Friday, October 31, 2008

A Hopeful Observation While Waiting in Line

B and I voted today. We stood in line for over 4 hours for a 2 minute voting experience. Even Disney gives you THREE minutes!

In case there is any suspense, I voted Palin/McCain. It doesn't show that order on the ballot, but that's what I voted in my heart. B voted the same way. We genuinely believe that team is the best choice for America's future.

The thing that stood out to me was the camaraderie among everyone standing in line. There were plenty of people there who were Obama people and plenty more McCain voters. There were probably 4 people voting for Bob Barr as well. But the noticeable thing was how well everyone was getting along. Even in long lines on a frosty morning, nerves were not frayed, tempers did not flare. We laughed, chatted and endured together. That's just the way this country is. Regardless of what happens next week, most of us will keep working and walking side by side to support our families and our country. Political seasons don't always bring out the best in us, but that might be more of a media creation. There are some nut case out there, no doubt. But the overwhelming majority will take the result in stride and move on. This really is a great country.

Please remember to turn your clocks back tomorrow night. And please remember to vote on Tuesday if you haven't already. I hope you vote for McCain. But even if you vote for the other guy, please vote. Be a part of the process. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

That Fighting Spirit

I read a nice article this morning about the Actor Patrick "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" Swayze and his battle with pancreatic cancer. I thought his attitude was inspirational regardless of what we're fighting for, health, finances, family, freedom. So I thought I'd share it. Click HERE. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hearts and Treasures Part II

Earlier this month, I celebrated the thirtieth (30) anniversary of my ordination into the ministry. Man, that's a long time ago.

In May, I celebrated the 42nd year of my Conversion to Christ. Wow, I need to stop with the dates. I just keep getting older.

In August, I celebrated the 8th year of being a tither. Technically, the tithing didn't start until about 6 years ago. It took me two years to phase it in.

The math doesn't work, does it? How could I have been a Christian so long and even be a Pastor so long and not be a giver? Disobedience. That's how.

It seems that like many people, my wallet was the last thing I surrendered to Jesus. I'm not proud of it. But it's true.

In IOU NO MORE, I tell about the day I finally broke down and surrendered my finances to God. I gave him my debt, my failures and my weaknesses. I repented, meaning I changed my behavior.

I began making money behave almost immediately. And I was fortunate that my wife agreed to get on board the debt free train. But because our debt was so big and our income was so small, I was afraid to actually tithe. Instead of jumping in by faith, I waded in. I began by giving 5% of my income. I was afraid. God still honored my 'mustard seed' of faith and we were on our way to reducing our mountain of debt. We had a plan and we were following it.

About two years into what would become the IOU NO MORE program, I was reading Malachi and Matthew in my daily devotions. On the very same day I read in Matthew, "Where a man's treasure is, there is where his heart is also" and I read in Malachi, "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me.... in tithes and offerings."

I was devastated. Yes, I was under grace not law, but I couldn't escape the idea that as a Christian, the Old Testament principle of tithing was still a Biblical concept. How could a Christian want to give LESS than the old rule, when God had given the BEST in His Son?

Armed with a fresh conviction and still fairly deep in debt, we began giving 10 percent of our income. It was at that same time that we began writing our tithe check as the first thing we did on pay day. The check wouldn't go into the offering plate until Sunday and we got paid on Friday, but we wanted God to know that He really is first in every part of our lives.

We've never regretted it. When you begin tithing, you won't regret it either. I'm just sayin'.

If you aren't a Christian and this whole 'tithing' thing seems weird, I encourage you to investigate Jesus. Heck, I dare you. I double dog dare you! Check out the Bible. Read the Gospel of Luke. It will tell you who Jesus is. Then read the Acts of the Apostles. It will explain how you should respond to Him.

Please drop us a line with any questions that come out of your reading. For that matter let us know any money matter questions you have. We're here to help. Write to us at

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hearts and Treasures

Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also". I find it fascinating that He didn't say it the other way around. But regardless of the order, Jesus is saying that our money and our hearts are closely linked.

With that in mind, what does your money say about where your heart is? What is the first check you write on payday? Where does the bulk of your cash go? What are you trying to accomplish with your money? Do you even have a plan? Where does God fit into your budget?

Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love sleddogs. I miss running dogs like I'd miss my left hand (I'm left handed, BTW). But, there was a time in my life when I spent more on dog food than in giving to God. Considerably more. I spent more time with my dogs than I did with my family. My priorities were truly out of order. I didn't mean it to be that way, I slid into it. Like the song, "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns says, "It's a slow fade when you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day. It's a slow fade". The song appears to be about moral failure, but its true for priorities as well.

These days, I have a much better grip on my priorities, and it shows in my budget and in my time. But I must always be diligent.

Where is your heart? Even if I don't know you, I bet I can tell you exactly what your priorities are. All I need is 10 minutes with your bank statement. That Jesus guy, He sure knows a thing or two.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Car Fever - I'm immune

I will never understand 'car fever'. I have a natural immunity. The condition is very real, and I've seen it drop otherwise sensible men and women in their tracks. Just recently, I had a conversation with someone who was considering buying a car. This individual was considering a car payment that would have created a genuine lifestyle dent. After a lengthy conversation, I discovered that the fever started with a trip to the dealership for some relatively minor repairs on an aging car. While there, the sights and smells of newer vehicles became overwhelming, even mesmerizing. The next thing you know, this person was driving home in a car that was not needed. Fortunately the paperwork had not been completed, so we were able to talk some sense into said person. But a couple days later, I saw the same individual test driving yet another vehicle. How sad!

Car payments are not necessary. There are great ways to plan ahead and save up in advance. There are always bargains to be had by using a bit of research and patience. Sure, older cars aren't always 'cool' like new ones. But then again, people who drive paid for cars have something that those with car payments don't have....MONEY! And that's way more cool than new car smell.

I've said it before in this space, I don't think I've had car fever in 25 years. But show me a sleddog, a horse, most varieties of livestock or hunting rifles and I'm putty!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Self Pity Part 1

I'm feeling sorry for myself. I have a cold. Stuffy nose, sore throat, achy. Drippy sinuses. Typical head cold. I was so looking forward to allergy season being over and what do I do? Catch a cold the first day of no pollen activity!

The thing about colds is, I don't get sick enough to miss work, but I shouldn't go because I'm just spreading the virus around. But since it feels wrong to stay home, I go in anyway. Then I feel bad enough that I can't focus on the task at hand. Silly,isn't it?

Fortunately its the weekend and I can load up on cold medicine, have a hot bath and sleep in tomorrow. Now that's what I call a plan!

Tomorrow is budget day. B and I will be doing the budget for November. Actually, I will do the budget then we'll talk about it and make adjustments as necessary. We've been doing this long enough that rarely are there any changes to be made. Every once in a while, I learn there is some purchase or 3 we need to make that I wasn't aware of and I have to go back to the drawing board. There won't be many changes the rest of this year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are planned and budgeted for. Before then is our anniversary. We decided that this year our Birthday's and anniversary were going to be dumbed down so we could save the money. We're replenishing our 3 to 6 month emergency fund that got depleted by our move to Georgia.

Ok, time for that hot bath.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coming Attractions: Podcasting

The Revolution is about to venture into the wonderful world of podcasting. I've toyed with the idea for a couple of years now, and I'm finally in a position to do so. I'm working on some scripts now. I will probably begin with short programs of 5 to 15 minutes. We'll see how it goes from there.

At the moment, I'm thinking that I will post the casts both here and on the home page of

I'm even giving thought to blog radio. Time is the big factor for that one. Posting occasional podcasts is one thing, a weekly radio show is quite another. I had a weekly radio show years ago when I lived in Scotland. Actually I had two shows. One was a live show on Wednesday afternoons. The other was a recorded program that played on Sunday mornings. I did the shows for a couple of years. It was fun, but there is certainly prep time involved. Still, it's worth considering as a way to spread the Debt Free Revolution!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Simplify and Save

Brittan and I are beginning our second month of a dramatic simplification of our lifestyle and spending. So far, it has been very successful. In fact, as mentioned earlier, we are expanding the plan so that we can save money to purchase a piece of land for a hobby farm.

While nearly every area of our budget has been downsized (without us even feeling it), it is seen most clearly in our food budget. We have returned to staples like potatoes and pasta, eggs and beans. We are eating hearty meals at about half what we had been spending the last couple years. We have cut way back on eating out. We don't miss it. And boy howdy are we saving?

Other areas are being simplified as well, clothing budget, utilities and transportation for example. So far, we're staying focused and making progress. I am becoming increasingly convinced that one of the best ways to save is to simplify. Try it. You might like it.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I just noticed that it had been a week since my last update. Where did the time go? Who stole my week? I want it back and I want it back NOW!


I never cease to be amazed at the excuses people come up with for not getting out of debt or for not creating and living on a budget. I have yet to hear one that makes any real sense, but folk keep trying. Besides, it's your life. My mission is to tell the world how Brittan and I escaped the debt trap and to offer ways others can do it, too. No one is forced to sign up. Being debt free is so liberating, I wish we had started years earlier.

I would love it if everyone wanted to live free, but most of us have grown accustomed to the barnyard. I'll just keep looking for the birds who are ready to fly the coop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Found Money

I've been laid up with gout for the last couple days, with little to do but feel sorry for myself. I'm pretty good at that.

Yesterday, as a diversion, Brittan and I went through our budget with a fine tooth comb looking for places to cut and save. Lo and behold, we found quite a bit. Getting to it means some lifestyle changes, but it's all with a plan in mind.

We really want land. As in, we want a small hobby farm. While it's great growing vegetables here in town, it's not the same has being able to raise chickens and our own beef. We're not looking to become commercial farmers, I would never want to work that hard! But we want to expand the level of self sufficiency we've been discovering. We want to simplify our lifestyle and increase frugality.

To make that dream come true, we need to save as much as possible over the next 3 years. At that time, we plan to sell our house and go rural.

We are doing things like, changing where the thermostat setting is, altering our dining out habits and clothing purchases. We are going to cut out Brittan's cell phone since she no longer works outside the home. We were going to turn off our cable service, but that would oddly have increased our cost of phone and internet and end up costing us the same as WITH cable. We're dropping some of our marketing projects for IOU NO MORE. And we're going more frugal on our groceries. We even made big alterations to our vacation budget. We are serious.

This is something we want to do. It's about delayed gratification. Dave Ramsey would say we're going to "Live like no one else so that later on we can live like no one else."

We'll update you from time to time regarding our progress. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dow Soars, Pass the Dramamine

If you suffer from motion sickness, avoid Wall Street like the plague. The Dow had a record 936 point gain today. That is truly a dizzying number. It was sparked by World Govts. nationalizing banks, and other continued bail out efforts.

Most people I know, talk all day long about how they hate Government interference in their lives. Then they cheer like crazy when the Government starts taking over businesses. I can't help shaking my head in wonder. So far, every decision made by Government in this current economic meltdown has been bad. But today, the stock markets are happy and its buy, buy, buy. Tomorrow it may be bye, bye, bye.

Be prepared for a time of wild fluctuation. If you watch the Dow like a hawk, then you are in for one heck of a ride. My advice; close your eyes. Relax. Have a coke and a smile. Take a long view. If you insist on watching, then "please notice the pilot has turned on the fasten seat belt sign as we are experiencing severe turbulence. Please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts until the Captain turns off the sign." Good luck. I hope you have a strong stomach. Too much craziness for me, I'll stick to "It's a Small World".

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Focus, Man, Focus!

I have three books that are begging to be written. They are outlined, and sitting on the launch pad. One is finance related, "Recession Proof Living", one of the others has a financial component, "Fresh Start for the Suddenly Single". The third is my long awaited, "Life Lessons From a Lead Dog: amusing anecdotes and heart warming tales from 30 years with sleddogs."

But they just sit there. I always manage to come up with something to distract me from work. I think it's called, procrastination. Perhaps it could even be labeled, laziness. Either way, I really must organize my schedule so that I can get these projects moving.

But as Scarlett O'hara would say (hey, I live in the South, remember?), "I'll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow's another day."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Something to get you thinking

I know some of you don't like it when I link to articles rather than write original thought, but sometimes I find a jewel that just needs to be passed along. Like this one HERE

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Saving Money on Meat........ least I hope.

I'm leaving tomorrow right after lunch for an overnight hunting trip. Will do the same thing next Friday as well. I need to get away from the stress of work and spending time in the woods searching for meat for the freezer is a great way to multi task.

I would dearly love to fill our freezer with wild pork and venison for the winter. I expect this weekend to be mostly scouting, but you never know.

The experience will be relaxing, anyway. Just me, some firearms, a tent and 1000 acres of North Georgia wilderness. Oh, and a cooler full of snacks.

See ya when I return.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quick Tip

Today's my birthday, so I'd rather sit and pout about getting old than try and think of something creative to write.

So let me just offer this tidbit. Take advice from people who have accomplished what you're trying to achieve. Take all other advice with a grain of salt.

That sentiment applies to finance, marriage, career, hobby, education, faith, pretty much everything.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Money Saving Rediscovery

I took the day off today. I can't even describe how nice it's been having a Monday away from duty. I'll have to do it again sometime.

First thing this morning I did some yard work, then washed my truck and Brittan's car. After that I swept out the garage and I've also watered and fertilized the vegetable garden. I even had time to arrange my hunting gear for a hunting trip this weekend. All in all a productive day.

But the best part was a whimsical idea Brittan came up with after lunch. We had gone out for some Mexican food and on the way back she said, "hey let's go to the library. We haven't been since we moved here and it's right around the corner from the house."

With nothing pressing on my agenda, I agreed. So off we went. Now, it's been at least 6 years since I even had a library card. In this day of the internet and, it's way too easy to surf for information and/or buy books from the comfort of your own easy chair. But I rediscovered the wonder of the Public Library. What a great place to save money. Here are just a few ways I saw immediately. 1. For the person or persons struggling to get out of debt, there were at least 10 computers with high speed internet access. One could very easily cancel high speed at home for a while to pay off debts, use a dial up service and go to the library when high speed internet is a must. I would do that in a heartbeat if necessary. 2. Books. That's the obvious one. Books are luxury items at the best of times and the library has thousands of them to borrow for FREE. 3. DVDs and VCR tapes. We don't even have a vcr anymore so that wouldn't help, but there was a decent selection of DVDs to check out. Sure they aren't 'first run' but free is for me. B and I like old movies and this is a whole lot better than paying blockbuster. 4. Music. Mostly we listen to online stations, but I do like cd's as well, but I hate paying the money they cost at the store. The library is a very good option. Do they have everything? No, but I don't need everything. 5. Audio Books. This is a big one for me because I love to listen to audio books during my daily commute. But buying audio books can get expensive fast. Our local library had a great collection.

Thanks to my Bride's epiphany on the way home from lunch, I see some real savings in our future.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Here's One More Reason I'm Angry........ the Bail Out Bill that passed yesterday. Read. I'm not trying to turn this blog into political commentary. This will probably be my last post regarding the Bail out, because it's done now and there's not much we can do. The President had his pen in hand the minute the vote was passed. Everything about this bill stinks like roadkill. Please read the linked article from cnet very carefully. Think about what it's going to cost and think about who benefits. And remember who voted for it and who voted against it when you enter the voting booth yourself next month. This is YOUR money. Read here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Coping or Conquering?

A majority of Americans are frustrated today with the Senate's overwhelming backing of a pork and ear mark laden Bail Out bill last night. It was difficult to watch and in the cold light of day it feels even worse. Many are asking, How will we cope? Should we pull out of the stock market? Should we take our money out of the bank and put it in a sock?

Despite concerns, and expecting a rough ride for a while, I still believe we'll win. We don't have to cope, we can conquer. I'm going to live my life as normal. I'm going to leave my 401k alone. I'm going to live on a budget. I don't borrow money anyway, so I don't have to worry about getting car loans or Home Equity Loans. I don't carry credit card balances. So, apart from my 401k tanking, I won't really feel it. That's the power of debt free living. As for the retirement account, it will bounce back and I'm looking at it like I'm buying stock on sale. When my funds start going back up, I'll make even more.

I hate this Bail Out, but I'm not going to panic. I'm going to LIVE.