WHAT’S YOUR LEGACY?

Is the mark you make ‘spot on’?

whats your legacy

“To a father, when a child dies, the future dies; to a child when a parent dies, the past dies.”— Red Auerbach

Last weekend was Father’s Day in the USA. Honestly it’s not my thing. My father died when I was a young boy, and as yet I still have no children of my own. The commercial holiday to honor fathers and fatherhood is celebrated on the third Sunday in June. It was first celebrated in 1910, but not signed into law as a permanent observance until 1972 when 37th President Richard M. Nixon signed the bill into law.

One thing that irritates me to no end is when pet owners refer to their pets as their ‘babies’ or refer to themselves as ‘fur parents’.  This form of self-delusion has been propitiated by various animal rights groups, environmentalist groups,  and even pro-abortion groups as a way of discouraging  child birth because the Earth is allegedly overpopulated by humans who are supposedly destroying the environment and killing ‘Mother Earth’. The Earth is NOT your Mother, and your pets are not your children. Pets can be valuable members of your family, and be loyal companions who display an unusually human level of behavior and intelligence from time to time, but they will never BE human. Humans are not evolved animals.

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We are all children of God, and by God I refer to the one true God, Jesus Christ, who created all of us in His image for His purpose. We were created to be fruitful and multiply. Children are a gift from God, and our children are a living legacy.

 “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you’ll do things differently.” — Warren Buffett

The word LEGACY can mean either money or property that you receive from someone after they die, or something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time. In other words your birthright that is passed on to you, which you in turn will pass on to another after you have departed this mortal coil.  Property is not just material goods, either but can also refer to intellectual property. When you write a book, paint a painting, film a movie, or teach a course you are passing on knowledge and inspiration to others. In the past, you really needed to shine bright to leave a mark in the history books and be remembered.  Unless we are extraordinary leaders of men, every single one of us is about fifty years from being forgotten.  When the last person who knew us passes on, we too are forgotten.

The higher you are held in regard, the further your impact will go, which is why your reputation is paramount. If you have a reputation for honesty and integrity, people will more readily believe you and follow your lead. Your enemies will do everything in their power to trash your reputation, but the truth will always be true no matter how many lies are told about it.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 King James Version (KJV)

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In today’s digital world, nothing is forgotten, but the amount of information being generated is staggering. Information can become buried and lost virtually forever until someone uncovers and shares  it. As data ‘facts’ and fake news are spread like wild-fire in nanoseconds around the globe, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.  The important thing to keep in mind on is that both sides playing the game of kings for global domination want to influence you and sway you to their side. This is why fathers, and husbands, and the traditional family unit have been constantly being assaulted by the left. When you destroy the family unit, you can reshape society into any insane caricature you can dream up.  This is why Christianity and Jesus and the Bible are all despised by the left, and all haters of truth.  This is why President Donald J. Trump is constantly being slandered by the liberal media.  Both parents (and fathers especially) play an important part in preparing the next generation and preventing them from engaging in stupid and self-destructive actions. Turning 18 may legally grant you certain rights held by adults, but it does not make you an adult.   The next generation is the future, and freedom is always one generation away from extinction. If you love your children, teach your children well. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

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CONQUER THE WORLD!

Ask me how…

conquer the world

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie

The world is made up of two types of people. Those who talk about doing things, and those who go out and get those things done.  According to a recent article printed in Business Insider  about a third of Millennials think that they are worse off today than they were ten years ago.  The question that really begs to be asked is what were these ‘eager young space cadets’ doing over the past decade to improve their lives? The overwhelming response was nothing. They stayed in the same dead-end jobs for fear of finding a better job. They didn’t invest in the stock market for fear of losing money. They didn’t save because they had just enough to make ends meet, and they feared they wouldn’t be able to.  The end result of doing nothing is nothing. Nothing happens unless someone makes it happen. You will never be able to conquer the world until you learn to conquer your irrational fears.

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear. –Dale Carnegie

If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self. – Napoleon Hill

Many times, we are held back by bad habits. Laziness is chief among all bad habits. We put off for tomorrow what could be done today because we ‘don’t feel like it’ or we ‘don’t have time’ or we have ‘something better to do.’ Motivation can be difficult when we don’t see immediate results, but all things take time, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This goes for all bad habits from poor eating habits to addictions to failure to exercise regularly. If you start something, keep at it until the task has been accomplished. Never give up. Focus on doing what you can, and then going one better.    

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner

If you believe that something is impossible, and you don’t attempt it, you will never know if it could have been accomplished. Trying once and failing is not an indication of impossibility, it’s just an indication of inexperience and lack of knowledge. No one was ever an expert the first time they did something, and if they happened to do it perfectly that first time, it was dumb luck. You’re an expert when you can consistently deliver the same results, and that takes time and practice.   

Energy and persistence conquer all things. – Benjamin Franklin

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11

Make plans! If you fail to plan you plan to fail! You need to know where you are, where you want to be, and have the steps to get there. You need to know what direction to go, what tools you’ll need to accomplish your goal. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all unless you take to proper measures beforehand. Spontaneity is great when you’re stuck and need to think of something to get you back on course, but it’s a terrible way to live your life. All successful people take notes, make plans, and work from paper. Again, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. You got this! You just have to believe in the possible.

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I believe that in the end the truth will conquer. –John Wycliffe

As you continue moving on towards accomplishing you goals, You’ll encounter a lot of fake news and negativity. You need to cut the dead-weight that’s holding you back. Unhappy, unsuccessful people will be jealous of your attempts to better yourself. Success is the best revenge. There are many people you will meet throughout your life who will never accomplish half the things you do, and they will try to make you feel bad about yourself by calling you greedy or selfish. What they think of you says more about them then it does about you. Your success does not doom them to failure. They doomed themselves to failure by doing nothing and just want you to feel sorry for their poor life choices. You can’t help them, they are the only ones who can help themselves, and they don’t want to for whatever reason. If you have access to the internet, you have access to the sum total of human knowledge. Ignorance is a choice, knowledge is power, and the truth will vanquish any lie in time. Stay focused on your goals and they will become your accomplishments. You got this, and no one can take that away from you!  If you can conceive it, and you can believe it, you can achieve it! As always I wish you success and happiness!

WHO’S MINDING YOU!

Escaping the ‘nanny-state’!

whos minding you

This is the forth article in the ‘Who’s Minding’ series. For the first three parts read Who’s Minding the Bank?, Who’s Minding the Market?,  and  Who’s Minding the Food?

I’ve got no strings

To hold me down

To make me fret

Or make me frown

I had strings

But now I’m free

There are no strings on me–  song I’ve Got No Strings by Dickie Jones, 1940

Everyone has an agenda. Some are obvious, are some subtle, and some are hidden and secretive.  Except in the most rare of cases, the person pulling the strings wants what’s best for themselves above all else. Sometimes what’s good for them is also good for everyone else,  and sometimes it’s unashamedly mercenary.  Without question, the two thousand plus billionaires of the world wield great power over the average person.  They are the modern kings of today’s world, and they are playing a Game of Kings to stake out their own little section of the world to rule.  They are the tops of the pyramid, the kings of the hill.  Next in line are the millionaires and multi-millionaires. They too have great power over the lives of the average person.  Independent, hard working people come next. At the very bottom of the pyramid are the wretched dregs of society. People who have either giving up on trying to better themselves, and are dependent upon social welfare programs and the kindness of strangers to survive.

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If you are fortunate enough to live in the United States of America,  then you are blessed indeed. The USA is a land of limitless opportunities, and built upon the tenants of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Since the nation was founded 243 years ago, it has been the target of powerful people who want to subvert and destroy our great nation. For parts of the nineteenth and all of the twentieth centuries,  the Democratic National Committee has been trying to remake the USA and destroy the Christian country created by the Founding Fathers.  Democrat is indeed the new communist as the liberal left slinks further  and further towards radical socialist agendas and establishing a permanent power over the average citizen. In their new vision of America, we the people will be dependent on the government from cradle to grave.  They will slander and attempt to destroy anyone who dares to oppose them.

Our nation and its government is BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE.  There is nothing wrong with wealth. There is nothing wrong with success. We live in a capitalist society and our economy grows through consumerism.   If people are buying, selling, and trading, there are jobs being created.  What is wrong is when a government tries to enslave all its citizens and destroy the means of creating wealth while raising taxes and killing jobs. This is what Barack Hussein Obama II was in the process of doing, and what Hillary Rodham Clinton would have continued had she been elected.  Fortunately,  there was a very powerful patriot, billionaire Donald J. Trump who was willing to fight to save our nation from those who were willing to save it.  Trump’s love for our nation exceeds that of any president in our lifetime, even greater than Ronald Reagan. Fortunately, WE THE PEOPLE banded together in such force to elect this great man to the highest office. Donald J. Trump has been insulted, slandered, belittled, and bashed by all those who oppose him. The liberals are losing, and they know it!

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  • Billionaires control our world.
  • They control our banks.
  • They control our economy and industry.
  • They control our food.
  • They control our media.
  • They control our communications and social networks.

They control so many aspects of our lives, but they can only control us if we allow them.  All of the media, communications, and social networks THEY created can also benefit US if we take the time to navigate the sea of lies and misinformation that powerful LEFTIST billionaires are imposing upon us.  Every wealth group from the ultra-poor to the mega-rich can be divided into two main camps, the left (liberal) and the right (conservative). There are also two other smaller subgroups that are far dangerous to our nation. The centralist, who can flip-flop on issues at the drop of a hat, and the anarchist who wants no government of any kind and doesn’t care about politics at all.  Both of these groups are products of the post-modern school of thought which claims there is no right or wrong.

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In God We Trust!

There was a reason that Madalyn Murray O’Hair fought hard to ban studying the Bible in public schools in 1963. She was a militant feminist, communist, and atheist who founded the group American Atheists.  She  claimed that religion was “a crutch” and an “irrational reliance on superstitions and supernatural nonsense”.  In reality this was all part of a greater plan. The USA was founded as a Christian nation, and by removing the study of the Bible from public schools, O’Hair was sowing the seeds for the destruction of the US.  Without God, there is no USA. 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. – Psalm 33:12

There is a difference between religion and spirituality, just as there is a difference between morals and ethics. Unfortunately few take the time to learn the distinction.  Spirituality is a belief in God, and the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Religion is a system of rules and doctrines.  This is why Jesus said in James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. ”   

There is no such thing as a moral atheist because morals are based on Biblical absolutes whereas situational ethics are fluid and can change with the individual or situation. Good can be bad and bad can be good  in the mind of post modernists. God is good ALWAYS and when you eliminate the study of the Bible, you erode the moral backbone of the nation.  If something is legal, it is not unethical. If it were unethical, it would be illegal. Immoral is always immoral, whether it is legal or not. So the word of God is not a ‘controlling’ force, but a guiding factor which is for our benefit.  Warning us about destructive behaviors is not HATE, it is truly being done  for our benefit so that we may life a healthy, happy, and productive life.  The only time I’ve ever seen happy atheists are when they were insulting Christians.

The bottom line is that there are many forces in this world that are trying to control us, even up to and including the point of a gun.  The power we give these earthly forces over us is an illusion we allow them, one that we can shatter at any time. WE THE PEOPLE have the real power, and if God is with us, who can stand against us? As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

DATA FACT?

What a tangled web we have weaved!

(part one of a two part series)

DATA FACT

Conservative Republican Ronald W. Reagan was the 40th president of the United States. Shortly after taking office on January 20th, 1981, he began his goal of making America great again by implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. Dubbed “Reaganomics”, his supply-side economic policies advocated reducing government spending, economic deregulation, and most importantly tax rate reduction. These measures to spur economic growth were directly responsible for the prosperity seen in the 1980’s.    

One of the most radical changes to society which sprang from ‘the decade of wealth’ was the sudden birth of the home computer. Once a staple of science fiction, the idea of actually owning your own computer became a reality. The earliest practical uses were business applications and word processing, as well as early text based games. Computer technology advanced rapidly. An observation by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years, while production costs halved, became known as Moore’s Law.

Many tech savvy individuals experimented with software development to justify the cost of purchasing these very expensive machines. There was no easy way of transferring data although there were some primitive networks for those who knew how to contact and connect to them with a modem. This changed on March 12th 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee dreamed up a system of Information management allowing data to be exchanged by multiple computers over a vast network, which we now refer to as the Internet and the World Wide Web. In 1992, IBM developed the first ‘smartphone’ called the Simon Personal Communicator. Today, thirty years after the birth of the internet, people have the sum total of human knowledge at their fingertips and the world has never been more connected.

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A fist full of dollars

The are many ways to make money or save money using the internet and the world wide web, whole books have been written on it, thousands of them.

There are crowd-fund platforms to help you market your invention, e-banks which promise better interest rates and less fees, sites with personal finance tips and tricks, streaming media to watch or download, market places to buy and sell new or used items, the list goes on. The net is big business!

The magnificent seven

  1. Staying in touch – E-mail and text messages now exceed personal  letters and phone calls.
  2. Making friends – Social media allows us to connect with people we would never have met. InstantCoffeeWisdom has over a hundred followers from sixty countries around the world. My twitter account has over seven hundred followers, dozens of whom I’ve met and interact with. I’m grateful for all my friends and supporters.  
  3. Being creative – There are endless DIY tutorials online to demonstrate and inspire.
  4. Finding help – Got a problem? There’s a website that has an answer or solution.
  5. Learning – Online courses teach you anything if you study and apply yourself.
  6. Media – Nearly everything that’s ever been written, recorded, or filmed, exists somewhere online, usually available for free if you take the time to search for it.
  7. Shopping – E-commerce has changed the way we shop, and in many cases has brought about the death of some prominent chains. Radio Shack, Toys R Us, and Borders Books are all long gone, casualties of online shopping. Someone, somewhere in the world has the exact same, or very similar item for much less, and in some cases with free shipping.  You just need to search for it.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Everything I’ve listed so far has been good. The bad part is that with so much information and equal mis-information it’s easy to get the wrong source and end up believing in lies. Not everything online is beneficial, and sometimes digging through the ‘fake news’ to unearth the facts isn’t like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s like trying to find a needle in Kansas! The signal to noise ratio is just that great. Worse yet, certain social media platforms use algorithms to selectively edit what you see. Cookies stored in your computer’s memory record and track your browsing history, and bots customize what you see.

The ugly part of the web can range from annoying to horrific. There are some things online that you do NOT want to see, the stuff of nightmares placed online either as a warning, or because some sick individual wanted to share it because they liked it. What has been seen cannot be unseen, beware! There is an entire ‘dark web’ that’s lying under the surface and is just one misplaced or misguided keystroke away. There are internet ‘trolls’ who live to post hateful and hurtful comments in any post that has a reply field. Whole web pages have been created by cyber-bullies to intimidate and humiliate their victims. People have committed suicide over such personal attacks.There are more scams to trick you into handing over personal info than you can shake a stick at. Black-hat hackers have created so many forms of malware that anti-virus protection is a must on any computer. And then there’s the 800 lb gorilla in the room, PORN. When I was a young boy, porn was sold wrapped in plastic, and not kept on display. XXX theaters were in the seedy part of the city where you were afraid to walk in broad daylight. You had to go way out of your way to obtain smut, and now it’s in nearly every home in America, just a click away.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45 ESV

The internet is a tool, and like any tool it can be used for good or evil.  Whoever controls the flow of information can control you. Are you being lied to? Do you even realize it? Who is Q? Ponder these questions until next week, and check back for part two, HOW DEEP IS THE DEEP STATE? As always, I wish you success and happiness!

How Radical!

Saul Alinsky’s protégés!

HOW RADICAL

“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence — and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”— President Donald J. Trump,  2nd SOTU Address February 5th 2019

The United States is the most prosperous country in the history of the world, and all of the freedoms we enjoy in this country are a direct result of the protections of liberty that were written into the constitution by our Founding Fathers. It is the duty of the President to follow and protect the constitution, and to protect our great nation from all threats both foreign and domestic.  We are a nation of immigrants. There is a very small percentage of our population that is actually descended from the native American Indians. (Unlike senator Elizabeth Warren, who claimed for years to be one.)    Even those original native Americans are theorized by archaeologists to have been immigrants from Asia who crossed over an ice bridge that once existed thousands of years ago.    

         

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! —Psalm 33:12 ESV 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; — Psalm 1:1 ESV 

It comes as no surprise that most of the Founding Fathers were devout Christians, although most college students today are being taught the opposite. They are also being taught that the USA is a horrible nation that was stolen from the noble native Americans, that socialism is better than capitalism, that God is not real, that the Bible is an outdated book filled with contradictions, That president Trump is an evil man liken unto Adolf Hitler, and even that we ourselves caused the events of September 11th 2001 because of the way our country treats other nations.  Sadly many of the youth of our nation have been targeted by liberals from a very early age, and they lack the knowledge and the moral compass to see though these lies.

Let the Liberal turn to the course of action, the course of all Radicals, and the amused look vanishes from the face of society as it snarls, “That’s radical!” Society has good reason to fear the Radical. [Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous. Conservative interests know’ that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives.”– Saul Alinsky from his 1st book  Reveille for Radicals (1946)

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was an expert at stirring up discord and organizing discontented mobs to use them to overthrow authority. He preached his message to the counter-culture movement during the 1960s. His tactics have been used time and time again by liberal Democrats to attempt to destroy our great country.  Alinsky wrote three books, a biography of John L Lewis, founder of the CIO, and his most infamous book Rules for Radicals, which is an expansion and update of his first book, Reveille for Radicals.  

Saul Alinsky’s Rules

  • “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”
  • “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
  • “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
  • “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
  • “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
  • “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
  • “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
  • “Keep the pressure on.”
  • “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
  • “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”
  • “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.”
  • “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
  • “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Using these rules to organize the mob, Saul Alinsky then believes a nation can be converted to socialism is just 8 steps:

  • 1) Healthcare — Control healthcare and you control the people
  • 2) Poverty — Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
  • 3) Debt — Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
  • 4) Gun Control — Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.
  • 5) Welfare — Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).
  • 6) Education — Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.
  • 7) Religion — Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.
  • 8) Class Warfare — Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.

Does any of this sound familiar? It comes as no surprise that EVERY Democrat in power today has read and used his template to attempt to turn the United States into a socialist nation so that they can seize permanent power and be in charge of everything while claiming responsibility for nothing.  It is the goal of every member of the Democratic party to remain in power for life.

I would also like to point out two last things to those who STILL think Saul Alinsky was such a wonderful person:

He credits Satan on his dedication page of his last book

 “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins— or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom —Lucifer.” —SAUL  ALINSKY

and

(In an interview with Playboy Magazine.)

 “if there is an afterlife, and I have anything to say about it, I will unreservedly choose to go to hell.” —SAUL  ALINSKY

When the USA began, the creators of our great nation envisioned that government leadership would be temporary, not a lifelong career.  Every president with ONE exception has served NOT MORE THAN two terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), a Democrat and the 32nd president is the ONLY president to have served FOUR terms, dying in office as ‘President for Life’ on April 12th 1945. His unprecedented power grab was excused away as being a necessity as the nation was in the middle of World War II.  The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution  now limits a president to the tradition two terms established by George Washington.  FDR  is responsible for creating many of the government welfare programs like social security which have enslaved many of our citizens to ‘cradle-to-grave’ government dependency, much like Woodrow Wilson (also a Democrat) enslaved our nation to debt.   The greatest presidents of our nation in every century have all been Republicans. The only exception to this is our First President, George Washington (a Whig) and this is only because the GOP wasn’t created yet.

  • 18th Century – George Washington #1
  • 19th Century – Abraham Lincoln #16
  • 20th Century – Ronald Reagan #40
  • 21st Century – Donald J. Trump #45

I became a Christian in college, and I am a lifelong Republican. I have supported President Donald J. Trump since day one, and will continue to do so until my dying breath.  I’m not going to tell you what I think about people who hate my God Jesus, my president, or my country. It isn’t a very nice thing to say.  I will tell you that Donald Trump is a great man who is working hard to undo many of the damages caused by liberal Democrat socialists who have been trying to destroy this great nation. I will tell you that God is real, and the Bible is true, and that anyone who lacks God in their life doesn’t have much of a life at all. God is good always.  As always, I wish you success and happiness!

Time for a do-over?

Reset the clock!

time for a do-over

“Clocks are made by men, God creates time. No man can prolong his allotted hours, he can only live them to the fullest – in this world or in the Twilight Zone.” — Rod Serling

Welcome to the first week of the New Year, 2019. There was no blog post last week for the first time since the inception of http://www.InstantCoffeeWisdom.com back in September of 2017. I felt it was appropriate to schedule a break over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period.  Today is Sunday, January 6th.  Some Christians still refer to this day as Epiphany, or the Twelfth-Day, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi. In a few countries around the world, it is almost as big a celebration as Christmas Day itself. Here in the USA, not so much. Epiphany spelled with a lowercase ‘e’ is also a word to describe a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. There is nothing more commonplace then the annual changing of the calendar, and the start of the new year.   It is a do-over, a time for new beginning and a fresh start as we lay the past to rest.

“The place is here…the time is now…and the journey into the shadows that we’re about to watch could be our journey…” —Rod Serling’s opening narration to The Twilight Zone’s pilot episode, “Where is Everybody?,” October 2, 1959

For the past twenty years in the USA, the cable TV SYFY channel (originally called Sci-Fi) has celebrated New Year’s Eve by broadcasting a Twilight Zone marathon.  This classic television program from October 2, 1959 through June 19, 1964 depicted weekly tales of bizarre, supernatural occurrences and the effects of such on an ever-changing cast of characters. The show has been revived several times and a new version is in the works. The title of the show is so recognizable that it has become a colloquial term to describe any bizarre or ludicrous situation or behavior that rears its ugly head to cause chaos or havoc.

Sometimes things really do happen which are beyond our control. But only sometimes. Often we bring these unfortunate things upon our on heads due to poor planning, stupidity, and/or laziness. No one ever promised that life would be easy, or fair, but it is worth it, and there are countless opportunities to reset the clock, and begin anew. The key is both to learn from our mistakes and to not quit. Quitters never win, and winners never quit.     

Perception is the lens which defines our reality.

Are things really as bad as we ‘think’ they are? Or do we make our situations far worse by convincing ourselves as we bemoan our circumstances? One surefire way to determine progress is to diligently keep track of the pertinent data, and recording your findings  on a regular schedule, then track the records by journals or charts. As negative trends emerge, you will become aware of them early on and be able to correct the course before you sail into dangerous waters. As this is still just the first week of the new year, there is still time to run out and buy a calendar/planner book for you to chart your progress throughout the new year. I do this religiously every year, and have been doing so for most of my adult life. Keeping records and tracking progress has been instrumental in keeping a positive outlook, and propelled me further on the path of success, keeping miles ahead of The Marching Morons.

There are many people in media who keep informing us about how terrible the US financial markets were in 2018, and how 2018 was the worst year for the market in eleven years, and that is was the worst December since The Great Depression of 1931. Yes, I too reported a SLIGHT loss in my net-worth for 2018. (4.7%) If I offset my loss by my gains of the last decade, it is nearly non-existent, a mere pittance. So tell me Great Kreskin, what does 2018 predict for 2019?  Only a fool would bet against the mighty economy of this country.

How do you eat an elephant?

The elephant is the largest animal on land. There’s an old saying. ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ The answer is ‘One bite at a time’ . Sometime we have grand ambitions and lofty goals. The key to accomplishing these lay in proper planning and by breaking down the larger parts of the goal into smaller, more manageable sub-goals. The original task in its entirety may seem overwhelming, but by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable jobs, you can slowly accomplish the big picture, while bolstered by noticeable progress as you tick-off boxes on your to-do list. Again, as this is THE FIRST WEEK OF 2019, There is still time to plan out your goals and sub-goals by week, month, and quarter. You have an entire new year to improve various aspects of your life. Some goals can be worked on simultaneously, as they may complement one another if done in tandem. One example of tandem goals is the two-fold goal of eating healthier, and exercising. Both work best when done together. When you complete your goals, mark then down. Successful people work from lists and write things down! Don’t be afraid to start small, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The most important part is to START. Just keep your goals clear and measurable, and write them down. Set reminders on your phone or calendar planner book. Enlist the help of friends as ‘accountability buddies’ if you need to. Begin at the beginning, and repeat to completion! You got this in the bag!

Which way to the front?

We were all newbies once, so we’ve all experienced the uncertainty of where to begin. Here’s a few self-improvement suggestions for helping to jog your journey to a ‘new and improved’ you.

  • Drink a liter of water every day, and eliminate soda. (water good, soda bad!)
  • Exercise.
  • Cut out meat for one meal a week. (Better yet, become a vegetarian like me)
  • Eat a cup of veggies at lunch and dinner.
  • Go to bed before 10 P.M. (Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.)
  • Start a budget
  • STOP USING YOUR CREDIT CARDS! (Go cash only, if possible.)
  • Save 20% of every paycheck.
  • Take ‘The 52-week Challenge’!
  • Get 30 minutes of ‘ME-TIME’ every day.
  • KILL YOUR TELEVISION
  • Limit internet/social media usage.
  • Discover a podcast
  • Read one chapter of a book 3 times a week.
  • Read the Bible. (God is good, always!)

Start today, and before you know it, you’ll have developed good habits that will eventually add up to a fresh new you! As always I wish you success and happiness!  

Is It Legit?

Beware ‘professional ‘ beggars.

isitlegit

He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor. Proverbs 22:9

The United States of America is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and  more charitable donations per capita flow from the US than from other nations.  As a country we are blessed with both the largest percentages of Christians and millionaires. These two groups donate more money to charities than any other according to numerous reports. Because of this abundance of wealth, there are numerous scam artists who prey upon the charity and good will of the generous by flipping the script to take advantage.

Earlier this year, you may have heard this heartwarming story in the national news media about this poor woman who was trying to make it home,  but her car broke down when it ran out of gas on I-95 outside of Philly. A homeless vet gave her $20, enabling her to get the much needed petrol for her car. In gratitude, her and her boyfriend befriended the man and set up an online GoFundMe donation account to help this wonderful homeless veteran. As the story went viral, donations poured in and the account grew to more than $400,000. A wonderful story.

gofundme-controversy

Except that’s all it was, a story. The entire account was a fiction, and all three parties were involved in the scam. The vet was indeed homeless, but the couple Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure, conspired with homeless man Johnny Bobbitt  and solicited his help as the face of their campaign. The plan backfired when the amounts received from good-hearted donors spiraled out of control. Greed over the size of the split of the ill-gotten gains is what ultimately undid the trio. Bobbit felt all the money belonged to him, as he was really homeless. Mastermind Mark D’Amico believed Bobbit was only entitled to a portion of the money, so Johnny Bobbitt got a lawyer and sued.  As a result of the legal action and the resulting media attention on the high-profile case, the elaborate plot unraveled and all three were jailed and charged with theft by deception. GoFundMe has agreed to refund the donations collected.  

jail

“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”

The Naked City was a TV crime drama broadcast  from 1959-1963 and based on a 1948 film of the same name. Each episode ended with the iconic line about the eight million stories, a reference to the location, set in New York City, and implying that everyone has a story to tell. As I stated before, the USA is the land of plenty, and we do have homeless and poor, but no one staves in this country except by choice, or by malice. There has never been a famine our country, but there are many stupid people who make bad decisions and then want to blame others for their misfortune, or at least make them feel bad.  It reminds me of a biblical account of a famine in ancient Samaria found in the second book of Kings.  

2 Kings 6:26-30

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

27 The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” 28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body.

That’s a pretty terrible tale, but it points out poor decision skills, taking advantage of both stupidity and of wealth, and while you feel sympathetic for the victims there are some people that just can’t be helped. It’s not totally clear exactly what type of help the woman is soliciting, but it is implied that she is seeking justice against the woman who scammed her.

Jesus said we will always have the poor among us. I’m not into the so-called ‘Prosperity Gospel’ which preaches that God wants us to be rich and successful, because by becoming wealthy we are in a much better position to help others.  There is some truth in this logic, but remember that even the Devil can quote scripture and twist it’s meaning to suit his purposes. There’s a scam out there for every legitimate cause, and they prey upon your sympathy.  A ‘church by mail’ called Saint Mathews Churches of Tulsa OK is one such scam that sends out mailings splattered with scriptures and religious iconography promising great blessings in return for ‘seed offerings’.  Some televangelists also fall into this category.

stmatt

Sometimes it’s hard to separate ‘the wheat from the chaff’. Sometimes it’s impossible, so don’t feel bad if you gave in error to a fake one. Live and learn, and move on.  Good people want to help others, and every organization needs SOME funding for its own overhead.  Some organizations are just ‘squeaky wheels’ that exist to cry for donations while little of the funds reach their intended targets.  I’m a firm believer in supporting LOCAL organizations. The best nation-wide charities like The Salvation Army  https://www.salvationarmyusa.org   or Toys For Tots   https://www.toysfortots.org  can get by on a minimal razor-thin operating budget and have LOCAL offices that cater to the LOCAL community. 

If you have any concerns about a charity, you can see how they rank up to similar charities by using the https://www.charitynavigator.org/  website. Charity Navigator is the largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities in the United States providing data on 1.8 million nonprofits.  

This doesn’t mean that every need has an accredited 501-c charity that exists to back it. Sometimes, legitimate needs do ‘pop-up’ unexpectedly, due to tragedy or stupidity, or both. Many of these hard luck cases turn to GoFundMe.com  There are many true needs out there that need to be met, but like the couple and the vet who scammed over  $400,000 some of these ‘needs’ might be fake. Whenever you donate money, never donate more than you can afford to, never feel bad if you have to say ‘no’, and never, ever, EVER donate money if you feel like you are being FORCED to give. Extortion is just as illegal as theft by deception. I have heard of people who used GoFundMe to raise funds for funerals, medical expenses, and because they lost their home in a fire. I once even donated money to a homeless Superman impersonator who had been mugged, had his teeth knocked out, and was robbed of his cape and super-suit. I have also heard of  people who used   GoFundME because they felt they were entitled to lots of money for their upcoming birthday, or who needed rent money because ‘they just didn’t have it’.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes people are just stupid and make bad decisions.  All things come from God and you are the steward  of the riches He has bestowed upon you. How you choose to distribute from your bounty is a matter of your heart, and only God can judge you because He knows the truth behind ever human heart. As always, I wish you success and happiness.