Friday, September 27, 2013

Scout Popcorn for Sale

My son, William, is selling popcorn again this year for his cub scout pack.  I am writing to invite you to purchase some popcorn for yourself or to share with family/friends to support William and his cub scout pack. 

If you are not interested in popcorn but would still like to support William you can make a donation to send popcorn to our military members defending our country. 

You can order your popcorn online or in person if I will see you this year.  Here is the website for the majority of you who live all across the country. 

If you are in Central Iowa or are someone I would see in person between now and the end of the year and would like to order in person send me an email at for detailed information of the choices. 

I hope you will consider supporting William this year!  Please let me know if you would be interested in making a purchase. 

Thank you,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Three Great Books by Andy Andrews

Three of the books I read this summer were written by the Andy Andrews who now is one of my favorite authors.  Andy has written several great books.  The three that I read this summer were The Traveler's GiftThe Noticer and The Butterfly Effect.  All three books are written to help the readers become better versions of themselves.  I have not been paid, given anything or asked to review the books and am only sharing because I truly believe that these books could have a positive impact on your life.  Though the links below are affiliate links if you choose to buy the books using Amazon.

The Traveler's Gift introduces seven decisions that determine personal success.  I normally do not enjoy reading fiction, but this book did a great job of incorporating a fun writing style to communicate the seven decisions that could help each of us.  The main character in the book travels through time to learn from historical characters about each of the seven principles.  While reading the book I could truly picture what was happening in each location.  This book will challenge you to be a better you.  Available now for 99 cents on Kindle at The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success.

The Noticer was another book that can transform your life.  Throughout the book the main character, Jones, pops in and out of Andy life and the lives of others to give them a little bit of perspective.  Jones is a noticer, which means he notices things that others don't see.  Jones' advice throughout the book helped give the characters of the book a difference perspective of the "problems" in their life.  In addition, his advice can be applied into each of our lives as well. This book is available now on Kindle for only $2.99 at The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

The Butterfly Effect talks about how the things we do on a daily basis have an impact on our environment and the world.  We may not be able to see how the things we are doing matter or make an impact on others, but they are.  Each of us will make a difference in the world.  What kind of a difference depends on the things we are doing today.  Available on Amazon at The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters.

All three of these books can have a profound impact on the way you live your life.  I have bought a copy of each to keep on my book shelf and read over and over to continue to apply the principles of the books and to share with my son.  I am really excited that Andy Andrews is coming out with a sequel to The Noticer titled The Noticer Returns on October 1st.  The Noticer Returns can be preordered on Amazon at The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You.

Fore more about Andy Andrews and his books:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reflecting on My Juice Fast

I survived my three day juice fast.  I honestly was hungry only at two points during the three days.  The first was when I didn't do a great job drinking my water during the first part of day one.  The second was late at night on day 2 when I stayed up two hours later than I was planning and didn't adjust my juice or water intake.

I felt great and had plenty of energy all three days.  It was a great test of my self-control as I still cooked the meals for my family that I had to resist tasting or eating any of it.  From a health perspective I hope that it helped cleanse out some of the toxins that were in my body and give me a rejuvenating shot toward healthy living the next several months.

The short term impact included losing just over 2 pounds in four days (3 including the fast and one day after).  I assumed this would somewhat be negated as I start eating foods again.  I feel great and believe that if I could resist eating solid foods for three days I should be able to make mostly healthy choices moving forward.

While I was able to complete this juice fast without any negative side effects you are recommended to check with a medical professional before radically changing your diet to make sure it would be healthy for you.  My post is just a reflection of my experience and not meant to be used as an endorsement or recommendation of others completing a three day juice fast. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

3 Day Juice Fast

After spending the last several weeks trying eat better and be more active as I strive to live a healthier life I heard about a 3 day juice fast cleanse on a podcast I was listening to.  Here is a website that has lots of different options on "rebooting with juice".  I found lots of websites talking about different juice fasts/diets, but most of them are very similar.

I have decided for the next three days to try a juice fast/detox and report back the results both physically, emotionally, etc.   I have decided to commit to the following principles during my juice fast based on the different sites I read:

  • I will not eat any solid foods for three days.  I will only drink vegetable/fruit juices, water or herbal teas. 
  • I will drink at least 16 ounces of water between every juice. 
  • I will drink 4-6 juice servings each day.
  • My exercise will loose intensity but still exist during the fast.  Will focus on yoga, walking, or other light exercise. 
  • Try to get extra sleep. 
  • After I finish my 3 day fast will continue to add more fruits and vegetables into my diet. 
I hope to feel better after going through this cleanse and be able to reboot my health and fitness routine by creating a greater focus on the food I put into my body after I complete my fast.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Book Review: 20,000 Days and Counting

One of the books that I read this summer while on vacation was Robert D. Smith's 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now.  I really enjoyed Robert D.'s writing style.  While most people talk about how many years old they are, Robert D. Smith started focusing on the number of days.

This book is very easy to read due to the great short stories that are throughout the book mixed with practical instructions that you can apply to your life.  If we follow the steps that Robert D. outlines throughout this book we will begin to take advantage of each day and live a more full life.

In about 100 pages you will get to understand what made the year to day shift occur in Robert D. Smith's mind and how it changed his life and could change yours too.  This is a book that I am going to want to read again and again and apply the principles into my life to make me a better person.  I am on day 11,397.  Check out what day you are on by visiting his website.

Get yours today using my affiliate link on hardcopy or kindle.

20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.  Over a year ago I posted an post about how we changed our life insurance due to going through Dave Ramsey's financial peace class.  We canceled our old policies and signed up for new 15-year term policies with a child rider and canceled our old insurance including William's Gerber Life policy.  We were sold on Gerber Life as good insurance with a college savings account but learned that it was a rip off for our family.

Dave Ramsey and many others recommend to get level term polices for at least 10 times your income.  If we invest 10 times our income in a good growth stock mutual fund that interest would at least come close to replacing the lost of my income if something would happen to me.

Why term life insurance?
We chose to do term life insurance because it is cheaper and we will be disciplined enough to invest the difference in a Roth IRA.  Money investing in a IRA invested in a good growth stock fund will get much better returns than that of a cash value life insurance policy.  Life insurance should not be where you make your investments because returns are historically low.  Additionally, when you die with cash value, the insurance company keeps the cash value.  Also, the fees deducted from your returns are extremely high.

Fourteen years from today our family will be debt-free including our mortgage and investing a good portion of our income for retirement.  This should allow us to become self-insured and not have a need for life insurance.

For more information check out Dave Ramsey's Website or feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

National Remembrance Day

I hope everyone has the opportunity to take time to remember and reflect on the events of September 11th, 2001 today.  I have decided to delay the posting of my regular post until tomorrow to honor those who lost their life 12 years ago and those who have sacrificed their lives for our country since.  I am privilege to teach in a school that helps students think about the events and how they will use their power for good in our world.  Students do a remembrance walk during healthy choices, in social studies we learn more about the events, we hosted a community walk last night and this morning we will be meeting around the flag pole for a time of prayer and reflection.

As you take time to remember the events check out events going on in your area and ways you can honor those who died through your service using the United We Serve website.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Step It Up

Tomorrow I begin another physical wellness accountability group.  I am joining together with about 20 other staff members from my school to participate in Live Healthy Iowa's: The Next Step Challenge.  During this challenge teams of 2-10 Iowans track the numbers of steps they walk each week with a pedometer.  The numbers are reported and we can track how we are are doing compared to others and set personal step goals.

My personal goal is walk on average over 10,000 steps per day from September 9th to the end of the challenge on October 18th.

Along with tracking our steps we have a "team" that will be able to help keep each other accountable and encourage one another.  Live Healthy Iowa also gives us lots of online recipes, workouts and other health information to help us live healthier in additional to supporting our goals of moving more.

You can join today on their website or can join informally and commit to walk more over the next 40 days.  You can track your steps using a pedometer or a smart phone app.  If you need an accountability partner let me know and I will support you!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bucket List to Life List

I recently was directed toward the Beyond the To Do List podcast and have spent some time listening to the past episodes.  One of the episodes that made an impact on me was when Erik Fisher interviewed Alli Worthington.  During the interview she talked about how she has a life list.  I found the the conversation very interesting and made me think about my bucket list.  Sometime bucket lists are seen are finite (for example 100 things before I die) and when you put an item on the list it stays on it until you complete it.  While a life list maybe is seen as more fluid - as your passions and interests change so can the items on your list.

Even though I said I would share some of the things that still remained on my bucket list on an earlier blogpost, I have decided to update my list and turn it into a life list.  Here are a few of the things that are on my list:

  • Go on a mission trip with William
  • Take William to lots of different events
    • a Cubs game in Wrigley Field
    • to a NFL game
    • to Washington, D.C.
    • to a Broadway Play
    • to a major concert
    • to a NBA game
  • To watch William graduate from high school and college
  • To meet my grandchild(ren)
  • Be silent for an entire day
  • Do a lot of traveling
    • Visit the Holy Land
    • Go on a Cruise
    • Go to Hawaii
    • Go to Africa
    • Go to Asia
    • Go to South America
    • Go to Australia 
    • Go to England
    • Go to Niagara Falls
    • Go to the Grand Canyon 
    • Go to Ireland
  • Attend/Do Specific things
    • Watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve in New York City
    • Go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
    • Be in DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival
    • Go ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza
    • Sleep overnight on a train
    • Attend a Supreme Court hearing
    • Go to a professional championship game
    • Go to an Iowa bowl game
    • Go to the Olympics
    • Sky-Dive
    • Hot-Air Balloon Ride
    • Complete a marathon
    • Complete a triathlon
    • Complete the entire week of RAGBRAI
    • Be debt free (including mortgage) and go to Dave Ramsey's studio in Nashville
  • Have a commitment free summer
Sorry the list ended up so long, I kept adding things as I was typing.  I think by posting your life list in a public place you may connect with people who want to do similar things you do and have an accountability partner to make sure you take action when an opportunity arises. What are some things on your life list?  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Goal Update

September 1st marks another month ending and therefore an update on my 2013 goals.

Financial Wellness 
By the end of 2013, we would like to pay off over 20% of the current outstanding debt on our house.  To do this Anna and I will continue to work together with our finances find more opportunities to earn and save more money.  We have also considered looking at selling our house, since we probably have a larger house then we really need. 
UPDATE:  Anna and I won a debt scholarship by participating in forums, completing survey's and writing a "debt essay".   This scholarship coupled with our budgeting helped us get 2 months closer to debt freedom.  We are set to become debt free no later than March 1, 2016, which is only 911 days away!  We have already met our goal of paying off over 20% of our outstanding debt so we will continue on paying as much off as much as possible this year.
Physical Wellness 
By the end of 2013 I would like to be back at my pre-broken foot weight. 
UPDATE: I was able to meet my short term goal that I set for August in order to stay on track to meet my ultimate goal.   In order to meet this goal, I will need to lose at least 8 pounds by the end of September.  
Intellectual Wellness 
My goal for 2013 is to read at least 100.  As Charlie Jones said, "Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet."  I want to read some good books, so that I can be a better person five years from now. 
UPDATE:  I have currently read 69 books in 2013 and as always working on several other ones.  I read a lots of books in August and have finally got ahead of pace again.  In September, my goal is to continue to stay ahead of pace. 
Emotional Wellness 
I will continue to blog about my throughs and feelings at least once a week throughout 2013. I will also post additional content on my blog's facebook page 
A friend shared a great idea on facebook that our family has decided to put into action in 2013.  We will be keeping a "Good News Jar" to write notes of all the good things happening this year to open up and read on December 31st, 2013.   
UPDATE:  I have written at least 2 post every week in the month of August.  I also have been able to get more predictable by posting on Wednesdays and Sundays. Our family has not done a good job and being consistent with the good news jar.  I will see if I can help lead us to do better this month.  If our family chooses to drop the goal, then I will report that at the end of the month. 
Spiritual Wellness 
After finishing reading the Bible again in 2012, I plan on starting over in 2013.  In addition to reading the Bible, I will be using Tony Dungy's The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge for my personal quiet time in 2013.  Another spiritual wellness goal of mine for 2013 is to begin weekly devotionals as a family at least 5 days a week.
UPDATE:  I have got back on track with my personal devotional time, but need to do a better job of being a spiritual leader at home with family devotional time.