Blueprint for Life blog

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Interesting month

July has been an interesting month.... I decided to do something different this 4th of July and have a pool party at my apartment complex. This was the first party I've hosted since moving into my little one bedroom apartment. I've been going to other people's parties and thinking that hospitality was for people who live in nice houses, and my little apartment just wasn't conducive to entertaining. But my complex has a nice pool area that can accomodate several people, with a bar where food can be served. And I felt that God was leading me to be a host for once. It turned out great. Everyone had a good time, and some of us met up later to watch fireworks.

This past week, I spent time on a jury in a murder/armed robbery case. We delivered a verdict of guilty to 1st degree murder, with the defendent being a 24 year old African American man. He hasn't been sentenced yet, but he faces life in prison. This is a prime example of what can happen when you don't know God or have a blueprint for your life.

There's been some reorganization on my job and I'm reporting to a new manager now. When I first started working for my company back in 2003, I reported to a guy who was a total micromanager, always looking over my shoulder, which made me feel uncomfortable. Then he left the company in September 2005, and I was then assigned to another director, who really didn't know what my job responsibilities were, or had time to manage me, since he was over other departments as well. I expressed to the controller of the company my concern about this, and said I wanted to report to someone in Accounting, who understood the work I was doing and was able to give me adequate and fair performance reviews. An Accounting Manager named Randy was promoted to Director of Budgeting and Financial Analysis, and I now report to him. According to people who have worked for him previously, he's definitely not a micromanager. But you have to sometimes push him to make decisions, and keep the lines of communication open so that he knows what you're working on and what his priorities are for you, or else he'll blame you for not meeting your goals. At any rate, The Blueprint for Life has given me a better attitude toward my work, so I now have a fresh start with a new boss.

In the past couple of years, I've been feeling burned out in my profession. As a result, I started procrastinating on getting my continuing education credits to renew my CPA license. I even thought seriously about allowing my license to go inactive for awhile. But Blueprint has revived my sense of purpose concerning my career. And I don't think allowing my license to go inactive would be a good thing. So I purchased some self-study courses, and I have until Sept. 15th to get them all done in order to renew my license. So I'm going to be busy with that.

Yes, I still have to set my career goals. I've already started to think along those lines, and I'll get to it eventually.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I’ve been procrastinating about setting goals in the last couple of areas, and getting this blog wrapped up into some kind of conclusion. I'll get to it eventually, but for now, I'll just post my Financial Blueprint Vision Statement. Of course, this is still a rough draft:

I am handling God's money in such a way that my own expenses are provided for without going into debt, and my tithes are always paid along with offerings to further God's Kingdom. I am saving money to pay cash for cars from now on. I have an emergency fund to fall back on, which will prevent me from going into debt. I am saving 15% of my income for retirement. My goal is to have my residence paid for, and enough money in my retirement fund to be able to live off the interest when I retire at age 68. I am living a modest lifestyle, so that I am able to give to God's Kingdom at every opportunity. I will support missions, and give to charitable organizations that help the needy and spread God's word.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Goals for Provision

What Financial Peace University helped me to do was establish goals for my provision. But my Financial Blueprint also consists of plans for tithing, offerings, and abundance. I already give tithes and offerings, but the abundance part I've never thought much about, because there seldom seems to be any. Hopefully that will turn around now that I'm out of debt. On July 5th, just a week away, I'll be sending out my last credit card payment to MBNA American Express. That really feels good! I already sent them a letter to tell them to close my account and notify the credit bureaus, and also take me off their marketing list for future credit offers. On the bottom of the letter, I put:

Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor and the borrower is SLAVE to the lender.
Free at Last!!
Free at Last!!
Thank God Almighty!!
I'm Free at Last!!

I've been dreaming of sending out a letter like that for some time now.

Now on to saving! I've figured out that I will be able to save $900 per month, and have over $8,000 in an emergency fund by March, 2007. By August 2008, I should have $15K saved for a car, and by August 2011, when I'm 48 years old, I should have over $31K saved for a house. My goal is to sign a 15-year fixed rate mortgage that I'll have paid off when I'm 63. All the while, I will be putting away money for retirement, and I hope to have $1.2 million accumulated at age 68. Then if I can earn 7% interest on that money, I'll be able to have $84,000 a year to live on, plus Social Security, (if that's still around).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm Back!

Well, It's been a couple weeks... I spent all of last week helping paint my parent's interior of their home, and visiting with my brother who came down from Ohio to help with the job. My parents have so much stuff that the painting was the easy part. The hard part was moving everything out of each room, and finding a place to put it, then moving everything back. But at least now, they don't have to look at a water-stained ceiling anymore. The living room ceiling has been stained since Hurricane Jean moved through in 2004.

For some reason I'm just dragging my feet on setting goals for the last 2 areas. I don't know why. I've already been through Financial Peace University, so I've already set goals for my finances. I am already tithing, and my offering consists of sponsoring a little girl in Uganda. On July 5th, I will have sent out my last credit card payment, and I will be officially debt-free. After that, I need to save for an emergency fund, a replacement car, and a down payment on a house, in that order. So I'm pretty well set there.

I know I need to re-examine my career, as I'm kind of in mid-career burnout. Maybe that's why I'm procrastinating. I don't know, but I know I don't have time to think about it now. Gotta get to the gym, make my lunch and get to work...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Scriptural References Chapter 8

Question 1:

Colossians 3:23
23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

Question 2:

Matthew 6:28-34
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Question 3:

Psalm 127:1-2
1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to [a] those he loves.

Question 4:

Proverbs 23:4-5
4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I DID IT!!!!

I have kind of a strange morning ritual. When I first wake up in the mornings, my eyes feel really dry to the point of stinging when I open them. So I will get up and get a couple ice cubes out of the freezer, wrap them in paper towels, then lay back down for a while with the ice cubes placed on my eylids. This refreshes my eyes and helps wake me up.

Last night I got to bed around 10 pm. So I set my alarm clock for 5pm, to allow for the 7 hours sleep I need. Well this morning, I woke up around 3:46 am. I got up and got my ice cubes, and laid back down. I actually drifted into sort of a half-sleep while my eyeballs were getting freezed. Then I woke up as I felt water trickle down the side of my face from the melting ice cubes. I looked at the clock. It was a little past 4:30 am. I really didn't feel tired anymore. I decided I was going to get up and follow my plan. I put my gym clothes on. I had my quiet time where I reviewed the goals I had set thus far, and prayed over them. I went to the gym and had a 20 minute aerobic workout followed by some crunches. I drove home, showered, dressed, and fixed my breakfast and lunch to take to work. On top of that, I made it to work on time!! I feel great, and I thank God for this day!! I'm thankful that He's showing me that if I'm obedient by putting Him first, He can touch my time by giving me the focus I need to get everything done in the time allotted. Praise God!!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Scriptural references Chapter 7

Question 1:

1 Chronicles 29:11-12
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

Question 2:

Malachi 3:10-12
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

Question 3:

Luke 16:1-13
1Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.'
3"The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— 4I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'
5"So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'
6" 'Eight hundred gallons[
a] of olive oil,' he replied. "The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.'
7"Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?' " 'A thousand bushels[
b] of wheat,' he replied. "He told him, 'Take your bill and make it eight hundred.'
8"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
10"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?
13"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Question 4:

Matthew 6:19-21
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Question 5:

Matthew 19:29
29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Luke 6:38
38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

My Physical Blueprint

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I'm celebrating today by going to the beach with some friends. I thought before I go, I'll try to get another entry in my blog. Life has been hectic, and I'm still behind. I've got everything done for Chapter 6 except writing out my physical vision statement. I know what my physical goals ought to be, my main issue though is time.

To function properly, I need at least 7 hours of sleep a night. If I get up at 4am, that's plenty of time to get up, get my gym clothes on, do my quiet time, drive to the gym, work out, come home, shower, get dressed, do my hair and make up, take my vitamins, get my lunch and drive to work. But I will need to have been in bed my 9pm the night before. Wednesday nights, I usually don't get in bed until 10:30 or 11 because of small group, but other nights I could probably make it in bed earlier. Even if I get up at 5am, I still should be able to do it.... I'm just so slow-moving in the morning. Maybe if I plan things out in advance, like figuring out what I'm going to wear the night before, and having my lunch made in advance. I guess I just need to get better organized.

Anyway, here is my physical vision statement:

I present my body daily as a living sacrifice. I train my body four times a week for strength and endurance, through aerobic workouts and weight-training. I make the time to prepare and eat unprocessed foods, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. I avoid excessive sugar, fatty foods or alcohol. I take supplements daily to ensure my body gets the proper nutrients. I keep my body weight under 140 lbs, and stay in a dress size 8. I keep current on all my medical check ups, including dental and vision check ups. I make sure to address all problems with my doctor as they occur. I deal with my mental/emotional state my putting God first every day. If my thoughts and emotions turn to anger, despair or negativity, I will stop and ask God to help me take every thought captive and bring it in obedience to Christ. I will oppose every attack of Satan with the Word of God, which is living and active, sharper than any 2-edged sword and able to penetrate even to the dividing of bone and marrow, spirit and soul.