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Lost your creative mojo? Painter's block, writer's block....designer's lethargy.....artist's woes. So many words for the ...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Paid to be Me

Not a pipe dream anymore. Folks like Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin have proven that not only can you survive and get by just by doing what you wanna do....but you can actually build an economic empire using the same strategy.
And now it will come to pass that women too will start squeaking out a beautiful stream of coin by following their own hearts. Yes, it might take just a wee bit more chutzpah than the average gal possesses, but it is become more within the realm of possibility than ever before.

Just don't count yourself out. Don't let any belief system force you to limit your choices.  Keep your options open and know that the earth is yours because God gave it to you. You are inheriting the earth because you are teachable enough to learn how the ropes work and use them with all your might.

So, yes, it is a good day today...because today I know that the day has come....I am being
"paid to be me".


Peaceful productivity.
Carla

Sunday, February 22, 2015

May This Day

May this day bring you space...for not only your feet to rest, but for your spirit to rest too.
May this day bring you a name ....a name of a human that will inspire and encourage your journey....the journey that you have selected with God's help. May that person whom God leads you to, possess some of the knowledge and information you need in your current situation. May he/she be willing to share that precious data with you in a format you can digest.

Don't be afraid to pray. Some folks have the idea that if they get God involved in their decision making process, that God is going to to mess up their lives, and force them to live in an impoverished place without the modern amenities of life. But where did we get that from? I don't believe that God wants to interrupt our decision making processes. He wants us to fellowship with Him and get His inspiration and then grow up and make the decisions ourselves.

Yes, there are times it seems that we float on God's choices, He seems to know that there are times when we really aren't capable of doing what we need to do for ourselves....so His Spirit carries us through those times. But then there are the times when God is asking us to mature and to grow up. He didn't create us as robots. He respects our free will and expects us to use it.

Yes, it certainly is scarier to make our own decisions, because then the buck actually stops with us. We make our own choices and somehow can't blame God or any other human for the choices we have made. That is what maturity is all about. Being willing to let the buck stop with us. Being willing to be accountable for our own choices.

And yes, God is still there, not carrying us like a little infant, but walking beside us like two adults talking quietly as they walk together on a path through the park. God respects you. See Him as He takes time to be with you and you with Him. See Him listening eagerly to your thoughts and ideas. See Him taking His time to respond and think about what you have said to Him. He believes in you and all that you are and all that you have in your mind to do and to be. Listen to Him and He will listen to you.

Peace.
Carla


Saturday, February 21, 2015

No Entry Fee Contests

There are a couple of websites which offer contests for within Canada and many or most of them are completely free to enter. Note that many of these kind of contests require an active email account and ask for lots of personal information such as your telly number and your mailing address. Be aware that none of these websites take responsibility for any kind of identity theft that could occur by the sharing of your personal information. Therefore participating is always 100% at your own risk. Always read the rules and regulations....the fine print really does matter ")

Contest Canada

Gold Fish Legs Contest Forum


Thursday, February 19, 2015

99 Percent of Motivational Speakers are Male??

Nope, I didn't do a scientific study....so I hope I am wrong and just feeling a tad bit peckish today.

But in my search for great female mentors, leaders, speakers, thinkers, I keep feeling like somehow I am lost in a land of testosterone. Where are all the leading ladies???
Just Oprah and Barbara Corcoran are not enough.

Ladies where are your voices? Have you nothing to teach me? Nothing to help a sister out with?
No desire to share your success strategies with other women?

Men seem to get a kick out of leading and teaching other men, offering their time and expertise for free or as a business venture in order to mentor other men. Men don't seem to mind mentoring women, but that just isn't the same thing.

Women process things differently. Women set goals but we do so in a different way....not even sure how to put it into words, but we just do things differently. We are equal....but very different.

Yes, there are some notable folks...folks like Barbara Corcoran and Oprah Winfrey who have pioneered paths to success and written books and gone on TV to help inspire us. But call me greedy, I want more
choice. I want to be able to go to a library or bookstore shelf and be able to find a thousand books written by unique and quirky female leading thinkers/teachers. Women with vision, women with power, women with skill and street smarts. Women who made it when no one was around to encourage them or fund their ventures.

How about you? Do you have the mentors you need? Or still searching?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dollar for Dollar...One of THE BEST Natural Snacks On-the-Go!

Busy? Aren't we all. Taking that prime time out of your day to shop for and prepare a nutritious snack is just NOT one of my priorities when I have a lot of other stuff on my agenda.

So, I've made it a purpose of mine to CALL ATTENTION to any modestly price snack that requires NO preparation and is still considered "healthy". Enter, Freelee the Banana girl. Yes, she's a vegan, and NO I am not going to preach veganism today, I merely want add my applause to the snacking idea that she introduced me to, through her videos/website.

The snack in mention, is the humble dried pitted DATE. Tis true that I didn't grow up eating such creatures....it is a little bit out of my comfort zone, as dates seemed like something a granny would bake with to make "figgy pudding" as the christmas carol chimes....
But once, I got over my squeamishness about trying something that was unfamiliar to me, I was very pleasantly surprised. Apparently I am not the only one who is now a fan of dried dates, as they are now in the produce or dried fruit section of every grocery store I enter. 

If you are going to try dried dates as a snack, note that there is a HUGE difference in quality depending on the brand, type and packaging of dried dates. The "Lambourghini" of dried dates are labelled
"Medjool Dates" and come with a heftier price tag to boot....up to even $10 for a modest size plastic tub....or if you are lucky you might find a smaller tub on sale for $5.99.

But if you shop around and try some of the lesser known brands, such as AMIRA, you may find some less expensive ones that still rank high in quality. The ones that appear with more white-ish flaky bits appear more well suited for baking etc....not for snacking. The higher the quality of the dried date, the more "whole" the dried date will appear and it will have retained a rich dark brown color.
Note that some dates are PITTED and some are NOT! So in order to prevent any of you from biting on a very hard dry pit by accident, be sure to read the LABEL!

As for me, this week I didn't want to splurge on authentic "Medjool" dried dates, so I gave the brand AMIRA dried pitted dates in a 800 gram zip pack a try. The price was  a great value at only $3.99.
So far, so good, I am pleased with the taste, texture and quality.

If you are interested in a snack that is a bit more heartier, then you might want to check out
Freelee the Banana Girl's Site in which she shows us how to make banana date smoothies as a small meal replacement. Add a bit of cinnamon for extra kick to your blended banana date smoothie.

The last thing I want to say about the humble dried date is that it packs a pretty powerful caloric punch....so if you have short break times at work or on the go, and need to cram in the calories in a short amount of time, dried dates will be heaven sent. However, if you need to cut back on your calorie intake, or if you are tempted to overindulge, then dried dates might not be ideal....unless you are disciplined at only packing up a modest number of dried dates to be consumed at your snack time. At only 40 grams, there is a good
 130 calorie boost. That may be great news for some and not so great for others, depending on your snacking requirements.

The beauty of dried dates, is that you are simply munching on a  natural dried fruit.....not on over processed commercial food. Some of the packagers add a bit of vegetable oil to the dates, but over all, I find them to be presented and sold to the public in their natural state. Dried dates have a naturally rich and chewy taste and texture. They are also a good source of ruffage and may help to stimulate a sluggish digestive system.
Bon Appetito!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Church....and the Rich or Poor

Just thinking out loud once again.... are the modern churches in your city/town created for everyone? Or do churches cater to only the rich or upper middle class in your neighborhood?

In my decades of attending Christian churches in Canada I've noticed a bit of a dichotomy between how the rich interact with their "home" churches and the poor/middle class.

The difference becomes most noticeable in the summer time, when many consider it their family's opportunity to get caught up on some much needed "R and R"   (rest and relaxation).

However, the shocking thing I noticed is that when a wealthy family was absent from church attendance for a month or so, the leadership or other members in the church weren't concerned because the wealthy family was "at their cottage/summer home" or away at some other vacation. There was no gossip as to where the family was in relationship to God or their church. However, the upsetting thing I noticed was that when a family with less than ideal financial resources was absent from church attendance for more than one week or two, it was surmised that there was some kind of spiritual problem or lack of Christian commitment.
Sad eh?

Well, one of my life purposes is to have the courage to say the things that others don't have the nerve to say. So, if this blog post rings true to your experience in the modern christian church, then have the courage to pass it along to others in your congregations. When we modern Believers, come to admit our weaknesses and double standards, the churches will become a more welcome and equal playing field for the rich and poor and everyone in between.

We are ALL created in the image and likeness of God .He is our Father. Therefore, we should ALL feel welcome in church services, whether we attend once a week, five times a week, or once a  month, or in fits and starts depending on our work/business schedule.

Gone are the days when most folks work Mon-Friday 9-5 anyway. If pastors and church leaders are going to have a merciful and gracious attitude to the modern working family, they are going to have to rethink how they "judge" attendance at all and any church events. Church functions, including prayer meetings and services, should accommodate the modern worker, not ALIENATE hard working folks whose schedules don't necessarily jive with the typical church meeting times.

It can also be said that church leaders should also stretch their minds to grasp the huge difference in scheduling that faces self employed individuals versus employees. Business owners have very different time constraints than those who must clock in according to their employer's expectations. Churches must be able to cater to both sectors of our new modern society.

I believe that GOD is very flexible in how, when and where HE meets with US.

Therefore why aren't WE more FLEXIBLE too??????

Passionate for Christ, Peace and Equality.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Choosing a MUST READ Author

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it's the authors that really tick you off, that you learn the most from?

I get that feeling every time I spent a good chunk of time reading Robert Kiyosaki's books. He has a lot to say about the state of the economy in North America, and what can fix or flaunt it's folly. He's not the most gentle teacher, but he really doesn't hold back in showing one what he has learned after
building several businesses, some successfully and some not so successfully. He's also taken a company public which gives him yet another perspective on investing. He gives you his uncut opinion on holding paper assets vs. real estate.

Robert's biggest kick is out of encouraging folks to get into business. However, I don't think he realized when he originally published "Rich Dad Poor Dad", that so many folks would take his advice quite literally and go and open businesses that they were completely unprepared to build and maintain. So many public speakers don't realize how much influence they ultimately hold over their audiences.....who might just actually DO precisely what they suggest.

Robert is a tried and true competitive business man. He shows, through a variety of educational books, and finance based board games, how we need to educate ourselves continuously to stay ahead of the game .

Do you have an author that has the same effect on you? Kinda totally gets under your skin and then afterward, when all is said and done, you realize he/she taught you more in a very short time frame than a hundred of the "other" authors who pretty things up and keep their books/speeches so nicey nice.

When push comes to shove, I 'd rather read an author who is NOT politically correct and tells his/her unedited truth than some writer who may be better educated, uber-polite and willing to flatter our egos just to sell more books. Who is an author, financial or otherwise, who really got your goat lately? What was the most powerful thing you learned?

Productively peaceful.
Carla





Sunday, February 8, 2015

How to Write a Covered Call

So you've decided to expand into trading options, instead of just buying or selling stocks.
One of the simplest ways to start out in the options market is through
selling covered calls. So permit me to summarize in really simple language, what the process entails to start
writing covered calls.

When you are "writing" covered calls you are actually "selling to open" a covered call.

A covered call is different than a plain ole "call option" because you actually literally own at least 100 shares of the stock that you are writing the call on.

So the first step to being able to write a covered call is by purchasing at least one hundred shares of a stock that has "options trading" available on it.

Covered calls can only be written on chunks of 100 shares at a time. One hundred shares is considered
"one contract" which you are going to write the covered call option on. There is a fee that your brokerage will charge you based on how many contracts you are going to involve in your covered call option. If you own 500 shares you could potentially write 5 contracts for covered calls.

Next you need to choose a "strike price" at which you are going to sell to open your covered call at.
The "strike price" is the price at which you give your covered call option buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy your shares at. I suggest you pick a "strike price" that is just a little bit higher than the price that you originally paid for the shares. That is called a "near the money" covered call.
You can ask a higher premium for a covered call that is "near the money" than one that is way priced out of orbit.

You need to also choose an "expiry date" at which the call option will expire. Usually the farther into the future that the expiry date exists, the higher the premium you can ask. Once the expiry date has passed, the buyer of your call option no longer has the right to buy your shares anymore.

You are going to have to decide what price of premium you are going to ask buyers to pay for your covered call option. This premium will be estimated upon the most recent "bid and ask" prices posted for covered call options. An example of a covered call option premium might be $1.25 per contract. To discover what your earnings will be from "selling to open" a covered call sold at $1.25 for one contract, you would simply multiply the premium $1.25 by 100 and that will give you the sum of $125.00 which is the total premium that will be paid to you. Be sure to calculate and inquire of your brokerage as to what commissions and/or fees you will incur from selling to open covered calls. There will most likely be higher fees if the buyer chooses to exercise their right to buy your shares at the agreed upon strike price.

Newbie and beginner investors usually face much higher commission fees than investors with larger portfolios. The sad truth is that large portfolios usually have their commission fees waived because of the largess of their account balance. Therefore, if you are going to do an options play, and you are a small time investor, you will want to keep accurate track of all commissions/fees because they will definitely bite a significant chunk out of any profits you earn from writing covered call options.

The "premium" is the price that you are asking buyers to pay you for the privilege of  owning your covered call option. If you are not sure if you are willing to part with your shares, then you are not ready to be selling covered call options. Last I heard, there is about a 25% chance that most covered call options are actually "exercised" or "assigned". When a covered call option is "exercised" or "assigned" it means that the buyer of your covered call option is exercising their right to buy your shares at your agreed upon "per share" price.
Those who sell covered call options are prepared for the possibility that they may be forced to sell their shares. Therefore, selling covered call options are only a good idea for those who are not personally or emotionally attached to permanently owning their shares.

Well, that's about all.... those are the basics, written in my own casual language. The rest of the process is just about waiting to see if a buyer is willing to buy your covered call option, and then waiting for the deal to          "settle". Be blessed and prosperous.

C.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Let's Discuss Processing Equities

So you wanna be an equity investor...you want to buy/sell stocks.

What are the ideas that you use to screen out the losers and pluck the winners?
Or do you just utilize strategies such as options trading to make money on the
ups and the downs of both the winners and losers?

Well, let's just keep it simple for today. Let's assume we want to pick winners, stocks that aren't going to
lose your hard earned money and have more than a safe bet on earning you some ca-ching.

P/E---Price to Earnings Ratio .Warren Buffet is said to prefer under valued common stocks with a price to earnings ratio under 20. I suppose it depends on how you play.

Market Cap: Is it harder to topple the biggest companies? Does it make sense to screen out the firms that are less than 1 billion in market cap? Or do you prefer to bet on smaller companies that can dodge and weave a little faster than the big wigs? Perhaps it can be compared to whom you prefer to do your banking with. Do you prefer the 5 biggest national banks? Or do you prefer a smaller local credit union, that has an affiliation with your neighborhood? Betting on the bigger players has an appearance of greater safety, but is by no means a guarantee of a fail proof investment terrain....

Does the Stock have Options available. Simply, does the stock have a derivatives market within it? Can you buy/sell puts/calls based on the ups and downs of the stock price? For some, using options is a key component of their income producing strategy. For some investors, they refuse to buy/sell stocks that don't carry an options market with it. They use options as insurance against falling stock prices, as well as  cash flow management strategy.

Dividend. Canadian investment author/inspirational speaker Derek Foster has made more than a pretty penny by advocating a modest investment strategy that focuses on the buy and hold strategy of
owning solely dividend yielding high quality stocks. His advice combined with a very frugal lifestyle permits those who are disciplined investors, to potentially live off their dividend stream once their portfolio has reached a certain saturation point. Huge stock market players such as Warren Buffet doesn't pay out a dividend on his Birkshire Hathaway shares, preferring to use the profits to reinvest back into the development/growth of the company. Even though he doesn't pay dividends...Warren's Birkshire Hathaway stocks never fail to find investors willing to part with their moolah, because he has a proven track record of increasing the innate value of the shares when held over the long term. By the way, if you want to boost your financial education with some good old fashioned stock market basics, just get all of Warren Buffet's books available at any public library or community college. There are more than a few investors who cut their teeth just by following Warren's strategies.

Which Stock Exchange are you going to invest in? Within Canada, the US or overseas?
Conservative investors may tend to prefer to invest within their own country, unless of course they don't trust their own national business climate. Countries with a less than stable political environment may provide a higher than normal level of risk, but also higher potential returns.

Which criteria you use to select your investments will have a huge impact on your returns.
I like to always bet on the D word....that is discipline. Nothing works without it....not even a winning stock.
Respect your assets, and the time it takes to acquire them. Losing them can be done in a millisecond.
Take the common warning..."buyer beware" multiply that by one million and that's how cautious you need to be in investing. Well, on that note...have a brilliant and peacefully productive day.

Carla



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tony Robbins and John Reese

Just watched a quick video of a conversation between Tony Robbins and John Reese.
I think the concept that sticks out from that discussion is that they admitted that folks
HAVE TO START SMALL!

That was kinda refreshing, especially when you are listening to folks who play with millions/billions.
John Reese was talking about the day in 2004 that he earned 1million dollars in one day (18 hours to be exact).
Then Tony and John discuss how they mentally framed themselves and prepared themselves psychologically to be able to operate in those kind of numbers. They both advocate having specific goals. Yes, I agree, but I would add that they HAVE to be WRITTEN goals. If you are not willing to write down your goals, who are you kidding? Do you really expect someone else to take your plans seriously if you yourself don't even take them seriously enough to jot them down in black and white?

Ok, so we agree we have to have SPECIFIC goals.

Then they both talked about the concept that I thought was really worth repeating to ya'll....and that was this idea that progress has to start SMALL. They both wholeheartedly agreed that if you some day want to be able to make 1 million dollars in one day, that you absolutely HAVE to be able to make one dollar per day FIRST! Then Tony chimed in with his famous quote "Progress is Happiness".  Gosh it must be hard for him to be right so often.

So yes, Tony, you're right on that count too. But I really like those two words you and John threw around called "Incremental Progress". First we figure out how to make a dollar a day. Then we master that. Then we make a higher goal, maybe 5 dollars per day...or more according to what you believe and can visualize.

So, I can really appreciate that there is a modesty and practicality in their motivational speeches. Thanks John and Tony. Keep it up.   Video Clip here

Paid to be ME.
Carla

Let's Discuss Tony Robbins New Book "Money- Master the Game"

Ok, I'm still chugging through the book, both in paper form and via the audio version of it.

At this point, I am not quite as thrilled with it as I first was, simply because I feel like I am being sold mutual funds and financial advisors. Is this book an ad for STronghold financial, High Tower, and Vanguard Index Funds???

I hope I am simply jumping to conclusions and maybe I've missed some of the better chapters, but please Tony don't tell me you're just going to sell me this stuff. I want to learn facts, accurate information, and strategies.

That's kinda why I still appreciate Robert Kiyosaki's books, because although his tone is somewhat snide and aggressive at times, at least you feel like you are getting an honest analogy of the modern economy and investment horizon. I'd rather be told the truth from a "mean man" than be coddled into compromise by someone who is nicey nice.

Anyway, as I said before, I hope I am wrong and I've simply not read the best parts of Tony's book yet.
Have you read or listened to any of it yet? What were your impressions?

Peaceful productivity.
Carla


Monday, February 2, 2015

Let's Chat About Mutual Funds

In Robert Kiyosaki's book entitled "Unfair Advantage--The Power of Financial Education", the author and some of his advisors discuss the pros and cons of buying/selling mutual funds versus other paper assets.

To be frank, Robert is pretty brutal in his analysis of the weaknesses inherent in owning mutual funds.

The common local Canadian-ish thinking in favor of mutual funds is, in essence somewhat patronizing because many folks invest in mutual funds simply because they don't trust themselves to pick their own stocks, bonds or other paper assets.
The idea behind giving your hard earned money into a mutual fund manager's control is because the investor "hopes"  that the fund manager understands the stock market better than the average Jane/Joe ........thus minimizing risk and hopefully steering your money into a nice blend of "safety and growth."

One alarming paragraph that I am going to quote directly from his book "Unfair Advantage--The Power of Financial Education" is from page 134, third paragraph from the bottom of the page:
"Today, there are more mutual-fund companies than there are publicly traded companies. This is how insane diversification has become."

That sentence above speaks volumes as to the state of affairs in the mutual fund industry. Perhaps it is EASIER to set up a mutual fund company than to set up an actual "profitable" publicly traded business. Or is it that mutual funds are just so much easier to SELL to the fearful and "ignorant" public than REAL products and services???

And yes, Robert, I do get the point. I do appreciate Robert's honesty. There is perhaps more potential in gains for those who control the mutual fund companies, than for those who actually invest in the mutual fund companies by purchasing mutual funds units. The fund managers are paid well through fees collected internally from within the fund and these fees are known as the "Management Expense Ratio" or "MER" for short. So even if the mutual fund, as a whole, loses money, the managers may still walk away with millions of dollars gleaned in fees.

Another frightening aspect which Robert's advisor Tom Wheelwright mentions in the same book at the top of page 130 , is that mutual funds are taxed twice. I am hoping this refers just to American investors, but I will have to do some more research as it applies to us Canadians. Robert says that mutual fund investors are taxed when they sell their mutual fund unit due to capital gains tax, BUT he also said that mutual fund investors are ALSO taxed whenever the fund managers generate capital gains within the fund even if it doesn't reflect in a price increase in the value of your mutual fund units. So, theoretically, Robert exclaims, it's possible to pay capital gains tax based on what your mutual fund manager decides to sell from within the fund, even if your actual mutual fund units have LOST value after the date you purchased them. I might also add, that we would also be taxed for any distributions that the mutual fund pays out to the owners.....so that would potentially be a third form of taxation. I wonder if there are any safeguards in that taxation dilemma?And again, just how does this apply to Canadian mutual funds??? 

It seems to me that fear and a lack of confidence play a big part in the investments many folks decide to ultimately choose. Robert is certainly right on this one point....namely that"ignorance is NOT bliss" when it comes to financial knowledge, and that the time and effort it takes to educate ourselves financially is time WELL SPENT.

If you are a financial guru, accountant, financial planner, or just like to pretend you're a financial/investment expert, I welcome your comments to my blog. Let's have a lively discussion on the good, bad and the ugly/pretty side of mutual funds....and Yes, you mutual fund managers are permitted to have your say too ")

Peaceful productivity.

Carla


Sunday, February 1, 2015

ARE You Ready for An Increase?

So  many folks whine and complain and moan and groan that they have been waiting so long for their proverbial "ship" to come in. They have visions of vacations in hot countries and luxurious designer clothes and a fancy new car.

But I wonder sometimes, if many of the folks who feel this way, would really be able to handle it if  and when their situation suddenly changed...
What would you do? If your blog views suddenly explode and your ads started earning hundreds or thousands of dollars every month? Are you ready for such an increase? Do you have a bookkeeper and/or tax advisor to help guide you through times of increase?

Maybe you are an artist and have a profile with Patreon, hoping that someone will have a soft spot in their heart and want to sponsor your artistic creations. But my question today is this....is your heart and mind and emotions ready for your increase?

Do you have a plan for the extra money when it comes in ? Do you know exactly what you are going to do with it? If you say that you are going to invest it....do you know exactly where and how you will invest?
If you say that you are going to get out of debt, do you know which debts you will pay off first?

Sometimes it bears repeating that we shouldn't just be prepared for the "bad times"...but also for the good times.

Write down a plan as to what you will do when you start getting more money into your life. Know where you will shop, what you will buy, and precisely what investments you will purchase. Know also where you will save your money, as to what account you will put the money in, and whether you will spread the money over several accounts. There will be research you will need to do to determine what your tax situation will be also when your "ship" comes in. Be prepared. Expect good things.

Peace.