TURNING BACK TIME!

Let’s do the time warp again!

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The idea of turning back time, or speeding ahead into a future time, is quite often the plot of many science fiction stories. UNFORTUNATELY here in the most parts of the USA it’s a reality, and an outdated nuisance.  Twice a year we ‘change the clocks’. Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November  at 2:00 AM when we turn the clocks back one hour to Daylight Standard Time.  To add to the confusion, not all of the USA observes Daylight Saving Time. the states of Arizona and Hawaii ignore it completely, as do all of the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands. So in the Autumn, we ‘gain’ an hour when the clocks ‘FALL BACK’, and ‘lose’ an hour in the Spring when the clocks ‘SPRING FORWARD’.  Despite this little ‘FALL BACK, SPRING FORWARD’ mnemonic to help people remember to adjust their clocks  accordingly, many times they still get it wrong, either setting the clock the wrong way for some bizarre reason, or forgetting completely.  It used to also be done at a different time prior to 2007. (Back then, the time shift was the last Sundays in April and October.)

BLAME CANADA

Benjamin Franklin once theorized about the benefits of adjusting the clocks to save daylight in the Winter months when the days are ‘shortened’  in the Northern Hemisphere due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.  In 1908 Canadians in Thunder Bay Ontario adopted this asinine  practice for the first time. A few years later it was also instituted by the Germans in 1916 to conserve coal during the first World War. It didn’t plague us here in the United States until 1966 when President Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act under the assumption that it would ‘conserve energy’ because if it’s light outside longer, you’ll use the lights in your homes less.

Spread read the confusion

I don’t know of any person who truly believes that changing the clocks is beneficial , but it is observed for better or worse by 70 countries around the globe, each adjusting their times on a slightly different schedule.  If you are one of those people who simply forgets about adjusting the clocks, it’s not so bad in the Fall when you gain that hour, but it’s a nightmare in the Spring when people who are already ‘pressed for time‘ rush out the door only to find out too late that they are an hour late. The poet Charles Bukowski  wrote a poem about this in 1972 titled DAYLIGHT SAVING, and it is a concrete poem shaped like a time card. The poem recounts an event in which the poet went to his day job only to discover the time cards were all pulled and he was late one hour, and had to explain why to his disbelieving supervisor. Fortunately today many of our electronic devices auto adjust themselves to the proper time.

The changing of the artificial clock doesn’t reset the biological clock. Our Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour internal clock that controls sleep-wake cycles as well as metabolism, cognition, and more. It uses clues such as light and darkness to help determine when it’s time to shift into sleep mode and when the body should wake up. When we artificially change the time, our bodies need an adjustment period.  If you’ve ever flown in a plane across several time zones, like from the East Coast of the USA to the West, you probably experienced this disruption by another common term,  jet lag. It can take as little as a day to recover, but some people feel the effects of jet lag for up to several days. Also since animals and very young children do not tell time by a clock, playing with the clocks means that you may get an earlier wake-up call from your pet dog who urgently needs to go outside and ‘never got the memo’.

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Why so S.A.D?

The end of Daylight Saving Time means less natural daylight during the day. When you couple the darkness with cold Winter’s chill, it can lead to a mental state of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D.  This is no laughing matter. People suffering from S.A.D. have a general feeling of less energy and moodiness.  Depression during the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas and even to a lesser extent New Year’s when you are surrounded by happy merry-makers and an abundance of alcohol results in higher accidental deaths from drunk driving, as well suicides from desperate people who can’t see past their current circumstances.  Life is a cycle. We have good times, and bad times, but things do get better.  In the end, everyone of us is going to die, but it’s important how we live. There is not a person on Earth that can say with absolute certainty that they will be alive tomorrow, so don’t wait for tomorrow. This is why you don’t put off important things, like spending time with friends and family and letting them know you care. This is why it is of the utmost importance to take care of our physical bodies with proper diet and exercise. This is why it is vital to straighten our minds and our souls with  knowledge and wisdom, especially the Gospel found in the Holy scripture contained in the Bible. We can do all things with Christ who strengthens us, and  we can deal with today much easier when we have hope for a better tomorrow. As always, I wish you success and happiness!

A FULL-TIME JOB!

Are you only working part-time?

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Imagine that you had an awesome full-time job which paid an enormous salary with great benefits. The full package is enough to meet all your daily needs and attain your long-term goals. If you had such a job, would you give it your all, or would you just show up when you felt like working? This is a no-brainer for most people, you would get up every day and go to work thankful for having such a great job. Even with such a job, we all know that one person who does as little as possible and shows up when they feel like working. Eventually they lose their job,  and we wonder why they didn’t care enough to do the required work and keep the  job.

When most people think about their full time job, they only consider their nine-to-five day job. In reality, everyone has more than one full-time job, but the one which we all share is our health. When we lose our health, getting it back can be difficult, or even impossible. Our health is our wealth!

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You CANNOT lose weight by exercising!

Our physical health revolves around two points, diet and exercise. Both are full-time jobs. You cannot lose weight by exercising. Exercising tones the body and builds muscle. Adding lean muscle increases your metabolism so that you can burn calories faster, but by building muscle you can actually gain weight by exercising. Consider professional body-builders who pack on pounds of muscle and spend hours a day exercising.  You would not consider a body-builder fat, though they may be considered to be  overweight compared to the physical norm. Being overweight as a result of being muscle-bound is much different than being overweight due to obesity, but both carry health concerns. Being fat is never a good thing.

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We exercise to maintain and improve our physical fitness.

Components of Physical  Fitness include:

  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Muscular Strength
  • Power
  • Reaction Time
  • Speed

 

Soda is a carb, and so is broccoli!

In order to lose weight you must first control your diet. The phrase ‘we are what we eat’ is a tired cliché but there is some wisdom there. If we eat junk food frequently, our health will suffer as a result. Your diet is composed of both quality of food, diversity of food, and most importantly quantity of food.  The Standard American Diet is about 2,200-2,500 calories per day, with 50% of calories from carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 35% fat.  All of our food is made of three components: Carbohydrates (carbs), fats, and protein. Food also may contain certain vitamins and trace minerals which our bodies need. We burn these calories for energy each day.  At rest and during normal activities, fats contribute 80–90% of our energy; carbohydrates provide 5–18% and protein 2–5%. During exercise there are four major endogenous sources of energy: muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen), blood sugar, blood fatty acids, and intramuscular triacylglycerols. The extent to which these substrates contribute energy for exercise depends on the intensity and duration of exercise, the level of exercise training, the initial muscle glycogen levels, and supplementation with carbohydrates during exercise.  

So the key to losing weight is to eat better quality food, and eat less than our normal daily caloric intake for maintaining our weight. In other words, eat less calories than you use each day.

Water, water, everywhere!

Soda and fruit juice, as well as so-called sport drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade contain a lot of empty calories. When you are working with a daily allotment of 2,200 – 2,500 calories, drinking these add excesses calories which don’t fill you up, and then you still have to eat. Jesus Christ didn’t have soda or Gatorade and got along just fine drinking water. Water contains ZERO calories, metabolizes fat, and maintains good hydration to ensure the body works the way it should. It is important to drink water on a regular basis at regular intervals. A good rule of thumb is to aim to drink half your body weight in ounces daily. If you are exercising or exerting yourself in high heat, you may need to up this amount. You should drink a glass of water shortly after waking,  with each meal,  and before bed, as well as sips throughout the day as needed.   Water was good enough for Jesus, and it should be good enough for you as well!

Let’s THINK this through.

Our bodies have an innate intelligence and they know what needs to be done, and when to do it. We don’t have to tell our hearts to beat, our lungs to breathe, etc.  Our bodies do this naturally. That same  innate intelligence works against us when we disrupt our natural cycles of eating, drinking, and sleeping. If we starve ourselves to lose weight, the body slows down our metabolism to conserve fats. If we try to drink less, our body ‘thinks’ it needs to hold on to fluids, and we can stop sweating, which is a natural cooling system.  As amazing as the body is, it only knows what it knows, and when we change our daily cycles of eating, drinking, and even sleeping we alter our metabolism.  In order for our bodies to work properly, we need to maintain regular cycles. This is why crash diets don’t work, as well as short-term dieting. When we cease regularly dieting and exercising, we lose the benefits gained by doing so. We take care of our bodies by eating, drinking, exercising, and resting on a regular cycle each day. When we do this, we make ourselves stronger, and we last longer. Everyone should want to live a long and healthy life, but whether or not we accomplish this is entirely up to ourselves! As always, I wish you success and happiness!

YOU CAN’T ‘FAKE’ STRONG!

Only the strong survive!

you cant fake strong

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.­–Paul the Apostle ,  Philippians 4:13

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One of the most common breakdowns associated with cars are flat tires. When tires are low on air, you can generally see that they need air as you approach you car, but most people do not make a habit of taking the time to inspect ALL FOUR tires on a regular basis, instead looking at the two that face them as they approach their vehicle.  Fixing a flat can be as simple as adding more air, or plugging a small leak. Ignoring the problem can result in serious damage to your tire, car, or even yourself.

According to Goodyear Tires:

“Maintaining proper air pressure is an important factor in tire safety and performance. If a driver experiences a flat tire or loss of air pressure, they should slow the vehicle gradually and carefully pull off to the side of the road as soon as possible. Driving on a flat tire can cause internal structural damage to the tire, may lead to wheel and vehicle damage and may result in poor vehicle handling and control — which could lead to an accident, injury or death.”

You may be familiar with the phrase “the road of life”. As you travel down the road of life, you are the vehicle which carries you on your journey. Like the four tires on a car, you have four categories that determine IF you will have forward momentum, or if your journey will end abruptly.  Your car has both front and rear tires. One each on the passenger and driver sides. You can still drive on a bad tire,  ignoring all the warning signs and neglecting repairing that tire until disaster occurs. Likewise YOU yourself have YOUR four ‘TIRES’ divided into two sides, and keeping all four at or as close to full strength as possible are vital to determine how far you will go down the ‘road of life’.

The two sides are your HEALTH and your WEALTH. Your HEALTH is your WEALTH, and your WEALTH is your HEALTH. HEALTH has two sides as does WEALTH. Your HEALTH is both PHYSICAL and MENTAL. Your WEALTH is both FINANCIAL and INTELLECTUAL. You need all four  to be at your maximum strength to go far in life, but running on three will carry you along for a little distance, and a brief time.   You cannot ‘fake’ strong, you are either strong, or you are weak. A strong person can things that a weak person cannot, and that is an undeniable fact of life.  

How strong are you:

FINANCIALLY

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 “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Proverbs 21:20

If you have zero debt and just $10 in your pocket, you are richer than 25% of Americans. Do you spend EVERY cent you get?  The reason the wealthy amass such huge fortunes is NOT because they have stolen it from the poor, but because they have mastered the art of handling money. Getting financially fit means taking the time to develop spending, saving, and investment plans.

 

INTELLECTUALLY

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“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” –Proverbs 16:16

Knowledge is power! Education opens doors to greater ventures and better opportunities. The accumulation of ‘USEFUL’ knowledge and ‘USEFUL’ skills will result in greater possibilities of  employment. Having specialized knowledge in technical jobs or trades will get you hired faster than unskilled laborers. There are many classes being offered in colleges and universities nationwide that are totally worthless. Graduating with a degree in ‘gender studies’ or ‘lesbian dance theory’ is a surefire path to poverty. As poet Charles Bukowski once said, the world doesn’t need poets. Would a restaurant hire a chef who couldn’t cook an omelet?  The world needs doctors, teachers, farmers, and builders. An auto-mechanic may not be a glamorous job, but the next time you need your car fixed, you’ll be glad  if they are experienced and competent.  

PHYSICALLY

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“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? You are not your own: you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

When you take care of your body, you can fight off illness faster, recover from infirmities, and lead an active lifestyle. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. How can you enjoy life if you are too weak and sickly to join your friends and family in various activities? Watching is fun but it is not the same as participating in the fun. Getting physically fit means taking time to eat healthy and exercise regularly.       

MENTALLY

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“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”. – Matthew 11:28-30

Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of having been too strong for too long. Eventually everyone hits a point when we tire. When things go badly, we tend to focus on our troubles instead of counting our blessings. The Bible is the word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and is infallible and without error. When we focus on the world, it’s a depressing place. When we turn our focus to Jesus, we see that with God, all things are possible, and that when  God is with us, no one can stand against us. The Bible is a book filled with hope for something better than this fallen creation. The answers to all of life’s problems can be found in the pages of the Holy scripture, yet there are many who are reluctant, or totally against reading this book for themselves. I was an atheist when I was a teenager, but in college I became a Christian when my one professor challenged me to go to his class on the Bible and read through it cover to cover. I can honestly say I am a better man with God than I ever was without God.   People may disappoint you, lie to you, and hurt you.  Jesus is always good, faithful, and true. What if the one book that you are dead-set against reading is the only book which could provide you comfort and answers. Wouldn’t it be wise to take the time and discover the truth for yourself?  Isn’t it time to fill your ‘TIRE’ with the ‘breath of life’? As always I wish you success and happiness!   

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

(Your life may depend on it someday)

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.” — George S Patton

Two hikers stumble across a grizzly bear and her cubs. The enraged mama bear snarls and charges towards them. As the two men turn to flee in terror, the one says “We’ll never make it, we can’t outrun the bear!”  His buddy replies, “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you.”

That’s an old joke, and you’ve probably stumbled across it before. Often it gets recycled or changed a bit.  Lately it’s been used pretty often in the popular Zombie Apocalypse Fiction genre.  One traumatic  example was in the second season of TV’s The Walking Dead when Shane shot Otis so he could outrun the zombies chasing them by sacrificing his buddy.  In the move Zombieland, Columbus had 33 survival rules, but his NUMBER ONE RULE was Cardio. “To escape a pursuing zombie you will need to out-run it, and this means being in good shape. ” There is even an running app for your smart phone called Zombies, RUN!

Many people take running for granted, often fooling themselves into believing that if they ever needed to run, or run FAST and far , they could if they had to. You’ll never know how far, or how fast you can run unless you make time for a regular fitness regime that includes cardio.  Now besides entertainment, end of the world Zombie fiction is good for getting people to THINK about what they what they would do if the unthinkable happened. When a natural disaster such as hurricane Katrina or Sandy suddenly devastated coastal regions would you have  fresh water, power, or food? What about tools, and other supplies. So let’s assume you were smart and did have a ‘bug-out-bag’ with supplies ready and waiting for an emergence. Could you strap it on your back and walk with that load  for miles if need be? Could you?

Two out of every three Americans are overweight, and half of those are obese. Being FAT is not healthy. It is bad for your heart, your veins, your bones, and your mental state. It is bad for every part of your body. I should know, I’ve been struggling with weight issues for years, and two years ago I embarked on a vigorous diet and exercise program to get my life back on track once and for all. Understand this above all else, it is impossible to lose weight by exercise alone. Exercise just helps to strengthen and tone the body. You’re food is your fuel, and your body needs the best possible nutrition to build strong bones and muscles. As a stress eater, I know that it is a struggle to give up comfort foods such as chocolate, cake, and pizza. Trust me, I know all about it. It is a daily struggle of mind over matter, but once you establish a daily routine and stick to it, you will see results. It will NOT happen overnight, all good things take time. The important thing is to start.

The Power of Positivity

When you feel good about yourself you feel better physically, and vice versa. I was in a bit of a funk a year ago because my weight had hit a plateau which is common.  So I needed to change what I was doing as far as both diet and exercise. After all what is the point of being rich and successful if you’re too sickly or overweight to enjoy the fruit of your labors? Doing NOTHING is not an option. When I was fatter, my knees hurt. Running was not an option in that state. As I began losing weight, the knee pain lessened and I started doing the elliptical more and more at the gym. And I began to see results so I started feeling better about myself. Obesity causes mental illness, such as depression.  Over the past two years I’ve managed to lose about 60 lbs so far, 30 last year, and 30 this year.  Last summer when I lost the first 30 lbs, I was on vacation and a cute waitress at my favorite cafe noticed, and told me I looked really good. That one compliment made my entire year and provided the impetus  to train even harder. So I decided to try running.

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One of my friends on Twitter is Nathan Maxwell @socialshark . I met him though CoffeeChat. He’s an Ultra endurance athlete, married with six kids. He started running 11 years ago and at the time he too was overweight, and couldn’t run one mile. Since then he has trained incredibly hard and to date has run more than 60 ultra marathons and four 100 milers. He has been (and still is) an incredible source of inspiration and motivation. I am fully convinced that I would not have reached the level of running I have currently achieved had it not been for his knowledge, wisdom, and encouragement.  Almost six months ago, I ran my  first 5K, that’s 3.1 miles. Since then I did a 15K Trail Run, uphill with 4 creek crossings in 90°F heat, and two weeks ago I ran my first half-marathon (13.1 miles). On October 13th I’m running another half-marathon, and four days later I have a 5K night run planned. I hope to run a full marathon in a year or so once I get my times down on the half-marathon.

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If there is one thing that I can say about the running community, it is filled with people who encourage and support other runners. I have been told that I was AMAZING more than once, and have gotten many thumbs-up, fist bumps, and high-five palm slaps. Likewise I have passed on encouragement to fellow runners, including one man  who decided to run his first 5K at age 70. And yes, Richard finished, and he wasn’t last! Even if he was, the point is running the race, and not giving up. I was dead last when I ran the Chobert Challenge 15K trail run. I burned over 2000kcals and was exhausted and staving when I crossed the finish line, but I did it, and there was even pizza waiting! Next time, I won’t be last. My first half marathon was grueling, but I finished! The best thing about half-marathons and up is that you get a finishers medal when you cross the finish line. This is not to be confused  with the insulting participation medal. It is a FINISHERS MEDAL and you earn it when you FINISH.  Crossing that finish line is an accomplishment that needs to be recognized.  Each year there are over 750 marathons and half-marathons held across America. Less than 1% of the US population runs in these races.  As for 5K races and such, there are also medals awarded by divisions and gender, so you can still win first, second, or third in your bracket even if you were not in the top three over all, and your times are recorded so you can track your progress as you go for the gold! Good luck, and as always I wish you success and happiness!  

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Make time for R&R!

Vacations are important!

make time for RR

R&R  is a military abbreviation for “rest and recuperation” or “rest and relaxation”. As you are probably aware, I recently returned from a two week vacation at the shore. My weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom went on hiatus for about a month during this much needed personal time. The main reasons I publish these weekly articles is to educate and motivate you to be the happiest and most successful  person you can be.  Often times people get into a funk where they have convinced themselves that they cannot escape their circumstances and this negativity leads to depression. Success means different things to different people, but no matter the definition , achieving success always come with an ego boost.  Success is powered by positivity. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind. This is where the importance of vacations come into play. In some parts countries vacations are referred to as holidays. No matter what you call it, it’s still a get-away-from-it-all time that you need to clear your head and get back into the game.

Vacations require three things: Time, money, and planning.

For the vast majority of people, the BIGGEST reason that holds them back from vacationing is money. Again, that is why I stress the importance of the 52 Week Challenge, which was my very first blog post two years ago after returning from a much needed vacation.   The first year of articles dealt with personal finances, the second year expounded on how finances are  impacted by ‘the bigger picture’ of the world, and now we are covering time, because time IS money.

Excluding the day we are born and the day we die, we each get a full 24 hours each day to use however we choose. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, young or old, health or not.  Plan your time accordingly. Successful people tend to over schedule their days to maximize productivity. Often times they are convinced that they cannot leave the job because no one else can do it as well as they do.  There are people who work themselves sick, and in extreme cases, to death. It’s NOT worth it. No one on their death bed ever lamented about not spending enough time at the office.  I have come back from many a vacation to find some disaster piled on my desk, or to hear some tale of woe reported to me by a customer. Yes, it’s a major downer at that moment, but it’s certainly not the end of the world.  In a few days everything is back to normal,  ship-shape in Bristol fashion.  The work will always be there, even when we are not. When you die, your inbox will never be empty.

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Vacations are biblical!

 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”– Jesus  (Mark 2:27)

All things are created by God, including the day of rest known as a Sabbath. The time that we have here on Earth was given to us by God, and we are stewards of everything we possess. God wants us to be happy and successful, but He also gave us free will, and  we do self-destructive things to ourselves and then try to blame God for our poor choices.  Some Christians occasionally use the argument that it’s ungodly to waste money on vacations when there are poor people starving in the world and that money could be spent better on them.  If you feel guilty about spending money on vacation, make a contribution to a Christian charity of your choice. Would you intentionally starve yourself to death because there’s a poor person starving to death somewhere in the world?  That’s like saying it’s wrong to buy a house because there are homeless people. It’s nonsense. That’s why the Bible is such an important book to read to show us the proper way to live our lives. People make mistakes. God never makes mistakes.  And the God gives us numerous examples for us to follow. The former pastor of my church, now retired, once gave a sermon that tied two-week summer vacations to the Bible. There is a week-long Feast of Tabernacles described (Lev 23:33-44)  which takes place on the 15th day of the 7th month, every year. There’s other events that precede and follow, and planning that needs to be done.  Pastor Miller claimed this was a model that God gave us for an annual two week work break from our normal routine to rest, take fellowship, and worship the Lord. It may be a stretch, but he had a point. If Jesus Christ himself took time to rest and relax, He would want us to go, and do likewise.  God is good always! The United States is a great nation with many beautiful places for vacations. If you’re fortunate enough to live here, than you should praise God for the freedom and liberty granted or you to pursue your happiness. Every day you waste is a day you will never get back, so make the most of your time and live your life to the fullest! God wants you to be happy and successful, (and so do I) but you have to take the steps to make it happen.  As always, I wish you success and happiness!  

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SPARE TIME?

Living in the Moment!

SPARETIME

“We’re all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

There are at least two things that differentiate the highly successful individual from the unsuccessful crowd.  Firstly, they handle their money quite differently than the average person. Instead of spending every cent the moment they receive it, they budget their money, save much of it, and invest.  Secondly they do the same thing with their time. 

You may be familiar with the old adage ‘time is money’.  In a very real sense it is. When you work at a job, you get paid for your time. When you invest over time, you get a return on your investment.  In fact, time is more important than money because money can be replaced, but time cannot. Every moment wasted is gone forever. Unsuccessful people usually whine about how unfair life is because they don’t have as much money as Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.  Here’s the main point. Rich or poor, Successful or not, every single person on Earth gets the exact same number of minutes each year. 525,600 minutes each and every year, with two exceptions. The year we are born, and the year we die. How we spend that year is up to us.

When I started writing my weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom over two years ago, the first article was The 52 Week Challenge. It was a weekly savings plan to be done over the course of one year, the end result being  $1350.00 saved to be used as you wish. Every year, I take a great vacation at the shore in Ocean City MD, that is my decision. I know many people who always whine that they never have money for vacation, so the first year I focused on microeconomics (personal finance) to help demonstrate ways to budget, cut expenses and hopefully achieve that goal set by The 52 Week Challenge. The second year, I focused on the bigger picture, exploring macroeconomics, and explaining how religion and politics are interconnected to economics, and why you should have a firm grasp of all three. Hopefully you were able to understand my points, see where I was leading you, and you were able to reach the same conclusions.  As I embark on my third year of blogging,  I’m going to focus on the topic of time. As I already stated, time is money, and we each have EXACTLY the same time each day, week, month, and year, despite financial disparities. How we spend our time is entirely up to us.

When I was a still just a young boy, the biggest time waster was the TV. I had family members whose entire lives were lived vicariously through the television. As a child, it was my ‘babysitter’. Plop me down in front of the set with a plate of snacks and I was good to go. My 77 year-old aunt does nothing but watch TV all day, or sleep. It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me, but she’s 77 and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I got rid of my TV a decade ago. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by ‘cutting the cord’. If I do decide to watch some program, almost everything is available online and I can watch it when it’s convenient. Although the letters TV  are an abbreviation for Television, it should stand for TIME VACUUM because this activity is just a  waste of time that can suck away hours of your life each day if you let it. Now the biggest waste of time and productivity is the mobile smart phone.

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The smart phone  puts the sum total of human knowledge in the palm of your hands. You can load it’s memory with apps to help you track everything financial or health related. It is a tool that in the right hands can increase productivity and knowledge, and likewise can kill it in the wrong hands. In my youth, phones connected people. Now they divide people. The typical smart phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. Extremely addicted individuals use it twice as much as that. The phone is NOT reality. When you spend your time looking at your phone instead of living your life, you are wasting your life. You are cutting yourself off from life and missing all the wonderful things the world has to offer when you bury your face in your phone.

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Human lives are terribly short. We live at best about 120 years, but that is not guaranteed. There are preemie babies that live a few hours, or a few days.  My father died when he was 57. I missed out on all those great father-son moments growing up without a father as a result.   We are ephemeral, a vapor, and but a blink of the eye of God. We live our lives moment by moment, stringing each moment to the next like pearls on a string. We should do our best to make those moments shine.  Time cannot be replaced when it is gone, and neither can people. The greatest gift you can give a person is your time, and the second greatest gift you can give is your undivided attention. 

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One of my close friends has cancer. I pray for him every day. I hope he beats it, but ultimately that’s in God’s hands, and worrying about it won’t change that fact. If God wants us here on Earth, it’s where He wants us to be. No man can know the mind of God, but He’s in control even if it doesn’t make sense to us now. It is up to us to use our God-given free will to be stewards of our resources, which includes not just money and possessions,   but our time and our health as well. Make every moment count and interact with people instead of tuning out the world. As always, I wish you success and happiness!       

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HERE’S THE SKINNY!

Words of wisdom from ‘the Mayor of Hollenbach St.’

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“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

The ‘Skinny’ is a slang term meaning the inside story, or the real truth.  The first use of this term is listed as being 1959 and may have developed out of other related slang phrases like ‘trimming the fat’ or ‘getting to the meat of the matter’.  It’s appropriate because sometimes truth can be hidden under layers of deceptions so thick that all you can see is the big fat lie being presented and not the real truth. You may also of heard another catchy phrase, ‘you are what you eat’. That is a bit older and was first used by French author Anthelme Brillant-Savarin in 1826. It also needn’t apply to physical food but can also relate to concepts, knowledge and motivations.  What you put into your mind changed the way you think and becomes the lens with which you perceive reality.  Wearing ‘rose-colored glasses’ doesn’t change reality either, it just changes the way you view things and means having a positive outlook. That phrase goes back to about 1830.

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Mahatma Gandhi was a man of peace who freed India  from British rule in 1947. He is attributed with the pithy quote ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’, but this is not his actual quote, just a highly shortened paraphrase of the wordy quote listed at the beginning of this blog post. He wasn’t  Christian, but he had some good things to say about life and living.

If you ingest a constant stream of negative, depressing, miserable lies, you will become negative, depressed, and miserable. The lies will become your reality, and you will call truth a lie whenever you hear it. If you put garbage into your mind, you get garbage out   so remember that. GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT or G.I.G.O. for short.  It is no wonder that the phenomena labeled ‘TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROM’ has been coined to describe leftists who totally lose their minds whenever conservatives praise our wonderful president for all the good that he has accomplished (and continues accomplishing) during his first term in office.  It’s also why conservatives claim that ‘Liberalism is a mental disorder’ sometimes even go so far as to label them ‘Libtards’.  Libtards truly believe the lies and fake news they hear, see, and read. For them, Donald J. Trump is literally the same as Hitler, and all his followers are racists , misogynists,  gun nuts. They think socialism is a wonderful idea and believe in a free lunch . They ignore the fact that unemployment is at a historic low, the stock market is at new record highs on a weekly basis, and our wages have increased while taxes have dropped. And they are aghast that we are going to re-elect Trump in 2020.  

The modern Democratic party has done more harm to the American way of life than can possibly be written in a single article. Whole books have been written. Saul Alinsky’s protégés had nearly succeeded when Trump upset their apple cart in 2016! You may ask yourself why any sane person would want to destroy their homeland, especially a shining beacon of hope and freedom such as the USA. 

That’s easy.  It’s because they are globalists who reject American exceptionalism and crave power at all costs. To them American citizens are nothing but cattle, a resource to be controlled and exploited.  Wolves like fat sheep.

The Mayor of Hollenbach St.

If you go to the intersection of Schuylkill Ave and Hollenbach St. in Reading PA, you will see a mural painted on the side of a house. The portrait is of my late friend and former co-worker Harvey W. Kimble.  Harvey died from a fatal heart attack on January 19th 2014. He was only 55. He owned several properties on that small city block, several of which he rented out as Section 8 housing.  He lived in one house on the block with his family. He was a US Marine, a postal letter carrier, and a very kind and caring man. I never saw him in a bad mood or angry, and he always had a smile on his face that lit up the room. He cared about everyone, and the people on HIS block called HIM the Mayor of Hollenbach St. He always had lollipops for children and would give you the shirt off his back. A great guy.

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Harvey was also very up on politics and current events and studied the newspaper daily, clipping articles for his files. He would write up editorials and pass out copies to his friends. I always kept the copies he gave me, which was a good thing because one day his hard drive got accidentally re-formatted and he lost everything EXCEPT the dozen hard copies he had handed me over the years. Perhaps his most important editorial story was an allegory titled THE SKINNY COW.  Harvey encouraged people to think for themselves and read between the lines. Always remember that ANYTHING the government provides was first taken from someone else. If you wonder why  the DNC continues to entice it’s base with offers of FREE FOOD, FREE COLLEGE, FREE HOUSING, and FREE MEDICAL CARE you really need to read the SKINNY COW, which I now present in its entirety.

 THE SKINNY COW By Harvey W. Kimble ©2002

There once was a skinny cow. A lonely, scared skinny cow. One day The Farmer came along and told The Cow, “Come along with me I’ll take care of you. Don’t worry about the food. Don’t worry about the water. Don’t worry about a nice, warm, dry place to lie, I’ll take care of you, you can trust me. You can depend on me to be there for you”. The Cow could eat, drink and sleep without worries. The Cow was happy and satisfied not a care in the world. The Farmer gave The Cow some special hay, which made The Cow eat more and sleep. The Cow loved this new life-style and thought it would last forever.

The Cow did nothing to disturb The Farmer. The Cow stayed where The Farmer said stay, walked where The Farmer said walk, ate when The Farmer said eat. The Cow utterly respected The Farmer. The Cow, always trying to please, wouldn’t even pass gas when The Farmer was near. The Farmer told The Cow “It was special and better than those other cows. Don’t worry; I’m here for you, I’ll take care of you. You can depend on me. I’m here for you. You can trust me. Don’t I take care of you? Here, eat some more special hay, just for you”. The Cow really believed it was better than those other cows because The Farmer said so, then happily ate the hay.

One day there was a commotion by the fence. The Cow never went close to the fence to see what the other cows was looking at even when they called The Cow over saying “There’s a hole in the fence come see the other side”. The other cows saw things they wasn’t supposed to see and started talking about it. The Farmer didn’t like that so he locked the other cows in the barn, while telling The Cow “Watch out, don’t trust those other cows they’re nothing but a bunch of lying, troublemaking, know nothing, jealous cows. Trust me, they won’t get much food or water and might not have a place to sleep if they keep it up”. The Farmer gave The Cow some more special hay, a pat on the head then said, “Trust me, you’re not like those other cows you’re a good cow, one I can talk to, you can depend on me to be there for you”. Then the Farmer walked away, smiling, on his way home, leaving The Cow near but not with the other cows.

When the other cows stared telling some of their horror stories of the things that they had seen, The Cow didn’t listen and even defended The Farmer. Telling the other cows not to worry, we have food, water, and a place to sleep. The Farmer will take care of us. We can trust The Farmer. We can depend on The Farmer. The other cows told The Cow not to believe everything you’re told and if The Farmer does something, it’s because he will benefit from it. The Cow turned his rump to those trouble-making cows and refused to listen. The Cow always avoided those scary troublemaking cows.

The Cow soon became the favorite of The Farmer. The Cow got extra food and water while the other cows went without. The Farmer was always telling The Cow, “It’s their fault they don’t have enough to eat, enough to drink or a place to sleep. Don’t worry trust me. I’ll take care of you. Don’t worry yourself about them, it’s all their fault anyhow”. The Cow believed, trusted and loved The Farmer more than those other cows. The Cow had dreams of becoming a farmer. The Cow grew to be healthy, plump and soft. Never talking to or looking at those other, now skinny, cows. Never looking back at its past. Never reflecting on its action. Never thinking back to just a few short months ago. Never thinking about tomorrow. Just surviving day to day thanks to The Farmer. Thank you Farmer. All thanks to The Farmer. ALL THANKS to The Farmer.

One day The Farmer took The Cow for a walk. At the end of the walk, he told The Cow to stand in line with those other healthy cows and move forward. Before leaving he told The Cow, “Don’t worry, I’ll be here to take care of you. I’ll see you in the barn my special, favorite cow”. The Cow couldn’t see far enough ahead to see where the line ended, so The Cow moved forward with the heard. When the cow behind asked The Cow to ask the cow ahead what was happening The Cow said, “Don’t ask any questions, don’t worry, we just have to do what The Farmer said and move forward. Trust The Farmer.

The Cow could now see the barn door, which let one cow in at a time. After standing in line for ours, The Cow wanted nothing more than to get through that door, out of the sun and to The Farmer for some special hay. Rumors began about how cows go in but not out, it don’t make any sense. Something weird is going on. The Cow said, “Don’t worry and don’t listen to that crazy talk just move forward. The Farmer will take care of us. Trust The Farmer”.

The door opened. The cow ahead moved through the door. The door closed.

The Cow heard a muffled cry, silence then laugher.

The door opened. Too late The Cow became worried. The Cow didn’t know what was on the other side. The Cow wondered what the other cows had seen. The Cow tried to back up but the cow behind said, “Don’t worry, move forward, I see your friend The Farmer inside”. The cow moved forward. The door closed. The Cow slipped in something that looked like blood. The Cow closed its eyes not believing what it was seeing. Afraid, scared, confused and unsure, The Cow squeezed its eyes shut tighter. Then The Cow heard the soothing voice of The Farmer saying “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you”. Reassured, The Cow opened its eyes in time to see The Farmer standing overhead swinging a sledgehammer with all his might straight to its head. The shocked and unbelieving cow gave a muffled cry and dropped dead. A friend of The Farmer gave him a pat on the back then said, “You sure took care of that cow”. The Farmer said, “Yea. I always said I would”. Then laughed while opening the barn door.

THE END

I hope reading THE SKINNY COW by my late friend Harvey W. Kimble has enlightened and entertained you. As always I wish you success and happiness.