Finance Friday’s

We’re planning on buying a home. We’ve been renters since we married in 2006 and at least once a month, it seems we find ourselves driving around our city looking at home possibilities. In 2006 homes were outrageously overpriced and a little inner voice told me to wait and not climb under the crushing pressure of a horrible mortgage that I would barely be able to pay the interest on (let alone the actual mortgage).

As we have studied our local market, analyzed our current financial situation, and dreamed our the home that we’ll raise our children in – an entirely new thought was presented to me.

Through a chain of events I crossed paths with Mortgage Guru Phil Strong. He is a man of God, a Kiwi, and has a great accent. But applicably to this conversation – he also knows an awfully lot about mortgages.

So, for Finance Friday – the place where we discuss fun financial tips that might change our lives – I have shamelessly stolen three of his points from his most recent blog entry and am sharing them with you. They are:

  1. Satisfying your short term desires will cost you more than you realize.
  2. Paying interest to the bank limits your ability to serve your long term ambitions.
  3. Failure to look beyond your current thinking means you rob yourself of a more fulfilling future.

The post at http://www.philstrong.com is really worth reading. I fully recommend it. There is a free DVD you can order on the site (you have to pay shipping and handling – maybe $5-$7…TOTALLY WORTH IT).

So, here is this week’s “provocatively relevant” question:

How do you feel about the mortgage you’re in? What would you tell me to do as a first time home buyer? What do you wish you had done differently?


Thought Thursday’s

Thought Thursday’s is the place where I share some earth moving concept, or just a funny idea that bounced around in my head, or I ask some question that moves the blogosphere to shout and throw things.

Today’s thought is a “wondering” I’ve had for quite some time. Here is today’s thought: why is it that we end up doing things that we don’t want to do? We hate doing it, we feel horrible/frustrated/angry/sad (whatever the emotion is) when we’re done – and we know we’ll feel it before we do it – yet we still do the thing.

Here is this week’s “provocatively relevant” question: Why do we do it? Why do we do the thing we hate?


Wife Wednesday’s

I have been twittering Wife Wednesday’s since the first of the year, so I’ve decided to add it the blog as well. Fun little ideas that I share weekly on how I am endeavoring to love my wife in tangible ways.

Wife Wednesday #20 -Find one way this week to honor her publicly. Make sure it is all about her without adding anything about yourself into the public praise.

Here is this week’s “provocatively relevant” question:

When was the last time you honored your wife publicly? Or how are you planning to do this week?


Task Tuesday’s

Task Tuesday’s is a simple little place for sharing ideas on how to enhance productivity and increase efficiency in midst of balancing life and it’s many tasks that must be completed on any given day. Where I most often run into trouble is when I am forced to multitask due to time. Not having a clear plan to multitask is confusing, frustrating, and usually debilitating for me.

My strategy for combating this is emerging just this year. I have worked many different strategies and have had nominal results until recently. I stumbled on the idea recently of the 80 up, 20 down principle. Simple idea, but it has been really changing my life.

The principle is this: I always choose two tasks to complete at the same time. One task that requires me THINK, and one task that requires me to DO. One that requires a lot of thought and one that doesn’t. I give 80% of my mental timeshare to the thinking task, and 20% to the doing task. Giving 80% will allow me to generate well above average results, and 20% to the less important task enables me to complete it without completely failing to pay attention to the details of the task. Example – resolving a major work issue (80%) on the phone while I cook dinner (20%), or playing with my daughter (80%) while cleaning the room that we’re in (20%).

Fun concept that is working pretty well.

So, here is this weeks “provocatively relevant” question:

Do you prioritize your tasks and develop a process to complete them? How?


Man Monday’s

Like Simplify Sunday’s, I’m adding a new post weekly called “Man Monday’s.”

I honestly feel forced to write on this topic. Here’s why:

I live with two women. My wife and daughter. My wife is feminine. She wears makeup, and girl jeans, and loves chocolate and clean chick flicks. My daughter (6 weeks old) is also feminine. She wears little bows on her mostly bald head, little dresses with rodents and insects decorating them, and sleeps with a fuzzy pink blanket. – All pretty normal female stuff.

Last night, my barefoot wife was carrying our daughter to bed. On her way to the crib, my wife stubbed her foot really hard, and consequently banged the baby’s head on the wall. I froze! [In a millionth of a second the whole scene unfolded in my mind – there was going to be a broken foot that would need immediate medical attention, weeks in a brace, a possible surgery, and inevitably mandatory physical therapy. I could see in my mind the baby screaming in pain, tears soaking her chubby little cheeks, fat little arms flailing, and shrieks pleading with me to make the pain stop.]

However! None of my fears came true. My wife winced, stood on one foot while the pain subsided. The baby looked totally confused for a moment, and then simply ignored the knock on the head and went back to munching on her binky.

The whole scene got me thinking of earlier in the week when I had seen a dude in his early 20’s jamb a finger and cry like…well, I guess like a 20 something year old guy, since (evidently) little girls don’t cry like they used to.

While my wife stood on one foot and the baby munched her binky, I got a little angry. I got angry at the lack of manhood the 20 something year old guy had exhibited. My feminine wife, and baby daughter had been in more control of their emotions than a grown adult male.

So here is the point of my rant – Adult Males should act like Men.

Every Monday I am going to open the discussion to one characteristic of Manhood. This Monday, I am proposing that men everywhere choose to take control of their emotions. I have the gaul, the audacity, the guts – however it must be said – to believe that we can choose our own response to every single circumstance in life.  I believe that women everywhere, our families, and society in general are waiting for Men who can control what comes out of their mouth. Men who can control their non-verbal responses to situations. The world is waiting for males to stop acting like foolish, emotional, selfish, obnoxious, carnal and immature bullies. The world is waiting for us to act like MEN.

So, here is this week’s “provocatively relevant” question:

What area of emotional stability do you most wish males in your life would exhibit? (i.e., in what area should they stop acting stupid?)


Simplify Sunday’s

I love new things. New socks. New toothbrushes. New cars. New weeks. I love the start of a new thing. It’s why I love Sunday’s. Probably my favorite day of the week. A fresh start of a new week. All the stuff of my past gets to get left behind and I get a fresh start EVERY Sunday.

I am starting a new weekly post on this blog called Simplifiy Sunday’s. For Simplify Sunday’s, we’re going to start the new week with fresh resolve on how to simplify our overly busy lives.

The one thing I’ve decided to simplify this week (in Honor of Mother’s day- my wife’s first mothers day) is: making sure I am home for the diner hour, cell phone off, ready to spend one uninterupted hour a night with my family. Pretty simple right?

Here is this week’s “provocatively relevant” question:

What is the ONE thing you’re going to simplify this week?



I was recently reviewing my calendar, searching for places to multi-task and wasted time I could eliminate and discovered a surprising fact of my life. On average, I spend over 10 hours a week counseling young men on budget issues.

When we talk about budgets, most people immediately file the conversation in with other topics like “eating broccoli.” We know it’s good for us, but we hate doing it.

Here is this week’s “provocatively relevant” question:

Do you consistently use your budget? Why or Why not?