Hope for your financial life and beyond

Consider the Ant in Your Definition of Work Ethic (Proverbs 6:6)

Hidden Nuggets Series #78 – “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise…” – Proverbs 6:6

consider the antDo you know any sluggards? That’s a term rarely used in our world today. The first thing I think of when hearing that word are creeping, slimy slugs.

You could easily identify what a sluggard is though if I gave you some synonyms. How do these words grab you – lazy, sluggish, loafer, slacker, and couch potato. Get the picture now?

The Bible has a lot to say about the lazy. This passage in Proverbs 6 may be the best known of them all. I think mostly because it tells us to consider the ant – an animal we hardly ever pay attention to.

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The Best Solution For Those Buried in a Snowdrift of Debt

In the winter of 2004, we had the fortune/misfortune of visiting my parent’s house in Ohio just before a severe winter storm hit. We had arrived just as the snowfall began and it…just…never…stopped…falling. Snow, snow, snow for two straight days.

van buried in a snow driftBy the time the skies cleared their tiny little town had received over two feet of snow – a kid’s dream but an adult’s nightmare. It had blanketed and buried everything in sight, including our van as you can see by the picture to the right.

Walking through that knee-deep snow I kept thinking to myself, “How will we ever get out of this mess?” It’s not like it’s going to magically melt away. No one in town is going to come rescue us – they have their own snow problems.

In fact, some exacerbated our problem. Thank you snow-plow man for clearing the road and pushing another two feet of snow to our curb.

Even worse, as I started to look at the mountain of snow from different angles the situation seemed even more desperate. At least in the first picture I can still see the van. From this viewpoint hardly anything is visible…

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Not So Obvious Steps If You Want a New Job

Tired of where you work? Looking for a new job? If so, you are not alone. We have all “been there” at some point in our lives.

new jobIn fact, in 2102 the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a study that tracked the number of jobs people born in the years 1957 to 1964 held from ages 18-46. They found men held an average of 11.4 jobs and women held 10.7 jobs. I can only imagine those numbers will be considerably higher for those born more recently, to whom a mobile and transient culture has become the standard of life.

If you want a different job though, don’t jump the gun. That could be disastrous on many levels, including landing in a spot that’s not a good fit. Instead take your time and go through an evaluation process that covers these six big areas.

Initial Steps to Finding a New Job

The next job is out there waiting for you. But before you land it, slow down and follow these steps:

Determine Your “Why?”

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Reasons I’m Thankful to Be a Stay at Home Dad

Six months ago I announced that I was quitting my job to become a stay at home dad. That decision was the culmination of a four-year life transition that saw my wife begin a new career so we could become a one-parent-stay-at-home family. We didn’t know at the time how it would turn out but were willing to give it a shot.

So far it’s been spectacular!

I Am Thankful written on chalkboard

Life has certainly changed and for that I’m very thankful. Not that life was so bad before. However, in the past six months I’ve witnessed multiple issues our family used to have melt away because of what I now do. Plus, I’ve seen new avenues open that could not have been pursued in our previous state of life.

What’s Changed That I’m Thankful For

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The Hands of the Diligent Make One Rich (Proverbs 10:4)

Hidden Nuggets Series #59 – “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” -Proverbs 10:4

diligentTake a look at your hands.

What do you see?

At first glance I see the obvious – the lines in the palm, the shape of the fingers and thumb, the knuckles and the fingernails. These are the physical features that should clearly stand out.

Yet with closer examination I see something else. These hands represent my livelihood. The way in which I use them determines the course of my life.

I perceive only two possible scenarios for the work of my hands. They can choose to be diligent hands or they can choose to be slack hands. That choice can shape my life.

Diligent vs. Slack Hands

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The Ups and Downs of My First Month As a Stay at Home Dad

star wars storm trooper standing with sonEven though I announced in May I was leaving my 17 year career in education to become a stay at home dad, it’s only been one month since the kids have gone back to school and I’ve been truly alone.

Boy, the house is eerily quiet from 8 am to 4 pm when Kim and the kids aren’t here. I don’t know how the dog has done it the past few years being cooped up in the garage when we were all at work. Sometimes I turn on the radio or the TV just to create some background noise.

Despite the quiet, I’m loving my decision to this point. But it hasn’t all been perfect. I’m finding some things challenging that I didn’t expect.

The Downside of Being a Stay at Home Dad

1. No set schedule

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20 Flexible Part Time Jobs For College Students

I’m continuing my college theme week with a look today at flexible, part time jobs for college students and how they can help bring in some extra spending money.

part time jobs for college students As I pointed out in my last post, there are so many hidden costs of college for which students don’t prepare. More than likely they have figured out how to finance college tuition, fees, and room and board. However, those little incidental items they spend money on can certainly add up and cause a dent in the wallet. So, unless an endless stream of cash is flowing from mom and dad, students will need to secure some extra spending money.

The big question though is, what part time jobs can reasonably be done by college students? Yes, you could work a full-time job and attend classes but that’s not what most students are looking for (or really need). The average student just wants enough spending money to go to parties, put gas in the car and pay for their books (maybe in that order).

With that in mind, here is a list of 20 part-time jobs and activities that could earn a college student a little bit of extra spending money.

Part Time Jobs for College Students: On Campus

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All Work and No Play: Combating the Dangers of Workaholism

Hidden Nuggets Series #51“Six days you shall do work, and on the seventh day you will rest…” – Exodus 23:12

All work and no playNo, I’m not writing from a snowed in mountain resort lodge. I have to admit for years I assumed the proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” came from that Stephen King horror novel turned Jack Nicholson movie thriller The Shining, which mistakenly came in front of my eyes as a youth (thank you older cousins). I say mistakenly because no one under the age of 21 should put that imagery into their head. (And maybe if you are over 21, you shouldn’t either.)

Turns out the phrase “all work and no play” was originally published in Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659) and is attributed to a writer by the name of James Howell. It turned out to be his most popular proverbs. I certainly cannot think of another one.

The warning of the all work and no play proverb seems clear enough to me – that if we don’t release ourselves from the pressures of work from time to time we will become dull and uninteresting. We run the risk of becoming bored with life, as work becomes our sole focus day in and day out. We’ll neglect time for hobbies, family, friends, exercise, watching sports, reading, or just plain vegging.

That type of existence doesn’t spark a fire in me.

A Guideline For Work

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Since the Dawn of Time Our Purpose Has Involved Work

Hidden Nuggets Series #41 – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” – Genesis 2:15

bamboo reed umbrella on a beach looking at to oceanIn light of my decision to quit my job and become a stay at home dad, I’ve been reflecting on how my work will change going forward. It will be different for sure as I won’t have a typical employer-employee relationship. I’ll be responsible to make sure tasks get completed around the home and that my writing stays on track. Of course, my wife will be around to monitor how things are going, but I’ll essentially be accountable to myself for it to happen.

Whether a person is a homemaker or a CEO work can become tedious and tiresome. Many get sick and tired of their jobs and begin to look for ways to escape. At times it seems the best thing would be to win the Mega-Millions Jackpot and escape to the beaches of paradise, never to work again.

If you feel that way perhaps a different perspective is in order. It’s time to realize that humans were endowed with the nature to work from the very beginning. Even the first two created beings could not escape it, even in paradise.

Being Guided to Your Calling

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Why I’m Quitting My Job To Be A Stay At Home Dad

stay at home dadYou read that right. It’s not a misprint or a trick to get attention. As of Friday, May 23rd 2014, I will no longer be formally employed. I’m becoming a stay at home dad.

After 17 years in education serving as a principal, teacher, coach and mentor, I’m quitting my job to be a stay at home dad.

Those are the most exciting words I’ve ever typed on this blog! I’m starting a new journey.

They are also the scariest words I’ve ever typed on this blog because I’m starting a new journey.

I’ve waited a long time to share this news and start talking about what has brought our family here. It hardly seems real even after formally declaring my intentions. Maybe my new life as a stay at home dad will me next week as I start to clear out my classroom. My guess is I won’t feel it’s full impact until sometime next fall, probably on the first day of the new school year.

The decision to be a stay at home dad appears to have come out of nowhere to those in my circle of influence. Obviously the students were surprised last week when I shared the news with them. I hadn’t hinted at this at all, even though I’ve known for some time this was going to be my final year. What appears to those outside to be a surprise, is actually the culmination of a multi-year prayer journey.

That’s right…I don’t make decisions quickly. Especially when it comes to leaving a place to which I’ve committed my entire adult working life.

I can’t unpack all there is to share about this move in one single post. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to become a stay at home dad or the financial challenges associated with it, that’s coming later.

For now, I’d simply like to focus on “the why.”

Following Through On the Stay at Home Dad Desire

Life is a series of choices. Sometimes those choices collide and cause friction no matter which option is chosen. Regardless of the situation, we can never say we don’t have a choice. There are always options.

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The Real Secret to Developing a Work Ethic in Kids

Hidden Nuggets Series #41 – “Therefore, I urge you to imitate me.” I Corinthians 4:16

developing a positive work ethic

Like father, like son

The messages this week at Luke1428 have all centered around the benefits, both financial and emotional, that children can receive from doing work. My wife and I have been teaching our children that labor leads to profit and that if they don’t work they won’t get paid. Those are big messages and the sooner they learn them the better.

Have you ever wondered how a solid work ethic gets ingrained in a child? Is it something they are born with? Does it come through the hearing of verbal instructions given by adults? Or maybe it results as a reaction to punishment received for laziness or disobedience.

Those ideas have merit. However, I don’t believe any of them in and of themselves will ultimately produce a child with a strong work ethic. What will ultimately do it? The answer is simpler than you think:

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