Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013 The Year That Was.

 
 
As is a tradition, its also good to review the out going years and think of the accomplishments and perhaps disappointments of the year ending. 
 
 
This past year, 2013 has been a good year over all, not easy, no year is ever "easy."  There are ups and downs, dashed hopes and changed plans.  However, 2013 was a year of good starts and accomplishments for me personally.  Here are just a few...
 
1.  My job was reclassified for me in a positive way, 
2. I gained good health benefits
3. I was accepted into and started graduate school.
4. I am not on call as much, so I am sleeping better! Enjoying the sleep!
5. My schedule allows me to attend church more than in the past, so I am visiting some different churches as I can.
6. I am exercising more, walking 2 miles each day, doing stretching and some strengthening exercises.
7.  Learning more about personal investing and adapting to market conditions. 
 
Just to name a few main things from 2013.
 
Now in the news in 2013.
 
2013 was the year of one congressional created financial crisis after another.
2013 we have a new more popular Pope for the worlds Catholics
2013 the Supreme Court struck down part of DoMa, A victory for Same Sex Marriage
2013 saw Same Sex Marriage legalized in more parts of the world and United States.  Including France and United Kingdom.
2013 saw the birth of  a Prince in Great Britain. 
2013 saw more celebrities doing stupid things and getting away with it!  What's wrong with Chris  and Lindsay spending a few months in prison?  Perhaps they might learn something.
2013 the year the markets rallied, and the economy improved.  But too many are still unemployed and under employed! 
2013 the year of tea party republican gridlock.
2013 the year of the Twerk? the Selfie? Facebook's decline among the young. 
 
What will 2014 bring us?  We shall see! 
 
 


Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Medley: News Years Week Edition Auld Lang Syne - "Happy New Year" :)



I hope your New Years Eve is filled with the celebration of a year gone by, and the wonder of the possibilities of a New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Investment Plan

As I stated in the previous post, I want to share something about my investment plan.  Yes, its important to have a plan.  That way there is a direction to what one does.  This year, I have changed direction slightly.  I recalibrated my portfolio by selling positions (stocks held) I held in companies that have not and do not pay dividends.  I reallocated those funds and profits to strengthen positions I already have that pay dividends.  This year, I focused on stocks I want to have for a long term.  Now with the upturn in stock prices, it has been difficult for one like me to purchase the companies I want a price I can afford.  So its little by little, as funds are built up, I invest in a few shares.  Dividends can amount to enough to pay the stock fee or even a share of stock.

Now there is a cost to investing in individual stocks.  So I have a minimum number of shares I purchase.  When considering a sell the price must be enough to cover the fee plus profit. Otherwise its best to hold the stock. 

So for this new year, pending how the economy and markets fare, I am going to invest in mutual funds.  Two types of funds, an equity fund, and  bond or fixed income fund.  I do not have either in my Roth portfolio.  I have not picked the funds yet, but they will be No Load (no initiation fee) No Transaction fee funds.  Also the minimum investment has to be on the lower end to make it an affordable move.  So each pay period I plan on making deposits to my Roth account, and as the funds build make appropriate purchases. 

I also have an add on Certificate of Deposit at my Credit Union that is a long term saving, as well as a small emergency fund. 

I hope that when I get to retirement to have sources of income from Social Security, a small annuity I am vested in, then my 401K, Roth and then long term savings.

I hope these two posts have given you some food for thought about your saving plan.  You build it one deposit at a time. If its $10 or $100 a month, it adds up after a while.  I encourage you to explore your options!

Friday, December 27, 2013

ARE YOU INVESTED?

As we approach the end of 2013 and look to 2014, there are always articles, News pieces that give suggestions of what we should do and how to "prepare" for a new year. 

Well how does one do that?  Its not like we have a crystal ball and know what a new year will bring. No one can do that. They can look at trends and suggest where the trend might go. Sometimes that works!  This is especially true when it comes to saving and investing.  I am blessed to have a 401k type retirement plan at work.  I also have an add on CD at my Credit Union I am using as a long term fixed savings. Then there is my Roth IRA I have with a discount brokerage firm, which I usually make deposits to each pay period and as the cash grows I make investments according a plan. 

This year the stock market has grown significantly, all times highs actually, which is good for the economy and those investors who were able to cash in some profits.  However for someone like me an extremely small investor, not so much.  Higher stock prices makes it harder for me to buy shares I would like too.  Though I am a long term investor,  I buy and hold positions in companies for a long term.  Two years ago, I did buy two companies whose shares plummeted as a speculative move.  I was blessed that move paid off.  I held those positions for about a year and sold them at a profit for my ROTH. 

A mistake I made was not buying Netflix when it was at $58 at share.  I did not think the stock was going to do much.  Boy was I wrong, its sitting at over $300 a share!  Oh well that is what I mean, that no one knows what the future will be.. 

So I ask are you invested?  Do you have a saving account?  If not now is the time to do something about that. 

Stay tune for the next post. My investment plan.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Gay in the News

Happy day after Christmas!  Some headlines in the news concerning the gay community have been talked about in the days leading up to Christmas.  I chose to wait until now to comment.  I will call this the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.  I will start with the ugly so I end todays posting on a positive note.

The ugly:  Last week Rev. Frank Schaefer, a United Methodist Pastor, was defrocked by the Pennsylvania UMC Conference court or officiating at the same sex wedding of his son.  The United Methodist Book of Discipline prohibits this.  They are following the letter of their denomination's  law, not the law of love in my opinion.  Of course its a theological issue, the UMC is a denomination that has an official position that say Homosexuality is not compatible with Scripture. So its no surprise to me, however it is a disappointment.  My heart goes out to Rev. Schaefer and what this means for him. I understand he immediately appealed, which is good.  In my view, once called always called, once ordained, always ordained.  He can take his Master of Divinity to the United Church of Christ, or  Disciples of Christ.  I am sure they would welcome him.  So much for Open Hearts, Open Doors!


The Bad:  In Virginia, the state department of taxation will not follow IRS rules allowing same sex married couples from filing jointly.  This is no surprise since they consulted the outgoing Republican Attorney General.  There is hope when the democratic leadership takes office in January.

What is Duck Dynasty?  I hear it is the most popular reality show in TV?  I have never heard of it! Well the individual who is head of the TV reality family made anti gay and racist remarks. He was suspended and the backlash over his suspension does not surprise me.  Who cares?  I don't, I never watch the show.  Sounds idiotic.

For the Good:  President Obama is including openly gay athletes like Brian Boitano, who recently came out, in the United States delegation to the Winter Olympics in Russia, which has anti gay laws. This is a victory for the gay community as well as Mr. Boitano, who is now out and will lead the delegation.

We will end 2013, with now 14 state recognizing legalized same sex unions or marriages.  Plus the fact that a federal judge has struck down a law in Utah banning same sex marriage.  There is a law suit moving forward in Virginia concerning the states ban on same sex marriage. 

We also will end the year with more countries legalizing Same Sex marriage.  Including the United Kingdom and France! 

What will 2014 hold for Gay in the News?  We shall see. 
 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!! Handel Messiah, Chorus: For unto us a Child is born

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Luke 2:1-20

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is [e]Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a [f]manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest,And on earth peace among men [g]with whom He is pleased.”15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the [h]manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

MERRY CHRISTMAS  TO ALL!!


Monday, December 23, 2013

An Early Christmas Present

This past weekend, I received an email from my professor.  He was returning my final with comments and my grade.  I was very pleased with one comment he wrote on one of my essays.  He said said I did an excellent job explaining  both the facts of the question and my position on the issue being discussed.  That was the issue of religious diversity.  For the test I earned an A, for the course I earned a B!  I am very pleased, it was work, but now I am one course closer to that MTS degree.

Today, I turned in both my grade report and my financial statement to my employer for Tuition Reimbursement, as well as my application for the next course approval.

Sometime next spring, the Seminary will receive word of accreditation approval of its retooled Master of Divinity.  When I see how it has been changed, if it allows more clinical courses, like Pastoral Counseling; I may switch to that degree.

Its a good early Christmas!


Monday Medley: Christmas week: King's College Cambridge 2008 #17 O Come, All Ye Faithful arr. Stephen ...



Christmas is 2 days away!  Are you ready?  Enjoy the music of the season.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Friends Birthday Today

In the tradition of this blog, I like to mark special days for people close to me.  So in that tradition. Today December 21, is my friends Birthday.  I congratulate him on his years of living, his accomplishments, and experiences.

He shares his big day with a few famous people, such as
 Paul Revere 1734
JEFFREY KATZENBERG 63
Jane Fonda 76
Keifer Southerland  47
Samuel L. Jackson 65

Just to mention a few.

Keep looking forward toward your goals, and dreams.  Continue toward them and you will achieve the body of work you desire!

I wish and pray you to be  well and celebrate many more birthdays!




Monday, December 16, 2013

MondayMedley: Advent Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Traditional Choir



Christmas is now 9 days away!  About time this blog shares some Christmas music!  Slowly I am beginning to feel more is the mood for Christmas  School is over for the semester, I have attended 2 Christmas dinners at two of the Hospitals I work.  There will be 2 more this week. I still have shopping to do, it will get done somehow.  This week I plan on going to the Garden light show, I plan on this becoming a new tradition. 

Well all for this post Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Word For Wednesday!

Instead of posting a Wordless Wednesday, I decided to post a few words instead. As of last night, I completed my first course and semester at this new Seminary.  So that's 1 out of 19 courses, not including courses I am transferring in.  I am relieved it is done, I stressed over my paper and final exam, but I think  I did well.  The Professor has a brilliant mind, the way he explained complex philosophical terms and ideas!  He challenged me to think and express what I think, not what the author.  The only problem I had was every-time I  tried to read the text book, I ended up falling asleep,  even sitting at the table!

So now I can begin my celebration of Advent, Christmas, and New Year.  No solid plans yet, i do want to go to the Botanical Garden light show, I want to attend a play, I hope to go to Christmas Town this year.  I plan on doing some baking too.  Yummy

Of course there is shopping to do, got to make my list.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

In Memoriam for Nelson Mandela,  A man of change, a man who led a nation to change, and example of what forgiveness and hope can accomplish.





"Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end."   A quote of Mr. Mandela.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Time For New Christmas Traditions.

This  is the year for me to begin a few new traditions.  Nothing really wrong with the old ones, good memories, but I feel the need to add some new ones. Make them mine, there is one tradition I want to continue.  On Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, my family always lights candles, fire in the fireplace and has goodies.  I don't have a fire place but I do light candles, its a way of being connected with  family across the miles.  

The new possible traditions are attending a concert at one of the local Opera houses, attending the Botanical Garden light show, attend Christmas Town in Williamsburg.  I want to continue a tradition I once had, of walking Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg decorated for Christmas.  just a few possibilities to consider.  Not sure what if any new tradition will take hold. 

I don't think I will be placing lights outside this year.  It will be the first time in a long time, but don't think is worth it where I am now.

Stay tuned! 

Monday Medley: On Tuesday. Jason Derulo "Marry Me" (Official HD Music Video)



Pardon the tardiness...better late than never.  I had a busy weekend, mostly on call but also working on a term paper.  Which is now finished and sent YAHHHH!   Next week is the final exam, but tonight its time to relax.  Next week will start the Advent music. I'm a week late oh well.