Saturday, April 11, 2009

God TV

My wife and I have experienced a new kind of television, and we would both highly recommend it. You wont need to change service providers either, its available to everyone!!

Recently, we have been working on our garden, keep up with me, this is pertinent, this is our first year. We recently removed an above ground pool, which had a deck built around it. We tore it all down, moved the deck up to the back of the house, and we are planning a garden where the old deck/pool was.

In doing this, we decided to hang up some bird feeders. God TV is a lot like the nature channel, only instead of sitting in front of an actual television, you sit in front of a window, or even outside! We have found great excitement in watching birds visiting our feeders.

We have actually used our TV less, and have, instead of eating in front of a tv, eat at our dining room table (this way we can watch the birds eat). To some, this idea might be a radical idea, or maybe too traditional, but to us, it has been amazing to learn the names of the birds, and see how each one is different.

A bird feeder costs about $20.00, and a 10 lbs. bag of feed, maybe $12.00. For $33.00 you can get more entertainment watching birds, learning about them, and sharing time growing together, instead of with actors you will never have a relationship with.

Personally, I have enjoyed sharing the time with my wife, and I think this old fashioned tradition could hold some water on the family values issues we lack here in America.

As we continue to budget, and continue to find new ways to save money (like with a garden), we are finding other great things that entertain us. Watching birds may sound silly, but we have enjoyed it.

So far, we have seen roughly 15 different kinds. With the purchase of our second bird feeder, we sought to attract a specific kind of bird, the yellow finch. It is a very common bird, however one we have never seen in our area. This morning, we had him visit.

In addition to our yellow finch, we have house finches, cardinals, morning doves, a hairy woodpecker, brown headed cowbirds, blue jays, dark eyed juncos, black capped chickadees, robins, the common grackel, the tufted titmouse and many others.

We have placed two bird houses in the back yard also, one already has a family of western bluebirds. We are excited to see how many other birds visit when we have our garden growing.

God TV is something I believe is good for us, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It relaxes us, it calms our mind, its wonderful to listen to them, and it reminds us of how much detail God put in this world for us. Each kind of bird has its own call, each kind has its own special design that was created by God.

I believe this is the kind of thing Christ desired us to marvel at on our day of rest. Take some time this week and marvel at what God has created for you this week, it might just cost less than you expect.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Book Review: The Wealthy Barber

I recently finished The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. I have to say this was a really good book. This is a financial book for someone who isn't really into finances. Although I love reading financial books I have to admit they can be kind of dry at times. There usually isn't a story binding everything together. That's different with this book.

This book is set in Michigan, mainly in the Ann Arbor and Port Huron areas. It is written from the point of view of Dave, a teacher in the Ann Arbor area. He travels to Port Huron on occasion to see his family, taking several weeks to spend with family over the summer. He and his wife Cathy are newly pregnant and he's just realizing that he doesn't know much about planning for the future or how he should be handling finances. He decides to broach the subject with his father the next time they are in Port Huron, and his father tells him to go see the local barber Roy. Although he is a little taken back, he decides to follow through on the advice even though it sounds ridiculous.

The morning before he goes to see the barber, he tells his plans to his sister, Cathy and his friend, Tom. They decide they too could use some financial advice and tag along for the ride. What follows is a series of visits with Roy the Wealthy Barber and a couple other colorful characters from the barbershop. Each "visit" comprises one chapter of the book where one or more subjects are covered.

This book covers the basics beautifully. It dives into the reasons behind savings, how to set it up, and how much to save. It covers retirement savings, life insurance, setting up college funds, and many other areas. This is a great refresher for those of us who have been reading about finances for a while and a really easy read for beginners in financial learning.

Although I don't agree with all the advice given in this book I don't think it leads you in the "wrong" way of doing things. It's just a personal preference. For example, there is a suggestion that you take all of your debts and roll them into a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) so that you can deduct the interest. I tend to disagree with this but I also understand where he's coming from. If you have the ability to roll your current debt into a HELOC WITHOUT getting back into debt, then it may be a good choice. Unfortunately, many people roll their debt into a HELOC and then start charging up their credit cards again, which of course defeats the purpose.

All in all it's a quick and easy read!

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