Week 1 Verse – Jeremiah 29:11

As part of my “Goals For 2014” I decided to choose a different Bible verse for each week.  Something to think about and pray on.  This week I went with Jeremiah 29:11.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

This verse is an obvious choice.  At the beginning of the year we take stock of the previous one and prepare and plan for the new one.  It’s good to be reminded that God’s on our side and wants us to do well.

Here’s the same verse out of The Message, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for”.

God has it all planned out!  I like that.  The control freak in me does better with a plan.  The thing I need to remember is that God has the plan but I am the one that has to implement that plan.  I need an open mind and heart to hear what he wants me to do and then the discipline to follow through.

Another thing I like about The Message version of this verse is the “not abandon” you part.  When God’s plan pushes me out of my comfort zone I need to stay strong in the belief that God is right there with me.  If he brings me to it, he’ll bring me through it.

The final reason I like The Message version is because it sounds like something I would say to my daughters.  Just like our Heavenly Father uses a verse like this to comfort us… as parents we’ve all said something similar to comfort our own children.  “It’s OK, sweetheart.  Daddy knows what he’s doing.  It’ll all work out.  You’ll see.”

I believe God’s plan for me in 2014 is to grow both personally and professionally.  His plan is underway and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

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No Resolutions… Just Goals!

I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions.   I’m not opposed to them but just never really saw the point.  Recently, however, I have realized the importance of setting goals.  Quantifiable goals that you can say, “Yes, I did that,” or “I fell a little bit short on that one.”

I’ve decided 2014 will be a year of change for me.  What exactly does that mean?  I’m not really sure but I do know that by achieving the goals I’ve set for this year there will be positive changes in my life. Changes that could have a big impact on my family.

So here goes.  My list of goals for 2014:

1.  Pick one Bible verse to focus on and pray about each week. Whatever my mood or need is for the week I’ll search out a verse to reflect on.

2.   Continue to blog at least 3 times a week.  This really has been a fun outlet for me.   I enjoy learning about all aspects of blogging and want to continue to promote this site.

3.   Read at least 12 books and listen to at least 12 audio books.   This may not seem like much but it’d be more than I accomplished this year.

4.   Get up by 5:30am at least 3 days per week.  I could get alot done by getting up earlier.

5.    Have a date night with my wife at least once a month.   We didn’t take the time to go out nearly enough in 2013.

6.  Have at least 1 family movie night per month.  Popcorn, smoothies, Twizzlers… sounds like fun.

7.  Have at least one family outing per month.   A minor league baseball game, community events, auto races… there are so many inexpensive things we could do as a family if we just made a plan to do them.

8.     Try at least 2 new recipes or foods per month.  Seems like we’re always making the same things so I’m looking for a way to shake things up a bit.

9.  Make at least one networking phone call/contact per week.  Will 2014 bring about a job or career change for me?  I can’t say but after being at the same place for more than 20 years I’m finally mentally prepared to consider other career options.

10.  Drink at least 3 Tervis tumblers full of water a day.   I need to drink more water.  (We love Tervis in our house)

That’s it.  My goals for the year.  By doing them all 2014 will truly be a year of change!

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Use Your Smartphone To Save

Smartphones… seems like everyone has one. It also seems like everyone complains about how much they cost (both for the actual phone and the monthly service). Since you’re already paying to have one you might as well take advantage of the many ways to save with your smartphone.

One of the easiest ways is to sign up for the email and text clubs of the places you shop. These days everyone from national big box stores to local small businesses send out special deals. Just yesterday I saved $15 on an oil change with a coupon the dealership sent me.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking… “I don’t want to get spammed with loads of emails.” Neither did I. That’s why I set up a special email account just for signing up for offers. A free Gmail account is perfect for this. You can even set up a different folder for each store and have your emails sorted into them. Then when you’re ready for an oil change, haircut, whatever… just open that store’s folder and see what deals they sent you.

Your smartphone is also great for comparing prices while you’re on the go. Not sure if the price in the store is the best price? A quick Google or Amazon product search will tell you. If you do find it for less online ask the store if they’ll match it. It doesn’t hurt to ask. I’d say my success rate has been about 50% when asking. While you’re looking up the price online take a quick minute to read the product reviews. They might save you from being frustrated with a purchase you’ll regret.

If you’re interested in saving even more money, my friend recently compared his broadband deals through Usave and was so glad he did. He saved money on his broadband and got a great service for his smartphone to connect too.

One other way to save is to see if your favorite stores offer apps that will help you save. Cartwheel by Target comes to mind. My wife saved us a couple bucks with the app recently.

This last tip for saving money using your smartphone is pretty basic but it will save you time, gas, and money. That’s to use your smartphone as a…. wait for it… a phone! That’ right. Call the store and ask questions. While Christmas shopping this tip saved me from going to several stores that were out of what we wanted and pointed me right to the store that had it.

Those are just a few ways we use our smartphones to save money. How do you use yours to save?



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