Sunday, June 24, 2012

The National Education Association

One of my roles is that of a union leader.  The next two weeks I will be spending time in Washington, D.C. representing educators from Des Moines in three different meetings.  The first is representing Des Moines at the National Council of Urban Education Associations.  My second meeting will be the NEA Resolutions Committee meeting representing Iowa educators.  I will end the week at the NEA Representative Assembly.

While I am in DC, I will be running for NCUEA Central Region Director which is a position on the NCUEA Executive Board.  I am running because I want to make a difference for the students and educators at the local level.

One of the "requirements" of representing fellow educators at the NEA Annual Meeting is that we are expected to contribute to the PAC fundraiser.  If you would like to help me meet my contribution you can make a donation using this link.

Due to being in DC, my access to internet may be limited, if I don't post much the next couple weeks you know why.  I promise to get back to posting when I return.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kindergarten Ends

William finished his last day of kindergarten today!  It's crazy to think that he's already finished a year of school!  It doesn't seem like it was very long ago when we were taking him there for the first day.  We are very proud of all that he's learned this year and are looking forward to a great summer.

Now that summer is finally beginning for him, we are going to do everything we can to take advantage of the time we have together this summer.

Some of our plans include:
1. Multiple Adventureland trips
2. Getting together for play-dates with friends
3. A trip or two to visit family and friends in Eastern Iowa
4. A trip to Omaha to check out the zoo
5. Lots of trips to the public libraries
What things does your family do for fun together during the summer?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

That's Not Good Enough

Today's FPU lesson was titled "That's Not Good Enough!: How to Buy Only Big, Big Bargains".  It was a great lesson on how and where to get good deals.

Dave laid out a few ground rules for getting big bargains.  The one that he stressed the most was the importance of having integrity.  "You cannot have healthy relationships and build wealth with lies as your foundation," he said.  I love that this class on finances is build on a strong foundation of Christian values.

When it comes to making good deals, Dave's lucky seven basic rules of negotiating are:
1. Always tell the absolute truth.
2. Use the power of cash because it is emotional, visual and has immediacy.
3. Understand and use "walk away power."
4. Shut up! (Take the time to listen and wait.)
5. Remember to use the phrase, "That's not good enough."
6. Watch out for the good guy, bad guy techniques some retailers will use.
7. Use the "If I" take away technique. (Stating, "If I do this, you need to do ______ for       me.)
One of my favorite personal finance bloggers, Steve Stewart, recently posted about how saying no is a great negotiating technique.  Check out his blog post and video on MoneyPlan SOS.

The end of the class was about places to find great deals.  The place that we as a family take advantage of the most is buying from individuals.  You can usually make a good deal with individual people because they are trying to get rid of an item that is in their way and did not invest in the item with the intention of making a profit.  Dave and I also recommend garage sales, public auctions, consignment sales and online auctions.  Now there are even groups on Facebook for you to be able to sell your items and buy things from your neighbors. Our family has had success buying and selling from the Altoona/Pleasant Hill facebook group.

In addition to our 8th class today, William and I worked through the second lesson of Financial Peace, Jr.  We learned about the importance and value of giving.  William received his new giving envelope.  He is excited about his first payday later tonight under our new system.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Become An All Pro Dad!

I just finished reading Mark Merrill's new book, All Pro Dad, and was challenged and motivated by what was in the pages.  I appreciated Merrill's willingness to be genuine and show his vulnerabilities and tell about the challenges he has faced.  This book helps all fathers, especially those with young children, see where our weaknesses may be and challenges us to step up and be a hero to our kids.

In the book, Mark Merrill lays out two fatherhood fundamentals and seven essentials to be a hero to your kids.  He does this while talking about related real life experiences that he or another dad went through and either stood firm or failed at the essential skills.  

Mark uses the the seven essential M's: Makeup, Mind-set, Motive, Method, Model, Message and Master to effectively execute the fatherhood fundamentals of love and leadership.  I really hope that if you are father of young or old children you will find this book and read it to dive deeper into each of these principles.

One of my favorite parts of the book is at the end of each chapter where Merrill ends with questions to huddle up and ask your child.  William and I have grown even closer this week as we took time to talk about these questions.

This book, along with others I have read on fatherhood lately, has helped me realize where have fallen short as a man, husband and father in the past and has allowed me to recommit to God, Anna and William to be the man I was made to be.  Please help keep me accountable and if you need an accountability partner, let me know.

Check out the All Pro Dad website for more resources and the video below for more information about the book.

You can also purchase the book using my affilate link below if you are interested in checking it out yourself! I highly recommend it to all fathers. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

William Performs

Today I am just sharing a few videos of my son's latest culiminating event at his school.  He did a great job.  It was fun being able to attend this event.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Anna!

One of the best decisions I have ever made in my life was marrying my wife, Anna, 8 years ago today.  She has helped balance me out and make me a better person.  She is a great mother to our son.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful wife who loves and supports me.

I have been reading several books on parenting and several of those have been specifically on being the kind of dad/man that I am called to be by God.  A common theme developed in all of those books, the number one way to be a good father is verbalized and show love to your wife.

A lot of time those closest to us are taken for granted and see us at our worse.  Make a commitment today to make sure they are seeing you at your best.  Don't they deserve that?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Financial Peace Recap

I had to miss Financial Peace University class last week while I was a delegate at Iowa Annual Conference, so this week I will review both the “Buyer Beware” and the “Clause and Effect” lessons.

Week 6: Buyer Beware: The Power of Marketing on Your Buying Decisions
"He who is impulsive exalts folly." - Proverbs 14:29
People can always spend more than we make, so we must develop power over our purchases! To help you win with money and gain the power over your purchases, Dave Ramsey shares 5 things that we should do:
1. Wait overnight before making a major purchase.
2. Consider your motives as you buy. No amount of stuff will create contentment or fulfillment.
3. Never buy anything you don't understand.
4. Consider the "opportunity cost" of your money.
5. Seek the counsel of your spouse (or an accountability partner if you are single).

Week 7: Clause and Effect: The Role of Insurance in Your Financial Plan
"Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." - 1 Timothy 5:8
In this lesson, Dave Ramsey talked about the types of insurance you need and the types you should to avoid. The seven types of coverage you need are:
1. Homeowner's or Renter's Insurance (should be "guaranteed replacement cost")
2. Auto Insurance
3. Health Insurance
4. Disability Insurance (Try to buy one that pays if you cannot perform the job you were educated/trained to do.)
5. Long-Term Care Insurances (You need this if you are over 60.)
6. Identity Theft Protection
7. Term-Life Insurance (Dave recommends 10 times your income.)
There are 8 types of insurances that Dave Ramsey taught us to avoid:
1. Credit life and disability
2. Credit card protection
3. Cancer and hospital indemnity
4. Accidental death
5. Any insurance with cash value, investments, or refund
6. Pre-paid burial policies
7. Mortgage life insurance
8. Any kind of duplicate coverage

Financial Peace, Jr.: Working Lesson
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6
Today, William and I started working through the Financial Peace, Jr. program. We talked about work and how to earn money. We did some fun activities together and then created the required (for free) chore list and the commission-paid chores. It was fun going through the first lesson together and having William pick his chores and then talk about how much he would be paid for completing each. I am excited about taking teaching William about money to help him learn the habits to be successful in the future.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer has been busy!

Wow - life has been busy since the end of the school year! I have enjoyed time with friends and colleagues at the end of the year staff party and a retirement party, spent four days at the Iowa Annual Conference for the UMC, worked with a curriculum team preparing for next school year, finished 2 books, played with William and was able to take Anna on a date.

My four days returning to the Iowa Annual Conference after several years off helped me get a better understanding of what is going on around the state and some issues our church is dealing with. While I belong to a church that is growing, our denomination at the state and national levels is shrinking. Though I belong to a church that seems to accept all people, there are churches that are denying access to some of our brothers and sisters due to their sexual orientation. The United Methodist Church is divided on this issue and I pray that we can find wholeness and find a way to love one another as Christ loves us. One of my favorite parts of Annual Conference is the artwork done by our conference artist and my former pastor in Indianola, Ted Lyddon-Hatten. Ted challenges us each year with his art. One of his challenges this year was to seek out our antipode (the person who’s beliefs are opposite to ours) and work together to finish this statement: “Transform the World with…”. I would love to complete this challenge, but I have a hard time finding an antipode that will have a conversation with me. When we do, I have a hard time remaining antipodes after the conversation is over.

The two books I finished recently were: This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women which was a PBR series and Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy. This I Believe was inspiring, but a long read.  Quiet Strength really helped me get a better understanding of Tony Dungy and I loved how it challenged me to be a better person, Christian, father, husband, leader, etc. I learned a lot from the book and would highly recommend it. Below is my affiliate link you can use to buy the book from amazon if you want to own it, if not I am sure you can find it at the library since it is an older book.

Anna and I were able to go on our first date of summer in between curriculum meetings and my conference. We first went out for lunch at Spaghetti Works then went for a walk downtown while talking about life and summer. We also went to my conference and I showed her Ted’s artwork. It was great to be able to connect with Anna during the day while William was at school. I am looking forward to carving out more time in the near future to spend with her.

I have some time to relax for the next few days before summer school begins again. Thank you for everyone who has helped in keeping me accountable to live a balanced life.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking than Your Parents!

If that is one of your life goals or objectives,  check out Zac Bissonnette's new book, How to be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking than your Parents.  Zac uses humor/sarcasm to lay out principles of finances that if you follow in in 20's/30's will get you ahead financially and therefore be smarter.

This books give practical advice on how to cut cost to avoid spending too much, what do do with the money you don't spend, how to get the most out of the money you do spend, and ideas on ways to make extra money.  There are some great tips in each of these categories.

Unlike most financial books that focus on living on a budget and numbers, this book gave great tips and an entertaining way especially focused for young adults.  I highly recommend buying and reading this book to anyone in their 20/30s. It would make a great graduation gift to someone graduating from college this year or in the future.

Rather than give away all the tips, I am going to give away a copy of the book.  To be entered into the contest simply like this site on facebook or become a follower using google and leave a comment in this section with a topic you would like me to cover and/or a question you have. 

If you want to buy the book you can buy it using my affiliate link and I will get some credit for the referral. The first link is for the Kindle version and the second link is for the hard copy one.