cannot serve two mastersAnakin Skywalker had a choice…the good or the dark side. He found out you cannot serve two masters.

Ben Hur had a choice…his Jewish heritage or Rome’s agenda. He found out you cannot serve two masters.

Scrooge had a choice…profit or Christmas. He found out you cannot serve two masters.

Choices pit one side against another. They require us to move decisively in one direction. You pick a side and go with it, all the while hoping for the best.

There is no middle ground.

There is no playing both sides.

There is no giving 100% to both agendas.

Why You Cannot Serve Two Masters

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3 Sneaky Marketing Words Companies Use to Lure Consumers

sneaky marketing wordsIt’s a beautiful, sunny October day here in the South. One where the temperature is just right and fall has knocked the humidity on its knees. The kids are playing in the front yard and I’m strolling to the mailbox to see what goodies the postman has dropped off today.

Reaching into the box I find the typical…bill, bill, Value-Pak ads, postcard advertising a lawn care service and lastly one shiny, black envelope that is obviously a credit card mailing from the logo printed on the front. What caught my eye however was not the logo but the three little marketing words printed just below the fold on the back side of the envelope…

It read: “We miss you.”

Awww…how touching.

Let me shed a tear as I throw this in the trash, all the while having Klymaxx’s “I Miss You” lyrics churning through my head.

Marketing Words of Love

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The Delicate Balance of Self Promotion for Peer Recognition

man yelling through a megaphoneGetting noticed.

What a challenge in today’s world. It’s crowded, noisy and self-absorbed to the point where it seems people hardly can rest and breathe let alone take notice of something. Too many people are doing great things in obscurity, never to be noticed or acknowledged.

A vast group of people don’t mind toiling away in the shadows. They like working behind the scenes, being a spoke not the wheel, only having a voice when a specific occasion calls for one. I find no fault in that having been there myself many times.

They may or may not ever get recognized. Perhaps if they stay long enough their contributions will be noted with a wall plaque or a retirement party. That feels good and right to them – no self-promotion of any kind. Only receive recognition that is stirred up by and comes from peers.

Then there are the entrepreneurs…the visionaries…the go-getters who have a message and a purpose to push. In their eyes, the only way to realize the fruition of their dream is to self-promote it. For them to reside in obscurity and let the message slowly unfold over time would be suffocating. It would bring death to their spirit and ultimately their venture.

There is no compulsion to avoid self-promotion with this crowd. In fact, for those choosing to make a living off their “brand of whatever” self-promotion is a necessity. It’s what keeps the bills paid.

So where are you on this continuum?

To Self-Promote Or Not

I bring up this topic for two reasons.

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It Is Not a Sin to Buy a New Car

buy a new carIs it ever OK to buy a new car? You won’t find many people advocating that practice. Rather it’s viewed as the cardinal personal financial sin. Anyone considering buying a new car instead of a used one runs the risk of being called a foolish, image conscious over spender.

That’s a tough rap. I don’t want to be lumped into that crowd. But c’mon…is it really that big a deal to buy a new car?

I’ll answer my own question by saying “It depends.”

Buy a New Car: Want vs. Need

I don’t believe anyone can justifiably say they need a new car. There will always be a used alternative to satisfy any life scenario. Even a family of twelve can find a used passenger van on the market.

Clearly a new car is a want and I’m perfectly fine with that. People should not be condemned for wanting something new. My wife and I just purchased our first completely matching bedroom suite this past week after 18 years of marriage. We’ve wanted a new one for a really long time but kid priorities and other financial matters have always taken precedence.

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Beware: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

Hidden Nuggets Series #44 – “When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them.” – Joshua 7:21

all that glitters is not goldYou could see in his eyes the burning desire to possess the golden treasure. The moment he had waited for his entire life had now come. The reward was within his grasp and nothing could stop him now.

Except the chain reaction that occurred once Indiana Jones lifted that little idol off its intended resting place. You just knew that bag of sand he used to replace the idol when he picked it up was not going to work.

In the next few moments, he would face a collapsing cave roof, poison darts shooting from the cave walls, a giant rolling boulder, and natives with spears. The worst part is he didn’t even get to keep the idol, having to turn it over to his treasure-seeking arch rival. Sure does seem like something bad happens when we try to attain something that we are not supposed to have.

The Eyes Are The Window to the Soul

Of all our senses I believe we are most enticed by what we see. We see people with power…we want it. We see wealth…we pursue it. We see people take shortcuts to get ahead…we attempt them. We see fame…we crave it, even if just for 15 minutes.

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Bugs Bunny’s Quest to Beat Cecil Turtle Cost Him Dearly

Hidden Nuggets Series #43 – “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” – Proverbs 28:20

Cecil TurtleOver a six-year period between 1941 and 1947, Bugs Bunny and Cecil Turtle engaged one another in three epic racing duels. Bugs was steamed upon learning the story of The Tortoise and the Hare in Aesop’s Fables. He set out to debunk the legend that a slow turtle could ever beat a speedy rabbit.

In their initial race, Cecil employs the help of his eight look-alike relatives/friends to serve as doubles. He positions them along the race path to confuse Bugs. Of course, one is waiting just past the finish line claiming victory when Bugs arrives.

In the 1943 rematch, Bugs builds an aerodynamic turtle shell that slips over his body. Cecil counters by wearing a rabbit suit. The not-so-bright Bunny Mob, who has placed all its bets on the rabbit, confuses Bugs for the turtle and prevents him from winning the race.

Four years later, Bugs gets one final shot. In classic Looney Tunes style this race would end with a dramatic twist.

Cecil Turtle Gets to Bugs

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5 Coping Strategies For When the Busyness of Life Causes the Dam to Break

water causes an explosion at a dam

Water exploding through a dam

On Friday, I commented to my blogging friend Tonya at Budget and the Beach that I was not looking forward to the upcoming weekend. When I realized all the items that were on my to-do list, I sort of felt depressed. I could see there would be absolutely no down time.

After all, aren’t weekends supposed to be relaxing? Most of the time during the school year ours are not, especially during tax season (from Jan. – Apr.) when Mrs. Luke1428 works on Saturday. It feels like the weekends are jammed packed with everything that couldn’t get done Monday – Friday. They become more hectic for me than the actual workweek.

For some perspective, (and I’ll keep this brief) here is what happened in our house the last three days:

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Richness Breeds Arrogance But There Is a Cure

Hidden Nuggets Series #35 “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, read to give, willing to share…” I Timothy 6:17

Me

Pride goes before destruction

That wealth you are accumulating sure feels good, doesn’t it. Getting a little chesty over it? Feel like showing it off a just a wee little bit? C’mon admit it…we like to have others ooh-and-ah over our toys.

It’s nothing new…been going on since, oh the dawn of time. It was certainly an issue in the New Testament church. The rich were called out by the Apostle Paul to “not be haughty” over their wealth.

Why does wealth breed arrogance and show-offiness? What is it about dollars accumulating in our bank account that prompts us to look down on others who don’t possess as much? Where does this high and mighty attitude come from?

If I’m honest, it’s a spiritual issue rooted in my selfishness, my forgetfulness as to whose responsible for those riches and my ability to slip into confusion about what’s important in life.

Debunking One Myth About God

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