Tag Archives: goals

Dramatic Changes!


These pictures were taken on a  hike in October 2015.  The sky is blue, the scenery is beautiful and I am in China – Miyun to be exact, just north east of Beijing.

After years of “talking about it” and lots of time spent loving my two grand-daughters, I left my home of 28 years and my homeland of 56 years and came to China to teach English.    I know many people didn’t believe I would ever leave my family behind, especially as grand baby #3 was due to arrive in October, but the end of August saw me bidding farewell to my daughter, son-in-law and three precious little people, knowing it would be a long time before I could hug the newest little fellow.

Although I had planned to combine my three blogs into this one blog, that hasn’t materialized.  My health journey, which has drastically changed since leaving Canada, will be recorded at One Year, One Week, One Pound .

Here I will try to share with you some of the things I am learning about money and money management as I live outside of our country.  I haven’t thought much about taxes, but I’m sure some will have to be paid.  There are also other considerations that I hadn’t thought of, but may be helpful to others considering the “ex-pat” scene for a season of life.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful 2016, God’s richest blessing, and joy on the journey!




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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter., Uncategorized

Rethinking Things!

I talk a lot about savings – so much so, that my daughter tells me to stop.  I talk to my friends about it – and they do me the courtesy of NOT rolling their eyes.  This is how daughters differ from friends!

Anyways, last Sunday – the 28th I was visiting my dear friend (I’m blessed with two of them!) in Irricana and talking a bit about being debt free and lamenting about my lack of savings.  What I wasn’t really lamenting about was my lack of giving – and that too had suffered while I was so focused on the debt repayment plan.  That realization just thunked me on the head like a hammer. MB900336372 So, over the last few days I’ve been pondering my behaviour – and my savings plan.  Because while they sound good on paper and on Facebook – there’s a dimension of my life that’s lacking and I was too blind to see it.

So, why not go back to the beginning of things – and the Bible is a pretty early document, readily available online, at the library, in a hotel room. or if  you’re close by, you can even ask me for one.

God has a lot to say about how we manage our wealth.  In days gone by it might have been stuff rather than money, but since that’s how I’m paid, that’s how we’ll look at this.

The giving part is what churches call a “tithe” – 10 percent of your wages – gross or net, you pick.  But since this feels a little like stepping on thin ice for me, I’m going to start with net and work towards tithing on my gross.   That in itself could be an interesting journey.

The next part is the “party” part.  Tony Campolo introduced me to this idea, found in the middle of that long drawn out book of do’s and don’ts called Deuteronomy (chapter 14:22-26).  The idea here, is that once a year, you take another 10 percent and blow it – rejoicing before God – and enjoying it with Him.  How about that?  Fine champagne? a haircut in Paris? A one inch thick triple A dry aged steak from the Co-op?

And then, another 10 percent for savings.  Because, I’m me and I’m Canadian, and really, saving for the future is good stuff.  I might get old – and a bit of money might make it easier in the long haul.



Now that it’s Friday, I’ve got an opportunity to put this into action.

The net deposit from the YMCA was $302.14.  This means that $31 goes to the party tithe (Which I will take out in cash).  $53 went to that crazy savings plan.  And $53 is going to giving.  I already made one donation to a program I like to listen to.  The rest will be given at church on Sunday.  Actually, when I actually did it, the amount came out a bit higher.  Not to worry – God has never rounded down on me!

Today was a kind of different paycheck.  I didn’t have a credit card balance to deal with.  Usually I use my credit card and then pay it off once a week.  Not having that made a huge difference in my ability to move money where I wanted it to go.  It was very freeing actually and I think I will keep on keeping my credit card at home!




To make this long story a bit shorter:

  • Party tithe:  Keep it in cash and see how I use it.
  • Giving tithe:  Keep it at the same amount as that savings game I’m playing (at least)
  • Credit card:  Don’t use it, or pay it before I use it so I don’t have a balance!
  • Use the rest wisely, setting aside funds for rent, bills, and upcoming expenses (tuition for my course, flights to Toronto in April and August)

I don’t know if this is helpful to anyone else, but it’s been helpful to me!

Enjoy the fruits of your labours!



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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter., Uncategorized

A Toast to Payday!

About a year ago I had almost $3800 in debt.  Of course it was in my line of credit – which has a lower interest rate than a credit card.  None the less, it was a debt and I owed it.   Mom, if you are reading this – no comments.  I know that’s hard to do because I have a daughter too, and I make too many comments to her.  Just saying that I know what’s on the tip of your tongue.

To be honest, I’ve been working on the debt issue for several years – especially motivated by Dave Ramsey and his Debt Snowball and the blog, Get Rich Slowly – and I finally managed to get rid of the whole kit and kaboodle this summer.  I’d been steadily whittling away at the sum, paying a chunk every pay cheque, observing the total diminishing, as did the amount of interest I was paying on the debt.  It felt good.  Finally, this summer I had to make another work adjustment at Co-op and they paid out my vacation pay!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a huge chunk of change and enough to bring the figure under $400.  By September it was done.

Now in theory the amount of money I was no longer feeding to my debt account should have gone into a savings account.  I mean, after all, the next savings step is 3 – 6 months of expenses, right?  Well, let me tell you that it didn’t and probably for many people doesn’t go quite as planned.  There’s a sense of freedom and release when everything is in the black – and somehow saving gets forgotten – or at least it did by me.   And then this picture started making the rounds on Facebook:

52-week-savings-planIt’s pretty basic and it’s been shared by several blogs, but I got this image from Survival Mom.  Several of my friends posted it, and I sure hope they follow through.  There is a lot less stress when you have savings – even when you are in debt.  However, I wanted to crank up my savings rate just a little, so about two weeks ago I opened another savings account.  (I bank with President’s Choice so this is pretty easy to set up online).  And because I am fortunate not to have any debts at the moment, no young children at home, and no major expenses in the future, I am starting at the top of the chart and staying there.  $52 per paycheque gets transferred to my “pay yourself first” fund and because I usually have a payday every Friday, I can do this every week.

I am sure that many people want to save more money than they are currently saving.  Starting small and working your way up is a great way to start.  Maybe I should even start adding a dollar a week in the new year.  Just thinking of saving $100 per week is a little scary for me at the moment- I need to think about that.  On the other hand we could just keep increasing that dollar a week or paycheque until it was just too hard and stay at that number for a while.

I’ve set a goal of saving $5000 this year – and flying to Toronto twice.  I’ll keep  you posted.

I wonder if I could add a savings thermometer to this blog!

Have a wonderful day!  And a Happy New Year!


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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter.

It’s Official – Last Again!

Well, it’s 3 o’clock, Calgary time.  I’ve made it home on the C-train, iced the ankle, had a long soak in the bath (Lavender – just right!)  and I was kind of waiting for the results from  Winning Times.  If you scroll down to the very, very bottom – you’ll see my name!  And if  you check out this link and scroll down, guess what?

What’s interesting to me – is this:  My pace is the same for both races.  I’m pleased with that!  So here’s a bit of a reprieve of the day, which started for me at 4:32 am.

I had my usual coffee and porridge for breakfast and walked to the C-train (It was walk or wait 20 minutes for the next bus!)  The train was full and I had to stand, but I met a co-worker and we chitchatted.  It was good.

The checking in of gear – went very smoothly at both ends of the walk.  Of course I was one of the last to pick up my bag, but I’m glad I didn’t have to drag my stuff with me. Thanks to the “Inn From the Cold” staff for managing this so well.

This is the starting gate, and it was crowded with people.  And the jostling for position.  Not my cup of tea.  Thankfully, by the time I got to the gate, most of the runners were already well away.  Now I was being passed by walkers of all ages!  That was okay.

Then I got lapped by the runners doing the 10K.   But I did manage in all of that to get one picture of the scenery.  But that was all.  In the meantime I was texting my daughter and brother, letting them know where I was in the course:  That was kind of fun.  They were thinking of coming down to shout me into the grandstand.  I figured if I let them know when I hit the 16 K marker they’d have enough time to get down to the grounds:

7:35 am: 3K coming up

8:13: 6 K and a PP stop.

9:25: 12K and another PP (Porta-pottie) break

They were about to load it into the truck, but put it back so that I could take this picture!

10:16:  16K

10:54 :  20K

11:06: 1 K left to go!

I wasn’t sure that this shot made it, because the 5 K runners were zooming in at this point too. But my time is 4:20:36.63, isn’t that precise?

And then the grand finale, when I had my medal.  This quite surprised me.  But, now that my blisters have shown up (At least two of them at this point)  I’m going to keep this for a while.  Later on my grandbabies can play “Olympics” with them.  That will be fun!

And that is what I feel like even now, after a hot bath and some ice!

There was a bit of time, just before and after the half way marker that I walked alone.  It was nice having all those police officers holding up traffic, just so that I could cross the road.  Thanks to the Calgary Police for an awesome job as well.  I think walking alone slows you down a bit because there’s no one to pace yourself with.  On the other hand, I had a lot of fun singing to the music from my Ipod!

The last few K’s were indeed hard.  I could see the Saddledome but we still had to go two Ks before we were in – so close and yet so, so very far!

Thanks to everyone who supported me on this journey – Emma and Eric for coming down to meet me, even though I was done before you got here.  I wish we had gotten someone to take our picture.  That will have to wait for next year.  To everyone who sponsored me – we raised over $200 for Inn from the Cold.

Have a good day – I’ve got some resting to do!

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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, Uncategorized

A Man, A Plan, A Canal…


(Do you know what’s so neat about this title? – comment your answer. )

Anyways, here’s Thursday’s “Napoleon Hill” post.  I am maintaining my habit of reading and rereading a chapter of “A Year of Growing Rich”

Last year I wrote my starting weight at the top of the first chapter (253.5 pounds).  This year I got to write a different number – 227.0. 

And if I stick to my intentions, next year the first number will very definitely be a one!

No One Drifts to Success” is the title of the first chapter.  As I’ve been pedaling and reading some other books in my gym library, this has been ricocheting around in my head.  (The exercise bike is the easiest place to read, I find, so it’s my warm-up machine!)

Of course he asks the question “What is your one definite purpose in life — and what plans have you made to attain it?

I can’t determine one colour for my parachute, and I can’t really identify one definite purpose – except to move towards becoming the woman God created me to be – and that is in the process of becoming more definite.  But…I can define some definite purposes for each of my colours.  Together they will move me towards my definite purpose.

My yellow goal is to change my daily work and move into a paid teaching position.  Although I have and am studying to teach ESL, I am not limiting myself to simply ESL.  Teachers are trainers, encouragers, inspirers, mentors…. They share what they have learnt and are in the process of  learning.  This blog is kind of a teaching-learning process for me. 

But the year is already one week old and all I’ve done is register for a “techie” course and start my final CERTSL course.

Here’s my plan for next week:

  1. Read Chapter one of What Colour is Your Parachute 2012 and do the head work asked of me.
  2. Work on week two of my CERTSL course and begin my first assignment.
  3. Register for a government sponsored job search program in my area.
  4. Check out the websites for companies I might like to work with – with the potential of using my teaching abilities.

I will post my RED plan over at the new blog, although that might not happen today!  The other colours will have to wait for another post – and maybe a later date.  There is only so much I can focus on at one time!

In the meantime, here’s a clue to the riddle at the top of the post:

What is a palindrome?

Have a great day, enjoy some planning time and get on with life! It is God’s gift to you every day!


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Filed under WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature, YELLOW: Moving into my Life's Calling

Looking Forward, Looking Back!

I’m trying (as usual) to build some continuity into life and into this blog.  Because I’m an “off the cuff” kind of person, this  will require some discipline on my part.  However, I’ve come up with kind of a plan – subject to change of course, but I’m hoping to make it stick.  After all, if I can do this gym thing, surely I can do this?

Thursdays will be Napoleon Hill Day, as I continue to read through his book at the gym.  I enjoy the practice of reading the same bit over and over, pondering it as I do my 10 minutes on the bike.  To make sure I get it done, I’m going to do it first thing at the gym, rather than later.  Sometimes us gym divas start talking and I run out of bike time at the end.  The book has survived, intact, although it’s added a few water marks (spilt water bottles in the gym bag will do that to you!)

This week’s chapter is about “frequent, critical self-analysis”  and it provides a model to compare yourself too.  So here’s how I stack up:
“A definite goal in life – with a plan and a deadline”

RED GOAL: (health) In 2012 I want to lose 52 in 52.  One pound per week.  I will walk two half marathons (May and July) and participate in the Co-op Whole Health Challenge.  I will focus on my eating plans more this year, now that the exercise part is in place.

YELLOW GOAL: (career) In April 2012, I will write my final exam for my CERTSL certificate in teaching English as a Second Language.  By the end of the year I want to be teaching.

GREEN GOAL: (finances)  By August 2012 I should have my debts cleared off.  I want to have all the cruise costs in the bank by the end of December (Ship and air).  I want to increase my annual income by $5000.

BLUE GOAL: (creativity) I have a book in my head that needs to get onto paper.  I have a workshop idea that needs to be born as well.  Begin the process.

WHITE GOAL: (Faith): I found a book by C. S. Lewis  called Reflections on the Psalms at the used book store (part of Monday’s adventure) Because I find myself starting too many books and never finishing them, I’ve decided to just read and enjoy C.S. Lewis – which will include the Narnia series.  And for the first part of 2012, I’m going to enjoy the Psalms.

The one flaw (at this time) is that they don’t really have dates attached to them.  This is after all a draft of my life and not the final copy!  I do plan to spend some time fleshing them out in the next week or two.

When life gives me lemons, do I make lemonade?  When things don’t go as planned and I fail to meet my goals, what happens?  This is important.  I didn’t meet my weight loss goal this year.  But can I turn that into the beginning of better success in 2012?  I can.  I’ve seen things at the gym that I can start doing.  I’ve learned from other bloggers.  The journey is NOT over, it’s still in progress.

Do I work with others to move forward?  We are not alone in our struggles to live a good balanced life.  TOPS, blogs, books, friends, red envelops all help us move forward and support us when we struggle.  I am grateful for all of you who read my blog – you have no idea how much it encourages me to keep going.

There’s more to the chapter, but this post is long enough.  Besides I have some marshmallows to make before I go to work!

Have a great day!


The Cinnamon Bear, episode #23: “The Bad Dolls”
[Originally broadcast 21 December 1937 — 2.90mb, 12:39]
The Bad Dolls have stolen the Silver Star. Santa orders out the Tin Soldiers to capture the Bad Dolls and return the Silver Star.



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Filed under Was that worth reading?, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

I Believe I Can! I Believe I Can! I Believe I Can!

First of all, here’s a “Freshly Pressed” to inspire you!


Since my goal has become to walk a half marathon, this is quite inspiring to me.   The idea first came to me via an article in our TOPS magazine, July 2011.

I brought the article to our TOPS meeting and suggested we challenge ourselves to walking the distance.  We could at least try, I thought.

On the flip side of that, not every one of our members want to walk that far.  Maybe 5 or 10 K is more manageable.  Maybe just cheering us on is enough for this year!  The important thing is this:  DO SOMETHING!  If 5 K is a stretch…stretch for it. If your “stretch” is a 10K, go for that.   Save the “half” for another year – it will be there, and so will you (if you keep walking!). T

Last month three of my friends joined the gym where I work out.  They walk, talk and get fit together.  Every day they walk a little longer.  Every day they get a little stronger, a little fitter and one day…”Eureka!”  They’ll be walking circles around their grand children!

Now I’m going to check out http://www.marathonwalking.com/

Then I’ll make a plan for the next 8 months – The Calgary Stampede Road Race is on July 10, 2012, and I intend to be walking!  Want to join me?


PS:  I was at the gym this afternoon for a bit, but I enjoyed some wintery biking and a walk in the dog park with Emma, Eric and the geo-pups.  The pups were not successful in sniffing out the cache, however.

PPS:  To find out more about TOPS, check out www.tops.org  It’s a great organization for helping you lose weight!

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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas