Hope for your financial life and beyond

I’m Having a Yak-Attack!

Heart PulseMy hand is resting gently on the mouse, scrolling and clicking. Without warning,  a strange sensation comes over me. My upper body begins to feel a tightening pressure like the whole center of my chest is squeezing inward. The skin on my arm turns clammy, as my hand breaks out in a sweat.

Why can’t I breathe? Where is this anxiety coming from? I’m just working on the computer here.

Ok…settle down…you can do this. Copy code. Paste into widget. Save. Refresh.

Boom! I’m a Yakezie Challenger! Whew…that wasn’t so bad.

My sincere apologies to heart victims everywhere who experienced those symptoms and were faced with a life and death situation. Heart issues have impacted my family on more than one occasion so I certainly don’t employ those symptoms with jest. Only to point out the physiological and emotional tensions I experienced on a minute level as I concluded it was time to push my blogging self once again. Maybe you don’t get nervous about stretching yourself and going out on a limb like this, but I do.

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Luke1428 Goals Update – June

software updateSummer is in full swing and June has been busy at the Luke1428 house. Our schedule was jammed packed with camping trips, swim lessons, and vacation Bible school. In between it all, I still found time to start my marathon training (see below), update my blog design and complete many projects around the house I had been putting off. All these activities have been enjoyable, but I’m actually looking forward to the post-July 4th weeks to relax a bit before school begins in August.

I’ve really enjoyed the investing series I began in June. Even as an investor with some experience, it is always good to go back and revisit the basics of why I invest. Tomorrow I will be continuing with part IV of that series with a post entitled “How to Pick a Good Mutual Fund.”

On to my goal update for June.

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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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May Goals Update – School’s Out For Summer Edition

For those of you that think teaching is easy, think again.

Sleeping Student

Teacher job #206 – wake the sleeping student

It’s true that teaching can be a very rewarding profession but at times it’s a real grind. Staying on schedule and keeping the kids motivated all year can be a real challenge. A teacher also has to handle student discipline issues, meet with concerned parents and help with extracurricular projects assigned by the school. And that’s not to mention all the outside the classroom work teachers need to do to prepare quality lessons and grade papers. That usually takes up our evenings and weekends.

Teachers pack so much effort into their 9-10 month school schedule. We need a break just to recharge for the next year. That’s why the four most beautiful words a teacher hears (next to “You’re getting a raise”) are, “School’s out for summer!”

Cue Alice Cooper.

Now on with my goal update for the month of May…

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Time to Punt This Goal Away

In the game of American football, the offensive team has four downs to move the football ten yards. If they accomplish that feat, they keep their offensive drive alive by receiving four more downs. The process repeats itself over and over until the team kicks a field goal, scores a touchdown or commits a turnover.

NFL PunterOn most possessions, the team only uses three downs to get the requisite yardage. This is because the fourth down is a risky one, in that if the team doesn’t reach the first down marker, they turn the ball over to the opposition, even if they miss it by an inch. This happens no matter where you are at on the field.

So if a team reaches fourth down and they are backed up in their own end or have a long way to go to get the first down, they evaluate the situation and usually choose another option. That option is the punt. On this play, the center snaps the ball to the punter who is standing 10-15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He holds the ball in front of him, plants his non-kicking foot and swings his kicking leg forward as the ball drops out of his hands. The ball is launched into the air and down the field to be received by the other team.

It is very much a strategic maneuver designed to minimize risk and gain field position against one’s opponent. It’s recognizing that the team failed on the current drive and is voluntarily giving the ball up. The team hasn’t lost sight of the goal, which is to score and win the game.  But by punting, they have just admitted they will have to wait for future opportunities to score.

The same can be said about goals and I have one I need to punt away.

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A Momentary Lapse of Discipline Almost Ruined My Dream

Basketball on floorI hate dilemmas. Four weeks before the most important half-marathon of my two year, mid-life running career, I’m being asked to play in a pick up basketball game to help our high school boys get ready for their state championship playoffs. It’s a great opportunity for a bunch of the staff to “man up” and help the boys knock off some rust before playoff time.

Plus, I love basketball and in another life (high school) I was fairly good at it. Also having been a coach for about 13 years before retiring my clipboard in 2010, I had helped develop many of these players in their middle and early high school years. How much fun this would be to engage them on the hardwood and assist in their mental and physical preparation for the upcoming tournament. I really wanted to help them out.

There is one problem however. I’ve got a race coming up. I’ve been diligently training for three months pushing toward my goal of running an under two-hour half-marathon. What if I’m unfortunate enough to get hurt in this game?

A strained muscle. Maybe a twisted ankle. Or the dreaded tweaked groin. These things happen in basketball all the time and could derail my opportunity to train and potentially reach my goal. Is this fun and rewarding endeavor worth putting my body and my dream at risk? What in the world should I do?

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Remembering Boston & A 2013 Goals Update

Boston Marathon BombingHow do you respond when the atmosphere of an innocent event designed to celebrate the human spirit is shattered in a violent moment and people’s lives are turned into a nightmarish hell?

We rush to help however we can. We cry with those in pain. We give of your time and resources to those in need. We never forget.

And we move on with life. We do not let evil believe it has taken our will and our desire for freedom. We stand together. And we speak out like elite American runner Patrick Rizzo did, who when asked if he was worried about running in the London Marathon a few weeks after Boston, had this to say…

“It didn’t deter me one bit…In those sorts of situations, whether it’s an act of domestic or foreign terrorism, the idea behind that is to alter your lifestyle and tap into submission. They picked the most stubborn group of people possible [runners] to try to do that to. We put ourselves in pain for pleasure.” (ESPN – “London Shows Solidarity With Boston”)

We will keep running. We will move forward more resolute than ever before.

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When Was the Last Time You WOWED Yourself?

Bring Your Best

Can you remember the last time when you completely exceeded any and all of the expectations you had hoped for? Remember how it sort of left you breathless in disbelief? I had one of those days this past Sunday and boy, did it feel good.

As those of you who have been reading here for a while know, one of my goals for the year was to run a half-marathon in under two hours. I’ve been training for the Publix Georgia Half-Marathon in Atlanta since December and was pretty encouraged lately by my training times. Still, there are so many unknowns on race day…like your stomach not digesting the pre-race meal well, getting tripped by another runner or poor weather conditions, just to name a few.

While I felt prepared, you could not have convinced me a week ago that I would be able to pull off this kind of effort.

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February Goals Update – Sometimes Life Happens

software updateAs I see it, one of the great things about goals is that they are adjustable. When life comes along and smacks you down a bit, you can just regroup and adjust your plan. As long as you are making consistent progress toward the goal, there is no need to get down on yourself when life circumstances force you to alter your plans a bit. Sometimes life happens – we just have to move forward and stay positive.

That’s a little of what happened to me last month in regards to Goals #2 and #4 as you can read below:

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My Goals for 2013

2013 GoalsA few days ago in her post “How to Stick with an Exercise Program,” Jordann at Making Sense of Sense noted that one key to following through with an exercise goal is to share your intentions publicly. There is great power in making our intentions known because it makes us accountable to attempt the follow through.

Sharing goals also connects us to others. When I read how someone is working through the process of pursuing a goal, it inspires me. It gives me encouragement to know that others have faced similar challenges and were able to overcome them.

With that in mind, I would like to share my goals for 2013. Not all of them fit into a category on the SPLASH Goal plan I outlined in my last post. But I believe they are basically SMART goals that will be of benefit to me this year. So, in no particular order:

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Developing a SPLASH Goal Plan

Dog jumping in water

In my last post, I outlined the acronym SMART as it relates to setting goals. Each goal we set should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. A goal that contains these elements has a greater probability of being reached.

Perhaps your new to the concept of setting goals and don’t know where to start. There are so many areas of our life in which to set goals it can become a little overwhelming. So today I would like to talk you through a program we introduced at our school several years ago that helped our faculty and staff narrow their goal setting focus to specific areas of life. It’s called a SPLASH Plan.

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