Archive for the ‘long range plans’ Category

I’ve written about our family’s dream several times on here before.  For those of you who need to catch up, check out the links below.

A Farm of Our Own

Setting Our Goals

Also Scroll down to the bottom to see a Brief Summary.

Caught up?   Good.  So here is the idea.   Anyone who can afford to share a little just drops a bit in the donate button below.  Who should do this?  If you have some spare change laying around in your PayPal account (or in that jacket you haven’t worn for months) you would be a good candidate. It is all up to you.

You see, I am very curious what could happen if the hundreds (possibly thousands) who have visited this sight over 52,000 times donated a dollar or two towards a fund to help us achieve this dream.  What do you think?  Maybe we could have a good part of our down payment ready to go.

So you ask, what’s to keep me from blowing all the money on booze and comics?  Well, just my word.  I would hope that after almost ten months and tons of embarassing pictures, you guys would know how much a share without reservation.  If anything I am TOO truthful.

If you don’t want to donate, no hard feelings.  Well, maybe a few.  But for those who do, thanks.  Let me know if this whole PayPal things works, I’ve never used it before.

DONATE

Warning: This donation is NOT tax deductible. 

What will we be doing with the money?

1. Down payment on a piece of land- small to medium acreage (30-60 acres).  We are still locating the right piece of property and we are waiting to see where I end up in two to three years with my Ph.D.

2. Run a small scale animal rescue (dogs/horses).

3. Combine the animal rescue with a program for at-risk youth.  We are still learning lots about this, and it is very interesting stuff. Click here to read about one such pet training program currently employed in prisons.

4. Run a fully operational ranch and/or farm (depends on the land) where we can sell a portion of our agricultural returns and donate the rest to local individuals in need as well as local charities.  Some ideas we have include orchards, crops, milk, and eggs.  There is a big learning curve on all this stuff and I spend much of my limited free time reviewing books on these subjects.

5)  Care to make any suggestions to fill this space?  Anything I missed?  Drop a note in the comments section.

God bless you whatever you give- including those of you who give nothing.

BTW, for those of you skittish about PayPal, you can email me and drop a few small bills or a check in the mail.

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As we near out first pay check in over two months (times have been tough but God provided) we are set to implement some money saving procedures and a much improved budget.   What have we done?  Well I will share with you three tips today to shrink your expenses and saved lots of money

First, perhaps the biggest change for us, we are limiting our grocery/all things Wal-Mart budget (excluding dog food) to $250 per month.  We are going to enforce this budget limit by taking out $250 cash at the beginning of the month and placing said cash in an envelope to be used each time we shop.  When the money runs out, no more groceries.  As an incentive to save more, 50% of the money left over at the end of the month can be used for ANYTHING we want.

Estimated Savings: $200-400/month

Second, we are going automatic.  We are signing up as many bills as possible for automatic bill pay.  We have been paying anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars in late fees each month.  The main offender is our water bill.  It is the only bill that comes without a return envelope and is therefore easy to forget about.  To make matters worse the local water department are known in our house as the water Nazi’s- if you are two weeks late with your bill they shut off the water and charge $20 bucks (plus late fee) to reconnect.  As if they weren’t selling the most abundant resource that only cost about $30 a month, and we were somehow going to run off without paying that hefty $35 dollar water bill….geesh.

Estimated Savings: $5-$25 dollars

Third, we will be paying down our lowest balance credit card in a month or two and using that card for gasoline- NOTHING else!  Well okay, emergencies, but only real emergencies.  The card will be paid off before the end of each month.  It will help us budget our gas money and allow for quick and easy gas purchases.  Tried buying gas without a credit card lately?  It isn’t fun.

Estimated Savings$10-$25/month on interest

OVERALL estimated servings:  $215-$450 dollars

Why don’t you make your savings automatic- that is after you finish paying off those high interest credit cards? Let me address the latter before tackling the former.

It makes no sense to put your savings in a bank account with less than 2% interest while your credit cards accumulate debt at 16-20% interest. Plus, if a true emergency occurs (i.e. your car breaks down) you can access that money on your credit card just as easily, if not more so, as if it were in your savings account.

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Okay, completion never happens.  After all, you have to work hard your whole life to maintain what you have struggled to gain.  But here it is day 119 and I am 38 POUNDS lighter– I weighed in at 168.6 this morning.  Imagine that, I am more than 80% of the way towards completing my initial goal- reaching my fire department weight (age 18) of 159 lbs.  Once there I have some new goals.

So now as I near my initial goal, it seems a good time to establish some new goals.  This is what I am thinking…

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 Here are my updated before and after pictures.  The pictures on the left (your left) are from February 8, 2007.  The pictures on the right (your right) are from June 6th, 2007.  Almost exactly four months to the day from when I began this weight loss journey.

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The guy above (the old me) had a 42 inch waist.  Now, as of today, my waist is 34 1/2 inches.

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See all those rolls of fat on the left hand picture?  That guy weighed 206 lbs .  Think of how big my fat cell’s must have been.  Now, I weigh 169.2 lbs- less than 10 lbs from my goal weight. What a difference losing 36+ lbs of fat can make from all perspectives.

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The old me had a gut that hung over my belt.  That 42 inch waist was a miserable traveling companion.  It popped numerous button from the front of some great khaki pants.  Now, when I put on my fat clothes they hang on me like  a trash bag, and my old, old, old clothes fit perfectly.

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The guy above is a much healthier, happier, energetic man.  Praise the Lord for positive change and for the strength to endure.

Here I am stuck at 174.2 lbs. I’ve been as low as 173.4 and as high as 174.8 in the last week and a half. Plateaus are frustrating- especially if you lot weight quickly in the past. But it happens to us all, we eventually hit a plateau that means weight loss will be slow (at least for a while). How do we break out?

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Most people who lift weights come with a general (and often vague) goal of being healthier, thinner, more muscular, etc. My training is very different. I come to this seeking all of the above PLUS one very specific goal- the level of strength and conditioning necessary to compete in Ninja Warrior.

What does training for Ninja Warrior involve? Well, it involves a lot of focus on skills and abilities like balance, grip strength, vertical leap, and sheer hang time (The second level involves almost exclusively hanging from and moving along horizontal bars). And soon, once I build up enough physical endurance, I will tailor my fitness program even further in a direction that will address all of the above skills and abilities.

Even at this relatively early point I already have a significant part of my workout that focuses on those areas above. I work on grip strength with rock carries, wrist curls, and farmers walks. I work on vertical leap with plyometric squat jumps (several different kinds). I have a lot of room to grow with regard to training for balance and hang time. The latter will be easy to do once I finish building my chin-up bar in the backyard. Regarding the former, I ask you all, any suggestions?

BTW, I found a guy who is training for Ninja Warrior that has posted videos of himself training on Youtube.com.  Check them out.