• God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted

    When I Asked God for Strength
    He Gave Me Difficult Situations to Face

    When I Asked God for Brain & Brown
    He Gave Me Puzzles in Life to Solve

    When I Asked God for Happiness
    He Showed Me Some Unhappy People

    When I Asked God for Wealth
    He Showed Me How to Work Hard

    When I Asked God for Favors
    He Showed Me Opportunities to Work Hard

    When I Asked God for Peace
    He Showed Me How to Help Others

    God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted
    He Gave Me Everything I Needed

    Author: Swami Vivekananda

    Swami Vivekananda was an atheist turned believer who later became a spiritual genius of commanding intellect and power. He was the first Hindu Sage to come to the West, where he introduced Eastern thought at the World’s Parliament of Religions. More information is available on him on Wikipedia.

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    Words of the wise.

    Great picture! Who is the artist?

    March 2nd, 2008 | 2:11 pm

    Princess Royal Tru Grape:

    I should accept who I am and what race God gave me I want to be happy what he gave me. I just want to be myself and give respect to myself and others. I like this poem even though I have a great life I still want to accept I am already there I will have this life I got. It’s my destiny I can’t change it.

    December 12th, 2008 | 6:23 pm

  • Top 100 Inspirational Quotes

    Inspirational Quotes by Henry David Thoreau

    1. A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.

    2. None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

    3. Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

    Inspirational Quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    4. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

    5. We judge of man’s wisdom by his hope.

    6. We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.

    7. What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say”

    8. People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.

    9. The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.

    10. We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.

    Friedrich Nietzsche Inspirational Quotes

    11. Enduring habits I hate…. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.
    – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882

    12. A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.

    13. He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

    Albert Einstein Inspirational Quotes

    14. I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

    15. Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

    16. Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.

    17. I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.

    18. Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.

    19. Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

    20. Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts..

    Inspirational Quotes by Mark Twain

    21. The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

    22. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

    23. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.

    24. Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

    25. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

    Robert Frost Inspirational Quotes

    26. The best way out is always through.

    27. By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day

    28. In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.

    29. The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.

    30. The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.

    Inspirational Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi

    31. You must be the change you want to see in the world.

    32. Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

    33. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

    34. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

    35. “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

    36. Man is the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

    37. Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory.

    38. “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”

    39. Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

    Rabindranath Tagore Inspirational Quotes

    40. By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.

    41. I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.

    42. A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.

    43. If you shut your door to all errors truth will be shut out.

    Inspirational Quotes by Swami Vivekananda

    44. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

    45. If you are a strong man, very good! But do not curse others who are not strong enough for you. …Everyone says, “Woe unto you people!!” Who says, “Woe unto me that I cannot help you?” The people are doing all right to the best of their ability and means and knowledge. Woe unto me that I cannot lift them to where I am!

    46. Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.

    47. The only test of goods things is that they make us strong.

    Winston Churchill Inspirational Quotes

    48. Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

    It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic.

    49. I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

    50. If you’re going through hell, keep going.

    Inspirational Quotes by Aristotle

    51. Hope is a waking dream.

    52. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

    Voltaire Quotes

    53. Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.

    54. Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

    55. Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

    Michael Jordan Inspirational Quotes

    56. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

    57. If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.
    E. Joseph Cossman

    58. Whenever you find whole world against you just turn around and lead the world.

    59. Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
    William B. Sprague

    Inspirational Quotes by Henry Ford

    60. Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.
    Henry Ford

    61. I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.
    Oprah Winfrey

    62. What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

    63. You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.
    Zig Ziglar

    64. Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.
    Napoleon Hill

    Truman Capote Inspirational Quotes

    65. Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
    Truman Capote

    66. Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare.
    Japanese Proverb

    67. In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.
    Theodore Roosevelt

    68. If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a chance of being a prophet.
    Isaac B. Singer

    69. Success consists of doing the common things of life uncommonly well.

    70. Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
    Charles F. Kettering, Engineer and Inventor

    71. Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success.

    72. Some succeed because they are destined. Some succeed because they are determined.

    73. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.
    Dan Stanford

    74. A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
    Hugh Downs

    75. If you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.
    Marie Osmond

    76. Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination.
    Roy Goodman

    77. In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.
    Sid Caesar

    78. The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
    Richard Bach

    79. If the going is real easy, beware, you may be headed down hill.

    80. To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
    Anatole France

    Inspirational Quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt

    81. Great minds discuss ideas
    Average minds discuss events
    Small minds discuss people
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    82. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.”
    Eleanor Roosevelt

    83. Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
    Leo Tolstoy

    84. The only thing worse than a man you can’t control is a man you can.
    Margo Kaufman

    85. The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.
    Richard B. Sheridan

    86. I can’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I’m frightened by old ones.
    John Cage

    87. Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.
    Richard Bach

    88. Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
    John Wooden

    89. Where the willingness is great, the difficulties cannot be great.

    90. “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
    Elbert Hubbard

    91. A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in on the experience.
    Elbert Hubbard

    92. “When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’”
    Sydney Harris

    93. Do first things first, and second things not at all.
    Peter Drucker.

    94. The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders.
    Foster’s Law

    95. We see things not as they are, but as we are.
    H. M. Tomlinson

    96. Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.

    97. There is only one success–to be able to spend your life in your own way.
    Christopher Morleys.

    98. The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
    Chinese Proverb

    99. If youth knew; if age could.
    Sigmund Freud

    100. Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.
    Bill Hicks

    Inspiration takes many forms.  Maybe inspiration your favorite movie quote.  Maybe its a famous person with a disability.  Maybe you share a celebrity birthday with one of your favorite movie stars.  Whatever gets you out of bed in the morning can be considered inspiration.  For the rest of us, its strong coffee and a kick in th pants!

  • Breaking MacWorld News: Jobs To Wear Black Shirt/Jeans

    It’s been a wild week of anticipation for Apple fans. As the Digg Macworld countdown counts down at the top of the homepage, I constantly reload the Apple section (both popular and upcoming) for any glimmer of rumor or, dare I say it, confirmed news. Sadly, the rumors are all based on photoshopped educated guesses and the only confirmed news thus far has been the always vague banner erected pre-maturely just to give the fanboys something to decode/fap over.

    The wait for confirmed news is over.

    I have it from a very good source that Steve Jobs is going to wear a black shirt and blue jeans tomorrow. I can’t reveal how I know this source or how close they are to Apple HQ, but I’d bet my kids’ college money if I could find a bookie willing to take a wager on a keynote wardrobe. My source has revealed to me that the shirt will be a polycotton blend and the blue jeans will be held up by the skill of a tailor- not a belt.

    The most surprising wardrobe news? Apparently there’s somethings in the air at Macworld: Steve’s balls. No underwear for this CEO. That’s about as 2007 as ethernet ports and optical drives.

  • Top 50 Atheism Quotes

    George Carlin Quotes

    1. Religion easily has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

    2. Atheism: A non-prophet organization.

    3. I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

    Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes

    4. Which is it, is man one of God’s blunders or is God one of man’s?

    5. Faith means not wanting to know what is true.

    6. Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

    Albert Einstein Quotes

    7. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of “humility.” This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

    8. It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. … Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
    Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science”, New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930

    9. If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

    Gandhi Quotes

    10. The most henious and the must cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.
    Mohandas K Gandhi, Young India, July 7, 1950, quoted from Laird Wilcox, ed., “The Degeneration of Belief”

    11. I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    Mark Twain Quotes

    12. “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”
    Mark Twain

    13. A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.
    Mark Twain

    14. What God lacks is convictions — stability of character. He ought to be a Presbyterian or a Catholic or something — not try to be everything.

    15. Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
    Mark Twain, quoted from Curmudgeon-Online

    16. “In God We Trust.” I don’t believe it would sound any better if it were true.

    Thomas Jefferson Quotes

    17. Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

    18. We are afraid of the known and afraid of the unknown. That is our daily life and in that there is no hope, and therefore every form of philosophy, every form of theological concept, is merely an escape from the actual reality of what is. All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society.

    Benjamin Franklin Quotes

    19. The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.
    Benjamin Franklin, the incompatibility of faith and reason, Poor Richard’s Almanack (1758)

    20. Lighthouses are more helpful then churches.

    Voltaire Quotes

    21. If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor.

    22. Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities.

    Stephen Hawking Quotes

    23. Black holes would seem to suggest that God not only plays dice, but also sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.
    Stephen Hawking, NATURE, 1975

    24. We could call order by the name of God, but it would be an impersonal God. There’s not much personal about the laws of physics.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti Quote

    25. Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.
    Jiddu Krishnamurti

    26. The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.
    Jiddu Krishnamurti

    Christopher Hitchens Quotes

    27. What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
    Christopher Hitchens

    28. Christopher Hitchens On Jerry Falwell: If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.

    Sigmund Freud Quotes

    29. Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
    Sigmund Freud

    30. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
    Karl Marx

    George Bernard Shaw Quotes

    31. The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
    George Bernard Shaw

    32. Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.
    Blaise Pascal Quote

    32. You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend.
    Richard Jeni Quote

    34. With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
    Steven Weinberg Quote

    35. The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
    Delos B. McKown Quote

    36. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    Edward Gibbon

    37. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.
    Robert Ingersoll

    38. The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.
    Huang Po

    39. Where knowledge ends, religion begins.
    Benjamin Disraeli Quote

    40. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.
    Quote from Unknown

    41. If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
    Dave Barry

    42. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    – Epicurus Quotes

    43. The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
    Eric Hoffer Quotes

    44. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder.
    Bill Maher

    45. There’s a phrase we live by in America: “In God We Trust”. It’s right there where Jesus would want it: on our money.

    46. If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.
    Baron D’Holbach, cited in Jonathan Miller. (2004). A Brief History of Disbelief [TV-Series].

    47. If I thought the Jews killed God, I’d worship the Jews.
    Bill Hicks

    48. Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
    Isaac Asimov

    49. A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.
    José Bergamín

    50. One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.
    Arthur C. Clarke Quotes

  • 5 Ways to Change Your Mood Instantly

    How often do we find ourselves in a bad mood, seemingly for no reason? How many times do we have a pretty decent day, but then one little thing ruins the whole thing? The problems we face in this day and age seem more complicated, but in reality, it has more to do with the pace in which we travel through our day.

    Here are five tried and true methods of getting out of a bad mood and getting back into the groove.

    1. Smile

    That’s right, smile! The simple act of smiling has been shown in scientific studies to literally change a person’s mood. We obviously smile when we ARE in a good mood, and it appears that our brain responds in kind to the physical act of changing your facial expression. Try it…it’s pretty amazing!

    2. Take a Breather

    Deep breathing is stressed in virtually everything, from exercise to meditation. Taking five or six slow, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose, and exhaling slowly through the mouth, is the most common technique taught. Studies have shown a marked increase in Alpha waves (relaxation) and decrease in Beta waves (stress) in the brain when this simple technique is employed. Additionally, deep breathing slows our heart rate and rids the body of excess waste gases.

    3. Get Stressed

    You read it correct! The proper use of stressing ourselves can actually HELP us relax. Whether you’re sitting at a desk, at home, or in the car, purposefully tighten ALL the muscles in your body for 10 seconds, then release. You’ll be amazed to find your state of relaxation is dramatically increased, while your stress is relieved.

    4. Take a Vacation

    Not time off, but a “mini-mind” vacation. Here’s how. Close your eyes and place yourself in a setting you find relaxing, such as lying in the sun on a beach. Imagine feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of the waves on the beach, the salt smell of the ocean. In other words, immerse your senses in whatever setting you find has been a relaxing place for you in the past. Even 30 seconds of this technique will work wonders on your mood.

    5. Tune In

    Music is one of the most powerful stimuli known to humanity. Make a CD of songs you’ve found to be relaxing, positively stimulating, or that otherwise has put you in a good mood, then use it whenever you find yourself stressed out, angry, or down.


    The bottom line is this. All of these techniques have been scientifically shown to change our brain function and chemistry. Additionally, the more you practice one, two, or all of the above, the faster the response. In other words, we can literally train our body and mind to respond instantaneously and literally change our mood in a matter of seconds. Give these a try and see what works best for you… you’ll be glad you did!

  • 10 Sensible Ways to Reduce Credit Card Debt

    You don’t need financial advisors or credit reduction agencies to eliminate debt, just some common sense tips, plus a dynamite strategy that actually INCREASES your wealth in the long run.I looked at all the options suggested by the financial experts, all the Top Ten Ways to Financial Freedom articles, and glanced at a few of the books and programs that deal with debt reduction, and then basically tossed them all out the window. 

    And then I got down to business. Here’s how I dealt with my debt in practical, sensible ways, and why I chose the methods I used. Some of what I learned from this process is fairly obvious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important, and by the time your finished reading, you’ll be able to see for yourself how the obvious things lead up to the amazing Big Credit KO Punch at the end.1. Don’t Fall Into the “All At Once” Trap.The first thing I realized was that it’s a natural tendency to think that the best way to deal with it is all at once, especially so since it was an Immediate Gratification mode of thinking that got me into the mess in the first place. That same mentality has a tendency to leave you feeling that you’re not making progress, which leads to an overall lack of motivation.2. Nickel and Dime ItMake payments as often as you can. If you have 10 extra dollars, make a payment. It WILL add up, and you will see a difference. DON’T save it all up for the monthly payment. Go online and make the payment NOW!3. Find More MoneyTo make any headway at all, I had to start coming up with more money I could actually use to make payments higher than the monthly minimum… it’s too easy to think that monthly minimum means “the minimum amount you need to make some headway” when it really means “the minimum amount that is best designed to increase your debt even further.”Like most people, I was used to carrying cash around, “just in case I needed it”. The problem is, when you think about it, is that we invariably wind up spending a little of that cash here and there on things we don’t really need. In other words, I came to understand that if I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t spend it.4. Use Direct Deposit: Screw the Banks!The next thing I did was opt into a direct deposit for my paycheck. The reasons for doing this go well beyond the obvious, such as the tendency to write a number into that little box on the deposit slip that says, CASH BACK. It also put me in a position of being less likely to overdraw my account and wind up paying overdraft fees (which is the last thing you need when your already trying to save money). Without going into a lot of detail, your friendly neighborhood bank has practices in place that are DESIGNED to make you more likely to overdraw your account, but that’s another story.6. Put that Money Into Reducing Your DebtI suddenly discovered that I COULD make a higher payment at the end of the month, sometimes significant, and my balance on my highest interest rate cards began to drop. The prospect that I was actually making a little headway gave me a boost of badly needed encouragement, and I started looking for more ways to save money. 7. Ask Yourself, “Do I Really Need This?” But don’t foregt to REWARD YourselfFast food is convenient, but is it really necessary? Nope. But I did allow myself to indulge in it occasionally. Just because I was in a financial mess didn’t mean I couldn’t reward myself. The same went for groceries. I started paying more attention to the little labels that said, “cost per ounce” instead of what had the lower price, and quickly came to understand the psychological games that supermarkets play to make the most profit off of their shoppers. The lowest price almost NEVER means the best value. Think of it as buying gasoline. That’s the ONLY price we see: the cost per gallon, not packages of various gasoline brands in colorful, deceptive containers designed to look like they hold more, with big signs saying, “NORMALLY 3.99, NOW 2 for 7.49!”8. Reduce Your Utility CostsNext to rent or a house payment, what’s the biggest expense most of us face? Energy bills. You can save a significant amount of money over time very easily by not being lazy. Close doors to rooms you don’t need heated or cooled most of the time and shut the vents. Turn the cooling up 2 degrees in summer and down 2 degrees in winter. Turn out the lights in a room you’re not using. Buy a compact fluorescent bulb or two when they’re on sale and slowly replace all the lights in your living space. Get out of convenience mode and get into savings mode. Start thinking long term. You’ll be amazed just like I was.8. Negotiate Lower Rates and Transfer Balances… On YOUR TermsI started making more headway, including getting some of the lower balance cards reduced by half. Now it was time to get on the phone and make some calls to the credit card companies to negotiate lower rates. Sure, I could have tried to play the Zero Balance Transfer Game that most new card offers come with, but do you really think for one second that those offers aren’t designed to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do? Don’t get caught up in that trap.The best way to do this is by getting your lowest rate card spending limit increased, which is something nearly every credit card company is MORE than willing to do. It also never hurts to ask at the same time if they can shave a little off the interest rate, and give them the impression that you’re sort of tied into the higher credit limit based on this. You might get nothing in the way of rate reduction, or you might be surprised. It doesn’t hurt to try.Now it was time to play the credit transfer game I’d set up for myself and do it by my own rules. I transferred as much as I could from the higher rate cards to the increased limit lower rate cards, and then focused on paying off any remaining balance on those high-rate cards. As soon as I got one to zero balance, I got rid of it. Cutting up a card from a company that’s been legally screwing you over is amazingly rewarding.9. The Coup de Grace: Put Your Retirement Account to Work!You know that 401K plan at your company that you’ve been paying into? You can take out a loan, usually 25% of the total amount, and pay down or pay off your credit card debt. This may sound like a bad thing or a risky thing, until you consider all the ramifications. The rate on my 401K loan was 8% annually, not compounded daily on a daily balance average (credit card interest rates are really effed when you think about them, aren’t they?). The reason most people see this as a risky venture is that you’re messing with your retirement account, your future, and cutting down your potential growth by having less money to compound over time.Amazingly, this isn’t true at all. By paying off your credit card debt, your return on investment is actually the 8% rate you’re paying PLUS the credit card interest rate you’re NO LONGER PAYING. So if you’re credit card rate is, for example, 19%, you’re return on investment in the long run is 8% + 19%, or 27%. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to invest 25% of their retirement account into a guaranteed return of 27% over a six-year period (the maximum length of repayment on a 401K loan)?Not only was I enjoying that aspect, but the monthly loan payment was several hundred dollars less than the total of the various credit card payments I HAD to make every month, which meant more money in my pocket, so to speak.Additionally, the loan payment comes out of your paycheck pre-tax. You’re not paying your normal 40% tax on that amount, so the real COST of the loan per month is even lower.10. Cut Up Your CardsDoes this really need any explanation? It’s too easy to fall back into the same trap. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it.And that’s how I got out from under my huge credit card debt, which is something I’ll never have to do again. I keep one card, and use it only in emergencies, and pay off the balance in 1-2 months. I refuse to play a losing game. If I want to do that, I’ll just go to Vegas. At least there’s a small chance I might come out ahead.

    Running up a huge credit card bill is fiscally irresponsible.  While simply ‘cutting up all your cards’ seems like a good idea, you should at least have one card in case of emergencies.  If you run your own shop, you’ll need a business credit card for business expenses.  Ever try to book a hotel or rent a car without a credit card?  There are even credit cards for bad credit out there, so shop around and spend wisely!Don’t jump to conclusions like a cancun vacation. First look up various vacation packages. A san diego vacation might be a lot more cheaper, and so is a myrtle beach vacation.

  • A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

    “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” That’s a trendy catch phrase, and in our hectic, fast-paced world, it can be good advice. But there’s more to that quote. What’s not being said is as important as what is being said. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t forget the small stuff either. More often than we realize, a small act can make the difference, affect influence, and change a life.

    I grew up in the 1960’s , when parenting and self-help books didn’t have their own section in the bookstore, and raising children was pretty much a seat-of-your-pants type of thing. What your parents learned from their own parents, whether good or bad, was how you were raised. That’s not an indictment. That’s just the way it was. It’s not that my parents were mean-spirited or didn’t love or care for us, it was more that they didn’t know how to express those things, or were too caught up in their own issues to take notice of the four of us and what we needed as children. We did the things all families did: posed for family photos, visited relatives, took vacations, celebrated birthdays and holidays. But in the midst of those family activities there existed an inner layer of turmoil and discomfort.

    One year, when I was about seven, we went on a camping trip to a family reunion in South Dakota. Relatives from all around the nation were coming, and it was a chance for us to see many of our cousins, uncles, aunts, or others more distantly related. The last time our family had been to a big reunion, I was much younger, so for all practical purposes, this was the first time in my own memory that I’d meet many of my relatives. And it was one such relative, who, through a very small act, taught me the value of the ’small stuff’. His name was Morrell Chambers, but everyone called him Uncle Mix.

    How he got the nickname Mix, I’m not really certain, but it fit him well, in the sense that he was full of mirth and amusement. He was a solid man, a little round in the waist, with a pronounced nose and square jaw, and a slim mouth that always seemed to be on the verge of a smile. He’d inherited his bald top from his father, although he wasn’t much beyond 40 at the time. But his most distinguishing feature was his blue eyes, eyes that held a constant twinkle, as if they held a secret known only to him, a secret that gave him his ever-present sense of joviality and peace.

    It was only natural that a seven-year old boy like me would be drawn to someone like Uncle Mix, and I spent quite a bit of my time lingering in his presence. It made me feel good, and he put up with my active mind, full of questions and wondering, as if it were second nature to him.

    One day he decided to do some fishing, and of course, I tagged along behind him, walking along the edge of the lake and up to the boat dock. He carried a nice looking rod and reel, and a tackle box that, to me, was so big that it could probably hold the contents of an entire bait shop. Up to that time, my experience with fishing had pretty much been a bamboo pole with a string, hook, and bobber, so I was amazed when he opened the box, and the nested trays bloomed out, revealing the most colorful assortment of fishing lures I’d ever seen. I was fascinated by all the bright, shiny, mysterious objects, and squatted down for a better look. I didn’t dare touch anything, although I was greatly tempted. With a broad grin, Uncle Mix pointed out this one and that one, explaining what each was for, and how it was used. I muttered a few, “Oh!”s, as if I really understood what he was talking about, and after a few more minutes of explanations, he finished, and moved back a step or two to prepare his pole as I continued to take in all the colors and shapes of everything he’d pointed out. Finally, he lofted his rod and reel, satisfied that it was ready, and stepped forward to where I still crouched over that tackle box. Seeing the tops of his black shoes broke my spell of wonder and awe, and I looked up at him. He smiled down at me, eyes glittering, and then he said something I’ll never forget. “Why don’t you pick one of those that you really like, and you can keep it,” he said simply, so matter-of-fact, as if it was a natural thing to give something I considered precious and expensive to me, a young boy he hardly knew. But I was so completely, pleasantly, extraordinarily taken aback, that it literally took me about a minute to register his offer, and when I realized he really did mean it, I was so overwhelmed that I was speechless with excitement. “Go ahead!”, he urged with a chuckle.

    I think I could have spent hours deciding, but I was at least mindful that he was ready to leave, so I fairly quickly settled on a red spoon lure that had a curvy, white stripe from end to end on the front, a chrome-bright shiny underside, treble hook on the back end, and a brass eye hook on the top. I lifted it gingerly out of the box, and held it up in front of me.

    “Are you sure that’s the one you want?” he asked, still smiling. I nodded absentmindedly, transfixed by red and white, sunlight on chrome, as it swayed and turned in the morning breeze. Uncle Mix stooped down, set his pole to the side, and closed the tackle box. He paused to stare at the lure for a moment, head cocked slightly aside, as if maybe he too could see and feel what I did. Then he scooped up his pole and box, and with a grinning “See you later!” he stepped onto the boat.

    I stood and watched him pull away, the boat’s engine gurgling and churning the water into a wake as he made his way out and away. I hadn’t even thought to thank him, but he waved back to me, as if he knew what I was thinking, as if that was his way of telling me that it was OK, that no thanks were needed.

    I don’t remember much of anything else specific to that reunion, other than that I somehow managed to get a pole with a reel, no doubt from a cousin or some other relative, and spent hour after hour casting that lure, my lure, my gift, out into the water along the shore, not so much interested in catching fish, but more to watch it spin beneath the water, strobing red and silver, feeling the vibration in my hands as I cranked the reel. I was in seven-year-old heaven, and I was probably as happy as I ever have been.

    I wish I had the opportunity to tell him what he did for me that day, but he died of a heart attack at a relatively young age while walking up the stairs of the school where he loved to teach. The news of his passing caused me to remember that day on the lake, and the memory of that precious moment in time began to take on new significance. Uncle Mix was just a giving type of person, and he probably never gave it another thought, but that small act gave me hope, and taught me that kindness and goodness have a place in the world. That was the real gift he gave me, a gift that changed my outlook on life, and shaped my character in a way that few other life events ever could.

    And so, I thank Uncle Mix every time I hold a door for a stranger, help someone pick up spilled groceries, spend an extra moment listening to someone that needs to be heard, or one of a thousand other things that anyone can do to show kindness or consideration to others. And I share with my children the story of a small boy and a great man, and that moment by the lake on a warm summer morning, that they might picture in their minds the flashing of the lure, and in it, catch a glimpse of a man they never met, yet can still get to know, through me.

    Kindness is a manifestation of love.  Showing kindness towards others is probably one of the most important lessons we’ll learn in our lifetime.  For example, learning how to horseback ride is fun, but even more rewarding if you share what you learn with somebody.  A music lesson is more than just learning an instrument.  It’s learning how to convey your emotions and good will to others.  If you learn with this in mind, you’ll be rewarded with something better than money.
    Here is a little link love to my friends over at 3tailer. They operate numerous niche eCommerce properties and are based in Charlotte, NC.