Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Don't Want to Choose? Create a New Option!

I  sometimes find it difficult to sympathize with people that find themselves in tough situations. I guess because I ultimately believe many of the things that happen to us are a result of a choice we’ve made; be it direct or indirect. I know I’ve learned my fair share of lessons the hard way.

When I expressed this point of view during a group conversation, an intelligent young man made this remark, “People choose from the options they think they have.” Maybe it's true, our choice is restricted to our options.

I thought about that reply for a while and I’ve concluded that we should change that way of thinking. I can attribute it to a certain statement that is floating around in my subconscious mind. I jotted it down when I read it back in April 2008. “Do not limit your choices to what only seem possible or reasonable.”

Some would ask why would anyone act on impossible or unreasonable thoughts. I’m sure you’ve heard it before; the only time something becomes impossible is when you think you can’t do it. 

Let’s challenge ourselves to create new options. The solution that we dismissed as crazy, an idea that we blew off as random; let’s make it possible, make it reasonable, and make it happen!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Money: What Financial "Experts" Will Never Tell You by Alan M. Williams (Part II)




I recently reviewed Part I of Money: What Financial “Experts” Will Never Tell You. Part I hones in on our relationships with and attitudes towards money.  Bringing awareness to these topics allows the authors introduce a step by step plan to ensure financial security.  After reading Part I and following the Money Mastery philosophy, Part II introduces ways to take advantage of a new and improved financial situation.

Part II of Money: What Financial “Experts” Will Never Tell You focuses on home based businesses and tax advantages. In the past, I viewed home based businesses as a huge headache.  After completing this book, I was forced to reexamine the reason I believed this to be true.
 
When starting a home based business, the idea is not to create a random business for the sake of tax advantages. But rather to take an existing hobby, turn it into a business, and reap the tax advantages as a result.  Part II. Tax Strategies addresses starting a business when you think you don’t have time, if you don’t view yourself as an entrepreneur, or if you’re afraid of failure. Also included is a challenge designed to help determine which existing hobby can be converted into a business.

Upon deciding to start a business, it is important to know how to structure it. Chapter 12 outlines the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, C corporation, or limited liability company. Real life examples are included of people that structured their businesses inappropriately and what would have been a better choice in their situations.

After setting up a business, it’s time to act as a business. Chapter 13 makes several suggestions including the following: keep accurate tax records, create a business account, and be aware of conducting suspicious activities.  Since it could be easily forgotten that your hobby is no longer just a hobby, the authors identify consequences associated with failing to operate as a business once business intent has been established.

Also revealed are ways to keep wealth in the family.  Gifting, hiring dependents, setting up medical reimbursement plans, and other tips are outlined in detail. I’ve read numerous financial management books that neglected to include several of the suggestions made here.  This book is packed with valuable information all the way through the appendices.

For anyone wondering what books to read regarding finances, Money: What Financial “Experts” Will Never Tell You is most certainly on my list of recommendations.  

Do you have a home based business? Were you aware of the tax advantages when you started your business? What hobbies have you considered turning a hobby into a business?

To learn more about the money mastery program and authors of this book, follow the link:
 http://www.moneymastery.com/

Money Mastery is also on Facebook.

Affiliate Link
Money: What Financial "Experts" Will Never Tell You on Amazon

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deja Vu: Are You Making Moves That Have Purpose?

Over a stretch of about 7 years, things were constantly changing in my life. I changed jobs on several occasions; there were a couple of changes in my relationship status; I moved across the country twice; I had 6 different residences; I even dramatically changed my hair a few times. 

While having lunch with a friend that I was updating regarding all of this, I was asked, “What are you looking for?” I was somewhat puzzled. I didn’t have an answer. I’d never even asked myself the question. 

As I was flipping through my journal, I came across the following statement that I had written down from a book,” Stop moving away from what you don’t want and move towards what you want.”

Yup, the author walked right down my street and knocked on my front door! Clearly, it was time for me to sit down and define some things. Everything has been steady, for the most part, since I heeded the author’s advice. But it brings to light an interesting question. 

Are you moving towards what you want or away from what you don’t want? How do you ensure that the moves you are making have purpose?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Universe Is Inviting You In by Matthew C. Horne



If you read my Voted “Most Creative” reflection, you know that I’m a sucker for an author standing next to a table full of books. So when I was strolling through Eastern Market one Sunday and I saw a young man standing next to a small table with books on it, he didn’t have to say much because I already knew I wanted to make the purchase.  

The Universe Is Inviting You In: Your Best Life Possible Awaits You is a personal growth book. Usually with these books, I find the concepts to be somewhat complex. I spend a lot of time trying to ‘get it’. This book was simple. I understood where the author was going with every lead in. I found myself nodding my head throughout most of the pages because it just made sense.

Chapter 5 entitled The Company You Keep addresses a topic that many successful people know about very well. Horne makes this statement, “If you have a vision that you’re pressing toward that requires you to not be able to conform to the norms of the group, then a problem occurs.” If the group norm is to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights, but I find myself wanting work on my blog on Friday and Saturday night, then obviously I have a choice to make. For some people, this can be a difficult decision and their success is delayed because of it.

When I came to this statement, I had to say amen!,”If you allow a person’s opinion of you to become a reality, then you accept the reality of that person.” I think this is very much in line with my Are You Censoring Your Intake? post. We have to be aware of what we’re thinking and the weight we give to the opinions that other people have about us and what we do.

There are many philosophies in this book that I subscribe to, but I fell in love with this, “Be careful what you say about dreams; dreams are totally separate from the people who house them. People are just vehicles that your Creator uses to manifest His plan on Earth as it is in heaven.” This is a powerful concept! I will refrain from elaborating because I want you to process it without my influence. Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Matthew C Horne has a group on Facebook where he often posts motivational updates.
To learn more about Matthew or purchase the book, follow the link: http://www.matthewchorne.com

Affiliate Links
The Universe Is Inviting You In on Amazon

Events: Facebook, Writing Contest, and Book Festivals, Oh My!

READING HAS PURPOSE IS ON FACEBOOK!


 

I haven't figured out how to get the "Like" button on my blog yet but bare with me! In the meantime, you can click HERE. You do not need a Facebook account to view the page. 
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Do you want to be a writer or do you know someone that does? NPR (National Public Radio) is having a Three-Minute Fiction Contest. Send in original short stories that can be read in three minutes or less.

There is a small catch, your story must begin with the following line: "Some people swore that the house was haunted." Plus, your story must end with this line: "Nothing was ever the same again after that."

Including these lines, your story must be 600 words or less. One entry per person. The deadline is 11:59 p.m., EDT, on Sunday Sept 26.

For official rules and contest entry click here.

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I will be attending the 15th Annual Baltimore Book Festival taking place on Friday Sept 24 - Sun Sept 26.

The free festival welcomes more than 225 celebrity, nationally known and local authors including Holly Robinson Peete, Rodney Peete, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Nigel Barker, Ree Drummond, Michele Norris, Sherri Sheppard, Judge Glenda Hatchett, Jesse Ventura, Warrent St. John, Amy Dickinson ("Ask Amy") and Matt & Ted Lee

Take a look a the schedule here!

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The Library of Congress is hosting the 10th Annual National Book Festival held on Saturday, Sept 25, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between 3rd and 7th streets from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Find out more about the festival here.

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The Fall for the Book event is a week-long, multiple-venue, regional festival taking place on Sun Sept 19 - Fri Sept 24.

Events take place at George Mason University's Fairfax, Virginia Campus and at locations throughout Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. All events are free and open to the public. 

I'm still studying the schedule to figure out what sessions I can make it to. Maybe I'll see you there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are You Censoring Your Intake?

If you’ve been following, you know that I’m not a chatterbox.  But there are reasons behind this. One of them being, when you tell people things, their natural inclination is to offer their input. And I guess that’s how a conversation is supposed to go; I tell you something and you respond. But sometimes, I don’t want to hear the response, so I just keep the information to myself.  

It may be that I’ve already come to a conclusion. It may be that I’ve received all of the advice I care to consider. Or it may be that I don’t want to hear words of discouragement or doubt.  

Discouragement, doubt, and their synonyms come dressed in 101 different costumes. Today, they may be dressed as a rejection letter. Tomorrow, they may appear in the form of insufficient funds. But the most damaging forms of discouragement and doubt may come through the words of someone you considered a friend or supporter.  

I think one author stated it perfectly, “Often times, people who aren’t fulfilling their destiny will try to discourage you from fulfilling yours.” It may even be unintentional, but it can have an effect nonetheless. So with some people, I make it a habit to proceed with caution.

RE-Rambled Food and Thought author recently stated on her blog that people want you to be afraid of what they are afraid of. In some cases its true. But, I’m attempting to live fearlessly. And sometimes that means making a conscious decision not to open myself up to the fears of others.

Have you ever shared something with someone only to find that they weren’t as excited as you expected them to be? How do you discern between learning from people’s failures and being afraid due to the failure of others?  Do you share openly or do you put out feelers?  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Interview: Alan Williams, CEM (author)

When I made a request for permission to use quotes from Money: What Financial "Experts" Will Never Tell You, I was pleasantly surprised when I received this response from author Alan Williams, CEM: 

[source]
“Thank you for your interest in the Money Mastery® Personal Financial System.  We would appreciate any message you can give that will encourage others to take control of their financial lives.  This is done via Controlling Spending, Eliminating Debt, Minimizing Taxes and Maximizing Savings/Retirement.  The amazing fact is most folks do not know how to do this, and as a consequence, go about their financial lives in a survival mode, rather than in a planned predictable result mode.  There is much to learn about from Money Mastery.”

I followed up the e-mail with a phone call and after speaking with Mr. Williams briefly, he agreed to answer a few questions!  Mr. Williams has served as a financial coach for the past 15 years and has a 38 year background in corporate management and finance. Here's what he had to say: 

RHP: What is the most common reason that people are in their current situation with regards to finances? 
AW: There are 2: out of control spending and an inability to communicate about money (ie to their spouse or significant other). 

RHP: What do most clients feel is the reason they are in their current situation with regards to their finances?
AW: Over spending and no plan. 

RHP: How long does it generally take to get clients to consistently obey the guidelines of the Money Mastery Personal Financial System?
AW: They can see results within 30 days, especially if they have their coaches help. 

RHP: For people unable to afford help, what would you advise them to do until they feel they can pay for guidance?
AW: At least get a Spending Plan and follow Principle #2. [Principle 2: When You Track Your Money, You Control It]

RHP: What is the biggest mistake people make once they feel their situation is under control?  
AW: Think that they can do it in their heads - get lazy – loose sight of the fundamental importance of money in their lives.  Feel overconfident that because they make money and spend it, that they know all they need to know. 

RHP: For young, college educated, singles with limitless income potential, what would be your words of wisdom?
AW: Empower yourselves with a Master Plan by mastering Spending, Debt, Taxes and Savings/Retirement – all at the same time!  It can be worth millions!!

Additionally, Mr. Williams provided the following parting advice: 

“If you haven’t already, I suggest that you check out www.moneymastery.com, www.mymoneyplan.net and www.moneymastery.net

Remember, we all have more opportunity to spend money than we have money to spend.  Therefore, the solution is to learn how to prioritize the spending of the money we have.  More money is good, but it is not a solution to debt, desperation or financial security, especially when you make more money and the financial bucket still leaks.  In order to be financially secure we need to learn how to prioritize, which means, learning how choose the best options for every dollar that is spent.  As simple as that sounds it is a message that most families don’t know how to do. Money Mastery is the system that does it for them!"

Mr. Williams' contact information is as follows: 

Alan Williams, CEM
Time & Money, LLC
alan@moneymastery.com
888-292-1099 Office
801-951- 5151 Fax


Money: What Financial "Experts" Will Never Tell You by Alan M Williams

Purchase on Amazon

When I moved to Washington, D.C., I was in for a rude awakening. I looked at my income compared to the cost of living and thought to myself – this isn’t going to work. I immediately decided to take a proactive approach to making sure I didn’t end up broke. 

I was fortunate enough to come across a website that was allowing free downloads of the book Money: What Financial “Experts” Will Never Tell You. I downloaded a copy without hesitation and have been using it as a guide every since.

The book is divided into two parts: Part I. The Money Mastery Principles and Part II. Tax Strategies.  The Money Mastery Principles totally changed my relationship with money. Tax Strategies made me completely reevaluate the idea of home-based businesses.

One of the lessons that stuck with me is that “You can have anything you want. You just can’t have everything you want.” It’s my money and I can spend it – after I save and give of course. I just have to choose what I’d like spend it on. Thanks to the application of this principle, it’s not a big deal for me to run out and grab dinner at a nice restaurant; but if you look in my closet, you won’t find 200 pairs of shoes! I opt for a longer vacation every year instead of hopping in my car or on a flight for every three day weekend in between.

Something  that is reiterated throughout the book is, “There are no future decisions, only decisions made today that affect the future.” When stated that way, it becomes apparent that we should put more thought into what we are doing with our money now, as opposed to confronting the issue when we have more time, more money, or even worse, no money!

For some people, money management is a daunting task, especially when weighing in investment options. I’d rate the following advice up there with the best I’ve ever received, “You don’t have to know everything, but you do need to know something.” Essentially, the point the authors are trying to make is that you need to know enough to know when to ask for help.

There is too much great advice in this book for me to summarize in one post. This is only a partial summary of Part I. Should you all request it, I will add an additional post and include more information. I plan to dedicate a second post to cover Part II

This book would benefit anyone that wants to get a handle on finances, start a home-based business, or come up with ideas for home-based businesses.

UPDATE: To see the RHP exclusive interview with author Alan Williams, click here.

How do you maintain control of your finances? What resources would you recommend?

To learn more about the money mastery program and authors of this book, follow the link:
 http://www.moneymastery.com/ 

Money Mastery is also on Facebook

Affiliate Link
Money: What Financial Experts Will Never Tell You on Amazon

Friday, September 10, 2010

Event: CBCF Author Pavilion



I will be attending the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) Author Pavilion 2010 taking place in Washington, DC on Thursday Sept 16 - Saturday Sept 18. I'm so excited I don't know what to do with myself!

"Each year, the CBCF’s Author Pavilion shines a spotlight on a handful of talented, African-American authors with impactful and culturally relevant work."

The schedule is jammed packed and I have lots of research to do on these authors! It's going to be a busy weekend.....

What's going on near you?

GIVEAWAY WINNER of RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought

The winner of RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought is lucky commenter #2.
That's you Maria A!


Send your mailing address to Shannon@readinghaspurpose.com and please come back to tell us what you think about the book!


Thanks to the following people (that I am aware) are either responsible for my participation in the book tour or helped spread the word about the giveaway here at Reading Has Purpose:

Angelia Menchan

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor And What We Can Do About It by Star Parker



When I initially saw this book, I thought I’d step outside of my usual genre and attempt to learn something new. So I was excited to receive a free copy  from the publisher. I read chapter one and my excitement ended there. 

I expected Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor And What We Can Do About It to be an explanation of the problem and well thought out points of attack for a resolution. I was completely blind sided by the aggression that was shoved in my face by the author.

It became evident early that “America’s Poor” would generally refer to black people. And “What We Can Do About It” would be to blame “the left” for enabling this group of people to remain poverty stricken while accusing “the left” of blaming rich white people for poverty in this country.

Chapter one, entitled What is Poverty? caused me to raise my eyebrows. Parker separates the poor into three general groups. I was enlightened since I have never taken the time to categorize poverty myself. But I was disturbed by the harsh and many times stereotypical views by which some of these people were described.

Several of the points with regards to why people are in their current state of poverty may have been valid. But I was so put off by the lecture and condescending tone by which it was delivered that I was unreceptive.

When Parker addresses the link between HIV and homosexuality she makes the following statement, “Amidst this dismal picture, the DC City Council, perhaps on the theory that serving up another glass of wine is the way to help a drunk, voted in December 2009 to legalize same sex marriage in America’s Capital City.”

When referring to feminism, here’s what she had to say, “ In the old days to have sex on demand with no commitment or consequences, men had to go to a whorehouse and pay good money for it. Now the whores are giving it away for free in dormitories across America and calling it sexual freedom.”

And the point at which I wanted to close the book, Parker made this statement when referring to abortion, “No matter the defense of a woman’s right to choose, that’s at minimum 10 percent of our current population - tens of millions of young Americans who never saw the light of day, unless they survived long enough to see it briefly from the bottom of a dumpster.”

I continued to read but I’ll admit, my mind was closed by the time I reached chapter six. I needed to defend myself from this energy as I no longer wanted it coming my way.

Parker has clearly done her research. This book is loaded with information and personal experiences since she speaks from a familiar place. But I think  with every stroke of her pen, fuel was being added to the fire as she so passionately wanted to shed light on this topic.

So I guess maybe this book was just too hot for me to handle.


What are your views on poverty in this country? Do you have any solutions?

To learn more about Star Parker and her book, follow the link: http://www.unclesamsplantation.com/

Affiliate Links
Uncle Sam's Plantation on Amazon
View all by Parker on Amazon
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Being By Yourself vs Being With Yourself

Whenever I’m out with friends, I often become fixated on people that are in the room alone. I begin to ask myself, ‘Are they waiting on someone?’, ‘Did someone change plans on them at the last minute?’,’Do they not know anyone to hang out with?’

I remember reading a book that had a chapter emphasizing the difference between being by oneself and with oneself. The author was offended that a stranger had accused her of being lonely just because she happened to be alone. She politely dismissed him by stating that she was not by herself; she was with herself.

So I started thinking, it’s easy to run a quick errand here and there by ourselves. But how comfortable would we be if we had to appear in a social setting alone?

Last week, I decided to venture out and go somewhere with myself. I ended up at a pretty lively restaurant and managed to grab a seat at the bar. I’ll admit, it was awkward at first. But that faded quickly - well, ok, maybe the drink helped. But three hours later as I was headed back home, I realized that I’m pretty good company and so did the kind people that chose to befriend me :-)

I can comfortably say, I’ll be going places with myself more often!

When is the last time you went somewhere with yourself? Where did you go? Would you do it again?

Friday, September 3, 2010

GIVEAWAY: RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought by Angelia Vernon Menchan

I recently posted a reflection on RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought. Angelia Menchan is graciously providing a copy of her book to one of you!



Rules for Entry

Subscribe to Reading Has Purpose via e-mail, or RSS feed or Google Friend Connect
AND
Leave a comment telling me what is your favorite post on this blog and why


I will announce one random winner on Friday, Sept 10. The winner will need to send your mailing address to: Shannon@readinghaspurpose.com. You will receive your book from book tour organizer Books And.

contest open to U.S. residents only

Event: Brooklyn Book Festival



The Brooklyn Book Festival is next weekend, Sunday Sept 12 from 10a - 6p EST.
ALL EVENTS ARE FREE! 
 
The festival turns 5 this year and boasts as being one of the top book festivals in the country.

It's been a while since I've been to Brooklyn. Hmmm, I think I may plan myself a little road trip :-)

To learn more about the festival and scheduled events, follow the link: http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org

Or, you can keep up with the festival on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought by Angelia Vernon Menchan



I am participating in a Virtual Book Tour thanks to Notorious Spinks and Books AND! Today, the tour stops here and although this book was provided by the author, the following are my unbiased thoughts on RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought by Angelia Vernon Menchan.

This book is a collection of thoughts, or ramblings as Menchan calls them, formulated around her own real life experiences. It is her hope that someone will take something away from these ramblings and avoid dealing with the growing pains of learning certain lessons themselves.

This reflection was difficult for me to write, because no matter how much I include, I feel like I’m leaving out something that should reach someone. I read the book in less than 48 hours because I kept thinking to myself - there may be something in here that might apply to my life tomorrow!

Menchan covers countless women’s issues but with section titles like "We’s Married Now," "Young Brother Please," "Fear of Success," "Having Heart," "What’s Your Price?," and "Create Your Own Economy," there’s something here for everyone.

I wish I had a copy of this book for all of my girlfriends. I found at least one rambling that would apply to each of them. The countless conversations we’ve had about careers, men, direction, purpose, and things of the like would have benefited greatly from Menchan’s point of view.

One of my favorite sections addresses Burning Bridges. I’m not  afraid of moving on and by moving on I mean, sayonara, peace, no turning back, deuces, you may never hear from me again! So I often get the spiel about ‘not burning bridges.’ But something about that advice often rubs me the wrong way because sometimes what’s done is done - period. So when I came to this section, I couldn’t read fast enough!

Menchan would agree, it's not a good idea to make a habit of burning bridges. But we all know that for just about every rule, there is an exception. And I love how Menchan sums up the exception for burning bridges:

“Now there are a couple of bridges,
I have taken a torch to,
Walked up to it with a flame in my hand,
And stood there watching it burn to the ground,
Sink into the deep,
But believe you me,
I had given it much thought,
Engaged in mad prayer and made sure,
That I was done,
Knowing that if even it were my last bridge,
I would take my chances,
In the swim.....
Because sometimes,
Every now and then you have to know when to have,
A burnt bridge party,
Because a ragged,
Decaying,
Falling apart bridge,
Is like having no bridge at all.....”

Amen to that!!!!!!

I am grateful to have participated in this book tour. RE-RAMBLED Food and Thought has just earned a place on my list of favorite books.

I write these reflections as a creative outlet and it is my hope that they inspire someone. I will always disclose if I receive anything in return. It is my honest opinion, that every young woman should have this book and use it as a reference. And for that, I didn’t receive a thing!

What book would you recommend to people that you care about and why?

    ___________________________________________________

                          


Tour Schedule

Monday, August 30               Dren's B-Spot
Tuesday, August 31              Melissa J. Dixon
Wednesday, September 1     Reading Has Purpose
Thursday, September 2         Sol Searching Radio

 Angelia  Vernon Menchan considers writing to be the elixir of her soul. Since learning penmanship at age four, most days have found her jotting down thoughts in a notebook. After decades of journal-keeping she decided to try her hand at writing and publishing books, from which was born her small publishing company, M.A.m.m. Productions through which she publishes her own books that she has coined, 'Fictionalized Truths, Ageless Fiction and Ramblings.'

When not writing, Angelia is a wife, mother, mentor and nana who loves reading almost as much as writing. Angelia is also an Avid Blogger and posts blogs most days to her blog, RAMBLINGS at http://acvermen.blogspot.com or for Skirt Magazine at http://skirt.com/angel08.

www.angeliamenchan.com

Affiliate Links
RE-RAMBLED: Food and Thought on Amazon