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Take the 30 day gratitude challenge

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"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33


Life is a series of up and downs and if you are not currently fighting a storm I can assure you that one is on the way. It is easy while in the midst of a difficult time to forget all that we have in life to be thankful.
That is one reason that for many years now I have begun most days with a mindset of gratitude. Most mornings and especially on Mondays I make an effort to reflect on the many things I have to be thankful about in my life. How can I have a bad week when there is so much good around me?
I try to affirm daily the good in my life and begin my day with thanks for what I have now and the opportunity to have even more in the future. I do this with a prayer thanking God for the present blessings in my life and for the opportunity a new day represents. Doing so only takes a few minutes of quiet reflection.
Examp…

Planning to win

Imagine you are standing at the end of a washed out bridge with people blindly driving your way all unaware of the fate that will behold them if they do not change their direction right away. You would, at the best of your ability, do all you could to get them to stop and go another way.
As a 50+-year-old genX-debt free-cancer survivor, I feel this way about many topics. Marriage, parenting, health, career, finances are all areas that by this point in life I have learned many lessons. Some through my own great mistakes and many through educated hard work successes.
My strongest obsession now for several years is a desire to retire without want. The journey began early in my working life when I first read The Millionaire Next Door. I was at the time single and making less than $25,000. It was amazing to learn at my young age that there is a path to wealth even for the average person. 

That seed of hope was small and at the time did not take full root other than to get me started on a lo…

20 Years Today

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I can still remember that morning as if it were yesterday.
I was in the shower as usual and while washing under my arm I felt a lump. After just a few moments of pressing, there was no doubt in my mind what it was.
Cancer
Cancer was not a stranger to me as I had a mole removed from my back that was melanoma five years before and my mother had passed away recently after several years of her own battle. So strong was my concern, that prior to asking Michelle to marry me I had visited the oncologist to ask about my own risks. He told me at the time not to worry and go live my life. Little did I know that this same doctor would design the battle that was to come in an effort to keep it.

I got dressed that morning without saying a word and dropped eight-month-old Conner off at daycare as if nothing was wrong. Next was a call the oncologist and a visit to hear from him.
In the exam room the dr. pressed under my arm to confirm the lump was indeed there along with a second smaller tumor. “What a…

Where is happiness?

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Our family spent a few days in Colorado recently and it was wonderful to soak in the cool mountain air and view the beauty that can only be found in the great American west. I have kiddingly said many times that my happy place is on a mountain rock contemplating life. On this trip however, I took time to realize that my happy place is really not a place at all. It is a moment.
It is a simple time on the couch with my wife talking about our whacky dog. It is the conversation with our college age son about his current success and plans for the future. It is that moment on the bike side by side with others striving for personal fitness while enjoying some great comradery. It is at work when a new employee shares excitement about starting a job here and what it means for their life.
Happy is not a place. It is an ability to recognize the small moments that really make this life worth living and taking time to smile in the moment. As a new week begins, I am challenging myself (and you) to …

Life after 50

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There are many men that when they pass a certain age lose their way. Statistics show that divorce rates and depression for men after 50 are growing with male suicide rates now peaking after 50. Little is known as to the reason why but my best guess is that many men turn to this decade of life, join the empty nest then look around and say, “now what?”.

Looking back there were once dreams of big jobs, big houses, big bank accounts, and small waistlines. Instead for many men we look around and find life has not quite turned out as expected.

We think

“Retirement is coming but I have no plan”
“Our child-centered marriage has changed and left my wife and me with little in common”
“Our friends were based on our child circle and they have moved on”
“The job of my dreams is now just a grind”
“The body I see in the mirror is of an old man. The athlete in me is gone”

“Now what?”  “Now what?”

Most men by nature keep these deep fears to ourselves and avoid sharing. If not addressed properly these …

10 Tips for Getting Debt Free--like me!

“If you want to live like no one else tomorrow, you have to live like no one else today” -Dave Ramsey

A saw a statistic the other day that said the average American consumer is carrying over $7,000 in credit card debt. The skyrocketing cost of college has also resulted in student loan debt at 44 trillion dollars with an average debt load of $37,172 for each person. These numbers do not include other debt “normal” people carry including a mortgage and a car. Add all of these elements together and you can understand the pressure people are feeling regarding their finances.

It seems most folks see debt as just a part of life. “You will always have a car, credit card, and a house payment”

Really?

Is this statement true? Why!

Having been 100% debt free now for four years and I can without a doubt say it does not have to be that way. It is possible to get out of debt and to stay that way.

Really, since being out of debt I find it very hard to imagine digging a new hole for my future. Lord w…

Chasing Success

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Many years ago when I was a young man new in the corporate world met a fellow that was just about to retire. I remember he was super old like 55 or something (I am 50 now) and had a plan to hike the Appalachian trail. I do not recall his position with the company but I am sure it was not an executive level or anything like that. 
Learning that I was a new parent, he decided to give me some advice on how to have a happy career and retire early. He told me a story about a high school friend of his at a recent reunion that had given him a hard time about not having climbed higher on the corporate ladder. 
“I congratulated him on his career success and then asked him a few questions” 
“How many times have you been married?”
The answer was 2
“How many kids do you have?” 
The answer was 3 with two from the first marriage and 1 from the current
“Do you pay alimony and child support”
"Yes"
“Do you see your kids every day?” 
"No, my first wife has remarried and lives in a different city&q…